Spring 2020

Springtime morning at Saratoga Spa State Park (March 26, 2020)

musing on Mornings

My favorite moments of the day are early, but not too early, before the demands of the day require me to rise and shine. I just love it when the sun comes through our eastward facing bedroom window, dappling the walls and bedspread, and our early-bird kitty, Mookie, is bouncing around the bed sharing a hopeful chirp and an encouraging velvet-paw poke to encourage us to shake off the sleeps and get on with our morning routines. This time is such a gift. On normal days (what do we call this now – the past?), I savored such mornings as a treat when I had the option of moving slowly and not shortening this gentle time of awakening.

Nowadays, there are no rushed mornings, no places to go. My-oh-my do I savor these moments, even more so, because now they are the moments when I can pretend that the world hasn’t changed.

And then, the fog clears and I see that we are waking to this new world – a very hard and changed world. As I accept that this new world is not the nightmare I hoped would be chased away by the dawn, I say a prayer of gratitude for the sameness of my gentle mornings. And then I say a prayer for the world and all of those who are waking up to face its hardship in so many challenging ways.

A Season of New Beginnings

Hello Friends!

It’s been quite a while. My last post was dated June 2019, and while I see a few drafts that I’d begun in July and December, today is the day I have chosen to restart this project: The Maven and Magpie Blog. Thanks for joining me!

Since we last left off so much has changed. How’s that for an understatement? Truly, a lot had changed in the world of the Maven and Magpie even before the virus turned the world upside down… but, as we all know, one of the most profound and immediate impacts of the virus has been the creation of abundant time in our days. Pre-virus, time was the resource we were always running short and now, in a blink, we’re all but drowning in it.

With that, like all unexpected gifts, we have a choice in our response. What is the role we are meant to play? What is the role we choose to play in the face of this new reality?

For so many heroic individuals, the choices are among fewer and much harder options than mine. The doctors, nurses, hospital staff, ambulance drivers, homeless shelter staff, correctional facility staff, community organizations, and so many, many others who are bravely doing their work in the teeth of this disaster simply do not have the luxury of wondering what to do with their unstructured time. These heroes among us have only the choices of how to keep themselves going, and what attitude and level of grace they can bring to each moment of their perilous days.

I especially love this example set by Dr. Elvis Francois at the Mayo Clinic... taking a page from the Italians on their balconies, and inspiring so many others to bring joy to the frontline of these terrible times. Please share your favorite example in the comments (we’ll see if they work). Whether it be the #518rainbows, the Colorado Symphony’s Ode to Joy on Zoom, #HamAtHome or one of so many so many other minor miracles. They each make an impact. #SpreadJoy

But for the Maven and me, our choices look much different. We are incredibly fortunate in more ways that I can count. We are safe. We are healthy. We live in a comfortable home in a quiet, peaceful, prosperous and caring town. We have no immediate responsibilities for lives other than our own and our two beloved cats. Our loved ones, thus far, are safe and healthy. And we have work to do – which we can do from home. While we fully understand that each of our respective professional roles have uncertain futures, in the world that awaits us after this crisis, for now our work gives our days purpose, structure and connection to others. Above all, we truly have the gift of time. We are here and we are able, together, in our happy home. Able to do what? That, my friends, is truly the million dollar question.

It is on our shoulders to determine what this gift is intended to teach us, and how to make the most of it. And I guess that’s what I’m going to write about over the coming days.

I’d be honored to have you follow along and share your own path into the forest that we are waking to this memorable Spring 2020.


Sharing A Few Ideas

With each post, I’m going to intend to share a few of the resources, words, ideas or other tools that I’m finding helpful… nothing new under the sun, but these are things that are keeping me going. And, as a new twist, I’m also going to try to “squeeze” a few nuggets from the Maven into this section. He’s doing an amazing job exploring the possibilities of this new era… and lucky for me, much of this exploration happens in the kitchen. Stay tuned!

Magpie Pick: Oprah + Chopra 21 Day Meditation Experiences – I love these! And I thank my Suzanne for introducing me to them years ago. Together Oprah and Deepak Chopra offers a series of these each year, the first offering is free (but you have to keep up) and then the recorded version is available for purchase (I’ve purchased two so far). In timely fashion, they launched a new one this past week “Hope in Uncertain Times”. In a word, perfect.

Maven’s Magic: The Maven’s Frozen Bagel Secret

  1. Start with a fresh bagel, individually wrapped in foil and frozen.
  2. Place in toaster over, still wrapped in foil, 15 min at 400 degrees.
  3. Open it, then lightly toast.
  4. Perfect!

Closing Quote: “Be the rainbow in someone’s cloud” – Maya Angelou