Mia and Abe were bent over squatting at the base of a tree. Mia said, “This is the smallest one I’ve found.”

They’ve moved on from snails to rollie-pollies. As Mia observed the tiny rollie-pollie in her hand, a breeze blew through the trees knocking little yellow flowers down from their cascading branches. “Mia, there are little flowers in your hair.” I told her.

She was too captivated by the rollie-pollie to notice. She watched as it crawled quickly all over her hand. “It’s so fast.” she said as she tried to keep it there.

I went inside to grab my journal and sat down to write on the steps outside our door. Mia came over with her plastic container, an indoor rollie-pollie garden with a new addition. Abe trailed behind her. We sat together on the steps, Abe perched up on the stair railing. “Mom, guess what I learned?” Mia said. “The babies are the fastest.”

Yes, they are. They grow fast, and they move fast, and my head is often spinning trying to keep track of all the new information of all three of them. Yesterday, I was shocked to discover that Abe no longer likes hummus! One of the few foods I could count on. The one I knew he loved. Before he could walk, he was devouring hummus like a hungry puppy dunking his head in the container to lick it all up. I have pictures and videos documenting his hummus love affair. And now it’s over, just like that. I feel offended on behalf of the hummus.

And, of course, it’s not just Abe who’s growing out of things and into new things. These days, my daughter, Alana never wants to come out of her room. And Mia is constantly taking over the kitchen and using the stove and oven without any supervision. All of a sudden, she knows what she’s doing in there. And both girls have spontaneously grown out of their clothes and shoes. I gave Alana a pair of my shoes two days ago because not one of her shoes fit. I know it doesn’t happen over night but sometimes it feels like it.

And I’m not complaining (okay, maybe a little) but I do love this season. It’s spring! The babies are growing along with the plants. That’s natures plan. And sometimes, maybe I feel a little left out. I no longer grow in a way that is physically measured. There are subtle changes like more gray hairs and wrinkles, and more candles on the birthday cake. I do have a new love for pineapple, but that might just be a spring/summer fling. Anyway, what I mean to say is my growth feels slower, almost unnoticeable. How I grow now-a-days is more of an emotional, mental, or spiritual growth. And I’m guilty of reverting to past ways of being like I’m trying to cling on to something from my youth. It’s hard to see or remember the growth that has occurred, even if I’ve written it down.

In short, I agree with Mia’s observation. The babies are the fastest. I try to watch them and notice all the changes, but sometimes it’s hard for this slow poke to keep up. That’s why I grab my journal, so I can write it all down.



Yesterday, I made a healthy version of blueberry oat bars with no sugar and smashed bananas. On the floor beside the oven, I sat and read from State of Wonder by Anne Patchett as the top layer of oat crumble browned. Breakfast cooled on top of the stove, and I grabbed a blanket to wrap myself in and met my husband outside. He had previously asked me if I wanted to sit outside with him. I said yes, but I was waiting on the oat bars.

I sat beside Mark on the yellow bench on our balcony-patio. Our balcony is raised just a little above ground level.  I asked Mark if he noticed all the white flowers around us.  There are so many little white flowers on our star jasmine plants. We have two, one on each side of the bench. They grow long vines that I like to manipulate. I twist and turn them and pull them through the bamboo screen and iron fence behind our bench. We bought the plants to help create privacy but they didn’t grow fast enough. So Mark bought a bamboo screen that rolled out like a carpet. Mark fastened the screen to the iron fence people passing by could easily peer in through. We aren’t supposed to fasten anything to the fence. I knew our HOA wouldn’t be pleased and shared my concern with Mark. So he cut off the plastic zip-ties and used hot glue instead. Now, it would appear as though the bamboo were just resting against it. The HOA is quiet for now but I’m pretty sure we’ll be getting a notice sometime in the future.

Anyway, there we sat with the star jasmine twirling behind our backs as we talked about private things. And afterwards, we went inside to eat warm blueberry oat bars that were more like a cobbler. I drizzled a little maple syrup over each serving and gave everyone a fork to eat them with. They were delicious, we all agreed. Well, aside from Abe, our 3-almost-4-year-old, wouldn’t take one bite. He’s in that picky-eater phase. It’s hard to get him to eat anything other than cheese puffs and popsicles. And of course, I blame myself. I’ve let the kids get away with eating too much junk food and sweets, watching too much television/YouTube (I’m guilty too), and playing video games for hours every day. And still, I have had very little privacy. It’s just a phase, I remind myself. It’s just a phase.



Well, here we are folks, three days away from a new year and I did not reach my Goodreads goal of 30 books (I read 26). Oh well, it’s not the number of books read that matters. What truly matters is the substance and how it still lingers in my blood. Here are some of the words still warming my insides and expanding my heart and mind:

“‘You were her way here, and it’s a dangerous thing to be a door.’ She tapped my chest, above my heart, with her forefinger.”

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

“Only those who can enjoy using their imaginations when working with limited resources know true freedom.”

A Monk’s Guide to a Clean House and Mind by Shoukei Matsumoto

“Everyone builds wealth. The only question is: For whom?”

The Latte Factor by David Bach

“[…] anytime I sense perfectionistic tendencies perking up to stop me […] Write this one down: Starting small and sucky beats staying stucky.”

Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo

“Maybe I could stop looking for someone to blame, let my flaws settle and meld with the rest of me, stop taking my name – and my self – so seriously.”

Advice Not Given: A Guide to Getting Over Yourself by Mark Epstein

“It may help to understand human affairs to be clear that most of the great triumphs and tragedies of history are caused, not by people being fundamentally good or fundamentally bad, but by people being fundamentally people.”

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman

“…and for a few moments, it was just the three of us […] – the three who knew what had happened and too many layers between all of us, too much keeping us from one another.”

Looking for Alaska by John Green

“I love my mother, so I say this with a double-size-serving of guilt: because her words came so easily and cost her nothing, they were never quite as precious as Dad’s.”

Like Water by Rebecca Podos

“‘I see someone who hasn’t decided on anything yet.’ What is the art I want to make? I only know I want to undo the dark, discover the secrets I’m keeping from myself.”

How to be Luminous by Harriet Reuter Hapgood

“To the calm mind, the universe kneels to play. From the agitated mind, the universe shies away.”

Livin’ The Moment by David Romanelli

I love books and the people who write them. I had a wonderful journey through 7,500+ pages. Each book I read inspired me in one way or another and I know I’ve grown from the nourishment of novels.

I look forward to the books I will discover in 2020. If you’d like to follow my reading journey, please visit: Ashley’s Goodreads Profile.

And please share some quotes or books you’ve read this year that inspired you in the comments below.

Until next time…