Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Summer of 2016 Library Tour: Grover Beach

Summertime: a season for getting out and doing things! In summers past, I have filled mine and my son's days up with activities, play dates, and outings. Looking back on them, though, nothing really stands out as memorable. 

This year, I decided to give our summer a theme. We are currently saving money to buy a house, so I had to keep our theme on a budget. I played around with a few ideas, but couldn't settle on one that would be inexpensive and meaningful, until I thought of one of our favorite places to go: the library! 

After a quick search, I discovered there are fifteen libraries in our county alone. That amounts to one or two library trips each week; plenty to keep us busy and entertained. Plus, libraries are free!! 

Today's blog post features our first stop: the Grover Beach Community Library.

It's an independently run, volunteer-based community library. What it lacks in space, it more than makes up for with personality, starting with its vibrantly blue front door:

When you step inside, it feels like childhood! I was immediately transported back to my youth, when my mom and grandma used to take us to our local library.

This library is sectioned off with different rooms: one for adult literature, one for adult non-fiction, one for Teen Readers, and a quaint little room for the wee ones:

My son did not have any trouble finding books he wanted to check out! 

And, for his little cousin, she found a comfy chair in a quiet corner to sit and ponder life's mysteries:

The library also offers Toddler story time once a week, "Read with Rover" sessions, as well as a Summer Reading Program. And, those are just the youth offerings!

Close to home and ties to the community, this was the perfect place to start our Summer of 2016 Library Tour!

Keep an eye out for our next stop...

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Chasing Crickets: A New Year's Reflection

With the New Year upon us, I wrapped myself up in a blanket of nostalgia after my son fell asleep. Earlier in the month of December, I came upon an old basket of hand-written letters and cards, some dating back to my undergrad days at Cal Poly:

As eager as I was to meander through these memories, I saved them until New Year's Eve when, with a glass of red wine and a chunk of dark chocolate, I could revisit these memories as 2015 came to an end.

Over the course of two hours, I laughed and cried and remembered. What a gift to have saved all these hand-written expressions of affection from people who have left an indelible mark on me, even those I didn't realize had.

One letter, in particular, touched me. It was from someone named Chris, though his last name escapes me. It took some dusting of cobwebs to remember exactly who this Chris was, but once I cleared out that little corner of my mind, I could see him clearly, always smiling! Chris was my neighbor when I lived in Morro Bay while attending Cal Poly, so the letter had to have been written sometime in the nineties.

What struck me about his letter was the relevance it has on my life today. He shared an experience he had with a cricket. Here is a snippet of that story:
"I was in the kitchen and I heard the cricket again, just as close as the last time; and, like the last time, when I turned to pinpoint its location, I found that its noise shifted with my movement. I finally got the idea and checked my shoulders before I started doing circles again. WHAT DO YOU KNOW?! The cricket had been on my back the whole time! Pretty cool, huh? Just like a lot of things we search for. The answer/solution/goal is often right there, biting us on the nose (or back!), and we spin around in circles following a call or a wild goose chase. I hope you find those things that you search for this week and the following weeks to come."
I was in my twenties when this story came to me and, as I reflect on its significance almost twenty years later, I can see how I spent most of my adult life spinning around in circles chasing those elusive crickets. Time and time again, I sought external affirmation and worth but, as with Chris' cricket, it had been with me the whole time. I didn't really see it until I became a mother. Once I birthed my son, I realized how could I bring something so precious and valuable into this world and not be worthy!?!

Reading the rest of my letters and cards, I realized that I had surrounded myself with very insightful, spiritual people during my college years, but I wasn't ready to learn from their wisdom. I had to find my own wisdom through experience. Now, though, I can appreciate the lessons these people taught me and only hope I can plant similar seeds of insight in those I encounter.

As 2016 unfolds, I hope to always remember the cricket I am chasing is inside of me. I wish I could remember Chris' last name so I can try to find him and thank him for this insight almost two decades later...