Imagine a lush garden in your backyard teeming with growth and abundance — full of life. You grow your own fresh ear of corn you can pick right off the stalk, your children can climb up your apple trees and pick juicy, sweet apples right off the tree, and you can pull crisp cucumbers and squash right off the vine for your supper.
There is something about growing my own food and working in the garden, getting my hands deep into the earth — that makes my spirit come alive. My soul awakens when I grow the very food that will nourish me and my family.
If you’ve ever swam, stood by, lived by, or even flown over an ocean once, you know that deep waters hold a certain divinity. There’s nothing quite like diving into cool ocean water in the early days of June. There’s nothing more lovely than immersing yourself in an underwater aquamarine world teeming with yellow, blue, green, and orange fish whose silences are only punctuated by soundless bubbles and the hush of waves washing in above the surface. And after hours or even minutes swimming through the salt water, you feel more clean, sane, and free than you did on land.
That’s why there’s nothing quite like swimming in open water.
I can clearly remember the day I recited a Maya Angelou poem in front of my church. I was a young girl, and had been assigned to read “Still I Rise” as a part of a summer camp program. I had always been a shy child who feared any unwanted attention. Having to stand up, front and center, before a large group of people was something I feared. Here I was, having to live one of my worst nightmares.
I stood on stage, my legs wobbling beneath me uncontrollably. As I started the first line, my voice wavered. I’ll rise. I couldn’t believe I was doing it; speaking in front of a group of people. I focused on a spot on the back wall as the words flowed from my memory. I’ll rise. For a brief second I looked away from the spot, and discovered many faces smiling back at me encouragingly. I’ll rise. I pushed through the poem, my voice getting stronger and more confident line by line. Even though at that time I didn’t understand every part of poem, I could feel the power of the words pulsing through me. I rise, I rise, I rise.
It’s no secret that I’m a huge bookworm. From the moment my mom taught me to read “Hop on Pop” by Dr. Seuss, I’ve been devouring book after book. My bookshelves are overflowing and I know the employees at the local library by name. Classics, mysteries, young adult … I read it all.
It may sound cliché, but I like my summer reads to be light and fluffy. I want to read books that will make me smile and feel good as I enjoy them poolside or outdoors under the stars. The problem is, there are a lot of those types of reads out there and a lot of them aren’t very good. So, to save you some trouble, I thought I’d share my favorite summer reads.
“There’s beauty in ordinary life, pages full of stories that turn ordinary into magical moments… Bits of magic everywhere you look from page to page. When reading Bella Grace you know there are still women who live authentically… and take the time to stop and pause to wonder and dream.”
— Lisa RedWillow
If you believe that there is beauty and magic to be found everywhere in life and want to see your name in print in the pages of Bella Grace, we want you to share your stories with us! If you are a writer, blogger, photographer, or listicle extraordinaire, submit your work for publishing consideration for our Winter Issue, now accepting submissions through July 15th, 2016.