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.
We often associate romance with relationships and it is so easily forgotten that there are many romances to experience in this beautiful, chaotic life. The romance between you and something you love. Reading, traveling, taking in a sunset or sunrise, writing, painting. And the romance you have with yourself. Taking time to pamper your body, spirit and mind.
For me one of my fondest romances is being in the kitchen creating all kinds of delicious concoctions. My eyes come alive when I see stunning produce at the farmers market, my spirit finds a quiet joy in planting and harvesting plants I have grown with my two small hands. I have always found honesty and trust within the kitchen. Not just with the food, but the way people let down their guards while sharing a meal. The walls come down, every sense is entranced with the delicacies laid before them and all of a sudden stories start to flow, laughter dances in the air, and pure enjoyment fills the room. There is nothing quite as beautiful as watching humans share, and emit pleasure and appreciation.
Tea, you and I go way back.
I first heard about you when I was about three or four years old. I was outside under a lacy green maple tree sipping pink lemonade out of pastel rose tea cups enjoying tiny sandwiches, cucumbers and strawberries. Mom had suggested we have a picnic tea party for lunch. I invited my dolls, stuffed teddy bears and my beagle, Roxie joined us.
At ten years old, tea became a weekly reward after I did chores at my grandparents’ home. My grandmother would decorate the table with fine linens, a bowl of sugar cubes, a pitcher of cream, and a hodgepodge of floral tea cups and plates colored the table resembling an indoor garden. I learned proper manners and enjoyed your company from a bone china cup.