Readers of this blog are probably tired of reading about it, but I absolutely loved the trip to Costa Rica my hubby and I took in March. The wildlife was plentiful and spectacular, the beach was gorgeous, the scenery was amazing, and the company was outstanding. The picture above was the little nook by the pool at our hotel where we ate breakfast and leisurely sipped our bold, rich Costa Rican coffee most mornings.
Probably my two favorite parts of the trip were the Costa Rican people (Ticos) I met and the absolutely delicious food.
I especially enjoyed talking with the guides on several of the tours. One guide explained to us that the poor in Costa Rica are given their own houses for free in an effort to eradicate poverty. The family must live in the house for 20 years, then they own it free and clear.
Not only is this a good idea economically (it must be cheaper to give a poor family a small, no-frills house than subsidizing rent indefinitely as we do in the U.S.), it gives struggling families the opportunity for homeownership and the resultant source of pride. Plus, homeowners will spend money on home improvements that renters would not do, putting more money into the local economy. It’s a win-win for a developing country such as Costa Rica.
Bill and I keep a list of our favorite restaurants we have visited over the years (more on that in a future post). We just added one more to that list – The Dragonfly in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. Not only do I love the name (I’m a big fan of dragonflies), the beautiful open-air setting, friendly bartenders, and exquisitely prepared food – I got mahi-mahi over rice and vegetables in a coconut milk sauce – added up to an amazing dining experience.
“And we pray, not for new earth or heaven, but to be quiet in heart, and in eye clear. What we need is here.“- Wendell Berry
This quote by one of my favorite authors reminds me of my return to outdoor running after recovering from a hamstring injury. I can burn the same amount of calories and run the same speed and distance on a treadmill as outdoors, but the unquantifiable benefits of running outside make it my favorite pastime.
Running on a quiet bike path or forest trail helps me to clear my mind, quiet the chatter, and calm the jitters. It’s not just like taking one deep breath, it’s as though you are taking thousands of deep breaths, one after the other. Everything I need for stillness and calm can be found there, through movement.
A TED talk I heard on NPR in February about a man who tried something new each month inspired me to try something similar. He did the new activity every day for 30 days, then assessed whether it was a habit he would like to pursue.
For my first month’s “new thing” I tried adult coloring. Being a cheapskate, I didn’t want to invest money before determining whether I enjoyed coloring. I found plenty of free downloadable patterns to try and appropriated my grandsons’ markers. The picture above was my first attempt.
The verdict: I like it. I don’t love it, but it’s something I may keep doing. It was relaxing and satisfying, with one caveat. I think I would like it better if I drew the pattern myself. That may be the “new thing” for another month. Making my own patterns would make the whole endeavor seem more creative and give me more ownership of the product. Here is a photo of the page I am working on now:
I read “The Overstory” by Richard Powers for my book club last month. I purchased it late, with less than a week to go before our meeting and did not get a chance to read much of the 500-page book before our discussion.
When my friend, who recommended the book, asked me if I liked it, I told her I did. After reading the entire book, I realize I was not nearly effusive enough in praise for this book. I loved everything about it. I loved the plot, the character development, the descriptions, and the way the structure of the story was modeled on the structure of a tree (you must read the book to understand what I mean by this).
Yes, this is a book about the vital role trees play in our lives and our ecosystems. Powers gets his message across in a non-preachy kind of way. In fact, he gave one of the best pieces of writing advice I have ever read: “The best arguments in the world won’t change a person’s mind. The only thing that can do that is a good story.”
So, facts don’t convince individuals to change their minds, statistics don’t convince people, only a well-told story can convince them. Before you can change a person’s mind you must first connect with them, get their attention; a compelling story is the way to do that. If more social media posters would buy into that one line, the world would be a much more polite and happier place.
I cannot give this book a higher recommendation. It is one of my favorite fiction books ever.
I am linking up with Heather Gerwing for her “Four Somethings”. Thanks, Heather, for giving the opportunity to think and write about four such compelling topics.
Also linking with Jessica and Amy at Live Life Well, Raisie Bay for Word of the Week, Crystal Twaddell for Fresh Market Friday, Fairytales and Fitness for Friday 5, Spiritual Sundays for Welcome, Susan B Mead for Dancing With Jesus, Embracing the Unexpected for Grace and Truth, Counting My Blessings for Faith ‘n Friends, Lyli Dunbar for Faith on Fire, and Morgan’s Milieu for Post, Comment, Love.