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Image by: Kristin Dunker
From the Editor ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
Welcome to The Zephyr.
 This second-Thursday-of-the-month publication is meant to be a gentle, feel-good read with an emphasis on all things slow living/ hygge.
I look forward to sharing people, images, and works from around the world to inspire and bring a little breath of fresh air (the definition of a zephyr) to your inbox each month.
–––––––––––––––––––––– Fridaying in the Winter
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By: Kristin Dunker
I've been “Fridaying” for a while now. If you're new to the party, here's the definition: 
The act of readying oneself and one's home for the weekend.
I initially wrote about my end-of-week routine almost a year ago (which you can read here). Recently, I realized that there have been a few additions and adjustments I've made along the way which I thought I'd share.
Since our typical alfresco dining has been moved indoors, I've been setting up a little table for us to take our traditional Friday pizza and salad in the living room while we enjoy a movie. Sometimes I'll even pull out the hide-a-bed if I'm feeling extra. Right before we sit down to eat, I toss a couple of throw blankets into the dryer to warm for the most luxurious treat ever!
Another change is something I recently talked about in my personal Instagram stories: moving my grocery pick up time to early Friday mornings. I love the feeling of having a full fridge and all my food planning for the coming week complete going into the weekend.
I also try to plan one fun little outing for the weekend. We live in a seasonal town, and many places are only open Thursday-Sunday this time of year. So, if we don't plan ahead to get out and explore, we've missed our chance for the week!
Lastly, both my husband and I are creatives and find a lot of refreshment in something that speaks to the artistic part of our brain. Whether it's cathartic diamond painting, a nature photography hunt with the big gun cameras, listening to a podcast while working on a puzzle, or live streaming a concert, I like to fit one of these enriching activities into our weekend too. Having it decided ahead of time is what makes them actually happen!
I hope these little ideas might spark your own inspiration to create a plan that will help you land in your weekend space ready to intentionally rest, recharge and connect with those you love - not feel like you have to spend your days off catching up on allthethings.
Cheers to Fridaying!
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Image by: Kristin Dunker
Traffic Jam ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– 
Elaine Beaumont was visiting Lower Slaughter (a small village in the Cotswolds, UK, population 236) when she happened upon a rather wooly roadblock. “I had to get out…and herd the sheep around the car [so I could proceed]," said Elaine, "I really could have used a Border Collie!” Ha!
 ––––––—–––––––––––––––––––––– Book Report
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Review By: Rowena Carenen
The Book of Delights by Ross Gay
I’ve never been much of an essay reader. I generally prefer long fiction and poetry. Even short story collections often got permanently left on my to-be-read pile. But one afternoon I wandered into my favorite independent bookstore and saw Ross Gay’s The Book of Delights. The cover, simple white with a faded nondescript leafed branch with a single magenta sprout, caught my eye. The blurb on the front from former US Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, sold me, “Ross Gay’s eye lands upon wonder at every turn, bolstering my belief in the countless small miracles that surround us.” I picked it up and fell in love as soon as I read the prologue. Gay writes about deciding to take a moment every day to write an essay about something that had delighted him and this just called to my core as I’ve had a decade-long practice of writing down at least one thing a day I’m grateful for. Even after my delight (forgive me, I couldn’t help myself), the book sat on my bedside table for a month or two.
In January of 2020 I decided I needed to revamp my nighttime routine. I was plagued with insomnia and often had terrible stress dreams the few times I did sleep. There was near-constant drama from my neighbors across the street and I had recently adopted a rescue pup who felt the deep calling to protect me from all loud noises. So, I bought an eye mask, fancy sheets, a weighted blanket, a new nighttime tea, and essential oils for my diffuser. And I picked up The Book of Delights. I decided that I would read one essay a night and that it would be the last thing I did each night before turning off the light.
The reading of only one essay turned out to be much harder than I thought. I assumed the lack of plot would make closing the cover easier, but I was wrong. I discovered that there was a plot, and the plot was “pay attention and breathe it all in.” Gay tells of finding weeds growing in the concrete, the adventure of taking a new path, the familiarity and horror of racism, the uniqueness of the laugh of people we love, the comfort of having our hands wrist deep in the dirt, and an in-depth observation of a praying mantis on an empty pint glass. Somehow in the observations of a man I’ll never meet, I found parts of myself that had long been dormant.

Rowe Carenen’s poems are in a variety of lit magazines and anthologies, including Terrible Orange Review and Running with Water. Her two collections are: In the Meantime (Neverland Publishing, 2014) and First Drafts from the Brewery (Unsolicited Press, 2022). Rowe has a BA from Salem College in English/Religious Studies and a MA from the University of Southern Mississippi in Creative Writing. She lives in Greenville, SC, with her dog Neville Jameson and her cat Minerva Jane.
Seasonal Inspiration –––––––––––––––––––––––– 
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–––––––—––––––––––––––– The Same Old Faces
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By: Seth Lewis
My wife and I are planning to make some improvements to our garden this year, and one of the things we’d like to do is plant a new miniature apple tree. We like planting trees. It’s fun to anticipate what a newly planted tree will become in the years ahead. But there’s the rub: “years ahead.” Because if you want to eat the fruit from a tree, you need to give it time. A lot of time. You need to let it grow, put down roots, and become part of the ordinary, everyday scenery. It’s only after you look out of the window for years at the same old tree that you start to be able to reap the full harvest of fruit and shade and beauty and all that a tree can be in its maturity. By that time, the tree is nothing like new. The initial excitement of planting eventually gives way to a more settled appreciation and enjoyment of the tree as a part of everyday life.
Isn’t this true of friendships, as well? A new friendship is a wonderful beginning, fresh and exciting and full of potential, like the planting of a new tree. Don’t we all naturally long for relationship? To know and be truly known? To love and be truly loved, in spite of being truly known? Of course we do. But often we can get frustrated because our fresh new friendships aren’t giving us the depth we long for. How could they? A sapling can’t bear much fruit or give much shade. Don’t blame the sapling. It needs time. There’s nothing wrong with fresh new friendships, but we have to recognize that the sweetest and most satisfying fruits of relationships (of any kind) can only come with time. There’s no substitute. Growing deep roots into each other’s hearts and lives can’t happen overnight.
If you really want deep community, you’ve got to stick around for it. You’ve got to keep leaning in after the excitement of the new has worn off, after the freshness of novelty is gone. You’ve got to keep seeing the same old people you saw yesterday, and last week, and you’ve got to keep enjoying them, and forgiving them, and choosing to love them no matter what. You’ve got to let your friendships grow and put down roots, like the trees in the garden. With time, and only with time, those same old people can become the deep community you long for. But it won’t happen until you’ve been around them long enough to be the same old you, with the same old them, for lots and lots of same old days. Eventually, you might just look around and see that those same old faces have become a rich community of your best old friends.

Seth Lewis is at elder in Midleton Baptist Church on the south coast of Ireland. He and his wife Jessica have three children, a turtle, and a small garden. Seth writes weekly at sethlewis.ie and is the author of Dream Small: The Secret Power of the Ordinary Christian Life.
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“Be a curator of your life. Slowly cut things out until you’re left only with what you love, with what’s necessary, with what makes you happy.”
– Leo Babauta
–––––––—–––––––––––––––––––– Comfort Food
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Remember jumping off the school bus and running in the house to microwave yourself one of those cellophane-wrapped flaky pastries? Well now you’re old and need a little something extra to take the gooey cheese and ham filling to the next level. How about caramelized onions, dijon mustard, and freshly shredded cheddar and gruyere cheese?

Homemade Ham and Cheese Pockets
  • 2 - 17.3 oz boxes puff pastry sheets
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1.5 lbs smoked ham, sliced
  • 16 oz yellow sharp cheddar, grated
  • 6 oz gruyere cheese, grated
  • Dijon mustard, to taste
  • 2 eggs, whisked for brushing
  • Fresh thyme, to taste
Thaw pastry at room temperature for 30 mins.
Sauté onions. Cool to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 400º.
Cut each pastry sheet in half. Build hot pocket by laying 1 piece of pastry flat, then on one half of the pastry layer cheddar, gruyere, thyme, ham, onion, mustard, gruyere, cheddar. Fold pastry over top of filling, then pinch together open ends of pastry to form hot pocket. Repeat until all pastry pieces have been formed into pockets. Poke top of each pocket with fork to allow steam to escape. Brush top of each pocket with egg wash.
Bake hot pockets for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately.

If we had to describe our marriage in a single meme, it'd be that one where the puppy looks shamefully at the camera and says I'm sorry for what I said when I was hungry.
We met over a decade ago when we both worked at a Ruby Tuesday. And though we're a long way out of the restaurant industry now, it was then that our fate was sealed to forever mix food and the intense emotions that come with preparing it.
Because cooking for someone else is an intimate thing.
And as it turns out—cooking with somebody else is an even more intimate thing.
When it's all said and done you sit down next to each other, finally off your feet, finally getting a chance to take the moment in together, you are hangry. But after that first bite—yes, honey—it's nothing but love.

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Image by: Kristin Dunker
On Photographs –––––––––––––––––––––––––––
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 The other day, this thought occurred to me loudly: 
“I want a record of this love. I want someone to see it long after we're gone." 
As a photographer (and human), the concept of legacy is so important to me. I believe in preserving moments and passing down a tangible, emotive record of what we experienced during our time here. This is what lights my fire as I journal, share, and document, both for myself and for my clients. 
I know there will always be people, like me, who are curious about the past and look to it for glimpses of meaning and bits of ourselves.

Jenni Greer lives in Austin, TX with her husband, daughter, niece, and four Aussies, capturing legacies for her clients in a soft, artistic style.
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Image by: Kristin Dunker
–––––––—–––––––––––––––––––––– Shop Small
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Have you ever found yourself struggling with what to put on your walls? It's often the last piece of the puzzle that draws a room together when moving into a home or redesigning, isn't it? 
Do you see stunning collections or gallery walls that are unique yet cohesive and wonder how people manage to pull them together with seeming ease?
Well, Maris Home has taken all the guesswork out of that process for you with their curated collections of classic beautiful art that they sell as digital downloads and prints. I particularly love that they offer Frame TV art (a new addition to our own home and an awfully fun surface to “style”).
Anna and Gabe Liesemeyer are the proprietors of this sweet little shop and the authors/designers behind their blog In Honor of Design. If you like relatable-yet-elevated style, you'll enjoy following along on their continuing Nashville home renovation journey.
Good Friends –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
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Notes on being a good friend:
Listen well.
Give time.
Involve the heart when asked for advice.
Laugh with those who laugh.
Weep with those who weep.
Show gratitude for every little moment you have to make someone else feel seen.

Morgan Harper Nichols is an autistic artist and poet from Atlanta, GA whose work is inspired by real-life interactions and stories. Used by permission.

Thank you for joining me for this first issue of The Zephyr. I hope it made you smile. While I have quite a few ideas of my own for future editions, I'd love to hear from you! What are some things you'd like to read about? What feature did you most enjoy, and think should be a staple around here? Who would make a great contributor (hint: maybe it's you)? Just hit "reply" to this e-mail to drop a line my way and share your thoughts. You can also interact with me and the rest of the Zephyr community in between issues by following along on Instagram.
Do you have any friends you think might enjoy this new little publication? I'd be ever so grateful if you would forward it along. ♥
Can't wait to see you again next month!

Be well,
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