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Image by: Kristin Dunker
From the Editor ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
There's something about winter hibernation that sort of softens the senses…perhaps for the purpose of helping to facilitate the seasonal rest that we need. –  But now that I'm back to the wide-awake-ness of spring, I'm combing through sock drawers and tossing the loners, fixing squeaky cabinets, and scrubbing windowsills. Slowly working through the house and leaving sparks of joy to discover later in my wake!
Are there three small areas you might be able to easily spruce up and spark joy in this week?
–––––––––––––––––––––––– Forever an Anne-girl
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By: Kristin Dunker
Ahhhh…the iconic red cliffs of Prince Edward Island. Warm breezes bearing aloft the salty air of the maritime sea… Can you smell it?
The Anne books, by Lucy Maud Montgomery, have always been my favorite series in all of literature. Anne of Green Gables was the first long chapter book I ever read as a child. For well over a decade, I would slowly savor my way through all six of the originals on a constant loop. It was an escape to a place where the characters felt like old, familiar friends. 
As a young child, I could relate to Anne's tomboyishness, constant sense of wonder, and the imaginary lands she would create in her mind. As I got older, I would dream about whether it was possible to bring a sense of Victorian romance to a (seemingly prosaic) modern-day existence. Crafting a life full of intentional delights and slow “old-fashioned” days to help balance out the messy bits became my aim.
If you're unfamiliar with the series, the books follow Anne Shirley, an orphan, who is adopted by Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert: an elderly brother and sister who run their family farm together. Anne goes to live with them at Green Gables, the name of their home, in (fictional) Avonlea, Prince Edward Island. Readers get a front row seat for Anne's life and adventures through a full circle of joy and pain, frivolity and hard work, enchantment and reality. It's a world I love diving into again, and again, and again. 
I remember well the exact place and time where I first found out that Sullivan Entertainment had made a movie about the series. The kind lady at church who told me about it, had recorded it off of PBS and let me borrow her VHS tapes until the episodes were available for purchase! I will always think of her as a benefactress. Sidenote: if you love the Anne of Green Gables movies, chances are you'll also love the spin-off show that aired for seven seasons by the same production company called, “Road to Avonlea.”
My husband, bless him, is a fan as well. We have traveled to PEI together, and it is every bit as picturesque and idyllic as you might imagine! Our homes have been named from the LMM series: Windy Poplars (our house in the country), Ingleside (our B&B in town), and now Bonnieview (our cottage at the lake). Even our vintage camper paid homage to Anne's world with the name “Patty's Place”. All of our pet chickens have been christened after characters in the books (Marilla, Muriel, Ruby, Brooke, Pringle, Pippa, Tillie, Mrs. Rachel, Josephine, Rilla, Jane, and Gilbert). I just can't help it – surrounding myself with reminders of Avonlea brings with it such familiarity and joy!
It doesn't matter how old I grow…Anne-with-an-e will always be my soft place to land when it comes to cozy, comfort movies, audio books, and curl-up-by-the-fire page turners. A palate cleanser from the ills of the age in which we live. 
Do you have a book series that has been a constant companion in your life? I'd love to hear about it! If you've never read the Anne of Green Gables set, I would add it to your TBR list for the summer! The books will make you laugh, cry, long for a gentler time, and inspire you to search for daily “thrills” and "scope for the imagination" in whatever stage of life you happen to find yourself.
Picnicing –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
In my corner of the world, it's very nearly warm enough to start dining al fresco once again. A few sandwiches from the nearby deli, a thermos, a blanket, and a friend are really all you need to enjoy a wonderful golden afternoon! There is just something about the combination of fresh air, peaceful surroundings (picnicing by a brook is my favorite), delicious food, and good company that is positively magical. 
It's a simple pleasure that truly feeds both body and soul.
 ––––––—––––––––––––––––––– On Being Open
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Living in an information age, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the constant influx of scientific studies, breaking news, and even spiritual revelations that fill our bookshelves, radio waves, and in-boxes. No sooner have we decided what to eat or how to think about the universe than a new study or book comes out confounding our well-researched opinion. After a while, we may be tempted to dismiss or ignore new information in the interest of stabilizing our point of view, and this is understandable. Rather than closing down, we might try instead to remain open by allowing our intuition to guide us.
For example, contradictory studies concerning foods that are good for you and foods that are bad for you are plentiful. At a certain point, though, we can feel for ourselves whether coffee or tomatoes are good for us or not. The answer is different for each individual, and this is something that a scientific study can’t quite account for. All we can do is take in the information and process it through our own systems of understanding. In the end, only we can decide what information, ideas, and concepts we will integrate. Remaining open allows us to continually change and shift by checking in with ourselves as we learn new information. It keeps us flexible and alert, and while it can feel a bit like being thrown off balance all the time, this openness is essential to the process of growth and expansion.
Perhaps the key is realizing that we are not going to finally get to some stable place of having it all figured out. Throughout our lives we will go through the processes of opening to new information, integrating it, and stabilizing our worldview. No sooner will we have reached some kind of stability than it will be time to open again to new information, which is inherently destabilizing. If we see ourselves as surfers riding the incoming waves of information and inspiration, always open and willing to attune ourselves to the next shift, we will see how blessed we are to have this opportunity to play on the waves and, most of all, to enjoy the ride.

Reprinted from DailyOM – Inspirational thoughts for a happy, healthy, and fulfilling day.  Register for free at DailyOM.com.
Why Keep a Tidy Home? –––––––––––––––––––– 
Outer order contributes to inner calm.
-Gretchen Ruben
Image by: Fiona McKinna
–––––––—–––––––––––––––––– Maple Sugaring
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By: Becky Browning

As a recent transplant to New England, I have discovered that one of the most hygge experiences one can have is being a part of maple sugaring. Every February/March – just when a hint of spring is in the air with cold nights and days above freezing – Vermonters tap their maple trees. There are, of course, commercial operations, but the best is gathering with neighbors for the process of boiling the cool, sweet sap. From early morning until late afternoon, we sit outside sharing potluck meals and swapping stories while watching the sap slowly turn from clear to pale yellow to amber. There’s a reason maple syrup is called liquid gold but, to me, the real “gold” is the friendships that flourish during sugaring season.
Becky is a native Texan now residing in Vermont after a 12 year stop in Colorado. She’s at her happiest when she is hiking or rock climbing but she also loves to read, play the piano, act in community theater, and play with her rescue cat, Heidi.
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Image by: Kristin Dunker
Quote –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
“I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.”
– Anne Shirley, LMM
–––––––—–––––––––––––––––––– Comfort Food
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This month on social media I asked what some of your favorite cozy comfort snacks are.
Here is what you had to say:
Vanilla ice cream with sliced strawberries
Apple slices and peanut butter
Chocolate chip cookies
Cornbread covered in milk
Mashed potatoes
Nutella toast
Oreos and peanut butter
Crumbled graham crackers in milk
Hot cocoa with whipped cream and cinnamon
Popcorn seasoned with Old Bay
Curry fries
Oatmeal raisin cookies
Soft pretzels and melted cheese
Warm brownies with Bailey's over top
Plum Puffs

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Mrs. Rachel with chicks Ruby, Gilbert, and Rilla. | Image by: Kristin Dunker
Norwegian Spring ––––––––––––––––––––––––––
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Image and Essay By: Fiona McKinna

Spring in Norway is the most beautiful time of year, and the most longed for.  Just as we expect spring to gently unfurl, we get an unexpected snow fall that covers the new grass and freezes the buds that were starting to open.  And that harshness and unexpected cold is what makes Norwegians so good at enjoying early spring weather.  We need the cold to enjoy the warmth.  Every moment of each spring day is cherished and made the most of.  There is a fever to it like finding the first blåveis (wood anemone) and cooking on the first BBQ of the season.  It is infectious and fills everyone with a sunny joy.
People in the Nordics are very good at making the best of each season and embracing the special gifts that each has to offer, but I always feel that spring is when you see Norwegians at their best and really appreciate the way they can enjoy simple pleasures.  As the days get longer we start to see warmer weather.  And by warmer, I mean above zero Celsius!  The sunshine brings out a special Nordic phenomenon known as “solveggen” or the sun wall.  You will find Norwegians outside soaking up the sun usually in a line sitting down outside a café or on a bench facing the sunshine and really appreciating those gently warming rays. It’s a wonderful thing to try yourself.  Grab a coffee or a warm drink and find a sunny spot to sit (preferably with a wall behind you to reflect the sun’s rays) and enjoy 5 minutes facing the sun.  It does wonders for your mood!  It’s one of life’s simple pleasures, Nordic style!
Spring is also a time when the Norwegian love of the outdoors comes into its own.  Even people you thought were not that outdoorsy are looking for the first spring flowers, grilling hotdogs and bringing the outdoors in with some carefully cut twigs and branches that are just showing the first buds.
Spring in the Nordics is the perfect mix of slow welcoming of the new season, and gentle mindful appreciation of its unique gifts.

I am Fiona McKinna, the founder of Living a Nordic Life.  I live in beautiful southern Norway with my family and our countless animals, living a simple, cosy and more intentional life, the Nordic way.  Through my blog, Facebook group and Nordic Way membership I have helped thousands of people bring Nordic habits into their lives and learn to slow down and enjoy life's simple pleasures.

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Image by: Kristin Dunker
–––––––—–––––––––––––––––––––– Shop Small
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I have another Etsy shop to share with you this month – this one, a regular haunt of mine!
Do you remember the whole legging craze? I don't know exactly when it started, but all of a sudden, lots of pop-up MLM brands were offering super cute prints in buttery soft knits. I was all for the concept, but each one I tried had such a harsh, thin elastic waistband that would cut you nearly in two - rendering the touted concept of comfort null and void in my book.
UNTIL I found Stinkmuffin! Alyssa's leggings have the most comfortable waistband on the planet, and I have purchased SO many pairs from her over the years that I've been a customer. A fun perk is that she offers both adult and children's sizing in lots of her prints, so I've gotten multiple matching sets for my nieces and me which has now become a holiday tradition! A couple times a year, without fail, I'll order myself a fresh standard black pair that goes with everything, and then proceed to wear them as often as I can possibly get away with. ;-)
If you are in need of some amazingly comfortable leggings (and really, who isn't?), check out Alyssa's store, and use the code THANKYOU10 to receive 10% off your purchase! Please note that at present, she only ships to the US and Canada.
Hi! I founded Stinkmuffin in 2016, when my first baby was just a few months old. After becoming a mom, it didn't take long to realize that I needed to carve out a section of my life that belonged solely to me. Alone time is tough to come by as a new parent, and I'm the kind of person who needs some solitude in my life. Sewing has always been a creative outlet for me, so it felt like an obvious choice to start selling the things I make.

Today, I've got three little ones and still make most of what we all wear. The shop lends some balance to my days and gives me a way to express the creativity that can sometimes get shunted by the bustle of life with littles and an active-duty military husband. I'm grateful every single day for my wonderful customers (I'm convinced I've got the best ones out there) and the opportunity to continue making things.

I hope you've enjoyed another issue of The Zephyr!
Two things that bring life to my days are: hearing from readers and sharing the creative work of others. Did you have a book series come to mind that you could read again, and again, and again? Maybe a memory of a special picnic brought a smile to your face? Do you know a small business that might make a great feature? Or have some beautiful spring/summer images to share? Send all of the above and more to: kjdunker@icloud.com for possible inclusion in future issues.
See you again next month, kindred spirits.

Be well,
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All images not attributed are from public domain stock.