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The Art of Making Magic

December 31, 2015

The lights. The glad tidings. The company of friends and family. It all seems so magical and yet slightly discouraging once the holidays come to a close. But magic doesn’t have to be tied to a special event or holiday. It can be had each and every day of the year with a simple recipe.

Recipe for Magic: one part planning, one part spontaneity, and an over abundance of love, to taste.

Seems easy enough! Now which grocery aisle can I find those ingredients? Ha! Unfortunately, too often than not, we associate having a magical life as something that’s a facade, or even more, something that’s obtainable for some, but certainly doesn’t apply to all. That simply, just isn’t the case. The art of making magic doesn’t come from money, or having this or that, or constrained to being in a certain stage of life. It’s welcome to all, available in the tiniest of forms, and is ripe for the picking at everyones fingertips! All it takes is some effort, training, and good intent. The art of making magic is to live deliberately.

It’s about making everyday occurrences beautiful by asking yourself, “How can this ordinary event become extraordinary? How can it be made more beautiful?” And by beautiful, I don’t mean only in physical appearance; but also in the tenderness of the moment.

Take breakfast, for example. Which for purpose’s sake, happens to be a plain bowl of hearty oatmeal. Top it with chopped nuts, sliced granny apples, a drizzle of maple syrup (okay and a dash of cinnamon, or two) takes that hearty bowl of oatmeal from filling to beautifully satisfying to the senses. But it doesn’t stop there. Instead of shoveling it down while you simultaneously put on your makeup, just stop. Pause. Sit down at the table, rotate your chair to face the window, and observe nature’s beauty: listen for the birds’ good-morning songs, see what colors are painting the sky, breathe in a breath of gratitude for being present in that moment. Now you’re taking a bowl of satisfying oatmeal and transforming it into a gratifying experience. See? Old fashioned rolled oats can, and are, completely magical!

Making dinner together; but not just making it… try eating it picnic style (for a change of pace) or even better yet, bringing it to the rooftop or outdoors to watch the sunset. Mail a card to a missed friend, but don’t just write… reminisce about why you’re missing them and put down in words what your heart is truly feeling. Returning to your car in the parking lot; but not just walking… holding hands with your little one while you skip and count how long it takes to get there! Watching the rain fall; but not just merely taking note of it… rather listening intently to the pings on the window pane and the rainbows trapped inside each droplet. Admiring a stranger’s jewelry; but not keeping it to yourself… complimenting her on her sterling bangles that bring back memories of a departed loved one. It’s simple. Conscious. Honest. And magical none the less.

The art of making magic takes time. And a concerted effort to train yourself to view life in a new way. It’s taken me years; but I can promise that with continued effort, it becomes a 6th sense, almost second nature and with it comes a very rewarding and grateful perspective on life.

One thing that helps expedite the learning curve, is to plan — to dive into the sensory experience of both routine and random moments in your day. As a couple, we make a conscious effort to talk nightly about our daily plans. Our children also take part in planning so that all are involved in how life is lived. It’s as simple as jotting down what needs to get done coupled with what magic you want to make together, like: serving friends and neighbors, meals for the week, looking at the stars at night with a cup of hot cocoa, a country drive listening to a new playlist, a dance party in pj’s… It’s pulling all levels of creativity together and then putting it down on paper, assigned to a specific day so that everyone ensures it happens!

The second fundamental for making magic comes from spontaneity — when you stumble upon an opportunity, or when putting into action the little special ideas that come to mind, on the spot! Think on the fly. Act on the fly. You’ll be amazed at the moments that follow, glittering with magic. Case and point, the little toy trains. We were finished with dinner, had time to sit and play, and the boys chose trains. We could have played with the wooden track and a few cars and been completely happy. But thinking in a magical kind of way: “How can we make this experience more beautiful…” brought about the suggestion to add some Christmas lights (that were lying on the floor waiting to be put back in a storage bin).

And then this magical (for lack of a better word) thing happens! When you act upon a beautiful idea more beautiful ideas follow, thereafter. Like, what about that shiny tinsel that never found a home? Let’s add that! We can borrow some pinecones from the table centerpiece to create a forest! And yes, yes, yes… someone go get the Christmas village pieces!! Oh, YOU GUYS! How about CANDY?!!! Marshmallows? Chocolate chips? Candy canes!!! Voila! A simple train turned into a spontaneous and utterly magical, Candyland Express. We played for hours. Smiled until our mouths hurt. And ate the collected candy until our bellies ached. But it was magic. Pure, unforgettable magic.

The finishing stroke of artful magic comes from its ultimate sense of wonder — love. Without it, a moment is just a moment. With it, it’s a magical lasting memory. Be present. Focus on each other. You’ll soon find yourself listening and hearing intently, watching emotions with sincerity, and appreciating the ones you’re already consciously grateful for with a greater intensity.

So here’s to 2016 — you’re ours for the making!

24 Comments

  • Reply Michelle January 1, 2016 at 1:28 am

    Beautiful! Thank you for this amazing post. Happy New Year!

  • Reply Mary January 1, 2016 at 5:00 am

    So beautifully written. I especially love the part about taking the time to reach out and connect with others. We were recently on a plane and a sweet family sitting in front of us had two pre teen children w them and they said “please” and “thank you” and offered snacks to our son. When we were getting off the plane I told the Mom how wonderful and nice their children were and she said “thank you so much…I feel people only take the time to complain but never compliment, so that means so much.”

  • Reply Kate McClay January 1, 2016 at 5:13 am

    This may be my favorite post you’ve ever written. I’ve always sensed the magic in your photos, words, and glimpses into your life. So many things seemed staged and fake on social media and other’s blogs, but yours always seemed so genuine and real. Now I know why. I love how you explained it as being intentional and deliberate. This is beautiful and will inspire me for sure! Thank you!

  • Reply Johanna January 1, 2016 at 11:08 am

    Truly magical! Happy New Year to you and your adorable family, I wish nothing but health, happiness and continued blessings for you all. Thank you for all the inspiration you share and I really do look forward to reading your blog in 2016.?

  • Reply Tara January 1, 2016 at 11:32 am

    Wow, just wow! You are a beautiful person inside and out. Thank you so much for sharing this with us, what an amazing way to live.

  • Reply Caroline January 1, 2016 at 11:56 am

    This song is perfection with this sweet video!!! Who sings this version??

  • Reply Kate January 1, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    I’m truly inspired. Thank you! Happy Magical New Year from you friend Kate at housemixblog.com 🙂 P.S. I have two boys and a little girl too. And I think they’re almost exactly the same ages as yours!

  • Reply Julia January 1, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    Love this, thanks for inspiring! Can you tell what artists is singing this version of the song in this video? I searched iTunes and could only find Glen Miller…I like this version!

    • Reply Julia January 1, 2016 at 4:01 pm

      Never mind I found it…Jessica Lea Mayfield. Love it!

  • Reply Holly January 1, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    This rings true to my heart and to anyone anywhere at any age. I love your honesty.

  • Reply Sara January 1, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    Write a book! Write a book! I need more of this in my life!

  • Reply Renee January 1, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    Why do we look at others with judgement and comparison? We think they’re life is better than ours. You nailed all of it in such a beautiful way, like you always do. We don’t have to look at others and be gloomy about our life. We should focus on our own family and our own lives and stop wishing and waiting for happiness to somehow find us. I don’t know why I’ve never been able to see this before. Thank you for opening my eyes! I’m so encouraged for this new year!

  • Reply Alaina January 1, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    Beautifully said and stunning video. I’m hoping to internalize this message and add more magical moments this year ❤️

  • Reply darla January 2, 2016 at 8:19 pm

    i’d decided that in 2016 my intention would be to focus more presently and completely on my little family and seeing your post today gave me more validation on the thoughts stirring in my heart. thank you for the beautiful and tangible reminder – something to return to as i focus this upcoming year. my 3 littles are about the same ages and genders as yours and it has been fun following along the journey 🙂 all the best in 2016 to you!

  • Reply Veronique Roy January 3, 2016 at 12:34 am

    So beautifully said! Thanks for inspiring me to become a better version of myself, a better mom, a better wife and a better friend!

  • Reply JOI January 3, 2016 at 2:36 am

    You always capture such sweet moments
    xo
    http://thejoifullife.com/

  • Reply Debbie Sowards January 3, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    Love the video. I have been looking and looking for something special close to Christmas. I don’t know how I missed it! I love this. Right there with last year’s Christmas video that is probably the most precious ever.

  • Reply Jan January 4, 2016 at 12:11 am

    I am a 60 year old woman and I only wish I had your insight when I was young with 2 small children. You are very wise and I love reading your blog and seeing pictures of you and your beautiful family! This was the best post of yours that I have ever read. My youngest daughter follows you and has a one month old baby girl and I know she will enjoy this as well.

  • Reply Jenedy January 4, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    This video made me cry……

  • Reply Amie January 4, 2016 at 10:06 pm

    Happy magical new year to you! Lovely post.

  • Reply Marisa January 5, 2016 at 4:14 am

    This is just beautiful. Thank you for sharing and inspiring. So needed to read this!

  • Reply Meagan January 5, 2016 at 8:50 pm

    My very favorite post!!! Thank you for sharing this! It has inspired my resolutions and what I want my life to feel like. I hope I can make this kind of magical living second nature as well. What a beautiful way to live! Again thank you. I feel like you could be charging money to give the beautiful advice you offer so generously!

  • Reply Kelly February 26, 2016 at 10:13 am

    This post might be a better description of you and this blog than your about! I hope to emulate this consistent choice. Just beautiful and what insight.

  • Reply Ashley A Olsen December 1, 2016 at 10:45 pm

    Do you know who sings the song that this video is playing to? I love her voice!

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