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[Guest submission from Carson Leith]

My eyes open.

It’s morning and I’m warm in my bed. I hear rain outside, falling free, pattering softly on the window—rain I did not expect when I fell asleep the night before.

I slide out of bed and get a sweatshirt on to watch the rain for a few minutes, seeing our neighbor wearing poncho and walking his dog and a woman going on her run. The morning is blue and foggy.

I smile slowly and decide: “I’m going to seize the day today.”

[Guest submission from Kelsey Page]

After lazing around all morning, the decision to go on a bike ride is practically obvious. Grabbing the key, I unlock the bike, pump up the tires, and I’m off, riding through the gridline streets.

Left here, right there, right again.

My roommate had asked me where I was going, but I didn’t know. I’ll go wherever my bike takes me.

The heat of the day has already set in. The sun is beating down on me, but the wind whipping my face and hair distract me. As I relax on my bicycle, cruising the streets, I have no other cares.

The neighborhoods start to blend together, but it doesn’t matter. I am enjoying every moment. As I return to where I started, I see the same people I saw when I left – their worlds appear unchanged. But in mine, I am more alive. All because of a bicycle.

[Guest contribution from Ali Selby]

The bustle of life this summer has slowed just enough for me to take a deep breath and revisit my favorite author once again.

I often forget how much I enjoy relearning lessons that I brushed over in the years past, and I deeply appreciate C.S. Lewis’ simple approach to complexity.

As I ponder his words on beauty and God’s glory, I can’t help but feel I might understand it more just by the sheer fact of where I sit while I read.

As the light Santa Cruz breeze plays with my hair, and the sunshine breaks through the canopy of redwoods that tower over my head, Lewis’ thoughts invade my own: “We do not  want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words- to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.”

[Guest contribution from Rebecca Fuller]

Eggs have been a staple in my diet since I figured out I could cook them on my very own at the good ol’ age of eleven. Now, as a twenty-year-old, I often don’t think twice about the process anymore.

Crack. Scramble. Add cheese. Eat.

But the other day, as I was thinking about what kind of eggs to make for breakfast, I decided to slow down and think about the beauty of cooking them. I picked up an egg and wondered at the cold, hard shell, and its gooey contents inside. I listened to the sizzling of the oil in the pan, preparing to meet its match. I felt the absolute creative freedom that comes with an egg and a hot pan. Should I fry the egg? Scramble? Make an omelet?

I decided to fry my egg this time. I cracked the shell against the pan. It cracked perfectly, and I emptied out its contents into the hot pan, backing up in case any oil had the audacity to spray my way. I then put the lid on the pan to let the steam work its cooking magic.

Five minutes later, I was sitting down with a hot cup of tea, and a fried egg on top of an English muffin with a slice of Canadian bacon between the two. It was delightful.

That’s the beautiful thing about eggs: absolute culinary creativity.

[Guest submission from Hannah Miller]

I’ve lived in the same old, three-story house in Colorado for 12 years. My parents slowly remodel different areas of our home, but they’ve neglected the single-pane windows in desperate need of a double-pane upgrade. Consequently, the thermostat has been put to good use during blizzard-filled winters.

But tonight is a summer night. The single-pane window in my bedroom is wide open, inviting the soothing, cool breeze and the faint, droning sound of a distant train.

I remember when I was little I’d take the screen out and sit on the window ledge to say hello to the moon. Open windows around the house signify the beginning of summer.

Those beautiful, old, single-pane windows.