31 December 2013

tuesday's notes | december thirty-first

It is very, very early here on the West Coast of the United States. I am sitting on my couch with my middle, he is up with a nasty bout of croup, and I am up, sitting next to him, waiting for the dawn and letting my mind meander to far flung places, to the ocean so near and of crossing the prime meridian where it is very likely already a new year. 

Fourteen years ago, my husband and I, expecting our first born, watched, waited and toasted the new millineum. We watched the telecasts from all across the world, watched as the sun rose on another side of the globe long before it set its rays upon the shadows of our window panes. Less than two weeks later our lives would be turned upside down when we welcomed our oldest into the world. I like to think that I was a practical dreamer back then. Practical in every sort of way with unrealistic expectations of how my life would be made. Now here I am, practicality thrown out the window, with very little expectations of how things will be on any given day. 

I am quite ready for the New Year. I am ready for things to start anew, for new plans, for new adventures; however, I am also ready for the adventures that are already here: raising my boys, living this life, running alongside a world full of hope and wonder. 

So as the sun goes down on the ocean today, as it rising somewhere else, I will be toasting all the good, all the unexpected, all the hard work. I will be toasting you, and you; I will toast to your family and mine; to the lost and wandering, the found and discovered; I will toast to all things hidden and unknown, to all the open hearts and to all the many open doors. 

cheers to a very happy and abundant New Year. xxoo
we say goodbye, with smiles and tears,
to this passing of years.
we lie in anticipation of what the new day will bring,
unknown abundance in sown fields
hope and resolution
clearing away the noise to find what rests in our hearts.
the quiet voice that nourishes our soul.

30 December 2013

in with the new, embracing the old

As the year winds down to a close, like so many of us, I am reflecting on this past year as well as plotting out goals for the new one. Wonderful connections have been made which warm my heart and bring joy to my soul (ahem -you all!!).

I also feel like my writing is slowly becoming stronger, as is my photographic eye. Perhaps not the most economical or practical thing to do, but I am embracing being a creative -and with that knowledge, I am also pondering on ways to help make ends meet and which path to take there...

In November I started my own photography website: A Wondered Life. I also love, love, love writing and wish that there was a way to give it more breath and depth in this coming year (I have started writing a children's book and I so want to see it through... even if it never finds it way to a printed page, it would be lovely to follow through with the wee project this year).

As I simultaneously reflect and think forward, I can't help but ponder on this blog, and its small space on the internet. When doing this, one eventually comes to the question: why do I blog/write?  And once I strip down all the ego, the real reason I show up here is my deep longing to connect with the world, to connect with humanity, to connect with you.

So in this, and to clarify my own goals here for the upcoming year, I ask you all what do you want to see here? More of the same? More poetry? More short stories? More photography? More guest posts? New projects? Link-ups (to Tuesday's Notes or Friday's Fodder+Folly? Or something different all together?) Do I continue on with the 52 portraits, as so many others are with Jodi; and if so, in what manner (the boys, or more portraits of people in the community)?

All these questions really come down to how can we, how can I, help foster community; one that helps sustains us creatively and soulfully?

The other day I came across this post about finding your guiding word for 2014 from Mama Scout. She asks wonderful questions for the new year that I think are very worthwhile spending time journaling on over the next few days (If you find these at all helpful, give her a shout-out over on her blog or FB page I say this not because she has asked me too, but because I have found these questions so spot on for reflecting on the past, present and future).

~What do I want to create in the new year?

~What do I want to do and how do I want to spend my days?

~What do I need to moving towards?

~How do I want to feel each day?

~What is the legacy I am creating right now?

~What are the thoughts I am most afraid to think?

~What idea makes my heart beat a little faster?

~What can I give up?

~How do I want to experience time?

~What do I want to create in the new year?
Most of all I am wondering what are you pondering in your heart these days? What are you reflecting on as this year draws to a close? I would love to know! xxoo

28 December 2013

52 | 52 a year closing quietly

a sleepy quiet has filled up the rooms these days since Christmas. we are letting things be. laundry washed, but not folded and put away; dishes are clean but remain unstacked. there is tinkering with toys, building forts, constructing Legos. most of all we look around at our small corner of the universe,  and feel abundantly lucky and blessed. 

27 December 2013

december writing | shadows

In the days after Christmas, long shadows stretch over the house. Life is lived in rewind. We play over and over again the happenings of days past, we remember loved ones no longer with us and heave collective sighs as we watch our children unwrap their days, their gifts, their dreams.

Let us rest in these shadows. Let us find a small spring of renewal that gurgles up from the darkest part of the night, to fill our cups, to fill our hearts again with hope.

love to you all in these long shadowed days of Christmas tide. a small response to the prompt "shadow" from Amanda and write alm. xo

24 December 2013

22 December 2013

joyful! joyful!

 "enough is as good as a feast" -english proverb

joyful: a list for the holidays

-twinkly lights, everywhere.
-festive christmas tree lots 
-quiet in the early morning dark
-giggling and games in the afternoon
-things coming together
-wrapping it all up
-hot cider and gingerbread men
-iced sugar cookies
joy fills my heart, when I stop and take a deep breath and see just how blessed I am. 
what's on your list? xxoo

21 December 2013

52 | almost there....the end and the beginning

winter solstice. my most favorite.

celebrated in the background of the ever looming Christmas and coveted New Year, this quiet time always has me reflecting, watching, waiting, hoping.

a quiet celebration of blessings and hopefulness, lighting candles to honor the passing of the darkness into light.

then we go on our merry way to the hurried Christmas day.

I hope for all of you there is time for slowing down, for enjoying the silence of the dark, with the knowledge that there is always dawn after the dark.

18 December 2013

december writing | quilt

My mother.

The backing to the quilted squares of my childhood. At times scratchy and uncomfortable; often times well worn, beloved and soft, like the snowy down from the underbelly of the gander. She was as traditional and as untraditional as she could be.  She was as cruel as she was kind, as aloof as she warm, as penitent as she was indifferent. She clung to her children as if they were the only raft keeping her afloat.  By the time I was in 4th grade she had 4 children, two of whom were adopted from Korea, had opened her own children's clothing store and was mis-diagnosed, then diagnosed with the one of the most advanced stages of breast cancer. I think there must have been days when she longed to crawl back under the quilted covers of her youth; to wrap herself in something else other than what the stars had scribbled out for her across the sky, or at least to discover a meaning and explanation for the long hours her waking days were made of. But the answer to her questions never came, yet somehow she moved forward anyway; sometimes without much grace and an overly bitter taste in her mouth, but she was moving. forward. anyway.

I wonder, if she was living her life now, if she was a mother among my peers, if her oldest was at school with my 4th grader, where she would be. How would the fates sew her life if she was living it through these years of pink empowerment, "leaning in" women gatherings and inspirational TED talks? Would she finally have time to stop, rest and just be? Cling a little less to her children and her desire for perfection? Would she embrace a bit better the messiness that Life is? I don't know. She was not a child of this age, but from a time before that.

I imagine her Shade walking along the playground, fetching us after school, the ghosts of my childhood. Glimpses of her in the setting sun amongst the swings and slides. Standing there, arms crossed, loving the small, scattered, laughing children ghosts so. Wishing she could scoop us back up into her arms, afraid if she held us close we would disappear, but that if she didn't she would fade into the night.

So here I am, with small traces of her life left inside my heart. I am not a cobbler. I am not a quilter. I am left with only the small tools I have, the small attempts at re-writing her story, not able to relive it.

I cannot sew, but I string together words along a thread, a quilting bee of her life.

17 December 2013

tuesday's notes | oh tannenbaum!

 Dear Boys,

We need to work together a bit more. Seriously.

I will love you until my dying breath, but truly, when you three are arguing with each other (as well as with me) over the size shape and variety of tree we want to bring home for this holiday season, I am so ready to jump ship and swim to the shore in the New Year.  I know that three of us are particularly visual and creative, AND strong-willed opinionated souls, but thats why we need to work as a team. We could storm castles with our out-of-the-box ways! But when we are feeling fractious and divisive -well lets just say that there is nothing as cheerless and merry-less as that.

All things being equal, we did, in the end, pull it together.  You younger two realized the need, at least this year, for a tree that is not the size of Mt. Everest, and I was forced to let go, temporarily anyhow, of my need to control the situation when my perfect tree was sold to someone else while we were bickering. In the end, your dad and, you, mr. oldest, saved the day by just taking the tree where we had some kind of consensus and purchasing it. Phew.
Then we all relaxed! It was amazing! 

And thank you for allowing me to kill time while your dad had to run go get cash, with my camera and you all as models.  See how much fun we have when we are not bickering (and I realized, how much you all need a haircut before the 24th). 

 cheerio for now boys!
love you three so very deeply!
This is a series called tuesday's notes. You are welcome to write along if you want, just leave a comment with your blog address if you decide to write one and I will be sure to come say hello. These "Notes" can be notes to your self (future, past or present), notes to the rude person who cut you off in line, notes to your children, note's to your parents... I think you get the idea. Would love if you "wrote along!" xo

mid december portraits | & a wee bit of happy news!

oh my boys! one refused to get anywhere near St. Nick (ahem the oldest). the youngest was seriously questioning St. Nick's beard. the middle? he just told St. Nick that he wanted a reindeer for Christmas. oh my boys! 
In happy, unrelated news, I wanted to share that one of my photos has been selected as the cover for Kindred Magazine's winter issue, Nest. I am simply over the moon! You can see the cover preview by clicking on through! xxoo

13 December 2013

tummy blues and holiday spirit

much to my chagrin, another one of my merry men was felled by the ugly stomach bug, again.  don't tell his younger brother, who is very competitive with him these days, but the middle one had it much worse. yesterday, he didn't want me further than an arms length from him all day, so that meant the loads of holiday errands that need to be run, completed, and checked off are pushed back until next week as our weekend is incredibly, blessedly busy.  so i puttered around the house, not getting much done, other than cleaning the loads of laundry that now needed to be done, (notice I didn't say folding and putting away) and enjoying the grand privilege of wiping my son's face after each stomach purge. 

but we do have holiday spirit! the boys adore opening up the advent calendars sent to them by their grandmother (my husband's mother) and we have decked our tiny house with lights and wreaths and garland (i ran a wreath workshop/how-to at our church last weekend -it was so lovely to create and make -even my youngest delighted in the making).  then, with the left over wreath makings my youngest came home and built himself a  backyard shelter with wood and the cuttings (see photos in this post). it was super cute to see him out there on sunday, working away, ignoring american football. 

we will get a tree soon! the younger two want the tree up for the 12 days of Christmas so we have been holding off on getting one just yet as our house IS tiny and we have many creatures under one roof. i was looking at sparse subalpine fies (like over on terrain), but my youngest wants a big tree (frasier fir) with lots of branches so his can play with his stuffed animals in it.  last night, as i was trying to get him to sleep he bemoaned the fact that Chanukah was 8 nights of "presents." i told him we could open up the presents slower this year using the 12 days of Christmas. i am not sure he bought that idea, really, at all (though i love it -it feels like it would slow the frenzied Christmas spirit down a bit). what i truly think he was hoping for was more presents on top of the presents he is already planning on getting.  silly boy. 

today i am hoping for less vomiting and more merry-making. i am crossing my fingers that none of us get another round of this tummy bug. 

hope your weekend plans are looking merry and bright! 


11 December 2013

| november writes :: first snow

to knit: quick, a warm set of mitts
to play: making cheeks rosy, pink pinched

There is nothing so glorious

as a pair of red mittens, 

on the hands of a young child

as she plays in the winter white snow.
here is a small remnant of words from last months november writes series. amanda is into december prompts now so I encourage you to check out the series over in write alm // habit of being. xxoo

| november writes :: whisper

to the sky at dawn 
 and the quiet that whispers to me on the wind plowed fields
winging past my ear with the broken-hearted & the humbled heavens.

here is a small remnant of words from last months november writes series. amanda is into december prompts now so I encourage you to check out the series over in write alm // habit of being. xxoo

10 December 2013

tuesday's notes | into december

gosh. it is hard to believe that I haven't visited this space in so long.  It is early morning here. My youngest, after having thrown up for a good portion of the wee early morning hours, is finally asleep on the couch.  I am drinking much needed coffee and desperately trying to come up with a post that reconnects me to my online family. So ta-da! here it is. 

I have missed being over in this space. As of late it has been hard to find several minutes to cobble together to write a full-fledged post. The moments ticking up to Thanksgiving were harder than I thought they would be.  I was surprised that the absence of my mother felt raw and re-opened all over again.  Loss is a funny thing and it often requires deep breaths; and then plowing on into life despite it all. Then, with the last week of November melting into Thanksgiving, then into Advent (along with everyone getting the stomach flu) I have spun myself silly with all sorts of imagined holiday merriment and busy-ness. Which quite frankly, I really don't like the spinning part, especially when my perfectionism coincides with my productivity being at an all time low.

I am vowing hence forth to not spin myself into a perfectionist frenzy -it defeats the purpose of any celebration. I love, love, love making things so I am trying to slow down long enough to give my self room for error AND time for craft. It is hard with the ever-looming deadline of December 25th, but I think I can make it to the other side. Craft, or no craft.  

So note to self: give of your time and your craft, not of your spinning, feverish, holiday, crazy-making.

How are you handling the Holidays? I would love to know. 

This is a series called tuesday's notes. You are welcome to write along if you want, just leave a comment with your blog address if you decide to write one and I will be sure to come say hello. These "Notes" can be notes to your self (future, past or present), notes to the rude person who cut you off in line, notes to your children, note's to your parents... I think you get the idea. Would love if you "wrote along!" xo

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