Monday, January 28, 2013

weekend bits & pieces

A few years ago, I picked up a magazine called Weekend in the Minneapolis airport. Shortly thereafter, the magazine folded, and that single issue was the only one I ever came across. I still have it; just holding it in my hands makes me breathe a little easier. I love love love weekends -- especially the calm, wide-open kind where simplicity and everyday joys reign supreme. Beautiful.

From top to bottom: Desktop (burning a candle, ripping music, and catching up on blogs) | Organizing dresser drawers the same way I pack a suitcase | Craftsmanship | Dresser wall in progress | Testing out a new tattoo | Additional seasonal decorating

Sunday, January 27, 2013

for your sunday

"Midday" oil painting by Erin Spencer, via my Pinterest

Wendell Berry

And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles,
no matter how long,
but only by a spiritual journey,
a journey of one inch,
very arduous and humbling and joyful,
by which we arrive at the ground at our feet,
and learn to be at home.


This is one of "those poems" for me. I'm still in the hand-to-heart, can't-let-go stage and have a feeling I'll return to these words many, many times in the future.

Monday, January 21, 2013

(long) weekend bits & pieces

From top to bottom: Mending a hem | Straight pins | Quilt blocks in progress | Fully pieced rag quilt (tutorial here) | Fraying the seams | Main takeaway from my (awesome) session with Tiffany | Newly sorted necklaces | Closeup of DIY jewelry holder | Flowers from Andy (wish I had this!) | Seasonally appropriate reading material

Saturday, January 19, 2013

photo feature

Yesterday a blog friend from Abu Dhabi featured one of my photos from Nepal as part of her "From the Hip Friday" series -- my first time ever making an appearance on someone else's blog!

Jill taught in Abu Dhabi for nearly three years but is currently exploring all that Australia has to offer. I loved reading her stories about life in the Gulf as Andy and I prepared for our move, and it's a lot of fun now watching her do what she does best: Travel! Great photos and great stories. Get yourself over there already and check it out. Thanks for having me, Jill!

And here are a few more images from Nepal, where a friend and I spent ten days living and working in an orphanage last July . . .

Man, looking at these brings back SO MUCH. Wish I could beam myself there again, if only for a little while.

Hope you're having a wonderful weekend! x

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

deep breaths

Image here via Ez on Pinterest

We have more real-life actual plans in the making here!

Today marks the start of something. (What, exactly, I'm still not entirely sure. But definitely . . . SOMETHING.) I bought this book on my lunch break. And I set a date with this lady for Monday. I also have the most supportive husband in the world, who just so happened to clean the entire apartment today while I was at work. (He even lit all our candles to greet me when I walked in the door. Not in a cheesy way, just in a cozy way. Because he knows how much tealights mean to me on cold, dark days. Amazing.)

It's happening, people. Time to swallow my pride and get on with my goals. (YOU CAN HAVE THE LIFE YOU WANT.)

Let's see how this goes . . . x

Available here

Saturday, January 12, 2013

on you go

Image via

My feet always seem to get so itchy this time of year! They want to be walking the cobblestone streets of Europe, or hiking through forests and up mountains, or exploring market stalls at an African bazaar. They want to be run run running, moving through and away to a place that is anywhere but here.

It's hard to reconcile that itch with the gratitude I still feel for our little home base, and the satisfaction that comes from being around family and friends once again.

How does one step into her life? Become who she is? Do her life's work? How do you ever figure out just what that is? I'm never sure. I'm good with ideas; less so with the follow through. Sometimes getting lost is what helps you find yourself. Maybe being metaphorically lost here at home, in my own country and culture, is exactly what I need. Perhaps there's something to be said for sticking it out. But oh my god, it can be so hard.

How can I feel so fulfilled and still so lonely? Probably what I want to run away from is me. I want to forget myself for awhile, and travel makes it so easy to do that. In that light, my goal to climb Kilimanjaro by the time I turn 30 makes utter sense (a "to-do" I made at 19, now anticipated for 2014). Testing yourself physically and mentally like that brings all the focus to the moment, to simply taking one step after the other. You stop over-analyzing in an effort to survive. And no, Kilimanjaro isn't the toughest undertaking out there, but it's been brewing deep inside me for so long that I don't think there's anyway I could not do it.

Seeing the world allows me to escape myself -- my "self" -- and become more fully realized at the same time. I'm not sure I'll ever settle for staying put. In fact, I think it's exactly what makes home feel that much sweeter: Gratitude is magnified by the return.

A literal home and to feel at home wherever I am . . . The search gives me both questions and answers, comfort and dissonance. I guess we'll see where it leads. Because, trite as it sounds, it's true: You never know what might happen next. Sometimes you have to keep walking; other times it's a matter of waiting. In any case, on you go.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

a perpetual question mark

Image via

"For indeed my life is a perpetual question mark – my thirst for books, my observations of people, all tend to satisfy a great, overwhelming desire to know, to understand, to find an answer to a million questions. And gradually the answers are revealed, many things are explained, and above all, many things are given names and described, and my restlessness is subdued. Then I become and exclamatory person, clapping my hands to the immense surprises the world holds for me, and falling from one ecstasy into another. I have the habit of peeping and prying and listening and seeking – passionate curiosity and expectation. But I have also the habit of being surprised, the habit of being filled with wonder and satisfaction each time I stumble on some wondrous thing." 

Anaïs Nin

Thursday, January 3, 2013

too much & nothing [connecticut]

I said nothing about Connecticut because, really, what do you say? Especially when everyone else seems to have too much to say, words that will fill Facebook and Twitter and newsreels (and all other targeted facets of human subconscious) for weeks . . . until . . .

until . . .

they don't.

Because no one seems to be saying much about any of it any more. It's slowly fading into the realm of memory for most of the nation, and with it the rawness and realness of the present that catapults so many of us into action, that makes us hunger for real change.

I don't want that to happen. The sweet faces of those children are seared on my brain. Their parents, friends, and loved ones are now the walking wounded -- if they can manage to get up and walk at all. The whole thing rests too close to my realm of experience, is too closely aligned with my worst nightmares, for me to let it go -- or to fully let it in. 

Have I been hugging my own students tighter? You bet. Do I feel my heart leap out of my chest in longing for the students I've said goodbye to throughout the years? Most definitely. I hope they know I love them, still. All of them. Always. Does that heal or help anything? I believe it does. I've said before that my students are the "best prayers I have for peace," and I hold to that now more than ever. Otherwise, what hope do we have left?

Is it selfish to relate the tragedy of others to yourself? Or simply human nature? What qualifies as empathy, and is empathy part of our truest nature, deep down?

Like so much else, I

So I return to my own healing places and spaces. I resolve, once again, to turn to goodness.
I've shared this poem here before, but it resonated so deeply again this morning that I'm posting it a second time.

Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing. 
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend. 


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

hello, 2013!

We spent most of New Year's Eve at a friend's house, where we celebrated with this little (iphone) photo booth I pulled together last minute (wrapping paper and a reversible banner, done!). Andy and I actually ended up leaving before midnight so we could swing by my parents' to say a quick hello before heading home to our apartment. We made it back just in time for the final countdown and shared our kiss on the couch, in pajamas. Yep-- it was just about perfect :)

Happy New Year, everyone! I have a goooooood feeling about this. Cheers!