Softness

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We took a long weekend and went to the beach.  And I assumed I’d be showing you a more beach-y picture.  But, really, this is one of my favorites.  I’m not one for boardwalks, but the beach to which we went isn’t too big and so its boardwalk (especially at the north end, where we were) is tame and fairly quiet.  You know, people out strolling and eating ice cream cones.

I think part of the reason I like this image so well (besides the soft blur of the lights) (because I love a good, soft blur) is that it reminds me of the evening I took it.  We’d returned from dinner (and ice cream cones) and my daughter asked if we could take a walk on the beach before bed.  Of course.

There were others walking on the beach in the fading light (but not too many).  We looked for shells and mostly walked in silence.  The four of us.  Together, but also slightly in our own worlds.  It was a beautiful night.

As we left the beach and crossed the boardwalk, my husband and kids walked ahead of me; I paused to make this shot. And so I suppose it marks something for me.  The end of a great beach day with my family, yes.  But it also marks the softness I felt that evening. The softness of the sand, the softness of the gentle waves breaking at my feet.  The softness felt for my husband and my quickly-growing kids.  Also, the softness felt for myself as I walked the beach that evening with thoughts rolling around my brain; the softness felt as I let those thoughts wash over me like the sea washing over my feet.

So this is the photo I want to share with you today.  The one that tells a story of softness.  And I know it’s easy to feel softness when walking along a beach in the gentle, fading light.  But if I can catch myself in the midst of the softness – if I can recall that feeling – maybe I can carry it with me through the rough and ragged parts too.  Yes, that’s the trick…to carry it, to keep it close.  I’m going to try.  You with me?

Sending a little love your way, m

 

*****
P.S. One last reminder about Jessica’s beautiful offering for the month of August…Summer Slowdown.  I think it’s going to be delicious and just right.  Click here for details.

 

 

Three Were Enough

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We stepped outside yesterday morning to visit the flowers.  My son was snuggled in bed reading so it was just she and I.  And the pup.  The air was heavy, humid.  The grass, freshly mown the day before, was wet with dew and clung to our flip-flopped feet.

I wanted to make photographs, but I took three and the lens fogged up (crazy humidity and darn it).  I immediately felt the urge to go back in the house and get to the next thing on my mental list, but my daughter suggested the swings. Okay, I said.  Though to urge to get to the next thing was so strong…the urge to do versus allowing myself simply to be. It was not quite 7:30. There was plenty of time for the laundry and grocery shopping and phone calls and other.

Thank goodness for my daughter who understands that there’s almost always time for swinging (she’s very wise). Thank goodness for the humid air fogging my lens (the three photographs were enough).  Thank goodness for little gifts like these on a July morning (they remind me of what I need to remember).

Sending a little love your way, m

 

***Before I leave, I want to let you know about a wonderful offering for the month of August.  My friend Jessica is crafting something beautiful, something that will invite us to slow down and savor the month of August.  It’s called Summer Slowdown and here, in Jessica’s words, is what it’s all about:

Summer Slowdown is free and open to everyone and will take place during the month of August, when we could all use a little reminder to slow down, reflect and really enjoy the final days of Summer. The way it works is everyday throughout the month of August participants will receive a daily email with short stories, reflections and quiet truths meant to help them slow down and come back to the present moment. Each day will feature a short meditative reflection from me followed by a practice or exercise from various contributors. And that’s all it would be – simple and easy with no outside pressure or expectations.

550Summer Slowdown 1-01You can read more about this offering (and sign up) by clicking here. And I’m pretty pleased to tell you that I’ll be sharing on one of these delicious slowdown August days.  I hope to see you there.  xo

Hello, Zinnias…and Hello, You

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Well, hello there.  I’ve missed you.  And this space.  Though the break has been good…some time to allow myself to carry on free of rules and expectations (that I set upon myself).  And, unlike my last post (which took me a while to allow), this post today has come spontaneously. I haven’t been thinking carefully about my return to this space, other than to consider waiting till the beginning of August, maybe September.  But just now…well, I feel like I want to be here, with you.  And so here I am.

I was out in the garden a bit ago.  I wrote last summer about allowing myself to play (and plant) freely in the garden. That’s what happened again this year.  There are a few tomato plants, jalapeno, basil, onions.  But mostly, you guessed it…flowers.  Planted willy nilly (I share about that approach here).  Just the other day, the zinnia appeared.  And then the cosmos. The sunflowers aren’t blooming, but their stalks are growing strong.  Things might need a little thinning. Or not.  For now, things are thick with growth.  Green, so green. And the pops of color have definitely arrived.  Which makes me happy.

And so, as I pop in to say hello, I hope there are things making you happy in your world too. Maybe, like me, you have flowers growing.  Or some zucchini.  Maybe there’s a delicious latte in your hands.  Maybe you’ve enjoyed the hug of a dear one.  Or maybe a stranger smiled at you as you sidled down the grocery store aisle.  I hope there’s something.

Yes, there must be.

Sending a little love your way, m

 

 

Finding a New Rhythm

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Last week’s post, well, you guys are awesome.  I knew you’d get it.  And now…

The post that is about to flow from my fingertips has been brewing-simmering-stewing for quite a while.  I’ve not written it prior to today because I was waiting to figure out a clear path and a clear way to express things.  But the clear path and the clear answers continue to elude me and, since this space is largely a reflection of here-and-nows, it seems fitting and honest that I just spit it out, lay it on the line.  You are here, in part I think, because you embrace the here and now; you appreciate the true, the real.  And so I come to you today with what is true.

I’m feeling a bit raw and worn.  I love this space, but, gosh, this blogging thing is hard work. Some of you write blogs yourself and know this…to post regular {and good} content requires time, energy, dedication.  I’ve been intent from day one to post regularly, because that’s how one builds community in this arena and so that’s what I did.  But when I started out, I didn’t necessarily want to be a blogger.  I just wanted to express myself creatively {because it makes me happy} and I wanted to share that expression.  And so I did.  And here we are.  And it’s been pretty awesome.

But lately, I’m feeling kind of drained and depleted.  It’s a complicated picture.  There is lots of inspiration and connection in the online creative community.  But there are children at my side {homeschooling} {and growing fast} and the paper birches out back {delighting me} and dust bunnies along the hallway baseboard {reappearing as soon as I vacuum}.  There are pages I want to write {e-courses, magazine articles, dare I say books}.  I’m feeling pulled in many directions and I know the pressure is self-imposed, but I need to save something for myself.

I think I need a little breather.  I need to know that I can keep this space quiet for a short time and return when I’m refreshed.  In my heart I know this.  I’ve just been scared to step away. Scared to lose my footing, scared to lose momentum, scared to lose those of you who visit in this space, scared to make a change.

This isn’t goodbye.  Goodness no!  But I feel like I want to give you a heads-up, so you’re not surprised should there be a little radio silence.  I think it’s going to get a little quiet over here.

I’m hoping, if you’re not signed up for my newsletter, that you’ll sign up now. Because there will certainly be monthly letters. If you don’t already receive my newsletter, I send them out at the beginning of the month and, really, they’re a friendly letter from me to you.  If I have an offering coming up, I share that. But mostly it’s a sweet little note. Nothing more, nothing less. {you can sign up for my newsletter right here}

I’ll be playing on Instagram.
You can follow my blog {if you’re not already} and be notified when I do post here.
And I’ll be posting on the twelfth of each month at Makings of Motherhood and every Friday at Tandem Echoes.

I know many of you are going to understand exactly where I’m coming from.  Balancing the online world {which is rich and full of inspiration} with the real-time world {which is rich and full of inspiration} is a delicate dance.  In my heart, I know it’s time for me to establish a new rhythm.  I still want to share word and image; I still want to share real and true.
I just need to slow my pace a bit.

I’ll be back.

Sending a little love {so much love} your way, m

 

 

 

 

Promises

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Do you ever feel that you just can’t keep up?  With the Pinterest, the Instagram, the Facebook, the blogs?  And I know they don’t need a definite article preceding their names.  But they are such entities, are they not?  Coloring our days, sometimes in lovely ways.  But sometimes I wonder if they fill in the forms on our page a little too much.

I’m doing heavy thinking these days {months} about what the online world means to me.  It’s wonderful and inspiring, don’t get me wrong.  I’ve grown in so many ways since stepping into the online world.  It brings me here with you! But balancing all of that with what lies at my feet and just outside my window…I will tell you straight up that I find it hugely challenging.

I know I’m not alone.  I’ve had conversations with others who get it and who struggle too.  All of that is still relatively new territory for those of us who grew up with no computers, no smartphones, no constant streaming of everything {those of us who grew up with a phone that was attached to the wall via a curly plastic cord}.

The creative community that exists online is awesome, it really is.  It’s just about fitting that world in with the one that includes shoes by the back door and laundry that needs folding. We make our choices about how we filter our world, how we build our world, how we shape our world.  I guess I’m asking a lot of questions about that.

What’s a girl to do?  Well, she starts with a bowl of honey nut Cheerios, a sliced banana, and some almond milk.  She snaps a quick photo, because some days that’s just what she does. And then she makes pancakes for the kids {because she promised} and a cup of tea for herself.  She washes the dishes and helps with schoolwork.  There’s conversation, a little laughter, a disagreement or two. And then there’s the first soft serve ice cream cone of the season {because she promised}.  There’s soccer ball kicking and dog walking.  There’s living.

She builds and shapes her world slowly and tenderly.  She continues asking the questions about all that.  She makes adjustments as necessary.  In the best way she knows how, she shows up to her life {because she promised}.

Sending a little love your way, m

 

 

Mason Jar Oats

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I got tired of oatmeal.  Then I stumbled across a recipe for overnight oats.  And then I suddenly saw it/heard about it in numerous places.  It’s basically muesli.  It’s basically delicious.  And it’s basically the easiest thing to prepare. Pop your ingredients into a mason jar {or whatever lidded dish you like} as you’re making or cleaning up after dinner; pop it into the fridge; pop a satisfying breakfast into your mouth the next morning.

This is not new by any stretch of the imagination.  But it’s new {to me} in that oh, I totally forgot about that kind of way. And, I don’t know, I kinda like eating from a mason jar.  The basic recipe is one part rolled oats {not quick-cooking} to two parts milk/milk substitute {I usually add a teeny bit more as I like mine a bit soupy}.  I sweeten with maybe a teaspoon of sugar or maple syrup {honey?  I imagine that works too}; you can also skip the sweetening part…you might not need it.  I usually pour in some chia seeds {about a teaspoon}.  C’est tout.

The next morning, I give it a little stir, add some fresh fruit {you could alternatively put frozen fruit into the mix when you prepare the night before} {or add dried fruit} and a handful of chopped almonds {or sunflower seeds or hemp seeds or any number of other nuts/seeds}. You could also add 1/3 cup yogurt the night before; maybe some coconut flakes.  A dash of cinnamon is nice. Maybe a dribble of vanilla extract.  You can add whatever you want, really. Yes, get crazy. Do as you like.

The mason jar thing is kinda cool because, well, I already told you I like eating out of a mason jar…but also because you can use the markings on the jar as a guideline when you’re assembling the night before.  No need for measuring cups.  Just pour it right in.  And after a few times making this, you won’t even need the markings on the jar.  You’ll just eyeball it. Because it’s hard to mess this up.

I like waking up to breakfast already made {aside from slicing the fruit and adding the nuts or seeds}.  And, you know, the mason jar thing.  It gets the day off to a solidly good start.

Sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.
~ Lewis Carroll ~

Wishing you a solidly good start to your days.  And hoping you’ve time to believe a few impossible things.  Go ahead and dream.  And eat your oats.  {I recommend a mason jar.}

Sending a little love your way, m

 

 

:: Noticing the Moments ::

Taking some time to reflect upon my week…

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:: freshly baked bread…I’m sure I’ve written about this before, but really and truly, it brings me back to center…each and every time

:: time spent with friends

:: hot water with lemon most mornings…lemon and words are a combination that’s working for me lately630lemon

:: also working for me:  just-out-of-bed breathing meditation + a few sun salutes

:: bedtime reading with the kids

:: the tulips are here!!!

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:: walks with the pup

:: music…listening lots to Indie Folk Revival on Pandora {thanks Laura}

:: agreeing to milkshakes yesterday afternoon…delighting the kids who were sure I’d say no

:: breakfast for dinner

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I’m hoping you’ve enjoyed some good moments in your week too.  And for the difficult moments {because we all have them}, I sit here in witness of them and of you.

Sending  a little love your way, m