Do You Keep a Journal?

I love journaling as writing is how I process my thoughts. It’s why I love putting together a blog post! I have gone through periods where I journal, scrapbook, write one line a day, whatever is easiest or feels right at the time.

This year I attempted bullet journaling. I love the idea of mixing efficiency/list making/planning with pretty paper and maybe a few embellishments. However, I found I didn’t have the time or patience to make it a regular thing. Instead I bought myself a physical planner (I like the Get to Work Book) so I can have a calendar and plenty of room to scribble lists and thoughts. This month I decided to return to my bullet journal and use it more as a simple journal. It won’t be daily, although I have space for a daily gratitude list, but I would like to get in the habit of jotting bits and pieces of our lives down and not have them shared anywhere else.

I love Instagram, but of course don’t want to be the girl that overshares there and I also don’t want to project a perfect life. I’m also feeling so many things (all the hormones! all the change!) and having a private space is much needed to reflect on this time for myself.  I would love to make it a habit so that when baby comes, reaching over and writing  about the small moments that change so quickly won’t feel like a chore. I remember nothing from when the twins were little, but I journaled so much! I love looking back and seeing all the funny details I wrote down. It’s precious to me, even if no one else ever takes a look!

The picture here is a look at how I started July. A page of colors that I love, a page of calendars to track a few habits I hope to cultivate, as well a quote that I think speaks to what I would like this month and summer to be about. Memories live longer than things.

 

 

Make of the Week!

Over on my creative blog, Whit Makes, I have an easy t-shirt that I made, which I wouldn’t normally share but it was my first time using a pattern from a sewing magazine and I was so happy with how it turned out! Hope everyone had a great Fourth!

Raising Creatives

I subscribe to Poetry magazine and lately Harper has taken to carrying the latest issue around when it arrives in the mail. She likes the different art work and colors on each issue and she is almost reading so I think she feels very grown up attempting to read the poems. Sunday she found a blank journal and declared it her poetry book, moon poetry book to be exact. She also is constantly finger knitting, drawing, just always making things.

Charlie likes making things too. He finger knits and draws and loves extra large paper to sketch out very complex stories that he will tell and act out for me later. Monday I caught him doing this.

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Both kids take piano lessons from a wonderful man that has been coming to our house for over a year to teach them. For Monday’s lesson Charlie had left him his own composition ready to play. And do you think our beloved piano teacher batted an eye? Of course not. He asked to hear the song and immediately began accompanying him on the guitar he had brought along. Here’s Charlie’s original composition ‘Up and Down’ (start over 10 times!) if you’re interested.

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Both of these things have me thinking about what it means to raise creative people. I was telling my husband how important it is to me that not only do they want to make stuff, they feel no qualms about sharing it with us and other adults that they trust. It’s all at once completely innocent and incredibly brave and I take it as a great task to earn their trust, to cultivate the love and wonder of self and others that comes from making something out of nothing.

I don’t know that there’s any magic formula to allowing this kind of creativity to foster. I do think a big part of it is allowing time and space for it to happen. To clear out parts of the day or the week where there is nothing that has to be done and no option of turning a tv or iPad. I leave out bits and pieces, blank journals and paper and scissors and glue. I try to say yes when they ask to use certain materials. But mainly I think I try to model what I believe to be true, that creativity is a part of all of us and we all deserve the time and space to experiment and try new things for no other reason than it makes us happy.

I do not do that perfectly, but seeing them being creative completely on their own these past few days, without any push from me, made my heart soar and made me want to contemplate how better to facilitate this love of creating that is inside all of us. A reminder that I can follow their lead and worry less about the outcome and just enjoy the process.

Good Books

I love to read and usually by this time of the year I’ve acquired quite the bedside table stack. This year I haven’t gone through as many books, I blame pregnancy and falling asleep halfway through paragraphs or not being able to focus my attention on too many heady topics. So here we are halfway through the year and I don’t have much in the way of books to recommend but I did look through my book reviews so far on Goodreads and wanted to share some the books I rated 4 stars or higher. I have a couple more waiting for me at the library so I’m hoping I can get some good reading mojo in during these next few months when I’m trying to stay cool and off my feet. You can always follow me on Goodreads to see what book related things I’m up to!

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid I loved how this book took a very current topic, refugees, and mixed in a bit of science fiction. Not exactly light reading, but hopeful at the end and beautifully written, I loved the concept of this book.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng This one took me a little while to get into, but once I got a feel for the characters I really fell in love with it. Many different angles and opinions are shared, different kind of relationships are examined with the varying voices, and nothing is clearly black and white. I loved it.

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman Backman has turned into my comfort food novelist. (In fact, I think it’s his latest that’s on hold for me at the library!) I have read all of his books and enjoy them all. There is a definite formula to his books, but it’s one I like and I appreciate the hopeful message that humans are good and want to do good deep down inside.

The Blinds by Adam Sternbergh Ok so I actually only gave this one three stars, but I think it would be a great summer read. Part western, part sci fi, I loved the twists and turns of the town made up of people who have chosen to have their memories erased for very interesting reasons. I thought it kind of lost its edge near the end, but I still really enjoyed it.

News of the World by Paulette Jiles Another western, this time set in Texas just after the end of the Civil War. An old veteran is given the task to take a girl captured and raised by an Indian tribe back to her people in San Antonio. I loved the look at Texas and its history, the relationship between the man and the girl, and the interesting history behind people captured by native tribes and how it changed them forever. A bit of a slow burn, but a beautiful book.

The Chillbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan I listened to this one on Audible and absolutely loved it. Set just at the beginning World War II, a small village grapples with what the war means for them and those they love. The back bone of the community is the choir at the local church and I found the mix of characters’ voices as well as the Anglican music dispersed throughout a beautiful take on historical fiction.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones My favorite book so far this year, I read it in 24 hours. A completely honest and authentic look at marriage, race, growing up and moving away, and how we deal with the blows life gives us. It doesn’t seem like it would be uplifting, but I found some of the passages truly inspiring and though it broke my heart, I   would read it again in an instant!

Well when I write them out like that, maybe I have had some good luck with reading this year! Anything you’ve read lately that had you completely in another world? I’ve read some good non fiction too, but maybe I’ll save that for another day. Now I’m off to start my next book, I’ll let you know how it goes!

 

Currently

Thought I’d start the month with a little currently list to kind of catch up and recap what’s happening around here!

Watching: Recently I watched the movie Pride and cannot recommend it enough. A true story about gay activists in the UK that worked to help miners during the strike of 1984. Beautifully done, I promise you will laugh and cry and also feel hopeful for days afterwards.

Reading: I’ve had some hits and misses lately with books, and am planning to share the good ones later this month, but right now I’m reading In Farleigh Field: A Novel of World War II by Rhys Bowen and so far I’m really enjoying it. A mix of historical fiction and mystery with not too much heaviness, perfect summer read in my opinion.

Listening: While the kids were in school I started the Crazy Rich Asians audiobook, but haven’t had too much time to listen at the moment. I usually have an audio book going for when I’m around the house on my own or for my walks, but lately I have little ears always listening! So our spotify playlist has been going nonstop and looootttsss of Greatest Showman performances happening around here.

Making: I’m always sewing something (you can see my creative blog here for the latest makes) and right now I have a few summery dresses and one glamorous kimono I’m hoping to finish up soon. Then I’m probably done with makes for myself until after baby!

Feeling: A little anxious, a lot excited about my pregnancy. Seems crazy that we will be adding to our family but I dreamed about him the other night and a wave of peacefulness flooded over me. I get anxious before doctors’ appointments and have my glucose test Monday, please send me good vibes!

Planning: Oh, did I mention we are having a baby?!?! Little boy due in mid September. I have spent the past couple of days setting up the nursery and ordering a few things we need and want to make a couple of things for him and the room before he gets here!

Loving: Summer. Summer is my favorite. We are laid back in our schedule and I have been trying to be really intentional with how I spend my time with the kids. This is our last summer just the four of us and I want to spoil them rotten with my time! I’ll share some of the ways I’m setting up our days but mostly I just love being around them and spending our late afternoons in the pool waiting for daddy to come home and cannon ball in.

 

31 days of Blogging challenge!

I’ve decided to give myself a bit of a creative challenge for the month of July and put a blog post up every single day. I love blogging, the combination of pictures and words to share a story has always been very appealing to me. They say blogging is dead (they? the keepers of the cool?) but I still enjoy reading through my favorites a few times a week and hope you’ll add me to whatever blogging rotation you have.

In this age of media saturation it’s nice to carve out a space that’s just your own, whether anyone else reads it or not! I have no real plans except to cover the wide range of topics that make me happy. Meaning, food, books, family, faith, and pictures of plants are all likely to show up! On Wednesdays I will share a post over on my other blog, Whit Makes. That is a place that is strictly creative, usually sewing projects, and I will link them here as they come up if you’re interested in that kind of thing!

So July is here, it is hot as all get out and my schedule is pretty clear. Let’s use the internet for good, for inspiration and connection and maybe a little personal growth too. So long June, see you in July!

While the Tea Steeps

When you’re in the worst of it, the want to lie down and not move, not talk, wouldn’t care if you didn’t breathe, worst of it, they tell you

Take it a day at a time.

A day? Ha. An hour is hard enough. Give me a minute please.

But babies need good night kisses and plants need to be watered and my kitchen is a mess. I do the first two and am too tired to do the third but think a cup of tea sounds nice.

So I turn on the hot water. While it heats I can take out the trash. This one thing. Then I have time to empty the dishwasher. I can do this one thing. I enjoy the noise of the cutlery, the rattle of the dishes leaving the spokes.

Then it’s whistling and I pour the water over my tea, something fruity and not too strong. Something I can smell as much as I can taste.

I look over at the dirty dishes and think, while the tea steeps.

And then this one thing too is done and I grab my mug and turn off my lights and walk away from my clean kitchen and back into my bed.

 

Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year!

Yesterday was the first day of twenty eighteen. How did it go for you? If it didn’t go well, don’t worry. Today is another day and, God willing, there’s tomorrow too. No need to put all of the importance on one arbitrary day. I’ve learned that from my children.

I asked them what their New Year’s Resolutions might be. After explaining what a resolution was, they thought about it a moment. My daughter said she was happy as long as she loved her family and her family loved her. My son told me a very long story about how we should all be nicer to animals and the earth and then said he wanted to eat more popcorn.

I approve whole heartedly with each of them.

I already talked about my goals this year, in relation to my personal birthday year, and I’ve been trying to put them into action this past month. I’ve also recently been taking a Barre Method class at least twice a week and have liked how strong it makes me feel. I realized I missed yoga and moving and decided to throw those things in with my goals as well. Not for any body goal, but to feel healthy and clear headed and, again, strong.

I know 2017 was rough for a lot of us and I saw the poem Good Bones by Maggie Smith circulating quite a bit. I love it so much and printed it out and stuck it on my fridge. I’ve decided it’s time for a new poem, new words to ring in my head each time I open the fridge. It will either be the Shel Silverstein poem I have in my header or The Orange by Wendy Cope 

The Orange – Poem by Wendy Cope

At lunchtime I bought a huge orange—
The size of it made us all laugh.
I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave—
They got quarters and I had a half.

And that orange, it made me so happy,
As ordinary things often do
Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park.
This is peace and contentment. It’s new.

The rest of the day was quite easy.
I did all the jobs on my list
And enjoyed them and had some time over.
I love you. I’m glad I exist.

 

I love the messages of both. Of creating something, adding something to this world. And also of simply enjoying what’s already in it, the simple pleasure of eating an orange with your loved ones.

I took the picture for this post on a recent walk in Santa Fe. It was about 4:30 when we walked up the hill near my mom’s house and the sun was starting to lower. Everything was cast in a golden light. The sky in Santa Fe is different than anywhere else I’ve been. Clearer. Bluer. I marvel at it every time I go and can never capture it in a picture or in words. Christmas Eve we walked out on my mom’s roof and the sky was ablaze with stars. It’s the only way to describe it. Ablaze. It feels like you could lift your hand out and pull a star down, wear it like a rare diamond around your neck.

Anyway, the picture is simply of the rocks on the side of the road, broken through so homes could be built, cars could drive through. I loved the sunlight hitting them, making them appear golden, catching the quartz buried beneath. The texture and the depth of Earth before we got there appealed to me.

Something about it appeals to me in this New Year. Taking the time to stop and see what else the light could catch. Noticing the sky and how it looks different throughout the year.

The kids and I have been paying attention to the moon as we learned about the phases of the moon this past fall. Last night was the Wolf Moon and we all stepped out and gave it a good howl. I would love to always know what the moon is doing, to be aware of the heavens. It keeps me in check when I start worrying about nonsense here on Earth.

I hope, for you and for me, that this new year brings moments. Moments of peace, of utter joy, of quiet, of love, and of hope. And I pray I have the presence of mind to notice the moments and hold my tongue when I want to complain or wish for something more. May I look back this time next year and give thanks for all the ordinary, simple days.

Happy New Year!