28 November 2008

outside : inside

i've been having bunches of fun with this outside inside theme. i love the crisp beauty of late autumn outdoors contrasted with the warmth and domesticity of life as we begin to hole up inside.


:outside:

frosted backyards





slumbering woodpiles






:inside:

whipped cream melting in a mug of steamy chocolate





:outside:

irridescent flakes & pale november light




bright needles & a bench at rest





:inside:

mapping out a scarf & soft piles of laundry





:outside:

skeletal trees and a bite of moon





:inside:

soup made from the last bits and odd ends of leftover vegetables






:outside:

a weather beaten fence





:inside:

wellies shucked for dry house slippers

25 November 2008

current status:

viscerally exhausted.

just got in from nywc last night, and i'm finding it difficult to piece together a post that could authentically convey the whole of what we experienced these past five days.

with very little exception, all of the elective seminars and general sessions pierced me on issues of social justice (or as danielle strickland terms it, biblical justice)...tackling the roots of poverty and oppression. forcing myself to see it. and then investing myself, long term (as in, for the rest of my life), in eradicating the oppression of other human beings.

when it comes to loving my neighbor as much as i love me, and when i read passages like 1 john 3:17 and the last third of matthew 25, i have to wrestle with the question: what if Jesus actually means what he says?

because if he does? then i pretty much need to invert my life.

i'm not gonna lie: this is scary and overwhelming.

so right now, and hopefully for the weeks to come, we're searching out how all of this is supposed to look in our lives. if you talk to God, please pray for us; we need a double helping of wisdom.

can i just say once more? this looks scary. overwhelming. and maybe, hopefully, just a little bit like the kingdom of God.

24 November 2008

21 November 2008

um, wow.

i'm currently in nashville at youth specialties national youth workers convention, and it is seriously ridiculous...and by that, i mean utterly amazing. this is our eighth nywc, and i don't know if they've upped the ante or if i'm just in a better place to be receptive, but this is, by far, my best ys experience yet.

in thirty-six minutes i get to sit in an arena with crowder band and tony campolo (and fifty-five hundred of my closest friends), which are my top two reasons for showing up at nywc year after year. i'm pretty stoked, and i do not use that word lightly (or, well, at all).

gotta run. just wanted to pop in and say that really? i wish you all could be here. experiencing this.

seriously ridiculous.

18 November 2008

self-portrait challenge: upside-down.3

upside down shots are jolly good fun. the veins on my temple get all bulgey and my face flushes a wicked shade of eggplant and i can't keep my balance for the life of me.





jolly good fun.

and speaking of upside-down:




we're in the middle of spiritual renewal week at church. i've long suspected that i'm that kind of person who knows all the right stuff, but experiences very little of it.

i'm ready for that to change.



the new home of self portrait tuesdays

17 November 2008

presenting...



in the spirit of crafting and thriftiness and homemade goodness, i'm doing my best to orchestrate a handmade christmas 'round these here parts.

i have all sorts of goodies and projects in store for the family, and i'll share bits of what i'm working on here over the next few weeks. i'm hoping you will join me in dusting off our creativity caps and burying ourselves in a happy pile of felted wool and buttons and snips of old paper and cotton batting.



on a related note, a few of you requested that i stock the shoppe with softie dolls to help you along with your holiday gifting.

i've got a trio of sweet girls up for sale today:



meet sofia, emily jane, and sarah elisabeth.

please click on their photos below to visit them in the shoppe.










i'm also going to feature handmade lovelies from an assortment of indie artists, so if you are not feeling particularly industrious, you can still opt to purchase homemade gifts. :)

check back soon for sneaky-peeks of our christmasy projects.

15 November 2008

the happy side of cabin fever

it's been spitting rain for five days now, and the world outside our door is soggy and bleak. inside, however, is warmth and light and cozy blankets.

saturday's good things:

scented candles

hot tea infused with blueberries

christmasy books:




the comforting rhythm of slicing autumn vegetables to simmer in a crock pot

an eight year old who shares his snack-size twix with his mum

softies to craft:




argyle knee socks

shearling slippers

and four little people who giggle and bicker and negotiate and coerce and press their heads together to peer at the same book, and who, no matter how the day has gone, pray for each other at the end of the day.

14 November 2008

catchy titles are too much work

recently (and i need you to expand your definition of "recently" to fit in the past six months or so) i was graciously awarded the arte y pico award by laurie, jennifer, and katarina, plus the kreativ blog award by gail.

i am bad about awards. this is largely due to the numerous rules i must follow to receive and pass on blog awards, when we all know i really can't be bothered with such stuff.

the arte y pico award, though, is my all-time favorite because it's in spanish, and for all i know the spanish-speaking world is playing a colossal prank on the anglophones, and the actual award description translates to something like: neurotic blogger with a flattened tush from sitting too long at the computer, who could really use a rudimentary grasp of the spanish language. if this is the case, the award fits me like a wet suit. (okay, i know, enough with the horrid similes already. sorry.)

generally with these awards i am supposed to (a) post a picture of something and (b) link to something and (c) dole out a prescribed number of awards, but it would be much more fun for everyone involved (or me, at least) if i just told you about a couple of insanely artsy people who make me wish i subscribed to the whole reincarnation thing so i could come back as THEM. (except for that with my luck and track record and all, i'd probably come back as pond scum instead. which would be floaty but also insipidly dull, methinks.)

so. the very first INSANELY ARTSY PEEPS awards go out to:

geeta of pintuck. geeta is the virtuoso behind the babette label; she creates leather jewelry, handmade children's clothing, shoes, and accessories.

we own this delectable leather hair pin which is technically elle's, and which she loves to wear except for when she can't find it because her mother has, ahem, pilfered it.




tonya of tonya joy photography, who captures astounding images. the emotion in her photographs is almost palpable.


ash of in full bloom. her jewels have this vintagey-elegance with a bit of edgy style...magnifique.


my brother's wife, nicki, who shares not only my name but also my love for designing. i wish i had a link for y'all so i could show you her collection of beaded, woven, and wire-wrapped textile jewelry. she's got a flair for color and asymetric style.

here's a necklace she made for me:



jen of deconstructing jen, who makes stunning charcoal portraits, paintings, jewels, chalk drawings, pottery, and apparently everything that manages to be even remotely related to the field of visual arts.


jenn of take a bow. i secretly call her the midas girl, because everything she touches glitters...she's a maven at photography, designing, violin-ing, and best of all, mothering.


my rules are: visit the links. say hi to the artists. take a nap. if you want to work some chocolate in there somewhere, you have my full blessing.

mostly unrelated but funny: so i just happened upon a blog called "chocolate, the other white meat." i do not know this person at all, but she is my new bff. i'm off to let her know.

11 November 2008

perspective

last night i was thinking about the pacing of life and our tendency toward discontent; how we can easily spend too much of ourselves in missing the past or yearning for the future.

it was a bit after nine. the younger kiddos were in bed, and i was listening to love's playlist while folding tees and socks still warm from the dryer. mostly i was filling the time till the hubby came home from the ER with our ten year old son.

the boys had basketball evaluations earlier last night, and partway through, bee jumped up and briefly hung on a support bar of one of the portable basketball goals. turns out the goal wasn't properly weighted down, and the entire thing tipped and fell on him. he hit the ground first, knocking a knot into the back of his head, then the goal came crashing down on the side of his skull.

he cried a lot, and it's funny how that's a relief: that he's conscious and has breath and enough cognizance to cry. he couldn't remember what happened, didn't even know where he was. the right side of his head, over the temple, was swollen in a way that makes a mother's stomach swoop and sicken.

at ten, bee's my oldest, and i have the unfortunate tendency to treat him like a mini-adult. but in times like this i see starkly--almost jarringly--just how small he still is.

so. back to the sleeping siblings and lovelyn's music, and laundry softened with dryer sheets. while i was folding, the song "you're gonna miss this" by trace adkins came on, and it got me to thinking. the lyrics delineate a girl who can't wait to graduate, can't wait to move out of her starter newlywed home, can't wait till the kids have outgrown their screaming, and she's told over and again to slow down...that someday she'll miss this.

i'm not sure why we do it, why we live so much of today rushing off for something better, why we only appreciate the joys of right now in retrospect.

certainly, i hope i'm ever anticipating the day, the hour, that God makes all things new. when horror and decay and brokenness are done.

but as long as i am a resident of this earth, i don't want to invest my attention in the imagined gains of twenty years from now, or the lost treasures of a decade past. i'd like to be very deliberate about recognizing and celebrating the richness of today.

so right now, i am hugely grateful for:
-play-dough mornings with my littlest
-these four happy children, and every hour i've been given with them
-a husband who values the valuable
-girlfriends who'd turn cartwheels in a field with me
-a warm, safe home with enough food to grow our kiddos
-living in a place that knows peace
-bee's zany jokes
-zee's intuitive sensitivity
-how em still loves to snuggle and the way he laughs from this place in the back of his throat
-elle's unabashed singing, complete with dance moves
-great literature and autumn hues and the way a violin can sound so full and lonely

and well, i could go on for quite a while, eh? as i'd guess could most of you.

would you do me a favor? add to my blessing by telling me--in a comment or an email--what your grateful list looks like today.

grazie, i miei amici. grazie.


addendum: bee's okay, by the way. he's got a massive hematoma (blood pooling on the outside of his skull) and a concussion (a brain bruise), and we're to keep an eye on him to rule out the very slight potential of continued internal bleeding, but the preliminary reading of his CAT scan looked fine.

08 November 2008

randomnosity

well, gone is the gypsy summer of earlier this week. we are now in the frigid thirties, which means i am feeling the christmas vibes and am making all manners of lists. baking lists, wish lists, gift idea lists...there's so much holiday giddiness involved i'm practically sweating tinsel. boy was that an odd euphemism.

so this morning i danced the hula at a women's conference, which is funny for quite a few reasons, not the least being that i don't actually know how to dance the hula. apparently that detail was not nearly as important as the fact that i grew up in hawaii, which we all know is the main qualification for hula performance. ah well, it went okay, although if the videographic evidence is ever posted online i will die a thousand melodramatic deaths (as will the person who posts it, just fyi).

confession: i totally take the "disposable" out of disposable contact lenses. you know how you're supposed to toss them after 2-3 weeks? yeah, so i've been wearing mine for seven point five months now. and all the optometrists reading my blog have just died of anaphylactic shock. so sorry.

earlier this week i exhumed an old video from its cardboard grave of home-videos-that-should-be-left-to-rest-in-peace. i had to find it, you see, to relearn aloha oe so i could do my, um, hula-ish interpretation of it this morning. it was on a tape labeled "winterball/sr prom/graduation/grad party" and let me just say HOLY CANNOLI was that a blast from the past. you all looked different fourteen/fifteen years ago, except for nate, who looks exactly the same. also, i talked like a chipmunk. i'm not sure when i outgrew that, but my apologies to all of you who endured multiple years of hearing me speak.

and by now you are rather getting the sense of the aimlessness of this post, which is the inevitable result of the following equation:

itch to blog + not a blessed clue what to blog about = this.

so how about we take a gander at those band photos i promised...





























i do have to say that photographing this band was a rare experience indeed. they maintained the most fabulously witty banter that made my cheeks ache post-session from so much grinning.

and see this beautiful gal, here:



this is danae. keep an eye on her, cause this one's going to be famous someday soon. her voice is fluid and soulful, plus she has got PERSonality. yeah, i'm just a wee bit in love with her, but really, it can't be helped.

ok, signing off now. y'all behave this weekend. :)

05 November 2008

sneaks

november means a whole lotta out-of-townishness for me. thank goodness for wi-fi.

i've got a session in about an hour, and i hope to scrabble up something in the way of breakfast between now and then, so this shall have to be a brief popping in.

mid-october i had the happy opportunity to do a shoot for a local band. i wanted to share a sneakity peek:



more to come.

hope you all have a lovely week.

ps how nice is seventy degrees in november? pretty dang nice, i say. so nice, in fact, that it outstrips the definition of nice and dives headlong into the realm of miraculous. love it.

02 November 2008

on trees



Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being in love which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two.

{Captain Corelli's Mandolin}



And now for last month's booklist. It's rather on the lean side, which is ironic since that generally means I am rather not on the lean side, as I almost exclusively read whilst on the treadmill. And why the world am I using proper capitalization? Somebody kick me. (And I'm referring to a metaphorical kick, here; my actual shins are quite sensitive.)

okay, much better. here we go with october's books:

THE WISH LIST eoin colfer
HALF MOON INVESTIGATIONS eoin colfer
BOG CHILD siobhand dowd
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS jk rowling
THE ROAD cormac mccarthy
THE HIGHER POWER OF LUCKY susan patron
SANCTUARY beverly and david lewis

as for the favorite...well...there's really not one this time 'round. colfer's a solid author, but his ARTEMIS FOWL series far outstrips these titles. BOG CHILD is a solid read. DEATHLY HALLOWS was better for me this time through than my first read, perhaps because i modified my sky-high expectations. multiple scenes from it made me cry; in fact, i can really only think of two books that squeezed more tears out of me (one of them being HALF BLOOD PRINCE). THE ROAD is lyrical but slow in parts and a difficult subject matter. LUCKY is a great read for the middle-grade audience. SANCTUARY is sweet but inconsistent in writing quality.

speaking of books, i want to thank those of you who have dropped me emails or comments with titles you have recently enjoyed. kimberly, THE HUNGER GAMES is now on my shortlist; grazie!