Friday, April 25, 2014


Beauty is in the details for me. I love the intricate edges of things. I've always been fascinated by them. In an art class, I learned to do those kinds of drawings where you don't look at what you are drawing, but at the thing you are drawing, all in one continuous line. Not picking up your pencil at all. Those are called blind contour drawings. I remember the teacher saying that we should imagine that we were a small bug that was crawling along the sawtooth edges of the leaves we were drawing. Those were amazing drawings - the most precise, detailed drawings I've ever done.
I learned a lot about how to look and really see.
Today I heard a bird I'd never heard before, and it reminded me of those drawings. The world is full of small beautiful things.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

spring at sparrow's cottage

golden light drips from grassy blades
warming earth slips to warming air
finding rosy toes to benumb
bright and brisk and hopeful 

~Katie Estvold~

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


“Instructions for living

a life. 

Pay attention.

Be astonished.

 Tell about it.”

Monday, April 14, 2014

being happy

My new favorite song is "Happy" by Pharrell Williams - it is the kind of song that you turn up super high, drive with your knee and clap along with.
The other day my daughter and I had the windows down, and the moon roof open. We drove slow down a country road and clapped and sang as loud as we could.

What makes us so 'happy' to hear that song...
I love the line, "clap along if you feel that happiness is the truth" - I don't really know that the ultimate truth is to be "happy" in life, but I do believe that we are meant to feel satisfied in life and that is a really deep-down happy feeling.

I read once about a white missionary woman who went to preach to primitive people along the African Congo. I can NOT imagine that this would be a super "happy" thing to do (I also have lots of opinions about proselytizing), but I can completely understand the deep-down satisfaction that she must've felt to know that she was doing something that she believed was truly worth it. Our calling in life is not the easiest thing for us to do; this I truly believe.

So, I clap along because I really am that happy. The sun shines (or does not) which is as it should be. Love takes commitment and work (or it does not) which is as it should be. Every day has its task (or it does not) which it should be. I feel satisfied with my life because I CHOOSE to. I wrote this quote down about 10 years ago, and I think about it weekly...weekly! That is staying power.

Always fall in with what you're asked to accept. 
Take what is given and make it over your own way.
My aim in life has always been to hold my own with whatever's going.
Not against: with.

~Robert Frost~

Sunday, April 13, 2014

an Imbolc blessing

I kindle my soul
at the light of the sun:
ray of truth,
ray of knowledge,
ray of nature,
be upon my lips, my mind, my being.
May the triple candle of grace
illuminate and preserve my sould
from lies, from ignorance, from neglect,
                                    this Spring day.

from Celtic Devotional: Daily Prayers & Blessings by Caitlin Matthews 

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

I'm still here

I'm still here.
When I thought of what else to write, it just wasn't coming to me.
Since I last wrote, priorities have changed, hindsight is 20/20 and I am made to live in the present (which I wanted and now lament...isn't that the way?)
I know, when I check in with all of my old crap, that I haven't forgiven some past wrongs that I should, but am too stubborn to do. I secretly believe that I am too over-sure of myself and am worried that everyone else knows it and *gasp* discusses it.
I've begun mothering tweens. That comes with its own melody: something like violins rising to a crescendo...and cue the percussionist who drops the cymbals, nervous twittering as the conductor taps the podium and begins again. I love my children dearly and laugh and hug and wonder at them constantly, but life is not the cozy quilts and bird song it use to be. I do not say I miss that. I love their independent minds and their life-dreams that seem almost to have nothing to do with me, except that I can support them until they can support themselves in it...and then I'll always be their smile and encouraging word.

I'm still here.
I have chickens and a rooster and cows and pigs and cats and a dog, still.
They have become more about life in general than a "wow-I-can't-believe-I-get-to-finally-have-animals" kind of thing. I do not say I've lost my wonder. As a first grade teacher, I cultivate wonder...or should. As a mom, I get tired and cannot participate except to lay in bed for a few minutes with each of my children before they go to sleep at night and talk about who said what and why in school. I encourage and talk about the realities with them. I tell them that beauty is something that has to be cultivated on the inside. That ugliness is something that grows. I hope that they don't just believe what I say, but that they look for the truth of it in their own large lives that they are leading.

I'm still here.
Wanting to be important, to lead the way, to be relevant.
I don't long for anything, which is really something to say. I use to long and long for things...and long...and looooong for things. My daughter is at the age where she has begun to dream big and realizes that it is possible to actually achieve these big things if one is disciplined enough to take every step to get there, and so she asks many questions about what people dream about doing. She recently asked me, "What do you want most?" I had to think and think. What do I want most? My wants are pretty small these days, and I do not seem to really "need" for anything. I've always really been that way.
My urgent questions use to be  the big ones, "Why are we here and what should I do about it?" That led to questions like, "Which outline for living should I follow? What do most people agree is the best way to do things? How can one choose one way of living for an entire lifetime? Do people's needs for spiritual sustenance change as they change?" The answer for all of it is simply "yes". Yes, I think there is a reason we are here, because the person I have always been as no other choice but to make my life mean something. Yes, I should know what I stand for and what I will not stand for. Yes, I can always be me and always be changing. So, when she asks me, "What do you want most?" I told her, "For our lives to mean something, and in even a small way, to contribute to the progress of humanity in the end, Emma. I want for YOU to make your life mean something. I want for Ethan's life to mean something. I want to be a part of that "meaning something". I choose to be a part of life. Whatever else happens to me is a bonus, like extra credit."
i.e. Travel to Europe: extra credit

I'm not sure what that means about me now. Is it that I'm nearing 40 that makes me feel as if I'm finally settling into my own skin? Is it that I've found my place in the world and have nestled into this time of life like I've been waiting for it forever? Surprisingly, knowing that the answer to both of these questions is likely, yes, I don't feel any sort of "bliss" or "arrival", on the contrary; I notice the beat of everything. I'm keenly aware of time passing, and have an urgency to be RELEVANT.
I'm still here.