Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Peace of Wild Things

My friend, colleague and poet, Thom Dawkins, asked on Facebook a few weeks ago if poetry still mattered.  I believe his question was directed at his fellow poet community, but I answered, of course it matters, poetry speaks truth through simplicity and grace and communicates things about the human heart that the heart can only identify. 
As I have mentioned here before I work with a school in my building, where my daughter attends.  So in the days following the incident in Newtown, I have waded though my own family's grief and processing, as well the community of teachers and staff here at the church.  And I know that poetry still matters because what has brought me comfort has been the words of author, poet and theologian Wendell Berry.  It is a poem I memorized years ago and committed to heart and so I leave it here with you:


When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the week drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come in the peace of wild things
who do not tax thier lives with forthought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with thier light.  For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and I am free.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Currently Reading

I am a bit of a book evangelist.  If I am currently reading something that I am totally into I tell everyone I see about it!  I guess I just get caught up in the power of books to illumenate new ideas or tell a story or articulate the complexities and simplicity of the human soul.  Anyhow, this holiday season I have been reading Tinsel by Hank Stuever and I LOVE it.  It provides an honest, provocative and yet tender look at what Christmas has come to mean in the subburbs--not just any subburb but in our neighboring subburb--by following three families through thier Christmas festivities for three years. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Good Help is Hard to Find

I pack my lunch everyday that I go to work. This little peice of information is part fact and part brag because I enjoy being able to eat healthy, fresh, homemade foods.  Three days a week I pack Adelaide's lunch for school and I enjoy providing the same for her.
In the past month or so we have discovered the double meaning of the word "help" or as we most often pronounce it "hep." At first we taught Adelaide the word "help" to curb some of the fits when she would get frustrated trying to do something--they didn't come very often but we wanted to equipt her with words not yelling, not frustration.  But probably three weeks ago she discoved that help can be something you do for someone else, as well.  And so about half of the time now she will say "hep mama" to offer her services on whatever project I might be working on. 
One of her favorite things to "hep" with lately is cooking and packing lunches.  She will sit on the counter (she is still very tiny and takes up almost no room) and I will stand in front of her (for safety) and we will put together salads, fill containers with fruit, stir ingredients and her favorite thing--shake spices into whatever we are cooking!  Sometimes when I go to zip up my lunch box I have to remove the small porceline bowl she piled on top of my sandwich along with a lid from an unused tupperware container, sometimes I have to slice a few extra apples slices because my helper wants to sample the goods, but good help is hard to find.  And cute, sweet, smiley help is even harder!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Family, Food and Tunes

If you follow me on instagram you would think my life is all cooking, building box houses for a certain unnamed toddler and going out with the mister (or friends) to catch concerts.  And you might not be too far from the truth these days...
Tried my hand at maple brusel sprouts...they were delicious even if they did skunk up the house a bit

The proud owner of a box house complete with indoor plumbing. 
We have since tricked it out with no less that 5 sheets of stickers.  We are both pretty proud.

The Old 97s, Florence and the Machine, Bob Dylan, A Fine Frenzy, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra,
 Lucero the mister and I are back in the swing of things catching live good for the soul!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Some Things I've Been Enjoying

Here are some things around the web and home I've been enjoying lately...

This sweet post about parenting a two year old

These free printable laundry symbol posters...I'm thinking instead of in the laundry room it might look cute framed over our laundry baskets, no?

The layered mums we planted in our front beds

Learning to throw the frisbee...

...and tiny pony tails :)

I will be making these pumpkin cupcakes sometime this fall.  Yum!

And I ordered this dress...and it's waaay nicer than I expected (you know you sometimes have low expectations for bargain hunting, too)!  I'm gonna pair it with black tights and booties for the office this winter.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Change, Change, We are Here

As you can sense from my absence I am in the midst of a transition, a evolution in what it means to live and breathe and love in this life of mine.  Many of you come here to see my lastest crafty endeavors, I am still crafting, I am just having a harder time finding time to photograph, edit and post my little creations, where as I would rather just enjoy them.  Some of you come to keep up with my family and more specifically, Adelaide.  And I must be honest, the longer I parent and blog the increasingly less comfortable I get with the idea of sharing much of our lives on the internet.  Certainly, what you get here is a small bit of the depth of what it means to be our family, it is edited, but it is still a part and I mindful of how sharing that part, even ever so small, might impact my family.

My ordination in 2008

Which brings me to probably my biggest piece to share.  I returned to work about three months ago.  After 15 unplanned, unexpected and delightful months staying at home with Adelaide, I returned to full time work in July. I am very fortunate to work in a vocation that is family friendly, in fact that is an understatement extrordinare.  I have been hesitiant to share much about what I "do" for a living out of respect.  Out of respect to a readership that is very diverse, out of respect for myself and my own sense of privacy and out of respect for the people I work with because I only want to represent my vocation and the people I share it with in the most positive way--because it is the most joyous of honors to be a part of this work together.  But for those of you that are curious, I am an ordained minister. 

At a ribbon cutting for our new building at my first church in 2008

I love what I do and as I already mentioned it is incredibly family friendly.  I work 4 days a week in the office and get one week day off to spend at home with Adelaide.  And in what other vocation is it not only encouraged but often expected that you bring your family to work with you one (or more days a week).  So unlike people in more traditional jobs Adelaide is only cared for by someone other than T and I briefly 4 days a week, instead of 5.  Also, her care? She started pre-school this fall at the church I serve.  In a culture that is not very family and motherhood friendly, I am SO grateful that my child's care will be onsite (actually about 40 feet from my office) where I work.  This is so rare and I am so grateful to have found work that is meaningful to me and that fits my family's place in life. 

Leading worship in 2009 at a friend's ordination

What does this mean for the blog?  It means that this past year I have had time to write and edit photos during afternoon naps and after bed, but now sometimes I will chose to spend that time differently, being more present to my family, our household and all that that entails (you know the glamourous parts of life--laundry, dishes, picking up raisins off the floor!).  It means that as I continue to wrestle with the balance of sharing your life on a blog that I may try a few new things, we shall just have to see.  It will be a balance I will have to live into, since photography is a love but as a few of you all know writing has always been my original love.  

P.S. The title of this post was inspired by a Pablo Neruda quote I first discovered here and adapted to reflect this new phase, this wild, open-hearted and crazy way in which things are constantly changing, the way we are invited to fling our hearts wide open and hope for the very best.  Change, change, we are here. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Summer Lovin'

Here are a few pictures from our recent goings on...
Our local farmers market might be the best we've ever lived near. Local honey and organic blueberries are our favs.

Stroller turned watermelon carrier at the farmers market.

The mister had a big birthday.  We threw a big cookout.

We also celebrated our five year anniversary and had my mom watch the little missy so we could celebrate.

We are getting so expressive and did I mention we are walking?!
We went to the Dallas Arboretum to check out the Chihuly exhibit and it was amazing!

Fourth of July on the Square

Parade watching with dada.
What have you all been up to this summer?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Peach Pickin'

You know how hard it was to not name this post after the Presidents of the United States of America song? Anyhow, the mister was traveling last week so me and the little missy decided to head to Oklahoma to do some peach pickin' with grandpa.  Last year we missed the picking season and so for months now we have been plotting and planning when we would go this year. Grandpa happens to have the beat on all fresh fruit growers in the central part of Oklahoma so he took us to the best one in the area.

One morning after breakfast we loaded up the car and headed out to Hannah, Oklahoma to pick peaches  at an orchard there.  Grandpa showed Adelaide how to pick the peaches off the branches and put them in the basket.  She got pretty good at it, if fact throwing is something she's gotten quiet good at so some peaches got thrown and hence a little beat up on their way into the basket.  

Towards the end of our time picking she wanted to take a peach out of the basket to hold.  I obliged and before I knew it she had chomped right in and ate the whole thing bite by bite! The peaches were so fresh we both ended up being covered in peach juice--yum!

We brought home a HUGE basket of peaches that I have plans to blanch and freeze (for winter cobbler and pie), do some fresh salsas to serve over grilled fish, and even try out a chutney recipe to can.  Hopefully I will share a little of that part of the process too!  

It was a great way to spend a cool morning with our grandpa and have a new experience.  

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

These two are thick as thieves. There is no one this girl loves more than her parents, but especially her dada.  

And while I know that Father's Day is about reflecting on fathers, I couldn't have picked a better partner in this adventure in parenthood and this little thing that makes it all not only possible but easier called marriage.  I know, that's a lot of PDA for this little blog, but it's true. Happy Father's Day, to my mister and our little family.  

Monday, June 11, 2012

House Projects, Fishy Faces and Golf Carts

You know I am a notoriously bad blogger during nice weather.  So, no apologies!  I haven't been tackling very many craft projects (although I do have a few I might share) because we have been tackling some much bigger projects around the house, painting, cleaning and organizing and even tackled a landscaping project (or two).  Between all that fun and traveling a bit here and there...not much time for blogging!

Little miss continues to grow and grow, mostly in skills and not in size--she is still a tiny peanut!  She has in her command about a dozen words or so and knows and can say 3 or 4 animal sounds.  In fact, crazy little story...We got the Melissa and Doug wooden animal fridge magnets (at TJMaxx on the cheap!) a while back and I busted them out about a month ago to both keep her occupied while I cooked dinner and to start learning our animals just for fun.  I didn't know if she was old enough to learn animal sounds but I would sit on the kitchen floor across from her a couple of times a day and let her pull the magnets off the fridge and hand them to me.  I would then say the animal name, make the sound and hand it back to her to put on the fridge.  One particular animal caught her attention immediately and seems to sell her on the whole animal noise thing--the fish!  I think she really liked the facial expression of making fish lips, but the first night we worked on them, that next morning she handed me the fish and made the fish lips and the kissy noise!  I about died from cuteness right there on the kitchen floor!  And it's her favorite animal and noise to make.  

Having a one year old is the best, by the way.  She is so fun to take on adventures now that she can point and go "Ooooh!" One of the little adventures we had a few weeks ago was taking a golf cart ride.  First, off golf carts are waaaay safer than when I was a kid and have things like seat belts.  Plus her Uncle B went very slow and safely for his niece.  It was so fun because my siblings and I grew up on and around golf course (fun random fact, I actually played competitive golf through middle school and high school) so it was kind of one of those little dreams come true to start introducing Adelaide to the game and fun of golf.  We definitely have plans to get her little clubs when she starts walking and getting a little coordination. 

How have you all been?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Our Recent Adventures

It's been quiet over here.  Not for lack of adventure, though.  Here are a few of our recent adventures:
Playing outside all the time. Letting that sunshine grow our hairs!

We tackled a little landscaping project.  

We met our first cat.

We are practicing wearing little shoes to prepare for some little steps.

"Look mom!  I can stand all by myself!"

Started some berry bushes.

Little bee in little bee jammies. 

Baby and momma breakfasts. Starting the day off healthy.

My mom sent me flowers just for fun.

A little family adventure to the Food Truck festival. Nom, nom.

We are still working on our coloring!

We've started being SO expressive!
We laugh, make funny faces, and sometimes we just need to lay our little face down.  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Can I just say this whole baby thing is the best?  We have hit a phase where we are going, doing, exploring.  Adelaide is old enough that we can do activities with her that we have been dreaming about since we began dreaming about adding children to our family.  

One of those moments was taking Adelaide to her first baseball game a few weeks ago.  There is a minor league baseball park in our town with an amazing lawn section.  We took our blankets, spread out and enjoyed the game and our little girl taking in the sights.  She mostly rolled around chatting, singing and playing while we watched the game and ate ballpark food.  Although she did decide to sneak one garlic fry.  Let's just say that baby is QUICK when she decides to eat something she shouldn't!  

The afternoon was overcast and actually a little cool for Texas in the spring. 

Of course we had our arsenal of baby-entertaining supplies and snacks.  

She had so much fun and so did we!  We are planning to go again really soon.  

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Special Day

One of the items on my 12 in 12 list was for T and I take the little miss to the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens.  Not only did we want to share the special place where we got engaged but we knew she would love being outdoors having a little adventure.  

Since we decided due to some other unavoidable commitments to throw her birthday party the weekend after her birthday, we decided to plan a special family day to the gardens to celebrate little miss's birthday and to celebrate the moment that brought us to her existence in the first place.  My sister joined us and we took some really great pictures while we were there.  

It was a little warm but we had a great time exploring and it was just the right little birthday outing for our day of celebration.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter

We had a wonderful Easter--the bunny visited our house leaving the little bit with a fun basket.  We celebrated the holiday by going to church, followed by a big family brunch and then everyone took a gloriously long nap. Then we just loused around the house watching the Masters and eating leftovers. It was awesome.  

How was your holiday weekend?

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Sorry we have been light on posts lately.  We are still sitting on blankets in the back yard reading books, listening to the Beach Boys, digging in the dirt, planting, and exploring.

And when we are not outdoors were are indoors making tissue paper poofs and stringing streamers everywhere for a special little party we are having this weekend.

Life is oh so very good!  

Friday, March 30, 2012

Spring! Oh, Spring!

Oh, it is that time of year again!  I don't get crazy about much but spring, oh spring!  Planting season. Play in the dirt season.  It's like I walk into the local nursery and get high from a combination of all the oxygen emitting plants and the possibility of another season of growing our food and having fresh cut flowers.  Really, I should not be aloud to go to Home Depot this time of year unchaperoned.  

And you know what's so awesome this season?  I had several plants go to seed out of pure neglect last fall at the end of the drought. Because we were still in a drought all winter I didn't think much of it but guess what?  I have around 11 basil plants--in fact way too many to manage myself so when they get a bit bigger I will be sharing them with friends!  Plus I have close to 4 dozen zinnia seedlings and a few other little surprises growing.  

Another awesome thing about this season?  I have a little helper to sit next to me, eating Cheerios, dancing to the Beach Boys and pulling leaves off my newly planted begonias.  Ah, spring is good!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

DIY Kid's Felt Board

I really like this project because it's one of those awesome projects that can be as simple or as elaborate you you have skill/time/desire.  You can add and make more pieces or you can stick to the basics.  And the truth is the little is going to love it either way.

Here's what you will need:
1) An art canvas or board (I used two 14x11 canvases)
2) two paint stir sticks (if you are making a larger board using canvases
3) Felt--you will need one large piece at least 27"x19", a second smaller piece about 14x22" for the back and then a few smaller pieces in varying colors
4) fabric scraps in various prints--I used a mix of some vintage and new scraps from my stash
5) scissors 
6) staple gun
7) fabric glue (I recommend Beacons Fabritac)

I chose to use two art canvases for two simple reasons.  First I already owned them so I didn't have to spend any money. Second, the two together made the perfect size to rest on the floor in front of little bit and give her plenty of room to work her creative magic.  But mostly it's because it's what I had to work with--if you have a board left over from a project that would work great too!

I measured and cut the felt for the front of the board first. Then I turned the canvases over and using my paint stir sticks as a brace stapled them to the back of the frames.  You can see below it creates a nice, stable connection for the two canvases.

Next I wrapped the felt around the front of the board and securing it to the back with the staple gun.  After that I took a second piece of felt and glued it over the back to conceal the the staples and keep it safe for little baby hands.  

Here's a shot of the back of the felt board. after I covered it.  

And here is the front.  I added hand embroidered felt grass to the bottom to add some detail and charm.  I also wanted to make a few felt animals for the board so thought the grass would make it more fun to play pretend.  

To make the alphabet I cut out each of the letters in fabric and then in felt and glued the fabric to the felt. I had originally planned to sew them together, but When I tried one, it some of flattened and made them weird.  Plus it would have been a VERY tedious process.  So instead, glue :)

I also created a set of primary colored shapes, a few animals and a few hand sewn flowers to make it fun.  Maybe I will add of few other things as she grows--as set of numbers maybe and a few more animals.  

I am so excited for little miss to start playing and learning and enjoying this new little project.  And the best part is I can move it from room to room so we can take the entertainment with us around the house!