Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Rainy day us.

The sweet rhythm of  gently falling rain.  A world painted grey and green.  The beautiful calm.

Earlier this morning, great booms and wild lightning woke us to listen their marvelous tale, a love story, for certain. I watched frenzied light flash across the palest blanket of bluish-gray.  I shook with the thunder and let the sleepy drip drop of the rain lull me back to sleep.

All the windows are open, the scent sweeps through our home and dances with the incense that drifts from the kitchen.  There is a natural rhythm to life in the way of weather, in the way that spring jolts us to life and summer is a flutter of activity; how the fall romances us with the best colors (and scarves and cute boots) and most phenomenal smells and then how winter beckons us inside. 

And when the rain pours down and refreshes the hues of browning green, we are invited to delight in a standing offer of  slowness.  Most of my favorite things pair well with rain: steamy coffee, books, wellies, Nora Ephron movies, baking, creating, and Coldplay, of course.  Rainy day music is something I know. 

My kids, they get rainy days too and it thrills me.  We stayed in bed and their eyes got big with each boom, not scared big, but wow big. Do you see the rain, Harper, he asked his sister.  Rain, she points. Thunder rattles.  Do you hear the thunder, Harper?  Tunder., she answers.  He is pleased, as if she has completed her lessons properly. 

Now they built block robots on the floor and watch Curious George and every so often, check the status of the great, wet outdoors.  They are calm inside and it shows all the way through to their faces and in their contented spirits.  I am so thankful for a life that allows this.

The way the earth invites us into these brief seasons of calm is something I hope they always know.  I hope they allow the rain to fall without blame when it trumps preconceived plans.  When they leave the grocery store and it instantly pours three times harder,  I hope they don’t see inconvenience, but whole heartedly step out and let it wash over them.  Clothes dry and two marvelous minutes of standing in the rain can do wonders for most anything. 

The rain reminds us we are small and not in control and we need that, because for all our dreams and plans we think we are.  We need the sun to point us forward fully alive with  passion and possibility and we need the rain that whispers sweet nothings of stillness. 

Joining with dozens of others for Just Write.

Monday, July 23, 2012

on beauty in the heavy right now

In my last post, I wrote about the season of heavy right now. What follows is not a story about how all of a sudden, the heavy blew away with a change in the air, leaving behind sparkling, magical days.  Instead, something else did and as it usually turns out, it was better because it did not happen my way, in my own understanding.

All the believers were together and had everything in common.  They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.  They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.

(Acts 2:44-46)

This weekend, this scripture came alive to me, as I had never seen it before.  We found ourselves on both the giving and receiving ends and it’s something amazing, so much bigger than us.  A story about a God who knows the details of our lives and how community is not restricted to proximity.  It reminds me in this season of sustaining rather than abundance that blessing and beauty can be found in the middle of the heavy, right here and now.

And I’m so thankful.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The heavy everywhere

I am a hunter of beauty, seeker of the good, collector of joy, but I do not live blind to the darkness and ignorant of trouble.  Life is light and dark, beautiful and ugly, a mix on repeat daily, intersecting,  and even parallel.  The presence of one does not erase the other.

We delight in one  and proclaim it to all and we shake under the other and hide.  Tonight, as my fingers flutter over white keys, I wonder if doing the latter gives it a greater power.  Because, a bad day right now doesn’t delete the three great ones prior and I think that living, real living means acknowledging both.

Right now, the windows are open and the air is thick with the weight of humidity and late July.  It’s slimy and unattractive and your breathing feels harder. 

It’s heavy and I’m not just talking about the air.

There’s car trouble, which also means money and another round of trusting in God 101 for the 1,000th time, and long hot days, and normal trials of parenting and other grown up things, when you dream about long quiet vacations.  There’s all the work you pour into new ventures and dreams and days when you think, really is this worth it, because I’m exhausted (and like buttons don’t translate into currency).  And seven weeks into looking for a new church, where you walk into a place where everyone else is playing a role and you’re supposed to guess what happens next, like one of those games you played at youth group parties, except it’s not a game and it’s not with your friends. Oh, your friends, you miss them, but that is always.  It’s awkward and new and challenging and hot because, it’s hot everywhere.  And it seems like as of late you’ve been spending more time in front of your cupboards trying to create magic out of completely non-magical ingredients.  And if that isn’t enough, ANTS.

A long breath.

None of the above is a true tragedy, except for the ants, I know.  But,  together they feel so heavy and thick like the air outside and you whisper prayers for a sweet, cool breath that reaches deep inside and dances over you with comfort.  And you try to focus on all the good and beautiful that also fill your days, like how she crocks her head to the side and smiles at you with those blue baby eyes or how your little boy comes to your desk and says, Did you make that mama?  Great job and you want to scoop him up for knowing just the right thing to say at age 3.  And how in less than two months you will celebrate five years of marriage to the one next to you, who is also tired, as you make this life together. Together and tired, until death to us part, should probably be added to the vows.

Life. It’s beautiful and real and challenging and at times, heavy.

Heavy is not the same as horrible and unbearable. Heavy is hard.

Everywhere I turn I read something that clenches my soul and says, I know, I’m here, I am with you.  I find it in a song, or a scripture or words I read or paint on a canvas.  I do not feel alone or forsaken. No.

I think so often people try to ignore the existence of heavy, because it’s negative or bad.  I don’t agree.  To embrace right now and admit my humanity is equally as much a part of the story as the happy ending.  All the elements of the plot are crucial.  So, I do not tremble or question my foundation when I say right now is hard.

Because I know that seasons change, in colors outside my door and in life and I know the air will turn soft and cool and sweet once again.  Life is like that, always changing, shaping, growing, making us stronger, and enriching our story.

The air is heavy tonight, but the dusk has brought in the slightest breeze.  It’s barely cool, but cooler, indeed.

and also, we are intrepid, we carry on.


“You pray for wonderful, honest, gritty, tender stories to write, but then you have to live through them.”

-Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines

Linking up with Just Write.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Today, when you step outside, an earth sized hair dryer attacks you, so I'm hiding inside drinking lemonade mixed with san pellegrino, sewing fall-ish items for Simone + Jude, both pieces above are listed in the shop. Also, I launched a Simone + Jude Facebook page if you are the kind of person to likes pages.  If you aren't, disregard that last sentence.

Tell me, what do you do when the world is trying to melt you?

Friday, July 13, 2012

on time travel and beauty in the darkness

This heat makes their room so stuffy, I’m happy they can sleep, I couldn’t.  She woke up once last night and from the sound of her cries, she needed something.  Maybe just to brush the sticky hair off her face or maybe a drink of water, but for a moment, I held her in my arms.  A soft light glowed from the other room through the cracked open door and she soon calmed.  My favorite grey shirt, her security item by mistake was pressed gently to her mouth as she inhaled its smelly comfort.  Sometimes she tries to share that with us and shoves it in our faces, and oh my, I wash it.  Have you watched a baby when a cocoon of happy is built around them?  Her breathing flutters and sinks into a rhythm like the perfectly crashing waves, it captivates you, consumes you and washes you with a blanket of tranquility; her body melts into my arms.

In the darkness and the lull of a fan only adequately serving its purpose, I see my boy stretched out across his bed, too hot for pajamas.  His long arms and legs sprawled about as if he is lost in an adventurous dream of snugglebugs and boomjangle dins. In my arms, she’s mush with pursed lips and her wild eyes are calm under their lids.  And it happens that her face is all of a sudden hours old, all puffy and new with that nose that immediately captured her father’s heart and soul.  Do moments pass or was it just one blink, around me the world is swirling and blurry, except for this beautiful collection of skin and organs and life. 

She’s brand new and then eighteen months old jumping from the coffee table to the couch, clearly uninterested in gravity and how it sneaks its way into our lives.  She squeals, more catch and I half heartedly tell her no, but extend my arms anyway, because if you only saw her eyes after the jump.  She is helpless and soft, wild and alive, determined and fearless, fragile and sweet.  Life is a masterpiece of all these things and every bit is who we are always, all the brushstrokes and splashes of color, come together to tell our story.  And yet, we are not doomed to be defined by the broken and dirty parts, because the best works of art have shadows. They are the most real.  Shadows contrast the beauty and light. 

I don’t wish for her to be one day old again, I truly don’t. Yet, in this moment, it’s hot and July and in the dark,  I’m somewhere else on a cold January night.  I return her to bed and close the door.  As I walk the six steps to my room, I’m overwhelmed in the best way with life and all that is packed into those four average letters, it’s barely worth anything on the scrabble board.  And still, it’s huge. Huge.

Look how far we’ve come and do you dare imagine all the places we’ve yet to go?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

On mornings and monsters

And so it happened that at the hour of early, before anyone or mostly just me (6:15) should be forced to part with pillows and blankets, four blue eyes attached to arms, bellies, and legs came stumbling in with declarations of life, noisy life.  The conversation below followed.

Me: “Well, why did you wake up so early?” 
He thought about it for a while, and answered, “I scared of monsters. (pause) No, I not scared monsters, God made monsters. 
Me, “I see, so if you weren’t scared of monsters, why did you wake up?” 
H: Silly, mommy, I not scared monsters, Harper scared of monsters. 
Harper: Mongers. 
And there you have it.  There you have it.

It’s not that I dislike mornings, I just really like sleep.  There is something about mornings that beckon me to sit down and set my fingers to the forming of words and thoughts. A trusty mug of strong, black coffee and the freshness of the new hours seem to be a match made in heaven for writing.  Yet, among the great conflicts of my life is how beautiful sleep is. It’s a predicament.  So on the mornings that my offspring thrust me from my happy sleepy place, the least I can do is write.  It’s kind of like raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens or turning lemons into lemonade.  I don’t know, my cliché processing hours don’t begin until 8AM.

What I really wanted to say is that yesterday, we found our three year old in mid-play and heard, uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, sies, siete, ocho…    I blame the duo of  Dora and Diego.  I’m now switching all their cartoons to French speaking shows, because I dream sweet dreams of my little children speaking French.

The end.
P.S. The title of this post is not to be confused with my current favorite song, by Of Monsters and Men.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A night under the twinkle lights

Sometimes, we still feel new here, although the police officer who pulled over my husband didn’t seem to agree when he saw his still out of state license.  Oops. Moving somewhere new when you are grown up is tricky, it takes time to get to know people and time isn’t always something that you have sitting around in excess.  Time or energy, basically the same thing. 

My friend and I have talked about starting all kinds of groups, book clubs, creativity nights, Bible studies, even morning coffee dates.  We long for community and a place to encourage, where real conversation happens, not mindless small talk or ridiculous mommy judgment nonsense.  A place to breathe softly and refresh.  Where ladies with different opinions, parenting styles, hobbies, denominations can just be and enjoy a few hours together. 

Last night this happened, in my backyard.  White lights hung in the trees and a heart garland danced in the wind.  A charade of quilts and blankets were spread on the grass, where we would sit as the sun sank beneath the trees, and then be a feast for the swarms of mosquitos.  The table was filled with pretty plates, iced coffee, tea, cookies, and wild mushroom brie, Thank God for brie. Always.

Admittedly, I was nervous of how it everyone would mesh, as the invitation read,, invite friends.  Yet at one point, when the all natural bug spray failed us, we sat in a circle wrapped in blankets laughing, not because we were cold, but to baracade the pesky buzzers who wanted to destroy us. It all seemed very slumber party-ish and that is one thing we all know, because no matter who we are or what we do, we were all thirteen at a slumber party once.


We are hoping to have nights like this on a regular basis, because sometimes the very thing we are searching for, we must create ourselves. 

As I was preparing for the evening, I was searching for the perfect quote or reading to share.  Nothing spoke to me until I read through my collection of highlighted passages on my Kindle.  Instantly, I knew.

“Let us not lose our laughter girls,” said Mrs. Blythe.

“Sometimes a laugh is a good as a prayer.”

Rilla of Ingleside, LM Montgomery

Friday, July 6, 2012

Instagram to art: the first three

Every once in a while, while browsing my Instagram feed, I come across a photo that takes my breath away and says, paint me.

I respond, I will paint you.

Here are the ones I’ve done so far.


It’s fun to see the translation happen, taking the original and making it my own.  Taking what we’ve been given and creating something new. 

Thanks to these people for their lovely inspirations.  You can find me on IG at saturatedpalette.

Also, I recently did an interview for my friend Abi, you can find it here.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

on parenting and the idea that we are doing just fine.

Two things especially bother me. First, when people say, “I have this junk stuff I don’t want, I’m bringing it over.”   No.  I certainly do not want more stuff, I’m trying to already trying to get rid of everything we have. (Exceptions apply).  Second are those e-mails from parenting websites, you know, the your baby this week ones.    I might have an issue with people telling me what to do, like how companies tell me that my children should wear clothes that have exploded with butterfly/sparkly/sugar puff/ladybugs and nonsense words OR how it is suggested that I sign my baby up for a tumbling class so she will learn how to walk and fall.  Yeah, we can do that home.   Is there a class for breathing, because what if we aren’t sure how to do that either. 

I will never admit that I know everything, I mean, thank God that I do not, but I am certain that within us is the necessary knowledge and wisdom to raise our children.  Like how once we become mothers, we can hear the slightest sound from their room or how we know the difference between a hurt and tired cry or how we can tell when they just need some space and quiet.  We have been equipped and if we listen to that gentle voice inside, we know.

This is where things get dangerous, so hold on.  There is a great force that launches a full scale assault from the very second you find out you will be a parent. Its sole mission is to make you feel unprepared and incapable of executing the mission before you.  From the parenting books that say this is the only way or the other parents who who know everything that ever existed to the doctors appointments and the checklists that can make you feel nervous and totally unable to go on, without a half an hour wait for a ten minute visit.  Also, that whole concept of mom guilt, (don’t get me started). And no, they aren’t all bad, but the overwhelming sense is that all these voices are telling us, I have the answers and clearly, you do not. 

An empowered person who possesses quiet confidence is a dangerous thing.

When we need help, we should seek wisdom, only fools wouldn’t,  but what would happen if we started to believe in ourselves?  What if we started to believe that we were created for this (any many other things), created to raise our babies and watch them grow into capable, good hearted, and amazing people. What if we let our voice, the one that comes from our very core be the loudest. We are entrusted with the future, we are watching it unfold each and every day.   I wonder if the future would seem less frightening if the voices we heard the most were full of encouraging messages rather than hey, you, you’re doing it all wrong.

Just a few beginning thoughts on this subject,  I’d love to hear from you.

But, most of all, I hope you know you’re doing a good job.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Destroyed book turned garland.

Along with all of you, we are roasting in the oven known as this summer heatwave. So we play in the morning under the trees and then retreat inside around 90°. 

And since we can't change the weather, we change what we can. Kind of like in life, make magic when possible and things beyond our control we leave alone. So today I found this well loved book torn from its binding.  Awesome. The artwork is some of my favorite,  I wasn't ready to part with it, so I cut triangles and sewed them into a garland.

I love creating personal touches for their room. I want it to be a delightful place where they play and sleep and grow.  Childhood is special and we get to be a part of that.