i am from...

I am from a home with a basement of endless imagination, from cabbage patch dolls and playing meeting on the stairs.
I am from the beautiful wood house on top of the hill with grand view of bluff and valley low.
I am from the outreaching arms of the cactus, the slight scent of honeysuckle, the short dirt road leading home.
The pinon trees scattered across dry land, the sight of blooming rose and the unmistakeably fresh air of a small town.
I am from forming circle around the guitar while raising voice in song and leaving long pause in the center of my speech, from Bryan John and Kimberly Sue and the individual journeying of the Turgesen girls.
I am from the knowing how to rally up around people I care for and accepting the unique place we all have on this rotating rock.
From "keep your heart soft", the unspoken language of believing in each other and subtle speech teaching great, big, beautiful lessons.
I am from meetings in homes and hymn books black, from honoring the spirit of goodness and seeking out your own understanding. From tolerance and open-minded learning, from finding your path and valuing differences.
I am from my mama's womb, from the desert of AZ and the love of my parents. From Norway and Denmark and from places I will never know. From sky and earth and water and fire...from the whisper of the creator and the magic of life.
I am from the quiet conversation around evening cups of coffee and from mashed "patootshkis" making my dad smile.
I am from the warmth and freedom of a father of five who gives light back rubs and who opens the world to understanding. I am from his silent communication and from his gentle strength in dealing with life. I am from his example of living as though people are learning from you and from his acknowledging the sacredness of life.
I am from the vivacious energy of a mother of five who exerts herself in a million different ways. I am from her compliments and worries and the creative pulse that leads her into new territory. I am from her encouragement and her ever present belief in my abilities.
I am from ancestors many, whose lives lead and dip into mine, somehow moving and shaping me along the way.
I am from hair tied in rags, from stinkbug races and making perfume from flowers. I am from pictures on walls and tucked into albums, from stories told across lips young and old, from exchanging experiences and supporting in community. I am from villages far and wide, close and near.
I am from the heartbeat of the earth, from the wings of angels and from the storms in the sky.
I am from life.


good thinking

Last night, I was laying in bed with Asher for "ONE minute" at his request. It is one of my most favorite requests of his. He was quietly staring up at the ceiling with a look of ponder in his eyes. I whispered in his ear "what are you thinking about buddy?".
He said "good".
I was about to open my mouth and re-ask the question, thinking that maybe he didn't understand what I was asking him. And then I stopped myself, realizing that he DID get the question. I was the one who didn't understand.
Convincing my mind to dwell on the "good" is a lesson I come up against again and again and again in this life. It always seems to be the subtle whispers that take the greatest hold. So, I try to imitate Asher's wisdom with the dwelling on 10 things that I am loving right now in my life. 10 things...because we have to start somewhere!
1. The tan lines that are appearing on my little girl's shoulders...leaving behind evidence of the hours spent splashing and floating in the summer sun.
2. The way she whispers "there waldo" while pointing to every object and person illustrated on the pages as we search and study the Where's Waldo books.
3. Listening to acoustic guitar strummed by my dad's careful hands and my cousins accompaniment and watching the way my little boy dances energetically about to the created rhythm in his tie-dyed underwear. It takes me back to when I was little and the joy that encompassed me when hearing the same music.
4. The storms that have been visiting us. The way the wind lashes and the sky darkens and the smell of earth lifts up into the air.
5. My clean home and the thankfulness that I feel for my mom...always lending a hand, always working hard to help make life a little more enjoyable for her daughters. I have been looking around my house and just feeling so much more peace from the organization and space. It isn't my strong point...organization...and sometimes it takes the people who love you most to come up with a plan to help. Thank you!
6. Homemade guacamole and the way my little girl shares a bowl with me...loving it even MORE than her mama, I must say!
7. Our library visits and the way that each one delights Asher in such a way where he wants to hold each book in his lap on the way home. I love how he takes such pride in sharing his library books with others and learning all about new creatures. I love how he picks one subject and wants to check out every possible book to bring home. I love that he is eager to learn.
8. Dreaming up sewing projects and knowing that there is a sale this coming Saturday at my favorite fabric store!
9. Sitting on the couch with my husband, after the children have gone to sleep, with the TV off and a book in our hands...reading a chapter a night together.
10. The listening ears of my dad...and his wisdom and open way of helping each person to be heard and understood. I learn so very much from him.
Perhaps I will make this a weekly ritual...the listing of 10 things. I wish to genuinely answer "good" whenever someone asks me what I am thinking about.


it's simple, really

"mama, my nose holes are kind of yittle (little)."
It is small discoveries like this one that make my life so good. I love hearing and watching my children discover the world and take notice of the simplicity of life. It reminds me to do the same and it also teaches me to take note of what exists and what is wonderful just because it IS.
I've had a really heavy few days where life doesn't feel so simple and the complexity of emotion whirls around and within me. Focusing on the simple things is what helps bring me sanity. It is what clears the windows of my soul so that I may see the bare naked blessing of this life. When we are faced with the potential of big fears becoming alive and real, it is so easy to get swept away and covered in the waters of that pain...where we gasp for air and search for safe land. It is in all that clamoring where my children have shown up and awaken me to the truth that I am not drowning. If I could just focus on the simplicity of things then stillness would be known all around me.
This week is considered U.S. National Downshifting Week as read about in a posted e-mail from my holistic mom's network bulletin, and also on this website . We are already a little over half-way through the week, but I still wanted to make note of it here and share a link for the created manifesto...just in case you were feeling an urge to support and be supported in enjoying the simple things.
This was a timely awareness for me because the act of turning my mind and heart on simplicity is what has brought me comfort and stability. Keeping it simple...choosing kindness when there are so many other responses to be had...fostering a soft heart...coaxing my heart open...these are simple truths that hold with them a great deal of learning and living. I have found that living simply goes beyond the strategy of consuming less and clearing our lives of "stuff". It also involves caring more about the quality of life and the joy found in the natural, everyday circumstances that are so simple and lovely.


how to make a well-spent weekend

First off, find some people that you really love being around and join them for a few days up north where it is a bit cooler. Next, place yourselves in a downtown craft fair and walk and look and enjoy the creativity.
Discover new "living creatures" and observe them with awe and wonder. Touch them, talk with them and become good friends.
Find yourself an open curb to watch the small town parade while sipping a refreshment.
And be totally amazed at the talent that drives by. This kid...amazing. I don't know if it is dancing or roping or just pure genius...but it is certainly incredible what this guy can do.
Next, find yourself some gorgeous scenery with water and earth. Set up a blanket underneath a tree. Enjoy some grub while exploring (and respecting) the natural world. Finally, top it all off with some sweetness.

Mix and enjoy.

Serves as many as you would like.


creative therapy

I've had a bit of a heavy heart and mind the past few days. Over this last year, I have learned that creating something...anything, always seems to help with the heaviness when it sneaks about. So this week has brought somewhat of a crafting blizzard into our home. The remnants of it are everywhere and I don't yet intend to put them away into their rightful places. My environment tends to mirror my inner workings...and for right now, it is all a pinch of a mess. But the crafting has been fun! I finally got to meet my college roommate's new baby girl the other night and I gathered enough supplies around our home to make some of those wool-felt blocks that are featured in Amanda Soule's book ~The Creative Family. That was therapeutic because of the meditative repetition...and also because it was the first project I have ever hand sewn! A sweet little accomplishment that made me smile. And then I started making her some of these sweet little barrettes...and I haven't really stopped since. I don't know exactly what I am going to do with a bunch of barrettes...because I don't wear them and my children don't wear them. Well, Journey will only wear them for as long as we ooh and aah over how cute they look on her. But once the oohing and aahing stops (because it can't go on ALL day long)...she rips them off of her head. I guess I'll just have a great stash of gifts for little ones who like barrettes. The crafting brought with it some delusional affirmations as well. I dreamt up my own etsy shop and thought of all the things I could sell...which were things I have never even tried to make. Nevertheless, it has been a nice break to the ramblings of my mind and it has shown me how very centering it is to create.
Now...does anyone need any barrettes?



"Talent is helpful in writing, but guts are absolutely necessary." ~Jessamyn West
My dear friend Karyn called me this morning and shared with me this quote...saying that she just thought it would add a bright spot to my morning. Not only was she right about that...but I was so touched by the message in these words. I was named after Jessamyn West...and am only now beginning to take notice of the significance in sharing my first name with her...an author of whom courage seemed to be of importance. There have been many ways in which this little "lesson" has been showing up for me lately. Mostly through words sprinkled here and there in my readings. I seem to be consuming this notion that to be led to where I am craving to go...I must take courage and I must have guts. There has been a certain heaviness around my heart the past few days. Reasons, I can think of many...but the source of it all comes from this hunger of mine...this longing that reaches to the depth of my core...this wild and organic aching for cultivating greatness...for singing out loud the songs in my soul and releasing all expectation of what is to come from that very freedom. I've been reminded that we often hold back because we fear the possibilities even while hurting for them at the same time. I convince myself sometimes that it is safer to harbor my dreams but it is here that I never learn of my potential. I know it is time for me to show up for these longings, to take bigger risks in letting myself be known and heard...in getting out some of the hunger that sits inside so that it may be fed through the only way it can be...through TRYING...through taking courage and living the dreams. I don't know what lies beyond the horizon of this thought and I know for certain it is just a moment in time. It won't, by itself, change the course of my existence like some magic trick...but through time, by choosing to show up with courage, the greatness that sits in waiting among all of us, slowly begins to step out with each invitation to be free from smothered fear. Every action, when carried out with courage, counts towards something more. So, I show up to write with courage. I take pictures with courage. I begin to create things with courage. I parent with courage. I live simply with courage. I make decisions and dream and speak and breathe with courage...and I am taken into a new way of living...where fear no longer hinders me but melts into a sea of motivation...each wave of doubt being used to move me out into the open waters of life.


when trees dance

There were a couple of days last week in which we were blessed with wind singing songs through the leaves and rain quenching the thirst of the earth. One evening, as the wind raged on through the trees in our front yard, Asher inquired as to why "the trees and grass (were) dancing?". That little question got me doing a whole lot of thinking....why aren't they?
I wonder about the magic of life and when it is that some of us begin to see things for only what they are through explanation or proof. When is it that we lose sight of the unseen, the mystery and search hard for theory and logistic. Is there a moment that comes where it gets too uncomfortable to just sit with this idea...that trees dance to the music of the sky? I've been wondering about why we hide that way of thinking at times. Why do we have this habitual way of communicating with each other where we cover the basics and touch only on the surface of living. I have always struggled with this...making small talk. As a teenager I would grow anxious of talking with people in passing...because I thought I sucked at small conversation. I wanted to dig too deep, too fast and I wanted to say things that didn't make "sense". Someone actually made a comment about me once. Not to my face, but through someone else that I said "weird things sometimes". I figure it has to do with my way of letting the words slip through my lips...the ones that can be abstract and open...the ones that linger around for interpretation, the ones that invite in digging around for something...anything.
As I've gotten older, I don't struggle as much with making light conversation. I can do it and sometimes, I even enjoy it. I reached a point where I hungered for lightness and the touch and go of slight connection. It was something that brought me comfort. Now, I notice that going within doesn't have to always be heavy. It can be slithery and slight but profound. My children are light and yet they provoke enough thought to sprinkle the sky. They speak little but say a whole lot...and they always keep their minds wide open to the wonder. This kind of perspective makes it so easy to communicate wisdom through questions. Questions that perhaps we all have, but have forgotten...or questions that we hold back because they sound a bit silly being spoken from a mind that has learned what is "real" and what is "not". It all sort of disassembles our categories of thought and the labeling of what IS and what ISN'T when we just allow the questions to exist.
The beauty of life is found in the interpretation...in the midst of an evening dance.