2.29.2008

30 Days::Day 11

"I've been losing lots of keys lately
I don't know what that means but maybe
I'd be better off with things that can't be locked at all"
~Jack Johnson in his song "Losing Keys"
I can't get my mind off of these words. I think it is sinking into me not only on a literal level but in a way that has me evaluating what I "lock" up about myself...where my relationship with fear moves me into caring mostly about safety and less about how great it feels to fly free.
Minimal impact and detachment....aaaahhhhh.

2.28.2008

Love Thursday and 30 Days::Day 10

"Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all."
~Harriet Van Horne
The other day Josh and I were taking a drive near an old apartment that we lived in the second year of our marriage. A swarm of memories always encompass me anytime I drive through that part of town. I usually think about my state of mind at that time in life or about the health of my relationships or about the pal-ing around that Asher and I did when he was so very young. But this time, I started thinking about my cooking habits, or more appropriately, the lack thereof. During that time I was adjusting to so many new responsibilities...wife and mother were two gigantic ones that took up most of my effort in living on a day to day basis. It wasn't that I didn't care about what went into my body and that of my new child...I just think that I had this really strong urge to resist the generalization that I was supposed to be the ONE who cared about all of that and who was in charge of the culinary undertaking in our little family. I had this vision of cooking and kitchen work being split equally between my husband and I...and I was going to do everything in my power to create that kind of equality...even if it meant me going on strike from cooking or grocery shopping. It didn't make a whole lot of sense MOST of the time, although I applaud my effort and idealism, I was the one who was at home around dinner time. So, naturally, it became necessary for me to step up to what was becoming increasingly important to me as person...(not just a mother or a woman). That being the empowerment that comes from taking charge over what is ingested by myself and those I care for.
Although we aim to make most of the chores and responsibilities in this home interchangeable between each member...inevitably there is a division that takes place no matter how hard the effort to break it down. I stay at home with my children, and therefore, I am responsible for a large variety of their needs and all of my own. Eating healthy food just happens to be one of them...and my relationship with this understanding has shifted and evolved from those resistant days in our one bedroom apartment. You could say that I have re-claimed the apron.
I now really enjoy cooking. Grocery shopping, not so much, although I suppose it depends on the day. Some days it is the only thing that brings me sanity...walking the aisles by myself, picking the perfect onion...you know, the important things. And for a spirit who winces a bit upon hearing words like "planning" and "schedules"...I have to admit that I have actually come to appreciate the process of constructing a meal plan for the week. I actually almost look forward to it and think of it as a time to dream. From skimming the pages of my beautiful vegetarian cookbooks, to experimenting with my one meat/per week entree...it really is a creative experience.
And the creativity is where it lies for me. I think of cooking as my own built-in time for creation. Life slows down. Aromas fill my home. I am meditative and relaxed (as long as all children are either pre-occupied or happily worn against my chest). I instantly get in touch with my center and I am transported through the whole process. Breaking down raw, whole ingredients and creating something entirely new from the combination and infusion of their components. It really is something wonderful when I just stop and think about it.
Creative love comes in so many delicious forms.

2.26.2008

30 Days::Day 9

I had to take a small break in my posts. We just got home last night from a day of snowboarding on this beautiful mountain. Oh how I love this mountain, even if it gave me a pretty good beating. After all, it had been a good 5 years since I was last on a snowboard. 5 years! It showed...I spent more time on my bootie than I would have preferred. This morning, my body is speaking to me loud and clear; "ummm...the next time you want to do something like that, a little excercise first might be nice!". Yes, no matter how many teaspoons of chia seeds I ate (because I wanted the endurance of an aztec warrior), or how many handfuls of dark chocolate covered goji berries I inhaled (because well...their de-lish)...by the end of the day there was a huge disconnection between what my mind was informing my body to do and what my body was actually doing. Not even a few good spankings from mother earth herself were defeating my body's rebelion. I was clearly so out of shape.
But, it was serious fun! The kind of fun that is so worth a few sore muscles.

2.23.2008

30 Days::Day 8 (and a recipe to boot!)

I just made me some of the best tasting pasta I think I have ever had. It was gooooooooooood. I have always wanted to post a recipe on this blog because I do a lot of eating and a lot of experimenting with yummy entrees...and this one? Well...I think it is totally post worthy.
I made a few modifications on the original recipe, like using fresh ingredients instead of canned or jarred, so I will just post it as I made it.
I would have included a picture of the deliciousness, but it doesn't look like anything spectacular on a plate and I really haven't figured out how to make food look good in a picture. So...this picture of my plant Zeke will have to do. He has followed me through many moves and transitions over the past 7 years and he deserves a little recognition. Plus...plants and sunlight are always a good combination, aren't they?
Southwestern Pasta for Two
4 oz dried pasta (such as wagon wheel or penne)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 medium tomatoes, chopped
about 3 Tbsp oil-packed sun dried tomatoes, julienne style
1/4 cup dry sherry (or chicken broth or veg broth)
2-3 tsp. finely chopped jalapeno chile pepper
2 Tbsp snipped fresh basil
2 Tbsp snipped fresh parsley
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain; cover and keep warm. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook garlic in hot oil for one minute. Add chopped jalapeno pepper* and cook for another 3 minutes. Add fresh tomatoes, dried tomatoes, sherry, parsley and basil. (I also added some Italian seasoning for good measure).
2. Bring to boiling;reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir pasta into tomato mixture and toss gently to combine. Sprinkle with cheese and serve.
*I was a little more generous with the jalapeno pepper as well...cause I like-a the spice!
A perfect blend of southwestern spice and traditional Italian.
Eat it up, yum!!

2.22.2008

30 Days::Day 7

Ok, so I couldn't pick just one photo today. This little guy is serious about his accessorizing. From laying each tiny piece of jewelry in the "correct" place, to diligently placing all 20 bracelets on ONE wrist, to finally completing his work and dancing a jig so cool I only WISH I could imitate his moves. Every part of it I want to capture forever because it all together makes me melt and laugh at the same time. He has that effect on me...usually...not to leave out the fact that he can also drag me to the edge of insanity
Today I was attempting to be some sort of domestic diva, what with all the cleaning and laundering and organizing I was doing. It was a bit exhausting...because stuff like that never works out the way you envision when there are two very curious, very lively young folks around to undo all that you have worked so hard to mark off your list. It is days like that which always send me searching for the camera...to remind myself what the "work" really is that I have committed to. After that, I usually talk myself out of one more load of laundry...or, the case today, I just overlooked that neglected kitchen floor once again.
What really matters?
I would certainly rather be dressing up with my babe and dancing aimlessly just because we like the way our necklaces sound as they click together.
I can acknowledge that there has always been a trace of this urgency in my mind of figuring out what the important things are in life and just doing them. When there are seasons that present themselves where I am NOT taking part in the immediate urges of my heart, I feel most uncomfortable and off center. I have been reading some really beautiful lists that people have made of things that they would do differently if they knew they only had a short time to live...I think I am going to make me one of those lists. Because, I am that kind of a gal...I like lists.
I am also really attracted to this idea of living boldly and with a song of kindness that stirs those we touch to start their own harmony.
I am adding this linky do to my side bar. I'm gonna start making my love notes tomorrow...and I am stirring around a lot of ideas on how to bring this hope revolution into the song of my heart.
Anyone wanna collaborate?

2.20.2008

30 Days::Day 5

Picking up where we left off...
I really didn't like leaving up such a bleak and bare post for so long. I had a good little break, thinking about things and making some decisions and reassessing my intent in what I do here. I certainly didn't intend to cultivate fear inside anyone who dwelled on my words in the last post. I don't want to be adding to the chaos. I have a quote up on my fridge from the book I am reading. It is a little question that I can play over and over in my mind throughout the day. It comes in especially handy when my emotions are about to drive me into a place of reaction. I call on this:
"Am I going to practice peace, or, am I going to go to war?"
It sheds some light on the situations I encounter...and gives me a small moment to catch my breath, to size up my place in all of it, to remember that our actions are all part of the condition of this planet, and to (hopefully) find center and act from that sacred place of love. Doesn't always work...but the excercise is worth the effort.
All of that to say, I felt like I left you with a bit of war-stained words in that last post. I suppose it was just a reflection of some of the fear inside of me at that moment.
I am at peace. It really was nothing more than a little experience that put a good dose of "what the ????" in my mind. That can be a healthy thing every once in a while. And, although I am going to be making a few small changes here and there...for the most part I am just going to keep on keepin' on. The world, overall, is a good place. All is resolved and I can continue on my little way of sharing and exploring what blogging has to offer. Because, for me, it is more than writing and sharing pictures...it is sharing stories. We all have our own stories. This happens to be mine at the moment and this blog is just one little creative way I can tell my story.
A lot of people around me and loved by me are coming face to face with their fears lately. It brings me into that space as well...where I think about matters that usually are filled up with fear and sadness. I am noticing that there are so many ways to approach it all, and my readings lately reflect this same issue. Several people that I observe and learn from are walking along side their pain...meeting it face to face, almost embracing what they can. There is much to be said about that. It is constantly echoing inside the canyons in my life. I think about it when Asher brings me weeds from outside with such enthusiasm as to how I will receive his "surprise". A shift in perspective turns the unwanted into treasure...weeds into flowers.
I think about it when he asks me for chocolate milk "without the milk" and how it is a constant straining to realize that we can't have pleasure without pain. Not only do they coexist, but they give birth to the other...allowing us to take comfort in the beauty of balance.
I'm searching for a good space to rest with that. I know that there is a lot of suffering by people I care deeply for and for people I don't know. I try to find my place in it...breathing in their sorrow and breathing out healing thoughts and compassionate light. It inevitably brings about a shift in my own heart on how to better turn the weeds in my life into flowers that I can share and enjoy.

2.14.2008

30 Days::Day 4

I spoke way too soon yesterday. About one hour after I posted on here, I started getting the chills and low and behold more body aches and fever. Only, this time it was two-fold. I felt more sick yesterday than I did the day before. This morning, I won’t make any assumptions…(but I do feel better than I did last night). I was all ready to write a post for Love Thursday. Because, after all, it is and it is also V-Day and valentines day. love.love.love. I had some really cute photos of what love looked like to me this week. Maybe I can post all of that another day…I have never been very traditional anyhow. So…instead of that post, I have this one. I have been hesitating on whether to write about it or not, but I can’t seem to fling it from my mind…so I took that as my answer. I need to get it out. Yesterday, during a break in my fever, I went on-line and discovered that another blogger (who shall remain nameless in this space) had taken content from one of my posts and posted it on her blog without a link, a reference or mention of my name or my blog. Nothing. I am uncertain as to whether or not she was aware of what she was doing, that plagiarism is illegal. She altered a few things…replacing the names of my children with those of her own and she did leave out a bit of the text that was unique to me and my family…it just wouldn’t have fit or made sense in her blog, I suppose. She took my words and claimed them as her own. The situation was resolved quickly and painlessly. I submitted comment on her blog requesting that she rightfully take that specific post down, and she did. I know stuff like this happens all the time. I was aware of it when I started a blog and I weighed out the various factors and decided to start one and share in the way that I do because I really like the idea of trusting. We are only responsible for ourselves. I am responsible for what appears on this blog and I do my best to express myself honestly, hopefully and kindly. I guess that is why it stung a bit to see my words on someone else’s page where I was nowhere to be found. I am inspired and touched by people’s words and images every time I visit blogs. I often link to various bloggers because of something that I have connected with and appreciated or because they have inspired me to take their ideas and work them into my own life in some unique way. Linking is fine. It is more than fine, it is great! Link away! I think it helps build community, stir reflection, it shares the love. I *try* to make a conscious effort to give credit where credit is due…whether someone has inspired a certain project I want to partake in, or whether there words spoke to me deeply. This little experience is stirring up a lot of questions in me at the moment. Last night I kind of sprung into action after realizing what had happened. I think the experience itself, on top of the haziness this flu has left floating in my mind coupled with the fact that I was all hopped up on mama bear instinct made me a bit emotional about it all. I drew a few boundaries that I felt the need to draw and I reached out for some resources. Whoever was on the receiving end of those e-mails/convos: I hope my words were gentle and digestable. That was certainly my intent. The situation in itself is hurtful, yes...it stunk! But, of course there could be worse things. Images of my children were not taken, which is something I think would break my heart. But, the truth of it is…they could have been. And, this has got me re-evaluating some safety concerns that I struggle with. When I say safety…I certainly don’t mean that I fear for the well-being of my children or myself, because I don’t. I just mean that the images that I put up, realistically, can be accessed and reproduced by anyone for any purpose of their own. This here is a modest blog…it isn’t hit up by thousands of people a day. It is simply my heartfelt attempt at writing, at taking pictures, at working through thoughts and readings, at making and sharing some of my humble creations, at reaching out and building community in this sphere. None of it is good or bad…but it is Me. It is all pieces of my life. My children are a big part of my life at the moment…and that is why I share about them here. I have worked through my own stumbles of what I should share about them and what I should not at this tender age where they cannot give me their consent for what I do post. And, while I like to think all of us are one big family…you know as The Beatles say, “I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together”…the reality is that it doesn’t feel good to be taken from when what was taken is dear to your heart. Perhaps I shouldn’t be so hung up on that…I’m not sure. I started this blog as a way to update family members of the growth and change of our family, and, like I have said before, FOR ME…it has morphed into something more personal and expressive. At times, I feel vulnerable expressing myself in the ways that I do…but I have also gotten so blessed by it and truthfully…it is really healing and freeing. You may be seeing some changes here…or you may not be seeing anything at all. This post is mostly stream of consciousness, I'm not trying to get all dramatic on ya. :) I will work through what lessons I can take away from this…what things did I need my eyes opened to, etc. I am going to take a light hiatus from posting so that I can go a little further down the rabbit hole. I will be back when I decide how I want to get out.

2.13.2008

30 Days::Day 3

dinosaurs on the "mountain" by the light of the morning sun

This is usually how our mornings begin these days. Only, normally, there is a 3 year old standing on the arm of the couch next to the armoir. He must have been on break in this picture. These figurines have become the latest decor in this specific place...all previous trinkets have been moved in order to provide more room for dinosaur roaming, and growling, and fighting (why must they fight?), and inevitably falling off of the mountain. I keep telling him that if all the dinosaurs keep falling off the mountain...they just might wind up extinct. Just an educated guess.

I am feeling so much better this morning. All body aches, chills and the low down misery that was existing within has vacated the premises. The only thing I woke up with was a sore throat, headache and a head cold. So, I am blowing my nose every three minutes...but at least I can go fetch me my own kleenex because today I can walk.

It is always amazing what sickness does for me. Slowing me down enough to really experience it...the aches and pain and discomfort. Somehow, intentionally I suppose, it brings my mind to the things in my life...be they thoughts, or habits, or actions...that bring in their own little parties of pain and misery and discomfort into my spirit. It always becomes more of a spirit and heart issue than a physical issue for me. Like my body is generously manifesting what isn't at ease within.

I suppose it is a good thing to have a dose of that once in a while. If we carried around our crap without ever being shown how "sick" it makes us...then we might never even come face to face with what needs a bit of reshaping, of letting go, of coming to terms with...or whatever it may be.

Not that I like being sick, mind you.

I think I would rather fall off the mountain. Well, as long as I was plastic and nearly unbreakable.

2.12.2008

30 Days::Day 2

come together, over me
i haven't spent much time with my camera today. i am curled up in a blanket, nursing some kind of flu (again, really??).
this is what things have looked like over the past two nights. just me and a cup of chamomille tea, and, hands down the COOLEST movie I have ever watched.
passion, magical storytelling, pulsing music, creative overflow and the kind of love that brings us all together. i really.really love this flick.
it is the only movie that could possibly get my feet tapping and blood flowing while being laid up with achiness, chills and fever.
seriously. i love this movie.

2.11.2008

30 days::day 1

It's the beginning of a new challenge over here for me. I am putting more effort into taking pictures every day...the type that capture the "every day" moments that fill up our lives. I know that happiness really is all about the little things around here, and I want to put some energy into trying to capture some of those small moments with my camera. After getting some inspiration from Soulemama (who I have come to realize I am perma-inspired by)...I've decided to go on a 30 day venture of posting one photo a day of whatever it is that has spoken to me through sight. It is a good excuse to get some good one on one time with my camera and I think that, perhaps, it will become a little archive of thoughts and photos that I can look back on and reminisce about.
I will still be writing, because I really want to keep up that practice as well...but I probably won't be writing everyday.
Here is to day 1...and the 29 that will follow.
Peace.

2.09.2008

down by the river

Inspiration from this book has sent us seeking and honoring and getting in touch with the NEED for time spent in nature. My friend alyson found quite the treasure in this spot by the river and asked us to join her and her little ones last week (thanks again Al!). It really is perfect because there is a lot of space, a lot of rocks to throw in the water, and the river is quite shallow. Needless to say, it only took about five mintues for Asher to get knee deep in the light current. There was so much room to explore and discover all within eyesight. These are the types of environments that I enjoy most with my babes...where they are a bit more "free" to run off and play and get good and dirty! I am quite confident that this little spot will be the setting for many wonderful adventures! Just wanting to share a bit of the beauty that I sometimes fail to acknowledge in the desert landscape. Looking at these pictures helps me remember and realize that beauty is all around us.

2.08.2008

2.07.2008

Love Thursday

a heart found at the river
Today is my dad's 60th birthday. And so...there isn't much more to say than HAPPY BIRTHDAY to one of the most gentle, wise, loving, compassionate, trusting and authentic human beings to have ever touched the earth (or...at least my life)!
Thank you for everything you offer.
I love you Dad!

2.04.2008

season for nonviolence

I made this necklace yesterday while "watching" the super bowl. Although I am not much of a football fan...I am a fan of the " use any reason to get together with people that I like" kind of party-ing. I also really like food...especially game day snacky food. Because we all deserve that once in a while. Yum.
So...it was there that I made this necklace. I had picked out all the special beads that I wanted to incorporate in it the day before...and I am really happy with how it turned out for me. There are a lot of little tokens of love and inspiration and good reminders of my journey and what I want to focus on along the way. It is the perfect necklace for me right now. I wore it all day today...and I felt so great having it as a "part" of me.
I was holding a few intentions when I picked out the beads, when I created it in my mind, and when I was putting it all together. One of these intentions was for the finished project to represent a few of the personal committments I have made to myself for the 2008 Season for Non Violence.
" A Season for Non Violence, January 30th through April 4th, is a global 64-day educational, media and grassroots campaign dedicated to demonstrating that nonviolence is a powerful way to heal, transform, and empower our lives and our communitites. Inspired by the 50th and 30th memorial anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., this international event honors their vision for an empowered nonviolent world."
(taken from my local Natural Awakenings magazine)
I wanted something that held inspiration, reflection, challenge and committment...and I love looking at it and wearing it with those things in mind. So...although I won't be wearing it all 64 days (hee hee)...I do have other challenges brewing in my heart and soul. One of them being to re-read my copy of NonViolent Communication...you know, because I can ALWAYS use a refresher. Other things I intend to do? Making some art that represents my own searching and learning of this vital topic... following through with some personal challenges I have constructed for myself (yikes)...leaving behind as many love notes (inspired by the soulful Jen Lemen) to my city as I possibly can...consuming the good! listening to beauties like India Arie and watching movies that promote peace, like this one...finding and going to several events that are in celebration of this specific season...and just doing my best to bring more peace and nonviolence into my own practice of living.
If you're looking for more information or want to find ways to get involved and celebrate in your own unique way...check out these fabulous links of peace!
"Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral question of our time -- the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression." -- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

2.02.2008

groundlessness

I've been trying to wrap my mind around this idea of groundlessness. The last few weeks, I have found myself especially drawn to noticing and photographing trees. I have been particularly focusing on their groundedness...their roots, how they run deep and pierce the earth through this slow and rythmic growth, in order to survive, to thrive, to live. I think I have been wanting that, searching for it and reaching for similar security in my own life...being planted, rooted, into something so that the worries and the sorrow that floats around in the world doesn't lift me up and take me away. My sister and I have been talking a lot over the past few weeks about our desire to control our situations and our tendency to want to get in the midst of things to get our own understanding and perspective...to be grounded in our ability to somehow effect the outcome.
Interestingly enough, earlier this week I started reading this book that I had bought several years ago. In it, the author talks about this idea of groundlessness:
"When things are shaky and nothing is working, we might realize that we are on the verge of something. We might realize that this is a very vulnerable and tender place, and that tenderness can go either way. We can shut down and feel resentful or we can touch in on that throbbing quality. There is definetly something tender and throbbing about groundlessness."
I think that when I come into that realm...where I can't seem to find ground...the panic of it all usually sends me searching for some kind of stability. And, if I can't seem to find it, or if I let myself feel whatever pain may be stirring about...I can usually start to view it all with a judgemental eye. It is bad. It hurts. Let's make the pain go away, yes? Let's grab some control. She goes on to say:
"Things falling a part is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing. We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don't really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It's just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy."
It is quite a challenge...to just give it all room. To not allow attachment to a specific way of interpretting it all. To not search for a way to escape or to assign our limited perspective as the "truth" to the situation. Really, it is just about allowing the moment to be what it is and not trying to make it something else. It's letting go of what we think it should be about or what we don't want it to be about or what we hope for it to be about...and then just making room for what it is. Because, really, what else can it be?
"When we think that something is going to bring us pleasure, we don't know what's really going to happen. When we think something is going to give us misery, we don't know. Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all. We try to do what we think is going to help. But we don't know. We never know if we're going to fall flat or sit up tall. When there's big dissapointment, we don't know if that's the end of the story. It may be just the bginning of a great adventure."
I have been stirred and challenged by this reading. I've been thinking about how, in my own life or in the life of people I care for, I can look at situations and label something as "bad" or something as "good"...but really, I don't know. I'm exploring a bit more of the peace of groundlessness...and that, if I can look at the in-between state of affairs as a place where my heart can open wider towards myself and others..."groundlessness" is really the only place to be.