Friday, January 30, 2015

winter vision board

After I get the kids out the door and off to school...
After I gather old forgotten periodicals and calenders 
off the closet shelf...
After I turn on the Windham Hill station on Pandora...
After I plop myself down on the floor with scissors and tape...

I begin to cut.
I begin to arrange.
I begin to create.

looking and listening 
to heart-whispered
messages and meanings;
these certain and chosen
images speaking to my soul.

This introspective and simple practice a tool,
helping me,
reminding me
of the intentions, the feelings, the mood,
the longings and vision I have 
for this season
of winter.

(other past vision boards here and here.)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

late afternoon light

While all the folks in New England 
are digging out from yesterday's big storm, 
we here in Utah are experiencing spring-like weather. 
I must say I can't complain-- it does make it easier for me to get around--
but still, it's weird to see the tips of my daffodil bulbs poking out of the ground,
some trees and bushes starting to bud.
And on my way to pick up the kids from school yesterday, 
it was amazing to see some runners out there in shorts. 
(Oh, how I wished I could join them.)

In other news, a huge burden was lifted for me this weekend.
Sadly, my massage studio had become a "holding station" (i.e. dumping ground) 
in our house for the last six months or so. 
We finally cleared this room out, took a carload to the thrift store, and put everything back in order.
Until I'm back in commission, 
I've decided to fully utilize the room 
by taking my table down and thus, opening up the space. 
Intentionally creating a beautiful, tranquil place 
solely devoted to my yoga and meditation practices, 
a room to lift my hand weights and possibly putting a stationary bike in there, too.
I can't tell you how much joy this has brought me; 
(why hadn't I been motivated to do this a long time ago?)
the peace I feel every time I look in or enter this room.
This room that was created as a haven of healing and peace 
for my clients, 
but now, I see,
for myself,

Friday, January 23, 2015

10 things

:: spending the afternoon yesterday making my own aromatherapy beeswax candles. So enjoyable and fulfilling, and oh, this lovely lavender-honey fragrance. Perfect. This might become a new (and addicting) hobby.

:: Isaac running over to the carpool lane, huge grin on his face, bursting to tell me that he won his class spelling bee. 

:: her kind visit and vase of flowers.

:: frosty filigree on the windshield.

:: blooming Paperwhites at my side. 

::  discovering purple sweet potatoes at the health food store the other day. Wow, these are almost as good as cake.

:: the nice opportunity it was last night to speak to the women and teen-age girls of our church congregation. "Loving Yourself Through Nutrition" the topic as part of an evening focused on health.  Feeling so good at how my thoughts and presentation came together. 

:: G & G wanting to go on a double date with us tonight.

:: the women and girls all out there doing Zumba last night and me just sitting on the sidelines watching. And even though part of me wanted so much to join them, I felt happier (the smile not leaving my face) seeing the joy and fun everyone was having.

:: from Sam's letter this week: "Yesterday morning we went to Denny's for Elder Paxman's birthday, and right as we were about to pay, the server told us that someone had already paid for all of us before he left. That was just so surprising, in south Tucson of all places. I am just so grateful for all of the blessings we get all the time, even if it is through other people, the Lord is always looking out for us which is a good feeling!"

Monday, January 19, 2015

a list :: greatest comforts

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” 

 ~Edith Sitwell

:: nubby, thick socks
:: a weekend getaway stay at a charming bed and breakfast inn
:: chopping vegetables on a wooden cutting board
:: the sound of my children laughing together
:: boots crunching snow
:: campfire glow
:: cuddling
:: warm-from-the-dryer bath towels
:: walking in the door after school to the welcoming, homey smell of Mama's bread coming out of the oven
:: acoustic guitar
:: sitting, engaged in an interesting lecture
:: sitting on our front porch on a summer evening
:: candlelight, always
:: listening, in bed and in the dark, to the sound of rainfall
:: gentle pressure of hands placed on my head, invoking blessings of healing and comfort in my behalf
:: hands clasped around a warm mug
:: love poems
:: the pleasure and freedom of gliding my body through deep water
:: meandering through an art museum
:: to live at the foot of these mountains 
:: warm hands stroking soft skin
:: waking to the sound of birdsong
:: the surprise of seeing a handwritten note in the mailbox 
:: Chopin
:: cardigan sweaters, corduroy pants, and plaid flannel shirts 
:: soaking a tired, aching body in a hot bath
:: hearing my mom and dad's voices on the phone singing the Happy Birthday song to me
:: the kids gathered all around me while we read and read
:: the smell of fresh-cut evergreens
:: walking on warm sand
:: slipping into crisp, freshly laundered sheets at the end of an exhausting day
:: dancing slow in another's arms
:: the smell of wood smoke in the air
:: bookstores and libraries
:: the sound of wind rustling through the trees while I lay on the porch swing after dinner is through
:: Momo's buttered biscuits
:: a clean kitchen and a tidy house
:: a jug of fresh flowers on the kitchen table and by the bedside, too.
:: hugging
:: board games with Isaac
:: a prayer answered, a miracle manifested
:: pottery in hand
:: mashed potatoes
:: Sunday naps
:: laying on Dad's outstretched arm, smelling his unmistakable Brute aftershave, "making plans" in front of the fireplace.
:: Heber Valley
:: Grandma Fay's raspberry jam
:: the sound of a man's gentle voice on the phone
:: breakfast brought up on a tray
:: movies like Little Women, Jane Eyre, and Anne of Green Gables
:: the rare gift it is to feel connection to like-minded, kindred spirits
:: soup simmering on the stove
:: having my children rub my head or brush my hair
:: walking through fog
:: the sound of crashing waves, the smell of the sea 

What are some things you would have 
on your own Greatest Comforts list?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

welcome winter

"In the winter she curls up around a good book 
and dreams away the cold."

~Ben Aaronovitch
Broken Homes

Winter hasn't always been my favorite. But this year, I've decided to enjoy this season for what it is. Embrace this time to slow down and draw inward. Relish this time to focus on rest and renewal and healing. Welcome this opportunity to hibernate, if you will.

I've set some intentions for these next few months. How I want to live each day. Writing down in my journal those things that make me feel good. Those simple, yet vital things that keep me well and keep me cozy during these sometimes dark and dreary winter days. 

I've always enjoyed a having a little corner of my bedroom to call my own. Since I'm less mobile and will be doing a lot of sitting for the next few weeks, I was inspired to create even more of haven and sanctuary where I can sit and read my books, snuggle with and read to Isaac in the evenings (I'm so excited that this routine and priority has returned again to my motherhood. That he's not too old for Peter Rabbit stories, as well as chapter books. We just started The Phantom Tollbooth last night. Fun.), journal, meditate, nap, or watch movies on my handy iPad.

A little bit of tidying, a few little additions of cozy lighting (I've never strung white lights or lit a candle in this space. What a lovely ambiance and mood this brings! ), potted Paperwhite bulbs and a beautiful gifted orchid nearby, a favorite mug to sip from, my aromatherapy diffuser providing uplifting scent, a basket of reading material at hand. Beautiful things I love.

What a difference these simple touches bring. This corner has not only become my favorite spot in the house now, but for the kids, as well. Hmmmm...

One bright spot last weekend was hosting Gary's Swedish friend Fredrik (who served with him as his mission companion in Finland, as well as the ten weeks they both spent at the Missionary Training Center here in Utah prior to Finland) and his father to our home for dinner. We were thrilled that they could be here for Gary and Greta's wedding. (By the way, did I mention that Greta was a missionary in Finland, too?)

Greta and I prepared some killer Indian food for everyone. Two curry dishes and some naan bread. (the pie and ice cream I bought.) Our house smelled just like our favorite Bombay House restaurant!

I'm learning to embrace the slowness of this season of the year even as I embrace this season of my life. 

I'm slow, but I go. I just need to allow double the time to do things. I roll around in my kitchen in circles on my handy, speedy red scooter. I can still make the bed, even if I need to crawl. I can slide down the stairs on my bum. I can still take outdoor photos from my car. 

My days are simple and simple is good.

I'm looking forward to the way this winter will unfold. Days of quiet, introspection, and intention.

So, welcome winter.
Let's get cozy.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

canyon after snowfall

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says "Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.” 

~ Lewis Carroll

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

ten things

1. Gratitude and pleasure of two hands cradling perfect warmth, slow delicious sipping from the mug of peppermint tea brought up before bed the other night. 

2. Sitting on the couch, looking out the window this morning and seeing the sudden appearance of that Blue Jay (berry in beak) perched on the porch railing.

3. Taking a tumble down porch steps. Crutches + winter ice + maneuvering stairs can be a scary combination.

4. Empty days for books and more books.

5. The pot o' beans prepared by dear Dennis. Phyllis's salad. Greta's lentil stew. Mane's roasted vegetables. The fridge is stocked and my heart is full.

6. Enjoying the last day of a few lovely leftover wedding bouquets.

7. Late-night Moonstruck on Netflix last night. Intrigued with Cher's hair. What would these curls look like long-ish? Hmmm... a possibility??

8.  Realizing that the concern, worry, and love will only continue to expand as our family grows.

9. A sunny blue sky.

10. "God Bless You" were the only words on the note. No name, no idea who would do such wonderful thing. Jane's apartment porch covered at the crack of dawn (she found the surprise waiting there before she and her roommates left for work and classes) with over ten bags of groceries for the girls. "Produce, no junk, and I think enough canned goods to last us all semester," Jane told me yesterday. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you to this anonymous earth-angel whose kindness and generosity have touched our hearts, brought tears to our eyes, and will never, ever be forgotten. 

God bless YOU, my dear.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

a new year... and a few favorites from G & G's bridals

A quick but wonderful Sunday sunset stroll along the beach (Del Mar) in San Diego.

A very happy new year to you, my friend!

I truly hope your holidays were filled with joy, peace, and love. That the year ahead will be abundant and good for all of us. Like you, I'm grateful and ready for new beginnings, opportunities, and growth. Anxiously anticipating what the future holds for myself and those I love.

This week was so very wonderful. A lovely Christmas Day, and then off we drove to sunny southern California for Gary and Greta's wedding on Saturday, the 27th. 

Since that Saturday, a week ago today, and then the reception we had here in Utah on New Year's Day, I have dragged my feet in sharing it all here. (I did post some of my photos of the wedding day on Facebook.) It is just so special, so beautiful, so magical for me to possibly express. 

That day was one of the happiest days of my life. A little surreal, this marriage of my first born; a day I dreamed of for so long was actually now a reality, but at the same time, feeling so very present and mindful to every moment of that day.  Almost like I was a silent observer of it all. I always wondered how I would feel seeing my beloved son reaching this milestone in his life, but more than anything, all I could feel was such profound peace, calm, and gratitude. 

I guess this is what joy feels like.  Absolute and complete joy.

Joy in seeing my son happier than he's ever been. Joy seeing them looking into each other's eyes at the marriage altar. Eyes filled with devotion, adoration, and sacred commitment to each other and to God. Joy in literally receiving a precious new daughter into our family, a cherished, beloved friend into my life. Joy in feeling so much love and support from our family and dear friends.

I will share more of the wedding in the next little while. 

The last few days have been one big exhale. Rest-- emotional and physical-- after a month of planning, rushing around, and Christmas. Soaked long in the tub after we got home; legs and feet aching after standing and walking around in heels for hours at the reception, the whirlwind eleven hour car ride to and from California. Spending all day yesterday in my pajamas. Allowing myself the luxury of sleeping in. Watching movies. Stacks of books to read (took Isaac to the library and a stop for sushi at Harmon's. "It's becoming our Saturday afternoon tradition," we both agreed with big smiles.) Keith and Eliza taking Christmas down today. The house getting back to fresh and tidy which I always love about January. Pancake dinner tonight with Isaac's friend over. Warm cookies coming out of the oven a little bit ago.

Looking forward to my second year participation in Heather's online Hibernation workshop coming up on January 12th. Perfect, as I will really be in true hibernation mode for the next four to six weeks. Because my most recent stress fracture (this one happening early September before my last surgery) hasn't ever really healed, the pain worsening and persisting, my doctor has decided that coming this Monday, the next step is to put my foot/leg in a plaster cast. And back to the crutches/scooter I go...

I'm trying my best to deal with this emotionally. Again, surrendering to disappointment, disbelief, sadness, inconvenience, and frustration. Even embarrassment in having to tell my story over and over and over. 

Here we go again.

Looking forward to a quiet day at home tomorrow. Heart-warmed with Gary's text to me this afternoon:

Sunday night we want to come over and make dinner and show you all the pics from our honeymoon. Sit on the bed and talk. :)

I can't tell you how much I love these kids.

Thank you to Carrie Elton Photography (Greta's talented aunt) 
for capturing such lovely images of Greta & Gary.

As my friend Carine put it, these two are so gorgeous, "they should be put on top of a cake."