Monday, December 30, 2013

to hunker down.

Enjoying these slow, quieter days before the new year. Days that are good for unmade beds, washing dishes to the sound of the radio, daydreaming, sketching and knitting, smoothies, lego-building, and unbrushed hair.

Happy new year to you all. xo

Sunday, December 29, 2013

the most important birthday.

Our Creator has given us another another Christmas, and I am more than thankful. I am filled.

Monday, December 16, 2013

how I make granola.

I get in these funks where I want to cook something, but I'm too tired/injured/filled with darkness to bother with complicated recipes. This is where granola comes in because, for myself and my family, it's an incredibly healthy and quick option, and also very versatile. And--man--do I love my oats.

Every person I know makes granola a different way. This is mine.

4 cups whole oats
2 tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cardamom
2 1/2 tbsp. powdered stevia
pinch of kosher salt
2 medium overripe bananas, mashed, then pureed in blender
1 tbsp. coconut oil, melted (I used the microwave)
1/3 cup raw honey
unsweetened rice milk
shredded, unsweetened coconut (I used Bob's Red Mill)
roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds

Preheat your oven to 300. Combine the oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, stevia, and salt in a large bowl. Mix until combined. In a separate bowl, combine the bananas, coconut oil, and honey, mixing well. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix with a wooden spoon. Now pour in a little bit of rice milk at a time, mixing after each addition. I didn't make a note of measurement here because well, I never measure this part. I add enough that the granola is moist, but not sopping. Too wet and it won't crisp up in the oven.

Pour the mixture onto a large, non-stick baking sheet. I use my fingers and the back of a spatula to press the mixture down flat in one firm layer, all the way to the edges of the pan. Try to distribute it evenly. Now put it in the oven and set your timer for 15 minutes.

Take the mixture out and move it around on the pan. I try to put what was around the edges in the middle, middle to the edges and so on. Back in the oven, this time for 10 minutes. Check it again. Turn your oven down to 275. From this point, I do ten minute intervals, checking constantly, until it reaches a crispiness and a light golden-brown color. Then I simply shake a mixture of coconut and sunflower seeds all across the top, and put it back into the oven for about 8 minutes.

Breakfast. And elevenses. And dinner.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

sometimes... find dried marijuana leaves in your newly thrifted herbal book. It's a thing that happens.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Saturday, November 30, 2013

popsicle stick wreaths.

You guys, we are sick. All of us. We managed to make it through Thanksgiving with only a few sniffles, which have morphed into full-blown head colds today. This puts a bit of a cramp into my original plans of spending the remainder of fall vacation crafting Christmas-y things while drinking cocoa and listening to old holiday tunes. Thankfully though, there are crafts that can be done while sitting on one's arse, and that can be completed in about 20 minutes or less, depending on your level of commitment.

Enter: popsicle stick wreaths, reminiscent of your first years in school, no doubt.

These are pretty self-explanatory, in my opinion. You'll need a hot glue gun, popsicle sticks, paint or paint pens (optional), and various sundry items to festoon your wreath with. I grabbed buttons, twigs, and pom-poms because that's what I had lying around, but you can use whatever you want.

Paint the sticks, if you've chosen to do so, then glue them end-on-end into a hexagon (a stop sign shape). Pick out your sparkly goodies and glueglueglue until you've reached your desired look. For the little souls creating these, I recommend that they arrange their decorations as they want them, then hand the whole thing over to an adult to glue. If they're hell-bent on gluing it themselves, elmer's glue is an option. although I find that the wreaths don't stay together as long.

Beautious!!! Now loop a ribbon around the top and hang them in your abode. Relax and drink a glass of wine. Or in my case, garlic and honey.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

at home.

1. a nest my husband surprised me with.
2. banner I made late last night while listening to Billie Holiday.
3. coffee. Always coffee.
4. an old and favorite scarf.
5. sometimes I sit on the floor at a distance and just watch him. My favorite thing.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013



That field
in the middle
of the trailer-park.
The grass laced around my ankles
when I ran; like hair, I imagined.
The hair of an enormous,

In the middle of the field
was a hump of earth,
a wave of soil and rocks.
You could hide from view
behind it,
myself and the others;
the girl with food-stained clothes,
the noisy boy
who pinched us too hard
and laughed.
That small hill saw
my first draw from
a cigarette, when I finally
learned to french braid, how much
I cried over being so poor.

There was always too much dust there.
Hostility, intolerance, beer cans
rattling in the wind like tumbleweeds.

But there was also this:

The blackest night sky.
Guided by memory out of bed
and into the night.
To stand in the middle of nothing,
privileged to see every star.

*from my poetry journal

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

my shadow.

I keep coming across the idea--and not at all on purpose--of accepting your "shadow-self", of gaining the knowledge and accepting that the shadow makes up a huge part of who you are. And that it's only after doing this soul-work that we can really love ourselves, radically.

"Everyone carries a shadow," writes Carl Jung, "and the less embodied in the individual's conscious life, the blacker and denser it is."

I read a lot of spiritual and inspirational material when I first wake up. I like to reflect on certain things and/or be thankful over coffee and watch the sun come up. And I've been getting this little itch that needs scratching, this thought:

Is illness itself a form of shadow? Or are physical maladies the manifestation of denial or masking of the shadow-self?

I find myself saying yes! and in the next minute, thinking no, or only sometimes. A very young child, for example, one who has no knowledge of darkness, one who hasn't even learned yet how to fear or the need to hide aspects of themselves that others find undesirable, can still wind up ill, and suffer from a horrible variety of conditions. I think there are exceptions. I think illness robs you of things and makes you feel inadequate, which just may be why a certain shadow aspect forms.

There's really no one, at least, not in my immediate vicinity who can shed some light on these questions for me. But there are books, all those tomes of undiscovered wealth. Though with things like this--hard, spiritual, psychological--I have to be careful not to cram too much in my head at once, which only serves to make me more confused.

Do you have any thoughts or resources for me, my friends? I'm very, very curious about the subconscious/illness connection.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

1a.m. soul-art.

Stayed up way too late last night, giving myself free therapy. Can't say I regret it.

Friday, October 25, 2013

a gift.

I read and study and repeatedly come across the notion that "pain is a gift". A humbling arrow shot through the heart. A teacher of patience, and that time can be endless or nothing at all, merely an idea we choose to embrace and measure our days by.

Pain is a lot of things until it is not. 

Until your pain races through your body, finding no walls or barriers, permitted to cycle around and around, agony at full gallop. Until you are out of mind and patience and the meaning of these words, and even words themselves, lose their coherency, disassembled into letters and the shapes of letters, like Scrabble pieces. 

You become merely a body, a pitiful vessel, with a perfect and intact soul that you cannot remember owning and therefore does you no good in that moment. Pain ensures that you will cry out for God, and that you won't be able to remember or grasp why you are calling upon Him, and what such action is supposed to invoke. 

You cease simply being in pain. You become pain. 

Here is what I know:

I am 27 years old and have been battling my own body for 11 years. 
I have undergone 3 major procedures and a handful of minor ones, in the hopes of becoming healthy.
The procedures aren't working in the long run.
I am weary. I feel that I have been alive forever, yet ironically have missed out on so many of the experiences that many people consider to be "living".
I have no idea if I'll ever be able to work.
Somewhere, on this vast earth, with its forests and skyscrapers and wheat fields and city parks and schools and castles and oceans, somewhere there has to be someone who can fix me.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

he's married.

My little brother is now a married man.

There is something in my brain that wants to rebel against this idea, even though my heart fully accepts the fact of his marriage and all the things that go with it. I suppose that it's as simple as that yes, he is my little brother, by only 18 months, but my younger sibling nonetheless. Or maybe it hit me that he is now a man, truly, at least by my own definition; living and working and striving with and for someone other than himself. He's going to be a superior husband.

When my mother was pregnant with my brother, she was careful to ward off any blooming jealousy or misgivings that I might have had. She constantly told me that this was also my baby, that she would need my help, and by doing so I think she made me feel important and excited for his arrival.

So yes, I think that's it. My baby. Or just a little anyways.

Friday, October 11, 2013

DIY tea-blending.

Though this blog is not specifically DIY or craft related, I do enjoy occasionally sharing some of the DIY's that are a regular part of my lifestyle. Blending my own tea is one of them. And while I grow the majority of my own herbs and dry them, it isn't a necessity in order to enjoy your own tea. Farmers markets and small specialty health stores now abound with dried herbs, and the end result is fresher and less expensive than what you'll find boxed at the supermarket.

I've dabbled in herbalism for a few years now, and love that I can make a custom tea to suite my current needs, whatever they are at the time. The tea pictured above is red clover, nettle, peppermint, and a bit of echinacea, which I crafted to help my family and I ward off the autumnal allergies we suffer from. But really, you can combine just about anything your heart, body, or palate desires. If you're a complete newbie to herbs in general, I would recommend reading this and slowly experimenting to find what you and your body prefer.

On another note, my brother is getting married tomorrow. I am excited beyond measure, as the woman he has chosen is incredibly dear to my heart, and truly like the sister I never had. It is, of course, going to rain, but I'm well convinced that it's going to be a magical wedding, full of warmth and whimsy. I'm just laden with butterflies--looks like I'll be making myself some calming tummy tea today. ;)


Saturday, October 5, 2013

a hot mess.

This may or may not be a hot mess of a post. I have so much to say, but haven't decided if I'm going to say all of it. So I'm winging it, as usual.

I haven't really updated my readers (if I actually have any) on the status of my health. In an effort to keep it short, I'll give you the condensed version. I had minor surgeries and injections on my neck for basically the entire summer. My most recent procedure was just over a week ago. In an effort to find a procedure that gives me real results, I've had to go through all the ones that haven't first. It's difficult to tell if I'm seeing improvements. I feel just a bit better for just a few more days here and there, but it's still spotty and impossible to pin down in any discernible pattern. My neck is still highly irritated after exercising or practicing yoga or any remotely strenuous activity, something that I'm unconvinced will ever change. I've recently had the realization that I may never not feel like crap, which has fostered in me both acceptance and depression. I didn't think those two things could live together, but there you go. I've been put on a very low-dose anti-anxiety medication. I sort of waved my white flag, finally, and took what help was offered to me. I can no longer handle everything on my own steam, my own prayers, my own pep-talks. There are very few words left for prayer or pep-talks these days; I'm wiped out.

The husband is mostly at work. Or always, depends on which day you ask. September was absolutely brutal. High school sports photography + fall season = insanity. And not the kind that gives you killer abs. More like the kind of insanity where every day looks eerily similar to the day before and the day before that and so on. The madness will soon die down, both medical and work related, thank heavens.

If I sound whiny, I apologize, because I very well might be whining. I think we all need to whine a bit sometimes.

I'm stressed out.

Oh, also, my brother is getting married next week. Yes. So I've been planning and crafting my butt off for that in the midst of all the procedure-y, sporty stuff. I almost forgot.

On a different and mildly new-age note: I'm proud of myself in at least one way, which is that I've been doing what you are probably supposed to do as a human being to combat all this stress and crazy. I've somehow managed to make good, simple meals with lots of fresh, organic produce, and have even found some solace in cooking and making a beautiful dish. It's something that I can do. I drink my green shake (almost) every day and my tumeric tea. I'm trying to stay away from caffeine and get enough rest. I do some form of exercise every day, even if it's just a 20 minute walk. I've been doing my barre work and have been consistently practicing my yoga, but have had to tweak my routine quite a few times. There are certain poses that I just can't do right now or are very unsafe for me to even attempt. I meditate. I pray. I wake up early to read my Bible or simply watch the sun come up. I've let go of people that I feel are a negative influence, and have surrounded myself with those who strengthen me.

I guess I'm learning to overpower the negative with the positive, something that--guess what?--takes a lot of practice, just like anything else.

What else? Let's see...Hayden is a splendid child, and I mean that non-sarcastically. I delight in him. And my husband. I am learning to delight in the ones I love. My cup runneth over, and all that. Even on the worst days, I recognize that I am blessed.

I want to go to school. I want to be a midwife, but feel unready for that particular load of work right now. Any suggestions, my lovelies?

I want to have another baby. Not right this second, but V. and I have talked about it and are watching for that moment, the moment, when we'll know it's time.

I'm starting to actually enjoy myself while knitting, instead of literally grinding my teeth while I count stitches. Again with the practice.

I'm addicted to Pinterest.

I'm going to paint my kitchen bright-ass yellow, very soon.

I'm reading Gone With the Wind.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

thrifted and made.

Wow, look at that corny smile. I'm such a dork. Anywho, just wanted to share my outfit from this morning/afternoon (I'm schlepping around in yoga clothes currently).

Top: Salvation Army
Skirt: Goodwill
Clutch: made by me.
Necklace: made by me.
Shoes: Target.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

the glorious mundane.

"To be brutally honest, it doesn’t really matter what place you find yourself in right now. Your part is to bring Him glory-whether eating a sandwich on a lunch break, drinking coffee at 12:04 a.m. so you can stay awake to study, or watching your four-month-old take a nap."

--Francis Chan

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

welcome, autumn.

It's busy here. Lots of doctor appointments...but good things are happening, slowly, finally. The boy is settling into second grade just fine and making lots of new friends. The husband and I spend morning's together before he leaves for work, and then it's time for cleaning or painting or yoga or a walk. I wore my new boots today and didn't break a sweat. If I ever have a daughter, I might just name her Autumn.