My He(ART)-Full Life

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

bits + pieces of life around here

 My heart is opening wider and wider, much so that, at times, I am simply bursting...either with sheer joy at the simplest of things or melting into tears...soaking in old and half forgotten memories. I think part of it is this time of year when we reflect on the past and stand at the cusp of the new year. I have been mulling over my word for the past year (dare!!) and thinking of my new word for 2014. And what I keep coming back to is the word surrender. Now 5 or 10 years ago I would have shuddered at using that word because I couldn't even stand the thought of losing control in that way...I mean...I hated the word in every sense! It symbolized loss, weakness and, honestly... was quite terrifying to me. But radiates with possibility and calm. Timing is everything!! Now surrender holds within it's realm all that is's being present to the here and now, it's calming and expansive at the same time. Now surrender means making peace with who I am , not who I may want to be or think I should be. It's standing firmly in the now while acknowledging my past and creating my future. And the funny thing about picking out a word for the year is that it takes on a life of it's own! What I have discovered + experienced is that the our word(s) teach us what we need to learn rather than what we have planned. this time...I am leaning deeply + w(holy) into ...surrender.

 Speaking of surrender and heart expansion...this sweet little girl right here does a number on me! I can't believe how full of love + laughter + joy she is...the true light in our lives. But friends...parenting is no easy job!!!! Truth: the years are short but the days are long. Now that Tara has started school there are so many more issues that are popping do I raise a daughter that is confident + assertive yet also kind and compassionate? How do I instill a sense of identity and pride in her while still honoring her deep need to fit in? How do I celebrate every aspect of her personality + encourage independent thinking  while staying patient when she tries to negotiate every single request??? No easy answers but I keep on trying + learning. One of the most important things I've learned is this: I'm going to make mistakes, fail horribly and oftentimes...have no idea what I'm doing!!! But...what our children require most from us (I feel) is that we never give up: I just wake up the next morning and try to do better:)

Oh!!! And the baking we have been doing over here!!! There is something intrinsically healing and elemental about baking...I find. Just the creating of it...the nourishing + sharing aspect. Love!!  This is homemade apple pie (with a made from scratch crust recipe to boot!!). The key to a good crust, I am finding out, is to use ice cold water and freeze the butter for a half hour or more after it's cut up in chunks. And I only use real butter, people...absolutely no margarine! This was a cinnamon-eeeee delicious treat Tara and I baked last week.It tasted as good as it looks...wish I could have shared it with you:)

Been reading up a storm here...and am totally taken with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I started this book right here...and I have been listening to her TED talks, both of which are phenomenal and resonate with me on  a deep level. In this talk she speaks of the "danger of a single story"'s an amazingly lucid talk about how important stories are, why we need to author our own stories and not allow others to define us. I realise that for most of my life (until I became a mother), I allowed myself to be defined by a singular story; that of victim-ology; it was the archetype I most strongly related to. No matter the situation, the relationship or the outcome..that was the story I  lived by. But when I turned 40 + gave birth all at once...there was a paradigm shift. All of  a sudden...there was a change from victim to victor. The transformation has not been easy or fast...but entirely necessary. A must hear talk friends!
And this talk right here  (also by Adichie) on why we should all be feminists. Made me tear up...words to live by + raise my daughter by.
Also...this was a fave. book of mine waaaaay back during my first years of university. I can't believe it's out of print now...I had the most difficult time purchasing a copy ...but now that I finally found one....I am in heaven! In these stories...I feel seen.

Through and through...daddy's girl:)

I haven't been getting in much painting time this year...the truth is, as I get older, it gets more impossibly difficult for me to go into my studio + stay up super late...I mean...I need my sleep:) But still finding time to  create in bits + pieces. This is on my easel right now.

Tara on the other hand, has been finding tons of time to paint! Even though she has her very own big girl creativity center in my studio...we paint at the kitchen table also. She loves experimenting, has her own way of doing things and sings while she works:) LOVE!!!! Also...muffin tins make the best paint trays with their deep and generous wells. I stock up on them at the dollar store.

The weather over here has been decidedly schizophrenic. These 2 pics were taken within days of each other...and we just never know what to day it's frigid and snowy and a few days later it feels like spring! So instead of complaining about never being able to plan anything out...I decided to go with the flow. Oh!!! It's snowing outside...lets bundle up + go for  a quick photowalk. feels like spring...lets go outside + play ball. So much easier + relaxing that way:)

This time of year is full of celebrations for my family. Tim's birthday was yesterday...mine is in a couple of weeks...and then Tara's shortly after!!! Lots of cake around here...which means smaller portions + more gym time:) Lots of gratitude and making more space for joy + simplicity in our lives. I'm trying to practice celebrating every single day with small acts of kindness. Especially toward myself.

And the winter landscapes here are rugged in their beauty...wide open spaces and smoky gray skies.
Reminds me of this poem right Mary Oliver...
"When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily."
Aaaaah! How this poem feeds these trees sing to my soul and light me on the skies glow...and the earth rises up to me. Nothing short of bliss.

 And friends..this Xmas season has been all about light. I am practicing shining my light, reveling in the light and focusing on seeing the light in others.This intention has changed everything! At my most hurried and decidedly ungraceful moments...I take a deep breath, center myself...and focus on the light. Usually my silly irritations fall away and I can move through my day.'s about making the choice to focus on gratitude.

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