25 February 2009

Signs of life.

It's almost March, and signs of life are all around. The red hammock is ready to hold a reader with a book on a warm spring day. "Volunteer" herbs sprout in unlikely, unplanned places, a forgotten Tiger Lily surfaces from a hidden bulb. Spring is pushing forth. Remember me? she says.

At this moment, I'm thankful to have a sunny spot in the back yard to spend my lunch break. I stare hopefully at my wildflower bed, willing those seeds to start sprouting by Saturday. The packet said 7 days....

Meanwhile, it seems that everything, including my body, wants to shed the heaviness of winter. Sweet potato soup for lunch seemed too dense, too filling. I ate a few bites and turned instead to a bowl of fresh, juicy grapefruit, with a drizzle of agave nectar, a sprinkle of sea salt, and a few scoops of coconut cream. {Remember when I learned to love grapefruit?} Tomorrow, it might be mango for breakfast.

Spring beckons you to both speed up and slow down: Get up, get out, start moving again. Start putting your hands in the soil or your feet on the sidewalk. And then stop long enough to see what's becoming all around you. I hope I never forget to see the changing of the seasons or how our bodies and souls coincide with it. I hope I never stop reminding myself.

So let's take a walk around the yard, and see what we can find.

Thyme - it pretty much survives anything. I haven't as much as touched it all winter, and here it is, growing new leaves with a vengeance.

Some Forget-Me-Not's in an old tin pail-turned-planter...

Red Leaf Lettuce growing out of a crack in the patio - oh, why not?

One of my favorites - the vanilla-scented Sweet Alyssum...coming up already from last year's seeds!

Oak-Leaf Hydrangea beginning to bud...

And a surprise...the Tiger Lily that I thought died last year - apparently not!

18 February 2009

A few random girl things.

Just had to share a few random things that you might like. The first is my new favoritest item of clothing in the whole entire world. This black wrap.

Oh, I love it.

It's perfect.

It's comfy.

It has bell sleeves.

(hard to see in this pic, but you get the idea)

I got it in Nashville at Francesca's as a belated birthday gift from Amy! I've worn it about a hundred times since then, and it goes with everything, I tell you. It's shorter in the back, and when you untie the front, it goes down really long, past my knees. It makes me feel feminine. Oh, I love it. I also got this dress, perfect for a beach day in California. And perhaps I'll get this dress too, if it goes ridiculously on sale.

Next, I wanted to show you my office/creativity studio now that it's all organized and painted a lovely shade of Rain Washed. I'm still debating changing the curtains to a more coral-y color with a fun bohemian pattern. But for now, you can see how calming and serene it is. At this current moment, the walls are bathed with late afternoon sun. I guess it's the next best thing to working outside!

Here's a perfect place to display my preserved autumn leaves from New Jersey until I get some India and Africa photos printed...

And here's a creation that I adapted from a picture frame from IKEA. It was originally black, but I spraypainted it white. Then I removed the glass and painted the cardboard backing with chalkboard paint and...voila! A whimsical chalkboard for writing notes, reminders, and inspirational quotes.

I love being a girl.

15 February 2009

The best is yet to be.

Back home from Nashville. Going away for a week always helps me return refreshingly to home. Reflecting on my "past life" in Nashville, I am thankful for it. But more than that, I treasure where I am today, in this life, in this home, with this man, with this community.

I do miss the hills and farms of Franklin. I miss the bustle of Hillsboro Village on a Saturday morning. I miss my home on Beechwood, where I lived with Amy and Suz, with the purple dining room and twinkling lights draped over the fireplace.

In 2005, a year after moving away, I finally said "goodnight" to Nashville. It was something I needed to do to put an end to the fits of longing and move forward, gracefully, with my new life in Texas. At that time, I was stuck. I tried to like Texas, but every new coffeeshop I discovered in Dallas was nothing compared to the humming energy of Fido or Bongo. Every new friend I met, I compared to "my girls" in Nashville. No experience here could compare to what I had experienced there, a city where I grew into "me" from age 17 to 27.

A dear friend of ours always signs letters and cards, "The best is yet to be." I don't know about you, but I find hope in this statement. There are more good years ahead, more good moments to be experienced. When I turned 30, I said to my mentor, Melissa, a woman in her late-40's, "It's going to be a good year..." Without hesitation she answered, "They're all good years!" It halted me. She was right. Would I trade even one of them? No way. I am who I am because of Madison and Houston and Nashville and Dallas and the moments that have happened there, the people who have been woven permanently into my life.

Nashville and I have become friends again. This past trip was so healthy, encouraging. Perhaps I had to let that time of my life go a little bit in order to receive it back again. I don't know how it happened, really. Maybe it was just time. It took feeling uncomfortable with change and just sitting in that for awhile. And then one day, I found a peace. Maybe it's a peace that came with finding a family here in Texas, where I least expected it. And I realized I could still love both places, for their own unique reasons.

Hello again, Nashville. Thank you for what you did to make me who I am. Every time I return to you, someone asks me, "When are you moving back?" I smile. And then I answer, "Nashville is forever on the list." Because no matter what, you are. And that's okay. There are also good years ahead, though. And I am going to embrace them now.

"Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith, 'A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God:
see all, nor be afraid!'"
~ Robert Browning

06 February 2009

Snow, magical snow...

"The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment, then where is it to be found?"
~J.B. Priestley

My dad sent me this photo that he took standing at the back door of our home in New Jersey, looking out over the backyard. It's a fairytale land!

I miss the snow days of my childhood...bundling up like Ralphie in A Christmas Story with two layers of clothes plus snow pants...building icy igloos with my brother in this very backyard (our favorite fort location was bottom right, behind that tree)...sensing the warmth of our home as we retreated back inside to de-thaw our soaked yarn mittens on the radiator.

Here in Texas, it seems that we only get the cusp of each season - except for summer of course, which is so off the heat radar that it drives you to practically kiss the feet of October, begging for the just the slightest cool breeze to arrive.

In my book, there is just no match for the feeling of expectation that comes the night before a snow storm. What will it be like when I wake up tomorrow? I would wonder as I pulled the covers over my ears. I'd fall asleep to the newscaster's words echoing in my head - "Reports say that a big snow storm will blow in by midnight...we expect to have 24 inches covering the tri-state area by morning...."

And THEN! When morning came, I'd hear muted sounds in the kitchen downstairs...my dad hadn't gone to work! I'd pull back the curtain and open my eyes to see a white wonderland awaiting me in the backyard. YES! It happened!

By this time, all the hills in my small town of Madison had already been fluffing and primping, preparing for the deluge of children whose sleigh marks would soon cover their slopes. Only daredevils headed for the The Madison Golf Club, of course. The slopes there were so steep that with one of those cheapo plastic sleds, you could literally go airborne. My friend Jason and I...we always seemed to have a brush with death whenever we went sledding. There was the time we plowed straight into a thorn bush. Oh, and the other time we got wedged under a parked car, toppled over each other in our sled like dominos. And how could I forget the escapade when we piled into that two-seated-plastic-vehicle-of-death, went airborne towards the bottom of a slope, and flew out horizontally for several feet until gravity kicked in and landed us SPLAT into a ditch on our backs? Uhhhhhh........ That was the day I fractured my tailbone. But oh, we had fun, didn't we?

Here's the view from the front yard now, looking out over the field. Oh, I do miss it...I almost feel like I could reach in and grab a handful of that snow, throw it in the air and let it fall in cool droplets over my hair and nose.