Category Archives: art

Snowy Owl Magic

The Snowy Owls have come to the outskirts of Bellingham this winter.   They have traveled far from their arctic tundra home in search of food.  As I clean out my cupboards and feel disgruntled about the amount of waste and excess I find there, I reflect on the goals of my family’s journey.

Journeys provide lessons and magic.   The journey of the snowy owls brings us a glimpse of wildness and courage.  These owls have come to our rooftops from a place so remote that few people ever venture there.  By traveling into new landscapes and facing unknown dangers, they exercise bravery and adaptability in their necessary quest to survive.  Our house is nearly packed and we plan to leave this week.  We are not seeking food for our bodies, there is much more than we need here.  We must then be seeking food for our souls.  To find a patch of wildness, to experience the richness of personal discovery together, and to share our society’s wealth with others also takes great courage.  In these moments of preparation, I have found that courage in snowy owl magic.

I hope that on our journey we will lighten our load of consumption and reduce our environmental footprint.  I also hope that we can share the abundance of our privileged American life.  I want to give special thanks to Crystine and Brian from Uprising Organics (www.uprisingorganics.com) for donating A LOT of organic, heirloom seeds to share with people in the Bahamas.  I also want to thank Rowan for visiting the owls with us on a blustery, snowy afternoon and for helping me to contemplate the enriching process of creating art with children.

Rowan's Snowy Owl

Pearl's Snowy Owl

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Counting Blessings

You may have noticed that I have not posted anything about our sailing journey preparations.  That is because I haven’t been.   Preparing, that is.  I decided not to burden myself with trying to pack up my house while enjoying the process of the holiday season.  Christmas is such a magical time for children and I want my kids to feel joy during this season, not transition.  I was so eager to jump into Christmas mode that I actually got dates confused and started our advent calendar a day early.  I guess that worked out in our favor though.  Both girls got a go at number one.  Luckily, our advent calendar is homemade and can accommodate such minor mix ups.  I made the calendar last year with our sailing trip in mind, in case we needed to depart before Santa’s arrival.  It is easily packable.  It just rolls up neatly.  It is quite possibly my most favorite item that I have conceptualized and crafted myself.  Maybe it is the rainbow thread or the trunk made of velvet acquired on our honeymoon, or perhaps it is the jingle bells.  Most likely, my love for it stems from the satisfaction that it is finished and it serves its purpose beautifully.  I have it hanging in the kitchen, so I can gaze at it often.  What sweet delight handmade items bring.  Each night before bed, I write a note about whatever special thing we will be doing the next day to feel warm and fuzzy about Christmas.  I fold it up and tuck it in between the yellow and red felt.  Yesterday was hugs.  Today was kisses.  Tonight as we spoke of our favorite things of the day, the kisses were at the top of Pearl’s list.  What a blessing to feel so much love.

Juncos Sing Together

Juncos have been the highlight of our walks these past few days.  All the way down our street there have been lots of them- flitting about in the trees, hanging out on power lines, pecking at the ground, and singing with their friends.  Juncos are slightly larger than a chickadee with black caps and black eyes.  They forage on the ground and along tree branches for seeds and insects.  In the winter, they congregate in large flocks.  I have long since admired Juncos for they are so darn cute.  But this week, I really got to know them.  Juniper and I (and once our friend, Finley) spent time watching them.  I would try counting them and realized that where I thought I saw five or six, there were actually nine or ten.  It was akin to noticing one mushroom on the forest floor and then looking around and seeing that mushrooms actually covered the forest floor.  I’ve been trying for awhile to figure out the Junco’s call, and finally I was serenaded with it.  Their rapid trill and flat “chip, chip” are forever etched in my memory.  In winter’s dark days, these little birds happily get together, feast, and sing.  So simple. So merry.

Cheers to Slow Food

Last night I went to mix up my pumpkin pie and realized I never baked the pumpkin.  Oops, minor detail.  Pearl had mentioned a desire for cherry pie, so I decided I could change the menu, go to bed, and deal with pies later.  So, today I got busy on my pie and found that my crust just did not want to stay together under pressure of a rolling pin.  That is fine and well for the bottom crust which can be mushed together and then covered up, but what about the cherry pie top crust.  I took a deep breath and decided to take my time and play around a little bit.  What is the point, if not to enjoy oneself.  June woke from her nap eager to participate.  I found random objects in my kitchen drawer ready to be used for cutting small circles.  And then it came to me,  I realized I could make it pretty and exciting for June, who loves owls.  Here’s the pie before and after the oven…

 

 

The cherry owl pie was a hit and the inspiration for photos within photos (thanks Oso and Teresa).  It tasted alright too!   Hoping everyone had many reasons to feel thankful on this pleasant day.

Gratitude

The day is grey and I am struck with the reality that Joey leaves tomorrow for work and I have not completed my to-do-while-Joey-is-home list.  I’m forcing myself to ignore the bins of fabric that I meant to go through and I’m finding ways to laugh off the discouragement I feel about publishing a book.  Going through my emails I am reminded that this week is about remembering to give thanks.  My mind races back in time to a night I was sitting in a bar with Joey when our relationship was newly forming.  I recall sharing with him my belief that the secret to a good life is to be always thankful.  Gratitude, I realize, is what I desire to be the foundation of our life together as a family. 

I then stumbled upon a link to the making of a gratitude tree (from the blog This Cosy Life).  Walking outside with Juniper to gather branches for our tree, I looked around and inhaled the majestic beauty of this grey day- the towering trees, crazy wind, and swirling clouds.  I felt blessed to have this awesome child in my life with her sweet hugs and happy disposition.  I realized I am thankful that I finally got my garden put to bed for the winter, better late than never.  As I prepared dinner, Pearl cut out leaves from previously painted paper.  I was struck by her developing abilities- to cut, to diligently finish a task.  After dinner, we wrote from hearts to leaves and put together our gratitude tree.  I was thankful we could celebrate while Joey was still with us.  Trip preparations and publishing books no longer mattered.  They will happen when they need to.  What matters is that we are present with one another, feeling thankful.

My Platform

I recently learned that in order to be a published writer, I need to develop “my platform.”  Meaning that I need to devote myself to hours behind the screen making myself popular in cyberspace and beyond.  Facebook, Twitter, blogging are now to become daily habits.  And all along I thought I could make it in the world simply by digging in the dirt, hanging out in the woods, and making art.  At least my life is about to take a new direction in adventure and fun.  I’m not so sure the world needs another blog about snotty noses, whiney kids, and the monotony of the modern family.  Please do not mistake me.  I often need to gain inspiration about how to deal with my children’s seemingly irrational behavior.  It is nice to know that all kids are crazy and it is not some huge parenting mistake on my part.  I’m just happy that I will be able to create a platform by writing about adventure, travel, sailing, living simply, learning about other cultures, making art, and spending quality time with my family away from the modern hustle and bustle.  Of course though, my kids will still be crazy and I will still have Facebook.