October 12, 2015 § Leave a comment
It isn’t melancholy, the word alone feels unexceptional against my tongue; missing the bite of desire just off-center from calm. I scratch at my thoughts to name the unrest, something far removed from unhappiness but akin to unsettled. A need or want just shy of trouble with harmless intentions; an urge to disappear in a directionless pursuit.
October 11, 2015 § Leave a comment
Just around a bend, in between our home and our children’s schools, there is a little white church that sits like a forgotten memory.
A place not mine, peace gifted like a blessing from an unexpected offering.
Stolen moments under the hush of a golden sunset. Forgiveness and faith folded in silence.
I think of this when my days curve around the shape remembering.
Then I whisper my thoughts like a confession to an old friend; a prayer of thanksgiving and promises to keep.
October 10, 2015 § Leave a comment
Settling our home there is little we brought with us from our move, the space of our new house would not accommodate our old pieces and so we began with less. It was both a whimsical and cumbersome choice, one that required we tend, almost immediately, to decisions of necessity after the tiresome practicalities of moving while simultaneously freeing us of past choices.
Prior to moving, the decision was very liberating, we were unbound by worries of damage; spared the unpleasantness of unhappy discoveries had we transported larger possessions between homes. Furniture was sold or donated to new homes to simplifying the experience and expense of moving. Unfortunately, this choice also necessitated we scavenge our new community for replacement pieces.
The first weeks, during our time between homes, this was a source of amusement and adventure. We explored salvage shops and boutique offerings alongside online storefronts and large scale retailers for new furniture. There was no urgency to our search as we discussed preferences in favor of necessity and comfort over extravagance.
Like children playing house, the weight of each choice was lightened by the limitless possibility of dreams. One Days and Maybes unburdened by practicalities of budgets and the confines of space or time restraints.
It was only after we moved from the temporary space of our hotel to the permanence of our new home that our choices began to accumulate into a greater urgency. Empty rooms demanded a place to assemble over a meal; space to gather company; accommodations for rest. Of course, by this time, we were exhausted from the emotions and physical demands of our move.
It must be noted, here, that I do not flourish under the restraints of urgency, my thoughts become scattered by the sheer volume of choices that invite second guesses with each decision. My appreciation for quality contradicts the frugality my cautiousness affords. Additionally, while I admire objects of beauty, I am more endeared to the substance of less.
My husband, by comparison, is intuitive in his choices; more daring in his impulsivity. He is less inhibited by the temptation of so many possibilities and more certain of abstract elements. We are, at best, a comedy of doubt and decisiveness.
Over the past weeks we settled into an unexpected series of choices; quick decisions and those we struggled over as we muddled through the madness of a frenzied demand. Elements that thoughtfully incorporated pieces of our first homes and unfamiliar choices that stretched our expectations.
Everything from kitchen hardware to window treatments, everyday dishes and furniture is slowly evolving from abstract choice to reality. Contrasting materials and complimentary colors forming a new background for the noise of everyday life. Simple comforts and extravagant hopes in a harmony of uncertain anticipation and joy.
I underestimated the volume of choices that would accompany this move, but I have been inspired by the lessons in self this change gifted me. Small exercises in chance and creativity, compromise and certainty.
I’m further from my comforts and the illusion of control, more reckless in certain indulgences; less guarded in my risks. More than homemaking, it is a season of nesting and taking flight.
October 9, 2015 § Leave a comment
I keep hesitating to write you. These days feel a little like a dream and I am cautious with my words, frightened I may scatter your good fortune if I name my joy.
You are in a better place, academically. At rest you radiate contentment and engaged you offer a familiar attentiveness. You smile more often and there is an easy confidence to your posture; you are the spirit of your younger self.
I have missed the gentle, unguarded nature of your early years. Your eagerness to learn and faith in others. These past years I wondered at each unhappiness if you had lost these treasures with small violations of trust; disappointments that might have chipped away at the wholeness of your spirit.
I’m not sure I would have endured your experiences with such grace of character. We all struggle against the burden of other’s expectations and perceived limitations with gifts of ability too often overshadowed by intimidation; a false acquiescence of another’s ideal. Some of us cease to dream out loud, not you.
You still dance without music and smile hello; you still draft impossible goals despite doubt or rejection. The difference is you are no longer expected to pretend another form of self.
At an age when so much of your days revolve around school and dreams are aligned by education, you are newly positioned among educators and administrators who honor your individuality. There is no talk of reshaping you into a different image of success. No longer are we mapping accomplishment by a language that silently assumes a generic performance of ability.
You have the benefit of teachers who are endeared to your humor and value your ability. You are suddenly visible again in your day, no longer lost in the margins of a hollow performance. Your work has become more meaningful, your performance more invested.
This is my joy, to see you racing once more toward knowledge and community; learning and dreaming in tandem.
October 6, 2015 § 2 Comments
There is something delightfully deviant in the stubborn swing of your gait and the effervescent honesty that sprinkles your outbursts with comical clarity.
Yesterday your father and I purchased decorative necessities, unexceptionally pretty things to settle the walls of our home. At the time it didn’t occur to us that the largest piece managed to incorporate all of our existing colors in an abstract, nondescript canvas.
I recognized the inadequacy of the piece the minute I settled it against our wall, but it was you, sauntering into our discovery with disappointed amusement that almost caused me to keep the painting.
You called us sad and depressing with such a flourish that I didn’t have time to feel offended. Instead I was intrigued as you gestured first to the painting and then to our pup, exasperatedly you pointed out that the artwork looked like someone had run over our beloved family dog.
It was catastrophically true. As our compliant pup laid peacefully beside the painting it was impossible to ignore the inconvenient truth of your assessment.
“Remember Flat Stanley, Mom? What if we buy one of those art plaques? We could name it ‘Flat Hazel.'” Then you laughed at our poor taste and cuddled our pup.
Heaven help me, I almost bought a plaque. Instead I returned the offensive artwork and kept the memory of your smile.
I’ve laughed all day over the folly of our choice and the honesty of your humor. Promise me that you will always wade into your environment with such attentiveness and good humor.
Love you. Mom
October 4, 2015 § Leave a comment
Moving created a unique opportunity to sort the entirety of my wardrobe. Unlike seasonal purges, spontaneous evaluations that stemmed from frustration and need in a moment of desperate awareness for the ill-fitting, wash-faded remnants of years past; moving provided an excuse to sort items with a more intentional attentiveness for the functionality and emotions of purposeful dressing.
Not one for clutter or material sentiment, I was very methodical in my sorting. Each item was evaluated by specific requirements; the first was need. Is this an item I wear regularly? If yes, does this item make me feel comfortable/confident/beautiful?
It was important to me, as we moved to a new community, that I begin my days from a place of both functionality for the purpose of everyday tasks, but also a positive mindset. As a stay at home mother I knew that most of my social contact would come from school events, but the balance of my time would be consumed by settling our home and tending to our dog.
Recognizing the responsibilities of my day afforded me a chance to donate those items that had sat long forgotten; remnants of another life. Office and evening wear from volunteer committees and special occasions in smaller sizes were gifted new life. Similarly those items that were torn, stained, or stretched from over-use were generously allowed to rest in peace.
Demanding confidence and beauty were necessities of spirit beyond comfort. An introvert by nature, I wanted to center each new experience with a positive intention. I couldn’t control the circumstantial discomfort or intimidation of overwhelming unfamiliarity within my new community, but I could choose to approach the unknown with a sense of calm crafted from an armor of strength.
Returning to the initial question of use, assuming an item was something I would not wear regularly, I then asked myself if I might ever have use for the object in our new home? If the answer leaned even remotely near maybe, I reserved the parcel for another day. A well-cut blazer and timeless pencil skirt, seasonal dresses and even exercise attire were safely stowed for our adventure.
The last qualifying question was one of sentiment. For those hard to rationalize items that lingered between piles, I asked if there were a photograph that might better honor the emotions I struggled to preserve. The best example of this was my wedding dress. Our wedding day itself was a complicated memory, but the dress was less meaningful than the image of my husband and I in a private embrace preserved by a thoughtful photographer. This dress and others were donated that they might find new stories elsewhere.
What remained after my sorting, was a functionally minimalist collection of clothing that brought me greater comfort than confidence. This has created a new opportunity to expand my wardrobe and to shape a new sense of self as I fill in the missing necessities.
Not a shopper and ever-cost conscious, especially given the expenses of moving, I am struggling a bit to invest in new items. Dwelling over fit and color, need and expense. I began my exploration with an unexpectedly frivolous, uncharacteristically impulsive, addition; earrings.
For over a year I have window shopped a charming pair of earrings, playful and pretty they were easily dismissed as an extravagance. This week they became a new promise to engage in objects that delight; to approach shopping without the dread that normally accompanies my efforts. For less than $30, I rediscovered the wonder of playing at dressing up.
I’m no longer dreading the task of deciding, I want my very limited wardrobe to be joyful; beautiful colors and thoughtful elements to make the simple work of everyday more pleasurable. Like fresh flowers on a windowsill or an inexpensive pair of earrings, I want to breathe greater beauty into my day with purpose.
October 3, 2015 § 2 Comments
Properly forty, I still struggle with skin care. I love the truth of my wrinkles and have accepted the imperfect blemishes I never outgrew, but I no longer possess the casual ambivalence of my youth. The girl who worshiped the sun is a more guarded woman outdoors and more consistent keeper indoors; I wash my face before bedtime and honor the value of moisturizer.
I am a fairly simple, quite possibly lazy, and admittedly cost conscious consumer. I want a direct, affordable, proven approach to my daily routines that will protect my skin without depleting my savings. Occasionally I’ve succumbed to elaborately expensive regimens, but I wonder if there is a simpler system that eludes glossy ads and consumer reports.
I’ve come to expect that genetics and good habits have more to do with healthy skin than expensive treatments and I like to imagine there is an older woman somewhere who smiles her way through the secret I am struggling to realize in neatly packaged promises and clever magazine columns.
Maybe its as simple as drinking enough water, exercising regularly, resting sufficiently, and consuming a diet of unprocessed foods. Perhaps the solution is more mysterious, a well-tended passion that lends a blush or a quiet integrity that resists worry lines. I’m still working on the secret, but I’m turning my attention inward for outward markers of personal beauty.