Friday, August 15, 2014

Liebster Award



Last year, one of the other blogs I write was nominated for the Liebster Award, and this year another fellow mama-musician blogger has nominated this blog for the same. Awesome! Thank you, Selwa, for the nomination : ) The idea behind the Liebster is to build the blogging community up by helping people become noticed by a bigger audience.

In accordance with the rules of the award, I'm following these steps:

1. Reading the answers of the questions written by the blogger who nominated me.

2. Nominating eleven different bloggers who have less than five hundred followers.

3. Writing a post here featuring the Liebster Award and answering the questions given by the blogger who nominated me.

4. Letting the bloggers I've nominated know that they deserve the Liebster.

So here are my answers to the questions give by Selwa!

1. Why did you start blogging?   It was back in 2007 when I was in college and had a LOT to say. Twenty year-olds are quite opinionated ; )  Don't worry, the vast majority of all my youthful ramblings have been either deleted or moved elsewhere! But the habit of sharing my thoughts stuck, although over the years my motivation to blog has changed. 

2. What motivates you to continue blogging on a regular basis?   These days my blog is used to document my life for my own benefit and for family members to see, and also as a place to work through the mysterious or hard places in life. Writing is the way I process everything. 

3. What's your favorite post that you've written? A Christmas Miracle: Finding Jane

4. Favorite color?   This changes based on the day, based on the season, based on my mood! My current-at-the-moment synesthetic responses also affect it. I just love color!

5. Of the blogs you follow, what are your top three favorites?   the habit of being, soule mama, and journey mama.

6. What other blogs have you written for besides your own?   I currently write at two other blogs, although one of them has been sadly neglected for a while. Life is the Teacher is my place to explore education and my role as a teacher and home-schooling mother, while Unwrapping Love is where my friend Heather and I are documenting our journey into gratitude by listing one thousand blessings we are thankful for. I've also thought about creating a secret blog one day, where I could freely write anything I chose under a different name... we'll see if that ever happens!

7. What interests do you have, other than blogging?   That would be a toss-up between reading and music and knitting and nature, as far as my personal hobbies go! Then of course I love being with my family, hanging out with friends, cooking good food without having to clean up afterwards, snuggling, and thrift store shopping.

8. What is your number one goal as a blogger?   To explore who I am and hopefully speak truth into my own life and into other's lives and to love the mystery of our existence! Oh, that was three goals...

9. What's the top item on your bucket list?   To go back to Europe, and hopefully see my friends from Germany again, one day! I think I left a little piece of my heart in tiny Bad Nauheim.

10. Who is your biggest inspiration?   There are different people who inspire me in different areas of life. My friend Nicole inspires me with her knitting projects and vivacious, unafraid way of playing with yarn. My friend Heather inspires me as a thoughtful person, with her conversations and her writing. My friend Alec inspires me with his tenacity and musicality as a guitarist. My mom inspires me to be the best mother I can be. My husband Chris inspires me with his calm, laid-back manner. My childhood guitar teacher, Kelli, and my college guitar teacher, John, inspire me to be the best teacher for my students. There are so many inspiring folks out there!

11. What's your favorite topic to blog about?   There's no favorite. I like writing about everything! 


Okay, here are the eleven people I'm nominating for the Liebster Award:

the habit of being

Rachel at Clean

Under the Big Blue Sky

Poco Mountain Girl

Fourwood Thinking

Peace, Love, and Spit-up: Life Written Down

PJ, Your Friend

student in heels

mighty violet

becoming claudine

milagro girl



These are the questions I'd love to see answered by those I've nominated:

1. If you could suddenly jump up right now and go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

2. Name three people who inspire you, and why!

3. What book(s) are currently on your bedside table?

4. When was the last time a stranger made you smile, and why?

5. Do you have a calendar, a day planner, a smartphone, sticky notes, a to-do list? How do you plan and keep track of life?

6. How would you describe your fashion style?

7. If someone could magically bring you whatever food you're currently craving, what would it be?

8. What do you think of when you look up at the stars?

9. Name a song that is speaking straight to your soul these days.

10. Do you still have any of your childhood toys?

11. Are there any subjects that you don't like to blog about? Why?

Thank you again to Selwa for nominating me for this award! I look forward to seeing more lovely bloggers pass on the joy.




Thursday, August 14, 2014

Should I get a tattoo?

Tattoos. A symptom of rebellion, or a way to express yourself? An ugly way to disfigure your body, or a beautiful work of human art? A stupid choice, or a thoughtful decision?

I've heard both sides of the argument. A lot of what people believe seems to depend on how conservative their family was/is, and how old they are. Tattoos seem to be losing their edgy symbolism these days, but many adults still consider them to be a bad choice.

The only body art I've ever had was henna, so I am currently unmarked. My husband, awesome as he is, has never liked the look or permanency of tattoos, so because I kiiiiiiiiinda like him a lot *coughunderstatementcough* I have not had a tattoo out of respect for that. And despite the question in this post's title, I don't plan on getting one. We both have our personal choices, yet since he has to look at me every day, I'm fine with keeping my body free of ink for his sake ; )  However, I very much enjoy many tattoos I've seen.

So what do you think? Are tattoos a good idea? Can there be meaningful tattoos? Is it better to get a tattoo that can be covered up? Let me know!

In the process of getting a henna tattoo, drawn by my talented sister

Weaving words along with everyone else as part of Write Alm's August Prompt-a-Day.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Serenade


Heavenly shimmers of light, planet and star
Explosions of life trickling down from afar
Neither so bright as your heart, by my sight
Loving, knowing what you are

Orange moon rising, mist formed and rimmed
Mingling of water and midnight sun dimmed
Hand in hand walk, river and flame
Crickets, tree whispers, night breeze the summer hymn

Eyes ever changing from grey, green, blue
Staring at the night, sky-ocean in your view
Sparks of remote fire wreathed in cloud
Star's singing breath drawing me to you

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Days Are Running, Exploding


I keep telling myself that it'll be fine
You can't make everybody happy all of the time
I found myself in a place that I've never been
A place that I thought I would never be
There's people looking back at me

~ Paranoia in B-Flat Major, The Avett Brothers


You dream of colors that have never been made
You imagine songs that have never been played
(They will try to buy you and your mind)
They will try to buy you and your mind
Only the curious have something to find

~ This Side, Nickel Creek


One of these mornings you're gonna rise up singing
And you'll spread your wings and you'll take to the sky
But 'til that morning, there ain't nothing can harm you
With daddy and mammy standing by

~ Summertime, Ella Fitzgerald



Walk your walk and don't look back
Always do what you decide
Don't let them control your life
That's just how I feel
Fight for yours and don't let go
Don't let them compare you, no
Don't worry, you're not alone
That's just how we feel

~ Am I Wrong, Nico and Vinz


And all she ever thinks about is memories of soaring through the sky
'Cause she remembers having wings
But she's forgotten what it feels like to fly
And all I want to do is fly, just fly
And all I want to do is fly,
Just fly!

~ Fly to Paradise, Eric Whitacre


And I've come to be untroubled in my seeking
And I come to see that nothing is for naught
I've come to reach out blind
To reach forward and behind
For the more I seek, the more I'm sought
Yeah, the more I seek, the more I'm sought

~ Hymn #101, Joe Pug


You light me up inside
Like the 4th of July
Whenever you're around
I always seem to smile
And people ask me how 
Well you're the reason why
I'm dancing in the mirror, singing in the shower

~ Shower, Becky G

 
and here is a secret they never will share
for whom create is less than have
or one times one than when times where—
that we are in love,that we are in love:
with us they've nothing times nothing to do
(for love are in we am in i are in you)
 
~ The Great Advantage of Being Alive, e.e. cummings
 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Thoughtful Thursday: Being an Artist Means...

Therefore, my dear sir, I know no advice for you save this: to go into yourself and test the deeps in which your life takes rise; at its source you will find the answer to the question whether you MUST create. Accept it, just as it sounds, without inquiring into it. Perhaps it will turn out that you are called to be an artist. Then take that destiny upon yourself and bear it, its burden and its greatness, without ever asking what recompense might come from outside. For the creator must be a world for himself and find everything in himself and in Nature to whom he has attached himself.

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Being an artist means, not reckoning and counting, but ripening like the tree which does not force its sap and stands confident in the storms of spring without the fear that after them may come no summer. It does come. But it comes only to the patient, who are there as though eternity lay before them, so unconcernedly still and wide. I learn it daily, learn it with pain to which I am grateful: PATIENCE is everything!

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If you will cling to Nature, to the simple in Nature, to the little things that hardly anyone sees, and that can so unexpectedly become big and beyond measuring; if you have this love of inconsiderable things and seek quite simply, as one who serves, to win the confidence of what seems poor: then everything will become easier, more coherent and somehow more conciliatory for you, not in your intellect, perhaps, which lags marveling behind, but in your inmost consciousness, waking and cognizance.

You are so young, so before all beginning, and I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear sir, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the QUESTIONS THEMSELVES like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. LIVE the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.

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And this more human love (that will fulfill itself, infinitely considerate and gentle, and kind and clear in binding and releasing) will resemble that which we are preparing with struggle and toil, the love that consists in this, that two solitudes protect and border and salute each other.

~ Excerpts from Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke

A thoughtful quote can be the bridge that leads us farther
along the path of understanding each other and ourselves.

You Think We're Eccentric?



I've seen the way people look at us, strangers in the grocery store or drivers going by on the street. Our friends are more okay with rolling their eyes at us. Or they join in, if they're cool enough ; )

We're going to be known as "that" family. At least to some folks. 

The family that pulls from their grocery budget to pay for a banjo that suddenly came up for grabs (at an extremely low price, if I may say so), adding to our growing collection of instruments. Who can master the forward and alternating rolls first, guys?! 

The family that sits on their porch playing music in the evening while letting their two year old pick flowers in the twilight.

The family that makes up their own lyrics to popular songs and tries to see whose version is more hilarious.

The family who shouts "pose!" when you least expect it and then everyone freezes into a ridiculous position. Points for looking the most dramatic!

The family who doesn't operate under any kind of current or modern fashion sense, but just wear the colors and style and feel of clothes they like. 

The family that turns up its nose at each other's drinks of choice (tea, Mountain Dew, and coffee*) yet goes out of their way to help each other obtain said drink as if it were a vital part of the day's functioning. Which, for some of us, it probably is.

The family that constantly has a visitor sleeping on their couch for a night, or a weekend, or eleven days, or more. Guests are welcome here : )

The family that might break into an opera or musical scene in the kitchen. Yes, with terrible pronunciation of Italian (me) and the possibility of a tap solo (Chris).

Yes. We are "that" family. 

And we love it. 

*My sister = tea, Chris = Mountain Dew, me = coffee (once or twice a week now), and I do like tea, actually. Heh.

Weaving words along with everyone else inspired by Write Alm's July Prompt-a-Day.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Desire

It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.


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The Christian says, 'Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or to be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that country and to help others to do the same.




Every once in a while I feel that life, for one moment, is so sweet that I could not wish for anything more. Then in the next second the delight loses its edge as "but" and "what if" creep in.

Life is bittersweet at best.

Right now, even as I enjoy the blessings of a home and beautiful family and food in my belly and air conditioning and no persecution and quiet neighborhood and classical music playing and more Things than I could ask for, I still have desires.

I desire to be a far better mandolin player than I am. This is a really big desire right now, as I struggle with feeling like a completely inadequate musician: I can't improvise to save my life, have a hard time strumming, and can still barely use a pick. Yet the intense desire to become a better mandolinist is there because I love bluegrass, folk, and Irish music so much that I want to actually be able to play them myself instead of just listen to others play them. So I desire both the ability to play a secondary instrument and more enjoyment in fully immersing myself in the music, despite the fact that I can already find pleasure in listening to the mandolin. Partial fulfillment is not enough. There is more to desire.

I desire to be more passionate about God.

I desire to have patience with myself and my daughter.

I desire the presence of those I love who are far away.

I desire to not worry about our finances constantly.

What is the solution to desire?

Contentedness. Gratitude as well. Fulfillment, in some cases. Perspective. And maybe a healthy dose of living in the moment, savoring the drops of sweetness as they come.

Weaving words along with everyone else inspired by Write Alm's July Prompt-a-Day.

Quotes by C.S. Lewis.