Monday, January 6, 2014

First


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Today is my youngest child's first birthday. I can't wait to watch her dive into her first cupcake. My husband requested butter cream frosting and he topped the little cakes with one of his childhood favorites, De Ruitjter's Chocoladehagel Melk. They are very tasty despite looking like mouse poops which freak me out when I find them on the counter.

The older kids taste-tested the birthday cupcakes for breakfast, just in case I would need to make a new batch. Luckily for me, these passed muster. Given I used 2 lbs of butter, 1lb of confectioner sugar, and twice as much vanilla extract as called for, they should taste good. Or at least cause a sudden sugar coma so you'd never notice if they are bland.

Here I could write about how the year flew by, how time has changed so many things, how we forget she hasn't been here all along, but I know you understand these things. Any attempt to express how I feel about my children growing up wouldn't quite be right, or succinct, or even linear. How do I even begin to qualify the way my children make me feel so expansive yet so protective simultaneously? Big and small, give and take, in and out, filling up and letting go… like a heartbeat.

Happy birthday, little one.

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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Today

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I have been very intrigued by the artists, designers, and bloggers who post everyday. Such dedication! I toyed with the idea of creating a series for the new year, maybe a painting a day, the popular portrait a week of your children, or even simply writing diary style posts each day. Then I woke up from la la land.

Even though I love the idea of painting or writing each day, I would quickly lose the joy those activities bring me if I felt obligated to do them. So, if I do happen to paint a bit or write a bit or snap some photos each day, I won't feel pressured to make more of them than they already are. There would be no need for perfection, or timeliness, or even a decent piece of work. I wouldn't care what people might think of them, because it doesn't matter what anyone thinks of my work. I create for myself and share it when I find time. The important practice is the practice. The doing, for those brief moments, restores me to myself. My authentic self; not the person others need or want or demand I be, but the person I truly am. This includes the self deprecating voice in my head I have housed far too long. One of the most important lessons 2013 offered me and will be the focus, the practice, for the coming year is Whitman's advice, "Re-examine all you have been told…Dismiss what insults your soul."

Thank you to a friend for sharing that quote with me and I'll return the gift to you, with a poem that suits this first day of a new year, by Mary Oliver (of course!).

Today

Today I'm flying low and I'm
not saying a word.
I'm letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.

The world goes on as it must,
the bees in the garden rumbling a little,
the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth.

But I'm taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though I'm really traveling
a terrific distance.

Stillness. One of the doors
into the temple.