Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Kindred Connection Party

Windy Poplars

My bursary of bliss:
I just began the list today, so I'll probably add more as I think of others.

{one} coffeeshops
{two} carrying and snuggling little ones
{three} holding babies
{four} loving and being loved
{five} receiving smiles from strangers
{six} clean, organized spaces
{seven} concrete jungles, busy urban centers
{eight} the ocean
{nine} sundresses
{ten} singing in four~part harmony
{eleven} tackle hugs
{twelve} good hair days
{thirteen} deep emotional connections with unexpected people

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tiny Talk Tuesday

I honestly did not want to take off my jacket. Doing so would reveal my tube top underneath, with which I usually wear a tank top, but this particular day I did not have a tank underneath because I had planned to keep my jacket on. However, I was BURNING UP as I was cleaning up and taking care of the kids. I hate sweating. So, I removed my jacket. My disrobing was met with several gasps coming from the children.

"Umm..Miss Leah? What's holding your shirt up?" L----- asked me.
I wasn't about to answer "my boobs," so I paused before saying, "Nothing."

After she had thought about my tube top shirt through snack time, she said, "One time I went to a store with my mommy and we saw some dresses that didn't have anything holding them up."


I tied my jacket around my shoulders for the rest of the day. And remembered the next time to prepare for the sweltering heat at work with a shirt that has something holding it up.


"What's this, J-----?" I asked one of my little four year~old beauties, holding up a buttercup she had picked for me.

"Ummm...a peanut butter?"

Join in the fun and share sound bites from the little people in YOUR life at Mary's at Not Before 7.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I'll Never Forget

Is this a persona prose, or have I written it from personal experience? Well..I'm not exactly certain. But it will make sense to whom it is supposed to.

I'll never forget how you snuffed out the light that danced in my eyes...
Stole the rosiness from my cheeks, replacing it with an ashen pallor...
Sucked away my curves of womanhood, leaving in its wake a bony frame reminicent of my preteen years.

You took everything from me, even my autonomy.

My insides rotted, my mind decayed as my intuition countered everything you claimed. I began to question the validity of my own perceptions as I was betrayed
and again.

My face numb, I didn't know I was crying.

Desperate to believe the best about you, only to be proven wrong
and again.

You plant seeds of doubt, seeds of paranoia, seeds of hopelessness.

Each "loving" word you spoke was a would shatter if I threw it...
In a million tiny, sharp, mocking pieces it would shatter on the ground,

next to my treasured bracelet of silver, round like eternity with a broken clasp and tarnished heart.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Another Miscellany

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

{1} Okay, so I lied about taking a break from blog hops. I suppose I'll still have to do a few here and there, plus I haven't participated in Miscellany Monday for a couple weeks! I still have more to write independently though, but sometimes I just can't resist a good ole link~up! ; )

{2} The other day I was thinking about all the sleepovers I've attended and traveling school groups that I've been a part of, and I did a little tally...AND...I've slept in the same bed with about 14 different people, not including bunk beds! If I include bunking, it's more like 20. You're probably thinking, What a strange thing for her to think about/realize, but it just seems like more than average. No worries, they were all girls, subtract my brother when he was 5 and I was 3. So...if you're ever on a game show answering questions about me and this one comes up, you'll be able to answer confidently!

{3} I'm counting my gifts! Check out my posts here and here in which I've reached #30 of my endless gifts...not gifts I want, but gifts I already have.

{4} I am not a gardener; I hate getting dirty and sweaty. My mom, however, is an avid gardener, so I get the chance to enjoy the fruits of her labor...and then retire indoors to the nicely air~conditioned quarters.

Happy Monday, and Happy Miscellany!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Endless Gifts ::11-30::

"For it is God’s love that warms me in the sun and God’s love that sends the cold rain. It is God’s love that feeds me in the bread I eat and God that feeds me also by hunger and fasting. It is the love of God that sends the winter days when I am cold and sick, and the hot summer when I labor and my clothes are full of sweat: but it is God Who breathes on me with light winds off the river and in the breezes out of the wood. His love spreads the shade of the sycamore over my head and sends the water-boy along the edge of the wheat field with a bucket from the spring while the laborers are resting and the mules stand under the tree.

It is God’s love that speaks to me in the birds and streams; but also behind the clamor of the city God speaks to me in His judgments, and all these things are seeds sent to me from His will.

If these seeds would take root in my liberty, and if His will would grow from my freedom, I would become the love that He is, and my harvest would be His glory and my own joy.

And I would grow together with thousands and millions of other freedoms into the gold of one huge field praising God, loaded with increase, loaded with wheat. If in all things I only consider the heat and the cold, the food or the hunger, the sickness or labor, the beauty or pleasure, the success and failure or the material good or evil my works have won for my own will, I will find only emptiness and not happiness. I shall not be fed, I shall not be full. For my food is the will of Him Who made me and Who made all things in order to give Himself to me through them."

~excerpt from pg. 18~19 of New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton

And so that I might become the love that He is for His glory and my own joy, I attempt to consider all the seeds of His will so that they may take root. And so, I continue to count...

::Gifts 11~30::

{11} mild, breezy temperatures on freshly~showered skin

{12} coffeeshop havens

{13} burdensome secrets, no longer hidden

{14} curls that are wild and free

{15} birthdays~celebrations of life

{16} impromptu reminiscing with old friends

{17} tiny baggy jeans that sag to reveal gangsta boxers Pampers

{18} nearly 90 degree temperatures after sundown

{19} little baseball caps, hair clips, and barrettes

{20} toddler voices shouting my welcome

{21} girl time with mom and sis over a Chipotle burrito, too spicy to finish

{22} refreshing Cake n' Shake that sweetens my tongue and my disposition

{23} bonding moments overlooking the city river {with an intrusive SKUNK}

{24} closed doors. even though my heart breaks that they're not open.

{25} time to relax and read magazines at The Studio while Brandi cuts my hair

{26} temporary smooth silkiness to replace spirals and waves

{27} the man who has the courage to be himself despite society's criticisms

{28} church community where I can fellowship, grow spiritually, and welcome others...where I look forward to attending on Sundays

{29} carrying toddlers on my hip

{30} a heart that is growing in fullness and selflessness everyday with each new experience, hardship, insight, and undeserved grace received.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Clothes Sorting, Memories Sorting

I’ve always been a wistful, nostalgic kind of gal, but I think that’s one characteristic of mine that’s beginning to wane. Once you have to give up and say goodbye to something that actually does matter, less consequential things are put into perspective.

I went shopping a couple days ago, but before I picked out some new summer clothes, I had to go through my old clothing items. Many of the clothes that I have are 2-4 years old, which results in a recurring and familiar scene: me standing in front of a full closet all the while not seeing anything legitimate to wear.

So, it was time to take some of my oldies to the thrift store. Earlier in my life, going through clothes with the intention of getting rid of them would have been an emotional ordeal. Not *tears* kind of emotional, but emotional as in, “Awww..maybe I better hold onto this.”

Though not NEARLY as traumatic as my real world trauma experiences, I was hit with memories as I folded up the eliminated clothing items.

This striped polo shirt…I wore it in Europe four years ago during my choir tour. I wore it that night of our outdoor concert in France at the music festival, where the host choir was monumentally intimidated by our "professional" choir..until they saw we were 17 and 18 year~old American kids. Professional sound? Yes. Professional appearance? Oh yeah, and they didn't have any vegetarian food because it was a cookout, so I ate a sandwich with potato chips and mustard!

This sequined tunic…I wore it while reading C----- a story in my lap; her beautiful, naturally tightly~curled mini ringlets left the scent of her shampoo on the front of my tunic blouse, and I could smell her for hours afterward. She soon withdrew from the daycare center. I missed her.

This pumpkin colored sweater...I've worn it proudly during many autumns, trying not to be overly seasonal, but still seasonally appropriate {you know, PUMPKIN colored}. That one fall {when was it?} I was obsessed with buying everything cranberry and pumpkin just to make sure I did my part to contribute to the festive mood.

The clothes are now gone, but I still have the memories. I didn't give up past experiences by giving up items that were present in the midst of the experiences. Though they did serve as triggers for my reminiscing, someone else can now get enjoyment out of them...

...and even more memories and experiences will be absorbed into their fabric, stitching, and sequins.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Taking A Break from Memes and Blog Hops

Recently I've been participating in many link~ups hosted by other blogs. It hasn't really become mindless writing for me, because I've found some blogs that allow me to write and share about topics that interest me. I've taken part in blog hops that allow me to share...

*tiny, random snippets of my life
*cute and funny things that my kids say {my kids=my students}
*answers to questions about my interests/preferences
*pictures of my home
*ways that God is blessing me
*my favorite post of the month

{I linked to the host blogs.}

Additionally, I get to find new blogs and meet other bloggers. I also enjoy supporting other bloggers by participating in the hops that they host.

ALL THAT SAID...I'm going to take a short break. I have a lot on my heart, and I want to give myself a chance to put my thoughts and feelings into words.

So whether it's solemn and beautiful...

quirky and funny...

or joyful and spirited...

I'm going to break free from my blogging routine for a bit.

...and see what comes.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Beginning to count my endless gifts

Inspired by Ann at a Holy Experience, I've decided to join in with the Gratitude Community and begin counting my gifts ~ not gifts that I wish for, but gifts I already have. I want to sing hallelujah for the smallest things and see God's hand everywhere. And so tonight in the early AM hours, I begin to count...

{Gifts 1-10} of 1,000 gifts

:: solitary time in the nighttime hours

:: reading by lamplight

:: silky purple pillowcase, pilling from use

:: peaceful, lulling fan hum

:: journal of letters..written to me

:: cocoon of sage green walls

:: ethereal colors formed from light bent through blown glass and cast on open pages

:: photo vignette of dear ones far away

:: books read, books that have shaped me, and books that await in anticipation of being read

:: a peace, stillness and quiet, feeling that all the world is asleep and it's just me awake, time frozen ~ only thawed by my thoughts

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

We're Party Girls

Today I'm linking up with the Kindred Connections Party at Windy Poplars. The theme this week is food:

1. What is your favorite ethnicity of food?

My favorite would be Italian, chiaramente! {without a doubt}. I love pasta; I love bread; I love tomato~based sauces. There are so many options for me as a vegetarian in the Italian food category. From manicotti and cheese ravioli to minestrone soup and pizza, I'm fond of it all.

2. If you could eat only one meal for two weeks straight, what would it be?

If I had to eat just one meal for two weeks straight, I would choose Puerto Rican rice and beans. I've eaten this meal for several consecutive dinners before because the recipe yields more than one or two portions. {Goya rice, Goya beans, Goya tomato sauce, sazon, recaito, and adobo}

3.What is the "signature" dish that you cook? (you know, that always receives rave reviews and/or you get requests for the recipe - feel free to share the recipe!)

This isn't something cooked, obviously, but one dish that is very simple to make and always gets rave reviews is a frozen dessert that I make. I layer ice cream sandwiches in the bottom of a casserole dish; then I put Hershey's caramel sauce on top. Next, I put whipped cream and then top with crushed Heath bars or M&M's. Surprisingly, after it's frozen and served, many people don't guess right away that the bottom is made of ice cream sandwiches!

4. Is there something that you just can't handle eating - like gag reflex?

Any animal parts. As I said, I'm a vegetarian. {Not a vegan, however. I do eat foods containing eggs and dairy products}. I've been a vegetarian since I was about 8. At that point my parents still required that I eat my meat portions, hoping I would grow out of it. I didn't.

5. Do you think that the Kindred Connection should continue through the summer, or take the summer off?

I thought it just started! Whatever the hostess decides is fine.

Windy Poplars

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Home Tour :: Living Areas

Natalie at Extraordinary Love is hosting a home tour for the months of June and July. Today the featured area is Living Areas ~ as in, sitting areas within the home {like living rooms, family rooms, dens, great rooms, keeping rooms, parlors...anywhere there's a furniture arrangement where one can sit one's hiney}.

Since I'm a college student that lives at home when I'm not in school, I decided that I can claim my parents' house as mine...mwahaha. I did live here full time for 11 years, after all! Additionally, I don't write much about my home on this blog, so I suppose this is a good opportunity to do that {since I usually write about topics that represent my "wings" rather than my "roots"}.

Alright. Enough prefacing. First up is our formal Living Room:

Here's a shot viewing the Living Room from the Foyer.

Standing within the seating area looking towards the music room with my piano and beyond to the kitchen.

Leather chair and ottoman

Candle wall sconce

A view of the built~ins

We call the sitting area adjacent to our kitchen and breakfast nook "the Great Room." Technically, I think great rooms are family room/kitchen/breakfast area combos ~ when those three areas are together in one open space and function both together and separately. Here's a shot of the Great Room when I'm standing within the adjacent kitchen:


The third sitting area on our main level is in the Sun Room. We converted this space from a screened porch into a sun room years ago.

Upholstered and rattan furniture; the walls are ash wood.

A longways view

Here's a shot where you can see the semi~circle window, keystone, faux pillars, beams, and vaulted ceiling. The ceiling is vaulted 1.5 stories. We couldn't go with a two~story vault because that would have COMPLETELY obscured the view from my bedroom window upstairs : )

Oak built~ins.

I considered including our TV room downstairs, but I think this is sufficient. I hope you enjoyed the tour of our living areas! Thanks for visiting! : )

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Saturday Evening Blog Post

Today is the first Saturday of the month, and that means it's time to share favorite posts from the previous month. This month we're sharing our favorite post from May 2010. I browsed my archives and chose to feature my original poem under the post A Midnight Scrawling. Visit Elizabeth Esther to link up and read the faves of other bloggers from this past month.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Pancakes and Thoughts About God

I'm a seeker-- unsatisfied with pat answers and glib responses. I've created many an awkward moment pointing out the proverbial elephant in the room, not willing to gloss over something that inhibits me from
unearthing the truth.

I think this may be one of the reasons I love thinking about God and learning about God. There's always room to grow in spiritual maturity and wisdom, more to experience and discover. A seeking mind like mine, however, desires to "arrive" have it all figured out and every fact and experience contemplated, it's relevance discerned. That, of course, isn't attainable when seeking to comprehend the complexity of God. Contradictions {or what seem to me as contradictions} send my probing mind into a tizzy.

According to Donald Miller in Blue Like Jazz,
"I can no more understand the totality of God than the pancake I made for breakfast understands the complexity of me."
I, as the Creator of the Pancake, am so much greater than the facts of my pancake's reality. The same goes for me as God's creation. Creator God is so much greater than the facts of my reality that it would seem at times that, viewing God through the lens of my reality, God contradicts reason.

Allow me to introduce to you, the FoUrTh DiMeNsiOn!! I'm just kidding...sort of. I'm not a Sci~Fi person AT ALL {I've never seen any Star Wars! *gasp*}, but this helps me think about this concept in another manner. Two~dimensional drawings on flat surfaces can't comprehend our three~dimensional world, like my pancake can't fathom the intricacy of me. In the same way, we can't comprehend a fourth~dimension.
"The little we do understand, that grain of sand our minds are capable of grasping, those ideas such as God is good, God feels, God loves, God knows all, are enough to keep our hearts dwelling on His majesty and otherness forever."
Does this mean I'll stop seeking, discerning, and contemplating because I won't ever fully understand? No, and I don't think I'm supposed to. But as my mind reels to grasp the unknown, my heart can rest in awe because my Creator transcends my understanding.

I'm a seeker. Yet I love to wonder.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

::Fun Things on My To-Do List::

{1} Meet my real~life and bloggy friend Davene at Barnes and Noble tomorrow night

{2} Schedule my facial with The Beauty Spa {will pay using a gift card~ a Christmas gift!}

{3} Attend my cousin's 21st birthday party in PA. Happy birthday Leigh Ann!

{4} Create a blog header that FINALLY satisfies me. I created a makeshift one today with Picasa, but I can't ever seem to make it look how I want due to the limited options. I have Adobe Photoshop, but I don't want to install it until I get all the viruses cleared off my laptop. Yes, you heard me right. Viruses.
For memory's sake, I'll post a picture of my old header, which I'm still kind of stuck on..

{5} Finish Blue Like Jazz. Donald Miller is soo insightful, and I've been positively challenged by reading his "nonreligious thoughts on Christian spirituality" in this New York Times Bestseller.