POETRY & WORDS :: Chasing Light with Memoky

I wake up with a list in my head, sometimes, not seeing the light, not seeing the shadows shifting through the water-spotted windowpanes, because I’m seeing all the unchecked boxes. I wake up already feeling behind, sometimes, and tumble headlong into it all, very unlike a poet.


Sometimes, I get up and frantically do, forgetting to be, ignorant to the beauty all around, because the day isn’t going the way I planned.

Because I’m clawing at efficiency.

“We are attempting, all the time,” says Billy Collins, “to create a logical, rational path through the day. To the left and right, there are an amazing set of distractions that we usually can’t afford to follow.  But the poet is willing to stop anywhere.




My four-year-old stops anywhere.  She’s nonstop, she’s scientific, her brain is a perpetual motion machine, and yet she’s a tiny little poet. Why? Because, even in her intensity, she knows how to pause.

She’s intent on the details.




She’s still captivated by all the tiny little pieces that together make up this “one wild and precious life” [1], as Mary Oliver says. At four, she hasn’t yet learned to ignore the shapes the sunrise scatters across the wall at dawn. She hasn’t learned to forget how fleeting they are, and hasn’t been trained to shrug over the fact the light fades in seconds. And so she giggles, chasing the shadows, running across the room to catch them, head thrown back, laughing loudly into the golden air.


memoky_on_oaxacaborn_12And when the light shifts from yellow to white, she stops and pulls her knees up to her chest and lets the light illuminate the pages. It’s as though she’s already read Wendell Berry’s “How to be a Poet (to remind myself).”

“Make a place to sit down. 
Sit down. Be quiet.”

[Okay, so she doesn’t know a thing about quietness, really.]

“You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill — more of each
than you have — inspiration
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity…



Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensional life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.


Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.”

I knew we can’t all be silent (although sometimes, after answering  279,817 questions before ten, that sounds like the loveliest retreat.) We can’t all pine away at a desk, acting as writers and poets for a living  (although that sounds marvelous too.)

We can’t all be children. It’s not only impractical, it’s impossible. We can’t abandon our responsibilities. We have schedules, work to do, and tasks we simply must complete. We can’t all recline like men and women of leisure, as though life were some still, calm, ancient painting.


But we can train our hearts to see the joy and the beauty, right? Even in the hectic chaos, can we see snippets of what the poets see?  Can we choose to have hearts like children? (Jesus had a little something to say about grown people becoming as children, I think. [2])

My friend Marie reminds us that “life isn’t always clean and easy. Sometimes it’s messy and fuzzy.” But, she goes on, “There is still beauty and peace if you look hard enough. Find your beauty and share it. This world needs it.


So can we do that? Can we leave room in our days for wonder? Can we leave margin for awe?  And then when we switch off the alarm in the morning, we can say, like the poet,

Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who made the morning
and spread it over the fields…
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and the crotchety –

good morning, good morning, good morning.
Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness. [3]”


About Memoky // Founded in New York City in 2015, Memoky offers an intentional collection of furniture, decor and lighting for the home. Shop online at memoky.com, or follow @MemokyHome on Instagram or on Facebook.

Myhre Table Lamp in White and Brass via the Galla Collection c/o Memoky.

Additional Credits // Flokati Sheepskin Rug: Shades of Light | Side Table, Plywood Chair, Bed: IKEA Orlando |  Tiger Sweatshirt: RUUM | Striped Linen Pants: Leitmotif | Poster Rails: Posterhanger 

Disclosure of Material Relationship: I received a lamp from Memokey in exchange for publishing this post. All the photographs, opinions, and experiences shared here are in my own words and are my own honest evaluation. Please be assured, I only accept sponsorship opportunities for brands I personally use and/or would recommend to close friends and family, and I will always disclose any such relationships.


First of all, let’s get one thing straight. Fika is essential. How else could you get through the daily slump, the brick wall, the sleepies, if not for elevensies, fika, coffee with sweets?


Fika London, that most…design-y…of all coffee houses, gets it right with this one. (Who wants to be a dull horse?)

FIKA London, kannelbullens on a Donna Wilson plate with glass of milkAnd okay, they kinda nailed it with this one, too. Swedish kannelbullen, er, cinnamon buns, anyone?

Fika is never consumed on the run. It’s about stopping to breathe, and recharge. [image via the Kitchn]

97aaf1d2ea96a693e74e4eca28a825a2Swedish coffee isn’t served strong, but light and thin, so you can keep on pouring refills all [long, dark] afternoon long. (image via DimeStoreVintage on Etsy)

Just don’t add egg to mine, thanks ;))

Herz Allerliebst - Coffee and Star Anise and Cinnamon and Stars
And it isn’t just coffee alone. It’s coffee + sweets. Maybe you’ll have some spiced coffee with tiny ginger stars? (Image by Herz Allerliebst, via Nadine on Flickr)

Or maybe coffee in the prettiest enamelware (via Lagerhaus.se), and more gingerbread stars.

fika_red_enamelwareMore kannelbullen — and more enamelware, which to me is so quintessentially a part of the whole fika experience. (Image via What’s for Lunch, Honey?; Swedish kannelbullen recipe via Craft and Creativity.)

Even though it’s fast approaching the busiest time of the year, how did YOU pause for fika today?

[image via The Faux Martha; Salted Nutella Latte]

POETRY & WORDS :: Why Celebrations and Beauty Still Matter in a Broken World

Why Beauty Still Matters in a Broken WorldSometimes, people wonder how I can get behind something so trite as a whole series about Christmas decorations, when I also talk about a cure for first-world problems and death and darkness and clinging to a thread of hope. How can I talk about pretty things when there’s all this brokenness everywhere we turn? Isn’t that incongruent? Doesn’t that make me a hypocrite? Don’t I know the world is dying?

I do know. And because I know, I refuse to give in to the darkness.  I refuse to let the darkness chase us away from all the beauty.

Our God, the same God who demands justice and calls us to love mercy [1], also created beauty. The same God who calls us to defend the fatherless [2], also paints the billowing clouds with fiery indigo, told His ancient people to weave golden threads into gilded curtains and dot the tabernacle with precious stones [3], and turns snowy mountain peaks copper with every rising dawn.  If we have the eyes to notice, our heart is lifted at a solitary bloom alive in a dry and cracked sidewalk, and something in our spirit leaps at the sight of a single lit tree in the darkness, glistening in snow-covered bursts of colored light. Our deep longing for aesthetic beauty echoes the whole, complete beauty that existed in God himself before the Fall of Man. Glimmers of it shine earthside still. Every single thing of beauty on this earth hints at the beauty that waits just beyond the veil [4].

And something else await beyond the veil, too — a celebration [5].

Somewhere along the way in our journey through the monotonous tasks of living, we’ve heard whispers that to be holy is to reject the nonsense of tinsel and lights, and to be an effective servant of God we have to squelch in us any inkling of desire for beauty.  We’ve heard that to have a heart that really loves mercy, to have a heart that really broken over injustice, we should probably first deprive ourselves of enjoyment. But beauty and joy and celebrations are not at all antithesis to our identity as Christians. Rather the opposite; celebrations are at the very heart of our Father God. All throughout the Bible we see, over and over and over again, this idea of gathering together in the mutual enjoyment of this wild and beautiful life. And we crave it. We crave beauty, we crave togetherness, and we crave wholeness.

Maybe it doesn’t make sense to live this way. Maybe it’s all more complicated than this. But I think my God is big enough that I don’t have to choose between beauty and truth. I think my God is big enough that I don’t have to reject the beautiful things He’s created in order to love mercy. So instead of understanding it all, I just want to embrace this mystery. The mystery of God, the mystery of this life, the mystery of serving the One who lets all these disparate things — beauty, injustice, death, love — coexist, and even, somehow, weaves them all together with redemption in a tapestry altogether glorious.

So let yourself be freed from legalism this Christmas. Let yourself be free to savor the deep, beautiful goodness of God, and drink in the wonder of His Advent, even if everyone around you is cramming in commercialism until the season nearly bursts with misunderstanding, and even as the news broadcasts keep rolling, and even as there is still work to be done.

“Here is the world”, said Frederick Buechner. “Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.”

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free.” [6]

POETRY & WORDS :: When I was a little girl, I didn’t live on the prairie


When I was a little girl, I didn’t live on the prairie or in the suburbs or in wide-eyed city lit by neon signs. I didn’t know apple pie was supposed to be American. I never saw a baseball game. I didn’t have a picket fence, or a dog, or any of those things that are you supposed to make you American. But I didn’t live in America, either.

When I was a little girl, I lived in the middle of a brown and white house right smack on the edge of a street called Taborska right smack on the edge of a city called Ljubljana. Our front door didn’t have a doorknob. It had a door handle instead, which was long and narrow. It kind of looked like someone had taken a capital L, turned it sideways, and jammed the short side into the door. Our landlady lived downstairs, so we called her Grandma Downstairs. Petra and Alenka, her two granddaughters, lived up the stairs. We called them Petra and Alenka. Much later when I grew up into a lady and lived maybe a million or seven miles from there, I had a daughter too and I named her A. Alenka. It sounds like music. But that didn’t happen yet, because I was still a little girl.

I had one brown-haired mustached dad and one strawberry blonde mom, and a brother who got himself locked in the spare room once. The L-shaped door handles were very good at getting locked and very bad at opening up again, so while I cooked horseradish and dandelion soup in my cardboard kitchen, I prayed for a replacement brother. The original brother was unlocked before I’d finished praying, but God sent me a second brother a few years later anyway.

I didn’t have a dog. Once I had some tadpoles, which sounds nice, but really they looked more like their other name, pollywogs. Sometimes we had a goldfish. He was a very possibly magic goldfish. Sometimes he swam right out of the bowl and was missing for a long time before he popped back into the bowl. My dad was not a goldfish but he had blue eyes on the front of his head and an extra pair of eyes on the back of his head. The extra eyes were just as good at seeing as the forward-facing ones. He had a stack of heavy books next to his bed. Since it was dark when he woke up, I’m not sure which eyes he used to read.

I don’t think my mom and dad could see very far from the middle part of the house where we lived, but as I was still a child and hadn’t yet grown eyes in the back of my head, so I could see for miles. The red clay rooftops sparkled like tiny crests, like little ocean waves in a red sea. Of course, the Red Sea isn’t actually red. I know this because I am very nearly six years old, and I know almost everything there is to know, particularly important truths such as how one person cannot see one’s own face, no matter how tangled up one gets trying to turn one’s eyeballs toward it.  I tasted the sea in Greece once, although I probably shouldn’t have because there was quite a lot of rubbish floating in it. It was a rather green sea. All the books I’d ever read said seawater was supposed to be blue, but I guess they hadn’t been to Greece.

Things don’t always end up the color they set out to be, anyway. There’s a man who sometimes who comes to visit the cats and chickens and sour cherry trees downstairs, and I think his hair started out brown but it’s beginning to have grey bits around the edges. I think to myself that it’s the same kind of grey as the sardines heaped up on the tables near the bridge in the city. The sardines started out with a silvery flash of green, I think, but mostly they end up grey, too. There are big cement columns stuck into the ground at each end of the bridge down by the sardine tables. They are grey, too, like most of the things in our city, but the dragons on the top are a kind of sad, flaky green that looks like it used to be happy. Mom says the dragons are made of copper but I don’t thinks she’s right about that.  I saw a picture of a copper penny once, in an American book, but it wasn’t green at all. Our friend tried to each me about pennies. I didn’t listen. I just looked at her when she talked, and watched my head head bob up in down in the reflection of glasses she wore to cover up her glass eye.

I didn’t need to know about American pennies, anyway. I didn’t live in America. Maybe someday I would, and there would be plenty of time to learn about pennies then.

SCANDINAVIAN CHRISTMAS :: GRANIT and a little Swedish cabin

Oh, skandinavisk jul! (Yes, I have an obsession. But that’s okay, because that’s what this series is all about).  So let’s get the fifth annual Scandinavian Christmas series rolling!


Every winter in October — yep, not autumn, winter — Swedish  decor (and clothing, and gardening) chain GRANIT unveils their Christmas collection. And you can just feel that arctic afternoon darkness, folding over the cabin like a wool blanket, while the cardamom and anise wash over you.

Skandinavisk Jul! Styling by Swedish interiors and gardening store GRANIT

Skandinavisk Jul! Styling by Swedish interiors and gardening store GRANIT

Skandinavisk Jul! Styling by Swedish interiors and gardening store GRANIT


Skandinavisk Jul! Styling by Swedish interiors and gardening store GRANIT

Want more from GRANIT? I love their Pinterest board that’s chock full of Christmas-y images like the ones above. So, so gorgeous. (And this isn’t even a sponsored post! I did say I had an obsession, right? ;))

Want to be a part of the fifth annual Scandinavian Christmas series? Email me at oaxacaborn@gmail.com with a URL, guest post, photo, Pinterest board, or anything else relating to Scandinavian and Nordic holiday traditions. Stay tuned for more Skandinavisk jul!



“Something I constantly notice is that unembarrassed joy has become rarer. Joy today is increasingly saddled with moral and ideological burdens, so to speak. When someone rejoices, he is afraid of offending against solidarity with the many people who suffer. I don’t have any right to rejoice, people think, in a world where there is so much misery, so much injustice.

I can understand that…But this attitude is nonetheless wrong. The loss of joy does not make the world better — and, conversely, refusing joy for the sake of suffering does not help those who suffer. The contrary is true. The world needs people who discover the good, who rejoice in it and thereby derive the impetus and courage to do good. Joy, then, does not break with solidarity. …This results, then, in the courage to rejoice.” -Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger

CHRISTMAS :: 5th Annual Scandinavian and Nordic Christmas Series

5th Annual Scandinavian and Nordic Christmas series on the oaxacaborn.com blog

For the fifth straight year (wow!) I’ll be bringing you Scandi Christmas gorgeousness during the entire Advent season. According to the feedback you’ve shared with me over the years (and the number of times you’ve pinned the content on to Pinterest) this is your absolute favorite series. Together, we’ll be talking adventskalender, sharing interiors cozied up for the season, exploring different ways to decorate, celebrating Scandinavian and Nordic traditions, and more.

As in previous years, you’re invited to join the celebration. If you have a favorite post you’ve written, a link to a particularly Scandinavian store, a set of photos, a memory of Nordic holiday traditions, a Pinterest board full of Scandi images, or simply want to share the URL of your blog (point me to the category with the most Christmas-y content), email me! In previous years,  contributors have been from the U.S., Finland, Sweden, the United Kingdom — even far above the Arctic circle — but you’re of course welcome to participate no matter where you live. I can’t wait to hear from you!

P.S. The series will begin on 1 November and continue through 25 December. Hyvää Joulua! God Jul! 

POETRY & WORDS :: And I’ll Sing in the Land of my Sojourn

And I'll Sing in the Land of My Sojourn by Gina Munsey on Oaxacaborn, with quotes by Rich Mullins and Frederick BuechnerIt’s quiet, at least as quiet as an afternoon can be on the second floor of an apartment building, perched at the edge, where the gully dips down into rain-soaked grass and back up again to meet the ragged blacktop edge just before the toll booth.  This little corner of earth where residential and interstate meet is not a destination or a landmark, but I think Rich Mullins would have sung about it [1].

I think he’d have seen the gold in the way the sun fights for light here, like a farmer sees hope and life in the tiniest green shoot.

Maybe he’d have heard a melody in the rumble of the trucks which coast and pull their rattling brake just before the bend in the road, like he did when he sang “And the coal trucks come a-runnin’  / With their bellies full of coal  / And their big wheels a-hummin’  / Down this road that lies open like the soul of a woman…” [2]

He saw beauty, somehow, where others only saw the tired corners, where others only saw the afternoon traffic jams and the faded street signs and the plodding of sojourners down the cracked and uneven sidewalks. When you know everything around you lies in shadow, waiting for the great awakening, when you know we’re all living just on the very cusp of seeing clearly and not through a glass dimly, well, then, there’s beauty in everything broken. Because as soon as that Star shown down into the stable and as soon as He was born, well, redemption was set in motion and that was “When the old world started dying / And the new world started coming on”. [3]

There have been sojourners as long as there has been time itself, mendicants wandering [4] yet wandering with purpose, through the dredges that are made holy with that same purpose. Sojourning is different than drudgery. Drudgery is repetition without hope on a horizontal plane. But sojourning! Ah, sojourning takes the repetition in which drudgery despairs, and views it with eyes opened by the God of Wonder Himself.

“If you think you are seeing the same show all over again seven times a week,” Frederick Buechner writes [5], “you’re crazy. Every morning you wake up to something that in all eternity never was before and never will be again. And the you that wakes up was never the same before and will never be the same again.”

And so, in the midst of the traffic chorus outside my window, and the unwashed laundry and  the unanswered emails, in the midst of confronting evil and doubt, in the midst of working long into the night and consoling a child’s fever and answering unspoken fears, in between the lost moments of sleep and the sunrises awash with new mercies and endless grace, in the arms of everlasting love, “I’ll sing my song / and I’ll sing my song / in the land of my sojourn.”[6]

POETRY & WORDS :: Can I tell you a secret about community?

Can I tell you a secret about community | A blog post about purpose, community, and finding worship in the mundane | Oaxacaborn blog

It’s autumn, and I think it must be conference  season, too.  Everywhere I turn, the internet is awash with experts converging into a single wooded area or brightly-lit urban spot on the map, reciting advice, organizing workshops, writing blog posts, handing out business cards and reminding everyone of the importance of taking part in community. In other words, #community is trending.

And sometimes, this can feel lonely.

But I don’t think a weekend retreat is the only place you can grab a piece of community. I don’t think you can sell tickets for it, and then proclaim it sold-out. I don’t think our God-given longing for communion and community can be solved as easily as all that.

And this is good news for you, dear reader, you precious soul who feels left out, you who are faithfully toiling away at home or at a desk. It is good news for you who are living your life with your little family, far away from extended family; good news for you who feel alone, you who feel like you’re not a part of something special, you who feel the cries of the baby and the husband’s expectation for dinner and the demands of the children and the endless mundanity of life are keeping the ingredients for community just out of reach.

But the ingredients are not out of reach.

They are in front of you. They are front of me.

They are wherever two or three are gathered. [1]

I think sometimes in our cycle of the mundane we think we can somehow capture community and rest in the quiet halls of a monastery, where the only sound is the scratch of a quill against vellum. I think sometimes in the middle of arguing with our children over lunch choices we think we can somehow capture community and devotion in the orderly schedule of an Amish farm.  I think sometime we think we can somehow capture community and service in being half-way around the world, feeding the poor. But this is an incorrect perspective. We are missing something crucial. We are missing the reality that for the monastic scribe, the scratching quill and endlessly copied words are his mundanity.  For the Amish mother, hanging laundry on an outside clothesline is her mundanity. For the overseas worker, stirring up another huge pot of soup is her mundanity.

It’s not the task itself that’s categorized as mundane or profound.

It’s our attitude toward it.

Once we realize this, we have a choice. We can either meet God in these ordinary tasks, or we can see our everyday responsibilities as an obstacle keeping us from true devotion.

Tozer wrote much of this secular-sacred divide, of our human tendency to see “dull and prosaic duties” as keeping us from the really important and holy tasks. He writes, “It is not what a man does that determines whether his work is sacred or secular, it is why he does it. The motive is everything. Let a man sanctify the Lord God in his heart and he can thereafter do no common act.”

He can thereafter do no common act! What a life-giving, joy-inducing truth.

Maybe you’re in a place where your job keeps you from joining the latest and greatest retreat or the urgently-needed humanitarian service trip. Maybe it’s finances. Maybe it’s geography. Maybe it’s all of the above. Maybe you feel like you’re swallowed up in ordinary tasks while everyone else is off doing extraordinary things for God and for each other.

Oh, friend. Let us see these chores and responsibilities not as hindrances, but as prayers. Let our ordinary lives be our worship.

Next time everyone is off on a women’s retreat, and you are peeling potatoes — my friend, that is your offering. Next time all your Instagram friends are posting selfies with conference speakers and authors while you are folding the 37 pairs of underwear your toddler wore this week — my friend, that is your offering.

And it is no less precious.

All of your least favorite chores, all of your most exhausting battles, all your lean years where friends seem few, all the darkest of dark days — these all can be your offering.  These can be be my offering. These can be our offerings. In the times when it is impossible for you to join the missionaries and the speakers and the authors and the experts and everyone else who seems to be holding out a neatly-packaged key to community, remember; you are not alone.

And can I tell you a quietly-kept secret about community? I think it’s often smaller and quieter than we realize. I think it’s already happening when two or three are gathered. [1] I think it’s less advertised, more humble, forged often more in the lonely fires of trial than in the spotlights of popularity. I think you — and I — already maybe hold all the ingredients for it.  We just might have to do a little digging, a little unearthing, a little bit of getting our hands dirty, a little bit of turning our eyes back home after longingly gazing over the fence. And when we find those pieces, we’ve found great jewels, priceless treasures — here, now, in whatever quiet little place God has carved out for us.

POETRY & WORDS :: A History of Weather

Life in Photos :: Sonlight Science A :: Biology, Botany and Physics :: Homeschooling on the Oaxacaborn blog

Life in Photos :: Sonlight Science A :: Biology, Botany and Physics :: Homeschooling on the Oaxacaborn blog

Life in Photos :: Sonlight Science A :: Biology, Botany and Physics :: Homeschooling on the Oaxacaborn blog

Life in Photos :: Sonlight Science A :: Biology, Botany and Physics :: Homeschooling on the Oaxacaborn blog

We spend the mornings together, side by side, she a constant inquisitive spirit, eager, joyful, full of wonder. We sit at the table together, the sun casting shadows through the curtains and across the stacks of books. Sometimes she slowly exclaims “Wow!” and sometimes she shrieks “Tell me more about it!” But always she wants to know more.

I read, she listens. She reads, I listen.

Voyages and discoveries,  light and darkness.

We turn the pages together. We marvel at the lines in the paintings of the masters together.  We look up into the vast distance of the galaxies together.  We talk of good and evil. We talk of beauty. She asks for more about Moses, more about Joshua, more about Sarah, more about these men and women who walked before. Her voice recites truths, her fingers are just beginning to dance across the piano keys, her little self is flying through books like there is no end to adventure.

Because there is no end to adventure.

Life in Photos :: Sonlight Core A :: An Intro to World Cultures :: Ancient Romans :: Homeschooling on the Oaxacaborn blog


Life in Photos :: Sonlight Science A :: Biology, Botany and Physics :: Homeschooling on the Oaxacaborn blog


Social Enterprises, Homeschooling, and more in the Latest Print Issue of Babiekins Magazine

Babiekins Magazine - Trendsetting Kids Fashion Magazine for Children and Parents - Summer Print Issue 6

Over this summer, I had the privilege and honor to be a part of two more cover stories in the latest print issue of Babiekins Magazine! (Is that cover pure happiness, or what?) I want to give a big shout out to my incredible team — Kelly Roper Photography, Elizabeth Pettey Photography, Priscila Barros, Leslie Schor Creative, and Liz Jacob of Yellow Finch, all of whom worked tirelessly (and sleeplessly!) to make this issue a reality. You ladies rock!

The first story I wrote for this issue is all about the founder of Isabel Garretón, Inc., an incredible trail-blazing immigrant woman who was producing socially conscious garments long before eco-fashion was a business trend. I really enjoyed talking to her about cultural identity, what it means to really “feel American”, and the complicated issues which accompany managing a social enterprise.

I also was able to share my thoughts on homeschooling as a part of the big Creative Education special feature in this issue. As you know from reading my blog, I don’t think homeschooling is the only option, nor should it always be approached as a lifelong option.  For us, it’s the path we’ve chosen for the time being, almost entirely because, despite studies like this, Florida state law is an absolute stickler about the cut-off ages for entry to kindergarten — or any other grade.

So, we’re homeschooling, although I don’t always approach it from a traditional homeschooling mindset.  In this Schoolkins article, I talk about this eclectic perspective, my own positive experience being homeschooled as a child, and how I think it’s important to look outside the homeschool circle and plug into the community at large. I also share my somewhat controversial thoughts on the harm of downplaying academics.

I hope you’ll be able to pick up a copy in your local bookstore; otherwise, you can always order a copy directly from Babiekins as well.

Rug c/o Rugs USA, one of the sponsors of an upcoming education-themed #schoolkins interior design editorial, premiering soon on Babiekins Magazine

LIFE IN PHOTOS :: Childhood and Summertime

Falling asleep reading
backstage at the theatre
Dala horse and ramen
mosaic fountain
Papa and Aveline
Grumpy Aveline and Spanish moss
Post performance blues
Papa and Aveline
sunrise wakeup call
lighting check
big old palm
raincoat indoors
A little too happy to do spelling

“What child, while summer is happening, bothers to think much that summer will end?

What child, when snow is on the ground, stops to remember that not long ago the ground was snowless?

It is by its content rather than its duration that a child knows time, by its quality rather than its quantity—happy times and sad times, the time the rabbit bit your finger, the time you had your first taste of bananas and cream, the time you were crying yourself to sleep when somebody came and lay down beside you in the dark for comfort.

Childhood’s time is Adam and Eve’s time before they left the garden for good and from that time on divided everything into before and after.” -Frederick Buechner

LITTLE STYLE :: From subarctic to subtropic, Scandinavian children’s clothing, Småfolk

Småfolk, Scandinavian children's clothing on the Oaxacaborn blog

It’s no secret around here that I love Scandinavian design. I’m always fascinated with the contrast between where I live now (Florida), where I was born (Mexico) and where my family tree is rooted (Sweden and Finland, among other places). The contrast is especially vivid at wintertime during the annual Scandi Christmas series, as I’m sitting here in the subtropics, blogging about the subarctic.

Småfolk, Scandinavian children's clothing on the Oaxacaborn blogSmåfolk, Scandinavian children's clothing on the Oaxacaborn blog

Denmark-based Småfolk, one of the Scandinavian brands I love, drew me in a long time ago with their iconic apple design and bold 70s-leaning patterns. And I can’t help feeling like the designers behind Småfolk really gets it when it comes to kids clothes — the designs are bright, fun, stylized, and (what a novel idea!) actually appeal to the children for whom they’re designed.

Småfolk, Scandinavian children's clothing on the Oaxacaborn blog
Småfolk, Scandinavian children's clothing on the Oaxacaborn blog
Småfolk, Scandinavian children's clothing on the Oaxacaborn blog
Småfolk, Scandinavian children's clothing on the Oaxacaborn blog
Småfolk, Scandinavian children's clothing on the Oaxacaborn blog
Småfolk, Scandinavian children's clothing on the Oaxacaborn blogSmåfolk, Scandinavian children's clothing on the Oaxacaborn blogSmåfolk, Scandinavian children's clothing on the Oaxacaborn blogSmåfolk, Scandinavian children's clothing on the Oaxacaborn blogSmåfolk, Scandinavian children's clothing on the Oaxacaborn blog
Småfolk, Scandinavian children's clothing on the Oaxacaborn blog

Had you heard of Småfolk before today? I’d love to see this established brand take off in the United States, too.  I feel like there’s such a big space in the children’s market here for this genre of clothing, and style this good deserves to go global, don’t you think?

GET THE LOOK :: Apple Sweatpants | Leopard Sweatshirt Dress | Yellow Horses Dress | Anniversary Edition Cars Tee | Grey Sweatpants with Orange Apple | Yellow Velour Sweatpants (not pictured)

Småfolk Website | on Facebook | on Instagram

Disclosure of Material Relationship: I received clothing from Småfolk in exchange for this blog post. I did not receive monetary compensation and was not required to present or promote any specific products, nor was I required to express any particular viewpoint. All the photographs, opinions, and experiences shared here are in my own words and are my own honest evaluation. Please be assured, I only accept sponsorship opportunities for brands I personally use and/or would recommend to close friends and family, and I will always disclose any such relationships.

ADOPTION :: 1.1 Million Diapers

Show Hope to Orphans | 1.1 Million Diapers | Give Diapers Now!

I’ve metioned Show Hope a few times before (see 18 Gifts for Giving Tuesday and A Cure for First World Problems). Founded by Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife, Show Hope runs several care centers in China dedicated to providing loving care — and medical help — to special needs orphans. The care centers go through more than a million diapers each year!

Let’s help Show Hope stock the diaper cupboards —

  • $30 for one package
  • $60 for two packages (choose this option and a donor will fund an additional package in your name!)
  • $90 for three packages/one case
  • $180 for six packages/two cases (choose this option and you’ll receive original artwork from the kids one of Show Hope’s care centers!)

Give Diapers Now

Show Hope Website | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

POETRY & WORDS :: Yes, she is my only one

Yes, she's my only one -  A Post on the Oaxacaborn blog

As much as I share here in this public space, there’s much, much more I don’t talk about.

For a long time, Aveline was young enough that I didn’t have to talk about it. For a long time, her age served as some sort of barrier to postpone the questions and contain the curiosity. But as Aveline has gotten older, peoples’ curiosity is stretched thinner and thinner and thinner. The manners are starting to fade, and the collective curiosity is like a wall of water behind a crumbling dam.

On any given day there are fewer and fewer people left who consider the when? and the why? behind her sibling-less status as private information.

I have an only child.

I’m homeschooling an only child.

And I’ve never been more acutely aware of the stigma in those sentences, or how many sets of neatly-boxed little assumptions exist about this fact.

I’m not here to defend anything.

I’m not here to explain a choice. My redemption lies in my Jesus, not in the number of people in my family.

Instead, I’m here to gently remind you that before you judge someone’s choice, remember that we humans don’t even always hold the power of a choice.

I’m here to remind the curious questioners that in almost every situation under the sun, there’s more.  More beneath the surface. More desperate clinging to hope where you think there’s just indifferent apathy. There’s more to a family than the sum of their numbers. There may be sorrow behind the smile. There may be silent prayers that go unseen. There’s always more to the story than you’ve heard.

What you don’t know, is that my daughter Aveline Alenka was a miracle. Her name, Aveline, from the old Irish Aibhilin, isn’t just a name. It means —

l o n g e d   f o r
w i s h e d   f o r
l o n g – a w a i t e d   c h i l d 

— and every ounce of that is true.

She is a miracle. She is, like her Slovene middle name Alenka, “a radiant light”.

Yes, she's my only one -  A Post on the Oaxacaborn blog

See, what you don’t know, is that when I was in my early twenties, my hormones were operating at a menopausal level. What you don’t know, is that I was looked right in the eye and told my body was the functional equivalent of a sixty-year-old woman.

You don’t know this, because I don’t talk about this.

When my long-awaited child was born, it was four weeks before I could cross the room without holding onto the walls.

You don’t know this, because I don’t talk about this.

When she was six weeks old, I was back in the emergency room, with a group of doctors huddled around me while she was asleep on my chest and I was in agony.

You don’t know this, because I don’t talk about this.

When she was two years old, I was sitting in a specialist’s office discussing the ongoing pain from nerve damage.

You don’t know this, because I don’t talk about this.

I’m not telling you now because it’s an easy or a comfortable thing to talk about (it’s not).  I don’t tell you this because I think I am particularly tragic, or unusual (it’s not), or because I think my story is deserving of either pity or applause (it isn’t).  And I’m certainly not writing this because I think it’s good blog fodder (it definitely isn’t).

I’m not even sharing this now because of me.

I’m sharing this because there’s more to all of our stories. There’s more to what we say and what we do and who we are. There’s more to all of us than what is visible to supermarket strangers and inquisitive acquaintances.

I’m not writing this about me. I’m really not even writing this about only children.

I’m writing this for every single person God has ever created, from every walk of life and every nation and every socioeconomic status. I’m writing this for every single person you come into contact with.

I’m writing this because of one truth, one constant, one vitally important principle: everyone has a story. Sometimes that story is silent, and sometimes it’s spoken. Sometimes you can see a peek of it, and sometimes it’s all hidden. But there’s one thing that never changes…

…there’s always more to the story than you can see.

Yes, she's my only one -  A Post on the Oaxacaborn blog

The world is full of love that goes unspoken. It doesn’t mean that it is felt less deeply or that separation leaves a cleaner wound. Its beauty…and its pain are in its silence. Some of us are not blessed with revelations or confessions. Love cannot be spoken, only shown.” -Call the Midwife