POETRY & WORDS :: Writing Every Morning


An Exercise in Writing Daily“It is by sitting down every morning to write that one becomes a writer,” says Gerald Brenan. “Those who do not do this, remain amateurs.”

I do not want to remain an amateur.

And so, this ordinary morning, with my bowl of ordinary cereal, with the sounds of an ordinary washing machine swish-swishing in the background, I sit down to write.

I do not have hours to type, I do not have hours to think. I do not have a quiet room and an empty day holding nothing but blank pages and shifting letters. Instead, I have the luxury of a room bursting with life, bursting with shouts and squeals and sliding-off-the-couch thumps. I have a morning with coffee and a three-year-old, the latter holding more energy than the former promises.

And so, I write.

And I walk out into the heat, into the sweltering summer, toward my wild-child’s first swimming class, and into this new habit of daily writing.

We can both try something new.

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LITTLE STYLE :: Polish label ‘Flawless’ is not just for kids


I love the kids’ clothing brands popping up all over Poland lately! I’m especially taken with the emphasis on knits and jersey (aka “sweatshirt” material) as effortlessly stylish wear. The trend has hit the US in a big way now, but European brands have been using this material for a while now — and, of course, always have managed to do so in a way that doesn’t come across as sloppy.

Polish brand Flawless‘ summer line — which landed in my email this morning — is a great example of this look.  And they’ve adapted the styles for all sizes, from mini to mama and papa!
LITTLE STYLE :: Polish label 'Flawless' is not just for kids
LITTLE STYLE :: Polish label 'Flawless' is not just for kids
LITTLE STYLE :: Polish label 'Flawless' is not just for kids
LITTLE STYLE :: Polish label 'Flawless' is not just for kids
LITTLE STYLE :: Polish label 'Flawless' is not just for kids
LITTLE STYLE :: Polish label 'Flawless' is not just for kids
LITTLE STYLE :: Polish label 'Flawless' is not just for kids
LITTLE STYLE :: Polish label 'Flawless' is not just for kids
LITTLE STYLE :: Polish label 'Flawless' is not just for kids
LITTLE STYLE :: Polish label 'Flawless' is not just for kids

I can definitely see myself wearing everything from this collection. What’s your take on the comfy chic trend?

LITTLE STYLE :: Pale Pastel Girls’ Room Inspiration from Serena & Lily


Serena and Lily Coral Grey and Navy Girls Room

This isn’t a sponsored post — it’s just my imaginary wallet and I talking a walk through the summer 2014 Serena & Lily catalogue. ;)

1. Fox sheets
2. Houses print
3. Ceramic elephant side table
4. Today pillow
5. Sun print
6. Polar bear
7. Pouf
8. Inlay mirror
9. California pillow
10. Blanket
11. Sea gull print
12. Basket
14. Rug

See anything here you’d love to snatch up for your own home?

MONDAY’S PRETTY THINGS :: Plants to Brighten the House


Monday's Pretty Things - Inspiration from Oaxacaborn
Plant display inside the Loose Leaf shop, via photographer Sean Fennessy for The Design Files

Greenery and sprouted things - Monday's Pretty Things - Inspiration from Oaxacaborn
Plants in pretty vases, via stylist Lotta Agaton and photographer Kristoffer Johnsson for Residence Magazine

Swedish wildflowers - Monday's Pretty Things - Inspiration from Oaxacaborn
Swedish wildflowers via Hilda’s Hem

Midsommar wreath of flowersMidsommar wreath of flowers via Bo Mimi

Spider Plant in bathroom shower_Web
Spider plant hanging from shower (my home).

sukha-amsterdam
Paper cranes hanging in the Suhka Amsterdam shop window

Oak tree growing in a jar of water - An-Magritt - Oaxacaborn
Oak growing in a jar of water via An-Magritt

See even more pretty things

POETRY & WORDS :: Sojourning is not a rhythm


IMG_4920 IMG_4902 IMG_4853

The words get lost in the days, lost in the shuffle between high tide and low tide — the choreographed swap of sand and sea — lost in the couch cushions, like copper coins, lost in the fray, lost in the routine between breakfast and sunset.

This, of course, is exactly when I should be writing. Words are spun from the gossamer threads which wrap around our days. I can see them, glinting, drenched from the downpour, drenched from the puddles, drenched from the spray.

“You write while you are alive”, Anaïs Nin said. “You do not preserve them [living moments] in alcohol until the moment you are ready to write about them.”

And so, alive, I write.

We stick pins in a map and wonder which one will hold. We squint at the horizon and see mountains through the mirage, and yet, the pillar stands still. The life of a sojourner is not a rhythm of motion and stillness, like the poets would have you believe. Sometimes, there is no rhythm. Sometimes it is abrupt, sometimes it is whiplash, sometimes it is an awkward slow dance, a holding pattern at best. Sometimes, you fold up your belongings into a square, and load the truck, and don’t look back when every inch of you longs to cling to the roots you tried to push into the broken ground. But most of the time, you stand.

You stand even when your feet so dearly ache to run.

SCANDINAVIAN SUMMER :: Call for Midsummer-themed contributions!


MIDSUMMER BLOG PARTY! Let's celebrate Swedish tradition. Want to contribute? Email Oaxacaborn!

I’m running a little behind on this, but what do you think? Can we pull off a Midsummer [blog] party in time? I’m thinking something in the spirit of the Scandinavian Christmas series — but all Midsummer! If you have photos, blog posts from past summers, traditions, crafts, resources or anything else Midsummer-related to share, email me oaxacaborn @gmail.com. I can’t wait!

Image credit: Jason Florio for The New York Times

POETRY & WORDS :: I was a stranger & you invited me in


Image Credit: LifeSong for Orphans - Zambia Children's Choir / Celebrate Life Concert Tour

Image Credit: LifeSong for Orphans – Zambia Children’s Choir / Celebrate Life Concert Tour

Last night, I sat in a church and listened to Zambian children sing. And I heard something I’ve never heard before. No, not the sound of a drum sans drumsticks, not the sound of the soaring notes. 

Actually, it wasn’t a song at all.

Each of the kids — students at the Lifesong for Orphans school in Zambia — shared their favorite school subjects, dreams, and favorite passages of Scripture. It was an endearingly real moment — stuttering, laughter, forgetting words. One girl recited Psalm 23 from beginning to end, another quoted Romans.

But then it was the smallest boy’s turn to speak. And he leaned into to the microphone and looked into the crowd. “My favorite verse is Matthew 35 verse 25″, he said in halting English. “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.”

Oh, my heart!

It’s one of those verses we’ve read a hundred times, isn’t it? But honestly? When was the last time you heard a friend say it was their favorite verse? It’s a passage we’re familiar with, but not a passage we’re accustomed to seeing highlighted and memorized and repeated and claimed as a personal promise and emblazoned on t-shirts and bookmarks and greeting cards.

But this is Jesus. This is real. He’s among us — feeding, loving, caring, doing.

Sometimes, I think we lose that connection between Jesus-the-Ethereal-Being and Jesus-the-Man. I think we lose the connection between hypothetical love and practical, get-your-hands-dirty, work-hard love. We over-spiritualize it. We complicate it and organize it and delegate it and analyze it and create ministries for it and philosophize about it and invent words about it.

But it was a real, I’m-right-there-with-you, here-is-a-meal, here-is-a-bed  kind of love that spoke to this boy’s heart.

It’s what Jesus’ love,
made human
and tangible
and touchable
and present, looks like.

And I never want to forget it.

“Sometimes the best way to bring good news to the poor is to bring actual good news to the poor. It appears a good way to bring relief to the oppressed is to bring real relief to the oppressed. It’s almost like Jesus meant what He said. When you’re desperate, usually the best news you can receive is food, water, shelter. These provisions communicate God’s presence infinitely more than a tract or Christian performance in the local park. They convey, ‘God loves you so dearly, He sent people to your rescue.'” -Jen Hatmaker

JCPenney Giveaway :: Enter to win a $100 Gift Card


I have an exciting giveaway for you today, friends — one of you is going to win a $100 shopping spree to JCPenney! If you’re like me, you may not always make time to shop for yourself, but if you win this gift card, then you’ll have no excuse. ; ) What would you buy if you won? (There are lots of great JCPenney shopping ideas here.)

#JCPstyle on the Oaxacaborn blog - This pin is an entry to win $100 to spend at JCPenney! Click for details
#JCPstyle on the Oaxacaborn blog - This pin is an entry to win $100 to spend at JCPenney! Click for details
#JCPstyle on the Oaxacaborn blog - This pin is an entry to win $100 to spend at JCPenney! #JCPstyle on the Oaxacaborn blog - This pin is an entry to win $100 to spend at JCPenney! Click for details

Get the Look #1

Dance tank | Cuffed pants | Wedges, similar here and here

#JCPstyle on the Oaxacaborn blog - This pin is an entry to win $100 to spend at JCPenney! Click for details #JCPstyle on the Oaxacaborn blog - This pin is an entry to win $100 to spend at JCPenney! Click for details 2 - JCPstyle on the Oaxacaborn blog - JCPenney Giveaway JCPstyle on the Oaxacaborn blog - JCPenney Giveaway

Get the Look #2

Racerback tank, similar here | Hi-lo skirt | Shoes, similar here

ENTER TO WIN A $100 GIFT CARD

To enter, comment on this post!

Comment below and tell me, what would you buy at JCPenney? (1 entry – required)
AND let me know which of the following entries, if any, you’ve done.

Giveaway ends in one week, on Saturday, 17 May 2014, at midnight Pacific standard time. I’ll personally mail the gift card to the winner shortly thereafter, via USPS. Good luck!

Image Credit: Josiah Munsey / 26PM.com

Disclosure of Material Relationship: I received a gift card for myself and one to give away to Oaxacaborn readers in exchange for participating in the #Momisms campaign and hosting this giveaway. I was not required to present or promote any specific products. 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.

INSPIRATION :: Spring/Summer ’14 from Japanese Fashion Label FRAPBOIS


In the blogging world, everything gets so narrow sometimes. The same trends and colors and patterns — and even the same images — get passed around over and over. This can be a great tool within a specific genre (blogging tends to reveal trends), but all the sameness  stifles creativity and originality. That’s why I love looking outside of the United States for inspiration. Clothing, decor, and even photography styles vary so much from culture to culture! If we want to expand our own imagination and bring something new to the creative world, it’s vitally important to explore inspiration beyond what’s currently trendy in our own circles. Plus, new inspiration is just plain fun!

These images from Japanese brand FRAPBOIS (I blogged about their Fall line last September) will have you rethinking pattern and color.

9 - Frapbois SS14 - as seen on Oaxacaborn
8 - Frapbois SS14 - as seen on Oaxacaborn
7 - Frapbois SS14 - as seen on Oaxacaborn
6 - Frapbois SS14 - as seen on Oaxacaborn
5 - Frapbois SS14 - as seen on Oaxacaborn
4 - Frapbois SS14 - as seen on Oaxacaborn
3 - Frapbois SS14 - as seen on Oaxacaborn
2 - Frapbois SS14 - as seen on Oaxacaborn
1 - Frapbois SS14 - as seen on Oaxacaborn
Frapbois SS14 - as seen on Oaxacaborn

What about you — would you wear any of these looks?

POETRY & WORDS :: After the Deluge


30 April 2014- Daydreaming Afternoon Rain

Monday’s post about choosing joy in the rain was barely posted when I had the opportunity to live it. That’s the way it works, isn’t it? It’s like telling God you’d like to be a more patient person — and then ::wham!:: many opportunities to practice patience appear before your eyes.

April went out with a monsoon, inside and outside. Outside, a diluvial sheet of water bent and twisted and contorted, darkening the sky, punctuated with electric bursts of thunder. Inside, an email quietly said no to something we all had hoped for.

Inside, outside, inside, outside.

It wasn’t until after the Flood that hope arrived. It wasn’t until everything drowned and the rains stopped and the earth heaved under the weight of the water that the rainbow appeared. It wasn’t until then that the olive branch soared across the horizon and into view.

“Now let the music keep
our spirits high
And let the buildings keep
our children dry
Let creation reveal its secrets
by and by, by and by
When the light that’s lost within us
reaches the sky

…And when the sand was gone
and the time arrived…
And in attempts to understand a thing
so simple and so huge
believed that they were meant to live
after the deluge.
” -Jackson Browne

INSPIRATION :: A Curated Mother’s Day Gift Guide


Sometimes, I get lost in the tyranny of the urgent. Lost in the chores and the clutter and the cooking and the cycle of washing, drying, folding. I get lost and forget that all around is beauty, even inside these four walls. We were created to know beauty, and it’s worth every bit of conscious effort to choose to see it, even in the whirlwind. The Weepies knew this when they sang“All this beauty…You can ask about it, but nobody knows the way. No bread-crumb trail to follow through your days. It takes an axe sometimes, a feather, in the sunshine and bad weather. It’s a matter of getting deeper in anyway you can…All this beauty; you might have to close your eyes and slowly open wide.”

I believe in making a beautiful home, something I learned from my mother (although I’m nowhere nearly as good at it as she is). “Anything can be made beautiful”, she always told me, “though a combination of cleaning and contentment.” And she proved this, too, over and over and over again throughout the years.

Maybe you have a mother like that too, someone who has always managed to create peacefulness and a sense of home and beauty no matter what. Or maybe you have a mom who whips up magic in the kitchen, or throws the best parties, or has endless athletic energy, or is always on top of the fashion game. (Honestly, isn’t Supermom a little bit of all that and more?)

Keeping everything a mom does in mind — and with an eye toward seeing beauty in the whirlwind — I’ve teamed up with JCPenney to bring you gift ideas for any kind of mom.

A @JCPenney #Momisms Mother's Day Gift Guide curated by the Oaxacaborn blog // #JCPHostMom #JCPFitnessMom #JCPDecorMom #JCPChefMom #JCPTrendyMom

#JCPHostMom | 1. Lantern | 2. Copper Bowl | 3. Plates | 4. Card
#JCPFitnessMom | 5. Yoga Mat | 6. Tote | 7. Hair Tie  | 8. Towel
 #JCPDecorMom | 9. Basket | 10. Rug | 11. Pillow | 12. Art |
#JCPChefMom |  13. KitchenAid | 14. Eat | 15. Cucina | 16. Tray | 17. Bowls | 18. Mortar & Pestle
 #JCPTrendyMom |  19. Lace Tee | 20. Bracelet | 21. Bag | 22. Pants
Even MORE  gift ideas | JCPenney Mother’s Day Hub

This week, I’ve also joined JCPenney in tweeting little snippets of motherly advice. Being a total rookie in the mom department, it probably comes as no surprise that my quips have been of the “Don’t suction-cup the dog”, “Don’t lick the sidewalk”, and “Don’t stick potato chips in the outlets” variety. But you can use the #momisms hashtag to tweet your own, much wiser motherly gems of wisdom — and you’ll be entered to win one of several $100 gift cards JCPenney is giving away, so YOU can buy a little something for yourself!

(Pssst…a little secret? Don’t worry if you aren’t one of the winners of the #Momisms sweepstakes, because I will host a separate $100 gift card giveaway here very soon. Sign up for Oaxacaborn email updates so you won’t miss it when it goes live!)

Leave me a comment on this post letting me know which of the items above is your favorite. Since I curated the list, I can safely say….I love them all!

Disclosure of Material Relationship: I received compensation in exchange for promoting JCPenney’s #Momisms Sweepstakes/Giveaway. I personally selected all the items displayed in this curated guide, and was not required to present any specific products as gift ideas. All the 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.

POETRY & WORDS :: Inside Outside


LIFE IN PHOTOS :: Inside Outside, a post on the Oaxacaborn blog

LIFE IN PHOTOS :: Inside Outside, a post on the Oaxacaborn blog

LIFE IN PHOTOS :: Inside Outside, a post on the Oaxacaborn blog

LIFE IN PHOTOS :: Inside Outside, a post on the Oaxacaborn blog

LIFE IN PHOTOS :: Inside Outside, a post on the Oaxacaborn blog

Spring here doesn’t approach slowly with neon green buds or opening blossoms. There is no fading ice, no crocuses or daffodils. Spring here is akin to a lobster in a pot of water, temperature unconsciously leaping upward, a baptism by immersion of drenched air and torrential rain until the whole wet world is submerged.

There is one month left between us and hurricane season, between us and and daily electrical storms. One month left until the six-month stretch of tropical storms begin and the canned goods stack up  under the countertop and the gallons of water in the closet are restocked and clocks are reset by the rhythm of cyclical thunder and the afternoons are spent inside.

Inside, outside, inside, outside, inside.

One month left until the sidewalks are rivers and the windows are our constant view to the outside deluge.

I want to see beauty in it this year. I want to see beauty in the spongey grass and the low skies and the waterlogged earth and the thick roadside ponds and the one single shade of green coating it all.  I want to see it for what it is, rather than what it is not. It is not the thin high skies specked with pollen and pine resin and wildfire, it’s not the sun-baked clay earth that shatters into a million immobile pieces every summer, it’s not twisted oak silhouettes or mountain ridges. The sunsets are pastel, not copper, but we are the same people here as we are anywhere.

This is a journey of becoming, after all, and a journey is not where you put on the skids and claw and pound your tent stakes in deeper and rage against the rain. Sojourning means you tend to your fires and your campsite wherever you are, keeping the light alive from dawn to dusk, no matter if you’ll pull up stakes tonight or in three months or in a year. You pull your loves in closer, you keep your eyes to the light, and in the darkness you see the One who pulls the tides and pushes the moon and punctured heaven to give you stars has not failed you yet.

And so you tarry, and so you sojourn, and so you live.

ADOPTION :: “I am not ‘for’ international adoption. I am not against it.”


Artist_Hands_WEB

“Philosophize eloquently about how children are better left in their native cultures and I will tell you from shared experience that children in orphanages do not live the culture of their country, but the culture of an alternate reality that only exists in institutions…

I am not ‘for’ international adoption. I am not against it. I am ‘for’ children having loving parents and being in homes where they have a support network. I am against children growing up in dormitories with change-out caregivers. I am against children being left without help simply because a legal definition of adulthood, in whichever country we are talking about, has been reached. ” -John M. Simmons

READ MORE from Why the Decline in International Adoptions on the Huffington Post