Life in Photos, Poetry & Words

POETRY & WORDS :: Spelling out hope in all kinds of ways

June 2013 - Aveline waking up near window
June 2013 - Aveline looking out window

We wake up slowly this morning, the hum of the air conditioner and the dehumidifier a constant reminder of the tropical climate. They are the new silent, the steady noise which blends into the background and becomes a part of these walls and this life.

Outside, the landscapers’ lawn mowers rattle across the sidewalks and through the landscaping mulch, sending a spray of pebbles and bark across the bottom third of the front door. I cringe a little, thinking of the helpless, newly-transplanted moss rose and marigolds in terracotta pots on the front stoop.  The new pinwheel, whirring happily to the blast of mower exhaust, doesn’t mind. It just spins and blends the colors into a sphere anyway.

Aveline wants to see it all, and settles in by the second-story window to watch. It’s a Monday-morning routine, at least when the rain stays away long enough for the landscapers to trim and edge and cut and sweep.

Maybe later, we’ll spread out a towel on the narrow strip of sidewalk in front of the door, and sit side-by-side in the sun to “make ABCs” on the concrete, until our fingers and knees are covered in dusty blue and pink and yellow.

She wants to “make ABCs” with her pens and crayons and chalk, this one, not houses or trees or little boys and girls. She flips book pages and pretends to read, and screeches “TWO A’s!” whenever she spots a word which has, indeed, two letter A’s. She can’t pronounce her own name, but she can make a letter “T” from pretzel sticks, and she turns her felt number 2 upside-down to “make Z”.

I don’t know where she gets these crazy ideas. I know how it feels to love letters, though.

I love letters. I love the words you can make from them. I love that 26 characters can be scrambled and pushed into thousands and thousands of different orders to spell out love, or fear, or hope, or happiness.

May she grow up to spell out lots and lots and lots of hope.

Poetry & Words

WRITING & WORDS :: Guest Post on The Organic Bird Blog – On Contentment, and Living in the Moment

Do you all read The Organic Bird? Andrea Levendusky’s treasure trove of poignant, honest writing has quickly become one of my favorite places on the web. It’s truly worth adding to your reading list.

I’ve been so blessed getting to know Andrea through Facebook and Twitter over the last few months, and was thrilled when she asked me to pen a guest post. So, you can find me on The Organic Bird today, talking a little about the ways God is using my daughter to teach me about being content.

Thank you, Andrea!

Oaxacaborn - Guest Post on The Organic BIrd Blog - Motherhood

“I’m staring. It’s that time of the afternoon where all I want is another cup of coffee, but Aveline’s bedroom is right off the kitchen. She’s the world’s lightest sleeper; if I even think about that cup of coffee too loudly, I know she’ll hear me & wake up.

There is a pot of white beans simmering on the stove. I’ll add some sage and garlic in a bit. I’m not sure why I bought white beans. I nearly always cook black beans — black beans with onion, garlic, lime, jalapeño, and cilantro. Once upon a time, when I lived in my beautiful California, I added epazote, too. It grew wild around my front step.

But here, here in the land of my sojourn….” [continue reading my guest post on The Organic Bird blog]

//Comments are disabled here, so you can leave them on Andrea’s blog. :-)//

Poetry & Words

WRITING & WORDS :: The Bestest Job in the Whole Wide World

Toddler Aveline running down the sidewalk

Today, this has mainly been my view — the back of a very quickly moving Aveline. It’s been a “part of” kind of day.

Part of the laundry folded.

Part of an article for Babiekins Magazine written.

Part of Aveline’s birthday crown made.

Part of the bathroom cleaned.

Toddler Aveline stooping down to pick up bark off the sidewalk

But that’s ok. It’s been a day full of life, full of laughter, full of joy, full of peace.

Toddler Aveline kneeling on sidewalk holding bark pieces

I wouldn’t trade my position now with any one.

I love being a mama. I couldn’t think of a better gift in the world than my little, hilarious, laughing miracle.

Toddler Aveline tasting bark

Life in Photos, Little Style, Poetry & Words


It’s a brand-new week; a new dawn, with new mercies. I need that reminder this morning. I need to remember that right here, in Florida, is exactly where we are supposed to be.

I need to remember — “You saw how the Lord your God carried you, just as a man carries his son, in all the way which you have walked until you came to this place.” (Deut 1:31)

And I need to remember that He never stops leading us. This is not the end of the story (it never is!) He leads us to the green pastures, by the still waters, through shadowy valleys…

Florida feels surreal, sometimes. It feels like another dimension, like there’s no point of reference for me to really grasp the passage of time. I think I feel this especially acutely this time of year, when I the seasons begin to turn every place except here.

I know Fall is descending gently upon the California coast, like it does every September. I know the nights are slowly getting cooler, and I know a leaf or two is now tinged crimson around the edges. I know what it’s like to watch the first raindrops dance down across the dusty Sacramento valley.

I know this, but here, the southern sky has not changed in months. September’s sky sweeps across the canvas above the same now as it did in April, and every day in between the air has been swollen with moisture, spilled over from rain-soaked clouds. Always it’s hot, always it’s humid, and always the temperature of dusk and dawn are indistinguishable from day.

Last night, as a wave of homesickness washed over me and I just wanted to be home, I asked God for peace. God reminded me of Abraham’s sojourning life. God reminded me that no matter what — Egypt, the Red Sea, the wilderness, the promised land, no matter what — He’s always there, in that pillar of fire.

And so here, now, in this new (humid, hot) morning, I know. He’s here. And I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.

Aveline wearing Reggie White jersey

Aveline wearing Packer clothes - Tie Dyed Onesie

Photos: Aveline learning about a very important Fall tradition. She wore the hat & jersey just so I could snap a photo of her wearing it…then she started to sweat, so I took it off ;-)

Life in Photos

My little shopping buddy

My little shopping buddy

Ok, I know I’m biased…but how ridiculously cute is my little shopping buddy?! I think she knows it, too. We just got back from a very fun Starbucks/mall playdate — she stared, open-mouthed, at the other baby the entire time.

P.S. Grandma S and Great-Grandma C, thank you for this new dress. We had a hard time choosing what to wear from all the adorable new outfits you just sent her!

Being the only grandchild is such a tough life.

Life in Photos

My wee miss is almost EIGHT months old!

Aveline stares before napping

My wee girl is growing up! I can’t believe Aveline’s just days away from turning 8 months old. Sitting on our laps, to her, means standing up on the couch next to us. She crawls like the wind, cruises along furniture, never stops climbing whatever she can get her little toes to cling to, and has even stood up on her own a handful of times (albeit for a fleeting moment).

Aveline eats oatmeal

She know’s we’re her mama and papa, and while she’s a constant chatterbox, she doesn’t usually address us by name unless she’s in dire need of something. Then she yells out “MA MA MA MA! PA PA!” while crawling toward us at breakneck spread.

Aveline feeds herself

I sure love you, wee miss!

Poetry & Words

Look at the stars, look how they shine for you

Three years ago today, I walked down a grassy aisle in Grandma C’s backyard to Norah Jones’ Come Away with Me.

walking down the aisle with daddy - outdoor Norcal wedding

I want to walk with you
On a cloudy day
In fields where the yellow grass grows knee-high
So won’t you try to come

Come away with me and we’ll kiss
On a mountaintop
Come away with me
And I’ll never stop loving you

And I want to wake up with the rain
Falling on a tin roof
While I’m safe there in your arms
So all I ask is for you
To come away with me

And so we were married in the mountains of NorCal, with the grass beneath our feet, the towering California trees overhead, and our family and friends all around us.

NorCal wedding outdoors

We had these verses from Isaiah 41 read during the ceremony. Non-traditional, yes, but oh, so beautiful.

I the Lord will answer them;
I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
I will open rivers on the bare heights,
and fountains in the midst of the valleys.
I will make the wilderness a pool of water,
and the dry land springs of water.
I will put in the wilderness the cedar,
the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive.
I will set in the desert the cypress,
the plane and the pine together,
that they may see and know,
may consider and understand together,
that the hand of the LORD has done this,
the Holy One of Israel has created it.

NorCal outdoor wedding

A dear family friend and missionary to Japan officiated the ceremony.

NorCal outdoor wedding - classic urn and column with ivy and white flowers, lisianthus bridal bouquet

We walked back down the aisle to Coldplay’s Yellow.

Recessional  - Dried red milo berries on grass

Look at the stars,
Look how they shine for you,
And everything you do,
Yeah they were all yellow,

I came along
I wrote a song for you
And all the things you do
And it was called yellow

So then I took my turn
Oh all the things I’ve done …
D’you know you know I love you so
You know I love you so.

wedding party - bridesmaids and groomsmen in black

Josiah and Gina - Wedding Portrait with Lisianthus Bouquet

It was all kinds of perfect.

All images courtesy of B. Sarah Klein, who, along with her sister, is preparing to launch A Sea Apart: Two Sisters, Two Countries, Two Photos a Day.

Poetry & Words

Exhausted but Thankful

Aveline during breakfast

I’ve been exhausted this past week. I feel so worn-out, but I suppose know it’s my own fault. (Mom, don’t read this next part). I’ve not been diligent about taking my Floravital Iron, and as a result I’m feeling especially anemic. Bleah. You’d think I’d have learned my lesson by now, but noooo.

But, this morning, I’m thankful for so many things.

I’m thankful Hurricane Irene has shifted away from Florida.

I’m thankful the weekend is just around the corner (we have big plans to watch movies and lounge on the couch).

I’m thankful for the sales I’ve had on Facebook and through Etsy.

I’m thankful for coffee, this news that coffee prices are dropping, and a husband who makes me a strong cuppa every morning before he leaves for work.

And of course, I’m thankful for my wonderful little sweet pea.

I could go on and on — what are you thankful for this morning?

Mustard and Taupe Striped Crochet Hat via Oaxacaborn on Etsy