Life in Photos, Poetry & Words, Travel/Moving

On Moving to Tennessee

Sunset comes in like a whisper, hushing the robin’s monologue, stretching and bending the shadows until, at last, nothing speaks save the skies. They breathe deep navy words — slowly, confidently, and silence settles down. The lamp glows warmly, inside, and I pull my legs up over the pine bench and settle down into the posture of writing as the last remnants of Jasmine rice and watermelon dissipate into the air.

I don’t know what Tennessee smells like, yet. Florida was a cauldron, with thick air pressed closed to the ground, rippling intermittently through the Spanish moss and magnolia. And I miss the sea-salt air of the Atlantic, with its tangled seaweed and glinting jellyfish tossed up in the surf. California, too, brought me scorched pine-resin September skies, rich sweetness of strawberries wilting in the thin dry air, and a whiff of tar along the freeway as I sped toward the windswept Pacific cliffs of Bodega Head, drinking  juniper and cypress into my lungs.

But I don’t know Tennessee’s signature scent.

I walked through the plant nursery last night, ivy tumbling at my feet and ferns bursting from their swinging baskets. I buried my face in the mint and lavender, and ran my fingers through the Irish moss. This one smells like the coast, I said, and that one is pure ocean. But what’s in this new landlocked soil that’ll unfurl its leaves and wind its way around my heart?

Cedar in the air will bring me to the pebbled shores of the Great Lakes, every single time.

And the syrupy incense of wisteria rewinds me all the way to Taborska Cesta, Ljubljana, where I can still see the trail of ants parading up the vine.

But what

years from now

will bring me back here when I close my eyes?

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Poetry & Words, Travel/Moving

POETRY & WORDS :: When Home Can’t Be Pinned Down

When Home Can't Be Pinned Down - Gina Munsey on OaxacabornWhen I was little, I knew my grandparents through letters and home-recorded cassette tapes. I used to dream of hugging them, of spending long days beside them, of just looking at them and listening to the sound of their voice.

And one day, a long time ago, we showed up from another continent, from across the ocean, and “by the time we were at the bottom of the hill and had parked beside the house, my grandmother, my grandfather, and Aunt Margaret were all outside, looking exactly the way they had in the calendar picture. I ran right into my grandmother’s arms as if I’d been doing this every day.

‘Welcome home! Oh, welcome home!’ my grandmother cried.

I hadn’t known it, but this was exactly what I’d wanted her to say. I needed to hear it said out loud. I was home.” -Jean Fritz, Homesick pg. 138

All those memories came flooding back to me, this month, when I set Aveline down on the airport floor and watched her run at top speed into my dad’s arms. She latched onto him, she threw her arms around his neck, she pressed her cheek to his shoulder, and I felt it again. I felt I was a girl with one foot here, one foot there. A girl to whom home was a many-splendored thing, altogether here and there.

And in between the here-ness and there-ness is a place that can’t be pinned, a place that can’t be caught or ordered around, a place that can’t be pushed into a map’s tight little squiggly lines. It’s a place I can’t visit whenever I want to, but only when the road we’re on lets us go there, and maybe that’s the beauty of it.

Grandma never stopped smiling and Grandpa buckled her into her very own seat in his truck, and we all piled in. Looking at this scene, I didn’t know if it was 1991 or 2013. I didn’t know if she was being buckled into the seat or if it was me. Here and there passed each other so closely they became one, the one thing that can’t be held down.

Home.

“I paid no attention to the road. I just kept looking out the window until all at once there on my right was a white picket fence and a meadow, fresh and green as if it had just this minute been created…the whole scene. The perfect greenness. The washed-clean look. The peacefulness. Oh, now! I thought. Now I was in America. Every last inch of me.” -Jean Fritz, Homesick pg. 133

Every last inch.

Thoughts on Grandparents, or, When Home Can't Be Pinned Down - Gina Munsey on Oaxacaborn

Poetry & Words

“For You, O Lord, have made me glad by what You have done, I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands.”

Aveline in Marc Ecko shirt holding felt feathers

It hasn’t quite been the weekend for sleep. But it’s been a good weekend for productivity. At 1 o’clock on Friday night? We finished filing taxes.

And tonight? We spontaneously rearranged all the furniture in our great room — at 10 pm.

Maybe we’re crazy.
Maybe we’re just celebrating being in the same house for nearly an entire year.

Maybe it’s a little bit of both.

Aveline in Marc Ecko shirt

A year ago, I was pale, dizzy, anemic, and could barely walk fifteen steps without holding on to the wall. Aveline wasn’t even two weeks old yet, and we* were packing to move to Florida. *my parents and my husband, i.e., angels

And here we are now, in a beautiful sunshine-y apartment, with a laughing, healthy toddler, and a full-time job for Josiah. Do we miss our families and our friends? Yes. (Does Florida seem like a soggy swamp sometimes? Yes. ;-) But, “the Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” -Psalm 126:3

So, so much joy!

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. :-)//

Travel/Moving

Guest Post on Voye’m: On Thriving While Living/Traveling Elsewhere

Europe train platform -- colored apartments

This morning, my dear friend Shanley is en route to Uganda. Actually, she’s been en route since Sunday night. The last update I got from her — in the wee smalls of Tuesday morning — she was breakfasting in a Belgian airport.

While she was working her way around the globe, I was busy writing up a guest post for her. You can hop on over to Voye’m to read my piece On Thriving While Living/Traveling Elsewhere .

Train Platform - Paris France

[First image mine, taken in Nimes, France. Second image taken by my husband in Paris.]