Tag Archives: Life

Photography Show Countdown: Sneak Peek 3

fresh peas

This photograph really comes to life in this regal frame and elegant matting. I love it so much, it makes me smile when I look at it. It is proof that there is beauty in every day life. I captured this one at home on Delridge after picking it in a friend’s garden this summer.

p.s. About the show: Rainbow of Life

Art with Heart: 50% of all sales will be donated to the West Seattle Food Bank.  For those who can make it to the show and want to help, bring two non-perishable food items, and I’ll give you a Photo card featuring a piece from the show. You can donate non-perishable food for the entire month at Coffee To A Tea With Sugar, a donation bin is located inside. To purchase a piece from the show contact me at photoholli @ gmail dot com, or come to the show!

The Details Again: The show is part of the West Seattle Art Walk, held on January 12th form 6-9pm. My Show Reception with be from 5-8pm at Coffee to a Tea with Sugar, 4541 California Avenue S.W. Seattle, WA. The show can be seen for the entire month of January.

Lessons from my road trip to rural Oregon.

Rural Oregon Road - along the Blue Mountain Range.

I felt like I walked into another world full of sunshine, warmth and simple beauty. I was forced to slow down. I was in a rural Oregon town to visit my Mom and family for a quick Easter weekend. While I only had a full day to visit, I savored every slow hour.

The drive down with my brother behind the wheel was a mixture of anxiousness at his careless texting while aggressively driving and gratitude for the quiet time we had to talk while the kids slept in their car seats. We only really visit each other when he needs me to cut his hair or at a family dinner. It was neat to reminiscence about childhood, and where we are as “adults” in life right now. He has an epic adventure to Japan coming in September. I have my own adventure with this blogging thing, plus life as a parent and wife. It was interesting to hear what he cares about or struggles with in the context of stuff, owning a Truck, and debt. I tried my best to not tell him what I think he should do, but just listened and appreciated where I am with similar things.

Lesson #1: I don’t have a vehicle I am emotionally connected with – and that feels freeing. I don’t want stuff to get in my way of being debt-free or traveling. Right now, we’re aggressively paying off our debt, and will be free from it in the next 4 months. I have the itch to do more de-cluttering of things that fill our home, and focus on my own things that just sit around to just look pretty or are unused.

: : : Too much Phone Time : : :

As chance would have it, I forgot my phone charger at home, and the battery died. I was without a cell phone for almost 24 hours. What a great way to realize that I check it too much! I waited until this year to get a Smart Phone, and only got it because my husband thought I should have one. Honestly, it is really nice to read eBooks on it, check Email, get Blog Comments, or use Google anywhere. But, I have been using it too much. Do I really need to respond to emails every hour? Not that I get that many, but still…it was a little uncomfortable not having it on me while I knew my husband was on the road driving to meet up with us. He did check in by calling my Mom’s phone to let us know when he’d left home and provided an estimate on his arrival time.

Branding Wall at the local hardware store - like urban graffiti but more permanent.

Lesson #2: I can still enjoy my Smart Phone, but don’t need to check it every hour. It’s addicting and very tempting to use all the time, especially since I can also take pictures and post them to Facebook. So, I am going to still use my phone, but with less frequency for things like Email and Facebook.

Speaking of Facebook, my friend, Staci wrote a really honest post about her realizing that she’s on it too much. The post actually got me thinking about sharing these lessons I learned Easter Weekend, and prompted my need to share.

: : : Food is the great divide : : :

While only eating a whole day’s worth of meals in this rural Oregon town, I was

Rural America - where most of our food is grown and raised.

aware of how hard it is to get local, or a decent selection of vegetables and hormone free meat. You have to know someone who knows someone and buy like half a cow. Or, stock up at the weekly Farmer’s Market. Sure, the Super Walmart has some Organic branded options, but it’s not the same as finding fresh Kale or Rutabagas. Rural America is given less food choices than urban areas. And the irony is that most of our food is grown in rural areas and shipped to the cities for “picky/informed/passionate” consumption. I hate the fact that I can buy fresh Kale, Cucumbers and Basil within 5 minutes of my house, but my Mom has to wait until the local Alberstons store decides to carry Kale (the last time they had it, she said it was old, and wilting but she bought it anyway to support such variety).

Lesson #3: I am passionate about food and access equality. Why can’t the rural Americans have as many choices as we do in the city? This fuels my desire to further support locally, sustainably and organically grown food.  Somehow I hope to accomplish this, at least as another straw on the Camel’s back, with blogging.

: : : Slow Down : : :

My husband was only able to join us on the trip for an afternoon. But, we fit a date into the time we had, and really enjoyed walking around a small town. They have an amazing coffee house, White House Coffee, and local book store where a kitten played in the window and beckoned us inside. We wandered through isles of old and new books finding little spots to sit and read. While purchases one book, I couldn’t help but smile at the little sign advertising that you can also buy farm fresh eggs (at a book store!). It’s places like this that outshine mega stores or franchised businesses.

Lesson #4: I will make more time to slow down and enjoy unscheduled time with my husband and family. Just this weekend, we took time to explore our neighborhood walking trails. I want more of that in our lives. It makes me less wistful about living in a small town and raising Chickens.

Life is good. Sometimes I just need to slow down to really savor it.

What do you love about where you live? Is there anything you’ve gotten too busy to appreciate? If so, maybe you should take a day off from scheduling it full and just wander. You never know what thoughts or adventures await.

What Does Mama Do?

Walking with my daughter. Photo by Casey Margell
Walking with my daughter. Photo by Casey Margell

I’ve been thinking a lot about Mothers lately. I know four who will become a Mother to 3 children in the next 4 months. One of them is a blogger I admire. The others are part of my very large extended family.  Add to that a dose of Spring and curious little ones who have wondered where babies come from, and you have the prompt for this post.

At dinner a few weeks ago with my husband’s family (he’s one of 4, plus two spouses and his parents, and it’s a big table), my Father-In-Law went around the table and announced what everyone had to celebrate. He actually decided that each person would ask, then announce what the person sitting next to them had to share. Everyone cheered as we heard things like, “Steven got a new job,”  “Jennifer moved back from China and started her own business,” you get the picture – these are high achievers with Big Things happening. I started to feel really anxious because I had nothing to announce. Nothing quite as exciting or “high achieving.” As chance would have it, my 2-year-old had the duty of announcing my achievements. She didn’t really get it. So, she was asked, “What does Mama Do?” “Mama makes dinner!” she said in her sweet, excited little voice. Everyone cheered. It was sweet, but still left me feeling lame.

This week, I’ve been working on finding my focus for this blog. Yesterday I worked through “10 Ways to Find Your True Passions,” worksheet. As part of the exercise, I have to ask some friends or family what they think of when they think of me, or what I am good at doing. So, I asked my husband. His answer, “The things I am not.” True, but not what I was looking for…then, our 4-year-old decided to answer while drawing a picture nearby, “You take care of us!” True, and sweet. It was the sweetness I needed to hear. It reminded me that making dinner IS important.

All parents are important whether they are the ones who give birth to us or chose to raise us.  So, please don’t feel left out if you are not a birth Mother. One of the most inspiring mothers (and couples) I know have chosen adoption, and blog about the adventure.

Mothers hold a special place in our lives, in history, really. What do you love about your mother? What have you learned? What can you appreciate now that you didn’t at first?

Portrait of my Mother.

My mother has taught me many things both on purpose and by example. Things I do now like create new recipes, try new things, make gifts are because that’s what my mom always did. Her example showed me how.  She was once a house cleaner, and ran her own business. From her I learned at a very young age how to sweep, and clean a house quickly. I had really high expectations of myself as a result. While single and living alone, I would thoroughly clean my apartment every week. Once I had kids, I had to start letting go of dusting every week and clutter crept in and multiplied. One lesson she recently taught me was to be like a Mary not a Martha.

During a visit for a few days, my mom told me to stop cleaning. She said it in a kind way. Something like, I know I taught you to keep a clean house, but something I’ve learned is that it’s more important to be a Mary, not a Martha. Then, she reminded me of the parable in the New Testament of the Bible. From my memory and paraphrasing, it goes like this:  Jesus had stopped to visit two sisters, Mary and Martha. Jesus had a story, a message he wanted to share. He sat to talk. Mary sat at his feet and began listening. Martha was a good hostess and went to the kitchen to prepare whatever it was they ate. She started to grumble to herself and ask what in the world her sister was doing…it seemed like nothing! Then, Jesus called to Martha asking her to just sit and listen. So, I’ve been trying to take that lesson to heart and not start doing the dishes immediately after a meal. To be present, sit and listen to guests, to my family is really more important.  I don’t want my children to say that Mama does the dishes. Make dinner? Yes:)

Egg card made from lots of dots and love.

What Mama-wisdom do you have to share? For every comment I get answering one of the questions in this post, I will send you an old fashioned paper card. It will be an original creation using my new found love of dots, like the one here on our Etsy Shop or to the left.  You can use it to send your mom, or someone special. And please tell me what your favorite color is. I’ll email you for an address so the whole wide world won’t have the info.

<3 Moms everywhere!

p.s. I remembered two blog posts I must share – messages that speak to my heart and to any new Mother:

Sometimes we forget how powerful our words are. This blogger is a Christian, but this post is not a Bible-thumping exercise. It is a powerful message culled from the movie, Monsoon WeddingWhat We Sometimes Forget to Protect Our Kids From

The importance of imperfection for those striving for natural living, complete with curse words (the author doesn’t hold back from being her true self) – A Love Letter to New Mamas

Urban Domestic Snap Shots

Simply put, here are glimpses of my daily life.  Most days are not fully lit by sunshine, but are full of little joys. These pictures are my way of looking to find them, and stopping to enjoy.  What do you do to “stop and smell the roses” in your life?

Sorting our library.
Penguin says hi to Humpty Dumpty and Mr. Bunny.
Simple beauty.
Mini Heart Crackers made from scratch.
My lovely work station: vintage wooden table block, custom steel pot rack made by my husband and Step-Dad.