Learning · Life with Baby · Projects

The more the water, the higher the boat (free printable!)

Sometimes you just have a string of days (or heck, weeks!) that just leave you in a funk. Maybe it’s not that things are all that bad…they’re just not great. Maybe you just don’t have energy, or time, or the weather has been crummy. Or things are just leaving you feeling low in general. Recently I had a brief bout of hyperthyroidism that left me feeling fatigued and with achy muscles. I was so tired every day and felt guilty for not being more energetic with my daughter and for not doing enough around the house. Somehow after only a couple of months, the hyperthyroidism resolved itself (yeah, what?), and though I was confused about the whole thing, I decided not to linger too much on the why and just be extra grateful!
printable for blog

I really love this quote from Alan Spence’s The Pure Land. It’s been nearly ten years since I read this romantic adventure based on a true story about the modernization of Japan, but I jotted down this quote when I read it and still really like it today. Enjoy a printable of the quote by clicking here for a PDF or by clicking directly on the image to download, and remember this quote, too: “If something is rubbing so hard against you, you can be sure it’s working on you.” -Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love

Have a good day, lovelies!

xx Caitlyn

Seen

I like you, I know there’s bad things too, but I like you.

I love ashow with Ze Frank. I was trying to find one of his old videos that talked about how sometimes the things that make us feel the most alone are surprisingly the things that most connect us to each other. I felt like his point was really powerful, and so true. For some reason I couldn’t pull up his website today (it’s under construction, I guess?), but I did stumble across another video that really resonated with me, which you can watch below.

It’s a beautiful, sunny day in Michigan, and I’m thinking about how connected we all are, and how connected we have the potential to be. I’m thinking about courage and about being worthy. I’m thinking that YOU are worthy. And I’m going to get out of the house and go for a walk.

Have a good day. xx

Bookspiration · Projects

Bookspiration: The Neverending Story

“So you think it’s a hat I’ve got on my head? Not at all, dear boy. It all grows out of me. Just as your hair grows out of you. That should show you how glad I am you’ve finally come. That’s why I’m flowering and bearing fruit. If I were sad, I’d whither. But come now, don’t forget to eat.” –Dame Eyola

A couple of months ago we had a bad snowstorm in Michigan in which the wind was so strong the snow was blowing sideways. Looking outside, I was reminded of a scene from the movie The Neverending Story, and proceeded to do a little research on the movie. Come to find out, like many movies, The Neverending Story was first a book, and–as often happens–the movie strayed from the book in several ways. I decided to give the book a read, and enjoyed a light-hearted, imaginative tale.

When it came to thinking of a project to go along with the book, I thought I should try an oil pastel. It’s been ages since I’ve used oil pastels as a medium, and I thought they would be a good way to illustrate the colorful, dreamy world created in “The Neverending Story.” Initially, I wanted to do an oil pastel of the lion Grograman, also known as The Many Colored Death. Grograman changes colors depending on the color of the sand upon which he stands, and he is an important part of the main character, Bastian’s, journey in Fantastica. After seeing several cool renditions of Grograman online, however, I decided to change characters and instead illustrate the Dame Eyola.

20140418-195322.jpgThis was my first time trying oil pastel with a person as the subject, and I am pretty out of practice! But it was fun trying to bring the mother-like woman who looked like she was “wearing a broad hat covered in fruits and flowers” to life. In the book, Dame Eyola tells Bastian some kind words we could all use now and again. For example, she sings to him:

“Regardless whether good or bad,/you’ve suffered much and traveled far.

Take comfort for the trials you’ve had./We’ll take you just the way you are” (357).

Later, Dame Eyola talks to Bastian about choices he’s made on his journey, saying, “You went the way of wishes, and that is never straight. You went the long way around, but that was your way. And do you know why? Because you are one of those who can’t go back until they’ve found the fountain from which springs the Water of Life…” (365). I liked this conversation because I think it can be applied to anyone. No one is perfect, and we all make mistakes. But we’ll get through it on the crazy path we make for ourselves, and there are people (perhaps not sprouting fruit from their heads and bodies like Dame Eyola!) who will help us on our way.

xx

Food & Cooking · Seen · Seen/Heard/Tried · Tried

Week in Pictures

This week was one filled with lovely nature, marketplace excursions, culinary delights (such as that jambalaya we tried for Fat Tuesday!), and a pattern search in and around our house. (Anything to keep us busy and keep our spirits up 😉 )

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Rosy Mound #1

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Rosy Mound #2

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Rosy Mound #3

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Goodies from our Asian Market trip (some of which were used for our Hina Matsuri dinner)

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Bubble Tea at a restaurant next door to the Asian marketplace

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We tried pho for the first time!

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Pretty flowers sent to us

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My favorite beer

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Nutella French Toast #1

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Nutella French Toast #2

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Patterns #1 (Don’t the knots in the tree look like eyes?)

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Patterns #2

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Patterns #3

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Patterns #4

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Patterns #5

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Patterns #6

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Patterns #7

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Patterns #8 (Okay, so maybe I just wanted to take a picture of our kitties because I love them…)

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Goodies from a trip to The Cheese Lady in Muskegon (We tried the Vanilla Balsamic drizzled over fresh strawberries!)

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I made homemade Crab Rangoons and Gyoza…

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And Chad made amazing homemade ramen!

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Dinner party dishes #1

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Dinner Party Dishes #2

I wonder what the weekend has in store for us! What have you been up to this week?

Learning

The long year is over

 

 

When I think of the last year, I want to listen to The Long Day is Over by Norah Jones, but change the lyrics to “The Long Year is Over.” It’s such a pretty song, and I feel like the melody captures the way it feels after nearly giving up before finding some hope to go on. To be honest, 2013 was probably the hardest year of my life, for a lot of different reasons. I can look back throughout the entire year and remember so many struggles, and yet–I made it through. I know that a New Year is sort of just a symbol, but I am going to embrace it as a force for change and be positive about a much better year ahead. I’m excited to get back into blogging more regularly, and to being creative again. I’m excited for a fresh start and any new changes ahead. And I’ve had a lot of conversations with incredibly supportive people that have encouraged me and helped me believe: everything will be alright.

To celebrate the New Year, I made acorn squash, marinated steak, broccoli and Italian toast for dinner on New Year’s Eve!

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I want to swim in that butter and brown sugar.

Then, Chad and I watched movies until it was time for the ball to drop. Just before, we shared a little cake, and then we got champagne ready for toasting.

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It was a nice, much-needed relaxing night at home (as well as a fresh start!). Tonight I’ll be working on the Unravelling the Year Ahead Workbook, and then I’ll be going to bed early because I’ve got to work in the morning. How did you ring in the new year?

Learning

Empathy

I mentioned I had a good conversation with a friend the other day, and I still can’t get it out of my head. I keep replaying it over and over, because I am amazed my his grace, and by his love. I was able to open up to him, and he didn’t judge me. He loved me. Empathized. And his love for me brought the strangest mix of emotions. I felt weak, but strengthened by him, guilty and desperate, but loved and understood. I felt scared, but relieved. Sad, yet joyful. I felt the need to look for God in my life again, despite skepticism and doubt.

I don’t know if it’s fate, or luck, or karma. Maybe it’s something divine. But I have met three people recently who are amazing and who have really made an impact on my heart. I’ve met so many religious Christians who never practiced what they preached, who were tremendous hypocrites, and who always let me down. And yet these three don’t ever “preach.” They listen and love. And when they love, they love unconditionally, without judgement. They don’t claim to be good, they just are. They don’t put themselves on pedestals, they just hang out and are real with people. They give me hope, and make me want to search for a faith I left behind. To get answers to questions that bother me, instead of being completely dismissive.

Who knows what will happen. I don’t know where I see myself three days from now, so I can hardly guess where this all will lead. What I do know is that true empathy is hard to come by, and I am incredibly grateful to have found several people who seem to get it. As I was thinking about empathy this morning, I happened to come across a tweet with a really great video (more fate/luck/karma?). Hope it resonates with you like it did with me.

Learning · Projects

Blocked

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For the first time since we’ve been home, I did some art journaling today. Took me over three hours to do one page, because my heart just wasn’t in it. I spent some time looking at old pages from the past year and a half, and so much has changed. Granted, a lot of it was expected: I knew we were going to move home from Japan, I knew we were planning on buying a house, I knew we’d each have new jobs, I knew there’d be a lot of adjusting. But a lot has changed that I didn’t expect.

I’ve been in a funk that I just can’t get out of, and I want the parts of me back that read, write, create, and care. How many days have gone by with me thinking I need to finally get around to writing so and so back, or that I need to work on a project or post on my blog, where I did completely the opposite? How much time have I wasted sleeping or dreaming as I look out at the gloomy weather? I feel blocked, and like it’s time to break the wall.

It’s time to break the wall.