One great thing about having a garden is that it lets us in on when foods are in season in our local areas. We've moved around a lot, so remembering when we picked corn or blueberries or apples when I was growing up in Michigan does not exactly inform when I should be looking out for them here. Missing these treasures once at the U-pick spots also clues me in.
It's possible to find strawberries, tomatoes + apples year round these days, but eating fruits + vegetables in season is a whole different experience! Summer crops get all the glory, but spring has some pretty great offerings too! Asparagus, greens + peas make me feel thirsty for green on my plate...and chives + radishes are coming out of our own garden right now.
This meal tasted like spring on a plate + I didn't want to forget it, so I thought I'd record it here...
Spring on a Plate (serves 4)
1 cup dried brown rice
asparagus, woody ends removed + sliced
4 Tbsp butter
1 lemon, juiced
fresh chives or green onions
cayenne, salt, pepper flakes
Cook rice, adding asparagus stalks to the cooking pot for the last 8-9 minutes of cooking time. Add asparagus tips for the last 3-4 minutes of cooking time. The asparagus will steam on top of the rice (do not stir in). When all of the water has evaporated, remove pot from heat + stir in butter, peas, lemon juice + seasonings. I used salt, cayenne + pepper flakes. Garnish with chives, radishes + nutritional yeast. Enjoy! :)
We've had a few hot days lately sprinkled in with the cooler ones. Those hot days have moved me to dust the ceiling fan blades + to think about my little collection of hot weather clothing that I'll soon trade all the rest for. Last summer, I ended up having a little less clothing than I really felt was enough...just because I couldn't quite find pieces that I wanted to wear. So here are a few of the things I'm thinking about for the days ahead.
I'm pretty predictable at this point in regards to what I'd like to wear...sleeveless pieces that are easy to layer when necessary...a couple of go-with-everything, not-too-precious bottoms...and a couple of breezy dresses. My preferred color palette in warmer months involves lots of white, pale denim + weathered block prints. Bring on the sunshine!
What I write here is drawn from what's happening in my life or more accurately in my head. Whether or not we realize it...a lot of our lives happen in our heads. Our brains are constantly processing information, thinking + feeling. I remember a conversation in which someone I love was telling me about their fears + insecurities. I knew that my words of affirmation, encouragement + reassurance had come often on this subject, and that some of the movement forward in this area would involve this precious soul talking back to the voice inside their head. I offer this thought, because I know the truth of it for myself.
Compassionate words from others are necessary parts of our emotional health, but what we believe is most powerful. Recognizing the lies we are telling ourselves + talking back to them is an important skill.
This space has offered me room to form my thoughts, recognize truths, voice hope + intention. A journal offers the same space to put thoughts into words + allows those words to form a path...winding as it needs or wants...toward...better? deeper? recognition? Giving voice to thoughts in warm conversation can also work in this way.
I've come to believe that giving form to thought can be important, although is not always necessary. Surrendering to an immersion in a sort of formless grief or love + riding the wave might be process enough at times. Some feelings that seem to run away without permission, however may benefit from some introspection + putting those feelings into words. Feelings of unworthiness or sadness or loneliness or anger or frustration can often benefit from labelling + a little exploration.
As mamas of toddlers, we offer a labelling of feelings to our lovelies..."I understand that you are feeling...sad, angry, scared." We talk them through their feelings toward appropriate behavior, coping mechanisms, corrections. Through love + patience, we can often guide our young ones all the way through to resolution + hugs.
What kindness it is to take the time to offer ourselves a little patient thought + reflection on what makes us feel sad, angry, scared...insecure, unworthy, irritable, anxious, doubt, quiet...
Once we can label our feelings, we can explore what led us to them...circumstances, situations, words from others, deeply held beliefs about ourselves or the way we believe things are... And then we can think about how we could influence some of those factors. Action is often needed...but self-talk is often its necessary companion.
A superficial issue of mine that has affected me in deeper ways over the years has to do with trying to appreciate my body- newly appearing moles, skin that loses elasticity every day, soft stomach, thin hair and all. I'm trying to eat less + exercise every day. But I'm also trying to look in the mirror + not hate what I see day by day...because age + sadness + invisibleness + loss of purpose + loneliness are coming for me every day. Some of us have wonderful support systems + expressive loved ones. Some of us feel alone in this fight. Either way we might need to tell ourselves that we have grown babies in these soft stomachs...that our bodies are curvy + strong + capable of loving well...that we like how we look in the underwear we choose...that we are worthy of love...that we have sucked the sun into our skin + the wind into our lungs...that we are wild + alive.
It's a lot easier to die than it is to live...and I'm still fighting.
My desire is for your health + thriving. As always, these are just my thoughts + not a substitute for professional mental health care. Please be kind to yourself + ask for help, if you think it might be helpful.
This weekend I plan to plant my tomato + pepper starts in the garden...sit in the sun...and cruise the streets on my bike. I'm also finishing up Maude Hart Lovelace's series with Betsy's Wedding. I started this series with my girls when they were little, and I'm finally reading it to the end. (Gotta read what's already in the house.) :)
Self-care by enneagram type...especially helpful for empowering one of mine whose type I don't share.
American-made denim is back!
If you can't recycle it, you can't produce it.
Would you, could you, live here?
Nature is magic.
Music to daydream myself onto the beach with.
Hope you have a lovely weekend, friends!
Maybe you read the heart wrenching letter Elizabeth Suzann posted this week. (here is where I try to find words that I feel are appropriate for this space!!!) Elizabeth's story is so incredibly telling...about the clothing industry...about human connection...about the precariousness of all of our systems. As her news sinks in, I think of all she has taken on in growing her company...the responsibility for all of her team members...which is a model that we hold up as exemplary + ethical.
I start to wonder what other ethical brands are having to make similar gut wrenching decisions...and then I come upon the difference. Most other brands that we consider ethical stand somewhat apart from their makers. Whether this protects their businesses + is wiser or not...the point is that the responsibility is allowed to feel somewhat removed. I want to believe that small, ethical brands do have personal relationships with their suppliers + do feel deeply the connection with the survival of those suppliers. It is undeniably not, however, the same as Elizabeth's intimate connections.
To set the contrast even more starkly, many big brands are cancelling orders + in some cases refusing to pay makers for clothing already sewn...leaving garment factories with no money to pay garment workers for work already done. When connections are allowed to become more + more impersonal + removed, the suffering compounds toward the bottom of the supply chain.
We can throw around the word "sustainable" without a real understanding of limitations. This global pandemic is now a real, palpable, evident limitation...where farmers' + garment workers' working conditions + compensation, resource depletion, soil degradation, pollution, energy consumption, microfiber proliferation, and excessive waste production have somehow remained somewhat hidden.
None of us are immune to this virus or its effects on our health or finances. It is testing the sustainability of big brands + small brands + all of the systems that sustain them. Elizabeth Suzann has allowed all of us to make connections between the clothing we wear + the people who make them. The connection is always there + always has been.
I have no doubt Elizabeth Suzann will flourish again...if + how she wants to flourish. Many of us too will see the other side of this pandemic. We've seen how a virus connects us. Let's live like the flourishing of others is part of our own.
Lovely image via the spectacular, inspiring, tenacious Elizabeth Suzann.
I don't usually buy magazines these days...and when I do...I take them along to leave at the dentist's or eye doctor's office when I'm finished with them. I had one magazine with nowhere to go for a while, so I decided to get out the scissors. I'm having fun (again revisiting some habits from the past) playing with shapes, color + glue. I think these will pair nicely with the envelopes I made the other day.
I used to make things like these with a bit of the prolific artwork made by my girls. I might pick some autumn-colored paints, for example, and let my toddler paint away on a few sheets of paper. After they dried I'd cut some leaf shapes + let her glue those onto cards that could be sent off to friends + family. :)
What are you up to these days?
Last week we celebrated a birthday- yay! When it comes to gifts, I always like to think of things that are little luxuries + also love to gift experiences (especially now that my girls can buy themselves a lot of what they need + want). It takes a little creativity to gift experiences these days, but I tried my best. :) Both little luxuries + experiences are especially lovely right now...and the celebration of a birthday is a wonderful opportunity to support a few of the local businesses we love as well.
One of our favorite plant stores is taking appointments in order to keep the number of customers low enough to keep from spreading the virus + to allow for spring shopping/planting. One gift was a couple of cute pots I'd previously picked up to give my birthday girl...along with an appointment to shop for a couple of plants.
A gift certificate to a favorite, little, local bookstore made another gift. I double checked that the shop can order any book she desires. I thought it might be fun to just have a little cash that has to be spent + to decide how to spend it on some special books.
Birthday dinner involved picking up take-out from our favorite sushi spot along with a homemade cake (yum). It felt good for both giver + receiver to know that our celebration supported some of our favorite neighbors + the work they do to make this a good place to live.
on a journey toward zero-waste, simplicity, + compassion :: daring to choose fair one choice at a time