Sunday, June 28, 2009

Midsummer Celebrations

Here we are, at the very peak of summer! This week I noticed in the garden that the bee balm is open now, in full glory, feeding its sweet nectar to the bees. We have had many late evening with friends, catching fireflies and enjoying the simple wonders of summer. Over the weekend, we went to see a free outdoor amphitheater production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. It was fantastic, and the kids loved it.

Last night, we shared a very beautiful community celebration. We celebrated with friends over a potluck and bonfire, incredible circle dances and games, and fresh honeycomb from the hive in honor of St. John's Tide. Here is a nice post about this holiday if you would like to know more about it. More photos of the lovely St john's Tide celebration here.

At the peak of the expansiveness of summer, we glance inward. We peer into the bright fire, with wishes and prayers for the seasons to come. We gather flowers, make garlands, dance and sing together, feast and take joy in the brightest point of the year. We think of how this will bring nourishment to us deep into the winter, as the days grow short and cold. We give thanks.

In preparation for the gathering, the girls helped me to gather herbs for a variety of honey sweetened iced teas. Our favorites were the lavender and lemon verbena (a few teaspoons fresh lavender blossoms and about 1/2 cup verbena leaves, steeped with almost-boiling water in 1/2 gallon glass jar for about five minutes), lavender and mint (a cup of fresh mint leaves, and a little lavender, steeped for 10 minutes), sage and lemon (juice and rind of one lemon steeped with a handful of fresh sage leaves for 30 minutes) and chamomile (1/4 cup blossoms, steeped for about ten minutes). They were so refreshing and delicious.

St John's Tide (June 24th)

The radiant beauty of the world
Compels my innermost soul to free
God-given powers of my nature
That they may soar into the cosmos
To take wing from myself
And trustingly to seek myself
In cosmic light and cosmic warmth

with gratitude for the work of the honeybees

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Corner View Wednesday: Music

Our home is filled with the harmonies of children, in their unselfconscious manner, enjoying music. They play on harmonicas, drums, egg shakers and other noise makers. The pound out songs on the piano and strum a guitar. We love music of all sorts, from every continent and most every genre. Someday, I would love to learn how to play the guitar and the violin.

Where we live, there is wonderful music to be enjoyed. From Street musicians who play downtown, to the weekly festivals and concerts there are always places to listen. On fridays, people gather downtown at the drumming circle. Some of my favorite local talents are Rising Appalachia, Toubab Krewe, and the Avett Brothers. Visit Jane's Spain Daily to see more corner view music from around the globe. Enjoy!

And just for fun... check out this animated music machine

My favorite music is currently the summer night songs, of crickets and wind, quiet and peaceful when the day is done and the chilren are snug in their beds. What is yours?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Scrap Happy

Is it an apron? A pillow? A doll blanket? A dishcloth? The girls and I found incredible treasures over the weekend at a fabulous crafty yard sale. I got a storage cart and filled it with beautiful fabric scraps and handmade pretties. Vivienne found a box of sewing goods, and a little basket just right to start her own sewing kit. Now I need to figure out how to expand my sewing and make good use of this lovely stuff. I started by making a simple patchwork, and can't wait figure out what to do with it. I need to drop the hesitation and just dive in! I would love some suggestions for simple, favorite projects! I am so happy to have all this raw material to create with!

~loving the endless possibilities~

For fathers with love.

There are so many appreciations that I feel for the Fathers in my life. My grandfathers who are no longer with us, my own wonderful father and my sweet husband and father to my children each deserve pages of recognition. I live passionately in the feminine aspect of life, thriving in my womanhood, my intuition, my nurturing side. However, I see the power of balance that men bring to my world, particularly in the role as fathers . They are the rocks and safe places in my life. They keep the world in it's place, remind me to stand on my own two feet.

My father's father, Grandpa James, had never changed a diaper for his own five children, and yet, he learned to care for me when I was little. He shared his passion of music with me, taking up a room full of instruments after retiring from the railroad. My Grandfather Peter, who immigrated from Germany, gave pure love to me in the ten years that I got to know him. He would empty his pockets of change in my hands, and his smile warmed my innermost self. He was a gentle soul, and would not bring harm to a fly. My own Papa, is a vessel of wisdom. He has not a selfish bone in his body, and has always taught me to be honest, moral, kind and humble. He has a passion for the gifts of nature and especially the ocean. My childhood memories are filled with camping, exploring and fishing with my father. And now, to see my own sweet true love grow as a father to my three babies, it is a beautiful thing. I love to watch the kids run to him with open arms, every cell of their bodies vibrating with joy to see their daddy when he comes home from work. A father with heart is a force of beauty and strength, and I feel such gratitude for them all.

We had a wonderful, quiet family day on Sunday. It was our intention to take a mountain top hike, however a rainstorm reached the mountain at about the same time as we did. So, we stretched our legs and enjoyed our picnic and then headed back home. The heavy rain subsided and the balmy mist enveloped the mountains.

with love and appreciation~

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Summer Gratitude

Today I feel like sharing the simple things of summer that I give thanks for. It was my first day home that I have had to play in the garden, pulling weeds (LOTS of weeds) and admiring the growth and changes in the plants. Some of my very favorite plants are in bloom - my lovely echinaceas, my lavender, my hollyhocks, sunflowers, all of my calendula, borage and my chocolate cosmos. The kids were equally absorbed in picking yellow squash, snap peas, chioggia beets and a few blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. I got to cook our beets and greens for dinner, so simple yet the nourishment satisfies. I picked a bouquet of fresh flowers for the table. I watched Vivienne as she skipped into the house with her collection of fireflies, admiring their beauty. I love the connection to nature that I feel in summer, the rainstorms and thick, fragrant air, the obsession with ice cream and frozen fruit that my family shares, the easy rhythm of the day (are we hungry/tired/feeling creative?) and watching my garden visions take their own shape and grow beyond my imagining. I feel myself growing, too.

~with firefly wonderment~

Corner View Wednesday: Street Fashion

Today there is little "street fashion" to be seen. It has been pouring rain, and there was even a tornado watch in effect. So I can look at my own fashion and share my favorite, happy red boots that I wear on days like this. Our town is an electic, bohemian inspired mountain town. There is a range of posh "southern style" to sporty casual to hippy-inspired. This is not a fashion-trend place to live so much as it is an individualist/ casual dress kind of town.

I love how my girls put on floral dresses with cowgirl boots, or mix up all sorts of prints. For my kids, fashion means making their own hats out of tissue paper, necklaces from scavenged yarn, pins and other decorations from my overflowing (and sadly neglected) arts and crafts stash. Currently, Vivi is also wearing a trend-setting green cast after breaking her wrist, poor darling.

For more street fashion from around the globe, check out these fabulous blogs:

jane, ladybug-zen, ian, bonnie, esti, sophie, cele, modsquad,caitlin, joyce, ani, kim, a day that is dessert, natsumi, epe, kaylovesvintage, trinsch, c.t., jeannette, outi, schanett, ritva, francesca, state of bliss, jennifer, dana, denise, cabrizette, bohemia girl, dianna, isabelle, amber, a girl in the yellow shoes, mister e, janis, kari, jgy, skymring, elizabeth, audrey, allison, lise, cate, mon, victoria, crescent moon, erin, otli, amy, ida, caroline, lisa, dorte, kimmie, la lune dans le ciel, nicola, malo, vanessa, britta, virgina, april, b, kyndale samantha, karen, kristina, dorit, goldensunfamily, sophie, janet, mcgillicutty, desiree, di, travelingmama, aimee, sunnymama, amanda, ali, jenell, guusje, britta, juanita, pamela, inna, daan, myrtille, cris, ibb, susi, jodi, lily, gillian,
jeanette, athena, pienduzz, latisha, clairette, satsuki

Monday, June 15, 2009

Return from the City of Roses

We had a wonderful reunion of my side of the family. My nephew, Christian, was promoted from grade eight and my sister graduated from Marylhurst college. I got to visit with my 87 year old German grandmother, numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, and my two dear nephews. It was a whirlwind of activity and not without it's challenges. Vivienne slid in the grass and broke her wrist, in addition to other minor boo-boo's and mishaps. But that is the life of a busy family, and I enjoyed my visit very much. Now we are back and I am so happy to be home. I have so many warm memories that I have brought with me.

Until next time, lovely city of roses...

A Special Surprise

Here is a lovely fairy godmother that arrived at my doorstep when we were visiting Oregon. She is the exact shade of pink as my Knockout roses. I feel so honored to be the recipient of a giveaway from The Magic Onions. This blog is so inspiring and enjoyable to visit. What a delight it is to get a handcrafted treasure from this talented mama! Check out more beautiful items at her esty shop here.

Oregon Coast

I have to admit that I forgot about just how stunning the Oregon Coast is. The contrast of the thick pine forests, the dramatic sky, the rippled sand dunes, massive driftwood and the shimmering ocean is soul nourishing. The feeling that came to mind was one of expansiveness. I felt miniscule in the landscape, as if I had melted into it's beauty. I loved to see the freedom for the kids to run against the wind, leap from sandy peaks and follow their happy toes into the low tide. We stayed at the State campground yurts, which are a perfect combination of comfort and simplicity.

Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air. - Ralph Waldo Emerson