inspiration & gratitude.

brave life

*original link is no longer available. if anyone knows to whom credit belongs, please let me know.

oh, time…you crazy, crazy thing. sometimes i feel you whooshing past me. thank you for the nights & weekends & hours filled to overflowing with adventures & laughter. and thank you for the just-plain-busy days and weeks of the mundane, not-so-glamorous yet necessary, every day life stuff. both are teaching me, and memories & goodness are in it all.

so, where i last left off…creativity. fears. dreams. the gap. perseverance.

inspiration is honestly everywhere. in gathering people at our house, in nature, checking out a new or visiting an old favorite restaurant or cafe, in a conversation, in sunsets and conversations…the list goes on. and, of course, there are copious gems on the inter webs, too. i’m thankful for brave, savvy creatives who have taken risks, shared their passions, and created spaces for beginners like me to look up to. here are some of my inspiration, encouragement, advice, & support go-to creatives.

cooking

  • smitten kitchen: deb’s writing is fun, witty, & approachable.
  • sprouted kitchen: sara’s recipes are fresh, healthy, & delicious.
  • molly yeh: i love molly’s blog for her lightness & silliness, stunning photography, & all-around inspiration. and a girl who did an in-depth study of the best mix-ins for funfetti cake?
  • sara kate gillingham: co-founder of the kitchn, cookbook author, & a potter, too!

life & faith

  • caroline schandel: this woman’s words pierce my heart & refresh my perspective in ways no one else’s ever have.
  • today’s letters: i could gush about this one – a daily go-to. hope-filled, life-giving, creative, encouraging. em writes most, but tim sneaks in sometimes, too. they write about everything from marriage to their backyard chickens, local coffee & good food, getting outside & the beauty of community, gratitude, raising their sweet babe, recipes – it’s a total mixed bag of goodness.
  • jen hatmaker: this post catapults me into laughter-until-i-can’t-speak with tears streaming down my face every. single. time.
  • story people: i love brian’s beautiful, simple-yet-profound work.
  • natalie creates: this woman really spans a number of categories, too: farming, creating, cooking. very down-to-earth, approachable, and fun.
  • momastery: her post earlier this month, the 5 habits every strong woman keeps, was incredible. this part in particular: “I have come to believe that a woman’s character is not just formed by the roles she plays or the job she has or where she’s from or what has happened to her. A woman’s character is most profoundly shaped by the daily habits she keeps. And this is hopeful to me, because it’s never too late to adopt a habit or two from a woman we admire.”
    part 2 jumped out at me instantly: strong women show up before they are ready. this is an area i have been desperately, intentionally seeking to grow in. i am so thankful for glennon’s thoughts on this. i love what she said about us having two roles but for some reason creating a third that we somehow put first. (although the link above works, embedding the video here isn’t working at the moment. i’ll add it as soon as i figure out what’s not right.)

paper & hand lettering

makers

  • little bit funky: i follow crystal on instagram more than her blog, but her blog is full of fun tutorials & inspiration, too.
  • amanda rydell: amanda is such a fun, local creative. she started be crafty workshops that she hosts here in minneapolis but she also travels to host them around the country, too! her instagram & blog are full of colorful, beautiful ideas & projects.
  • curly girl design: i am such a sucker for leigh’s cards. her way with words & whimsical images spark something in me.
  • the purl bee by purl soho: i mean, just one peek at their site is candy for a creative girl’s eyes! the patterns, yarns, photography…i could (and sometimes do!) get lost in the awesome tutorials & ideas!
  • fresh lemons quilts: faith’s quilts & other projects on her blog are beautiful! this is the quilt that first caught my eye (on instagram, of course), but i was quickly enamored by all of her work. definitely lots of inspiration here for this quilting-wannabe :o)
  • floret: ooooh my…erin can do things with flowers that make my mind race. she & her family plant and harvest field upon field (upon field) of the most unbelievable flowers. and her arrangements – i can’t even go there. you need to check out their website, blog, & instagram feed to soak up all of the overflowing goodness. i have never seen such stunning sweet peas, ranunculus, peonies, & dahlias. nor did i ever know there could be such a diversity of each type, color, & shade of bloom. the image below, from erin’s instagram feed, is just one example of what i’m talking about…

one thing that i am beyond excited to work with next year is lara casey’s power sheets. i learned about them last year and finally jumped in when she launched the beautiful 2015 sheets. after learning a lot this year (you know, things like being true to myself, naming fears…) and desiring to grow in goal setting & tracking – paired with being & diehard list-maker :o) – i am really, really excited to see how the power sheets will help me grow personally & creatively in making what matters most to me & our family happen.

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dear beginners, there is a gap.

there is a gap_ira glass

image from 7Plums on etsy

i first stumbled upon this quote from ira glass a few years ago, and it stopped me in my tracks. [side note: i think it’s one of the first things i ever pinned on Pinterest. although the original pin was a different version, a few years may very well = vintage in Pinterest years.]

to this day, i still come back to it regularly. for encouragement, reassurance…and sometimes for a little push. at my core, i am a creative, full of dreams & hope, but i am also a practical realist. as a result, i can easily get caught between the scales of these traits.

at my best, my hopes & dreams cheer me on, and ira’s words are comforting: keep trying new things. you’re not alone! it’s normal that this part is hard. but at my worst, the potential failure, disappointment, rejection, and unmet expectations can be paralyzing. fears loom large, threatening to cast long, dark shadows on my creativity, passions, dreams – everything. i get caught up in ira’s other words: it’s just not that good. a lot of people never get past this phase. it takes a long time (years).

it’s such a normal struggle. not just for a creative – for all of us, in all of our roles.

what i’m learning helps me tip the scales towards hopes & dreams is to be honest with & true to myself. on tough days, i’m learning to acknowledge the fears & even name them (not an easy task). i’m finding that when i know what i’m up against in my mind (fear & doubt’s favorite playground), i can start to knock them down with truth, and i can ask for help & prayer. i’m learning to not push past this part but to instead honor my real feelings. that has been helpful for me in two ways. first, i’m learning to give my real feelings time & space because denying them doesn’t help me grow. second, i’m learning that when i allow myself to feel my real feelings, often i better understand the root of them. as i’ve begun to try to do this more often, i’ve seen some little wins where a past fear or doubt actually motivated me in a positive way to achieve something i once thought was impossible (hello, starting – and re-starting – the blog! hello, writing a post about fears!).

and then, of course, there are the good days. days when i’m humming along jotting ideas, reading blogs & sites that inspire me, trying new things, and dreaming. even those days can get a little sticky here or there, but my perspective is set further ahead. i remind myself of the bigger picture & realize that little bumps are ok – they’re actually part of the adventure.

most importantly, whether it’s a good day or a tougher one, having people who support, encourage, & believe in me makes all the difference. i’m lucky to have people in my life who see & call out of me the potential that i sometimes lose sight of. they hold me accountable, dream with me, cheer me on, and love me unconditionally. being honest with them about my fears helps call out the truth that combats doubt, and wins & growth are that much sweeter to celebrate together.

i have a few more thoughts on this that i’ll follow up with this week, but in the meantime…

do you have some favorite resources that help as you dream & plan? favorite practices or routines?

who are your go-to creative inspirations?

how has having a community/tribe of friends & family helped shape & grow your dreams?

*my friend laura sent me this sweet vimeo version of ira glass’ interview that captures this quote with a visual of a fun overlay of the words. very creative, and it’s great to both see the words and hear ira speaking them.

in my glory.

for many kids – i’d go so far as to even say, probably most – growing up is full of backyard adventures, skinned knees, building forts, dress up, and make believe. although i do have a few pretty ridiculous memories along those lines (like alli & i collecting baby frogs from the pond by our house and putting them in our strawberry shortcake toy bin to “play with later”…accidentally leaving a few in our pockets for our mom to wash & dry.), i was in my glory when i was making something with my hands.

little heather cookingmy mom did a fantastic job of involving us in the cooking & baking she did for us. i bet we can create a pretty legit timeline through our childhood out of just the pictures of my mom with us in the kitchen: from bellying up to the counter by standing on the open dishwasher door or a chair to helping with Thanksgiving & Christmas dinners. i imagine that time spent together in the kitchen planted a seed for my love of all things culinary. i soaked up every opportunity i could to learn, taking cooking classes in elementary summer school, practicing with a kids cookbook i adored, and dreaming up my own concoctions.

little heather sewingof course a girl can’t be in the kitchen all the time, and when i wasn’t unveiling some new recipe, i had no end to the crafts i wanted to learn. instead of playing with dolls or dressing up, i would color for hours on end. i adored my little play sewing machine, making crayon shavings “stained glass windows”  and  friendship bracelets, doing cross stitch, and so much more.

many years later, it’s abundantly clear that creating is more than a fun pastime or hobby for me. creating brings me deep joy. it is a way for me to be refreshed and energized, to unwind, and to connect with others – a passion that the Lord knit deep inside of me. being able to dream up new ideas and being inspired by others is a blessing that i am most often at a loss to find words to explain, so having this little space to share it all in as i continue to grow and learn is such a gift.

10 things: 12.2013.

10things_witness

  1. i would love to have a “year of the sock” à la amanda.
  2. dear youtube, thank you for helping me determine that our washing machine was, in fact, broken and for showing me how to fix it so easily!
  3. and then there is this (unfortunately they re-did the video & added annoying extra commentary – skip that part. the little boy is incredible!): 
  4. it took everything in me to not put up our advent calendar the day we got it. this is the first time either one of us has done an advent calendar, and we for sure picked a stellar one – this beauty from naptime diaries. it was my favorite decoration, and it was my very favorite way to end each day.IMG_3747
  5. this month was full of great highs & hard lows…
  6. but through both, we learned deeper value in God’s vision of marriage. and we are so, so thankful.
  7. our little JulieAnne is still rockin’ through the winter, still giving us beautiful lemons. it’s, like, “infinity x ten” times better than a unity candle. and the flowers that are still blooming in december…in minnesota?! our house smells heavenly with the sweetest smelling perfume.
  8. our contribution to christmas eve dinner was, per usual, dessert. we ended up tweaking this gingerbread latte cake with this eggnog buttercream. YUM!
  9. my absolute favorite memory of our first married christmas was christmas morning with just us. it was more special than i imagined it could be.
  10. we got to have a fun new year’s eve night with just the girls while we sent michael & joy to the thunder game. it was our second annual celebration, kicked off with pan-a-cakes for dinner :o)

10 things: 01.2013.

10things_witness

so happy to be re-visiting this monthly exercise, inspired by sarah kay’s TED talk, “if i should have a daughter.” the video is worth all 18 minutes, but even if you only catch the first few minutes, i hope you’ll find yourself inspired & moved by her thoughts.

  1. my birthday was over-the-top special this year for countless reasons.
  2. we have a wedding date! and the most wonderful venue for the ceremony & reception, in the most unexpected location :o)
  3. LOVing this super fun valentine’s day card from one of my faves, lindsay letters.
  4. dreaming of getting a better life bag to replace my barely-hanging-on work bag. i love their heart, their mission, & their super cute bags!
  5. i can’t seem to put enough lotion on my hands.
  6. so thankful for jenny’s words in this post at dinner: a love story. so many truths about the value of & need for our stories as well as, i think, the creative process in general.
  7. contrary to prior experience…i’m actually digging the budgeting thing. go figure!
  8. wedding planning is absolutely surreal. how did i get so lucky?!
  9. dustin got to experience ipsento!
  10. loving this quote that a friend posted last week:

day by day, dear Lord,
of you three things i pray:
to see You more clearly,
love You more dearly,
follow You more nearly,
day by day.
:: frederick borsch ::

a happiest place & veggie fried quinoa.

cooking is, and has always been, one of my happiest places. it soothes, refreshes, motivates, & heals me. i like to start with a clean kitchen & open work surfaces so i have a full arsenal of vessels & tools to pick from and plenty of space to spread out. then a little more cleaning – this time the ingredients – before prepping, & chopping. i love the sound of the water, the rhythm of the knife, the colors as the ingredients find their order, & the aromas as it all comes together…mmm.

there are pictures of me in the kitchen spanning almost every age, i think. one of my favorites (that i’m still trying to find) is of me standing on the open dishwasher door, probably not even 2 years old. my mom was making brownies, & i wanted to help mix the batter :o)

my love for the kitchen grew deeper as i grew up. i had cookie parties with friends, i baked with all the kids i babysat ([insert unfathomably messy toddler & kitchen images] – totally worth it), & in college my roommates & i cooked dinner on thursday nights before Friends came on. the connection that cooking creates for me is indescribable. it connects me to deepest places in my spirit that i can forget in the hustle & bustle of a tedious day. it connects me to family & friends. as if that wasn’t enough goodness, over the past 5 months, i’ve been able to experience yet another connection: i’ve been incredibly blessed to be able to share my love of cooking with my most favorite cooking partner of all.

i can’t wait to keep sharing & learning together in the kitchen. cooking through what i can already see will be a growing collection of incredible cookbooks, trying new ingredients, supporting our beloved CSAs, exploring farmer’s markets, gathering loved ones around our table. sharing life, joy, sorrow, celebration, stories.

and, one day, passing our passion on to our own family. what a gift this life is!

:: veggie fried quinoa ::
adapted from peas & crayons

veggie fried quinoa

you can truly make this recipe your own in so many ways. you could simplify everything by subbing frozen veggies. if you pre-cook quinoa & keep it in the fridge or freezer, that makes things even easier. sometimes we soak our quinoa*, and sometimes we cook the quinoa in vegetable or chicken stock to add a little extra flavor.

2 cups quinoa
2 1/2 – 3 cups water or vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 lb chicken, ground pork, shrimp, etc., optional
1 tbsp butter or oil (coconut or olive oil work well)
1 small onion, diced
2 – 3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 celery ribs, diced
2 carrots, diced
1/2 cup peas or edamame
2 – 3 eggs
2 – 4 tbsp low sodium tamari or soy sauce
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 tsp ground ginger, optional
1 tbsp sesame seeds, optional

to prepare quinoa
first, rinse quinoa in mesh strainer for a few minutes (to rinse of the bitter outer coating). add rinsed quinoa to medium sauce pan & enough water to cover quinoa by a half inch. bring the water & quinoa to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until water evaporates (7-10 minutes). quinoa will be al denté.

to prepare veggies/protein
in a large sauté pan, heat butter or oil over medium heat. add half of the onion & cook 1-2 minutes. if you’re including a protein, add it to the pan with the onions and sauté until cooked through; remove from pan & keep warm in a medium sized bowl.

return pan to heat and add remaining onion, carrots, & celery. stirring occasionally, cook vegetables until they are tender (about 5 minutes). next, add garlic & peas or edamame and cook 1-2 minutes longer. remove sautéed vegetables from the pan, adding them to the bowl with cooked protein.

place pan back on stove. if needed and/or if you want, now might be a good time to add a little more butter or oil to the pan. crack eggs into pan & scramble, cooking to desired texture.

to assemble
once eggs are cooked, you can begin adding everything back to the pan: quinoa, veggies, and protein, if included. add tamari or soy sauce, salt, & pepper. if you are including ginger or sesame seeds, you can add them now, too. mix to combine & warm all the ingredients.

* soaked quinoa has a softer texture, but it also has nutritional benefits. i first learned about soaking quinoa from summer, then read more from the nourshing gourmet. it is an easy, almost entirely hands-off process that includes rinsing the quinoa, covering it with water & mixing in a little lemon juice, raw cider vinegar, or kefir, & letting it sit for 8 hours or so before cooking it however you usually do.

10 things: 02.12.

need to work on timeliness of posting these :o)

february, 2012

  1. i LOVE celebrating friends.  can’t wait to meet babes youngblood!
  2. i’m not a huge fan of toronto.  yet.  i’ll keep trying.
  3. this month was a toughie.
  4. i got to sign up for my very-very-very-favorite-ever CSA. again!  I’M SO EXCITED!
  5. uber excited for this, this, & this.  from a few of my favorites: her, her, & her.
  6. still camped out with caroline’s message on rest.
  7. i had the BEST valentine.
  8. being with old friends is good for the soul.  even when you’re sleep deprived & chasing 6 kids under 5 yrs old.
  9. loved this from jon acuff: “every day i find a new way to need more grace than the day before. every day God reminds me i won’t exhaust His supply.”  thankful.
  10. “it looked like death had won, but love will last forever” [wish the video was still live]

10 things: 01.12.

i have watched sarah kay‘s TED talk, “if i should have a daughter,” no less than 25 times. every time i watch it something new stands out, but one part that stood out right away & stuck in my thoughts was when she asked the audience to think of three things they know to be true.

after i thought of my three things, i wondered how my three things might change over time. later in her talk, sarah, a spoken word poetry teacher, explains that she has her students write ten things they know to be true when they are brainstorming what to write about. building on that idea, i thought it would be fun (not to mention interesting) to make a list of ten things i know to be true each month for a year to see how they change over time. it has been a really good exercise so far.

first, it was pretty cool when i found myself wondering if “this” [thought, realization, experience, feeling] would end up among the month’s top ten. it’s maybe even more cool that i continue to find myself in this place of reflection & wonder.

second, it’s a really great reminder of life’s sweet spots & challenges. it’s been good to document happenings, gratitude, & prayers.

last, but not least, it’s helping me stay true to myself. to who God has made me to be. to how He is continuing to mold me. to who He has woven into my life that bring life. to the passions He has given me that help me connect to Him and His kingdom.

i’m really excited to see how this exercise evolves over the year, and it will be super fun to look back on the lists in december!

january, 2012

  1. my tribe is incredible. i love that i get to see some regularly, i cherish reunions with those far away, and i genuinely miss those i don’t see often enough.
  2. life is precious.
  3. i have never, never been so grateful for a new year. embracing 2012…the year of grace.
  4. having sweet conversations with my brother about jesus & then being there when he found an authentic community has been one of the greatest blessings in my life.
  5. i’m independent, strong, confident, & completely capable…but i still miss my husband every day. this & this help.
  6. i love pinterest.  LOVE.
  7. sarah kay‘s spoken word poems completely resonate with & spark something in me: if i should have a daughter & how many lives can you live?
  8. i’m working on finding balance in 2012.  step one is figuring out what that even means.
  9. i’m grateful every day for my health. every. single. day.
  10. i feel most alive when i am creating, connecting with people i love, & exploring a new place.