Although beginnings happen in small ways everyday, from our morning routines to new relationships and jobs and homes, this is the season we celebrate them, give tribute to them. We imagine and create on otherwise blank slates, envisioning what new will come from this particular beginning. So whether you’re enjoying your morning coffee or scratching out dreams, here’s a few sounds filled with energy and hope to keep you company. Happy Monday, everyone.
1. Pieces Black Bear | 2. Another StoryThe Head and the Heart | 3. The Lion the Beast the BeatGrace Potter & the Nocturnal | 4. Before the BeginningYoung Oceans | 5. I am MountainGungor | 6. Clean Slate M. Ward | 7. Disparate YouthSantigold | 8. Leaves in the RiverSea Wolf | 9. Sleeping LessonsThe Shins | 10. Explode My SoulJonathan David and Melissa Helser | 11.Low RoarLow Roar
Honestly, I haven’t always loved the morning. My body and mind seem to move in half-time, fumbling for order with garbled words and hair and breath. And I don’t like fumbling. But these years of motherhood have taught me to appreciate the sacredness of morning, its power to give me new, to offer what is yet to be and somehow rekindle hope and promise in my chest. Enough for the day, if I’ll pay attention. Morning neatly draws the lines between past and present and future, like a metronome counting out the rhythm of time, parting me with yesterday’s success and failure and reminding me to look ahead, to receive something new, something unique for today. I am neither the first nor the last to draw attention to the sacredness of mornings. Mary Oliver describes morning as a new creation, a time of rebirth. Harriet Beecher Stowe exclaims the new day beckons us into change. The Old Testament recounts every morning contains new mercies. Over the years I have found so much hidden in those first waking hours, strength and wisdom tucked into quiet moments easily overlooked. At times, I am awake before the sun, sitting alone with a cup of coffee and pen and paper or a book or in prayer. Sometimes I make it to the gym or for a walk or run through the neighborhood. On other mornings, I share these first hours with my children, snuggling them and hearing their dream-stories, making breakfast and beginning our daily routine. On the best of mornings, I awake with the sun and my husband. Regardless of the way my morning adapts to our family, I have learned these hours are intended to nourish me for the day’s demands, for whatever might be required.
This year, I’m wanting to pay closer attention to what has become my favorite part of the day, to take notice of the wisdom and rest and promise that comes through these early hours. And to share them periodically here with you.
When I put together a gift guide celebrating small businesses this last holiday, I was so impressed with the variety, artistry, and beauty of so many makers out there. I honestly felt limited to a single gift guide. As a result, this year I’ll be creating and sharing “small finds”–collections of objects salvaged or created by small businesses around the world. Happy Monday, everyone.
In 2013, I learned how to shoot my real camera on manual. I’m still quite the amateur but am learning more each time I practice. Usually, I grab it when we’re heading for an outing or a special event but I still heavily rely on my iPhone for everyday use. I noticed last year several blogs hosted “project 52,” a portrait of their kid(s) once a week for a year–one that originated here, I believe. So this year, in 2014, I’m challenging myself to do the same with my real camera. I’ll admit I’m a little nervous–gulp, swallow. But I think overall it will be a good way to grow this skill and track little milestones and moments for each of them. Welcome to week 1.
Liam (10): plunging into winter water (before it was heated)
Burke (8): looking for interesting bugs
Blythe (7) : spent some of her Christmas money on new sticker books
Olive (4): always sticks her tongue out when she’s focused
Happy New Year and welcome to Cloistered Away‘s new space–the best way to begin 2014! First, thank you to Corina and Theodore for their impeccable design and site work and for their promptness and great attitude working through the holiday season. Also, thank you, Kristen, for the beautiful profile images (and for making me look like a superstar) in the midst of your busiest work season. I’m so grateful. For those of you who subscribe to Cloistered Away, your subscriptions will take a few days to fully transfer. If by next week you notice you aren’t receiving anything in your reader, check back and subscribe via email again. I apologize in advance.
I’m naturally a goal-setting/planning type of person, so I generally enjoy this time of year, a time of reflection and anticipating the future. Typically, I would dream up a few huge projects or lifestyle choices to evaluate and change, but frankly, I’m too tired for a longer TO DO list this year. Instead, in 2014, I am evaluating the little, everyday things, such as how I eat my food (too often standing at the counter) or how I communicate with friends (mostly electronically) to how I can help keep our almost 13 year marriage fresh (break the routines a few times). My hope? Small changes, large impact. How about you? What are some of your goals in the new year? What are a few little, everyday things you already do or want to do to improve your life? I’d love to know.
In 2013, I slept in a tepee; climbed trees; listened to a million jokes rehearsed from joke books; dangled my feet from the Grand Canyon; learned how to persevere with joy; began a photo collaboration project; cried from laughing too hard; cried from hurting too much; watched my kids wade in the Pacific Ocean; picked 48 pounds of strawberries; read Oliver and Rilke and L’Engle and Bly; packed and left a home; explored ancient ruins; prayed desperate prayers; watched Blythe dance outdoors in below freezing temperatures; ate loads of sweet potatoes and cauliflower rice; painted more walls white; learned the word autodidact; hiked over a mile in the Virgin River; watched Mark carry all four kids simultaneously in that same river; finished a whole-30; snuggled with my kids in a tree hammock; shared the Christmas holidays with our combined 48 family members; shared the Christmas holidays with strep throat and the flu; tried kombucha; jumped waves along the Texas coast; lived with 9 other people for most of the year; was splashed by the waves on Pfeiffer Beach; camped under a super-moon; took thousands of pictures; wrote thousands more in words; watched the sun rise over 300 times; taught Olive to write her name; explored caves; celebrated 12 years of marriage; discovered a love for honey whiskey; studied Joan of Arc, the Vikings, and Charlemagne; cooked several meals over campfires; downsized our life and learned having less really is more; stood inside a Redwood trunk with 16 other people; read Burke’s first illustrated comic book; picked dinner from our garden; tutored 100+ college students in writing/grammar; picnicked with friends on Adirondack chairs in the Big Sur River; walked through canyon slots in New Mexico; hugged our six family members visiting from Morocco; listened to people sing on the streets of Santa Cruz; walked in the Frio River; witnessed friends be healed of sickness; tasted papayas and persimmons for the first time; studied patterns of light and shadow; received money and tons of encouragement and love from friends and family; chased my kids down huge hills; learned from Liam how to shoot a bow and arrow; climbed majestic red rock in Utah; picked bouquets of wildflowers; felt small and humbled; felt like my heart might explode in joy; learned to give thanks regardless.
Thank you, 2013, for your rich lessons and adventures. Farewell.