inhale...exhale...relax your shoulders...repeat as often as needed

Sunday, February 28, 2010


Inspiration is the art of breathing in.
-Marcus Bach

Saturday, February 27, 2010

things that made me smile today...

1.) early morning tea by the window in the living room.
2.) ordering seeds with batman, for the gardens up at a bit of earth.
3.) learning to send text messages.  finally.
(and hearing back from my amazed children).
4.) buying a new shirt for SPRING, at a thrifty 30% off.
you may recall that i'm a reluctant shopper, so this was a fun find.
5.) watching batman play with his new toy, a brand new macBook pro.
this for a man who spends his life
putting other people's needs and wants ahead of his own.
he's been looking like a three year old on christmas morning all afternoon.
6.) the SNOW.
and remembering all the gigantic snowmen/dragons/gorillas
 we used to make with my Dad, complete with facial details
created with food coloring, branches and veggies from the fridge.
7.) yummy leftovers for lunch, including cherry pie.
8.) dreaming/scheming/planning...(!!!!)
9.) hanging out by the fire with mr. henry.


10.) reading the newest post at our youngest daughter's blog,
crunchy corner and bringing her idea over here to sew and sow life.

SO...what has made you smile today?

Friday, February 26, 2010



A grace from the Maine potato farmers...

"God bless us every minute.
Take a potato and begin to skin it.
One word's good as ten.
Hoe in.

Feeling very wintery here, after dodging the bullet
several times this winter.
Let's hear it for root veggies, squash and the onion family!

And remember, there are little things under the ground,
waiting to sprout, green up and rejoice....
Patience, dear friends...

Thursday, February 25, 2010


(in honor of george washington's birthday
and the story of george and the cherry tree.)

To foreigners, a Yankee is an American.
To Americans, a Yankee is a Northerner.
To Northerners, a Yankee is an Easterner.
To Easterners, a Yankee is a New Englander.
To a New Englander, a Yankee is a Vermonter.
And in Vermont, a Yankee is somebody who eats pie for breakfast.
-ascribed to E. B. White,
though some credit the punch line to Robert Frost.
i made this pie with canned, tart cherries,
with a scant 1/4 cup of sugar.
i'll recycle the reserved juice in a smoothie and/or add
a splash to a glass of sparkling water.

bethany, come on over and have a slice!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Today, Maya has another lovely post over at maya*made. She asks about "gathering".

I have been home one day in the past eleven, and so, today I am "gathering myself".

  • Food inventory and menu/grocery lists
  • Laundry
  • Organizing expenses/receipts from my journeys
  • Follow up notes for both boards I serve on
  • Sorting mail
  • Getting back to the internet (which I have had limited access to recently)
  • Errand list for when the snow stops
  • Making appointments
  • Catching with a dear friend later today
  • Yearning to get into my sewing room/studio    
Oh, and yes, perhaps a nap? Would that be too decadent? On a snowy afternoon? The flakes are huge and beautiful and mesmerizing. Maybe if I hibernate for a bit I will find my way out of the weariness I am feeling.  I think gathering myself under the covers may be just what I need...

What might you gather today?

Monday, February 22, 2010

the only thing i know for sure

Breathing in, I know I am
breathing in.
Breathing out, I know I am
breathing out.
-Thich Nhat Hanh

Thursday, February 18, 2010

"e" for Erin

My history with Mary and Dave and their family goes way back to when we were young parents. When we first became neighbors they had two children, we had two. We each added two more children to our families. Mary and I were pregnant together for our last babies.  Their Erin and our Gretta, born just a few months apart, were very good buddies as little girls. Our families had picnics together, suppers, ate donuts, walked around the block together, went to the zoo, had big wheel parades, picked pumpkins in the fall, sat on our porches together, shared hard times and such fun, fun times. We all grew up together. When we moved east in 1996, we promised to stay in touch, and for the most part, we did. Sometimes better than others.

But three years ago, when Erin was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer, we were all stunned. We reconnected in a new way, and I wanted to be neighbors again, so, so badly. Now, years after we had moved away, I felt the awful vulnerability that this sort of diagnosis brings. I wanted to bring dinner over, I wanted to run errands, I wanted to make things better. So, cards and e-mails, prayers and a shawl had to substitute.

Last winter, Gretta and I went to visit with Erin and her family, on our way to look at colleges in the midwest. It was a quick, but joyful visit.

Erin's amazingly courageous fight with cancer ended this past December 18th, she was buried just two days before Christmas. Unable to get out to her funeral, I wanted to come visit as soon as I could. After my board meetings in Indiana, I flew to Chicago and spent these past four days with Mary, Dave, their sweet dog, Keenan and the memory of beloved Erin.

How much can you pack into a few days? So many conversations, punctuated with tears, laughter, and memories. A walk at night in the snowfall, a visit to Erin's beautiful, peaceful grave site (under the boughs of a pine tree), a walk in the woods on a bright, sunny day, a visit with Chris, (Erin's sweet oldest brother), word games, dinners by candlelight, sharing favorite movies, reading articles about Erin's volleyball career and the inspiration she brought to others when she was no longer able to play,  and looking at cards sent by friends and family. I got to know Erin better...her courage, her steadfast faith, her determination to  be just a normal teen, and the way she inspired so, so many people with her uncomplaining ways.

And on Tuesday night, Mary, Dave and I did something together that we will remember forever, and I'm guessing, somehow, Erin knew what we were up to. Dave had Erin's volleyball  number "8" tattooed on his wrist and Mary and I had a lower case "e" for Erin tattooed on our wrists.  The whole experience at the tattoo parlor was amazing...both hysterical (three white, middle aged, suburban folk getting tattooes together???) and spiritual, and the four of us are now connected in a new and very special way. On the way home on the plane, I had an epiphany that the "e" is also a reminder to me that "every day is a blessing". (Thank you, Erin).
I am so deeply grateful for this visit. It has helped me to grieve, to reconnect with dear friends and to be changed by the life of one extraordinary young woman. Thank you, Mary and Dave, for sharing your sweet Erin with me, even now.

Rest in peace, dearest Erin, rest in peace.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

valentine's love from indiana

sending a bat signal out to vermont...
where batman and lindsey are attending the NOFA conference
(and plotting our future).
love you both.

and a bunch of love and hope to hannah, 
who has been interviewing for jobs
(how did she get to be a senior?)

and love to gretta,
studying in the deep winter of the prairie.

and love to stewart and dawn,
sweeties both, out in oregon.

and all my other beloveds.

i have packed up my love filled heart and will be taking it to
visit dear friends in chicagoland for the next few days.
i may be away from here for a bit.
in the meanwhile,
remember that love is the answer!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

a lifelong love of learning

I had a conversation in the spring of 1977, that I have carried with me ever since. It was one of those conversations that comes back to you in its tiny details, like the slant of the light, the place, the time...clear as if it happened yesterday. I was studying in London, and reading the romantic poets.  One  long weekend, our class went on holiday and walked the paths of the Lake District. Our professor led us up to the top of Loughrigg Fell and suddenly all those words we had been reading in the classroom had a context. The views were spectacular, the wind was bracing and I felt so, so close to Mother Nature. The inspiration for all that wonderful poetry was right under our noses!

As we walked back down the hill to our bus, my professor and I matched our steps and he commented on my wide eyed wonder.  I talked about how my trimester abroad was changing me.  And my professor said to me, "You know, Karen, that the only thing in life that can't be taken away from you is your education". 

That was an "ah-ha moment" for me.

(And so, here I am, back at my beloved Earlham College, the place that changed my life in oh, so many ways. I love working with my good hearted colleagues to carry the mission of this fine school forward.)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

the storm

he was trying to tell me something about mother nature.
(she'll have her way with you!)
while i was trying to stay calm and focused.
alas, my flight tomorrow morning was cancelled.
conference calls, rebooking and plan b will help get me there.
better late than never.

deep breaths.

how's your week going?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

one love, one heart...*

person to person,
moment to moment,
as we love, 
we change the world.
-samahria kaufman
stitching inspired by this.

*with thanks to bob marley

Monday, February 8, 2010

cookie love

he did the baking.
i did the frosting, wrapping and shipping.

Mailman, mailman, don't delay,
Do the rhumba all the way.
Wipe and wash together,
Live in peace forever.
I hate to wash the dishes,
I hate to wash the floor.
I'd rather kiss my sweetheart
Behind the kitchen door.

by Wendy Watson

Sunday, February 7, 2010

vintage love (shirt from 1972)

Thirst is a good prayer.
Be true to your longing.

-Gunilla Norris

Saturday, February 6, 2010

patchwork love

i made a pair of these today,
i pieced the squares, then appliqued the larger square onto 
some natural linen
(no messy threads or raw edges from the piecing on the inside).
there is no zipper, the back has two overlapping pieces of the same linen.
bright and cheerful, just right for this time of year!
yesterday i was working with catnip, 
using a funnel to squinch it into small openings. 
henry was up on the sewing table, nudging and snuffling, 
making accurate stitches very difficult.
i left the room for a second and heard a clatter.
honestly, henry, what would i do without your help?

Friday, February 5, 2010

snail mail love

jane austin's heroines were forever opening
lovely parchment letters, closed with sealing wax.

who doesn't love receiving real correspondence?

i've written here before about the pleasures of snail mail.
this is a great time of year to remember again
the skip of the heart that we feel when we find
real handwriting on an envelope in our mailboxes.

and if these gorgeous postage stamps don't inspire you,
i'm not sure what will!

it only takes a minute or two.
who might you surprise with a note?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

"love actually...

...IS all around us."
-Hugh Grant

(at the very end of 
one of my top ten favorite movies of all time.)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

love isn't love...

til you give it away, give it away, give it away...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


a place for everything and everything in its place...
my buddy jane and i went to IKEA.
my head is full of studio ideas.
it might be hard to fall asleep tonight.

Monday, February 1, 2010

oh, february...

you do not intimidate me!

you are a month full of wonderful things.

snuggling under cozy quilts
reading good books
healthy, steaming soups for supper
bracing walks in the fresh air
clearing out clutter
ordering garden seeds
valentine's day
a cat in a lap
clear blue skies
fresh snow
knitting warm things
an earlham board meeting
a visit to an old friend's
the winter olympics
cherry pie (on washington's birthday, of course!)
black history
a tiny glass of homemade raspberry cordial
the poetry of mary oliver
baking bread
snow tires
knowing that mother nature is re-energizing under ground

and...more of batman's flowering bulbs

what would you add to this list?
do tell.