love what you love

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That’s what the sign said… Let your body love what it loves. The words resonated through me as I gazed at the chalkboard, sinking in and reverberating.

My body? My body loves shoulder rubs and hot baths and snuggles and tea. It loves warm blankets and ice cream, kneading dough and digging in the dirt, swimming on hot days. It loves long embraces and holding hands, and kisses on the cheek. It loves holding the ones I love good and close to me.

So does my heart, as a matter of fact. And my head. And my soul. Really, I think all the pieces of myself work rather nicely together & they’re pretty much of one accord on all that.

There’s a dear friendship in my life that feels like it’s gone a little awry, and I’ve been carrying guilt and angst about the whole thing. I’ve been trying to convince myself to need the friendship less, to care less. And while letting go a little might not be a bad thing – it might ease my heartache – my body, my self, my soul… loves what it loves. I can’t help it. And I shouldn’t.

So, darling friend, I love you.

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of food and thanks and love

A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness.    

-Elsa Schiaparelli

Having a new baby is like entering a vortex where day is night and night is day and there’s nothing to hang your hat on – no schedule, no routine, no to-do list to give days shape or meaning. It’s a whirlwind of no sleep but catnaps, a place where everything smells softly of sour milk and all clothes have soiled shoulders and chests. It’s magnificent and heartrending and exhausting and isolating.

Into this mess of broken and beginning life come rays of light – the beauty of help. Because truly, it’s too much alone.

Today I am working to catch up on my thank you notes – scribbled bits trying to express even just a little of the immense gratitude I feel for those gracious people who came alongside and offered help in the most basic and beautiful way – they fed us.

 

There is some bit of magic in the kitchen – that you can slop eggs, milk, sugar and flour together and somehow it comes together to make a cake (and reliably so!) is an utter mystery. Disparate things – sometimes none too palatable on their own – meld to become something delicious, nurturing, nourishing. Amazing. And employing this magic for others is such a gorgeous show of grace, whether cooking yourself or simply picking something up… it’s life giving. Literally. And never more so than when life has gone caddywompus. I hold that when major life events happen – birth, death, illness, moving homes, new jobs – you bring food. You give a little magic to help bridge the gap. You hand over some extra life to those who need it. And oh, how I have needed it!

So this post is a special (extra) thank you to those who gifted our family this way, who welcomed Lila and sustained us all as we walked into this new life of ours as a family of four. Thank you, thank you, thank you dear ones… Anna, Jen, Kate, Courtney, Anna, Maggie, Hugo, Johanna, Joy & Mary. (As a sidenote, I find it an awesome testament that most of the friends who loved us this way were ones I’ve met through blogging and twitter. Who says you can’t have real relationships online?)

*written as part of Just Write, my friend Heather’s freewriting link-up. Join in & read some of the other posts here.

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bloglove

I am someone who values relationships deeply, who yearns for friendships and community more than really anything else – more than chocolate and ice cream, even. So I really do mean YEARN. To me, life isn’t worth living if I’m doing it on my own.

Blogging has, for me, been a relatively solitary pastime. I’ve done it – since June 2005 – because I wanted to, and because it was important to me in some indescribable way, and because I couldn’t not. Believe me, I tried to not – and my sporadic posting was very clear evidence of it. But a writer must write, I’ve learned, even if it’s few and far between – eventually the words come and force their way out and the best thing to do is just get out of the way. So, I blogged. Followers came and went, there was no clear community, no regular commenters, no solid friends made. At least, no new ones. The old ones continued to cheer me on, as good old friends must do to be good old friends. But still, it was mostly me, showing up to the screen, offering, and leaving to the silence.

That is, until I learned that a few of my “in real life” friends were bloggers, too, and I saw that they had met kindred spirits and built a solid readership and had what I am constantly searching for, everywhere…. connection. ON AND THROUGH THEIR BLOG. It was a revelation, and it gave me a target to shoot for, though I really had no idea how to do it. It made me a little self-conscious, and a little nervous, and a lot shy. But it also gave me the kick in the pants I needed to start moving past the pixels.

So, in September I went to the Minnesota Blogger’s Conference, mostly because it was free and my friend Heather was speaking at it (she was the first of the aforementioned friends who also happened to be a blogger). I am not a crowd person, friends – I like to stick in small groups where I know at least one other person. I like to have a wing man when I head into things like this. But no, I was flying solo, and I was terrified. Somehow, though, it…. worked. I met some beautiful, amazing, funny, sincere women (and men!) whose blogs I began to devour. Who I began to stalk on twitter. And on facebook.

Now I sound creepy.

Fast forward to last week, when I heard about another meetup – bloglove at Aveda (one of my most favorite places), hosted by the lovely Chris Ann of LoveFeast Table. I jumped at the chance – especially since I had actually hopefully met some of the women before! – and brought myself a wing man, just in case (thanks, Casey!). And it was, in a word:

delicious.
Delicious because Chris Ann made some awesome oatmeal raisin cookies, brought strawberries and grapes and chocolate dipped pretzels and crackers with cheese dip.
Anna, Anna & Chris Ann
Delicious because Aveda was serving us all the Aveda tea we could drink.
Molly getting her hand massage
Delicious because the evening was heaped with opportunities to relax, rejuvenate, pamper (hand massages, back & neck massages, make-up touchups, skin & hair consultations, all the yummy smells you could inhale).
Anna’s hair consultation
(Anna, sorry I didn’t tell you I was taking a picture)
Delicious because they sent us home with sweet little bags of trial sizes & samples (including a bath soak I hope to one day take a bath to use)
Casey, Kristin, Anna, Molly & Anna
Delicious because the women gathered there were frank, and funny, and warm, and honest, and open.
Me getting my makeup freshened
Anna, hope you don’t mind me stealing your photo!!
Delicious because it felt like some beautiful friendships were born, and I met some ladies I definitely want to know more of.
The hand pampering station… scrubs, lotion, hand massages….

Delicious because there were no kiddoes running around at our feet and I actually felt like a woman, not a mommy.

Casey getting a skin consultation
Delicious because afterward I actually got to hang out and have a beer with a friend before hustling home.
Anna & Gussy
Delicious because it was a taste of what I yearn for most: connection.
(Back row) Elle~All Things Bright & Beautiful, Erin~House of Turquoise, Molly~ The Snyder Family 5, Casey~Autumn 2010, Anna~Girl With Blog, Michaela~MindfulMomma, Ria ~ Ria’s Collection, Em~The Raven Quoth
(Front row) Chris Ann~LoveFeast Table, Anna~Motherly Law, Maggie~Gussy Sews, Allison~O My Family, Kristin~High Heels And A Hammer
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