Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A little bit of everything

So, it has been a while. I think some of that was on purpose...I didn't want to just word vomit all over the internet.

Life has been good. Full of change and challenge, but good. Since I last wrote I have a new job! How I loved being a nanny and looking after such a fun and vibrant little boy, but the change was welcomed and I am enjoying my new job as well. I now sit in an office all day, which I am finding is not ideal...I need my vitamin D! But I love the predictability of my hours and the fact that I am learning and growing and growing a skill set that will be so helpful for me in future job searches.

Things have been good and challenging. I have been learning how to be kind to myself. I am learning how to make mistakes and not let them be devastating to me. I am learning that there is no such thing as a balance between work and everything else you want to do. Finding that balance, or rather not finding it, has been incredibly difficult for me.

The time I do find to do the things that breathe life into me, is spent a lot on my long time desire to learn calligraphy. I think in a lot of ways, calligraphy is teaching me that there is no such thing as perfect. It challenges the perfectionist in me, and I think that is a good thing.

More than anything right now, I am searching for God's purpose in my time here. Not my time here on earth as in the purpose of life...but the purpose of my physical location. My job, my church, my neighborhood. It is something I have struggled with a lot here and I recently read from "Jesus Today" by Sarah Young that "There are many different ways to wait, and some are much better than others. Beneficial waiting involves looking to Me continually-trusting and loving Me." So, I am trying to find what it means to wait where I am beneficially. Waiting is hard.

Anyway, I would post some pictures but I literally have not been taking any. What is wrong with me?! The last picture I have of Noah and myself is from our 2 year anniversary....all the way back on September 4th. What the heck.

I hope this finds you all well. Not sure what this blog will be or turn into...I have projects that I have been doing but as I said, finding work and life balance has been difficult and so who knows when those things will be posted. But it does feel good to write again...writing can be therapeutic.

With love,
Whitney



Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Thin Place

I would not be a real APU girl if I was not in the Shauna Niequist fan club. Luckily for me, she is an easy person to be a fan of. I have read two of her books, most recently finishing Bittersweet. Saying that I loved it would be an understatement.

As I was reading this book I literally felt like she knew me and my life and how everything that has happened and is happening makes me feel. I love when I feel understood. One of the chapters in the book has continued to resonate with me and I just can't tell enough people about it and how they should read it.

The chapter I am talking about concentrates on the idea of a thin place, "A thin place, according to the Celtic mystics, is a place where the boundary between the natural world and the supernatural one is more permeable-thinner, if you will. Sometimes they're physical places. There are places all over Ireland where people have said, if you stand here, if you face this direction, if you hike to the top of that ridge at just the right time of day, that's a thin place, a place where the passage between heaven and earth is a short one, a place where God's presence is almost palpable." (from Bittersweet) I could read that over and over again. I immediately thought of 2 physical places for me that feel as though they are a thin place.

One of those places is a little camping spot my parents and I happened upon one year when I rolled my ankle backpacking. We had a different destination in mind, but instead had to find somewhere closer, and we scored in a big way. We continued to go back to that place year after year and every time I am there, I feel like things are right in the world. I feel a peace that I usually don't, I feel God in a big way.

The second place might sound strange, but there is a sense of peace and hope that I get every time I visit Oregon. This last time as I ate at Nearly Normals with Hilary and Noah, and then the next night cooking dinner with Hilary in her cute little house, that was a thin place. As Noah and I spent time in our favorite sleepy little town outside of Ashland, that was a thin place. And as we ate dinner around a table at Tom and Elaine's little cabin on a hill, spent a dreary day wine tasting, and Noah teaching Elaine the art of the slack line, that was a thin space.

I love that I can identify a couple physical places for me that I know I feel that peace and hope and joy. What is hard about that, though, is also becoming fully aware of where those thin places are not. As Noah put it, the thick places. Places that feel really hard and impossible to feel much of anything at all...those places exist too. Right now, I am living in one of those places and days, weeks, months are battles to break through to something.

And I guess that all leaves me wondering if it is possible to make a thick place into a thin place...and if so, how on earth do you go about doing that?

Here are a few pictures from my time in Oregon. I didn't take many at all, I was too busy enjoying the peace and joy and the presence of people I love dearly.





I hope you have a thin place of your own...I think we all need a place like that. 

With Love,
Whitney

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

#FitchTheHomeless

A few days ago I ran across an article talking about Abercrombie & Fitch and, in my opinion, their appalling marketing techniques. The CEO of A&F, Mike Jeffries was quoted in an interview some time ago saying "In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. We go after the cool kids. A lot of people don't belong and they can't belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely."If you haven't yet heard about all of this, here is a short news video to catch you up for what this post is really about.

Here is the thing, I read an article about all of this nonsense first and it really upset me. I was floored that someone would so blatantly talk about being exclusive and only wanting 'cool kids' to wear the clothes. However, other than not buying their clothes (not a problem, I never have, but you can bet I won't be buying their number 8 perfume anymore) and encouraging others to do the same, I wasn't sure what there was to do. Some people are protesting outside of stores, others are sending their purchased A&F clothing back to the company in protest. And then there is this guy, he made a video with an idea of how to change the image of A&F. 

His idea if you have yet to see the video is to go to thrift stores and purchase every pice of A&F clothing you can find and give it to the homeless. Ask your friends to look through their closets and look through yours too and give all the A&F apparel away to the homeless. I can appreciate his heart (I am assuming it was a good natured thought) but I REALLY disagree with the message it is sending. I feel that the video is just saying that the homeless don't fit that cool kid mold either but we are going to really piss Jeffries off by having all of them wear his clothes. While I love the idea of making that guy super upset about his brand not being what he wants it to be, I feel that giving the clothes to the homeless just further confirms the idea that they are less than, or beneath an ideal. I think the idea of clothing the homeless is great. But I think clothing them for this purpose does more harm than good.

I know these thoughts aren't totally coherent...my brain is still processing everything. But I felt that something should be said to the contrary. I will not be joining the #FitchTheHomeless movement. I will continue to look at the homeless as people with hopes and dreams and stories, not just a means for me to get my point across. And I would hope that you would join me in not supporting A&F.


Friday, April 19, 2013

A wonderful accident (recipe)

So, you know how it is...you're browsing through Pinterest around lunch time and stumble upon a recipe that makes you drool. You go through the ingredients and a mental check list of what you have on hand and go to make it, because obviously you have everything. (I was going to add, 'oh wait, this is just me?' but lets be honest here, I know you all food gawk on Pinterest too.)

But let's be real. That is not how it goes. I found this recipe and had everything but scallions, and that was ok because I had some onion in the fridge. To make a long story short, I had no onion, it had gone bad (yuck!). Without onion I felt the recipe would be super bland. But I had already started cooking the quinoa, so I had to come up with something to do with it. And lucky for me, not having scallions or onions made for a delicious surprise.  And, well because this was unexpected, I have zero pictures. Sorry about that.

So here is what you will need

1 cup uncooked quinoa (rinsed, don't be lazy.)
2 cups vegetable broth or  1/2 vegetable bouillon cube
1/2 can black beans (or about 1 cup)
1 cup corn (frozen, fresh, canned...whatever you have)
Olive Oil
salt
pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp chipotle powder (I think this was the star of the show, such a great smoky/spicy flavor!)
1T butter

Rinse your quinoa and put it into the 2 cups of boiling vegetable broth and reduce to a simmer. Cover and come back to it in a bit.

As you are waiting for the quinoa to cook, put a little olive oil in a pan and put the corn in. I cooked mine over medium heat until it was a little charred....or 'fire roasted' looking. I love the flavor it gives the corn. Once the corn is getting a bit golden, I added the black beans and cooked it on low just to warm the beans. Then comes the myriad of spices. I did not measure at all...but I would start with what I put above, remember, that if it seems like a lot for the black beans and corn alone, it will be added to the quinoa and not as strong as it may seem. Anyway start with the above measurements and add more if you need. As for salt and pepper, I just added a pinch of each and called it good.

Once the quinoa is done, just mix it all together and add the butter. The Butter is definitely not necessary and could be omitted so easily, I just enjoy a little butter in my cooking every now and then.

I hope that you enjoy it. Have fun with it and change it up. I loved using the leftovers as a salad topper along with some cottage cheese. Sounds odd, I know...but try it!

And if you do not like the uncertain measurements blame my mother! She taught me to cook and we come from a long line of measure-ers who answer the question "how much should I add?" with "until it looks right." Much to my husbands dismay, I have inherited this trait and have maybe 3 things I cook that I actually measure. So, blame my wonderful, loving and amazing mother for this fault in me.

I hope this finds you well, and having a fabulous start to your weekend.

What happy accidents have you had in the kitchen? Any favorite recipes born from just experimenting?

With love,
Whitney

Monday, April 1, 2013

a little bit of life

It has been so long since my last post! What do I even talk about after so much time has passed?? Ha!

I guess life has been pretty good. Things are changing around here for us soon. I will be looking for a new job come July, and hopefully not as a Nanny again. I am ready to move on to other things. Which is why I am applying for a dream internship that will put me in a position to become a Certified Child LIfe Specialist, which is a job I have wanted for some time now. I will hear about that in mid to late June....until then prayers and positive thoughts are more than welcome!

I still have some projects to share at some point....but lately I have just been trying to find joy and contentment where I am at, which is far easier said than done, unfortunately. But enough of that, there have been some great things happening lately too.

Last weekend we had some fun with friends in San Francisco, I didn't take too many pictures...I was too busy enjoying the day. We were able to be local tourists for the day. I had to go to Miette and get my favorite French Macaroons. Walked to Pier 39 ate some delicious Boudin food and then walked up to Ghiradelli Square and of course everything there is fantastic! We ended the day with some wonderful time on the slack line and in the hammock. Such a great day!








So, not much of an update...but hopefully it finds you well. We are Oregon bound this week on a mini vacation and could not be more excited! I am sure I will have plenty to talk about after we get back from Oregon, along with lovely pictures because Oregon is just beautiful! Do you sense my overwhelming love for Oregon?


With love,
Whitney


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Over due thank you. (Way over due!)

I am realizing that I never thanked Kalie over at Kaliedub for my lovely new banner...I guess it is no longer 'new'. It has been up there, gracing my blog for a while now. Kalie keeps up a lovely blog over there with ever changing headers and wonderful posts full of lovely pictures, recipes, DIY ideas and life thoughts. You would definitely not be disappointed if you traveled on over to her corner of the blogging world and stuck around for a while.

Maybe one of these days I will be talented enough to make my own banner, but for now this one is lovely and is sticking around. Thanks Kalie!


With love,
Whitney

Monday, January 21, 2013

Life is slow. And that is good.

Today was slow in the best way possible. For Christmas we bought a Hammock, a very portable hammock (you can find it here). Today it had its maiden voyage at the park and it was great. Noah used his new slackline at the park too. He was quite the circus act with all the kiddos walking around asking what he was doing. Friday we took a drive out to Pacifica after work and got to see the sunset. The sky was just electric that evening. Life is good. Oh, and of course I have been knitting some too. I am working on some socks, I used this pattern. Here are just a few snapshots into life lately.













This was a part of our wedding and now it hangs in our kitchen for our tea and coffee area (see it in this post)
If you are interested in making something like the chalk board wood slice pictured above all you need is a piece of wood you would like (mine is from Michael's), a paint color you want and I also used some primer to save some coats of paint. Here is a post over at A Beautiful Mess all about making your own chalkboard paint.

lets end with a picture of my parents adorable Puppy, Yuba. Doesn't she make you feel better just looking at her? I love her!



I hope this finds you all well. I have a few projects rolling around in my head that might come to fruition at some point and end up on here :) but for now, life is slow and I am enjoying that.

With love,
Whitney