Archives for January 2015
There’s a lot of beauty in the strangeness and ruin of downtown. A hope shines through. It is ripe for progress.
Today feels alive with activity–the kind of day where you can’t believe how much you’ve already done by noon. I’m steadily checking things off my massive to-do list, hurrying here and there, pitching in at the store, planning projects and doing chores at home (taking a break to post this, of course). Honestly, it’s one of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday. That feeling of accomplishment at the end of everything is beyond rewarding. It’s a relief to have behind you things you may have been avoiding, small as they might be.
I feel as though our lives are slowly starting to normalize, that we are becoming ourselves again. Things have felt so uneasy during my recovery, put on hold almost, and I’m glad to begin to see the other side of it. There’s still a lot on our plates, but it seems simpler to manage. I’m determined to fit in a run today, my first in six weeks. I know that’s the moment when everything will feel right.
top photo: wardrobe additions
middle + bottom photos: the start of this year’s household purge
Despite naively and wrongly thinking I don’t succumb to a terrible amount of excess, I’ve come to realize how much I shop to assuage emotions. The moment an item has been purchased I begin looking to something else for satisfaction. I’ve gotten better about resisting, but this year I’ve wholeheartedly made a commitment to only purchasing items on the list, as well as keeping that list as small as I can. We don’t have a tremendous amount of extra spending money, so we have to use it well. Carefully choosing luxuries (let’s be honest, it’s all luxury) ensures longevity and helps to maintain a thoughtfulness that goes beyond purchasing.
The house renovation is taking even longer than we thought (I feel like I start every sentence this way), so rather than dwell on the stress I feel about it, I decided to get a head start on ridding the house of things we just don’t need. We do this to some extent every year, but now is the time for a more far-reaching objective, I think. All those back-issues of McSweeney’s I know I won’t get around to reading? Sell them used at the bookstore. The clothes I never wear, forget I have, or don’t feel like me? Sell and donate. Boxes of National Geographic I haven’t looked at in years? Recycle. Just let things go.
I find it’s good to balance purchases with downsizing, both mentally and financially. It’s a relief to say goodbye to things that serve no utility and bring me no joy. I’m obviously not opposed to buying, as this post is evidence of the gaps I recently filled in my wardrobe. But I am opposed to buying that’s motivated by negative emotions and thought patterns, or holding on to things for unproductive reasons. Like so many others, I tend to have an unhealthy attachment to possessions, even the very idea of possessing, so I’m grateful for small lessons in letting go, in not judging myself and not basing my value on the things I have or don’t have. Whether clothing or objects or opportunities or roles in life, none of it defines me and it’s my goal to untether myself from these limitations.
I can’t wait to tackle more areas that need trimming as we get closer to moving, whenever that is (I won’t lie, I’m rolling my eyes as I type this). In the mean time I feel a small bit of peace knowing I’m going in the right direction–towards being smarter about my choices and present in my life beyond mere possessions.
I can easily say this was one of the best weekends I’ve had in months, and for some of the most ordinary reasons. I read, drank coffee, took walks, went to church, ate brunch, spent time with family around the firepit, watched episode after episode of The Killing, and almost all of it with David. It was all very worthwhile. I felt a weight lifted, the unexplained emotional burden jabbing at me all week had gone. I hope to have more weekends like it soon.
All the talk about spring has me wanting to lighten up both my wardrobe and my home, especially during this cold and gloomy week (my mood, forever linked to the weather). This part of the south can hardly complain about frigid temperatures but I’m still just about over it and desperate for warmth. Remember when I was looking forward to sweater weather? Fickle, fickle woman.
The back detail on the Rachel Comey Zanzibar top is stunning. It just made the number one spot (aka the only spot, at that price) on my birthday wishlist. I’m not sure where birthdays fit into my desire to simplify my belongings, but I’m working on that.
Brian W. Ferry has been a favorite photographer of mine for some time now and I can’t help but feel a little giddy whenever I see the latest post from the blue hour in my Feedly. I’m particularly fond of his still life as well as the work he does for Harry’s Five O’Clock Magazine and Freunde von Freunden. There’s something very special about the way he captures the seemingly ordinary–details we might naturally overlook are made prominent and essential. He photographed a home in São Paulo for the cover story of Dwell’s February 2015 issue. The photographs, shot with medium format film, enliven the space in a way that makes it seem familiar and comfortable yet also so striking and beautiful. I’ve found myself coming back to it again and again.
// Cacti seen on one of my walks.
// Bedside table with Michele Quan eye received as a surprise gift.
// My love.
Last week I unexpectedly spent another 4 days in the hospital and am feeling pretty uncomfortable as a result of a procedure. It’s hard to stay positive. Also David got the flu so we’re a sad pair right now. But one day we’ll be well and have a life again, I promise.
I’ve been particularly inspired by the house lately, which is good since I’m not able to get out much. This week is filled with sun and more sun, and I’m so glad. Watching the light dance and linger throughout the house is calming to me. Where it goes, I follow.
I hesitate to make resolutions as they tend to come across as disingenuous and are so often ignored, tucked away and never thought about after January. But I do believe it’s worthwhile to reflect and recognize areas that are a struggle for me, how I can work to improve my faith, marriage, mind, and heart. I’ll refrain from looking back on 2014, a painful year following several others just like it, with sadness and regret, but instead look to the year ahead with clarity and hope. Though I haven’t been perfect at it, I’m looking forward to continuing the efforts I wrote about on my first entry on this blog–to appreciate and see beyond life’s messiness and reveal what’s meaningful and genuine.
It is my hope to: Be myself without fear. // Buy less and save more. Live without. // Read no less than two books a month. More non-fiction. // Write more outside the blog. // Let the good in others outweigh the bad or the offense. // Forgive. // Cultivate an atmosphere of peace at home. // Be a thoughtful, generous wife. // Guard against complaining and negativity as a default response. // Try to make friends and accept that it will be difficult. // Spend more time outdoors. // Be less judgmental, more gracious. Do not withhold love. // Collage. // Dedicate time away from technology. Be undistracted. // Simplify my life, and my belongings. // Practice gratitude. Remember to be present and content.
More than anything, this year I endeavor to be a kinder, gentler person, less swayed by sinful emotions and more motivated by the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ.
Happy New Year, indeed.