Winter-so far, so good. (and for the love of food)

 Winter and I seem to have reached a friendly agreement this year, surprisingly.  It's no secret that around our house, we're summer gals. We love the soaking up the sunshine, splashes in the pool, and so very many camping trips. But, I've never been a fan of wishing one season away in favor of another.  In years' past I've geared up for the long, dark evenings with a plan in place, list after list of activities to keep me busy.  This year, I didn't. 
 Instead, we've immensely enjoyed Christmas and all the celebrating that comes with it and, finding myself on the other side of the holidays, realize that I don't dread the next few months.  
 Pulling my camera out to capture this beautiful, captivating season has helped.  While summer seems to be quite the show-off, winter has a more subtle, quiet, and deep beauty to it that deserves to be noticed and enjoyed even.  
 Infusing slower rhythms into my day has helped my mind and body ease into a season of rest.  Things like waking early to drink warm lemon water and get the wood fire going for the day. 

 Or drives down to the pasture, where pops of color grow spring up like hope.

 While we certainly look forward to spring and all the adventure that it brings, for now we're happy to be here, our eyes feasting on moody lighting for days. 

A current winter passion (besides paint and photography) is cooking. 
I could talk about, read about, and learn about food (healthy, that is) all day long.  I'm fascinated with the subject and after months of not giving it near enough thought, I'm back on the bandwagon. 

The fact that there are literally thousands of healthy and delicious ways to fuel our bodies amazes me.  Like really delicious ways!  I look forward to sharing some of our favorite recipes and practices in the next few months, but for now I'll leave you with three resources I've really enjoyed this week. 

First, Brett and I watched In Defense of Food last night on PBS.  We stumbled across it and I didn't even know what it was called until this morning when I looked it up.   Michael Pollan himself says he is controversial because of his food rules to "eat less meat" but I think this is the most eye-opening documentary I've ever seen about our broken food system.  

Also, Against All Grain is a favorite I checked out from the library.  Some of the ideas in the book we don't stick to, but the author is very clear about the fact that she regained her life from an auto-immune disease by using the healing power of the right foods.  Her recipes are inspiring, fresh, and look delicious!

And last, check out my Food Pinterest Board for ideas galore! There are a few junk food things mixed in, but mostly a feast for your eyes. 

Are you a foodie?  How is your winter going so far?

Gratitude Journal Pages and Art lately...

 Good morning friends! Are you looking towards the new year or still wading through the wrapping paper and Christmas cookies?  We had 5 Christmas celebrations this year and truly enjoyed each and every one.  Time with family is simply my favorite.  The girls have tons of cousins and relatives to play with so I end up getting plenty of time to visit with the grown-ups, which is a rare treat! 

I feel like we're in a totally new season this winter as the girls are 3 and 4.  It's a whole new adventure having two toddlers instead of two babies.  With that said, my art/creating time is becoming more deeply infused into our everyday rhythm and routine, looking for pockets of opportunities to use my creativity in our everyday lives.  Studio time is quick these days, but I still have to goal to create every single day. Sometimes that means I pop into the craft room and paint on a canvas for 10 minutes, other days it means a simple sketch, and a lot of times it means working on my gratitude journal.
 For the past four years, I've always kept some sort of gratitude/real-life journal going.  Not the kind where I pour out my deepest thoughts, just something with tidbits of the rosy in my routine.  I adore keeping a blog and don't anticipate quitting, but there's just something about having a paper copy in my hands of the timeline of God's grace over the months and years.  I don't create or write in this journal everyday, but I do at least weekly.
 I keep an old metal tin on my kitchen island, stocked full of paper scraps, photographs, washi tape, and memories.  Every now and then I'll sit and design pages.  Doing this while watching a movie is my fave!  I like to design several pages at once and then go back and journal on them later.

Another thing I enjoy? Flipping through old journals.. filled with cute things the girls said, the goodness of God, and memories.  Sweet, memories.
 Of course, as soon as the last Christmas is over my mind begins to reflect on the past year and dream towards the future one.  I usually enter January with grand plans and scribbles in a notebook for days. Ideas spilling over and competing for first place.  This year is different.  If the past year has taught me anything it's been to seize each day and hold it precious.  That a plan isn't always the best route.  Surprises are good too.  So I plan to be surprised by God this year.  

I will say though, some ideas that have been brewing for months are finally going to happen in the new year, like teaming up with Brett to make handmade wooden frames with my art/photography inside for the shop.  I'll be listing some of these closer to spring! 

 I can also say there will be new paintings added to the shop come spring also.  While my shop is on vacation I'm having such fun playing and painting, pressure-free.  

I anticipate 2016 being my most creative year yet.  
How about you? 
What is filling your heart with gratitude and expectancy? 
Thank-you for joining me on this journey.

Fireside Christmas Eve Tablescape

 If you've hung around the blog for any time at all then you know my fierce love for a pretty tablescape.  In my opinion, life is run-of-the-mill enough, so creating little pockets of magic to keep a case of the ordinaries away does my soul good.  Plus, I love to love on my people by using my passions and gifts for them, right within the walls of our own home.  

Last year I created a last-minute fancy table and it made the air feel different, special somehow.  This year I planned ahead, pulling things from around the house and buying a new strand of lights from Hobby Lobby (40% off)  to give the table a glow.  
 We've ended up leaving the table right in front of the wood-burning fireplace the whole week long.  Even though we're celebrating in the same house we have every single year for the past four years, dressing up the table a bit made it feel like a vacation within our own home.  I hope you'll feel a spark of inspiration to make some magic within your home this week too.  

The most special part of this light-filled table? 
The ones around it. 

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