27 March 2009


yesterday, i bought a yellow sweater because i needed something sunny. no more brown. slowly, the redbuds and cherry trees around our town are springing forth with pink and white and there is grass again, just in the nick of time. phew.

eli is celebrating being two with a vengeance lately, testing our patience and persistence to follow through. he is a lovable little elf, but prone to hourly tantrums this week. the yellow sweater is helping.

today, i am loving this photo of my husband taken at our friends brannon & melissa's wedding last month. i hope he never stops playing music.

24 March 2009

and i would like a lemon tree.

this morning while stirring milk into our matching sea blue coffee mugs, jeremy spoke up and said rather rhetorically, "you know, what i would really love to have in the backyard is a goat."

i laughed a forceful laugh, one of those bursts from between closed lips that sounds like air escaping a balloon as it zigzags around the room. fortunately, i had not yet taken a sip of coffee or it would have spewed everywhere.

i don't know why i laughed actually. this is not the first time i have heard about this dream of goat-owning. i think i just wasn't expecting him to announce it right at that moment, as one of his first phrases of the day. we had just been talking about corn and onions, afterall.

an hour later, my husband was gone with his guitar and eli and I stood at the kitchen window watching friendly nathan as he tilled a thirty foot rectangle at the edge of our backyard. we're preparing it for a vegetable garden, our first true plantings at this new house. well, aside from a few pots of pansies and a rosemary bush.

our garden is what we miss most about the home we left behind. we had just barely seen the fledgling cherry trees start to blossom, and i had legitimately begun falling in love with the blue atlas cedar dawn redwood tree i'd been so reluctant to plant after learning that in winter it would resemble a fish skeleton.

here, we have plans to convert our storage shed into a workshop for jeremy, with a small potting shelf for me. the little ramshackle tobacco barn adjacent to it will become a chicken coop, and sometime this spring we'll order a box of baby chicks from McMurray Hatchery (hmm, or possibly elsewhere since their minimum order seems to be twenty-five. i believe we'll start with six.) i can't wait to wander out in the mornings to collect fresh brown eggs with eli, or to pluck some tomatoes and peppers for an omelette.

eventually to the yard, we'd like to add some river birch trees, a japanese maple just beyond jeremy's office window, a dogwood or two, and some hydrangeas. i have plans for a fragrant potted herb garden overtaking our upstairs deck with lavender, chamomile, russian sage, thyme, and lemon verbena. and maybe eventually we will adopt a goat, but what i would really love to grow is a lemon tree. i am not sure if tennessee has the right climate for it, but i'm hoping so. lemon trees remind me both of italy and northern california, my two favorite places besides home.

once when i rented, my neighbors, the pearsons, had the most amazing wild flower garden that ben had given to his wife elayne as a gift. the bumble bees were almost as big as the enormous sunflowers, and there were long tangles of pink and yellow and purple and white leaning over the fence, dropping pollen on the sidewalk. it was as much my dream garden as i think it was hers.

springtime is nearing and i have never been so eager for it, though i'm confident i feel this exact way at the close of every winter. as a welcome to the season, i made a little bit of new botanically-inspired art for the house. also, we have gorgeous hot pink roses blooming in the kitchen. eli's vocabulary now features phrases like "go outside" and "mama, i want lawn. mow." my breakfast included the ripest, reddest of strawberries, grown by someone named joe who clearly has a knack. while i drank lukewarm coffee, eli marched around the porch in green striped pajamas and converse sneakers, scooping up dirt because that's what boys do.

today's list has and will include a loaf of banana bread, a walk to the coffee shop to say hello, a quick spring cleaning, and a leafy salad with sesame dressing for lunch. there will also be bubble blowing, and a short trip into the yard to scope out the tilled portion and make some plans for what we'll grow. eli has already requested a few of his favorite (most-obvious) crops: chocolate, rice, and salsa. i'm still thinking of lemon trees, and maybe a few rows of corn.

[photo journals to follow below...]

after the thaw.


{taken today while teaching eli to use my camera. i couldn't believe he actually held it himself, put his finger on the button, looked through the viewfinder and snapped away, then backed off to check his work in the display window! apparently he has seen it done a few times. a photographer in the making.}

photo by mama. age 35.

photo by eli henry. age 2.

the best friend. photo by eli.

self portrait. photo by us.

creating lately.

for esther.

osage orange.


(untitled.) butterflies for the living room.

08 March 2009

loving the color grey.

it just felt urgent that i type something, if only to see the little letters punching across the screen. i have this brain that spills over with too much of everything inside it. my friend christie calls this going fast--when you're trying to catch up with a racing mind, to lasso a single thought and make some sense of it. mostly, my going fast has to do with creating and with not being able to wade through my surplus of ideas. i have been pondering this notion lately: that i was created to create.

something beautiful. an adornment. or bigger: a life for my son; giving him moments. and much smaller: an aesthetically pleasing container in which to keep our toothbrushes.

every day i wake up and hope for another chance at something made. when too many days pass where all that i imagine overstuffs my head with no opportunity to come out, i am amazed at how lonely and frustrated i can feel. creating, in many ways, is like a big burst of oxygen to me.

this tension has always been there, probably. but only in the past couple of years has it become kind of sharp and inescapable.

i would never cut my ear off or anything that drastic, but there are real moments where i feel oddly tortured by my need to create. sometimes i feel like i've been wedged into a box that's way too small to house my body, and i'm pushing against it with my feet as hard as i can. but then, i'll steal just one single hour upstairs with paint brushes. or invent a new game to play with eli. or cook a new recipe. and suddenly, i have all sorts of room to stretch out again.

i've been reading. and thinking about this idea of my design. that God sees value in my creative self and that i've been wired for making. reminding myself of that truth helps me breathe a little easier, especially on the days when there's only laundry.