Monday, November 4, 2013

to ponyboy.

November came with warm rain in sheets, my favorite tree on fire in the backyard, and all the other trees around her too, showing off their spectacular colors. The dogs on constant squirrel watch, ears perked, noses twitching.  The squirrels wary of the hunt.

Just yesterday our tree was wreathed in a ruby crown; today her leaves gust-by-gust giving way to bare limbs, reminding me to always keep my perspective moving.


And I'm changing.  I feel like I'm growing so fast that my bones might push past my fingertips at any moment.  It used to be I would get so caught up on my past actions that I'd become stagnant, laden in guilt and regret.  But mistakes are human, and we can either render them useless or allow ourselves to learn from them, to ensure that in the future we are who we want to be.

And so connections that I let slip, I will spark again.  And if I want something, I will work towards it.  And if I don't like something, I will work to change it.  And if I can't change it, I will change my attitude.

Everyday I battle these human flaws: jealously, anger, selfishness, laziness.  Everyday I recognize them, accept them, use them as a practice in patience, kindness, selflessness and self-reliance.  Everyday I fail and succeed, and that's just fine.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

a change of seasons.

the end of Summer came in a solar flare.  my first ever booth at a festival.  Tate St. Festival to be exact, with my eccentric, creative, beautiful friends.  we rocked it through the rain on the streets of my college town, my mom & niece & Max & pals there to support us.  love everywhere. 

Angelina Rodriguez
(Photo above was taken by Lina)

It's been so awesome launching Lucky Little Warriors.  my family & friends & even strangers have been so incredibly supportive.  I am beyond thankful for them, their support is the fuel that keeps me chugging along.  it feels so good to be creating on a regular basis, & to know I have a tribe of warriors at my side, pushing me forward.  thank you, thank you, thank you.

I feel myself more connected with the changing seasons this Autumn, & also, I feel like maybe the planets are dancing some funky dance throwing everything out of whack.  It is exciting & scary.  I feel wildly ambivalent; happy & sad & loved & full of love & scared & positively pumped.

This past week has been one big test after another, & with patience & thought & ultimately the magic within myself & the humans I surround myself with, I'm proud to say I passed.  It is a wonderful gift to have friends to hash it out with.  who are understanding & forgiving when I speak in anger. who remind me to speak in love.  who dance like maniacs with me into the night, music beating in our bones when words just won't suffice

this life is beautiful.  nothing is guaranteed.  nothing constant but the ever changing seasons.  this used to scare the daylight out of me, but now it reminds me I am glowingly alive.  & for that I am thankful.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

lucky little warriors.

everywhere I go is different than the place I imagined.  and I love that.

I stopped wishing to create every day, and started creating.  at maggie's farmhouse, down in her pottery studio, I learned to use her wood-burning tool and fell in love.

I carved pictures with fire across the crepe myrtle discs I had sawed from my favorite tree.  I didn't want to stop.  honestly, I haven't since. Maggie's borrowed tool in hand, I have been feverishly creating trinkets for tate st. fest and my new etsy store.

it started out a love letter to Max.  I'm sure if I dug around in our boxes and baskets I would find it still, a simple love note I wrote one day and left on the coffee table for him to find.  lucky little warriors, I called us.  and I meant, we are fighters in the only way fighting can be good; pure, positive force.  love.  and I meant, count your blessings.  be grateful.

I am lucky.  to have such creative, eccentric, inspiring friends around me.  grateful Maggie invites me over to create with her, and then allows me to borrow her things.  (I promise you, I'm getting my own wood-burning tool soon, Maggs)

I am lucky.  to have friends who invite me to share booths with them at craft fairs because they believe in me.  to have people in my life who encourage me (big shout out to my Aunt Debbie for being my first sale on etsy, your support means the world to me). 

I am so happy, every day I create something new.  every day I am encouraged and excited.  I am doing what I've always dreamed about doing but didn't have the guts or the gusto to do it.  I am fighting my laziness, my doubts.  I'm making the best of these days I'm given.  and baby, it feels good.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

mountain scale.

sometimes, I get so caught up in the dream, the idea of how I imagine life should be, that I forget to sit back and appreciate life as it is. 

we drove to the mountains, my best friend Caro & I, for a wedding of a friend from high school.  Kaela was a stunning bride, & we danced & laughed & maybe cried just a smidgen, as she glowed down the aisle.  & before we knew it the night was over, & we curled up in our hotel room & just talked.  a sigh of relief.

I have always kept too much in, a wallflower.  I've never liked to cause a commotion, & I mostly like to listen more than I like to talk.  but with Carolyn conversation comes easy.  it felt so nice talking to her, tucked cozy in our beds.

our talks opened the flood gates, & when I got home, I broke.  it all came rushing out, every little silly thing that's been bothering me. mind you, I've been sick for what feels like forever now, & I'd been lacking in sleep, so it wasn't eloquent.  but afterward, when it was all out, with Max's arms around me, I felt like I had been cleansed. it was just the medicine I needed.

mountains have always had a good way of putting everything into perspective.  & so maybe my dream life looks a little different than expected right now.  doesn't mean I can't love it with all I've got. I hope you're loving your life with all you've got, too. 'cause there's beauty everywhere, if you look for it.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


this week has been all flower crowns, winged things & rivers, summertime.  we floated down the Dan twice in three days.  I love that river, the way the light sparkles upon her surface then glows beneath.  the rocks, smooth & jagged.  the butterflies & dragonflies following us downstream, dancing around us, briefly landing.  there is a peace she brings to me, reminds me I'm just a little thing in a stream.

we stopped on an island & built rock towers that glittered in the sun, all mica & sand, the waters rustling around us.  with no camera, I etched the day into my mind.  serenity.

as I floated, trusting her to carry me gently, safely, I thought about a time, not so long ago, when I was on the farm at Bonnaroo with a family of friends.  in reality, the river & the farm are incomparable.  but they both brought upon me the same self-awareness, made me search my soul for truths to stack high & hold tight.  I treasure both places dearly, keep their memories close to my heart.  am beyond thankful at my life & the beauties I experience.

with that being said, no words I could write about Bonnaroo would do it any justice, the place was far too magical, too separated from every day life & the standard rules & expectations of society.  it was freedom in a field, full of music & beauty & love.  I'll let the pictures do the talking.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

life & science

there are some days that seem to make all the rest of them worth it, that fill me up 'til I'm brimming with love and creativity, grinning from ear to ear like the cheshire cat.

Max and I took Emma to the museum of life and science, a place I have been many times, though not in a long, long time.  It was perfect, my little niece no longer a chunky toddler, all limbs and courage, running through each exhibit like it was on fire, eager to explore it all.

Emma, you climbed to the top of the rock wall then said, "help."  I was already there, and without another word, without checking to see if I was ready, you let go and leaned back.  A trust fall right into my arms.  I am constantly amazed at your daring.  And later, when you got a splinter in your foot, you insisted it was you who would pull it out, tweezers in your tiny hands trying and trying and trying.  It's hard, as an adult, to step back and let kids work things out for themselves sometimes.  I caught myself getting frustrated, waiting as your hands slipped and shook, wanting so badly to just get it out for you.  But that is a mistake made too often by adults, undermining the ability of kids.  I'm sorry I doubted you. I'm so proud of how independent you were then, how confident you were in your skill.  I hope that confidence is something you carry with you always, because you are something special girl.

my whole day was this way, surrounded by one special person after the next.  first Max and Emma, and then my best friends Carolyn, Rob, Chad, and later Sara.

I feel electric around these folks, wired.  when I'm with them I forget to feel the way I do most days: awkwardly quiet and shy, clumsy limbs and tangled tongue. around them I feel free, full of energy.  we laughed and ate good food and it felt so good.

and afterwards, with full bellies, we went back to Chad and Sara's enchanting home where the boys talked and talked while Sara and I crafted.  their house inspires me, the people who live there inspire me.  It was therapeutic there, sitting on the floor with Sara, vintage national geographic photographs spread around us, Sara's talented hands stitching together blocks of color, my own smudged in oil pastels.  we shared our thoughts on this whole experience, on finding a dream and following it, on bumps in the roads turned learning lessons.  on the difficulties of legos and the ease of paper.  we stayed too late, drove home with eyes drooping.  but I didn't mind, waking up for work tired was worth it because moments like that, surrounded by such beauty, are what I live for.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

everyday magic

It has been so long since I last posted, so much has happened.

Sumpter, Madison, and Montana moved in on a rain-laden day in a whirlwind; boxes piled in every corner of the house, inside and out, only one little path to walk, and then we worked until the wee hours of the morning, painting and unpacking.  Piling our carport high with things to sell in the yard sale.  Getting rid of so many personal possessions was like lifting one giant weight.  We all got rid of so much, and yet, since they moved in, our lives have been filled.  Always another soul around, both a blessing and a curse.  On those rare occasions when I find myself at home alone I am almost overwhelmed by the silence, unsure what to do at first, wanting to do so many things.

I find myself like this often, filled with so many ideas, struggling to start anywhere.  I want to craft, paint, blog, sew, sing, dance, and I do, I try.  but I'd like to do more.  I'm thinking of starting an etsy shop to post some things I have created (paintings, story stones, pendants) in the hopes that they can find good homes, add a little color to the lives of others.  I'll share when it happens.

These are some pendants Madison and I painted for Bonnaroo, made of wood from the holly bushes we cut back in front of the house.

Speaking of crafting, Max's Mom gave me an antique sewing machine for my birthday, a beautiful machine that once belonged to his grandmother (or maybe great grandmother..).  This past week, my Mom came to visit and we sat together setting up the machine, working out the kinks until it was ready for action.  It was peaceful, sitting there with my Mama, listening to her stories and her wisdom.  I relished every second she was here, loved to be near her, to learn from her.  I have saved all my old t-shirts, tucked under the bed, just waiting for me to learn to sew so that I can make a t-shirt quilt.  Fingers crossed I'll be able to do it without Mama's watchful eye.

Life is chaotic and beautiful and tiring.  It's not always easy.  Some days I feel like the water levels have risen above my head and I am drowning, and other days I can cheerfully let the little things slide off my shoulders like droplets of water.  I learn something new every day, practice patience and honesty, practice selflessness.  I practice directing my energy towards the positive.  I am lucky, every day. So lucky, to have a Mama to share with me her knowledge.  To have Max's parents around for support when mine are far away.  To have friends and family near and far, to have the love of the animals who share our home.  I am lucky to have Max, lucky that he doesn't give up on me when I sit in the swamps boohooing about what's not going right. There is a lot that is right.

Our garden grows, and grows, and grows.  The caterpillars eating the cabbage, ants swarming the strawberries, daikon radish and mums flowered heads towering high above it all, waving the butterflies welcome.  There's something so satisfying about getting your hands and knees grubby in the garden, it makes me feel like I am accomplishing something worthy, something that gives back.

Our garden lentils, ready for eating.

Life is good, all it takes is a little reminder, a little positive thinking.  What's good in your neck of the woods?  What magic have you seen lately?

Friday, January 25, 2013


I crossed the parking lot of the school to lock-up, as Robert and his Dad began their journey home.  As I walked in front of their little red van, Robert's dad joked "Oh no! I'm going to hit Miss. Amanda!" to which Robert replied "Don't do that! She's just a kid!"

I try and convince the kids I work with all the time that I am still a kid, though most refuse to believe it based on my age and size.  But little Robert, four years old and full of wisdom, has no problem seeing past the physical.

Thank you Robert, for believing you're only as old as you act.