Wednesday, November 14, 2012

You can never be "alone" "with" someone.

I like quotes. Quotes from writers, artists, comedians, and even my friends. 

In high school, one of my friends pointed out that you can never be "alone" "with" someone. Is that deep? Absurd? I'm not sure, but her quote stuck with me for more than thirteen years. 

I've been thinking and writing today about being alone. My family isn't home today, and I've spent several hours alone. On my own terms. Such is a sweetness I rarely consume. 

So I slept late. Researched while I drank coffee. Watched Property Brothers while I ate plain pasta. Walked to work (on my day off) to see a student try on a Hemingway costume for a photo shoot this Friday. And sat (where I presently sit) in our library, trying to feed off of the creative ambiance as I wrote a chapter in a devotional book I'm working on and write this entry. 

Wouldn't you feel like writing if you sat where I sit?

Besides the quote from my high school pal, other things that come to mind when I think of the word "alone" are

  • the ability to shower at an hour without the fear of waking a sleeping child,
  • the freedom to watch an episode of The Nanny in bed while flipping through Pinterest on my phone,
  • the chance to make plans with friends at any time without the mom-guilt of leaving family at home,
  • the blessing of eating pasta for 2/3rds of my daily meals,
  • and, of course, the giant hair, exploding pianos, and half-face veils in this music video.
Though I am sometimes (rarely...very very very rarely) alone, I am never lonely. God has “made known to me the paths of life” by filling me with joy in His presence (Psalm 16:11). Alone, but not abandoned, because I am always with Someone. 

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Life: Unmasked

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Domestictitus: A Pinterest-Born Illness

I don't know what's happened to me. I have sudden urges to be all things domestic. Yes, I think I have a rare case of Domestictitus. And I'm pretty sure no one in my household wants me to recover. It all started with a little sewing project.

Inspired by my friend's creations (look here at Ashley Balding's monsters), I decided to make 20 monsters as treats for the kids coming to my son's first birthday party. Ashley helped me with the sewing machine part, but I did the hand sewing of all the felt facial features. Why? 

I don't know. 

All I can think of to blame is this illness.

And it didn't stop there. 

Suddenly, out of absolutely nowhere, I started cooking. Yes, c-o-o-k-i-n-g!

A friend and I started meal planning for budgetary and personal challenge reasons. Now our families get new meals several times each week. Above is an adapted recipe from Pinterest. I call it Parmesan Chicken Parmesan. (I adapt all recipes, which is why I have trouble really need to follow those recipes perfectly. I guess my rebel-streak comes out even in the kitchen.) I mixed parmesan cheese, season salt, garlic powder, milk, and melted butter in a bowl and spread it all over raw chicken in a baking dish. Then I put some small chunks of butter hither and thither on top and baked for about 35 minutes on 350*. My husband actually said these words, "This is yummy." An unsolicited "yummy" from a man who is usually satisfied with a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Anytime. Anywhere there is a spoon.


Now I am making Christmas presents for people and taking lessons to overcome my fear of the sewing machine. I freak out when my kitchen counter is dirty. I clean my toilets three times a week. I'm doing art projects with my three-year-old. 

If a doctor asked me, upon reflection, the only thing I can think to blame my Domestictitus on is my newfound interest in Pinterest. It's the only new thing in my life that has exposed me to party planning, sewing projects, recipes, cleaning tips, and art projects (though I mostly blame the cleaning obsession with us having our house on the market for nine months, living in fear of the random showing). And, yes, I spend a little too much time scrolling through the endless amounts of new pins, but as soon as I can get that under better control, I'd have to say that I think the results of this illness/obsession are mostly positive. 

How else would I have thought to create these Halloween treats? 

But I'm not just taking ideas from others: in general, I'm just in a domestically-creative phase. Pattern-free, I made my baby's Halloween costume.

And then there was this stroke of genius, which I have to co-credit to my husband. 

 So...however I caught it, I think I'll keep it. Our house is cleaner, our tastebuds happier, our budget more productive, our kids more paint-covered, and my trips to Hobby Lobby more frequent. (Thank you, 40% off one item coupons.) And I'm even enjoying it, so I hope these desires stay strong. When it comes to my new domestic desires, I want to push forward with my favorite line from Tennyson's "Ulyssess" in mind: "To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield!"

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friday favorite things | finding joy