Gratitude

Yes & yes by Christina Rosalie

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California Wilds
California Wilds
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Photo: Erika Senft Miller
Photo: Erika Senft Miller

There aren't words really, not yet. Except that I went, and found myself a part of a tribe of the most creative people among the familiar landscape of my childhood for a handful of days. I can back brimming. I came back on the 100th day of my circle project. I came back filled. Heart-felt. Held. Discovered. Seen. Inspired.

Since then I've been nonstop making. A notebook already full. The next book taking shape now fast, and certainly. Big canvases edging into sight... and I'm taking every moment I can to create.


Faces that I love: by Christina Rosalie

Big grin -- Christina Rosalie Rascal -- Christina Rosalie

Pouty Face -- Christina Rosalie

My oldest boy -- Christina Rosalie

My oldest boy -- Christina Rosalie

My oldest boy -- Christina Rosalie

Puppy Portrait - Christina Rosalie


I've been using my DSLR again lately, and I have to admit, I almost forgot the depth and texture that it captures. I use my iPhone so much--simply because it's always on hand. But I so love slowing down, and really looking through the lens. I think these shots totally capture the boys right now. Who they are, and what they're like--mud streaked, pen marked, dirt under their finger nails. They've been on vacation this week, and finally the weather has started to turn warm--inviting long hours of outdoor play in little aluvial streams, climbing apple trees, and building forts, Clover always nearby chasing sticks.

On holiday expectations, collisions, and delight: by Christina Rosalie

There is something about first days of the holiday vacation when we're all together as a family, converging on the kitchen with our apron pocket hearts stuffed full with expectations. We show up aproned and get flour everywhere, and then burst into tears, each of us in turn, when there is too much crowding and impatience, too many elbows around the mixer or fingers in the icing. "Mine!" the boys chorus back and forth like harpies.

It's this bittersweet thing, the way we all show up needing. Wanting. Wishing. We put carols on the stereo, and dance to Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer, and then we end up arguing about something insignificant, a phrase said slantwise or some careless remark, and each of us far more crushed than necessary by the other's harsh tone.

So few days. Full velocity. From one frame of mind to the next we go: from work to full-on family, rolling out sugar cookie dough while tying up loose ends: the last of deadlines, proposals, promises, details. We check our iPhones, catch each other doing so, and sigh, while dreamy snowflakes fall outside. Just enough snow to make the world magic. White on blue, and in the distance cirrus devour mountain tops. The dog licks our bare toes, the fire makes the house toasty, and still we collide. We kiss, we rub noses, we snap, we argue, we laugh. It is all inevitable: this mess, this frantic loving, this silliness of converging in the time allotted before the holiday. Everyone excited, hopeful: imagining perfect days that unfold like the lyrics of the nostalgic carols we play. And though days never do, still we find delight the minute we let go; the minute we remember to just lean into the chaos.

This is just a little reminder to you today: be gentle with yourselves as you converge with family and try to find the rhythm of your mutual expectations. Rest into the mess of it, into the moments just as they unfold. Know that there is no perfect, save for exactly the way the day unfolds with you in it. Be content in the way things will inevitably unravel. Find ways to shake off the expectations and hold instead to the moments of delight that emerge unexpectedly. The easy sparks of joy that come from the simplest things: warm sun, touch, coffee, quiet.

Wishing you each peace + light + delight this holiday. xo! Christina

Five minutes seen + heard, and a prayer: by Christina Rosalie

I am in Rite Aid buying C batteries and a 3-pack of scotch tape, and I pause in the isle of match box cars, considering a pair of matching red and yellow ones to stick in the boy’s advent calendar for tomorrow, and there he is. Towheaded, not quite waist high, in a blue action hero polyester jacket and jeans with holes in the knees. His mother is rushing past, yelling in a hoarse distracted voice for him not to stop. But he does, and she doesn’t, and soon she’s out of sight around the corner at the pharmacy. “Hello,” I say, as the boy looks up at me. “Do you like matchbox cars too?” He nods. “Yeah,” he says, fingers running lightly over a blue and white race car.

I sort of hesitate there until I hear his mother. She’s walking backwards, still talking with the pharmacy clerk, but at least she’s moving towards her son like a reluctant magnet, and so I go on my way in search of the batteries I’ve come for.

I can’t help but hear her say,

“But Gage always fills four, and lets the prescription roll over to the next month.” “Well I’m not Gage,” says the pharmacy clerk.

The woman is wearing dirty pink sweatpants. Her hair is pulled back into a disheveled ponytail that matches my own on many too-busy days. Her face is ashy. She has a bronchial cough. She’s holding cigarettes in one hand, her cell phone in the other.

I walk on, ask a boy with barley enough facial hair to warrant his attempt at a beard where the batteries are, and then make my way to the register.

And then I see her.

“Noah Jeffery!” She is yelling in a tone that sounds more angry than anxious though I know what she must feel.

She moves down the isle quickly, and then reappears soon after, biting her nails, quiet now, looking. She walks up and down the front of the isles past the displays of stocking sized bottles of wine, and Russell Stover chocolates, and fake poinsettia plants. Then she goes out of the store and I hear her calling into the night. “Noah! Noah!”

I wait. A new register opens up. It’s the boy with the barely beard. I say, “There is a woman who has just lost her child in your store, is there anything you can do to help?”

He looks at me and says “Oh.” And then, “Debit or credit?”

As I run my card I say, “I’m a mom, I get it. Can you make sure no little boy walks out of your store. I just saw him in the toy isle.”

He gives me the vaguest of smiles, the slightest of nods as though I might be asking him to feed his cat bonbons. Like nothing I am saying computes even remotely with the gravity of the situation. The woman dashes back in even more frantically, still empty handed.

I linger as long as I can.

I do a sweep of the store. But with my paid-for merchandize in a sack it feels like contraband walking back through the isles. I do not see him. I do not see her.

Maybe they’ve found each other, I tell myself hopefully.

Still I plead: “Really, there is a little boy who got lost in your store. Please watch the door.”

And then reluctantly I go, looking up and down the street, and into the parking lot, where what must be her car stands with all it’s doors wide open, left abruptly when she didn’t find him there. It’s an old Chevy, the dents in the hood glint in the lamplight.

And this is what I pray will happen, despite the seemingly obvious odds: That when she finds him she will wrap him in her arms, that there will be soft voices and tender kisses and hands held and cheeks pressed close to cheeks.

This is true: by Christina Rosalie

Listen. What you hold with your hands is everything.

Possibility.

Opportunity.

Joy.

What you hold are hold the fragile wings of something that arrives in the night and then slips away, leaving only its slight carbon footprint on your sill; or the small body of a sparrow that’s just hit the window. Or maybe you hold the runaway tug of your dog’s leash; or the runaway tug of your heart.

You might hold the hand of the one you love; or your face in your hands; the heft of your child’s body, his head thrown back with laughter; or the weight of emptiness in your palms pressed together in prayer.

What you need to know is that what you hold can be a anything. What counts is intention. What counts is reaching out. Taking hold. Accepting. Offering.

DO THIS:

Spend today taking note of your hands: of the artful way they pick up a pencil, wipe tears from a cheek, flip eggs, type, caress, create. Of how they translate the world for you; the way they’re the bridge between what’s inside your heart, and what you make of it. Of the way they feel held in another’s hand, or pressed into dough, or submerged in water. Imagine the joy you can hold; the possibility you can ask for and accept, like a boomerang tossed and received.

Start with this.

Today I hold the last of autumn’s leaves; papery now, and wind tossed; my coffee frothy and warm; scissors for cutting Sprout’s long bangs; the excitement of new possibilities; a brush dripping with aqua ink; the soft cotton of shirts, ready for folding.

What do your hands hold today?

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Life In The Present Tense: A Field Guide To Now ~ Thanking my backers by Christina Rosalie

I'd want to start this week off with sharing (finally) many of the incredible Kickstarter Backers who made this book dream of mine real. These are only the folks who have an online space to share with the world. Together with many others, they believed in this idea when it was just a glimmer in my eye--before I had any kind of real plan, any proposal on paper, any chapters written; when the whole thing consisted of a handful of drafts and a heart full of longing.**
I can't even describe how powerful it is to have people back you. How it makes things real, how it makes you be accountable and your very best self. How generosity is at the root of so much: abundance, success, inspiration, joy.

Thank you.

There is so much talent and creativity and passion and goodness in this list of bloggers and creative entrepreneurs, and they fill me right up with inspiration + gratitude + joy. Have fun perusing. You'll be so delighted.
1017 100 Proof Stories Airstream Dreaming Andie Edwards Annie Denison Barb's Evolving Project Bead Tree Becoming Megsieth Beverly Reverlry Blissful Thinking Brickhouse Studios Bring Yourself Catching Days Cayden J Coco & Lafe Coffee Stained Clarity Daily Fieldnotes Dawn Smith Designs Dream Dust Do What You Love Dust Of Europe Film Project Elayna Alexandra Elisa Elliot Everyday Glimpses Flyover People Hashi Works Hysterical Mommy Network Imaginations Everything In The Violet Hour Inosculation Jorun Boklöv Johanna Hoerrmann Julies Little Joys Just My Digital Stuff Last Crumb Laura Two Tina Learning To Walk In Heels Leonie Wise Lesley Dahl Life On The Green Line Like A Radio Listening & Speaking Little Elm Little Potatoes Liz Lamoreux Lizardek Lylium Magpie Days Magpie Girl Meadow Lark Days Meat Revolution Melissa Brott Photography Michael Kershner Mindy Schroder Molly Sutton Kiefer My Creative Space Oink Tails Paul Frank Perils Of Caffeine In The Evening Phriday Filosofy Pixie Campbell Positively Organic Rosa Murillo Scatterbeams Seeking Equipoise Shameless Self Promoters Slightly Scrappy Shona Cole Solomon Shiv Soulful Owl Some The Wiser Stefanie Renee Story Lamps Sunday School Rebel Superbeck Susan Kruse Susanna Crossman Tara Bradford Photography Terri Rambo The Learning Curve The Life and Times of a Kiwi-Mumbaiiker This Joy Ride Timothy C. Flood Trying To Stay Focused Wet Fresco Photography Wood Smoke & Lingon Berries

Also heart-filled gratitude for the following inspiring + generous bloggers who shared my project with their readers:

Ali Edwards: Giveaway

Boho Girl: Giveaway

Do What You Love: Interview

Liz Lamoreux: Nine {An Interview}

Magpie Girl: 1Q Interview

Susannah Conway: My Creative Life {Interview}

Wishstudio: A Book You Can Help Bring To Life

** (If you are a backer and I didn't include you on this list, it wasn't on purpose! I had a few broken links and a few outdated URLS that I couldn't trace. Please please send me your URL if you backed this project and would like me to add you.)

A full heart by Christina Rosalie

Feeling an immense sadness tonight at the fact that my mother has zero interest in being in my life on any terms but her own strange, bitter, peculiar ones. Letting that relationship go for now.

Aching nonetheless.

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Feeling immensely grateful for my incredible friends who have become my family over the years, and for my in-laws who are like solid rocks in a turbulent sea. They make so much possible.

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In love with my wondrous sweet boys. All three of them. Bean sent me a love letter in the mail from his Nonna's house today. Melt.

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Grateful for you + this space and the inspiration and joy and community you share with me here.

Morning Poem # 1 by Christina Rosalie

Seismic waves traveledfrom the place where things were tilted and tossed; where a warren of market stalls collapsed under concrete; where yesterday mangoes and coffee, lemon grass, coconuts, bushel baskets of gnarled ginger and sugar were haggled for and exchanged, hands touching other hands each belonging to someone with loved ones, or now without, to here. The waves spread out in circles, and every pebble, every small speck of sand moved silently, in a minuscule way to these vibrations. Silently, and unseen, the waves traveled through the bedrock underneath my long dirt road and all the while I was just here caught up in doing things that matter only a little: spreading butter on the fat crumbs of toast brushing cat hair from my sleeves kissing someone in the warm cocoon of bed before the day started at it again, with inclement weather and dirty socks and dishes in the sink, and gratitude is hardly enough.