The Green Winter

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All around our house there are shades of green. In every room, ferns, succulents, dried eucalyptus bunches, lichens collected from hikes near and far, fiddle leaf figs, and delicate maidenhair fronds line the window sills, the mantles, the kitchen counter, nearly every flat surface. Andrew must think I’ve gone a bit nutty, my wife is that crazy plant lady… but green is my medicine. It calms my mind, soothes my nerves, bring brightness to dark grey days. It’s getting me through the horror of last week… at least that’s what I tell myself.

I don’t know what to say…

After hearing fireworks go off on Saturday night for the Chinese New Year, my eyes welled up with tears at the recognition. At first I couldn’t place the celebration, even having spent hours only the previous day celebrating with the elementary students at my boys’ school. It seemed cruel to celebrate when so many refugees, so many Green Card holders who live and work and have families, friends, and lives in this country were unfairly denied access back into it. When innocent people seeking better lives are completely denied access to the freedoms of safety and basic human needs we so often take for granted simply because of their religion or even the majority religion of their countries of origin! It dumbfounds me.

This is NOT OKAY. This is not normal. This is not who America is.

I just don’t even know what to say anymore.

I started to plan this post last week as a tour focusing on the green in our home, but now I realize that all my focusing inward, all the art I’ve been creating, all the cleaning and re-organizing, tending to plants and children and photography and making things and staying inside our home more than usual, it’s all just a coping mechanism, and maybe not a good one. Not a useful one. I am burying my head in the sand because I feel helpless and distraught. Because every day brings more unbelievably bad news and it is so hurtful. I am speaking out whenever I get the chance, but what else can I do other than call my representatives, send money to causes, protest?

This is a heartbreaking time. And I realize that some of the head-burying has to do with maintaining my mental health. We still have children to raise and jobs to perform and daily responsibilities to uphold. It’s impossible to know how to deal with this, how to balance this.

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We are all immigrants, for God’s sake! We have all come to America seeking something; our great grandparents, our ancestors, are no different from the immigrants and refugees of today.

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Some of our dearest friends brought their third baby into the world early Saturday morning. He is beautiful and wonderful and a beacon of hope, and I can only dream and hope that this world will be better by the time he is old enough to really see it. I hope for him, and for all of our children, that they absolutely will not have to deal with this insanity.

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Our Children

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“Your children are not your children, they are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself… their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them but seek not to make them like you, for life goes not backwards nor tarries with yesterday.”      
-Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Sorry for the crickets over here… sorry now, and sorry in advance. I have struggled to keep up with my own blog while working on my boys’ Montessori school blog and their bi-annual newsletter and just life. It is so awesome and amazing to be part of that community, though, so really it is all positive. I just won’t be posting as frequently here.

If there is anything you’re missing, though, be sure to let me know in the comments section and I’ll do my best to work on some personal posts. I don’t want to completely throw in the towel yet!

Have a wonderful week!

Weaving… and Politics

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This past weekend was a little bit crazy-making. The boys had off school on Friday for an ice storm, then Monday for the holiday, which would have been fine if it hadn’t been cold, rainy, and too muddy to do much of anything outdoors. For the most part, to be fair, these three have an amazing ability to keep themselves occupied for hours on end; they draw, organize, play Legos, stack themselves into human pyramids in the living room only to crumple into a fit of giggles over and over again. They read, do chores (this time enticed by money to go outdoors in the rain to collect bucket after bucketful of gum tree balls from our lawn and our neighbors’ lawns), and find all sorts of creative outlets for their energy and growing minds.

Honestly, it is my own struggle to remain indoors for four days straight. I have used the fresh air and woods to give me perspective and clear my mind during a time I feel so shaken, so angry, so sad. I have felt an intense dread and uneasiness building that has everything to do with the impending inauguration of the toxic, hateful man our country has voted into power. I have stopped listening to the news during the day, stopped attempting to wrap my mind around it, as every time I see a picture of his face my stomach turns, my mind whirls. HOW?! How can this be happening? How can this be okay with so many? And yet, there is nothing I can write here that hasn’t already been written. I am immensely worried about the human rights that will be ripped away, for the gap of inequality to broaden, about the hate spewed from mouths of those emboldened by more hate.

I recently read something that made a tremendous amount of sense to me. It was a reaction to a huge part of the country’s disbelief in the nomination of he-who-shall-not-be-named. Those who voted for him retort, Those elitist liberals are living in a bubble. The reaction was something along the lines of this: What if the people who live in the biggest, most diverse cities (ultimately those who voted Democratic this election), those who are exposed to a wide range of people from varying races, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations… what if they are not the ones who are “living in a bubble?”

I hope that the next four years are tempered by the hard work of the people who believe in equal rights, in coming together, in fighting for what’s right, in kindness and understanding and standing up and speaking out.

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And here are my children, my hope for the future, growing and learning here within our safe, comfortable home, protected in large part by their privilege, which we discuss at length. I hope to teach them how to be good, how to be fair, how to see the people of the world with love and kindness and openness.

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If you are able to join the Women’s March on Washington, to bring women together and show unity for women’s and other marginalized groups, register here. Or find a local sister march here. If you are local in St. Louis, the march will begin on Saturday, January 21st, at Union Station, from 9am to noon.

In addition, show your support to the following (among other) organizations:

ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union)

Center for Reproductive Rights

Earth Justice

EJI (Equal Justice Initiative)

CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations)

The Trevor Project

Hang in there. We need each other right now.

Dress That Mama

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There are parts of this series that I really enjoy; sharing outfits and personal style are such a creative outlet for me and an outfit can convey a lot about what I’m feeling on any given day. But the logistics are hard. Having to ask others to take photos, sometimes at the last second (the light is perfect outside! Look how the ice hangs on the trees and the mist makes the world so magical! We’re losing the light! Outfit picture, pronto!) which is less than ideal when you have a family. This part of the process often feels selfish and shallow to me, and I end up feeling guilty and apologetic every single time, which are not good feelings to have when you’re trying to share an artistic expression in any form.

My style posts have lapsed because I have been wary about asking for pictures. The negative feedback loop is all my own creation; the people I ask to help me are more than willing and happy to help. I am the one who feels weird and apologetic and silly. Any way it shakes out, it’s not something I feel is sustainable at this point. My life is a whole lot busier now, leaving only weekends for actual outfit shoots, and weekends belong to my family right now, not to the quest for the perfect image.

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I have been able to keep up with some outfit-of-the-day-type posts on Instagram, though. They are not full body shots, but they are easy for me to do on my own and so that is where we are right now!

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If you have questions about where I’ve found certain things, be sure to ask in the comments section, or on Instagram, and I’ll be sure to share! Have a wonderful Wednesday!