Man, I've been tired... I came back from college and full-on exams feeling exhausted and have been taking daily naps since, wanting to do nothing much. How are you holding up in the grey February weather?
There have been some wonderful things happening though - like receiving a Blogging with a Purpose award
from Marie at Heimdal, a lovely thoughtful Norwegian blogger. The rules of it are:
Awarded parties must nominate five people who have not received the award.
The blogs that receive the award must serve some purpose.
Awarded parties must post the award banner on their site.
The banner must remain linked to this site.
So, I would like to send this award on to these beautiful souls who all write about inner life:
Chloe at Beauty in the Breakdown - I'm always struck by how beautifully simple, honest and eloquent her writing is. It is right on.
Pixie Dust at Stories I can Tell - I love the frank, funny and adorable writing and ideas she sprinkles and am always left with something to smile about.
Joan at Shades of Joan - I can't believe how well this girl puts everything, I can always relate and leave feeling uplifted. Also, her photos are exquisite.
Linni at Periwinkle - The joy of being alive really shines through in her blog and she writes from the heart, always.
and last but not least
Kristen at Sticking to the Point - She really works with her life and writes about it in a way I feel empowered by, challenging herself and going for it. Plus she has the funniest, sweetest and coolest photos.
I have also been awarded another You Make My Day award - thank you so much Charlotte :)
I was tagged by Kateri to put down three tips for writing and have been mulling that over. Will let you know soon what it came to.
Now, February isn't all grey, even when you're knackered (and more than a little pre-menstrual... ahem) - it's also glorious sunsets with the window open, frosty mornings under your feet, cozy simple suppers of scones and hot chocolate, watching Amelie in bed with the duvet up to your chin, planning spring adventures and dreaming of running down the lane barefoot... What are your small February joys?
One of the things I often write in the comments when visiting people is - oh, you just made my day! Something or other just makes me so happy and content from their words, something feels very right about it. It might not be the most striking event in my day, but the thing that makes the hours fall into place with a satisfied sigh. So I was delighted with this award that is going around right now - what a treat! I get to give something beautiful back to all of you who truly make my day, every day.
Give the award to up to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel so happy about blogland! Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so that they can pass it on. Beware! You may get the award several times!
I give this award to:
And, because the people who gave this award to me are people who make my day over and over, I want to give this award back to them. Actually, I also quite like breaking the rules sometimes... :>) You might not want to count the ten either. Thanks for the inspiration Marilyn! :)
There have been so many new people leaving comments on my blog lately, since December actually, and I want to give you collectively a You Make My Day award, because you do. My day lights up every time I see a comment from somebody new. I still haven't sat down and visited you all properly though, but please don't think I've forgotten you, I am grateful and delighted that you come and that you like what you see. I will come see you soon!
Much love to you all and wishing you hints of spring in a mild breeze.
Scarf 'made with love' from my very talented and warm-hearted friend Michele. Those colours and patterns are what my soul is craving for the moment, robin egg blue and soft brown. It is so soft and has this wonderful brown paisley corduroy on the back. I love it Michele, so so much :)
Coming back from college last night there were three parcels waiting for me. 'From friends' I almost whispered, not quite believing this was coming from my mouth - friends, me? Grinning from ear to ear and carrying those parcels home with a light step I sent a silent thank you - to those three beautiful women who sent me gorgeous gifts in the post, to you, who make my heart beat faster every time I write here and read your responses, to all those who have changed my life so beautifully. I never thought that little dreamling I planted a couple of years ago would survive, the whispered question to the universe - can I have friends?
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the same well from which your laughter rises
was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being,
the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup
that was burned in the potter's oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit,
the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart
and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow
that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart,
and you shall see that in truth you are weeping
for that which has been your delight.
Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
This poem gives me comfort when I think the joy and excitement is overwhelming me. I most often fear that good things are not supposed to be a part of my life, that I'm just lucky but don't really deserve it. I'll have to pay for this splurge sooner or later, you know? I'd like to think good things are the bright balloons that you can't believe is tugging at a string from your hand, but they would pull you up and away if you didn't have 'bad' things to anchor you, plant your feet on the earth where your mother gives you strength and grounds you. That could be such a wonderful place to be, the balanced middle, though not easy. Requiring its fair share of courage - to receive what will be taken away, to give away in order to receive. I am only learning, but I seem to have more capacity to receive and give these days, frightening as it is. One day soon I'll tell you my favourite story about good and bad. For now I need to sleep though, good night my friends.
Thea's graceful birds, inspiring me to dance, fall and fly.
Madelyn and the ocean. The magic we have in our suitcases, ready to go into the waves, oh - where will your imagination take you?
Ooh, I just signed up for something that is making me happy... Anne Marie at Life in Yonder invited three people to take part in a pay-it-forward exchange that she originally signed up for on Woollie Wanderings. This is what was said there and what I will do in turn for you:
"I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week… LOL… but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog."
I would be delighted to make you something special and wrap it up, so if any of you are interested I will send something in the post for the first three to leave a comment. Signing up means you will do the same as me and have three people to send handmade things to.
What you need to do is paste the promise above into your blog and pay it forward. I like that idea :). I'm not sure what I will make yet and it will take me a little while but it makes me happy to think about!
It's so good to come home. Even if it's just from being away for two nights I always get childishly excited over it. I love going on the train every other week after college, absorbing all the travelling vibes of people and waiting for the station where Duncan will pick me up.
When I lived in Sweden and I'd come over to visit every couple of months for a week I would have that fluttery feeling inside for the whole journey and when the station was announced I'd be so excited my heart felt ready to burst. I still find myself delightfully happy on train stations, from all the memories of the times I've stepped off a train, searched the crowds on the platform for him and ran the last steps for that hug I'd been longing for. Anyway, what was I saying?
Oh yeah, coming home. I just thought about it last night when I was met by the smell of my own home opening the door. You know how you don't smell it when you're living there all the time and being away just for a little while you can sense it for a brief moment? I love smells. I go on small adventures with my nose every time I go to Reading (where my college is).
This weekend there was a stall on the Saturday open air market amongst all the vegetable, fruit and trinket stands where they were roasting something and the air filled with wafts of smoke. The leaves that have fallen give that dry, earthy scent and the fresh breeze somehow smells clean. People passing me in the street leave trails of perfume or eau de cologne, that clean laundry smell or this group of teenage boys who were eating jelly bears and smelled like raspberry flavour.
I passed a lady on my way back around 20.00 (I stay at a hotel on Friday and Saturday night), one of the many homeless folk in Reading. She was squatting on the sidewalk with her backpack and her blanket, cap drawn down over her face and looking down. I recognise most of them by now as I walk that way every other week and I like saying hello, in fact I find them far more refreshing than other people as they're more likely to look you in the eye and enjoy a chat. Besides, several of them have dogs to keep them company (and protect them, bless) and I can't pass by then, I love dogs. I know I shouldn't give money, but I do quite often anyway and I'll buy a copy of The Big Issue only to give it back to them to sell again.
This lady I hadn't seen before though, so after passing her by because I didn't have any change I turned back and offered her one of the peaches I had just bought. She said "I'd love to have one actually" and she had such a sweet face. Older than I had thought at first, worn and grey face, but that kind of bright, mischievous smile. I turned to go and was just about to turn the corner when I heard her shouting something, eventually realising it was meant for me.
"You know, it's just like in James and the Giant Peach! James and the Giant Peach. You know?" I said yeah, Roald Dahl, I loved that book! She was such a funny character ("I'm eccentric, but I'm harmless.") that it made my evening chatting just for a few minutes. I gave her another peach ("Now they can keep each other company in my bag! Are you ripe yet? No, are you?") and she described her favourite sandwich (a thin spread of marmite and a generous layer of peanut butter on thick wedges of bread) and that was about it.
I went to my hotel wondering where she calls home, but also thinking we were at home for a little while, meeting, laughing together and sharing. Both giving something. That's my definition of home I think. The most at home I ever feel is with D, wherever that is.
Angie at Cozynest kindly tagged me a few days ago and I've been mulling over what to write since. 6 to 8 things that I am thankful for... I decided not to write a list of the most obvious and important things so here are a few, in no particular order, small things that I feel grateful for daily:
~ sunlight waking me up in the morning
~ D offering his shoulder to lie on at night
~ laughing with the cheekiest students in the school corridor
~ the rustle of the leaves and the light sifting through the branches on my after-lunch walk
~ finding sweet comments on my blog from lovely people
~ feeling comfortable in myself, my body and my clothes
~ seeing a creative seedling in my head turn into something real in my hands
~ developing yet another crush on this boy who sits opposite every supper
Thank you so much for tagging me Angie - I've really appreciated these days thinking about it! They're all relationships aren't they, what we are thankful for - to people, nature, ourselves, creativity, that underlying energy.
For a small adventure we went on a rather quick trip to Brighton yesterday. We went strolling and window-shopping between the rain showers, stopping regularly for baby maintainance. She was happiest in the harness and missing out on too much action in the pram. Those delightful gurgling noises and highpitched baby squeals were new on the repertoire so she was busy rehearsing. Most of the time she was just taking it all in though, watching as us adults did too.
You remember Sophie and Tindra, for whom I made the baby blanket a while ago? They've come to visit! We've got nearly a week to catch up on 8 years of life since we last met, which should mean long walks and endless cups of tea. And playing with a three-month-old (if she'll have me). :o) I will still be posting though, during nap-time. Take care!
ps. Once again my pictures have nothing to do with the content, but I'm enjoying the autumn theme they carry on in the background - that's what I'm seeing daily on my way to and from work.
We went to see our friends in London this weekend and had such a lovely time. Oh, I just love those kids! The youngest one is talking now and he's the most polite, wellspoken 2-year-old I have ever met. I kept expecting one-word-sentences in the form of commands but got: 'can you push me in please', 'excuse me' and 'can you help me please Caroline' (he couldn't climb up the slide himself without some assistance from the rear). He's the sweetest little red-head kid, smiling all the time and coming up to me regularly to show me this and that: 'Caroline, look at this! I made that!', or to have a cuddle.
They've got a climbing frame in the back garden with a soft floor for landing on and all three of the boys are clambering and hanging upside down from it. The little one will chant 'You tan't tat me! You tan't tat me!' (You can't catch me) while standing on the lower rungs. Bless! :) They're all excellent with climbing by the way, their parents trust them to know what they're doing so they've gotten really skilled, knowing they have to depend on themselves.
The middle brother who is five is the rowdy one, feeling he has to be loud and mischievous to gain attention we think. I just grab him whenever he passes by and hug him hard and long while he struggles unconvincingly and curses all girls. We had so much fun making up games with the oldest brother, like rolling chestnuts down the slide into a plastic bag (they make the most satisfying sound rattling in) and doing monkey bar tricks.
They live in one of those typically British houses with a thin facade facing the street, a tiny little front garden behind the fence filled with pots of lavender, ivy and geraniums, a narrow two story house and a small strip of back garden with a tall fence. Airplanes fly past low in the sky, green parakeets shriek in the trees and you hear some sounds of the city although they live in a very quiet corner. I love going to their house, I always feel safe there and I enjoy the city vibes for a while. I would like to live in a house like that sometime and it's one of my favourite things to look at the back gardens of those kind of houses from the train. I didn't bring my camera or I would have taken a picture of the house, but I took some of autumn leaves today instead.