Monday, November 29, 2010

my heart is so full,
my mind is juggling a million thoughts and ideas.
i scarcely know where to begin;
sometimes translating life into words appears unfair.
Life is too big for words. 

but still i will try. forgive me in advance for a somewhat random post. so much i want to spill onto this blank white page, but i fear it may not all come out as gracefully as it circles in my mind. 

So the past five-ish days i spent at home, and oh what a joy it was!
(Here are some snippets of my mind's wanderings in those times and spaces.)

I returned:
to a sleepy house and a long-haired brother, to a clean room and tupperware full of cookies and brownies!
I returned to a family now composting! I returned to find chickens in the neighbor's lawn, chickens that
sometimes share their bounty with us! :) 
It's nice to have a place to return to.

I LOVE coming home. As college wanes on, I think my love for being home swells and swells. I love  being given the biggest and hardest of hugs. I love taking my shoes off in the mud-room. I love coming home
to a clean room. I love helping in the kitchen with Leah and Kayla. I love the youtube videos that Zach shows me
like clockwork every time I'm home. I love hearing dad laugh. I love seeing the new changes taking place
around the house. I love having a fire in the fireplace all day long. I love simply Being. Home. (not rushing 
around here and there and everywhere.) I love reading the Hobbit and knitting... because I can :)
I love running with Jonah and Zach. I love talking to Uncle Bill in the kitchen. I love family games.
I love not setting an alarm, but still waking up at 8am. I love hearing Jessica prance around the house;
I love hearing her laugh. I love looking out the window. I love watching the sky. 
I love walking around in wool socks on wood floors.

Nearly every hour of daylight was spent in the kitchen on Friday. From morning until evening Leah, Kayla and I baked and baked and baked some more. We were preparing for "The Great Friday Night Tradition" of additional family, and feasting and games! When I looked back over the day however, (much to my surprise) the day did not seem wasted to me by any stretch of the imagination. Preparing and dancing and laughing and singing and kneading and boiling and mixing and flouring and rolling ... it was all so fulfilling. There is something about working with my hands that I absolutely love, something that I think we have slowly migrated very far from. At times we are such an abstract generation. We learn only in our minds, we process only on paper and in word documents and in conversation--- but how often do we learn with our hands? Do we learn by doing? And more than that... how often does what we learn affect the way we live? The way we talk and interact with others? How often does what we learn affect... anything? (and, is it really learning if it's not changing anything?) I've been thinking about learning recently... and thinking about how to learn something means, I think, to change the way you live. I think that when we learn something it should change something within us- whether that's a thought process or an action does not matter as much as the change itself. Learning produces change. Growth. An alteration in our lives. 

So on Friday in those hours spent in the kitchen, I learned how to make cinnamon buns. The process is long and slow and at times tedious, but oh so wonderful. It's a recipe that has been made over and over again by my mom on special occasions and now I finally know how to do it too. Baking things for people, especially something as delicious as homemade cinnamon buns,  is one of those ideal situations that I often think about but scarcely practice. I love the idea of making food for people and providing for people. I love using my hands to make food: kneading love and care and prayers into dough and then sharing it with people I hold close to my heart is a beautiful thought. At school I have been baking as much as possible but Friday was the first time that I spent the majority of my day in the kitchen. 

And you know what? I didn't hate it. In fact, I really, really enjoyed it. 

Do you know why this is so encouraging to me? Such a blessing? . . . let me back up, 

So, I have this dream. A dream of one day having a "house full of people" a "holistic house," a house where people can come and stay - where people can be loved and cared for, listened to and helped...a house where I can be hospitable for life. A house where we teach one another what we know, art therapy, pottery classes, baking, etc. A house for those who don't have a home, but also a house for those who only temporarily need a home, for travelers per say...a house for anyone and everyone. I want to have a big house with lots of beds, a garden out back, and love wrapped up in every breath. I want to be hospitable for life. I want to be like Jane Addams.  (look her up, she started the Hull House. She kind of lived my dream. :) )  So in this dream what I do is listen to people, help people get back on their feet, love people, care for people, and make a lot of food for people. So you see? Making food is this ideal in my mind, or, at least was an ideal... making food and sharing it with others is something that seems ideal to me... but on Friday I realized that I spent the whole day in the kitchen and enjoyed it! It was not a hassle; it was not annoying... in fact it was lovely and life-giving! Just like living in the woods on La Vida, just like gardening and learning about agriculture, this was another ideal in my mind but once I tried it out - I realized it was so satisfying and fulfilling. 

God is so good. I don't know if I will ever have a house like this, or have the opportunity to serve people in this way... but I do believe that God places dreams in our hearts for a reason. And I do know that he has been stirring up passions within me for all kinds of awesome things and they just might work together perfectly for something such as this, for this dream tucked away in my heart. (although, it keeps slipping out, it keeps coming up in conversation and making my heart race.) 

Whether or not I someday can oversee this holistic house I DO know that 

         1. Always, I want my things and my home to be shared with others. Wherever I live, you can live too, ok? [If everything we have is given to us from God, then it's as much of yours as it is mine. We're just temporarily over-seeing it, learning how to be a good steward of it.]
           2. I want to have a garden and provide food for people.
           3. I want to have chickens :) and bees! (for eggs and honey of course.) 

My goodness how much more I want to say! If only I had words and time to express to you the gratitude and joy within my heart, but I suppose this has gone on long enough... so here's two last remarks. 


Today I am thinking about how thankful I am that relationships are messy and hard. Relationships are not for the faint of heart and for this I am glad. They require so much thought, so much prayer... they are cluttered with emotions and feelings and words and ideas. Relationships change and provoke and hinder and strengthen and grow and it's all so beautiful. I'm learning to be thankful for the challenges that relationships present, the wrestling matches relationships stir within my heart. I am thankful that relationships require so much of us, for this they are valued and held in high regard. I am also thankful that our earthly relationships can only flourish when our relationship with our Savior is in tune, thankful that his relationship harmonizes the rest of our relationships. I am thankful that God knows this heart better than anyone else; I am thankful that even though I don't know what I want, or what I need --- God does. In short, I am thankful for relationships that I don't understand and don't quite know how to navigate through.. for they humble me and remind me that I am small, that I know little and must rely heavily on my Savior. I am thankful for times of uncertainty and questioning, for out of these comes growth. I am thankful that relationships require prayer, how good it is to cling to God in prayer. 


A (silly) winter poem:

the earth crunches beneath my feet,
it too knows that another year is coming
to a close.
Its balding scalp is proudly covered
with traces of white icicles left over
from a brisk night.
It's aging too,
like all of us. 

The trees have shed their clothes;
for the next few months they will wait.
Standing patiently, not covering up their
frozen fingers. For months their life
will be hidden on the inside.
We will see nothing but shadows,
and sadly we'll complain-
until spring returns with her magic wand 
and draws life out
of their fingertips once more.

But winter too is a season,
a season that mustn't be enjoyed
simply from inside our cozy fireplace lit homes.
The icicles long to crunch beneath our feet,
and the cool air wants to make
our hearts skip and remind us,
that life is not meant to be lived
only on the inside.

(a special thumbs up to heather, korinne, and rachel...
my secret readers and faithful friends, who love me even though
i forget to respond to text messages and am bad at keeping in touch :) 
i love you girls dearly.) 


  1. Another great post! I like that poem too!

  2. Ashley - you really are good at posting your thoughts - I am liking the blog more than facebook! Thank you. Someday when you have your big house - I will come and visit and help you cook in the kitchen all day. And maybe you could teach me to knit!
    I assume you wrote the poem? I liked it!