Falling From the Autumn Tree

Under the autumn tree
The chair where you would swing
A yard so full of leaves
Hum the song that comforts me...

A small excerpt from Milo Green's song, Autumn Tree that seems to be running through my head as I go through these pictures from my crisp autumn walk the other day. Perfect for the first day of October, it seems. These images were taken on a day where my head would not be cleared of the million thoughts and emotions that were distracting me from my work. I knew that walking to clear my mind would help, but I did not anticipate happening upon the most glorious, sun-bathed gold Beauty. It was filled with light and warmth and calm. I could not help but stop and admire- my mind was immediately put at ease for a few small moments. It beckoned me to sit beneath its lovely branches, so I cleared a space in the crimson leaves to rest and dream once again. 

My days are busy this season. But I feel it's more of blessing than a curse. Summer was filled with doubts in my work life as there was a lull in projects. But with the coming of Autumn,  I've received a steady schedule of work which fills my heart with deep joy.

There are days such as the day of these images where the full schedule feels overwhelming but mostly it is so fulfilling for me. I have struggled with self-worth a whole lot within my work so it only feels like encouragement and affirmation when I'm receiving so many projects and orders. I'm learning to find the beauty in these busy days and try to remember that encouragement when the overwhelming feelings set in. 

Autumn is traditionally thought of the transitional season from life to death. I see the beauty in that- the preparation for hibernation... but there's a part of me that feels like Autumn is also a season of newness. The leaves change their colour to something of brilliance, for many it is the start of a new year, and it is also the start of those feelings of warmth and cosiness. There is something to be celebrated in that. There is a fullness about this season that is both death and life at once. Its richness brings about a sense of wonder, apprehension, excitement, melancholy, and calm all within a single moment. What a contrast this season is and, at the same moment, how perfectly synonymous it is with human life.

Never Imagined Thoughts While Camping

My parents like to tell the stories of me as a pre-teen girl, tagging along on family summer camping trips. Every trip they had to deal with a wild bear. No, not a bear that had emerged from the woods, but the growling and grumbling that can only come from a pubescent girl who detested camping, being outdoors, feeling dirty and using outdoor washrooms. After putting up with this for multiple trips, they stopped asking this girl to come for the later part of her teenage years because she was simply making everyone else's time miserable. 

I remember this girl. I feel disconnected from her now, but it hasn't stopped me from remembering how I felt, then. And because of that, I had not been camping since those wretched years. I had been invited numerous times but have always politely declined, believing that those feelings remained. But how thankful I am for a husband whose only request for his 30th birthday was to go camping with friends on his birthday weekend. His excitement over the idea proposed by friends overrode all of the surprises that I was secretly trying to plan and I reluctantly agreed to go along. 

The trip ended up surprising me in countless ways and I came back wondering why I had believed that I still embodied that 14 year old self. It's funny how we hold on to bits and pieces of our past that no longer ring true or exist as part of us... I found myself thriving in the camping environment. My imagination was spurred to thoughts of rural living and I realized the simplicity I so often crave could be attained quite easily a few kilometres out of the city. I even found myself being content to go au natural...or not shower. However you want to phrase it, the uncleanliness of being in the woods didn't seem to bother me. 

Above all, what struck me the most were the beautiful moments spent in community out in nature. We ended up spending another evening this past weekend with a different collective of friends at their campsite, eating roasted hot dogs and gooey graham cracker-less  s'mores. I came away from the evening feeling so full of life, inspiration and connection. Every element of that environment seems to be the perfect combination for fullness- an overflowing cup. I was feeling the beauty of my Maker's handiwork in nature, His people and the friendships that have been formed, and the Person He has gifted to me to be by my side. All the distractions of the city and constant visual noise were replaced by simple joys and complete satisfaction in those tiny moments. I want to hold onto this beauty forever and experience it again and again and again. 

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**If you are wondering about the strange quality of these pictures, it's because they were all taken with a disposable camera! A new camping tradition, I think.**

2014: A Look Back

Anyone that knows me knows that I: a) love reflecting on things and reliving memories & b) love starting new things. This is why New Years Eve is probably perfect for me. This year has been a crazy year of personal growth as I've made multiple self discoveries and realizations about where I want to move with my art and what I want to say through that. There have been more down days than I wish to remember, but those times have also been the best teaching tools for moving forward. I became more aware than ever that art is something I am passionate about pursuing and that realization has allowed me to take it more seriously, as well. There have been opportunities in that path that have slowly popped up over this last year and I am more than excited about the possibilities for this coming year! I'm already making plans and goals to reach for 2015 (a few of which I'll share at the end of the post)! But first, here are a few of my favourite things that happened this year: 
I got to take a few small vacations and experience some amazing sights along the way. In March we went to Oregon (first time, for me!) and the hubby surprised me with horseback riding on the beach! By far, one of the best experiences of my life. The coast is so very beautiful. And then we ate our hearts out in Portland. 

During summer, I took a trip out to the prairie lands and had my heart filled with all the beauty I find there. It was good to ride my old bike friend, Liza again. Then in September, we took a weekend vacation to Victoria for a wedding that took my breath away. That city ranks pretty high on my favourite cities list.
One of the best things of this year has been watching this tiny human grow. My auntie heart has overflowed every time I'm able to see him and he gives me his signature charming little grin. It melts me, every. single. time.
So many beach days (and a haircut!). While I experienced a lot of homesickness this year, the beach always helped to reverse that. Now the goal is to break our (small) record of beach days and spend as much time as we can there. 
I think I'm most proud of how I've progressed in my work this year. It's felt like such a year of growth and I love looking back to see the progress. I've developed more of my style and this has allowed me to work with some really amazing clients. I still feel like I'm just in the beginning stages of everything, but I finally feel like I've found my feet and am just starting to walk. It's exciting and terrifying all at once, but I just know this year is going to hold some pretty great surprises. I'm looking forward to everything it does have to offer.

Ok, onto some of my goals for 2015. Just a few small things, but I like making lists:

1. Read (at least) 10 books.
2. Write a letter to someone once a month
3. Take part in a craft sale(s)
4. Write a blog post once a week
5. Grow my blog, etsy shop, and instagram
6. Take part in one art show

Now, who's going to hold me to these? Happy New Year, everyone!!

Life Lately: Iona Beach

I had meant to post this days ago. But somehow summer gets in the way, or at least, trying to enjoy the last days of it. I'm not looking forward to summer leaving- I feel like I haven't even begun to enjoy it! On the few days that M and I were able to get out together, we made sure to make the most of every moment. Last weekend, we took a small trip to Iona Beach. It felt like a small getaway or escape. This summer has honestly been a test of patience for us. M is a teacher and because of the strike, we have no idea when he'll be going back to work. Also because of that, we've been forced to stay home...no vacations in the budget for us. It becomes taxing emotionally, especially in a city that doesn't take time to slow down. Fortunately, there are many little escapes nearby and Iona Beach is one of those. We spent the evening wandering the shores, collecting driftwood, and staring out into the vast, endless ocean. Somehow, whenever we go to the beach, I'm transported back to the prairies, where I can see for miles and my heart becomes content (even if just for a moment). I long for peaceful days of wandering and I love that I receive that when going to the ocean. Here's to more peaceful days for September! (If this strike ever ends).