Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Snow Tunnel

I exhausted myself making them a snow tunnel, which was promptly destroyed.  Apparently all the fun was in the demolition!

Snowy Girl

Monday, January 30, 2012



She is learning how to read.  I love to watch and listen as she sounds out new words.  What triumph!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

If You Want to Write


And I do.  I have a space now.  A little mental space and a physical space.  A room of my own.

But I've been holding back, tip-toeing around, wondering where to begin and how to determine what exactly I should focus on.  Then I came across this book.  I admit, at first I felt like it was a bit silly to read a book on writing.  I mean, I should just write - not read about writing.  But I found this on my shelf.  I think it came from my Mom.  She works at a lovely little library where she has the privilege of going through boxes of donated books.  The library can't take all those old treasures, so my Mom gets to bring some home.  Her bookshelves are overflowing.  So are mine.

If You Want to Write by Branda Ueland is a delightfully 'old-school' book on writing and art.  I'm loving it.  It has made me laugh out loud more than once.  There is so much encouragement in here to write with honesty and spirit - the way you are inspired to write rather than the way you think you ought to write.  She says of writing, "it's like a faucet: nothing comes unless you turn it on, and the more you turn it on, the more comes."  And she advocates for idleness and solitude, giving ideas time to take shape instead of willing them out onto the page.  "For when you write, if it is to be any good at all, you must feel free, - free and not anxious. . . Yes, it has made me like working to see that writing is not a performance but a generosity."

All this has got me thinking about my writing and when I enjoy it the most.  I think I am my most honest, real self when I write with a pen on paper.  And perhaps blogging (and editing and over thinking) has been getting in the way of my freer writing voice.  So I've decided to take a break from digital writing for a couple of months.  My hope is that I can return with a more generous spirit in the spring!

I'm going to keep posting pictures here most days and just a line or two of text (inspired by habit).  I'm hoping that this will motivate me to keep taking (and sharing) photos but give me space to work on my writing.

I'm signing off for a couple months of quiet winter hibernation, friends.  Keep warm!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Snow Day

Snow Shovel

We've been waiting and waiting for a real storm, and finally today we awoke to some serious snow!  

White World

It was my favorite kind of snowfall - snow that came silently all night long and took us completely by surprise in the morning.  We went out sledding and exploring the world so different now in a deep cloak of white.


Enormous flocks of black birds have been feasting on the autumn olive berries around our house.  It is such a striking sight to see them lift up from the bushes all at once - black shapes against the winter white.  I've tried to capture them multiple times on camera; but they are much too quick for me.  I went looking for the berries that were plentiful just weeks ago and found only a few remaining.  What will the birds eat, I wonder, when they have finished off the rest? 

Remaining Berries

Today was just what I needed: no school, no meeting, no field trip. . .  I could have stayed outside all afternoon, tromping through the quiet meadow, listing to Amabel happily making a snow cave in the mountain left behind by the plow.

Looking In

Friday, January 13, 2012

Making Space


The day before yesterday we spent a couple of hours outside in 50-degree sunshine on our back hill.  I rested my head in the carpet of Thyme for the first time in months while Amabel and Ellen played with their gingerbread houses among the moss and pine needles.  


You might have been wondering what we were planning to do with those lovely candy houses; and, to tell you the truth, I was too.  The warm weather inspired me to take them outside.  Amabel then decided to make a "candy land" for the fairies, Ellen set up a house for her favorite stuffed mouse, and I rested, relieved not to have to secretly dispose of all that tempting colored sugar.



I spent a blissful 10 minutes with my face to the sun, admiring the silhouette of Thyme, gone to seed, against the blue sky.  There was so much space in that afternoon.


Today the little gingerbread houses are completely covered in snow.  

I talked over the phone with my dear friend, Jenny, about making space in our lives for the creative work we love.  I finished Anne Morrow Lindbergh's Gift to the Sea and this passage jumped out at me:

"For it is only framed in space that beauty blooms."

Amabel, Ellen, and I went outside again to play on the back hill.  We wore ourselves out sledding and crawling through the blanket of white.  

The Thyme was nearly hidden, except for the tallest tips along the edge of the woods.  After the girls went inside with pink cheeks, I slipped back out to take another photo, in the same place, of the same plant.  The world was so hushed in snow and quiet without little voices.  There was so much space in that moment of stillness, as I stood alone outside.


Monday, January 9, 2012

A New Year

Longing for Snow Again

Looking back on a beautiful year, put into a book once again by Jeffrey, I am filled with gratitude.  The past few months, in particular, this blog reflected my overwhelming gratitude for our new home, a place where we are sinking down roots at last.  I do believe that my reflections in this space since the very beginning, helped me to affirm what is most important to me and eventually helped us all make the transition to a new chapter of our life.

Looking forward, I'm not quite sure what the year ahead will bring in terms of my blogging.  Honestly, I've considered letting go of the blog, wondering if it has served its purpose, so to speak.  But after mulling it over for a couple of weeks, I can't quite bring myself to leave it completely.  So, I'm returning in this New Year with a few changes.

Amabellen archives can now be found in the form of online books, via the icons on the sidebar.  Thank you, so much, Jeffrey, for all the time and work you put into preserving my words and photographs.

And for the time being (if I can figure out how) I am going to turn comments back "on" in an effort to reach back out to my readers, whom I appreciate so very much.  I loved the simplicity of a blog without comments; last year it was just what I needed.  But this year I hope to communicate with more of you in this way.  Thank you, family, friends, and readers far and wide, for reading my reflections and stories and sharing your own with me.  (Note: at the moment one has to click on the orange post title "A New Year" at the top of this entry and scroll down to make or view comments. I'm not sure exactly how to fix that blip, but we'll work on it.)

Finally, I am going to experiment with shifting the content of my blog entries.  The blog is a funny thing - as an open journal of sorts I've made an effort to keep it consistent.  And yet, a journal serves different needs over time, and I'm feeling a change in the air . . . although it's not exactly something I can put my finger on just yet.  

I'm very aware that these two beautiful girls are growing up and that they need me in different ways now.  My days are not filled with the constant demands of an infant and a toddler as they were when I began writing here almost three years ago.  When I began 'amabellen,' Amabel was three and Ellen was a newborn.  Honestly, that seems like a completely different era of my life!  My blog then was a sort of respite from the daily details of being at home with two little ones - a place to remind myself why I valued giving them so much of my time and energy.  Now we are all still together a great deal, to be sure; but, gratefully, we've entered an era where we all thrive with a bit more physical and mental space.  And as the girls are growing up, my needs for an online journal are changing too.  I hope you'll continue to travel with me as I uncover my blog's shifting role over the coming months.  I look forward to this next chapter of writing, reflecting, and sharing photographs here with you.

Starting Off