The Worst Day of My Life, So Far. {M.A. Harper}

I pondered my memories of Mama’s gallantry during our last hurricane – the cinematic way that she had jollied up my little brother and me once the lights had gone out. We had been too young to be frightened, but not too young to be bored by the enforced early darkness, and she had kept us entertained with ghost stories and marshmallows toasted over sterno. She had shaken out her glorious hair in the light of the candles, and she had shot cap pistols with us, over thr roar of the wind and the rain. The storm made alarming noises, but out beautiful mother had made alarming noise right back at it with Rocky’s six-shooter as she shot at the ceiling, yelling “take that! And that!” in a growly voice that caused us giggling fits.

“For God’s sake, Velma!” Daddy had complained over the bangs and laughter, yet smiled, as Mama shot the hell out of the hurricane for her little kids.

“I’m Annie Oakley!” she had shouted, whirling the cap pistol around one red nail. “I’m Calamity Jane! They don’t make ‘um like me anymore!”

No wonder Daddy loves her.

The Well & The Mine. by Gin Phillips

“Come ‘ere, Jack.”

I pulled another one off and handed it to him, still tasting summer in my mouth, seeds stuck in the shadow of my beard.

“Vergie and Tess don’t get none,” He said, looking pleased.

“Girls,” I called. “Get down here.”

They were there in a flurry of flying skirts and legs and wide smiles.

“In the middle of the afternoon?” Asked Vergie as Tess reached to grab one.

“Any one you want,” I said. “pick the biggest, sweetest one you see.” I smiled at them all, chattering and slurping, teeth and tongues and hands and arms covered in tomato innards.

“They’re happy vegetables, aren’t they, Papa?” Asked Tess, chomping great chunks out of hers. “Cheerful and excited. Like lemons are pouty and peaches are flirts.”

Vergie took tiny bites, bending over to hold the tomato away from her dress. But hers was the best, fuller and redder than the others. “Tess things they all have a personality,” she said.

“If she can eat it after she makes friends with it, ain’t nothin’ wrong with it,” I said.

We all picked beans until supper time, sticky and sweating, licking our fingers and hands and tasting tomatoes and dirt. When I swung Jack and Tess up the steps on the way in, our hands didn’t want to come apart.

Stillness.

Lights are out.

Birds are singing outside.

Babies are breathing deeply from their rooms.

Stillness.

It could be said that I am the worst example of stillness. My ability to rest is greatly diminished from the moment that my alarm goes off each morning at 5:45. I’m awake. I’m on fire. I am off to the races. I have a hard time grasping the quiet moments of the early morning, or the warm afternoon lull. I rarely nap, and I’m not very good at taking time to just breathe.

This morning however, I was hit with this great moment of Deja vu. I was maybe 7 or 8. It was May, I believe it was my birthday. It was warm and sunny and the birds were alive. They were singing just like they are right now. We lived in a farm house, and my sister and I had an oasis of a room. Beautiful lavender walls, lace curtains. We had these awesome dormer windows, and I remember at one point we made a makeshift window seat. It felt like a very majestic place at the time. When you opened the window, the wind would pick up the lace curtains and blow them around, and when you sat in that window seat, it was like being kissed by heaven. I felt like Sarah Plain and Tall that day. I remember it clearly. The sun was making warm spots on the wood floors, and there I sat with my cup of tea, enjoying the loveliness of turning a year older. I remember that day being a restful day. My little dreamer heart was perfectly at peace with sitting in the window, watching the combine or plow or whatever it as make its way across the field. It was all I needed.

Today, I’m choosing stillness. Today, I’m choosing the rest. It’s a hard balance in the life of a shop owner. But. Ready or not, here I go.

I am a woman who adores my kitchen. I love to cook. I love what it feels like to create something that is delicious and nutritious feeds the souls of those that I love. There is something beautiful about knowing that people are not only enjoying a divine meal, but also enjoying it in an atmosphere that is lovely and inviting and full of love and joy.

Today, I had that immense pleasure of co-hosting a baby brunch with my roommate. Our dear friend, Jamie, is due to have baby Nora in about 6 weeks. And When we decided to throw a little soiree, we wanted to go above and beyond your normal shower. I am very anti-games. I don’t like them. I don’t play them. I feel no need for weird ice breakers that help me know where every attendee was born. ┬áRather, I enjoy being able to spend time with the people that I love, showering them with love and affection and gifts from the heart.

Instead of the usual shower festivities, we decided to throw a beautiful, three course brunch. A brunch full of our favorite foods. A well composed dance of well timed, well placed dishes. Each perfectly proportioned, each perfectly served. Yogurt parfaits with raspberries and homemade granola. Cumin Hash browns with cilantro lime sauce, brioche french toast with blueberry & grapefruit compote, and chocolate mousse with whipped cream. It was divine. It was beautiful.

I enjoy the simplicity of throwing a party for one {or in this case, two} humans and letting them know that they are loved. More than loved, thought of. The people in your life should feel thought of.There should be moments in your life, when you remember being thought of. When you remember being the center of attention, the center of life. There should be days when it is absolutely undeniable that you were thought of. So, if you haven’t shown someone how you love them, then do it. Reach out, be the kind of person who thinks of people. Be the change you want to see..

I have never liked lists. Lists are for the weak. Lists are for the people who can’t get their lives together and get things done. I have balked against “the list” for many years. Until I started the job I am currently at. Some days, I work 8 hours, sometimes I work 14. Some weeks, I work 25 hours and some I work 55. Sometimes the girls nap for long stretches at the exact same time {enabling me to get things done}, and sometimes they tag team it for the entire 3 or 4 hours that is nap time. Some weeks, I have to cook dinner, do laundry, go on an outing, and give baths all in the same day, and sometimes I only perform one of those tasks each day. My job is highly unpredictable.

And then I come home, to a mountain of paper work on my desk, and a dozen orders that are 3 days late going out, and a pile of new inventory that has been hiding in the corner for weeks. I come home to my true passion. My one and only. The thing I give my heart to.

Business is my passion. Nannying pays the bills. It is hard to balance my two careers and still feel like  a sane woman at the end of the week. But slowly and surely, I am figuring it out. And lists have saved my life.

This weekend is a perfect example of how I’ve been able to maintain sanity through list making and careful planning. I have a four day weekend starting today. I have a baby shower to host on Saturday morning and a babysitting gig on Saturday evening. I also contracted a cold from my tiny humans. So, win for me!

This morning, after a long and tiresome regiment of natural remedies and essential oils, I sat down to ponder my list. The things that I want and need to get done over the next four days. Every little thing that I need to accomplish is on that list. From the mending that’s been sitting on my kitchen table for a week, to the supplies I need to pick up from the craft store, to the things I need to make ahead of time for the baby shower. I don’t have any order or system to conquering that list, but since I have a good bit of time, I would much rather work on each task as the time and motivation presents itself.

Lists have saved my life in this current season. When time is short, and days are far longer than they should ever be allowed to be. There isn’t much to it, you just have to jump all in and apply yourself. Allow self motivation to be your guide. And don’t let life and the things you have to accomplish overwhelm you.

Portraitgram

If you’ve not yet seen the work of Hannah Durham over at Portraitgram, then you are seriously missing out. I’ve only known her a short while, but in the year or so since I met her, she has proven to be someone that I would love to keep in my life for forever!

Hannah is an incredibly artist. Her works speaks for itself, but when you start to talk to her about her work, you fall even more in love. About two months ago, I threw out the idea of redesigning my business cards and within a week, she had completed the work that I asked for. She had also taken it upon herself to think ahead and to prepare some sample work for an event that I will be participating in later this year. She truly thought of everything. Knowing nothing about graphic design, I would suggest something that she immediately brought my thought to life. She hand painted and hand lettered my business cards. She was able to create everything that I mentioned and she did it quickly! She offered me multiple samples. She communicated clearly. She was a breathe of fresh air to someone who is literally inept in this area.

Her passion for true artistry shines through in everything that she puts her hands to. Her drive and her work ethic are impeccable. She doesn’t cut corners, even though she could and would make a lot more money, a lot faster. She doesn’t shy away from editing and re-editing when her customers are as picky as I am. She believes in integrity. Something that is hard to find in a world of editing programs and cheap fonts. Hannah is truly what I consider an artist!

You can check out the work that she did for me, over at Vintage Pod. Or you can head over to my Facebook page to see business cards, logos, & sneak peeks! You can also see all of my shout outs over on my Instagram! If you don’t believe that she is an absolute doll, check out the beautiful handmade card that she sent me for Valentines Day!

{inspirations}

I often have brilliant ideas for the vintage items that I pick up and post over at Vintage Pod. But often times, those ideas don’t translate to my buyers. So I’ve decided to start a new collection of posts that correlate to items that are currently listed in my shop. I hope that maybe they help you visualize and inspire you to explore the world of vintage.

One item that always catches my eye and has a million uses are these old coke crates. They are often chippy and

shabby chic. They are painted or half painted. They are becoming harder to find, but in my opinion, they are timeless! Here are a few ideas that I found on Pinterest for how you can decorate with them and get the best use out of them!