Friday, January 4, 2013

Inspired: Enchiladas in the Afternoon

It scared me a little to look to the right of this blog this morning and see just one single post listed under 'Blog Archives.'  With another year in the history books, my blog posts for the year get automatically archived under a single heading marked, '2012.'  There they sit, all four years of this library, with the new year, 2013, now staring me in the face.  Another year is upon me, and I stare at my blank canvas not quite knowing how to start.

I wasn't sure I was in the mood for resolutions this year.  Then I spent a morning in Barnes and Noble and left with not only a sack full of books for Cruz and me, but a head full of ideas and inspiration to head into this new year.  As I perused the shelves, I was overwhelmed with the pretty covers and novel ideas, and found myself asking questions of what I wanted to explore, tackle, and be inspired by this year.  I could have spent hours in each section of this store, proving that my passions and interests are quite widespread.  I love cooking and baking, organizing and decorating, reading and writing, and photography and gardening.  I love children's literature and young adult fiction, poetry, biographies, and magazines.  I love music and television, movies and games, going out and staying in, and spring, summer, fall, and yes, I even love winter.  My passions are many, but unfortunately, time is not.  I sometimes feel this nagging sense of needing to harness my interests, abandon some, dig deeper into a few, and test out the theory of 'less is more.' 

When I do this, however, I miss the things that get put on the back burner.  After all, our interests are interesting because they bring us happiness, confidence, and challenge.  I spent an hour in the kitchen yesterday afternoon when Cruz was asleep, cleared my kitchen table, found my favorite Mexican cookbook, and quietly tip-toed around my favorite space preparing beef enchiladas for dinner.  For that hour, I focused on nothing but cooking, and felt inspired by every part of it.  I felt like Julia Child herself, chopping the fresh cilantro and tasting my homemade enchilada sauce with a wooden spoon, only to add in a little more cumin to turn up the spice.  Everything from the turn of the tomato sauce can, the candle burning beside me, and the smell of onions and garlic simmering on my stovetop felt so good to me.  It felt good to have supper completed and on the table when Beau got home from work, and I felt happy, content, and inspired by my hour in the kitchen.       

And for me, that's what it's about as I begin this clear canvas of 2013.  It isn't about abandoning my interests, but abandoning the fear that permeates when I try to measure, or quantify, or assess how well I'm doing according to societal constraints and expectations.  I want to live in a way that allows me to be inspired by whatever exists in the present, and to soak up my interests when the opportunity comes, much like soaking up the different qualities of each season.  Because as much as I love gardening, tomatoes just don't taste as good in August as they do in June, and Lord knows, cabin fever sets in when the snow is still around in March.  If all I ever did was make enchiladas, I have a feeling they'd lose their inspiration over time.  Inspiration is fueled by change, and it exists all around us.

So, here's to 2013.  May you inspire me to see beauty, to experience joy, and to cultivate my interests as a way to inspire others.    

A few things inspiring me as of late...

1.  My new journal.  I've always been inspired by those people who carry leather-bound journals with them wherever they go, as a constant reminder to acknowledge and truly see the world around them.  It may not be leather, but this kraft paper covered has given me a solid start.

2.  A milk-and-cookies afternoon.  I don't even like milk, but even it can be inspiringly delicious with a warm freshly baked cookie dipped in it.

3.  The magnet board I made for Cruz's room.  I spray-painted a frame, covered a piece of tin with some leftover chalkboard paint, and hung it at Cruz-level for magnet exploration.  I love the way it looks hanging in his room and sometimes sneak up to play with it when Cruz is playing with something else.

4.  The sincerity of his little nod and his big brown eyes after I ask if he would like me to lay in bed with him at 2:30 in the morning.  Just him and his Linus blanket standing at the top of the stairs, just waiting for one of us to check on him.  And although I'm groggy, tired, and a little annoyed, I snuggle him close and remind myself that these moments are fleeting.

5.  Baking cookies with an apron on.  Because it just seems more legit.

6.  The Happiness Project, by Gretchen RubinI am so inspired by this book, and have learned that it really does all come down to happiness.  It's the chief good.

7.  We Bought a Zoo.  Seriously, if you haven't seen this one, you have to watch it.  It's the first movie I've seen in a long time that has stuck with me.  I've thought of it numerous times since watching it before Christmas, and feel inspired to write something about it, but I think I'll have to watch it again.  

8.  The Avett Brothers.  I love their sound and their prose (almost) as much as Mumford.  I can't get the words of this song out of my head, and is quite possibly one of the best references to the love you feel after seeing your baby for the first time.  Because if you've been there, you know how impossible it is to describe those first moments.  (And just because it is absolutely critical that you read the words while you listen, here are the lyrics ;) 

9.  Bagels and clementines on a Tuesday morning.  

10.  Watching Cruz paint.  It's poetry, and if I were an Avett Brother, I'd write a song about it.  

"Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working."



  1. LOVED We Bought a Zoo! I cried and cried and cried. And pretty sure that little girl is just about the cutest young actress out there!

    1. Beau and I both said we would adopt that girl in a second! Seriously, one of the best movies I've seen in awhile.

      Jealous you got to see Silver Lining's Playbook. I've been reading about it and wanting to see it since it released but I'd have to drive to Des Moines to see it. Apparently, Marcus Theater thinks it's more important to have The Hobbit showing on three screens...



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