Sunday, March 31, 2013

resurrection and life

Ever-faithful God,
by divine wisdom you gather us out of the darkness
that has spoken its worst in the death of our Savior,
into the light of Christ.
Enable us to recall your many acts of mercy,
the miracles by which you delivered us,
and the signs of your unwavering love for humankind,
which proclaim the gospel of resurrection and life. Amen.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

without you

Without You, we’re wandering deserts
Without You, we’re heavy with burdens
Milk and honey running dry 
When we’re making our own way
Under heaven’s heavy eye, Without You

Without You, we’re praying to idols
Without You, we trust in our own hands
Sweat and toil, sow and reap
When we’re making our own way
Just to toss in troubled sleep, Without You

Emmanuel, draw near and and dwell with us. 

Without You, we’re far from our homeland
Without You, we’re under a tyrant
We are one with Babylon
When we’re making our own way
 Prisoners without a song, Without You

Without You, we’re up on the mountain
Without You, we’re staring at Canaan,
This is where the journey’s done
When we’re making our own way
Hopeless way without the Son, Without You

Emmanuel, draw near and and dwell with us. 
-B. James

Bri wrote this song a few months ago for church. It's one of my new favorite songs - period.
 I'll have to post a recording of it one of these days...

Art: a monoprint I did in college - circa 2006

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

these days

These days, I'm..

- reeling from a non-stop few days, thankful for some quieter days to come
- forcing forsythia from the garden
- looking forward our first Easter weekend at church
- enjoying Brian's article about his baker brother
- pining, just pining for spring (or spring weather, rather)
- hoping our car repairs are minor and inexpensive
- missing Kimmie, reading of her journeys
- joyfully working through my painting 
- laughing at Levi's ever blossoming sense of humor
- planning and executing Easter ceremonial piƱata 2013 (2009/2010 here)
- working on 3rd quarter evaluations
- trying to be still
- wearing new glasses
- preparing for my spring art show at school
- painting custom pendants
- watching my son play, read, run, draw, talk, experiment and explore
- listening to my husband quote passages from "Romeo and Juliet"; always my favorite time of the his school year
- still amazed and thankful for Dad's clean scan
- welcoming a new piece of art in the kettle; an amazing piece of graffiti-inspired art by a good friend, bought at ArtSpeak.
- feeling altogether thankful and blessed

Monday, March 25, 2013


Thankful for a full and busy week; for the culmination of many months of thought, prayer and hard work; for beautiful and meaningful musical and visual expressions of "Restoration"; for $3000 raised for victims of human trafficking; for the loud and clear declaration to our community and neighbors of the only One who truly and completely restores.

Yes, very, very thankful.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


..getting ready for this! 

If you're in the area, I hope to see you there! Free concert (Brian will be playing a few songs) and an art show featuring 30 local artists and their response to the theme "Restore". We're auctioning off all of the pieces to benefit isanctuary,  an organization that fights human trafficking. Tomorrow night (3/22), 7-9pm at the Old Town Hall in Salem.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

the new rug...I mean race track

This weekend I finally finished the rag rug I've been working on for the last couple of weeks. It's made out of old bed sheets, ripped into thin strips and crocheted together with a large crochet hook (using this pattern). 
It's thick, soft and cushy and I generally just love how it turned out. I'm not the only one- as soon as I tied it up and laid it down on the floor, Levi immediately started using it as a race track. Of course.

Monday, March 18, 2013

what wondrous love

What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul.
-A. Means

Thankful for, 
- wondrous love

- Dad, spared a second time; a cancer free scan. 
- St. Pattys Day dinner with my family, St. Pattys Day dinner #2 (you can never have enough) with our old small group (lots of laughter, oodles of corn beef and cabbage, catching up)
- up at dawn on a Saturday morning with Levi
- celebrating Uncle Jon on his birthday; seeing my NH grandparents, uninterrupted craft time, a game of Empire
- Levi in his romper, playing happily on my finished rug
- new and pretty rain boots
- my warm wedding quilt
- Levi and his "big brother" Evan; feeding each other, painting together and pushing each other around in a shopping cart
- Stephen Fry in America
- many candles
- acceptance to the Beverly Arts Fest and lots of creative Highrock friends to enjoy it with
- a long Sunday nap, visiting with Daniel at the Jameses, a game of Scotland Yard.

Friday, March 15, 2013

his arms

He's his Papa's boy through and through. It's cool that I'm around when his Dad is home, but at the end of the day it's in these big strong arms where Levi so desperately wants to be. And really, who can compete with those gigantic all embracing hugs, kind or silly smiles, tender touches, that joyful energy, perfect Elmo voice and those oh-so-funny jokes? 

The truth is, I don't blame him in the least. I'm rather enamored with the man myself- and at the end of the day, in his arms is just where I want to be too. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

new life

Yesterday felt like spring. Sunny, warm(ish) and you could almost see Friday's snow melting away - a practically-perfect-in-every-way-day for Easter garden planting. Levi's been rather sniffly, crabby and clingy for the past couple of days so let's just say I especially relished this calm and quiet nap time activity.

Our Easter garden (inspired by Ann's) has become a treasured tradition (2010, 2011) and is always a constant and beautiful reminder of the path we take with Christ during this holy season; from the cross to the empty grave, from darkness to light, from old selves to new selves, from death to life. 

And speaking of new life, yesterday we got word that my Dad's post-treatment scans came back entirely free of cancer and his doctors are considering him "cured". He doesn't even have to do his last round of chemo. A huge weight has lifted from our family and we are praising God for His grace. I know many of you have been praying and I'm forever grateful. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

in progress

there's much "in progress" here in the Kettle these days.. a big ol' painting (some tiny ones too, of course), a rag rug, some Easter treats for the gals and the taxes.

some are much more enjoyable to work on than others

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

a day in our life: 3.7.13

I don't what it is about this week in the year (slow winter blogging?) but I kid you not, a few days ago it dawned on me that it was high time for another "day in our life" post.  I checked the archives and realized that I did my first crazy take-pictures-all-day-long post this very same week last year. (3.7.2012)

Behold. March 7, 365 days later. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

solid rock

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus' name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand..
-E. Mote

Thankful this week, for -

- our solid rock - his blood and righteousness
- surprise snow, surprise snow-day
- a new crochet project
- the boys on a walk, time to paint
- Levi's high-pitched and singsongy "heeelllloo" and "byeyybyeee!"
- us three, playing and giggling under a blanket for an hour
- Brian, finally with appropriate footwear for winter
- my very hygienic child-  asking for a bath at least 5 times a day, asking to brush his teeth at least 10 times a day.
- great new group of art workshop kids, lots of enthusiasm
- modern art breakthroughs with my high schoolers
- our Moroccan feast/Shabbat dinner
- Bri and Levi all snuggled up together on the couch
- a Jaho date with Ariel and Elsie
- lots of Katie and Matt hang-outs this weekend (and her modeling help)
- Brian's new verses to an old hymn
- a weekend visit from an old friend; bagel world, good chats, homemade pizzas, a late night 1920s sing-a-long 
(Jesse tells me that his Mom reads this little blog of, we thought we'd give her a shout out. This is for you, Mrs. Peterson!)

Friday, March 8, 2013

in good hands

During my yearly weekly physical, Dr. Evan found a tiny dinosaur in my ear (he got it out) and Dr. Levi felt that I would benefit from an intense round of injections in both legs. Other than that, things looked pretty good.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

a special place

Just salvaged from my parents' shed and hanging where his beloved baby hammock once hung; my old (early high school) bed canopy is our new favorite place to read, snuggle and play.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Outside my window...a rather gloomy cozy day (cup half full!).. a great day for tea, blankets and lots of read alouds.

I am hearing...the "lion" winds of March, whipping against the kettle

I am thankful... for these early morning moments for quiet thinking, writing, praying before my little awakes 

Around the house...lots of folding to be done (always), some new open-ended, natural and creative toys and spaces for Levi in the waldorf tradition (more on this later)

In the kitchen...not a lot - grocery shopping is on the docket today.

I am wearing...pjs and a pile of blankets. 

I am creating... another Manchester-by-the-Sea painting for my Nana (aka my #1 customer).  I'm honored that she is outfitting all of her sisters, cousins and friends in my pendants.

I am make the most of no-work-wednesday; a slow morning, a few errands, story and craft time at the PEM, a long afternoon nap, our creative arts group tonight and perhaps a little painting, if I'm lucky.

I am wondering... how it happens that one day you wake up and your baby seems to have become a boy. So many new words, his desire to be carried has been largely been replaced with a stronger desire to walk run, chubby babyness has stretched into a long and lanky boy body. (cue stereotypical "where does time go?" mother sigh).

I am reading...still James, still For the Beauty of the Church, still Teach Like a Champion, lots of nursery rhymes and "Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site" over and over and over again.

I am hoping (and praying)... for continued health and healing for my Dad, wisdom and strength for many friends, for the ability to stay focused and do everything that I love and need to do, well and for God's glory.

I am looking forward to...ArtSpeak: RESTORE!,

I am pondering... these beautiful Lenten art pieces/devotionals (

A few plans for the rest of the week...
- an attempt to capture another "day in our lives" tomorrow (note to self: recharge camera battery)
- crocheting a rug/play mat out of fabric scraps
- a special secret Easter project for my sisters
- apply to a couple of Art Festivals for the summer
- a Moroccan Shabbat Dinner at church
- grade high school paintings
- host an old friend for the weekend

Have a lovely (and cozy) day, friends! 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

the fever and a warm(ish) winter walk

It's spring fever.  That is what the name of it is.  And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!  
Mark Twain

I'm afraid we've got it bad in the James household (I know I'm getting way ahead of I write this post, snow is falling!). Last week there were a couple of days that were temperate enough for me to be convinced (thanks to two puppy-dog-eyed boys) to take a slow and lazy stroll around the 'hood. We've gone on plenty of here-to-there walks, but it's been too long since we've ventured outside just to hang out and let Levi roam around unhindered. I almost forgot quite how happy he is to be set free in the great outdoors; as soon as he was let loose, he was a running, giggling, excitedly-pointing, muddy little mess of joy. Little glimpses of what is to come, hopefully sooner rather than later!  Also, I need to get this kid a good pair of galoshes - pronto.

Monday, March 4, 2013

giving thanks

Giving thanks, for - 

- March! and little bits of green spotted
- early morning cleaning/organizing energy
- great thrift store finds
- bakery walk and running into Big C
- Brian (and mini-him) trying to make Elsie laugh
- warm pumpkin bread
- Levi and Papa at the park and a little alone time
- my favorite art/music lesson with the high school art class
- an unexpected "thank you for smiling at me" comment from a stranger
- warm enough for more walks
- nursery duty with some of my favorites
- a movie date, Mom and Dad babysitting
- when Brian writes down his own funny quote 'cause he knows I will want to save it
- Levi's squirrel, train and truck excitement; his quiet little songs, his after-prayer ritual
- fresh flowers in the kitchen