Author Archives: Kristin Brown

Taking stock

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Catching up a bit about the end of 2014.  OVERWHELM.  The long saga of moving house and an intense multitude of events leading up to 2015:  my 40th birthday, Christmas, a 5 year old who truly understood the nuances of the holidays (Santa!), the start of Eric’s new job, the 10 year anniversary of my mother’s death, and the surprising, but not unexpected, passing of my 87 year old spiritual teacher.

Shri Parthasarthi Rajagopalachari passed away on December 20, 2014.  He became my mentor in 2000, during my first trip to India, when I went in search of a living Master.  He has been a constant source of inspiration, guidance, and love for me all these years.  I’ve traveled to India many times to be in his presence, as well as to other parts of the world and within the US.  He is and will continue to be greatly missed.

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August 2013 – Mannapakkam, India

I almost have nothing to say after that.  The above photo brings back such tenderness for me.  The opportunity to have my children be with him, remarkable.  It’s true that once you become a mother, all you want is for your children to do well, be whole, confident, and have the best start in life.  Giving them spirituality as something that can comfort them in times of need, support them in the material aspects of life, oh, all this provides me some reassurance that life may be a little easier for them.

As the end of January quickly approaches, I have yet to really take stock, sit down and envision what possibilities are ahead, soon soon.

Now let’s go unpack one more box, shall we?

Travails of moving gypsies

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We’re in the midst of moving and eating chocolate.  So many logistics and with children involved?  It raises the bar to a whole new level.  When I was single I moved a lot, I mean a lot.  Eric used to make fun of me as we drove around, “did you live there, did you live there”.  You’d be surprised how many times I said, “yes”, or “no, but I did live around the corner” (and that goes for places that I worked too.-Dad, hopefully that makes you laugh.) This move from Illinois to Colorado has been a whopper.  We’re also doing all of this around the holidays, again.  Three moves in the past three years.  Hmmm, it kind of blows the wind out of your sails regarding holiday preparations.  The other thing that always puts it right over the top?  My four days before Christmas birthday.  This year I’m turning 40.  It would seem a party is in order.  Eric always jokes that he’s going to get me a really good Combo Gift.  Anyone else born near a holiday knows exactly how awful the phrase Combo Gift truly sounds.  It kind of makes me cringe as I remember my sister and me opening exactly the same Christmas gifts from a neighbor, though mine said “Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas”.  Poor me.  As the moving truck arrives tomorrow and I can’t even remember what stuff is coming, I find myself thinking and sometimes saying to Iliana, it’s going to be like Christmas.  Opening boxes (some of which never got opened from the original move three years ago), leaves me feeling a little excited.  It may be that this year is the best Combo Gift of all.

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I went to the library to pick up the new book Delancey by Molly Wizenberg.  Reading just a few minutes here and there is a huge stress reliever as MOVING DAY approaches.  It takes me out of my current stress i.e. bickering children, bickering parents, bickering parents with children and into someone else’s life.  As it pertains to Delancey, the stress and joy of opening one’s own restaurant.  It’s lovely and hopeful.  A book about a person’s or two people’s dreams coming to fruition.   I’ve been thinking about the opening quote all day.

It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work, and when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey.  The mind that is not baffled is not employed.   The impeded stream is the one that sings.

-Wendell Berry

The impeded stream.  Kind of describes being a Mom.  But in a good way.

Happy Moving?  Do people say that?

Dia de los Muertos

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We attended a Dia de los Muertos (or Day of the Dead) event at the Longmont Museum last weekend.  It was awesome.  So much to do for the children…traditional mexican dancing to watch and dance along with, sugar skull decorating, and sawdust carpets/stenciling.  There were altars to be seen, but by the time we got to do that, we were all so tired that we needed to skeddadle out of there.  Iliana and I did notice one altar that we both liked as it contained elements that we’ve worked with when doing crafts at home:  pom poms and felt flowers.  Emerson totally got into the sawdust making…he kept going over to the bins and getting more sawdust and pouring it out onto the stencils.  I did a sugar skull, mine is the one second in from the left.  Emerson’s is on the far left.

I liked being reminded of the thin veil that exists between the living and the dead celebrated by this event.  This time of year is so ripe with magic in a way.  The light in the sky is so different, as it hits us sideways.  Last night we saw the moon, which looked full or almost full.  Also, as we head into the darkest season of the year, it’s nice to be reminded of the beauty of it all.

I read this Daily Reflection on the Sahaj Marg website the other day.  It seemed so apropos for this time of year and for something I’ve been thinking about more lately.

Giving
Tuesday, November 4, 2014
“Spirituality says, “Give.” It doesn’t even say, “Give and take.” It only says, “Give.” Give and go on giving so that by the very fact of giving, you empty yourself of everything that you have, and then you will find this miraculous thing that there is a vacuum, and that has to be filled by Nature. I don’t know how many of you have read Lloyd C. Douglas, who preached this very same thing. He said, “Go on giving – irrespective of whether you have or not.” So, go on giving and don’t expect, because when you create a vacuum, it must be filled. This is the law of Nature.”
Taken from the book “The Principles of Sahaj Marg, Vol. 6″, Chapter “Progress”, pg. 33, by Revered Chariji

 

I hope as we enter this time of year where there is so much opportunity to give that I’m able to do it with grace, abundance, and total love.

 

 Happy Weekend!
DiadelosMuertos

Photography

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This guest post is by my wonderful husband of over 10 years, Eric.

I fell in love with taking pictures when I was about 12 years old.  The feeling has not changed for me since then, although I have forgotten many times, only to be reminded by an amazing photograph or beautiful window light.  I forget much less often now that we have kids.  In fact, I have to keep myself from taking pictures sometimes so that I can be with them without a camera in the mix.  After all, I am here to live life with them, not just to document their childhood.

When I decide to take pictures of them, my favorite thing to do is to try to capture expressions that I think show their personality.  While I like to see pictures of my kids smiling for the camera, it is usually not what I am trying to make.  Have you considered what you are trying to do when you are taking pictures?  Are you making any pictures that you will want to look at in 10 years or are they just for right now?

Peace,

-Eric

Eve of 5

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We picked up their Papa at the airport on the eve of Iliana’s 5th birthday.  They love their Papa.  Emerson was walking through the airport saying “paw paw”, “paw paw”, in his best pronunciation of Papa.  Iliana was overjoyed.  When we did eventually see him, and we were waiting for his bags, the two of them were doing handstands with one foot up in the air, then they’d turn their bodies a little, and make it a sideways stand.  Emerson pretty much doing what Iliana was doing.  Then they’d both look at their Dad and be like, “did you see that”.  Children express their happiness in such clear ways.

It’s been a whirlwind of trying to prepare for a little, birthday party that we’re having for Iliana on Saturday.  She invited 5 friends, since she’s turning 5.  This seems a nice way to keep it simple and manageable for her as a little person who will be the focus of the day.  One of her favorite guests is a little chihuahua named Chica.

Preparing for this party has been a lot, considering I hardly felt moved in, really.  A lot of my preparation has gone into making the house as comfortable as possible, so that when guests come on Saturday, we all have places to sit, there are dishes ready and available for the cake, (that there’s a platter for the cake!), and that it’s relatively clean.  All assumably easy tasks if you’ve been living in a home for awhile, and have had a birthday or two, but when you’re new, it takes a lot of forethought and planning.  We still haven’t moved all of our things from the house in Illinois, not that we’re moving everything, but the little things, like nice plates to eat cake on, nice silverware to eat said cake, tablecloths, candles, all those things are still in Illinois.  Luckily, as Eric’s arrival grew closer, I was texting him daily with items to bring, trying to remember exactly where they were in the house, and hoping they’d fit in his luggage.  He told me, as he was packing, he’d look at the clothes he wanted to bring, and the pile he’d made of my requests, and tell himself, no, I don’t really need that many shirts, then he’d pack one more item for us.  Pretty nice.

I still found myself yesterday making a trip to Michael’s to get some party items, decorations, crafts for a project to do together.  I stumbled upon this birthday post, which has me feeling like I want to make another trip to get a few more things.  You must check out the link, Posie Gets Cozy’s birthday for her two year old is absolutely darling!  Oh my!  That woman goes all out.  It’s fun to see a post for a two year old given that my Emerson is almost 20 months.  Fun to follow along someone close in age.

In the end all will go as it goes.  There will be ups and downs, happy moments and sad, excitement, disagreement, but hopefully, and most of all, love.  Love for a little girl turning 5.  The magic of birthdays.  The magic of growing up.  The magic of cakes, and friends, dogs, Papas, brothers, and hopefully Moms.  May the fairy of birthdays sprinkle a little dust on all of us here.

Happy Friday.

Kristin