Change of Address

This blog has gotten a slight makeover (slight like a trim, not Botox), and taken up a new residence. Come on over!


And we're back!

I'm going to give this blogging thing another whirl. It's such a healthy outlet and a good way to connect with others, and keep my ideas from slipping away. So if you don't have too many abandonment issues from my disappearance, I'd love for you to stop in now and then. I'll be writing at (or just a new blog that looks eerily similar to this one. (Maybe this blog's evil twin?) The subtitle has changed from 'cultivating you, so you can give to them' to 'to your brightest self be true.' Writing about motherhood will still be a strong component of Exceptional Simplicities II, but I also want to write for a wider audience, i.e. anyone who wants to become better acquainted with her authentic and best self. I'll stop rambling now. 




HIATUS: a break or interruption in the continuity of a work

I'm going on a hiatus from blogging. "Hiatus" sounds exciting, like some sort of party involving Pop Rocks and a DJ and those little New Year's Eve poppers; a party that is taking place in Africa (perhaps because the word is similar to "hyena"?) But my hiatus is nowhere near that exciting. Just a break from my cyber life because my flesh and bones life seems to have kicked it up a notch. 

I go through cycles of spending my free time writing, then reading, then writing. I'm in a reading phase right now. A gathering phase. I hope this is a temporary break. I think it is. Exceptional Simplicities has been a delightful therapeutic outlet. But this quote comes to mind:
"Our lives need regular pruning, so we can accomplish our life's real purpose." 
-Dieter F. Uchtdorf

It's hard to give yourself permission to prune your life. To remember that "simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." (Leonardo Da Vinci) To recognize when it's time to shift your focus, and move some things to the back burner. I hope to graft blogging back into my life at some time, but for now, I'm shifting my attention to some other branches :) 

I'll leave you with a (lengthy) quote, and a big GRACIAS for sharing some of your time with me, reading this blog.

"Live! Take risks! That is really what life is about. We must pursue our own happiness. Nobody has ever lived our lives; there are no guidelines. Trust your instincts. Accept nothing but the best. But then also look for it carefully. Don't allow it to slip between your fingers. Sometimes, good things come to us in such a quiet fashion. And nothing comes complete. It is what we make of whatever we encounter that determines the outcome. What we choose to see, what we choose to save. And what we choose to remember. Never forget that all the love in your life is there, inside you, always. It can never be taken from you."
Linda Olsson, Astrid and Veronika 


"Are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?"

My apologies for my sabbatical from blogging. I've been busy carving jack-o-lantern faces into grapefruit peels...
                                                                                                          ....among other things.

Truly though, my brain has been under construction. Please pardon the dust...or lack of dust. I've tried to blog, but kept coming up empty-handed. Empty of words, empty of passion. I simply haven't felt like I've had much to offer. You know those days? (And weeks, and months.)
"It was frustrating how when people loved you they took interest in you and sometimes worried about you and personally cared what you did with yourself. Lena wished that love were something you could flip on and off. You could turn it on when you felt good about yourself and worthy of it and generous enough to return it. You could flip it off when you needed to hide or self-destruct and had nothing at all to give."
Ann Brashares, Sisterhood Everlasting

I'm still feeling a touch uninspired...
...but decided I can at least pass along the words of others until my own start making sense to me again. I don't read as much poetry as I wish I did, but finally cracked the cover of a collection of poems by Mary Oliver, and was hugely rewarded.

"Listen--are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?"

"Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable."

"To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work." 

Maybe I have been "breathing just a little, and calling it a life." But this mental and emotional downtime has been restorative, and necessary. Sometimes it takes a funk to remind us what really lastingly matters. To give us the courage to throw out the rest of the junk that clutters up our lives.


5 Recipes I Wonder How I Lived Without

If there's one thing life as a parent never lacks, it's the opportunity to be a hypocrite. Last night I was complaining to my husband that Em wants to eat ALL DAY LONG, while shoving food into my mouth. Hmmm. 

Yes, food and I get along. I don't profess to be an expert culinarian. The only way I will end up on the Food Network is as a taste tester. But occasionally I come across recipes that fool people into thinking I'm a good cook. And because deceit is oh so fun, I wanted to share them with you.

A friend made this for me, and I knew after one bite that I would go to any length to get the recipe. Luckily she handed it over willingly, and nobody got hurt. In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit it took me about a year to get up the courage to make it. Not that it's terribly difficult--I was just a woefully inexperienced cook at the time (my husband and I were surviving on Pasta Roni and Taco Salad), and had never purchased things like olive oil or kosher salt. This recipe makes enough for about eight people, but I never half it, because it tastes great leftover, too. (Warning: do not forgo the feta cheese. It makes this recipe!)

Confession: sometimes when I drop off our recycling, I go through the magazine recycling bin (if it's stacked high enough that I don't have to jump in :). And one time I scored an outdated issue of Health magazine, in which I found this smoothie recipe. I believe fate brought us together. I make it about every week (sometimes more) and have not yet tired of it.

There's not much of a story here. Girl meets sandwich. Girl falls in love with sandwich. Girl and sandwich live happily ever after.

I got this recipe from my sister-in-law, who made it to lure information out of me (not really, but I would've told her anything she wanted to know). This syrup is a sneaky way to have dessert for dinner. I would honestly take a bath in it.

My grandma gave this recipe to me at my recipe-themed wedding shower. I don't think I attempted it until after she passed away. Now it is a sentimental and delicious dish, that will heat you up from the inside out on a cold day (though I've been known to make it in the summer). 

(Print all 5 recipes)

I hope you enjoy this random collection of yum! Sorry there aren't any pictures. Food doesn't seem to hang around our house long enough to be photographed. What are the recipes you can't live without?


Songs I've Been Lately Loving {September 2012}

New music is always a good thing, right? These are a few songs I've listened to over and over again, but don't seem to get sick of.

"North By North" Faded Paper Figures

"Hysteric" Yeah Yeah Yeahs
(Check out the acoustic version too. You won't regret it.)
"Charlie Brown" Coldplay

"Horses on the Range" Jimmy Curran
(sorry, I know it's annoying to read lyrics whilst listening)
I've been wondering what Em thinks of our music. My little brother was in a band (that sadly went the way of most high school bands). This was Em's reaction when I put their CD in:
My parents saddled me with an undying love for Billy Joel and They Might Be Giants. Do your kids like some of your favorite artists more than others? What songs have you been lately loving?