Welcoming the new year with new tunes

Boston Terrier napping, credit Kirsten Akens 2016

Happy New Year!

Yes, I realize I'm two weeks behind on the sentiment. Since mid-December, I've been overwhelmed with a new fosterpup, and then both I and my Lucy pup got sick (see example of how we looked in the photo to the right).

As excited as I was about a new year, and about the many ideas I wanted to share with you, I just couldn't muster up a post. (I couldn't even keep up with my Savor blogging project. Which looking back has me a bit bummed out now.)

But that's life sometimes, right? Sometimes we have to choose to step back.

So that's what I did. In addition to much restorative napping, blowing my nose, sipping ginger-lemon-honey-cayenne tea, and making sure Lucy wasn't eating anything she shouldn't be, I've been listening to a lot of music and I wanted to share what I've been dipping in.

You can stream my Seeds Beneath the Snow Winter 2016 playlist below or find it over here on Spotify. It features some of my favorite artists: Gregory Alan Isakov, Tow'rs, Danielle Ate the Sandwich, Tracy Chapman, and Ingrid Michaelson, along with some newer to me.

I hope you enjoy it. Have an amazing weekend and I'll be back next week.

P.S. I've also been reading a lot — I'm seven books in to my goal of reading 78 this year. Have you picked up Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear yet? So. Good.

For you, from me, with love

Georgia O'Keeffe courage quote credit Kirsten Akens 2015

A blend of old and new offerings around and about that I've been dipping into this week.


Learn: "The Gentle Art of Trying Something and Sucking At It," by Leo Babauta over at Zen Habits.

How do you get over sucking at something you’re trying to learn, so you can get good at it? The answer is to become curious about the suck.

(After you've read the full article, come back here and read this note — Go on. I'll wait for you... — The only thing I would add to Leo's piece is that sometimes we won't ever get good at something. Sometimes we "embrace the suck" for an extended period of time and we still don't make much or any progress. And that's OK too. Move on. Try something else. There is plenty to tackle out there in the world.)

Insight: I've read Start With Why, and found the concept awesome for the nonprofits I've worked with, but I have wondered how it applies (and how well it applies) to the self-employed life. Sarah Von Bargen has some great thoughts on how YOU can be your business' WHY.

Watch: Thank you, Harry Potter. (The power of great stories.) Via Tell The Story Please.

Read: In honor of poet Mary Oliver's birthday, which was yesterday, I want to recommend any of her books. (And if you don't know where to start, try A Thousand Mornings.)

EatIf you make these Easy Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers before I do, will you invite me over?

Participate: The Migrant Offshore Aid Station is dedicated to preventing loss of life at sea by providing assistance to migrants who find themselves in distress while crossing the Mediterranean Sea in unsafe vessels. They've saved more than 11,000 people so far. Every dollar helps.

Listen: And laugh. JF and JT.


For you, from me, with love

Lattice credit Kirsten Akens 2015

A blend of old and new offerings around and about that I've been dipping into this week.


Learn: "The Art of Daily Ritual," by the amazing Courtney Martin for On Being (read the whole piece here): "Even washing the dishes can be a kind of ritual if you treat it as such. It’s about pace and intention, the senses and the symbols. It’s about the meaning you imbue into an object or an act, rather than a script you inherit. It’s about noticing."

Participate: Just a little more time to get in on this cool portable aromatherapy Kickstarter. (It's guaranteed to be funded!)

Read: Alice's Adventures in Underland: The Queen of Stilled Hearts, by author-friend of mine DeAnna Knippling.

Watch: Dogs and pigs. Equally awesome. (From Mercy for Animals and ChooseVeg.com.)

Eat: Really want to give these Turmeric Cashews a try.

Insight: Death By Chrysalis — I saw this poem come through in a Goodreads newsletter this morning, fell in love, and went out seeking the poet, Danny Earl Simmons. I'll be adding his site to my Feedly because it's a wealth of good poetry, his and others'. "Death By Chrysalis" was originally published in the Fall/Winter 2011 issue of Pirene's Fountain.

Not everything that dies becomes a moldering rot like the sticky black ooze of the weeds of ancient seas.

Take that wooly mammoth, for instance, found in a block of ice on the edge of the middle of some frozen nowhere, flowers half-chewed in its mouth. What luck to be unlucky in such a way – in a cold flash just after a little dinner-salad – so that, all these centuries later, heads wag in disbelief and grunt smirks at the shaggy once was of him.

And what of the death by chrysalis of the caterpillar – a voracious, needy, earthy thing that dies from cramp and forced revision only to be resurrected with two thin surprises connected lightly to the same center of it all?