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

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?

For you, from me, with love

Vonnegut quote photo credit Kirsten Akens 2015

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


Learn: Are 140-character tweets hurting our writing or helping?

Participate: For introverts (from a fellow introvert), a Quiet Revolution.

Read: The Infernal Devices trilogy, by Cassandra Clare.

Watch: French-Tunesian street artist eL Seed and his awesome calligraffiti:

Eat: Heidi Swanson's Baked Oatmeal (I made this for a brunch potluck with gluten-free oats — it fed a lot of people and it was so good!)

Listen: "Angels of the Get Through" by Andrea Gibson, with Kaylen Krebsbach:

Insight: Quote below from an essay I love a ton. Read the whole thing, "The Stories We Tell Ourselves," by Terri Schanks here.

Who are you, and who are you becoming? Are you the same person you were at seven? Well, yes and no. Yes, you probably have the same name. And theoretically you have the same body, but science tells us even that is an incorrect illusion. What is the same? Probably the stories. The memories. The intangible, ineffable qualities that make a life are still there, hopefully with some more wisdom and patience, hopefully with some insight, but probably that insight came as the result of experiences — some pleasant and some not so much. As my father used to say, “experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.”

For you, from me, with love

Flowers Credit Kirsten Akens 2015

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


Learn: My favorite Seth Godin piece this month: "Compared to."

Participate: Fellow blogger Erin, over at Adventures in Thumbholes, started the Small Change Initiative to encourage runners who travel to competitions to make a small donation to a nonprofit in the community in which a particular race is being held. This year, Erin (who had planned to compete in the Pikes Peak Ascent/Marathon, but now can't due to an injury) chose to donate to a cause close to my heart, Safe Place for Pets. Thanks, Erin, for starting this program and for supporting Colorado Springs. Hopefully you'll be in tip-top shape for next year's race! And to all my runner friends, give her site a read, and maybe pass along the kindness wherever your journeys take you?

Watch: The incomparable Bill T. Jones: The dancer, the singer, the cellist ... and a moment of creative magic, on TED.

Eat: A #newrecipeaweek from last week: Kale Market Salad. Yum.

Gadgetry: I'm in love with my new Sigg thermos. No joke. (And note: this is not a sponsored post.) I used it at a workshop this past weekend, and each morning when I went to rinse the water out from the day prior, the ICE WAS STILL SOLID — 24-plus hours later. The tea filter does double-duty, keeping ice from falling out the bottle and all over your face. Bonus!

Listen: My dear friend Laurie was in a mass shooting at New Life Church here in Colorado Springs almost eight years ago. Both her twin sister Stephanie and her younger sister Rachel died. KCMJ Radio recently interviewed Laurie about her story and her journey of healing. It's inspiring. Listen below. [soundcloud url="" params="color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

Read: Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, by Robin Sloan. I haven't finished this yet but it's been such a fun romp so far (on audio) I'm looking for others to geek out with me.

Insight: From 8 Ways to Get Ready for Your Wild and Precious Life, by Courtney Carver:

While we can’t be certain about how our lives will unfold, when we decide to be mindful about how we spend our time, and the people we want to be, we have a shot at not only knowing the answer to this lovely question, but living it too.

For you, from me, with love

Hearts in coffee and muffin Credit Kirsten Akens August 2015

A blend of old and new offerings around and about that I've been dipping into this week. (And a little love in my food over there to the right.) Enjoy!

Learn: Thirteen Tips for Getting More Reading Done, by Gretchen Rubin. Number 7 is my stand-by.

Watch: Hip-hop and the art of writing with Idris Goodwin. Can you find me in the audience?

Listen: My favorite podcast series, ever: On Being, with Krista Tippett.

Participate: Lisa, a friend of a friend, brings awareness to scleroderma through her blog, Comfortable In My Thick Skin. This Sunday, Lisa will launch the "Face Off for Scleroderma" campaign. Read more and join in here.

Eat: A #newrecipeaweek from last week: Weekday Vegetable Soup. Whatever you do, do not skip the pistou.

Sing-a-long: Love the Tow'rs. And this features Aspen trees. What's not to love?

TOW'RS | Belly Of The Deepest Love [LIVE] from Mountain Wind Films on Vimeo.

Read: The Gracekeepers, by Kirsty Logan.

Insight: From Down Is the Way to Well-Being: The Dangers of Living at Altitude, by Parker Palmer.

You seem to image depression as the hand of an enemy trying to crush you. Would it be possible to image it instead as the hand of a friend pressing you down to ground on which it’s safe to stand?