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Posts Tagged ‘Susannah Conway’

august break 2018 list

It’s August. How did that happen?

After a June that included 10 glorious days in Spain and a July that filled up quickly with freelance projects and other plans, I can’t believe we’re here already. I’m feeling – if I’m honest – a little overwhelmed.

Fortunately, Susannah Conway is hosting her lovely annual August Break photo project, and I’m planning to participate on Instagram (I’m @katiengibson) and here on the blog. Please join us, if you’d like – there are no real rules.

We often begin with a morning-focused prompt, and today’s is “morning light.”

kitchen window morning august light

It’s cloudy today, but the view out my kitchen window is still glorious.

neponset reflection dorchester water sky

I went for a morning run, and came upon this reflection along my beloved trail.

Happy August, friends. More photos to come.

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heart sneakers trail

My one little word for 2018 is grit.

It took me a while to find it, and even longer to figure out what to say about it. I tried out a few other possibilities (while reflecting on the unexpected places magic took me in 2017). Nothing quite seemed to fit, until I remembered that grit sneaked its way in alongside magic last summer.

Grit is closely related to courage, which of course bears a deep connection to my longtime word, brave. It is ordinary, daily, sometimes deeply mundane: it is, quite often, the opposite of glamorous, though I think it can sometimes be magical.

Grit is the tiny pebbles that stick in the treads of my running shoes after an hour or two spent on the river trail. It is the crumbs I sweep off the kitchen table into my hand, over and over again. It is the commitment to the daily details that make up a life, to showing up and taking care and paying attention, even when you’d rather be anywhere else.

It’s been a year (and counting) of tremendous, often shattering change, which has rearranged my internal furniture in ways I didn’t expect. Each of those changes – the continuing fallout from the election, so many challenges at work, even the move this summer to a new apartment I love – have required copious amounts of grit. And I know there are more changes ahead in 2018. I’m making a couple (mostly exercise-related); I’ve been warned about a few (mostly work-related); and I’m certain there will be others I don’t see coming. (That’s life, isn’t it? In all its variety.)

Grit is a noun, and it’s also a verb: especially in the winter, I often have to grit my teeth through the latest train delays or impending snowstorm. But I don’t think grit has to be dreary or dour: as a friend said recently, “It’s certainly not whimsical, but I think there’s a quiet kind of joy in grit.”

When she said that, I thought of Lindsey’s musings on stubborn gladness and sturdy joy: I want more of both, this year. I think grit is as much about leaning into the good stuff, the magic and delight and love, as it is about showing up for the hard things, the loss and boredom and weariness. They are intertwined, in ways I can’t unravel or explain.

Last spring, I found a few lines in The Last Days of Café Leila that have become my mantra.  I’ve written them down more times than I can count, and they still ring in my head almost every day. For Noor, the protagonist, and for me, “the only thing to do is to keep moving, to do something, to show courage, to give everything [I’m] capable of giving.”

If that’s not grit, I don’t know what it is.

Do you have a word for this year? Please share, if you’d like.

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august calendar 1canoe2 wall

The angle of the light has shifted, pouring down from a deep blue sky. The first deep red dahlias have shown up at the florist, and the first tiny, early Vista Bella apples (!) at the farmers’ market.

The black-eyed Susans, hydrangeas and day lilies are pools of vivid color along the sidewalks. And we have moved, for the second time in a year – to a third-floor apartment in a new neighborhood. Hello August.

august break 2017 prompts

As she does every year, Susannah Conway is hosting her wonderful August Break photo project, and I’m planning to participate on Instagram (I’m @katiengibson) and here on the blog.

The first prompt is “morning,” and I snapped the calendar photo above (in my new kitchen) and two more:

geraniums window screen back porch

Transplanted and happy (like me): my beloved red geraniums are settling into their new spot on the back porch. (This is the view out my bedroom window.)

queen anne's lace

I’m catching the trolley to the train in the mornings now, and these Queen Anne’s lace greeted me as I walked up today. They remind me of summers at my grandparents’ Ohio farm, and of a friend who loves them.

Happy August, friends. Hope it treats you right.

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perfume garden book

We are (as I may have mentioned a few times) in the middle of a move, and my brain is full of boxes and packing tape and change of address forms.

But in my quieter moments this week, Kate Lord Brown’s novel The Perfume Garden (which I bought in Halifax) has been a delight.

What are you reading?

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jer burritos

Making one last batch of chicken burritos (with homemade guacamole), in between moving boxes from the old home to the new.

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august break 2016

It’s August again (how did that happen?) and Susannah Conway is hosting her annual August Break, wherein we snap and share photos of the prompts she provides, or of whatever strikes our fancy.

I’ll be popping in occasionally this month with “regular” blog posts, but will be mostly sharing photos here and on Instagram.

Today’s prompt is morning light. It’s a grey and damp (though blessedly cool) day in Cambridge, and I took a mid-morning break to pop out for some chai.

street sign clouds cambridge ma

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past year sitting at this intersection (on the benches outside Darwin’s), sipping my drink of choice from a paper cup, and watching the sky.

Happy August, friends. More soon.

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