Last month I went to Cheekwood for the first time, which is a bit nuts considering I’ve lived in Nashville for over six years. After visiting there, I’m kind of kicking myself a bit because there were several exhibits in the past that I wanted to attend but didn’t make time for. Cheekwood is *lovely* and I’m so glad to have finally gone! I will definitely be going back and will probably just go ahead and get a membership, as you only have to go three times to break even.

The main exhibit was a series of bug statues, but I didn’t really care for those. Mostly because they were roped off and you weren’t allowed to touch them or climb on them. What’s the point then?!? (Only half joking to be honest.)

My favorite thing was a random installation by Patrick Dougherty called Little Bitty Pretty One. This particular one was supposed to be inspired by an Oast house. I love how windswept they look… sort of like if Andy Goldsworthy had meddled with primitive architecture. I looked up Dougherty’s other work and was really impressed by it and would like to see more some day if possible.

Cheekwood Patrick Dougherty



And right before we left, I found something I could climb on ;)

Posted in: art |

Link Love

Things I’m flipping through lately, often more than once:

  • 5 tips on starting a writing habit. It’s all common sense, yet I still consistently fail at writing regularly, so clearly I needed to read something about this topic again.
  • An article in the wake of Heartbleed about specific risks women face online and common sense stuff they should be doing. J and I have both started using LastPass.
  • How to avoid demotivation during a new venture. I keep going back and rereading this as I need to hear it over and over again. It’s easy to get frustrated when things aren’t instantly successful. I have to keep reminding myself that it takes time.

The weeks of rain


The garden is coming along quite nicely. We’ve had solid rain for the last week or so though and it doesn’t seem to be letting up anytime soon. Know what else grows really quickly when there’s lot of rain? Weeds. I feel like I’m at risk of losing the battle! I need some sunshine so I can get out there for a few hours and knock back the worst offenders.

Still though, I’m really pleased with how things are looking this year. Having a friend (Hi, V!) doing this with me has already made it immensely more enjoyable. About half of the beds are planted and I’m sure we’ll have the rest filled in by the end of the month. Will harvest a first tomato and pepper or two later this week I think, which is always quite exciting. I’m really looking forward to the beans, especially the rattlesnake beans, as those were planted from seeds that I saved from my own harvest last year. I’m hoping that can turn into enough of a habit that I can do some mail trades for seeds with other gardeners later this year.

Lots still to be planted. Excited about getting soybeans in the ground, as making my own tofu is on my 101 list for this round. Getting some pallets from a friend soon so I can make growing lettuce and other greens a bit easier. I keep peaking at the peach tree in the front yard but I don’t know if I’ll get any fruit from her this year. Maybe next year.

All in all, quite happy and excited though. Ready for great harvests and to do a lot of canning this summer!


Hello, blogland. It’s been a while.

I’ve missed this space. I’ve missed writing.

It seems lonely in blogland though.

So many of the blogs I’ve followed for years and years just no longer resonate with me. (Note: I’m not talking about the blogs of close friends, which I love to read no matter what because it gives me another connection to their lives and a chance to see different details and snippets than what filers through social media these days.) I’m talking about my life crushes. Do you know what I mean? Those folks who you see out there doing stuff and you think, “Man, I want more of *that* in my life!” or “That’s so inspiring!” or “I hope to get to that point in the next few years.”

Lately I’ve felt like I don’t fit with those blogs anymore, and it leaves me feeling frustrated. The two big divisions seem to be:

– kids. Or my lack of kids, I guess. So many of the DIY homesteader blogs that I adore and love have slowly (d)evolved into kid blogs. Mind you, I don’t mind hearing about children and seeing cute photos, but there gets to be a tipping point in terms of content percentages. But when everything in the blog post, even farming or canning preserves, gets told through the filter of being a parent and/or involving your kids in those activities, I start to fade out. I have no frame of reference for this. And honestly, it also freaks me out. Because I’m not completely 100% positive that I’ll never have a child in my life in some shape or form, but I know that I don’t want that kid to take over my identity. So watching it happen to my favorite bloggers, who are generally women whose independence and work ethic have been hugely inspiring to me, is a bit scary because it leaves me thinking, “Would I end up like that too?”

– veganism. Where are the DIY homesteader blogs for herbivores? I’m so turned off by these constant blogs about animal husbandry — raising goats, pigs, chickens, cows, etc. It’s not a part of my life and never will be. I don’t mind scrolling past the occasional post with photos of non-veg meals, but I definitely don’t want to read an in-depth, three post series about finally deciding which hogs to send to slaughter and which to breed for next season.

Believe me, I’m not expecting these bloggers to change their blogs or censor themselves or anything. I’m just frustrated because five years ago, those two themes didn’t seem to dominate their entries. And now I feel a bit lost as I delve around and try to search for some new life crushes, as it were.

Vegan, kid-free life crushes… They’re out there somewhere, right?

searching for my place

After winning my second title belt.

After winning my second title belt. My hubby is on the left, my trainer is on the far right.

Muay Thai has been a part of my life for 4 years now. I fell in love with it on the first day. Came right back to the gym the next day and told the man who would become my trainer that I wanted to fight. I can’t imagine not doing this anymore – not training, not competing. To never feel that stomach-churning anxiety when you hear “Fight #36, you’re on deck!” as you bounce around backstage trying to stay loose and also not puke from nerves. I’ve fought 9 times now. My record is 7-2 with two title belts. Last November I fought on the US Team at the amateur world championships in Italy and came home with two silver medals. At this point, the logical next step would be to start seeking out pro fight opportunities, while continuing to take amateur fights in the meantime.

But now my gym is closing. In less than three weeks, Tiger King will shut its doors and my trainer will leave the states to go take over a new gym in Malaysia. It’s an amazing opportunity for him and I’m thrilled for him but it’s sad all the same. We’ve walked this path together for a long time and I have no idea who will step in to take his place. There’s so much trust that gets built between a fighter and a trainer. This is the person I look to when I’m freaking out before stepping into the ring. This is the person I trust to tell me whether I’m ready or not; trust to decide whether I’m in over my head during a fight and if the fight needs to be stopped or not (luckily this has never happened). He believes in me and calms me down, even when I’m freaking out between rounds, absolutely convinced that I’m losing to my opponent (only to find out when reviewing the video later on that I was wrong, and my trainer was correct as always, and I beat her every round).

My second fight, which took place in Jackson, TN.  Won by 2nd round TKO.

My second fight, which took place in Jackson, TN. Won by 2nd round TKO.

Now I’m losing that. And I’m losing my gym and my training family. The familiar space — the mats that are worn in such a way, the dents from that time so-and-so dropped a dumbbell, the intimate knowledge of how the ring ropes in that one corner aren’t pulled quite tight or how that particular heavy bag squeaks on its chain long after you’ve finished kicking it. The familiar faces — the ones who hold pads for you, bruise you up (“body conditioning”), and give you hell if you fail to show up for class. The training friends who prop you up when you win, and know not to even ask when you lose, but instead just grit their teeth with you and help you train harder.

I’m honestly not sure what is going to happen when February 1st rolls around. I don’t have anyone waiting on deck to step in as my trainer. I don’t know where I’m going to train. My options in Nashville are pretty limited, as are my funds. I know I’ll figure something out but it’s definitely an uncertain time. The best thing I can do is to keep myself in top physical shape so that I’m ready if a fight opportunity comes along. Otherwise my next Muay Thai fight won’t be until the end of June when I head back to Iowa to try to get a third title belt.

I know I’ll carry on and keep pushing forward, but it will be incredibly different. That’s not always a bad thing but it will be a huge adjustment. I still have amazing people in my corner — a husband who supports me and comes to all of my fights, friends who put up with my weird dietary issues when I’m cutting weight for fights, weightlifting buddies who help push me. As someone pointed out to me a while ago, I’m good at creating opportunities for myself. Time to put that skill back to work and find my place in all of this.

heading into the new year

Last year was a really great year. Hands down, one of the best I’ve had in quite some time. I got back to Muay Thai and competing finally after a long, frustrating road trying to rehab my knee after ACL surgery. I married the best damned partner I could have imagined for myself. After 6 years of teaching, I finally left the profession to pursue happier things. I won my second title belt for Muay Thai, then earned two silver medals with the US Team at the amateur world championships in Italy. I mean really, how much more could I have squeezed into that year? It was pretty amazing.

I haven’t stopped to set goals for 2014 or outline some massive plan for myself. Honestly? I haven’t felt like it was necessary. Things are going really well. After a few months of uncertainty in various realms of my life, I feel like I’m at last moving forward again in all directions.

I’m plugging away at my 101 in 1001 list (more on that later). I’m working harder each day on getting my businesses off the ground. I’m looking forward to a productive spring for the farm. My health is back in place as one of my main priorities. My friendships are solid and wonderful, as is my marriage. My family continues to grow a little bit more each year, whether that’s with furbabies or friends that become so close and trusted that I couldn’t imagine life without them.

If I was to pick a word to focus on for this year, it would simply be continue.

I just want more of what I’ve already been doing.

To keep pushing myself to be even better than before.
To keep building my family, my businesses, my heart, my life.

There’s always room for more of the good stuff.