a brew will see you through

Sometimes, there are just weeks when everything feels overwhelming. There seems to be a lot of homework, a lot of tests, a lot of pressure. And it seems insurmountable. I will never get through this list of assignments. I will never remember all this new vocabulary. I will never pass this exam. 
But I am finding that, in some cases, making a mug of tea makes it all better. It's not just a Libby thing, but it's an England thing too, and a Fernweh thing (see here, here & here). Somehow, a mug of tea--or coffee, or hot chocolate, or whatever your boiled beverage of choice may be--makes it all better. The simple practise of boiling the kettle, brewing a mug and drinking it slowly forces me to step back from the revision and the notes and the confusion and just be still for a few minutes.
A brew will always, always, always see you through.



right here.

Just a few old memories from that place I like to call my second home. Every day is another day closer to those long afternoons spent on our little dock. It's probably time to start a countdown. A paper chain, I'm thinking.


earth day

Happy Earth Day! Today is a great day to get outside and celebrate the wonderful planet we call home. Go for a walk, go for a bike ride, or just take your book outside. It's a beautiful world out there.



six word stories

You've doubtless heard of six word stories, those strangely addictive lines inspired by Hemingway's shortest story ("For sale: baby shoes, never worn.). I've always been intrigued by the thought of condensing something so big into so small a phrase. Here are some I've written recently. I may have gone a little overboard, but I told you, they're addictive. Some describe me, some are more general. (Some of them are kind of depressing, but I'm not depressed; I swear.)

What's your six word story?



happy birthday.

Abbey and I both celebrated our seventeenth birthdays this month. At exactly 11 days older than her, I made sure to rub it in ;)

I spent the day at my grandma's house. My cousins from Tennessee had driven up the night before, and my family and I spent the day with them. Mainly, I sat in a lawn chair reading the Hunger Games edition of Us magazine and developing quite a nice little sunburn on my legs. All in all, it was quite a good way to celebrate.


Abbey said, Honestly, I think I'm still recuperating from my seventeenth birthday. Just writing about it is stressing me out. But, wow, was it good. So, so good. In between shooting my first engagement session, biology homework, and four hours of barista training, I never really paused to soak it all in until late that evening, when i finally stepped foot into our tiny entrance. Streamers strewn across the kitchen ceiling were a sweet reminder that it was, in fact, my birthday - something that hadn't even crossed my mind since the early morning. We talked over tea and fruit pizza, some of my favourite people and I. And I vowed to myself a birthday resolution of sorts - every now and then, I'll just be still. 

Happy birthday to the two of us!


tips & tricks | inspiration

Following up to March's post on photography, today we're sharing a collection of thoughts about inspiration. It's an often-overused word, and sometimes it can be hard to define what inspires us. It's not always simple to know how to use that inspiration either, and how not to feel like you are copying others instead of purely being inspired.

Hannah says
I'm inspired by late night talks and laughter over campfires that stretch into the morning ringed with dawn, words and songs and music that make you sad and happy all at once, lazy summer evenings and going barefoot and baking, family and traditions, authentic life, genuine love, and passionate people, and art, fresh food straight from the garden, and the way some smiles reach to your eyes.

Kendall says
Gathering inspiration, for me, has always been the easy part. Finding gorgeous pictures, reading warming words, looking at lovely designs; there's an endless list of things that inspire me. Finding inspiration is not the hard part. The hard part is putting that inspiration to use.
I wish I could say I had some foolproof method for getting going, but the truth is, like a lot of things in life, I'm just making it up as I go. I'll tell you what works for me, though. I've found that surrounding myself with pretty things is not enough to go on. I need to surround myself with inspiring people as well. Seeing and interacting with real people who have struggles like me, but who are also imaginative and hard working and are doing and creating amazing things, that's what really motivates me. Once I see someone who has succeeded, it makes me want to succeed all the more.
It's easy for me to get inspired, but what I have to work on is translating that inspiration into something more tangible. Best of luck to you!

Inspiration ebbs and flows like waves, some big and towering, some just ripples on the breeze. It's a fickle thing, and not something that can be sought. Mostly, though, it comes when I'm not looking for it. It comes when I am in deliciously drowning in life, both the good, the bad, the gritty, and the messy. It's there when I am lying on my back, feeling the sun soaking in through my pores, spreading into a golden tan and bringing out the freckles. It comes when I read words that stir up beautiful aching, laugh until my stomach muscles hurt, sink my hands deep into cool damp earth, and eat a dish that tickles my taste buds in the most wonderful way. And when inspiration comes, there's nothing you can do except hang on for the ride.

I'm inspired by words. Poems and songs that speak to me. Stories that break my heart. Phrases like this, "we yelled at the top of our lungs because we were just these small humans but we felt more longing than could ever fit inside us," that say everything I've always been trying and failing to say for myself. I have journals and notebooks filled with words, my own and those of others.Words are powerful. They inspire me.

Inspiration comes from everywhere but I can't always actively seek it out. For me, I can't sit down and think "I want to be inspired!". Sometimes, just beginning to make art and tell stories and plan meals, even if you're not feeling overwhelmed with ideas, is enough to get the creative juices flowing. Pick up a pencil. Write the first sentence. Buy some pasta. And then let the rest of it come, from knowing you have the beginning of a something there already.

What are your thoughts on inspiration? What topics would you like to see in the coming months discussed under 'tips & tricks'?


travel boys.

We've talked about Max before, but there are other boys, from other countries (especially during summer 2010) that I haven't told you about.

These three were brothers, (one my age, two younger) and I met them in Jordan. Our families were friends when we both lived in Holland all those years ago. It was strange to see them again; to see all the ways that they had changed, and the ways that they matched up to and differed from that 8-years-old picture in my head. The second brother, halfway through dinner the first night, started bringing up memories of Holland. "Do you remember when we played in that ditch full of water?" and, "Do you remember when we ate peanut butter sandwiches at my house?" It was so strange to talk about my memories with people who were just supporting actors in those very same memories. I haven't talked to them since then.

Halfway through that summer, I went to the UAE with a group of people. He was part of our group, and we met in the hotel on the second day. Since he was the "only attractive guy here," as determined by my roommate Lauren, he was the subject of many of our late night conversations. Lauren, in particular, loved him. Their relationship was all sorts of crazy, with Lauren overanalyzing everything and saying things like, "He's such a drama king!...and I'm his drama queen!" (That is an actual sentence that she said out loud.) That ended suddenly when she called me over during a break in our Bible study. "Hey," she whispered, "guess what!" "What?" I asked. "I just heard him talking to my brother about you. He said, 'I think she's really interesting. And by interesting, I mean really pretty.'" That put an end to Lauren's obsessing. Honestly, I didn't like him. I thought he was a jerk and full of himself. Two years later, we talk about once a week. He's coming back to America at the end of May, and *hopefully* he'll visit. That's the plan, anyways. It's funny how him liking me and me hating him turned into such a good friendship. I haven't talked to him two days.

I met this last boy at a game of Ultimate Frisbee on a Friday afternoon. We didn't talk about all. (Because this is important later: his brother knocked me down during the second game. We'll come back to this.) His parents went out to dinner with my summer parents, and I met them when they came back to my house for coffee and tea. The next morning, his mom called and asked if I wanted to go to Toy Story 3 with their family and another friend. I went. He shared popcorn with me, made fun of my homeschool-ness, and asked me how I was liking Jordan. Later in the week, he promised that if I came to Ultimate that Friday, he would "protect the Lady Katherine from my falling brother." Several weeks after I met him, we (him, me, his falling brother, and our mutual friend) went to an archeological dig together. On the way home, it was just him and me. We played chess (he won) and tic tac toe (I won).

When I went back to America that August, we stopped talking after a few weeks. In the two years since then, he's come back for college, called me once, texted me occasionally, and asked me to be his Valentine. I would say that we're still friends. We haven't talked in two weeks.

Do you have any weird or funny travel friendships? Anyone you still talk to?



reawakening the feelings

Spring is an extra special season. You are reminded of traditions and rituals that take place in the sweet new sun, the ones that return just as you were beginning to forget during the long, grey winter. You relearn what the feeling of sunlight on skin feels like, what waking up in the tent to the birds chirping sounds like, what eating outside tastes like. Whether it takes place in your backyard, along the river, or in the woods, here are a few tips on how to reawaken all those feelings.


A quilt (one that preferably has memories of springs past intertwined in the fabric), a sketchbook and pencil for recording things, a book to get lost in.


Pack a thermos of lemonade, bread, cheese, jam, and other snacks.


Study the pattern of the new leaves and bark, listen to the bird calls, crunch through leftover leaves, explore anything that looks enticing.

Happy spring!

much love,


iambic pentameter poetry


Surrounded by noise, life becomes cluttered.
We pass each other by, too busy to
say hello, or how do you do? Friendly
exclamations are forgotten while we
virtually gush over this and that,
living our whole lives in front of a screen,
while our hearts lie vacant, dormant from lack
of use. In the hurry hurry, rush rush
we forget what it means to truly feel.
Emotions are numbed to spare us the pain
of hurting. Yet by guarding us from hurt,
we lose all sense of joy, love, and in the
end, we face a life that is spent unlived.

young dancers

We re-lace our ribbons, push back pins, and
stand up, our hair slicked back, features pulled tight.
Masks we wear to hide cracks in our facade
slip. Pins fly as we pirouette again,
spotting eyes fading fast. Blue leaking
and brown seeping and green slipping from sight.
We are just girls wearing ill-fitting masks
of indifference, trying to be the best.
For once our eyes meet and there is almost
a smile, but we spot again and pull up
our masks tighter, willing them not to slip.
While we chase perfection, we are not friends,
though we wish we were. But the masks mislead.
I discovered the peculiar beauty of iambic pentameter a few weeks ago. Originally dreading it, I fell in love with the way the words flowed and the lines read. There is something about the form that allows the poem to breathe. Needless to say, it has become my new favorite. So a question for you...what's your favorite type of poetry?


an interview with... Anna Peters

Anna Peters is a talented photographer and poet living and studying in the Midwest. On her tumblr, petits mots, petites morts, she shares, amongst other things,  the poems she is writing every day for a year and poems dedicated to each month. Earlier this month, I emailed her a few questions, and below are her responses about shooting film, finding the way words fit and how 'music is multi faceted awesome'. All the photos in the post are taken from Anna's portfolio & flickr.
exposed more than once
You shared photographs from your Hands On Spirituality class on your blog last month. What other classes are you currently studying and why?
My majors are Dance and Anthropology. I’m always in several dance classes: Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Pas de Deux, etc, plus rehearsals. I’m also currently in a really interesting Anthropology class called “Youth Conflict Global Cinema.” We’ve watched some fantastic international films, including Salaam Bombay, Offside. City of God, and Tsotsi. I highly recommend all of them.
Do you plan to pursue photography or writing full time? If not, what do you currently hope to do?
I don’t know exactly what my plans are for photography yet. There’s part of me that thinks I would really love shooting weddings, but the business/marketing side of that equation doesn’t appeal to me at all. I suppose my biggest goal is to just continue to grow. It may be years, decades even, until I solidify my photographic voice and master the technique. I feel the same way about writing, I want to develop and refine and improve, but only in order to best utilise the medium as a creative outlet. Although to be perfectly honest, if someone approached me and offered to publish my work, I wouldn’t say no. Dancers don’t make squat.
Often, you shoot film and then you share it online. How has using the internet opened up different paths for you? If you hadn’t had access to the internet, do you still think you would have discovered your photographic style and the patterns to your poetry?
If I hadn’t joined Flickr, I wouldn’t be shooting film, or it would have taken a long long time for me to discover it on my own. I think the internet community is a brilliant resource for both photography and writing. Seeing what people are doing, and watching others developing stylistically has been invaluable for my own growth. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the web has immensely influenced the way I express myself, by giving me a space in which I can do it and receive feedback; I enjoy being able to interact with other young people making art.
What do you most enjoy photographing and why?
There isn’t really a specific subject I like photographing the best, but I really love telling stories. My favourite way to use my cameras is when I can bring them along to an event, a trip, what have you, and end up with a series of images that not only documents what had transpired, but also captured some of the essence, or soul, of the experience. (This is why I think I might find a fit photographing weddings.)
What inspires you to write your poetry?
Nothing. I like the way words fit together; I like the way they taste. Sometimes spew out nonsense just for the aesthetic. Sometimes I write without thinking. If I can begin it, I can usually find a way to end it, conclusions have always been my speciality - ending paragraphs, last lines, goodbyes. And also, everything, including, but not exclusive to (this list is stolen from my blog): memories, imagined conversations, remembered dreams, half-remembered dreams, the condition of my fingernails, the temperature at any given moment, rain, things that grow, various spiritual ideas and philosophies (Taoist and Tibetan Buddhist especially), whatever the sky happens to looks like at the time, headaches, pulled muscles, other people’s writing, sweat, un-made beds, how much I cry, anything I can brush gently with my fingertips.
Are there any places you dream of travelling to and photographing?
Anywhere. It’s the going that creates the story. I have massive amounts of wanderlust.
On your tumblr, you share a lot of music. The songs you listen to and the poetry you write and the photographs you take all seem to have a dreamy, otherworldly feel about them. Do you find that the tone of the music inspires your art, or the opposite, in that through creating the art, you are drawn to similar music?
You asked me if this question makes sense: it totally does, and I think it’s a good observation of something I really hadn’t thought about until now. I would say it’s a combination of both. There’s nothing like the perfect song to lure the right words out of hiding. However, I think it’s usually the other way around; I share music because it fits in with what’s around it. As such, the music on my blog, although it includes many of my favourites, might not represent the entirety of my taste. I don’t listen to any one type of music in particular, or listen with the intention of being inspired to write. This morning I was jamming at the gym to Justin Bieber, and it was fantastic. Music is multifaceted awesome.
What advice would you give to your fifteen-year-old self? Did you imagine yourself to be in the place you are now at that age?
I think I was about fifteen when I bought my first camera with my own money: a 3.5-megapixel Canon Powershot. I remember because my mom got the 5-megapixel model but I could only afford the 3.5. I definitely had no idea photography would become so integral to my identity as a creative person, but I loved that tiny silver thing with all my heart.
As for advice, I would tell her to trust her instincts, and to not limit herself out of insecurity. I would also tell her to work harder in ballet class, but that’s a different story.

something about spring

to be honest,
i've always thought of spring
as the season that melts into summer
like an opening act before the real thing
but more and more, i'm recognizing it as its own entity
spring is patterned light from the windows
it's perfect weather
it's the intoxicating smell of grass on a soccer field
it's strawberry season again
and, yes, it is the anticipation, the excitement, the countdown
to summer


one day without shoes.

photo by my sister, chloe

left by katie, right by me

instagrams from our day

Katie and I went without shoes yesterday. We bared our feet while darting from class to class, pedalling our bikes, stepping on the occasional rock, and telling the story. Worth it? Most definitely.

Did you participate?
xo, abbey


spring style

Just a little spring-y outfit, perfect for these warm days. When the afternoon rolls around and my hair starts to plaster to my neck, I've found myself pulling it up into a messy bun and securing it all with a headscarf. Cute and functional--what could be better? Oh, and those moccasins? Never leave my feet. Ever.

much love,


on independence and relationships.

I’ve always been independent. That came out when I stepped on board a flight to Atlanta, tears trickling down my cheeks, that would ultimately take me to Jordan. I was gone for three months, and I was fine.

I have a boyfriend. That is weird to say, and weird to think about, and weird to talk about. I haven’t gotten used to having this other person who wants to spend time with me and wants to hang out on Monday nights and buys me tulips for my birthday.

This whole independent, I’m-fine-on-my-own thing is directly opposite what’s going on right now, particularly with having a boyfriend. (Yep. Still weird to say it.) I’m used to doing whatever I want. I mean, I have parents, of course, but for the most part, if I feel like staying home and reading, I can do that. If I want to hide in my room all evening long and listen to music, that’s okay. And now here he is, on his way to pick me up for dinner, and it’s so weird. I feel like part of me likes dating him, and the other part is just like, “go away, I need my space.” On Saturday night, I spent two hours at a park with my best friend. We sat on the swings and ate ice cream and talked. It’s been a long time since I’ve really talked with her about everything that’s going on. In those two hours, we covered everything from him, my plans for next year, and her family. That, also, was weird in a good way. I’m not used to telling her everything, and it was strange to let it all out, and tell her everything that’s going on.

Maybe it’s the independence that’s a part of me, or maybe it’s just not wanting to make myself vulnerable, but that’s what’s been happening lately: dinners at his house, intense conversations on the swing sets, and maybe trading some of that independence for something better.

Have there been any changes for the better in your life recently?