Currently || sarahesh.blogspot.com
Photos by VAL Photography

Reading:  Bread + Wine by Shauna Niequist.  In her book, Shauna states that there are two kinds of people in this world: Those who wake up thinking about what they will have for supper and those who don't.  I don't. But this book is so captivation! and it might be turning me into a foodie, albeit a mild one. My Aunt, LaReta, recommended this book several times, and now that I am part way into it, I know why. The art of celebration is weaved through this book of essays on family relationships, friendship and the meals that bring us together. Shauna writes about creating a relaxed and homey atmosphere for your guests whether you serve boxed frozen pizza or make the most gourmet of meals from scratch.  This book is leaving me inspired and wanting to host dinner parties again and again. 

 I would definitely recommend this book.

Loving: Fair Trade everything! I was gifted with this bag and this mug and a gift card which I spent on this necklace for my birthday. And then Christmas came and so did this scarf and another gift card to spend at Ten Thousand Villages.

I have always been intrigued with Fair Trade items. The global style draws me in, and knowing that the product purchased is supporting someones livelihood is empowering, but recently ethical fashion, and even more, learning and living an ethical lifestyle has become an obsession. I am still on this journey and I'm nowhere near perfect, but I am becoming more and more aware of how and where things are manufactured, and it is impacting my purchasing decisions.

It is time we remake the fashion of fashion and start bringing into vogue putting people first. 

Dreaming:  Up an Etsy shop. More details to come later on...

Wishing:  My sister, Kate, would hurry home from India. In the past week I've probably reached for my phone at least half a dozen times to text her about things only she would understand, and then I remember, she's living it up traveling the world and won't respond. 

Thinking About:  A new word for the New Year. My choice for 2014 was Be Still. I chose it because I wanted to remember to soak in the moment and stop pushing ahead so hard. I wanted to still my heart and calm my soul. I feel like that phrase was tried again and again and again, because looking back it wasn't a very calm year. It was a hard year, full of growth and change and chaos. But it was good.

For 2015 I want a word that encourages me to take risks and pursue my dreams. I want a word that embraces the moment and seizes the day. I want a word that is calm yet on fire. Are there any words like that?

Listening:  To Sarah McLachlan's Christmas album.

Watching:  It's a Wonderful Life. Every year around Christmas time, my family gathers to watch this classic. And every year I like it more and more. I introduced it to Herm our first Christmas together and it has now become our little family tradition as well. It's one of the handful of movies I am willing add to my collection and watch again.  If you haven't already seen it, please do! I don't think you'll regret it. 

Trying:  To make French Macarons. If I'm honest, I did approach this with an I got this attitude. I had read several recipes and watched a few Youtube tutorials also. Everyone said these are finicky cookies, and that it would probably take several attempts before you perfect them. But I was pretty sure it couldn't be that hard.

They were a fail, folks.

I piped the batter out onto the tray, and they got a little bit bigger than I intended. I waited 45 minutes and then baked them. My recipe said to bake for 12-13 minutes. When the timer went at 12 minutes, they still looked pretty gooey, so I left them in the oven for 3 more minutes. They had feet, which is what every blog on Macarons says that you want, and they edges were crispy... I didn't want to over bake them. So I pulled them out and when they cooled they were a flat, gooey delicious Tiramisu mess. 

But an Instagram friend came to my rescue and shared a bunch of tips and tricks to perfecting the Macaron. She makes them to sell, so I know that she knows what she is talking about! I will try again. 

What about you? I would love to hear about things that are currently going on in your life!

P.S. If I would have an "Eating" prompt, it would be: Peanut butter, straight from the jar. And if hashtags and blogs would go together, I would add: #unashamed



Eucharisteo : Thanksgiving 

Eucharisteo || sarahesh.blogspot.com

Number one on the list: Record daily things I am grateful for

I truly believe that a contented and thankful spirit requires intentional gratitude. It doesn't just happen. Bowing my head before a meal and whispering a quick thanks won't make thanksgiving spill over into my heart. 

I know this personally.

     9. For a chubby little boy who depends on me for his every need
     10. For slobbery wet kisses
     11. Sunshine and yard work and long afternoon naps

I purchased a blank notebook and began recording last June. My heart was heavy and angry and I was so tired of being tired. It wasn't a physical tired that I felt, it was emotional. A soul drained. Empty. Lacking.

I chose to write only positive things in that book. It wouldn't know my frustrations or the causes behind my anger. But perhaps ink soaking into the crisp pages things of thankfulness my heart would change.

A habit began to form. The more I recorded, the more I noticed.

     65. Tom + Hannelore
     66. Spontaneous swimming ventures with Aleah after blueberry picking in the heat of the day
     67. Story-time 

Summer was busy. There were days where the notebook was neglected. Recording wasn't a miracle pill, but my drained soul slowly began to feel alive again.

     95. For Herm. Always, Herm
     96. Foggy Monday mornings and the sun shining through
     110. For passports and plans of travel with my Mahlon and mini-Mahlon
     111. Clean laundry; washed, dried, folded, and put away

Summer turned to Autumn and days where I hammered into my journal of gratitude became fewer and fewer. Not because I wasn't thankful, I was. Life was still very busy and I didn't work hard enough to keep it a priority.

Then tragedy. And after five long weeks of fighting, the life of my childhood friend was whisked away. "Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Give thanks, even is this? How? I still don't have the answers. I need time to learn how to give hard eucharisteo.

So I picked up the book One Thousand Gifts and began to read it again; to soak in the poetic lines of grace and thankfulness in both good and bad. "Who would ever know the greater graces of comfort and perseverance, mercy and forgiveness, patience and courage, if no shadows fell over a life?"  

I reach for a pen, and with determined force I hammer again because joy is not the absence of suffering. Joy is the presence of God.

     176. Seasons, one fading in to another. Ever changing. Ever glorious.
     177. Laughter and delight that one so young adds to life
     178. Rainbows; a promise of hope, of sovereignty, of healing


15. Learn to Knit or Crochet and Make a Scarf

15. Learn to Knit or Crochet and Make a Scarf || sarahesh.blogspot.com

Knitting and crocheting was not for me. I gave up on both before I even tried to learn. It was too girly, too housewife-y. I threw it into the pile of domestic skills I would never attempt. Gardening, canning, sewing, knitting and crochet - they all ended up in that pile.

"Just admit it, you were a bit feminist..." my sister said the other day as we were reminiscing our childhood. Her point was valid; the only reason I refused to learn any of those skills was because it was considered woman's work and I hated that term with a passion. It felt so unfair, so degrading. Why was cleaning and laundry and preparing meals tasks that I had to do, but my brothers didn't need to help out at all? They contributed to the mess, they added to the laundry pile, they ate their fill and then some.  Unfair I tell you. Unfair.

Years have gone by and I've become less vocal in my feministic ideas. I still hate the term woman's work and I cannot stand when someone is referred to as a housewife simply because they are not pursuing a "professional career" at the moment. I still firmly believe that learning to clean and do laundry and cook meals are equally important for both male and female. My sons will have to help out with those chores. But my attitude has changed in regards to refusing to learn those domestic skills simply because they are considered to be woman's work, which brings us to number 15 on the 23 before 24 list.

18. Learn to Knit or Crochet and Make a Scarf

I have several friends who are super talented at knitting and crochet. They make the cutest little hats for babies, the warmest chunky scarves for themselves, and the overly ambitious ones even make throw blankets. I see their gorgeous creations and I feel intimated and inspired. I want to be like them.

I chose to make a scarf because it seemed fairly straightforward. Because I am left-handed I decided to search Youtube for videos that could teach me the basics instead of asking my right-handed grandma or my right-handed friends. There are countless tutorials, some are long and detailed, others are short and to the point. I like short and to the point. This is the tutorial that I used for my scarf.

I worked on the scarf after Thanksgiving dinner while chatting with my aunts. I worked on the scarf in the evenings while Herm watched Duck Dynasty or Midwest Whitetail. I worked on the scarf while waiting for a batch of granola to finish baking. I worked on the scarf while traveling. I worked on the scarf while... okay, you get the idea. Maybe this domestic stuff isn't so bad after all.

I am pleased with the finished project. If I had it to do over again, I would make the scarf slightly wider and not quite so long. It's an infinity scarf, so instead of wrapping it twice like I had planned to, I wrap it around three times. It's super chunky and warm. And it's red. I love red.

A second scarf has been started with the leftover yarn. It'll be a gift for someone... and the next time I get to a craft store or yarn shop, I will be stocking up, because, um, one can never have too many scarves. Especially if you live in the north where winter lasts for six months, like I do.

Also, my aunt offered to teach me how to knit a beret style hat with Alpaca wool. I'm so excited!

If you are a newbie to crochet, like me, I would recommend choosing a light colored yarn. It was hard to see the stitches with the dark red. Also, your project won't take nearly as long as mine did if you go with a chunky yarn and large hook. Hindsight is 20/20.

Do you like to crochet or knit? Are you a conservative feminist too?
I would love to hear your thoughts!


Gift Well

Christmas is right around the corner.

Gift Well || sarahesh.blogspot.com

I know this because my email inbox is overflowing with holiday gift ideas and last minute sales and free shipping offers. I know this because friends keep mentioning how good it feels to have all their gifts purchased and wrapped already. I know this because I've barely started shopping.

Hi, my name is Sarah and I am a gift-giving procrastinator.

I realize that I am really not the most qualified person to write a gift guide. However, being less-than-qualified isn't going to stop me from sharing a few of my favorite gift ideas...

I love fair trade. I love knowing that what is being purchased is giving back to a person, a family, a community. I also love homemade and the time and thought that was put into the item to be gifted. 

So without further ado, here are the ideas you have all been waiting for:

Mamuye Tote // Live FashionABLE

Blue Waters Mug // Ten Thousand Villages

Chunky Scarf // Homemade

Earrings // Noonday Collection

The Irene Wallet // Live FashionABLE

Dark Chocolate // Amazon

Brown Sugar Scrub // Homemade

Baby Hat // Homemade

Thomas Train Table // Homemade

If you need even more ideas search #giftwell on Instagram.

And there you have it! I feel like my Christmas shopping is already finished. :)


A Series of Unfortunate Events + Chatter

Have you ever wished for something, only to find yourself occasionally wanting to go back and reword that wish after it was granted?

A Series of Unfortunate Events + Chatter || sarahesh.blogspot.com
Photo by Lydia

When I was pregnant with Carson and working at a little cafe, customers would often ask if I wanted a boy or a girl. My response was always, "I would love to have an energetic and mischievous little boy..." I knew a little girl would be precious too, but loud and rowdy little boys capture my heart like nothing else can. 

My wish was granted.

I love early mornings. I love waking up before the sun and starting my day off with a few quiet minutes and some strong coffee. I love doing a short workout of some sort and eating a healthy breakfast. I love doing all of this alone, before the Little Mister wakes. 

It doesn't often go as planned.

It's 6 am. I try to crawl out of bed without waking Carson. He begins to stir and snuggles in even closer. I wait. Ten minutes later I try again. He stirs. I wait. Finally at 6:20 am we both get out of bed because we can't handle the puddle of wetness surrounding us. The 12 hour protection advertised on the box of LUVS diapers has expired. 

I change the Little Man and stripped the sheets off of the bed. I trudge down the basement stairs, sheets and baby in hand. As I am adjusting the washer settings and adding laundry soap I hear clatter. The dog food dish has been turned upside down and is now being used as a drum. Morsels of dog food are crunched under the weight of my bare feet as we make our way back up the stairs.

Instead of attempting the desired morning routine, I begin to tackle my mental to-do list. Maybe I can get a few things crossed off and when Carson goes down for his nap I can enjoy those precious quiet moments and a long hot shower. 

  • Start laundry
  • Empty dishwasher
  • Take out the trash
  • Wash the dining room windows
  • Wax

Waxing. It needs done and I've been procrastination for far too long. I warm the little pot of painful goo in the microwave. Carson is entertaining himself with toys. The timer beeps. I stir the contents and put it back in again for another minute or two. The timer beeps again, this time I know it's ready. But just as I open the microwave and start pulling the pot of hot wax out, Carson walks by and hits the microwave door. The door bumps my hand, causing the overly heated wax to splash out onto my hand, the microwave, the cabinet and the floor. The next 20 minutes was spent scraping wax off of my burnt hand, peeling skin away too, off the floor, and off of the microwave. Large amounts are still clinging to the cabinet as I type. 

As I was scrubbing everything, Carson was cleaning out cupboards and rearranging my house, he doused his dry Cheerios with water and began unplugging cords from receptacles. Next up was attempting to un-pot my potted house plants and clearing the nightstands of all decor and pulling the lights off of our tree. He knows that he isn't suppose to do any of those things. When I tell him to stop, he grins real big and take off running. 

It's only 8:30 am and I'm already wishing for a nap. It's been a long day. The word "no" has escaped my lips at least 100 times. This is when I remember saying, "I would love an energetic and mischievous little boy..."

I want my Little Man to be all boy, I want him to be energetic and lively. I want him to be curious and explore the world... But I also want him to be well behaved and I want my house to stay in order. Tell me, can these traits be mixed?

In other news:

Number 18. Learn to Knit or Crochet and Make a Scarf // IS COMPLETE!

A Series of Unfortunate Events + Chatter || sarahesh.blogspot.com

We got our tree and I've been Decking the Halls + Decking the "Hoshy." (the deer.)

A Series of Unfortunate Events + Chatter || sarahesh.blogspot.com

A Series of Unfortunate Events + Chatter || sarahesh.blogspot.com

A Series of Unfortunate Events + Chatter || sarahesh.blogspot.com

A Series of Unfortunate Events + Chatter || sarahesh.blogspot.com

And... Cousin love.

A Series of Unfortunate Events + Chatter || sarahesh.blogspot.com
Photo by Lydia


Happy Birthday Little Man!

Happy Birthday Little Man! || sarahesh.blogspot.com

One year and one day ago I woke up earlier than usual for a Sunday morning. It was cold and wintry out; even the air in our house felt crisp.

I grabbed our bags to finish some last minute packing...

Opening day of Rifle Season was on Monday, and as is tradition with the Esh family, we were all heading to the cabin in northern Pennsylvania for a few days over that time. The guys would be out hunting and us ladies and the children would enjoy the warmth of the wood stove and endless amounts of coffee and hot chocolate back at the cabin.

But something felt different. Was today the day? I still had ten days until my due date. Everyone told me to add at least another week on to that time because first-time moms always go over.

Going to the cabin is a major highlight for Herm. He had excitement in his voice whenever we talked about it. A few weeks prior I had jokingly told him that I would make the almost three hour trek down there with him, but that he first had to sign a contract saying that he would play the role of midwife if needed.

Did something actually feel different? Should we stay home? My body didn't feel at all like my own in the past eight months. There was probably nothing to worry about. I had learned that in pregnancy expect the unexpected.

I casually mentioned to Herm what had happened. He continued to load the luggage onto the truck.

We were going to the cabin.

I silently tucked a few blankets, sleepers, diapers, and a cap into the side pocket of our suitcase. I just had this nagging feeling...

As we were traveling I began Google what had happened. Maybe my water really did break? I thought it would be a bit more obvious. Like a gush of liquid? A small river? A mighty ocean perhaps?

Happy Birthday Little Man! || sarahesh.blogspot.com

Before long I lost cell phone service and was left with a bunch of unanswered questions.

When we arrived at the cabin I pulled my sister-in-law, Anne, aside. She has six children... She would give me the comfort I needed. She confirmed what I knew in my heart all along.

I was in labor.

The rest of the family was just sitting down to eat breakfast. We enjoyed the meal with them. But as soon as the dishes were cleared, Anne and I drove out to the nearest town, fifteen minutes away, so that I could contact my midwife and let her know what was going on. I tried to call her. I tried to text her. But the service wasn't strong enough. I couldn't get through. Finally in the library parking lot I found internet connection. I sent a brief message to her on Facebook. Within a matter of minutes I had a reply, "COME HOME NOW!"

We said our good-bye's to a shocked group of people. Yes folks, we drove three hours, ate breakfast with Herm's family, and immediately turned around and drove three more hours home again.

It was almost 4:30 pm when we finally reached home and not a minute to soon. Snow was falling heavily.

My midwife suggested I walk for a while to try to speed things up. So Herm and I bundled up and drove down to a big parking lot near our home. We walked in circles, well over a mile, in that parking lot as the snow was falling and the air was crisp. A college security guard asked us if we were okay. We probably did look a bit strange.

When we got back to the house, I walked stairs for a while, Herm supporting me through contractions. I just want to sit, I told him. I was exhausted. We heard a loud popping sound; there was that river I was expecting.

After that things really sped up. The birthing pool was filled with warm water and not too long after we called our midwife. She arrived sometime after midnight and coached us through the rest of labor. At 3:52 am Carson was born.

There are no words to describe the joy and elation I felt as he was placed into my arms. My heart was bursting with love. I couldn't help but stare at him. I was overcome with newborn bliss.

We waited for him. We prayed for him. HE WAS FINALLY HERE!

It's so hard to believe that he is actually a year old already. Where has the time gone? But in the same breath, I will also say that it feels as though Carson has been a part of our little family forever. He adds so much joy to our lives. We feel so blessed to be his parents.

Happy Birthday Little Man! || sarahesh.blogspot.com

Happy birthday, bud!


18. Try a New Dish

It feels so good to start crossing things off the list. I get a warm + fuzzy sensation in my heart as black ink soaks into the page, checking off the completed box. Okay, maybe that feeling has more to do with being in love and less to do with the list. Moving on...

18. Try a New Dish || sarahesh.blogspot.com

Number 18: Try a New Dish. I know I've mentioned it before on the blog, or perhaps it was my Instagram feed, either way, working in the kitchen is not my first love. I do it out of necessity; my family needs to eat. I prepare simple, healthy meals. Anything that takes more than 30 minutes of hands on time is ridiculous and doesn't often happen.

Two years ago, newly married, and overly ambitious, I searched Pinterest for recipe ideas that I was sure to make. One, among many, was Jamaican Patties. 

A popular lunch or snack item, these are a pastry pocket filled with curried beef, chicken or veggies. Often they are served with delicious coco bread. When I lived in Jamaica, this was something I ate often. It was affordable and oh so good! 

On Saturday, as I was searching my recipe pin board for something new and challenging to make, I noticed way at the bottom of the board the link for those Jamaican Patties. That was the one. I opened the link, browsed the ingredients, and went shopping for the only item I didn't have in my pantry - vegetable shortening. Everything else was on hand. 

I prepared the pastry dough. As that was chilling in the fridge, I mixed the meat filling. Like always, I did not stick to the recipe. It called for ground beef; I used venison and black beans instead. I also added hot sauce and a bit more curry seasoning. The salt was eliminated, and Italian seasoning was sprinkled in. After taste testing the mixture several times, it was finally perfect. 

The dough was rolled out into small circles, the meat mixture was spread over half of it, and then I folded the dough over to form a pocket and crimped the edges with a fork. After brushing each pastry with the egg wash, the tray was placed in the oven and the magic began.

Scents can be nostalgic. Smelling the curry wafting through my kitchen as the pastries baked brought back so many precious memories of that warm sunny island in the West Indies. A little bit of homesickness washed over me.

The timer beeped; I pulled the tray out of the oven and a squeal of delight probably escaped my lips. The patties looked perfect! Let me tell you folks, they did not disappoint! The crust was flaky and the filling burst with flavor. I opted to serve them with a spinach salad instead of coco bread. It was healthier and it meant less time in the kitchen. Win. Win.

I'm not sure why it took me two years and a birthday list to complete these, but I am so glad I finally tried. This is a recipe I will keep on file and use again, although it won't be on a regular basis, simply because it took well over thirty minutes to prepare and, as you already know, I just don't do that. 

You can find that amazing recipe, along with many other Jamaican gems here. Try it folks, you will be so glad you did.


23 before 24

23 Before 24 || sarahesh.blogspot.com

Inspired, as always, by my sister, Kate, I came up with a 23 before 24 list. In short, this is a list of 23 goals that I would like to accomplish before I turn 24. Unlike a bucket list, I want these goals to be specific and realistic. I want some of them to be fun and free, but I would like most to be challenging and grow me as a wife, a mom, a daughter, a sister, and a friend.

As I accomplish each of these goals, I plan to blog about it...

So here it goes:

1. Record daily things I am grateful for
Because a thankful, contented spirit requires cultivating with intention.

2. Blog once per week for the next year

3. Visit an elderly person (who isn't a relative)
There is so much wisdom to be gained from those who journeyed before us. Honor them; respect them; befriend them; learn from them.

4. Donate blood
This is something I've attempted before, but because of all of the traveling I did as a teen, I never was considered safe enough to donate blood. It has been about two years since I was out of the United States (other than Canada) so I am going to try again.

5. Learn basic floral arrangement
To stop and smell the roses.

6. Participate in one group workout with an instructor
I enjoy challenging myself physically, solo. A little group competition would be good for this introvert-ish soul.

7. Take up gardening
To become more like my mom.

8. Visit a new state
Or province or country.

9. Make French macaroons
I've never had one... I don't even know if they are good. But I have heard they are daunting and require precision. I am not precise; this will not be easy. 

10. Read twelve non-fiction books
This should be fairly easy.

11. Write 52 love notes to one man

12. Break my long distance run record
Once upon a time I was planning to run a full marathon, and someday I will. But this year I just need to run at least 16 miles. 

13. Learn about and use my SLR camera
A great photographer once said, "The best camera is the one you use." But I say, "Move over iPhone. You ain't got nothing on a Canon." Hello Sarah. Practice what you preach. That camera is getting dusty.

14. Hand write a note to someone who inspires me

15. Learn to knit or crochet and make a scarf

16. Bike around Seneca Lake
I've relayed raced those 77.7 miles twice. Now it's time to bike it as well.  

17. Take a personal retreat
Whether a day, a long weekend, or a week, some personal time would be refreshing. 

18. Try a new dish
Hello Pakistani restaurant, here I come! ... oh wait, you mean I actually have to prepare it?

19. Go hunting
Archery, muzzleloader or thrift shopping. All three count. Yes they do.

20. Explore downtown Rochester

21. Take dancing lessons with my man
As a rule, most Mennonites and Baptists don't dance very well. (Folks, we need all the help we can get.) Besides, it would be a fun couple of date nights. 

22. Make fresh mozzarella from scratch
Again, to become more like my mom.

23. Go paddle boarding
I live in the Finger Lakes region of New York. There is water all around me... let's make good use of it and try something new, shall we?


A Tribute to Ev

It was such an honor to be asked to share memories of my friendship with Ev at his funeral yesterday. The service was a beautiful memorial to a life lived with passion and love for people and for God. To know Ev, to be his friend since childhood, was a blessing. He is sorely missed - but the fact that he is with the Father and is completely well is glory. 

A Tribute to Ev || sarahesh.blogspot.com

Dear Ev,

I wish I would have been asked to share memories of our childhood at your wedding reception or thirtieth birthday party. Reminiscing those years with you, both of us digging up childhood antics and reliving them together would be my choice. I want to hear the stories from your point of view too.

Our friendship started 22 years ago - with our parents being such close friends, it was only natural that we, too, would be friends.

I remember a time where you and I weren't quite cool enough to keep up with our older brothers, so when they deserted us, we started our own club. I was the bossy president and you were the member who had to pay an initiation fee. You obliged. However, willingly? I'm not sure.

We spent countless hours out in the hay loft of that dairy barn. We built forts among the hay bales, complete with tunnels and dead ends and booby traps. We played cops and robbers, freeze tag, and broom sock out there. Burying each other in the soybeans, freshly harvested, still in the grain wagon and walking through those cow pies, soft and warm, letting the smelly contents squish between our toes was pure bliss. I think I even convinced you that mud puddles taste sort of like chocolate milk if you are thirsty enough. The kitchen tap was a good 200 yards away, and we were so dehydrated that we wouldn't have made it that far.

Summers were spent swimming in the pond, playing king of the raft or having diving and flipping competitions with our brothers. We would beg our moms to let us go out before lunch, and as soon as lunch was over we would be begging to go out again. The thirty minutes we had to wait so our food would settle before swimming was an eternity in our ten year old minds.

In the winter we were back on the pond, although this time we were bundled up and playing hockey on the ice.

One summer day I was at your house when you got home from school. You were going to ride in the combine with your dad and invited me along. Climbing into the cab barefoot, I somehow managed to pinch my big toe in the door, immediately the nail turned black and eventually fell off. You were so worried about me and kept asking if I was okay.

I could go on and on with memories of those carefree days, of "night out" every other Friday, where you and your siblings would come to my house or vice verse, so that our parents could enjoy a date night without the trouble of finding a babysitter, of biking the Outlet trail on Sunday afternoons, of riding the four wheeler at full speed through the fields.

Peers would tease you about me, and you were quick to tell them that I was a girl and I was a friend, but I was not your girlfriend.

Our friendship did change as we reached our teenage years. While we no longer did everything together, we still hung out with the same group of friends and saw each other often. You had such a quirky sense of humor and could always make me laugh. You also had a very caring heart and put effort into relationships. To many of us, you were a very close friend.

As we got back to your house after riding in the combine that day I pinched my toe, you proudly told your older brothers that I was the bravest girl you knew, because even though it hurt like crazy, I didn't cry at all. Ev, today I am trying so hard to be brave, but the pain of losing you, my closest childhood friend, is so much greater than anything I have ever experienced physically and the tears won't stop coming no matter how hard I try to hold them back.

Your life has been such an inspiration to me. You lived those 22 years with passion and energy, and I wish I would have told you how much I admire you before you were gone. Because of you, I want to grow in relationships; because of you, I want live more fully.

I love you. I miss you.




Currently || sarahesh.blogspot.com

Reading:  I recently finished Fashion to Reign: Empowering Women to Fulfill Their Divine Destiny, by Kris Vallotton, and let me tell you, it is so good!  I won't go into detail here - it's one of those books that you have to read for yourself, and not just accept my view and opinion on the matter.  I first found out about this book through listening to this podcast. In a matter of seven days I listened to that episode three times over. There was so much information to grasp and contemplate and search out for myself. I highly recommend both the book and the podcast episode.

I am currently reading Eight Twenty Eight by Ian + Larissa Murphy. 

Loving:  This weather! Cool crisp mornings, sunny afternoons, the smell of ripening grapes, cozy layers, leather ankle booties, hot lattes, speckles of burnt orange and golden yellow kissing the greenery... Autumn has always been my favorite time of year. 

Dreaming:  Fitfully. I just want a solid night's sleep again. Up until teething, Carson had been sleeping well at night... now, not so much. Hello dark circles under the eyes. 

Wishing:  To relive our west coast trip. (Future blog post, perhaps.) The vacation was so refreshing, the rugged beauty breath-taking, and the quality time with my two favorites was what this heart of mine longed for. 

Thinking About:  Ethical fashion, cultivating a capsule wardrobe, and life lived with intention and contentment. I feel like this, too, could be an entire blog post.

In the mean time, check out this blog for information on how truly beautiful and practical a capsule wardrobe can be. I LOVE Caroline's style -- I could wear any of her outfit combinations and feel perfectly myself. 
I also like this Youtube channel for minimalist inspiration. And last but not least, isn't this shop so fun? I am drooling over that Mamuye tote in Cognac. 

Listening:  To Adurey Assad on repeat. I especially love this song

Watching:  Nothing movie wise. Remember the last time I did a post like this? I talked about going to see Mom's Night Out... well, that was the last time I watched a movie. (That was back in May, folks.) I keep trying to convince Herm to do a movie night with me, but he refuses. Any suggestions for non-boring-non-chic-flick-lots-of-action-and-suspense movies that I won't fall asleep to so that we can do a movie night? 

Trying:  To vamp up my workout routine now that summer is over. I did well with staying active throughout the summer with running regularly and a few kettlebell and HIIT rountines thrown in the mix. However, I would like to take it up a notch or two now that we're moving into fall and winter months. Do you have any favorite workouts? I love changing things up, so I am always on the lookout for new routines... Do share!


DIY: The Kitchen Project

This post is way over-due. My kitchen has been "finished" for over a year already. I think its definitely time I document it. 

Let's get started, shall we?

DIY: The Kitchen Project || sarahesh.blogspot.com

I met Herm the weekend he came up to New York to have closing on his house. I think it was probably a good thing that he had already purchased the property before we were married, because honestly I don't think I would have seen the potential that he saw. The stench of smoke, the yellowed walls, and the cigarette burns in the carpet would have kept me from noticing the gorgeous lake view. The mounds of garbage littering the yard and the overgrown flowerbeds would have distracted me from the stream with several waterfalls running through the woods.

 When Herm was on the market for a house friends had mentioned this place to him. He said he looked at the ad and knew he would never buy it, but came to check it out anyhow. When he pulled into the drive a herd of deer were in the front yard and Keuka Lake was sparkling in the distance. I'm not even sure if he noticed the many imperfections after that. This place was a hunters paradise and he knew it was the one

Thanksgiving of 2011 the entire Esh family came up to help Herm get the house cleaned up so that he could move in. They spent hours scrubbing and wiping and painting. Bless them!

DIY: The Kitchen Project || sarahesh.blogspot.com
This is before they cleaned. The place was trashed.

About nine months later we were married. 

The house was very livable by the time I moved in, but it was a man-cave through and through, so I went to work and started adding my touch to the place. There are still days when all I see is the cigarette burned carpets and wonder how much longer it'll be until we can remodel... but when I look over these pictures and see just how far it has come I am amazed. I love this house and I love the man who saw potential and knew this was were he wanted to start a family. <3

DIY: The Kitchen Project || sarahesh.blogspot.com
This was after I moved in, but before I painted

I didn't want to spend a lot of money redoing our kitchen, because our long-term goal is the remodel the entire house, but the cabinets and counter tops drove me crazy! They were a cheap yellowy-beige Formica that screamed early 90's. In general I don't enjoy working in the kitchen, but I do spend a lot of time there, so I was determined to figure out a way to change the cabinets and counter-tops that was affordable. I was shooting for less than $100.

DIY: The Kitchen Project || sarahesh.blogspot.com
Prep work is so time consuming. This stage was pretty intense.

I love the look of concrete, but I do realize that it's pretty time consuming, and from what I've heard, its tricky to perfect as well. Pinterest was my go-to research tool. I found tons of tutorials and blogs and ideas on there. One of the blogs I found showed a beautiful kitchen makeover - including painted counter tops that looked like concrete! I decided to give it a try. Check out this blog post if you want to see what kind of paint I used. Just be warned: It's NASTY stuff. Herm and I painted the counter tops one evening and then promptly left for the weekend. When we returned the house still smelled horrible.

DIY: The Kitchen Project || sarahesh.blogspot.com
Look at the difference! Much, much better.

Another thing I wanted in my kitchen was a subway tile back splash. I priced tile out at Lowes and knew it would be too expensive. My sister, Kate, is super talented; she paints, she draws, she sews, she does carpentry, she's a photographer, and she's single ;-). That said, I started bugging her about painting tile for me. She was willing to help out. I painted the entire back splash area white, then she put extremely thin painters tape on the walls in a tile pattern and started blending shades of grey and green over top. After she was finished, we pulled off the painters tape and... tada! We had tile with grout. Kate's brilliant. 

DIY: The Kitchen Project || sarahesh.blogspot.com

DIY: The Kitchen Project || sarahesh.blogspot.com
Nobody is willing to take my word on the tile being paint.
They always need to touch it first.  

And finally, I wanted a coffee/wine bar. Our kitchen is really tiny with limited counter top work space. There was an awkward spot by the fridge where there could have been more work space, but all it boasted was a trash can. So, again I went to someone super talented with another idea... I asked Herm to build a cabinet for me where I could have the coffee grinder and coffee pot, along with my espresso machine on top, and where the microwave could be stored out of sight, because we really don't use it often and it was taking up so much room on the counter. 

Don't you love when you have an idea of what the project will look like and after it's all finished it looks so much better than what you even imaged? Me too!   

DIY: The Kitchen Project || sarahesh.blogspot.com

DIY: The Kitchen Project || sarahesh.blogspot.com
The wood was reclaimed from an old barn. We first used it
to make a table for our bridal party to use at our wedding,
and then Herm used it again to make this. He also put
a piece of glass on top of the wood for easy clean up.

The shelf above the coffee bar was made out of old metal handrails that were attached to our garage and an old piece of lumber.

DIY: The Kitchen Project || sarahesh.blogspot.com

Oh, one more thing... The island area of our kitchen boarders the living and dining room. (it's an open floor plan.) Whenever we host people, we always end up hanging out around the kitchen, so we decided that instead of just having a wall area to lean on, we should make a bar area to sit at. Herm is an artist through and through. He went to work and made a butchers block counter top for the bar. It was all reclaimed lumber that he stripped down into thin sections and glued together. It added the final touch our little kitchen needed to be cozy and enjoyable. 

DIY: The Kitchen Project || sarahesh.blogspot.com

Do you have any DIY tricks of your own? I would love to hear them!




Sabrina || sarahesh.blogspot.com

I was filing for her adoption, wading through mountains of paperwork, due dates, deadlines. We were back on that tiny island in the West Indies that I use to call home.

At the orphanage, she was still bound to the same broken-down toddler stroller that she using when I lived there over three years ago. Bed sheets tied about her ankles and waist held her captive. Her seven year old gangly legs where much too long for the stroller; she was in need of an upgrade, she was in need of a child's wheel chair.

We searched the island, but to no avail. There simply wasn't a chair suitable for her. I recruited prayer warriors, asking them to plead our case to the Father. He knew this child needed love, He knew this child needed a place to called home. With us she could live a better life, one where she would be loved. One where her days could be spent in a wheel chair fitted to her frame and where at night she could sleep without being tied to the baluster of the infant crib prison she currently lived in. 

I was on my way to a meeting with CDA. We were going to find out if Sabrina would be coming to live with us, to be our precious daughter... 

That's when I woke up. It was all a dream.

The dream didn't effect my usual morning routine. I fed Carson, started the laundry, emptied the dishwasher, and laced up my running shoes... during my run, flashbacks of the dream kept coming to me. All I could think of was precious Sabrina and all of the other Sabrina-children out there. The physically and mentally handicap children who are living a life that's pure hell. 

I don't know what sparked this dream so vivid. Was it from the Facebook status's of friends of mine who are currently in the midst of an adoption in Jamaica? Was it because I recently read a quote by a disabled man who said that being disabled in the States is equivalent to living in a third world country? Was it from my conversation with a local artist, who happens to be handicap, earlier this week? Whatever the reason for the dream, I know that it shook me. 

It made me aware again.

It made me desire change. Change in my life and in the way I treat people. It made me want to be more than just kind and courteous to everyone. I want to be a difference maker.

I have mulled over that dream all week long, which makes me realize it was more than coincidence. 

It was God speaking, reminding me...  Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. || Matthew 25:40

PLEASE NOTE: Sabrina lived in a children's home with a lot of other children between the ages of newborn and eight. All of the children there were cared for and loved on by an amazing team of ladies and men on staff and volunteers as well. While her situation was less than ideal, she was bound to her stroller or crib for her own personal safety, as she often had spills and head bumps onto the tile floor and elsewhere. One on one attention would have been amazing for her, but as it was, the staff was stretched thin among the very active toddlers and school aged children. Please know that I am not in any way discrediting the work of the children's home through this post. I just feel my dream about Sabrina was to awaken me to the situations around me no matter where I am, whether its here in the States or oversees.  


Little Man

Little Man || sarahesh.blogspot.com

Little Man, seven months old already? And what a joy-filled seven months it has been!

I haven't done the most amazing job at documenting your little milestones. Although I attempted, the journal has only an entry or two and that list of "firsts" that I keep on my iPhone is outdated by a few months. I won't give up though... I am trying again.

At seven months you are very mobile, but crawling is too babyish for you and often you insist on grabbing on to my hands so that you can walk around. You have started to pull yourself up and you are really good at sitting up alone. Ice cream is your food of choice and you aren't very fond of the sweet potatoes I cooked for you; obviously you are your fathers child. 

I am almost certain your first word is 'Mama', although you haven't used it in context yet. (Stop saying it when you're looking at Rambo. Just stop.) You'll get there.

You are very high energy and can be headstrong. I hope you keep both of those traits throughout your childhood and into your adult life. I know that probably means a lot of extra work and prayer on the part of your dad and I, but when cultivated, those traits make for strong leaders and people of influence.

You are a happy little man. Except when you are teething. I am really hoping that tooth you are currently working on pops through soon - for your sake and mine.

You are the best little side-kick ever, always tagging along whether I am running or biking, gardening or cleaning, grocery shopping or cooking supper or just relaxing. You are teaching me more about God and His love for His children. Through guiding and teaching you I am learning... 

Like I said earlier, you have filled our lives with joy-overflowing. We treasure you.



Utterly Mundane

Utterly Mundane || sarahesh.blogspot.com

"We don't do very many grand and significant things in our life. Most of us will not be written up in history books. Most of us will only be remembered by family and perhaps a few friends. Most of us will be forgotten in two or three generations after our deaths. There simply are not many grand moments of life, and we surely don't live life in those moments. No, we live life in the utterly mundane. We exist in the bathrooms, bedrooms, living rooms, and hallways of life. This is where the character of our life is set. This is where we live the life of faith." 
- Paul Tripp, Age of Opportunity 

Utterly Mundane || sarahesh.blogspot.com

I had read that quote before, but it never really resonated with me until recently. 

One of my summer goals is to slow life down. To start enjoying each and every day to the fullest instead of always looking at what lays before me; to embrace where I am at and who I am with. 

I will work at resting.

Before you think that I am trying to justify day after day spent at the pool with a good book and iced coffee, hear me out.

Utterly Mundane || sarahesh.blogspot.com

In order to feel accomplished, I write out a to-do list and start crossing things off. A good day is often defined by the amount of projects I am able to scratch off the list. But having an active little child around causes even menial tasks to take longer. 

Utterly Mundane || sarahesh.blogspot.com

In the middle of what was an extremely busy week for me, I heard myself saying "just wait, mommy has to finish this first..." for the umpteenth time, as Carson sat among scattered toys, crying, arms stretch, reaching for me. 

I am making laundry and yard work and cleaning other peoples homes more important than my little boys needs. The thought hit me like a sack of bricks. I wasn't dealing with many deadlines or due dates, it was day to day tasks that could wait a few hours or even a few days. 

Utterly Mundane || sarahesh.blogspot.com

When my children are grown, I want to be able to reflect on their lives and remember the little everyday moments like rocking them to sleep and reading Guess How Much I Love You to them so often that I could recite it word for word without the book. I want to take them on adventures that they'll reminisce as adults. 

True accomplishment as a mom isn't keeping an immaculate home, never allowing the laundry to pile up, or having a weedless garden, but rather it is to love well; to be present; to instruct hearts; to give them Jesus.

Utterly Mundane || sarahesh.blogspot.com

 So to myself I propose this idea: 
The lists of projects can wait; there are making-memories lists to be checked off.