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!