Ordinary Magic

dandi blueWe finally got around to mowing the yard yesterday—after the grass had grown tall enough to lose a cat or small child in…only sort of speaking from experience 8[

I had a hard time letting the dandelions go—though they be but weeds, are they not the most magical little weeds you’ve ever seen? I love their cottony hair and think they belong in a place more enchanted than my scruffy back yard.

dandi green

Our nephew spent a couple of days with us last week while his baby sister was being born. I’ve never seen so much delight in plucking up and blowing away the soft hair of “fufs” as he calls them.

magic{Code red cute alert}

photo bomb{Baby belly photo bomb}

He seemed to think the yellow ones were delicate and special—those he carried around carefully and gave to me sweetly while the “fufs” were shaken violently until all their wands of hair were blowing away in the wind to his endless delight.  I love him and I love that I’m not the only one delighted by weeds and dandelions and warm days spent knee-deep in the grass. If only we could all be two years old and see the world again the way he does.

We’re surrounded by ordinary magic—we just have to look past the weeds to see it.

Winter Hues





I don’t pull my camera out very often in the winter. I forget to look for the beauty and the magic when the world is cold and gray— when it seems like everything is dead or asleep until a warmer, better day.

But sometimes I remember to look. Sometimes the light pouring in the kitchen window catches my eye and the sun falling sleepily below the horizon beckons me to come outside and see.

Sometimes dead things frosted and glittering with snow and ice are as lovely as a winter flower, blooming and blossoming from the grave.



Katniss comes outside with me and tip toes through the snow while we hunt for pretty things.



And sometimes, when we are patient with the cold, we find a whole living world of green and gold growing in our own back yard.

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says ‘Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.’”   -Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

I Fell Asleep Under the Stars

We pack our things and run away to wide open spaces. We zip along from Massachusetts to Vermont. The people grow fewer and the trees multiply in number and variety and I always think it looks like God poured a packet of mixed seeds along the landscape and now trees and wild flowers pop up in colorful abundance.


We set up camp and sleep outdoors and it feels good to be close to the earth.




We sit under the trees and the sky and breathe in the outside air. The campfire smoke swirls around in our lungs and we are alive in this wild, outdoor space.


We gather around campfires and relax in the warmth of the mesmerizing flames.




We swim in the cold mountain water and tip toe along the river bed filling our pockets with river glass.





We ride bikes and stretch our legs and souls—shaking off the dust of life lived away from the woods.



I caught these sneaky little ninjas poking around my tent…



…And I couldn’t seem to shake the little savages….but as it turns out—I really, really love them.


God kissed the sky and it blushed pink at his touch.


And the sun set on our outdoor adventure for one more year and we all fell asleep under the starlit sky that seemed poked through with the light from another world.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

Thoreau, Walden Pond

Letter to a Younger Me

Dear 16 Year Old Kari,

This is 26 year old Kari—don’t freak out.

It’s been ten years. A lot has happened.


You finished high school. High five.

You went to and graduated from college. You started as a journalism major and finished with a degree in counseling because you didn’t like other people telling you how to write.

You are still paying for college 😦

You got married and you married well.

{This is your husband. He is hot. I can not describe to you how much you will love him}

You moved across the country to Massachusetts.

You’ve moved three times in Massachusetts and you’re not done yet.

You don’t have kids. They still scare you. But you finally got a cat…and sometimes she scares you too.

You colored your hair. Can you believe that? Me either.

You have to wear contacts because you see like an 80 year old woman without them. You had glasses but you lost them somewhere between Massachusetts and Missouri. The glasses were pink. You chose them from the children’s section (even though you were in your 20s) so it’s probably best that they got lost somewhere between here and there.

You don’t cry anymore. You will find it doesn’t help and one day, you’ll just stop.

There will be this thing called Facebook. You will join somewhere around your junior year of college.

In college a fellow journalism major will ask you what a “blog” is. You won’t know.

You will write a blog.

You will grow more confident about some things, more insecure about others. Security will be a life-long journey.

You still hate fish. I hope you always hate fish.

There will be little tiny phones called “cell phones.” People will walk around typing little tiny emails into their cell Phones—this is called “texting.”

You know that ghetto coffee shop called “Dunkin’ Donuts”? Embrace. Soon you will be best friends.

You will work at an aerospace company. I know, I can’t believe it either.

You will gain weight. Lay off on the Twinkies now doll.

You will always love taking pictures but  you won’t need film anymore.

You will tutor in math. Stop laughing. No, keep laughing because you will hate every second of it and laughing is the only thing that will get you through.

Indiana Jones is still hot.

For one year you will live in the cutest down town apartment with brick walls and wood floors. You will feel like a bird in a tree house and love every second of it.

Max Factor is going to go out of business so buy mascara like it’s the apocalypse baby.

Video stores are going to go out of business too but they will have this thing called “Netflix.”

You know that song by OneRepublic Chris made you listen to? Pay attention; they will become your favorite group.

You will find the world is much bigger than you think and you are wrong about many things.

You will have to say you’re sorry many times.

You will learn to say “I love you” but it will take much longer than you think.

If I could go back I would tell you:

Sleep now. Like, a lot.

Listen more. Talk less.

Breathe in the fresh country air; it will be hard to come by later.

You will get knocked down. You will get hurt. You will feel stupid and ugly. You will get back up.

You are not stupid or ugly.

Those guys you hope will notice you? They aren’t all you think they are. You are fine by yourself and there is a much better guy waiting for you.

You will never stop being afraid you will just learn to push through the fear to accomplish your dreams.

Don’t study so hard in college. Make time for people and build friendships. People will matter long after grades have been forgotten.

Don’t be so sarcastic all the time.

Don’t try to forget where you’re from. Your roots are important and you could never be who you are without them.

In some ways you will be very different. In some ways you will be exactly the same; this is the nature of growing up.

Life is not easy. People are mean. Not all of your dreams will come true.


Even though life will not turn out at all as you imagine, it will be fine.

You will be fine.

You will be just fine.


Your old wrinkled self

{26 Year Old Kari}

P.S. The world is supposed to end this year. I’ll write you in another 10 years and let you know how that goes down.

I Will Write You a Picture

I’ll write you a picture with my palette of words

I’ll mix and I’ll mingle the nouns and the verbs.

I’ll paint you a story with my writer’s pen

A blank canvas of imagination has no beginning or end.

I’ll show you the world in colorful letters

I’ll write you a picture with commas and feathers.

A dash of whimsy, a touch of black ink,

A stroke of gray graphite mixed up with a wink.

All the colors of dreams painted with verbs

My pen is the paintbrush, my paint is the words.

Of pink paper poppy and flight of black bird

I’ll paint you a story you’ve never quite heard.

Thanks to the ever amazing husband for drawing the picture. He really does put up with a lot around here you know :]

Night Mail

You want to hear a story? Oh good.

So, the husband and I attended a university where guys and girls still live in separate dorms across campus from each other. You can call it old-fashioned but having separate dorms led to something rather adorable in my book: Night Mail. You see, the guys and girls each had a wooden box rigged up on wheels with a rope on the front to pull it around. In these boxes the students would leave letters and packages addressed to each other and at night, after we were all back in our rooms for curfew, a couple of guys or girls (depending on who’s turn it was) would grab the wooden box and roll it across campus through the dark laughing and giggling about all the love letters and cologne drenched envelopes being sent from one heart to another. Once to the other side of campus, the boxes were exchanged and the letters dropped off in stacks at each of the dormitories. Then a couple more students would take the stacks of letters and slide them under Romeo or Juliet’s door. It was a hoot…and quite romantic, really. I remember how exciting it was when a letter with my name came sliding under the door. I would snatch it up, hop in bed, and pour over the words of the man who would later become my husband. Darren and I now have boxes of letters from our dating days. So much of our relationship is scripted out in the words we wrote back and forth as we came to know and love each other. Darren the artist filled his letters with drawings and illustrations that still make me smile when I come across them. My favorite picture he drew was of me calling him:

The little guy jumping in the air–gets me every time :]

Between night mail and all the time we spent living across the country from each other, written letters became a staple in our relationship–and we still write each other letters today. Sometimes old fashion is the best fashion of all, kids ;]

Telegrams Rock -(Stop)-

I have this very cool friend, Ashley, that just gets me. She’s the kind of girl who peeks into your soul and takes a piece of your heart with her. Okay, that was a little bit dramatic but you know what I’m sayin’. She gets my stupid sense of humor and my love for random weirdness and there are just very, very few people in the world I have more fun with.

Ashley and I write each other hand-written letters all the time because we are awesome like that. Ashley taps hers out on an old vintage typewriter (named Watson, because it only makes sense to name your typewriter?) and I write mine on my very-special-occasion fancy pants stationery used only for the people I love best of all. Every letter from Ashley is a riot. I have thought about starting a place on this blog just to share her letters because they are just too funny and wonderful to keep all to myself.


The other day I went to the mailbox and found a big yellow envelope with Telegram written across the top of it. I first squealed then ran to the house to open it up. When I opened it I found an old-fashioned looking note that read:


After reading this, I danced around the kitchen for a solid five minutes squealing about how this is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I get excited about real mail–but a freaking telegram on vintage paper in a big yellow envelope? Well kids, it doesn’t get any better than that.

Check the website out at Telegramstop to join in on the awesomeness. Or just be friends with someone really awesome who knows how to make you dance around the kitchen for five minutes.


Oh, Taraxacum officinale, you whimsical hippy flower. You start out golden and vain–sunshiny hair blowing in the wind. You grace spring early–hurrying the snow on its way, standing tall before the other flowers have courage enough to poke heads through the cold, damp sod. You are called “dent de lion”–lion’s tooth, with lion-like mane of fierce, unruly hair. But your life is short-lived, dear dandelion. The sun begins to warm and your sunshiny hair begins to fade. Your glowing mane turns fuzzy frenzy. The soft breeze blows your soft hair away. You are gray and balding. Hippy flower that you are, will not submit to the rules of age and even in balding you delight in your own magical way. Each lock of hair a magic wand in the wind. You let down your hair–sprinkling it across the land, through the woods–like mystical fire flies flitting through the night. You proud, vain perfectly perfect hippy flower.

dandi blue

dandi green