To Living the Good Life

A nice walk to work

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When T and I first moved to this little island, I was in the midst of a health slump, the kind where I knew my body needed some major TLC. I was tired too often, feeling a lack of creativity and motivation for projects I wanted to feel excited about, experiencing major brain fog in the mornings, and constantly craving sugar and baked goods in a serious way. But at the same time, I was about to move from the mountains of North Carolina, (my home since I first ventured out to build a life of my own) to a quiet beach town, where T and I had the idea to start fresh together.

Not that we both didn’t love Asheville dearly, because good gracious, it’s a magical place, but in different ways for each of us, it was time to move on. We had chosen our new home, and decided that when one of us found a job, we would make our move. He quickly landed a teaching job, I found part-time work; we found a sweet beach-home, packed up our apartment; and we began our journey, moving in on July 4th weekend, according to the locals, the busiest weekend of the year.

It’s hard to believes it’s been only just over two months here, because it feels like home in almost every way. (Admittedly, the hard part has been missing dear friends, but curiously, we chose around the same time to let our dreams lead us on our own adventures, and I’m so excited to support each other and share excitement as our respective journeys unfold.)

Anyway, you guys, this summer has been a perfect blast.

#whatagirlwants

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Like, vying for first on a summers-of-my-life list. To recap: We live two blocks from the beach. Enough said. I could really stop there, since everything else is added bonus, but I won’t. We also live across the street from the intracoastal waterway, meaning toe-dipping docks, vivid sunsets, and those breezes only experienced so close to the water. We’ve ridden our beach cruisers nearly every day: through the neighborhoods, into town in search of the island’s best margarita, or to the state park for for marina sunsets and sundown walks. There are moonlit, quiet evening beach walks, where we climb up lifeguard stands to stargaze. I’ve gotten over *some* of my fear of big waves, either boogie boarding or just body surfing, which is the best bad-day-restart-button I’ve yet experienced in life. Ice cream. A lovely yoga studio I can bike to. Warm, friendly neighbors on all sides. The list goes on, but needless to say, this season has inspired, healed, and reinvigorated my soul.

Alas, seasons end. Even at the beach. Cool[er] nights have swept in,Β  and the island is quieting. Now that T is back at school, and I am working full-time again. those pieces of life I needed to work on before the move have resurfaced with a crackle. I can’t ignore anymore that it’s time to dig deep and figure it out. I’m choosing diet as my first venture, because I believe wholeheartedly in the healing (and hurting) powers of food. In the past few years, I’ve gotten terribly lazy with what I’ve put in my body, ignoring signs of imbalance and sickness, which are much easier to tune out than I would have imagined.

All this to say, now that I’ve nailed down the best margaritas and ice-cream sandwiches around and my truly decadent summer frolic is coming to a close, I’m choosing to commit, now, to whatever it takes to get my body back in balance. How? No sugar, no gluten, no alcohol, and limited caffeine for 30 days. Oh. Good. Gracious. I might not be very fun for a while, but damnit, I’m going to *have* fun with this. Or, I’m really going to try.

And while I’ll try not to blather on too much about all the sordid details, I will blog along the way about my successes and failures and tidbits I glean from my adventure that seem worth sharing.

So. Here’s to living the good life while taking care of ourselves, to boot! May I learn more each day how to weave those goals together more gracefully.

Insights? Advice? Warnings? Feel free to share your thoughts πŸ˜‰

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Winter Garden

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Tagging along with Tommy to the community garden today, I Β admired the strength of lifeΒ in the midst of winter.

Β I particularly enjoyed:

1. playing with ice blocks frozen around the hoop house, enchanted with how they distort and soften, how they reflect light.

2. the contrast between life still pushing through and the surrounding decomposition.

3. feeling gratitude for the harvest made possible by Tommy, and the meals we will cook with it this week.

What I noticed there made me think of this poem:

The Fog Town School of Thought

They should have taught us birds and trees

in school, they should have taught us beauty

and weaving bees and had a class

on listening and standing aloneβ€”

the children should have studied light

reflected from a spider web,

we should have learned the branches of streams

spread out like fingers or the veins

of a leafβ€”we should have learned the sky

is the tallest steeple, we should have known

a hill is a voice inside the skyβ€”

O, we should have had our school

on top and stayed until the night

for the fog to bloom in the hollows and rise

like cotton spinning off a wheelβ€”

we should have learned a dreamβ€”a child’s

and even still a man’sβ€”is made

from fog and love, my word, you’d think

with the book in front of us we should

have learned how Fog Town got its name.

β€” Maurice Manning

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Giving Thanks and Finding Home

This year I didn’t go “home” for Thanksgiving. As in, I didn’t go to Florida, where most of my family lives, and where I traditionally spend the holiday. To save money, and since we’re travelling down there for Christmas, Tommy and I spent the time here in Asheville at our apartment with his sister, another dear friend, and later, one of our neighbors.

We cooked and laughed all afternoon, taking shifts in our kitchen, which is so small you can almost touch opposite walls at once. Close quarters embraced, we whipped up a colorful array of from-scratch dishes, conventional with a foodie twist. Β From deviled eggs made with the farm-fresh eggs we are lucky enough to get delivered to our front door each week, to pie made with local Pink Lady apples, we borrowed from the classics as we started our own traditions. And of course, our cat Simone got to participate with her own fancy bowl of tuna.

Creating and sharing meals with loved ones is one my greatest pleasures in life. When we invest our time and creativity in making a meal together, we have the chance to forge the kind of fellowship that our technology-driven culture doesn’t often prioritize. For all of our far-reaching social networking, we often don’t know our neighbors very well, much less break bread with them.

This year, I feel so thankful for my parents and their insistence on the nightly family dinners of my childhood, for my grandmother for her ritual Sunday dinners that I sorely miss, and for all of the friends, Warren Wilson College and beyond, who have shared in carrying on those meals of kinship, where everyone can feel at home.