Busy start to summer

 

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Contrary to the stillness of the above pictures, the beginning of summer saw quite a whirlwind of activities and adventures. Family and friends visited. We made ourselves queasy eating too many oysters. We learned about whaling at the Mystic Seaport. It’s hard to keep straight everything that happened versus what I planned for. Does anyone ever feel disoriented despite having a stretch of down time?

My summer goals included: Finish remodeling the bathroom, start a business, and grow a fruitful garden.

Reality: Toilet got broken before the walls even got mudded, Strawberries & V at a standstill due to an unforeseen family emergency, still lots to do to keep garden fruitful and not just growing out of control, and on top of everything, we decided to pick up biking as a new hobby, and we adopted a new siamese-mix kitten (introduction post to come)!

I feel like I’m careening downhill or have just parachuted off a plane. Logically I know everything will be ok; the brakes will work and the parachute will deploy. But another part of me feels the summer time gaining speed and I worry I’m going to flip over the handlebar or have a malfunctioning parachute.

Ok, I need to take a deep breath, and pray. Anxiety and worry are my nemesis. They’ve been my greatest struggle since puberty. Jesus always asks questions like, “Do you believe?”, and I’m like, “Mayyyybeeee?” (O you of little faith!)

Despite the whirlwind, we did get to spend some time at Fort Walton Beach in Florida. The trip was a surprise, but we made the most of it. It was my first time seeing the renown white sands, and also first time trying Alaskan king crab. Of course I couldn’t eat king crab without nerding out about the show, Deadliest Catch.

As foodies, we also couldn’t pass up on some authentic Thai cuisine. A family friend showed me a garden filled with fresh Thai ingredients, including: papaya tree, lemon and cinnamon basil, lemongrass, and kaffir lime trees. My mouth waters just thinking about having the bowl of delicious tom yum soup and fragrant larb salad. Earlier in the spring, I planted some Siam basil and later realized they’re not exactly the right flavor for Thai food. Maybe I’ll try planting some of the above ingredients in my garden next year.

Through the whirlwind we also celebrated our wedding anniversary. So much happened the past year with so many highs and lows. Life embodied the twists and turns of biking trails we explored.

Hopefully, the relaxing summer stretches a little longer, my goals are met, and we get to return for a longer visit to Florida in the future.

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What is Strawberries & V?

Strawberries are my first successful outdoor plant that produced fruit, and V is my first cat to whom I am allergic. The brand Strawberries & V pays homage to my two inspirations. Below is the story about what has inspired me to create embroidery projects.

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“Tiny the cat is an introvert. He enjoys an occasional scratch under the chin and some cuddles from his humans. Most of the time, he’s content being curled up and snoozing lightly.

Tiny’s family, friends, and furry neighbors like to visit. He loves playing with them, but sometimes it’s nice to be quiet.

When the noise and activity get too great, Tiny likes to hide in the human’s garden. He can claw at dirt clods, swat at caterpillars, and nap under the fuzzy stalks of tomato plants.

The garden helps Tiny feel calm and ready for more chin scratches and hugs.”

I first wrote the short story out of frustration. It was the end of my first year teaching, and my introverted self was in turmoil. No one prepared me for the emotional toil that came with working with students. I was desperate for some much needed alone time, but not doing anything drove my mind to anxiety.

My cat, whose name is V, comforted me with her quirkiness and scratchy licks. The vegetable garden I started soon became a peaceful retreat. I also picked up my old embroidery projects once summer vacation started and remembered how meditative each stitch was to my frayed soul. I reflected on these as gifts from God that provided much needed comfort and peace.

Strawberries & V is a way for me to share how to creatively meditate. The kits and projects are akin to coloring books; focused repetitive movements that create a colorful and satisfying work of art. I am by no means a psychologist, but this embroidery process works for me. Try it, and if it does not work, at least you will have a cool handmade art piece to display in your home!