Open House for Butterflies


Open House for Butterflies is one of the loveliest works to come out of the magical eight-year collaboration between the beloved children’s authors Ruth Krauss (1901-1903) and Maurice Sendak (1928-2012). With illustrations by Sendak, and words by Krauss, Open House for Butterflies is sweet, funny, and oftentimes soul-stirring in its purity and simplicity. A gem.

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Toska (Russian): A state of mind with many different shades. Russian novelist, Vladmir Nabokov describes it this way, “At its deepest and most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause. At less morbid levels it is a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning. In particular cases it may be the desire for somebody of something specific, nostalgia, love-sickness. At the lowest level it grades into ennui, boredom.”

Mamihlapinatapei (Yagan, indegineous language of Tierra del Fuego): The look shared between two people, who both desire to initiate something but are reluctant to start. For example, let’s imagine there are two strangers sitting on a park bench and both wish to start a conversation with the other, but neither is courageous enough to do so. The shared look between the two strangers is called mamihlapinatapei.

Koi No Yokan (Japanese): The sense upon first meeting a person that the two of you are going to fall in love.

L’esprit de l’escalier (French): Literally translated, l’esprit de l’escalier means “the spirit of the stairs.” It refers to that moment when you finally think of a comeback or finally think of the perfect thing you could have said in a certain situation but it is already too late.

Wabi-sabi (Japanese): The Japanese word for “a flawed part of an elegant whole.” It refers to the idea of finding perfection or beauty within life’s imperfections and recognizing that they are a part of something larger.

Ya’aburnee (Arabic): This word literally translates to mean “you bury me.” It is the declaration of one’s wishes that they will die before another person because it would be impossible to live without them.

Saudade (Portuguese): An intense, constant longing for something that does not and probably cannot exist. A vague and constant desire for a lost love, or for an imaginary, impossible, never-to-be-experienced love.

Shemomedjamo (Georgian): You’re really full, but your meal is just so good that you can’t stop eating. A word that translates to mean “I accidentally ate the whole thing.”

Hygge (Danish): The pleasant, genial, and intimate feeling associated with sitting around a fire in the winter with close friends.

Backpfeifengesicht (German): A face badly in need of a fist.


DSC_0004Treasure seekers of the world…

Have you looked inside a pomegranate? Squeeze one softly and listen- you may be able to hear the jewels inside glittering in the dark. When you open one up, you’ll discover a cave, encrusted with a million rubies! They’ll sparkle as light cuts through the clear kernels of red glass for the very first time.

These are pretty rubies you can eat! Pluck one off, and in your mouth it will pop with sweet and tart juices for only a moment- then disappear. 

Sweet Home

whatiloveSometimes I imagine what it will be like to build a home together with my future husband. I think about going to the flea market together on the weekends for secondhand furniture, with overambitious plans set by overestimated expectations of our DIY restoration skills. I think about warm dinner parties together with our loved friends, using makeshift chairs, makeshift cutlery, makeshift space, because the things we have can not capacitate the things we want to give.nice things

I think about living together, praying together, reading together, eating together, sleeping together. And it makes me feel so happy.white7

If there’s one thing I can choose about the interior of my future house, it would be white wooden floorboards in the bedroom. I love the rustic look of them, how they make a room feel so cozy and comforting. They brighten up so wonderfully by the morning sunlight, and create a fresh, open, and airy sense of space. I like the thought of walking across the white wood with my bare feet. white2 nordicskinny white3 stylefiles white7 white8 white amerrymishap

Lovely, right?


Have a wonderful weekend!


(Image source: 1. Tad Carpenter, via DesignSponge; 2. Cody VanderKaay; 3. via adoreann; 4. via nordicskinnylove; 5. the style files; 6. via milenachka; 7. via youhatethis; 8. via A Merry Mishap; 9. via jsmn)

Keep Going

It’s been one of those months where a million things seems to be happening at once and everything’s a blur, and the weather is perfect, which makes this business all the more excruciating, because all you really want to do is lie down on the grass with a good book, a mason jar of tart lemonade, and your lover’s belly as your pillow, getting to know Spring in the most intimate way, while the birds chirp in the air, and the sky goes on being blue, and the fluffy clouds s  l  o  w  l  y drift over you as your eyelids softly close to a midday slumber.


But work. Work is good too.

Have you watched this?

Ira Glass on the Secret of Success in Creative Work. Ira is so great.


(Image source: 1. flickr / salutemyshorts; 2. Jason St. Peter)



When oranges have babies, they name each and every one Clementine, simply because they love that name. Clementines are playful. They love to hop, skip, and bounce, and they love making everyone smile. The truth is, Clementines are so sweet to others because their hearts are incredibly sweet on the inside. If you were a fruit, how sweet would you taste? Like a watermelon? Hopefully not like a bitter melon! 

I think you would be as sweet as a Clementine. When you peel a Clementine, they’ll eagerly wriggle free to hop, skip, and bounce into your mouth! Let their sweet juices remind you that being sweet to others- just as how Clementines are sweet to you- is the best thing to do!



Early in the morning, we went for a walk in the park- me, my mom and the giant puppy. We talked about the fresh air, the trees, the giant ducks near the lake, and the dog’s collar. We talked about the differences between happiness and joy.

We talked about the things that happen as you feel yourself age. She shared with me her feelings of loneliness, frustration at herself for not being able to do the things she used to do well. We talked about love and hope.1

We talked to each other about one another. How the both of us, for some reason, have lived with the sense of having to earn love. To earn affections, earn self-worth by the things we can offer to others, with our body, our mind, and our time. We kept assuring each other that it wasn’t true. I told her that my love for her never depended on how well she can cook, how sacrificial she can be for the well being of the family. She told me it doesn’t matter how well I’ve done in school, how smart I can make myself seem, how accomplished. These things don’t change love, it doesn’t increase or decrease it. Love is a decision, by the one who gives it, and it remains so.

We kept assuring one another with the same truth that was so difficult to accept for ourselves. And we walked in silence for a while.2

I thought about the things we said. And my heart went nearer, and nearer, to the truth.

I don’t think I could have admitted it before. I might’ve denied it. But if I really think about it, isn’t it true, that every single thing I do, is in some way or another, an attempt to be loved? To earn love from myself, love from my family, my friends, my church, love from God.

And when I fail, when I fail everyday on these attempts, it brings me to the ground. It brings self-pity, bitterness, jealousy, anxiety. And then I try again, and for a while, I let myself believe I’m doing better this time, the people really love me, God is really pleased. And then I fall again. I fall harder. And then I pick myself up, bruised and hardened, and try again, and again, and again.

I’ve believed that I can actually do it. That I can live a life that deserves the love of God. A life that deserves His salvation, His grace. I wanted to reach that fantastical point, where I can look into myself, look into my heart and be pleased, assured that yes, God loves me, because I am good. I can do it, I can do it.6

I can’t do it. I can’t. There’s no thing in me. My past record of sins disqualifies me to try, and even with a denial of the past, the future is just as bleak. I can’t do it.

And with this thought, at the right and perfect time, the Holy Spirit pours out that grace, and turns my heart, my mind to truth. Truth and grace in Jesus Christ.

“By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loves us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:9-10

“For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:6

“When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” Colossians 2:13-14

I can’t do one thing to earn the love of God. Everything I do is in my sin, which earns death, and death to hell. But God. But God so loved me, that He gave His only Son, that in believing in Christ, I will not die, I will not receive the wrath I deserve, but I will have eternal life. This is the love of God, this is grace.

He loves me, not because of anything that I’ve done, or because of who I am. He simply loves me, despite who I am, because He chose to love me. And because He loves me, He saved me, through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

There’s nothing to say about myself. There’s everything to say about Jesus Christ. The perfect life He lived, the perfect love He poured out, His perfect sacrifice of Himself on the cross. His humility, His obedience, His grace, His resurrection, His power, His sovereignty, His omniscience, His second coming. His Word. He is my Savior, He is my Lord. And He’s done everything for the redeemed, from beginning to the end.

I can cease striving, because I know that He is God. God sealed me with His love and Spirit, as a child of God. Jesus Christ saved me, and I have faith in Him. God is unchanging, and He is faithful to His Word. I can do nothing, and I don’t have to do anything to earn, to preserve this love.

In this love, in this rest, in this gratitude, in this forgiveness, I can live for Him. The truth sets us free.

It’s so easy to forget, it’s so easy for me to little by little start depending on my deeds again, my performance, me, me, me. But God is faithful. And His grace never changes, and He lovingly reminds me time and time again in His Word, to cease striving. To know that He is God. To know the I live in Christ alone. That He has done it. It’s not about me. It’s about Jesus Christ.

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” Galations 2:20

If you are still striving, listen to Jesus Christ, who has said,

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

He will do it.



Of all the fruits that grow on trees, figs are probably the ones that the birds and the bees will fight for the hardest, so you’ll have to be quick! They never last long unclaimed. But if you do get to them before they’re all gone, you’ll know why figs are the trophies of all fruit. 

Figs taste like somebody squeezed a big spoonful of honey in them! When you bite softly into a pod, inside the honey-sweet flesh there are thousands of tiny seeds, which crackle and pop in celebration, exclaiming to you in fig-talk, “Congratulations!” for being the lucky one to get to them first. Congratulations!

Little Cup


This little brown cup was claimed on a bright Sunday morning at a small yard sale. The girl who picked it up loved the shape of its ceramic walls, and its deep chestnut color, lacquered in glaze. It was small, and felt warm and snug between her hands. She imagined sipping rich hot chocolate from it during the winter, and paid sixty cents to call it her own.

She took it home, and washed it with soap and water. She filled the cup up with some milk to drink, but she couldn’t seem to bring the rim to her lips. She emptied the cup, and washed it again. Scrubbed it inside and out. Soaked it overnight in suds. The next morning, she filled it with some juice. It was emptied into the sink.

A lesson was learned. She just couldn’t get comfortable with the idea of secondhand kitchenware.

So the little mug was wrapped in newspaper. And winter passed. DSC_0078DSC_0079

Then spring came, and the roses at home came to full bloom.

Snip, snip, snip.

And the little brown cup was unwrapped.

DSC_0127And filled with flowers. DSC_0130