March 24, 2016 – Soothe Your Mind

You know those songs that you play over and over again? Not the happy, bouncy, dancy ones. The slower, semi-monotonous ones, often a little sad, but with melodies and harmonies that pour in your ears and slide all the way down your spine. I am slowly collecting these into playlist called Soothe Your Mind. It’s for the busy afternoons, the stressful days, the emotional moments where your mind can’t calm itself.

My current playlist only has three songs on it, but it’s an improvement over the few years when I only had one song. In fact, until today, Soothe Your Mind only had two: Holoscene by Bon Iver and Shasta by Mat Kearney. Today, I’ve added The God of Loss by Darlingside. This one, I discovered on my Tall Heights radio station. (I don’t know Tall Heights, but Google Music suggested the station, because it is similar to Darlingside.) After listening to The God of Loss five times in a row, I knew it would go on the playlist.

What are some of your soothing songs?

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March 14, 2016 – Everyday mistakes

 

I started this post thinking about small mistakes I made while running slides at church yesterday. It was my first time running slides, and I jumped in at the last minute, so mistakes were bound to happen. Knowing that the congregation was depending on having the appropriate slides at the right time made me a little nervous, but I was able to not worry too much when I was too fast or too slow or even the one time I picked the wrong slide entirely.

I think this more calm take on making mistakes is a direct result of starting a new job last year. I moved from one position in the organization to another, from administrative assistant to a position with direct contact with and responsibility for clients. I was vastly unqualified. However, the administration gave me the job based on my previous work performance, rather than my experience.

In the last year, I have made mistakes, and there have been many more instances where my lack of knowledge showed. For instance, during my first intake, I handed the form to the client and asked him to complete the information, instead of asking questions and jotting notes myself. Also, it took a long time for me to realize what all the acronyms mean.

Through the support and patience of my coworkers, I am in a different place knowledge-wise a year later. And one of the things that I have a firmer grasp on is the fact that mistakes happen, but often, they are correctable. I am learning that a fear of mistakes should not hold you back in life. Be careful what you say and do, sure, but don’t let that quench your passions. Maybe this is something I should have known before I turned twenty-six, but letting fear direct me in the past is a mistake that I am working to correct in the future.

March 11, 2016 – Coming on Spring

We’ve had some days of warm, sunny weather this week, and everyone is cautiously enjoying the change. One doesn’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth, but it seems early in the year for it to be so pleasant out. March is supposed to be “In like a lion, out like a lamb,” so now we have a bit of the lamb, we’re wondering when the lion will pounce.

I’m not complaining about the nice weather at all; I get to mix up my wardrobe a little bit and wear some of the lighter clothes that would have been laughable in January or February, and my husband and I have been taking walks around our neighborhood. But this early warm weather has me concerned that the summer is going to be rough, and I like winter in general.

And this past winter has been particularly lovely.

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March 7, 2016 – Zucchini Night

A few hours ago, we had eight zucchini in our fridge. Now, we have zucchini noodles with chicken, roasted tomatoes, and pesto. Delicious!

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After my first attempts of slicing the zucchini by hand, my husband reminded me that we have a wonderful new mandolin to cut the the veggies.

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Look how nice and even the “noodles” are! Delightful!

Not pictured are husband’s amazing zucchini, chocolate muffins. Ideally, they’ll be for breakfast, but we couldn’t resist the cinnamony smell, and we sampled them for dessert.

March 5, 2016 – Life with Kearney

Saturdays are cleaning days around our house, and, as everyone knows, cleaning always goes better with music. Before starting on the kitchen, I turned on Spotify and started playing Mat Kearney, like I have many times before. For the last five years, he has been my go-to cleaning music.

I remember the first Mat Kearney song I ever heard, before he was one of my favorite artists: it was Nothing Left To Lose, and I listened to it all the time in my freshman dorm. In the fall of 2008, I didn’t bother looking into other songs he had written, because Nothing Left To Lose seemed to sum up all I really needed then. The throwing caution to the wind, looking for an adventure feeling fit well with beginning college. Over the next three years, I listened to Nothing Left To Lose off and on in between classes but never looked further into his music.

It wasn’t until the fall of my senior year when my roommate showed me Ships in the Night from Mat Kearney’s album Young Love. That song was the first one to encourage me to pursue the rest of his music. By March 2012, I owned all three of his albums, Nothing Left to Lose, City of Black and White, and Young Love. Although I am not an exclusive Mat Kearney fan, many of his songs are connected to specific parts of my life. Listening to those songs reminds of those moments.

Like Count on Me, which my best friend and I listened to in the car on our way to her wedding.

And Fire and Rain for the summer after I graduated college.

A song that has always resonated with me is Learning to Love Again, although I never know if people get why it’s such a big deal to me.

One summer, I went running with another Mat Kearney fan, who enjoyed the song Down. While that song was never one of my favorites, it must have spoken to my friend.

There was the outdoor concert I went to in Pittsburgh, where Mat Kearney opened for Train. My friend and I sat on the lawn outside the venue listening, because we couldn’t afford the tickets.

One time, I saw another friend post a Facebook status about being encouraged by Sooner or Later, and I understood.

And today, as I cleaned, I moved to his newest album, Just Kids. There’s something about the songs that just gets me moving, and even my husband joined me for Billion. It seemed especially appropriate, dancing around our tiny kitchen as newlyweds. I’ll probably always connect Billion to this part of my life, and when Mat Kearney comes out with his next album, you can be sure I’ll be listening to that, too.