aspen & pine

a journey in creativity and mindful living

Month: April, 2014

redbud photo experiment


We sing and dance, make faces and give flower bouquets, trying to be loved. You ever notice that trees do everything to get attention we do, except walk? – Alice Walker











link love


Last week I did a little shoot with some redbud blossoms I picked in the woods where my parents live. I tried to incorporate the redbuds into product shots, and used other natural elements to create a picture. It was a lot of fun, and I will post my results soon. We also had some people over Sunday evening for tri-tip sandwiches we learned about in Santa Maria, CA on our trip last March. Jordan grilled and I made the bread, a very good collaboration for us! We built a fire to sit around, and the weather was just perfect for a picnic. I have decided we need to host people more often. Sharing a meal with someone helps you to connect with them in a deeper way, and is actually an important part of our Christian life.

This week I enjoyed:

The importance of hospitality for Christians here and here.

10 ways to embrace simplicity

This video about a mom and her two children living in a tiny house after her husband passed away.

An introvert’s hideaway by shoeboxhaus

link love

lavender & chamomile

This Saturday I visited Radical Roots farm for their plant sale and tour with my parents. Their farm is super neat and I bought a lavender and a chamomile plant while I was there. I have tried growing lavender from seed a bunch of times before and always failed. I think starting with a healthy little plant is a much better idea! We also had a lovely time with family over Easter weekend. We got to have Easter dinner with my family and then headed over to Jordan’s aunt’s house to spend time with his family.

Easter is always such a time of renewal for people in their faith and lives. This time of reflection and renewal always comes more easily to me during Easter week than at new years, when many people are making resolutions for the coming year. I spend more time in deeper reflection around Easter than at New Year’s, and I am more likely to remember the spiritual side to things. If I’m practicing lent, it helps me to concentrate on things that are more important in my life by giving up the things that aren’t.

Spring time helps me be more aware of things around me as well. I want to be outside more in nature, watching birds gather material for their nests, the robins searching for worms in the yard, the grass getting greener, and all the flowers blooming. All this activity out in nature gives me motivation to get moving on projects laying around the house, or get more exercise. I guess this is why we have “spring cleaning,” we just get this itch to get things done. So, this is why I think it is also a good time for internal spring cleaning. Clarifying our thoughts, strengthening our relationships, and digging out the problems in our hearts.

This week I loved:

This young lady’s Tiny house. It is lovely, and I adore her bathtub.

This video of 8 million petals falling over Costa Rica in a sony add.

A better way to say sorry, I think I could benefit from this lesson sometimes.

Having confidence in your business and doing what you don’t want to by zen habits.

As always, have a lovely week!

link love


My post is a little late this week. We went to DC this weekend to shoot a couple in the cherry blossoms, and when we got home Monday I forgot all about it! Not a good start to my Monday series, but I’ll learn eventually. The cherry blossoms in DC were so beautiful, and we got to enjoy a walk around the botanical gardens and down the mall after our photo shoot. When we got home I saw that Grandma’s tulips were blooming. It is really feeling like spring here at home now. All the new growth and blooms inspire me to start something new in my life. So, I will be pondering on that this coming week and encourage you to do the same.

This week I have enjoyed:

This powerful image series by Pieter Hugo of Rwandans 20 years after genocide who have reconciled.

An inspiring story about forgiveness.

This post about taking small steps toward minimalism.

An article about the expanding trend of gardening, especially growing your own food.

I also loved this story about saving sloths.

Enjoy these links, and have a lovely week!

monday link love

shells at cherry grove, nc

I am starting a new weekly series in which I’ll be sharing my favorite links. I decided to do this for two reasons. First, to help teach me to post consistently to my blog at least once a week. (Something I really need to work on!) Second, I have started using twitter more and realized that I really love sharing links about simple living or great ideas I have found with people. I am also going to include a photo of where I am that day or have been recently. The photo above was taken at the beach a couple weeks ago. So here is my first post of monday link love.

This week I have enjoyed:

  • This video of the minimalists answering questions posed by their readers, and also their post about money, poverty, and happiness!
  • Exploring Into Mind’s blog on wardrobe building for the minimalist. I started here.

I hope you enjoy these links, and have a lovely week!


banana chocolate chip muffins

chocolate chip banana muffins

This recipe was given to me when I was 14 by a friend in Australia. My family and I returned to America that year after living 4 wonderful years there. The friend was a pastor’s wife at our church, and one time when we were at her home she made us these muffins. I loved them so much (and baking was one of my favorite pastimes) she gave me the recipe before we left. They are still my favorite muffins.


Makes: 1 dozen

1/2 cup caster sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup mashed banana (about 2 bananas)
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until combined. Spoon into a greased muffin tin and bake 25 minutes or until golden brown.