Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I am of the opinion that it just might be the ultimate mission of our lives to discover and continually do the things that "light" us up. Now that term might be vague, but I suppose it could be explained as whatever brings a grin to your lips, whatever you really look forward to, whatever gives you energy to go out and do other good things, whatever inspires you, whatever kicks your ass and leaves you hungry for more. Ever since I finished college I've been on a quest to encounter such things as these, and to subsequently participate in as many of them as possible. I have mentioned some of my discoveries here like farming, like participating in intentional community, like activism... but there are others as well. And the whole point of this blog entry is to communicate to the world-wide-web that there was an abundance of light in my weekend.

On Friday and Saturday night, I stayed at home. Staying at home is a wonderful thing. I love it. I hadn't had a night at home in weeks, and I went to bed early, I watched the first season of Breaking Bad, I baked and baked and cooked, I caught-up with my family... it was such a joy to just be. Sometimes doing absolutely nothing is my favorite thing to do.

And cooking! I do, I love to cook, but I really love to cook when I have the time to plan out a menu, to gather my ingredients and prepare them with care and intention. During my past few busybusy weeks I've done very little cooking. I've mostly been mooching left-overs off of my parents' meals and buying carrots and apples and kombucha to supplement. But this weekend I planed and I baked 4 varieties of cookies, made hummus and baba ghannouj, braised cabbage, red russian kale salad, a great deal of tea... it was just what the doctor ordered. (Maybe not the cookies, actually... but the act of preparing them, you know.)

In previous posts I've mentioned the farm that I work on and the farm that I was hoping to start with the coffee shop where I also work. The coffee shop farm has not yet begun, and the farm where I currently work has had little need of my physical labor for the past couple of months, so my "farming" has mostly consisted of packaging squash blossoms, scrubbing the dirt off of melons and butternut squash, and making hundreds of bunches of mixed flowers for farmers market. Now this is all well and good, but it has also meant that I've had little connection to the earth or to growing things. I have felt the diminishing of my light. But I met a boy named Braden at the farmers market on Saturday and he invited me to come garden with him and his friends on Sunday from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm. And I went. And it blew my mind(!) I remembered how well a shovel fits into my hands, how much I love working in the dirt and how well suited my body is for physical labor. I filled wheel barrows with manure, I built berms, I moved river rock, I weeded... and I made some new friends. As of now I'm planning on renting a plot on the front lawn of this "growhouse," so that I can participate in the growth things, the feeding of people, and the rekindling of my light in this in-between time of life.

I also spoke Spanish on Friday and Saturday. Speaking Spanish never ceases to light me up these days.

There are other things that come to mind too, other things that give me "light" that I did not participate in this weekend. A few are: Going to the movies, Finishing a book, Making a Cappuccino, Sharing in Eucharist, Giving gifts, Singing, Going out to breakfast, Smiling at strangers, Learning, Making friendship bracelets... and so many more. So here's to more of these things! I may work 50 hour plus work weeks for little more than minimum wage, but at least I can say, "Hello, my name is Casey and as you can see, I'm beaming." My life is FULL! I am blessed to have discovered some of those things that make life worth living.

And I'd like to end with a question: What lights you up? (I'd love it if you posted a response!)



  1. I really loved reading this. I feel genuinely inspired. Lately, I've been realizing just how much writing makes me feel alight (yet, strangely, I always have the hardest time wrestling myself into doing it). And studying/speaking Japanese. And I'm totally the same when it comes to planning and preparing meals. I love it.

  2. Why IS it that we have a hard time spending time on the things we love? I know I sometimes deny myself such pleasures thinking that it is better to "work now and play later" - but I don't think that anymore!
    I second (or third?) cooking!
    Also, I like games. A lot. I like to write them and play them and beat them and practice them and build them. They are mini building projects. I like to build things. I like to build ideas and recipes and forts and obstacle courses and dress patterns and hallways and party kits and plans on paper and babies (well, just one so far. so far so good!).

    Also, Matt read a book this summer called "homo ludens" - you should look up the latin for 'ludens" ...

  3. Being with lots of people speaking spanish and english and eating with their kids running around in the Garden. That lights me up. Dancing. Hiking. Reading, writing. And a new one - roller skating at Skate Plus. y mi hermana-amiga-tu.

  4. Collecting pieces of peace--poems, verses, songs, quotes and short prose pieces-- lights me up. Calling old friends, holding Cleo (bichon)
    and babies; finding bulbs pop up in the garden; i-m my granddaughter,
    and nimming the plants in my house and others' houses. (Giving TLC)
    Going to Element Coffee and having Mike know what I want because I come nearly every day. Making up care packages for those I love. Going to garage sales and thrift stores; Sharing a potluck meal with my Abundant Table church group. Organizing a closet. Keeping up with friends and family. Knitting cotton washcloths.

  5. I love your writing, Casey. It is deep, earthy, insightful, honest, loving and energetic. You are very special. We miss you here at the farm.
    It sounds like you are finding your way in Arizona. And you are back where you belong--rooted in the earth.
    Love always, Judy