SHE // Danielle Bennett

October 25, 2016

She is a patient gardener,
and if you ask her soil how it became so rich,
it will tell you how she has always been more willing to listen to what it needs
than waiting to speak it into moving at the pace of her understanding.
Her silence is terrifying because you know
the next time she opens her mouth to speak
she will mean every ounce of it.
When she speaks
there is so much permission in her love
and holy on her breath
you cannot help but sit like you are budding toward the sky,
you cannot help but believe you are every bit as necessary
as you were created to be.
She is so gorgeous in the absence of need for attention
You can’t help but notice her still waters, even when
she moves at the speed of hustle.
She is the realest and cool with it because she is
rested in the knowing she is new.
She is unashamed of being happy,
and is not bracing herself for the next hard thing,
her hands are too busy receiving the day and its gifts.
She has the audacity to act like the queen she is, and
she doesn’t complain about the myriad requests for her time or
going unrecognized or the weight of the crown because
she knows it is the lightest load she has ever carried and
in the Kingdom every night is a feast she doesn’t strive to earn so
she can give it all away because she knows
there is always more where that comes from.
She treats this city like a palace
she has been entrusted to care for and keep,
every stranger a guest she looks in the eyes with her love
so others feel called up by the way she chooses well.
Discipline is a gown she wears like she is
never afraid of being the best dressed person in a room.
She is a warrior in the tent of a king with a permanent win,
She trains and sharpens the blade so
she can keep that badge of justice on fire to fight for those without defense,
and when they ask her “what about you?”
she points to her scars and her vibrant pulse
as a reminder of the times death nearly held her in its nasty jaws
and still she lives, and lives well, so she doesn’t
question that she is covered and seen and doesn’t
need to go around making a case for herself anymore.
She has stood inside the eye of a tornado enough times to know how to stay
even when circumstance wants to chess piece her
into some place she can’t be so blinding,
but she is sensitive enough to the wind to know when she needs
to start walking away, and
she doesn’t mind how long the journey will take because
even on days she can’t shake the fog, she trusts
she has never really been in control.
And she has seen a succulent survive enough times to know
she is much stronger than she thinks, so
she is tenacious in her commitment to a covenant,
no matter what the cost –
she calls the things she’s lost a necessary shedding of skin.
She is the skyscraper we look for on the 101 that reminds us we are home.
If you ask her how she got so tall,
she will show you the days she spent clearing the debris
so the concrete could be poured in clean and deep
She will show you the moons who knew her fear of heights           ,
and the mornings she woke with the gumption to keep growing anyway.
If you ask her how she got so tall she will bend her own steel
into staircase so you can get the best view,
She will remind you that you
can be built even higher.
She belongs in the book spine and woven into textures
She belongs with platform for all the truth in her bones
She belongs at the negotiations table and written into code
She belongs elbow-deep in flour and memos
She doesn’t have to chase her dreams – she outpaces them.
She doesn’t need to have it all together to have it all.
She is strange – doesn’t always make perfect sense
But she is perfect in the way she makes her presence
A place where you can rest.
Her best beauty trick is knowing where she comes from and
not apologizing for where she’s going.
She is an augmented 9th – the musician’s unresolved note,
lovely in her complexity, and
she doesn’t know she will always walk in and kill it
but she knows there is no room that can tell her what she is and isn’t made of.
She is on her knees in the desert,
not phased by where her water will come from,
a dusty-faced worshipper unafraid to be alone
because she knows she is never alone.
She is the tangled mane of a wild horse running to a quiet place
She is thunder feet of elephant claiming the land she walks on
She is tiger in the face of a lie that tries to steal her peace
She is brave
and they do not question her intuition – home of the Spirit,
rocking chair of the uncertain,
oven of the good word.
She’s the prayer that makes dark things look for a hiding place.
She is believer of supernatural,
Stardust and fabric of the sky,
The morning of forgiveness,
Offerer of everything,
Templed-body home builder,
Bride of the thick presence,
Courier of life,
Firm-footed friend of grace,
A heart bowed in respect,
She is the strong and delicate hands on a loom,
threading legacy for daughters and
granddaughters who will be written into the book of life
as cage breakers,
earth tilling ambassadors of heaven,
faithful guardians of this city.
She is a lady of honor.
She is a mother of the future,
a sister of the present,
and if you’re wondering
where to find such a unicorn of a woman
look around, my love,
trust the time you chose to live with magic in your blood
which means SHE
is the woman YOU
were always meant to become.
// Danielle Bennett //
Does this move you as much as it moves me? 

Apricot Almond Clafoutis

June 11, 2016

The mornings have been misty and cool here in Santa Barbara, but the Farmer's Market bounty assures us that summer is just a skip away. We found these golden apricots at the market this morning, and I knew a Clafoutis was in our future. It takes 10 minutes to assemble, 40 minutes to bake, and seconds to consume. :) 

Apricot Almond Clafoutis

5-7 Ripe Apricots, halved and pitted
2 Eggs
3/4 cup Milk of choice (I used Almond Milk)
1/4 cup Flour
1/3 cup Sugar, plus more for the pan
1 tsp Almond Extract
Powdered Sugar

Preheat oven to 375.

Grease an 8" round or oval dish with butter, and sprinkle with sugar.

Place pitted apricots in dish.

Whisk together eggs, flour, sugar, milk, almond extract until smooth. Pour over apricots and bake between 40-45 minutes. It will look deliciously puffed up and golden brown.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve warm.


ONE YEAR: A Letter to My Daughter

April 19, 2016

To My Penny,

We are sitting on the couch next each other, and the sun coming through the gauzy curtains, bathing us in warm morning light. We are playing. I notice that there is a smudge of avocado behind your ear, left over from a now-routinely gymnastic breakfast experience.

As I sit here, I want to take you all in.

Your soft little ears, fuzzy with tiny golden hairs. Your crazy hair, which, just like you, definitely has a mind of its own. Your skin is so soft it's like silk.

You have an adorably toothy grin. Your grin brings me back my childhood, and I remember how I was embarrassed of my two front teeth. I'm instantly flooded with a fierce desire that you will never feel pain, embarrassment, or discomfort, over your teeth, or anything at all. Don't worry, I know this is silly.

Your hands are so expressive, having mastered the basics of baby sign language, and you tell me when you want something, and when you're done with something. You let me know when you want milk, and you let me know that you definitely know where your nose is. You are a marvel.

You have blue eyes with golden sunburst centers, that are alive and bright. They are the eyes of your grandmother, who I wish more than anything was here to see you grow. But we've talked about her, remember? She lives in your heart, and you live in hers. Someday you will live in the same place again!

Your little legs are so strong, and it occurs to me that they always have been. As soon as your muscles allowed it in the womb, your kicks let me know that you were there. Now your little legs carry you around the house, sometimes with mommy or daddy helping you walk, sometimes on your own, getting closer and closer to that next stage of independence.

You are growing so big my darling girl.

It has been nearly one year with you on the outside of me, and I am in awe.

Because you've already done so much. You have transformed a pair of two best friends into parents, and you have turned our home into the most beautiful classroom. You have brought countless minutes, hours, days of joys and challenges, and you continue to reveal who you are to us every day.

Thank you, my Penny. You have brought me such great understanding of what it must have been like for my own mother.

You have given me the gift of motherhood, my first and most darling daughter. You have transformed me, in ways I am still trying to understand.

So here is to many more years of laughter, growth, exploration, and getting to know each other even better.

I love you,
Your Mama

Hello New Year!

January 7, 2016

Over the course of the past seven months I have started and abandoned 5 blog posts. Each of them similar in their content..."wow, it's been awhile" or "life is so full!" or "Penny is doing this new thing and it's amazing!" 

(On a related note, I'm sending out our Christmas Cards today! Yep. That's me.) 

Hello, blog. Hello, friends. It has been awhile! And life is so full! And Penny just started crawling! 

New year, new life. That's really how it feels. I am a new person, and my life would be unrecognizable to last January Jessica. What hits me first is the gratitude for where the past year has taken us - welcoming Penelope; first weird, then good career changes; new friends and new family - it has been a whirlwind of change. 

Penelope is a joy. She has changed us with her spirit, her voice, her sideways glances, her laugh - she is a marvel. And she just started crawling! (And consequently realized that our home is apparently a death trap. Baby proofing in progress.) I have never been more simultaneously challenged and filled with love in my life. 

Matthew and I are navigating what it means to parent together, something that has been a huge blessing. He is such an incredible father, I wish you all could see what I see on a daily basis. Picture lots of music-making, story-reading, joke-telling, tickling and cuddling, and a man who is truly present with his daughter. It is an absolute joy to witness. 

I am hoping to write more this year - at least post some of the thousands of photos I've been taking - but we'll see how it goes. (If you want to see what we're up to, check out my Instagram feed!) 

Wishing you all a brave, beautiful, creative, life-filled 2016!

One Month Old | Photo Explosion

May 20, 2015

My sweet little lady turned ONE month old yesterday, which just astounds me. I had plans to write this post then, but never quite made it to my computer. No complaints here, I had a darling baby in my arms most of the time. :)

She is filled with spirit, and I really could not be more in love with her. Here are some photos (camera + iPhone) from our first month with Penny! (Warning, there are about a million - this is my attempt to NOT break Instagram...)

Click through for more sweetness... <3

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