10 October 2013

Karatasi No. 1

OK, so those of you who know me well (or maybe even not-so-well!) know that I am obsessed with paper. I love the feel of it, the smell of it, and especially the look of it. One box of notecards can set my heart racing and my spirit swooning. A single letter-press card can send me deep into a recurring fantasy: gleaming table, crackling fire, steaming drink, thoughts poured out in ink, artful stamp, walk to mailbox under canopy of leaves, recipient excitedly opening letter, recipient aware of my love for him/her, recipient inspired to reciprocate. Repeat. 

Now because I want to be completely forthright, I have to acknowledge what many of you already know from personal experience: that this fantasy of mine is almost always just that: A fantasy. I yearn to sit and write profound messages on gorgeous paper, but I usually resort to a seemingly-impersonal email or, worse, a concise text message. (shudder) But what I love about paper is that it keeps me coming back to the idea that communication can be more than this, more than some brief, electronic words. There is something about paper that makes me crave (and appreciate) a life where time unfurls slowly, where words mean something, where thoughts are given a space to play and linger, and where handwriting has the power to evoke memories from years ago. I refuse to give up on this idea, and I am determined to keep putting pen to paper, even if it's something as simple as a list. 

Because of this passion for paper, I wanted to recognize it in my blog name somehow, so I chose karatasi, one of Swahili's words for paper. I hope to spotlight some favorite paper products each week and inspire all of us to put pen to paper a little more often.

This week's item is from one of the BEST places to find inspiration: Target! I bought it a few months ago, but last time I checked, it was still available in stores. 
Manufacturer: Compendium, Inc.
Website: green-inspired.com
Retailer: Target 

My favorite elements? 
1. Triangles  I have been loving triangles for years and am so glad they're finally trendy and easy to find.
2. Multi-color on kraft paper  The contrast is delicious.
3. Creative endpapers (the inside covers and immediately adjacent sheets) They make just OPENING the book so much fun, and also build one's confidence (in the case of the second picture)!

4. Artful details that are also useful. The colored edges help me organize my book into easy-to-find sections: crafty ideas, to-do items, scripture/inspiration. The grid helps keep lists neat, provides built-in check boxes, and also makes space-planning a cinch for those of us who enjoy visualizing room arrangements made to-scale. The woven binding helps the book lie flat but doesn't impede writing as a metal coil would.

5. The paper  Thin enough to have plenty of pages to fill, but thick enough to absorb ink without bleeding through.

This journal was a bit pricey at approx. $15, but I knew it was one I'd be reaching for again and again, and I also tend to display notebooks in my home, so it was a worthwhile investment for me. 

Now stop reading this blog and go write something! :-)

08 October 2013


So...a little background about the first part of my blog title. My husband is Kenyan, and at our wedding his family assigned a Kenyan name to me: Makena. For years I refused to acknowledge or use this name because I had been told that it meant "big, happy person", and I had ZERO interest in drawing further attention to my girth. But a couple of years ago I mentioned this to H, and he said, "But that's not what it means!" He proceeded to explain that it meant that my JOY is "big", not my body. Ohhhhhhhhh, NOW I get it! And now I embrace my name and (I hope) live up to it. 

06 October 2013

My Love/Hate Relationship With J. Crew

J. Crew is my inspiration and my nemesis. It beckons with its hearty wools and chunky tweeds, and crushes my spirit with its size-0 tailoring. I imagine myself dressing in its casually-draped button-downs and bold necklaces, its Audrey Hepburn skimmer pants and narrow flats, but my plus-size self has no place here. I should avoid it - I've learned not to cultivate discontentment - but I also think it's good for me. It's good for me to remember that I am the same person I was when I could fit into these slim clothes. (In fact, I'm a better person than that girl; not because of my weight, but because of what's happened in the years that have passed.) It's good for me to remember that my worth is not proportionate to my weight. But it's also good for me to remember that my body is a temple, that God desires me to be my best, that He calls me out of my ways and into His. I want to knock food down a few pegs, to be able to sincerely say (like Jesus), “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work" (John 4:34 NKJV). 
And so I take tiny steps into this journey: saying "yes" to kickball with the boys, joining (and going to) Curves, saying "no" to chocolate before bed once (or dare I say twice?!) a week, finally doing the Freedom From Emotional Eating study I've procrastinated for years. I move into this process tentatively, warily, but knowing that I can harness the power of the One who created all, who saved my marriage, who fulfilled my dreams, who overcame even death.