Joy in the Present


Each of us has a handful of life experiences that truly changes us.  Those experiences that get deep into our veins and alter the core of our inner self and the lens through which we view the world.  I can confidently say my family and I just experienced such an event.

Over the course of the last eight days our family ventured East.  We made many, many stops and saw numerous amazing sights, but the reason for our trip was to participate in a family stay at the Knapp family’s local living school, Koviashuvik.  While on this absolutely gorgeous homestead we learned, laughed, created, and soaked up all we could from this astounding family of four who live in harmony with the earth in a way I have never before witnessed.

As I sit before this screen, I realize there is no way I can adequately express, in words, our time spent with the Knapps.  Instead, I have decided to let the photographs tell our story.  The word Koviashuvik means, “a time and place of joy in the present moment” and I invite you come along with us on our adventure to a time and place where I can say I was fully present and filled with the most wonderful sense of peace and joy.

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IMG_2896 IMG_2899 IMG_2900Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040284Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040289Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040303Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040312IMG_2905IMG_2911 IMG_2913 IMG_2914 IMG_2915 IMG_2917 IMG_3002Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040390IMG_2922 IMG_2925 IMG_2943Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040354Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040364

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IMG_2928Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040424Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040435Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040444Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040463

IMG_2946 IMG_2948 IMG_2953 IMG_2954 IMG_2964Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040562Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040571Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040572Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040381Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040384Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040609Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040635Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040639Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040643IMG_2978 P1040490 IMG_2979Photo Credit: Ashirah KnappP1040521

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Nooks and Crannies

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Isn’t it interesting that sometimes we spend so much time in our homes that we never actually see it?  I have been reflecting on this thought a lot lately.  Pondering what it is that I don’t actually see because I look at it each day.

With this thought in mind, I went through my house this week (with my camera) and tried to truly make a connection with what it was that my eyes (and the camera lens) saw along the way.  When I stopped to do this, I found so many things I never really noticed before:  a watercolor picture of a rooftop garden that somehow made it onto the cabinet without my noticing, legos strewn about next to our worm farm, and a canvas print of one of my favorite quotes that I don’t remember ever hanging up.  So many interesting objects that illustrate our family life at this moment in time.

Wishing each of you a weekend in which you can find a quick moment to really see those items in the nooks and crannies of your home that come to define you and your family at this moment in time.

A New Look


With all of the change in my family lately, I have tried to take a step back and really look at my life a bit more carefully.  Time goes by in a simple blink doesn’t it?  And when I really stopped to think about it, I have been writing this blog for almost four years now.  And when I looked at the format of this space, and the picture that was its backdrop, I realized the little girl peering into the water has grown up.  And my other daughter, who was too tiny to even be found on the dock in the picture, is now just as tall as my oldest, and she cannot be found anywhere else but beside her sister.

So, in keeping with my mantra to try new things, I hope you like the new format of Making of a Home.  And I thank each of you for visiting this space, which I have come to hold so dear to my heart.

Searching for the Good

“The basic element of joy, then, is profound peace, that imperturbability in the Spirit that remains with us even in the most painful, excruciating moments.” ~Pope Francis


When arriving on the oncology floor at The University of Wisconsin Hospital last week, I felt an overwhelming feeling of absolute panic wash over me.  This is not an unfamiliar sentiment, as I have had a phobia of hospitals and doctors’ offices ever since my youth.  But my mom’s recent illness has brought on a whole new level of panic every time I set foot inside those glass doors.  Even seeing the sign reading “oncology” when the elevator doors opened on the 6th floor was enough to just about send me over the edge.  I looked around me and thought, “How do all of these people, these doctors and nurses, wake up every day and come and work here?  This would be the most depressing place in the world to carry out a career.”  These sentences have probably circulated through my consciousness at least a thousand times over the course of the last 4 months.

But after a few days of sitting beside my mom’s bedside, I decided to open a book that a dear friend gave me to help me through this tough time.  While reading, I came upon the following passage in Glennon Doyle Melton’s book, “I respect people who don’t try to escape permanently.  Who run toward the pain.  Who allow themselves to suffer with others, to become brokenhearted.  I respect people who, enlightened or not, roll up their sleeves and give up their comfortable lives for suffering people.”  I was drawn to tears.  Because, as I reread this passage, I thought back to my family’s experiences the past few days.  I thought of the young doctor who held my mom’s hand each and every time he came in her room, and when taking her vitals held her and said, “Let me hold you.  I am here to help.”  And I thought of the nurse who pulled my dad, sister and I into a private room to truly listen to us, console us and cry with us.  She told us that she can tell my mom is an amazing woman because of the unmatched sense of family she feels every time she enters our room.  And then we cried some more while she embraced each of us.

I believe these are the people of whom Ms. Melton is speaking.  These are the people who willingly go to work each day, knowing that it will be difficult, awful even, and do it anyway.  And in reflecting upon this, I realized that it sometimes takes the most terrible of situations for us to see the true good that exists in the world.  We are constantly bombarded by so much hate, negativity and loss that we often fail to look up from our despair and see that within the disastrous storm of life, there are people doing good.  Despite all that evil, they are working their damn hardest to make a positive difference.

This journey I am traveling right now has been awful, but it has also allowed me to raise my eyes above the hurt and see a kind of good in people that I was unable to see before.  I think I now agree with Ms. Melton in that “I am grateful for the beauty in the midst of suffering.  I am grateful for the treasure hunt through the minefield of life.  Dangerous or not, I don’t want out of the minefield.  Because truth, and beauty, and God are there.”