A Girl Named Leney

THE JOURNAL

Posts in Slow Living
Level Ground
www.agirlnamedleney.com

i ran. 
and i ran and ran and ran. 
the driving feeling that manifested physically beat inside me repeatedly until i acted on it. 
i constantly wanted to run away. 
runrunrunrunrunrunrun.
the feeling i had, which i interpreted as a need, was constant. 
and yet even when i acted on it, even when i did run in some form or another, arriving never eased the command. 
it didn’t let up.
“you still need to run” something inside of me would say. 
“you have to escape”
“you don’t belong here”

wandering flushes a glory that fades with arrival.
and arrive i did. 
over and over. 
i sought, i found, i repeated. 
nothing was easing the restlessness and sadness inside of me.

until one day i couldn’t run anymore. 
i changed my avoidance tactics and found a new form of escape.
i checked out.

it was fall. 
i remember because the leaves on the ground around me were brown. prickly. scratching through my clothes to get to my skin. 
a sensation i probably recall mostly in retrospect as at the time i was determined to feel as little as possible— if nothing at all. 
nothingness was the goal.
“Leney…. Leney talk to me...”
they were always there during these episodes. 
they were the one person i felt safe enough to do this with. 
the only person i told the majority of what it was i was going through and as such, in my mind, they’d been deemed safe. 
but perhaps the reason for my catatonia episodes around them wasn’t simply because they were the one who knew the most. 
perhaps i was testing them. 
seeing if they could handle the darkness that was fighting to envelop me. 
seeing if they would try to save me. 
if they could save me. 
i wanted to be saved. 
but it wasn’t until they gave up trying that i realized no one could be my savior. 
no one except for the one who already was, is, and has been all along.

i haven’t had that feeling in almost three years now.
a realization that came to me only recently. 
it’s been so long since i ran -ran to runaway- that i’d almost forgotten i used to feel so.


i wrote the above in November.
it’s part of a story i’ve been wanting to share, wanting to tell more people about.
but i’ve held that desire with hesitation and caution. 
not sure if it was the right time. 
not sure if there would be negative feedback from sharing something that once was such a huge part of me.
once.
for it was several years ago now.
but now, i’ve been feeling the darkness of that time inching back towards the middle of me. 
no longer on the outskirts, no longer outside of the lines and realm of my person. 
it’s inching in, recoloring the lines and make-up of me.
but i am fighting it.

i crave intimacy and vulnerability from like-minded souls. 
from their art, voices, time spent and day-to-day lives: however that translates.
but i realized that i cannot ask of others what i am not willing to give myself.

when thinking back on that time i realize i didn’t feel close to people because i didn’t feel close to myself.
i was joyless because i had a misplaced sense of joy. 
i attempted to put it into things and people unable to hold it in the first place— ill equipped to carry, to nurture, to be the base and grounding of me.
but i recognize now that the ground that is able to hold me is the one that i came from. 
the one that was made by The Creator of all ground.
and that grounding, that saving that i so fervently sought, could only come from Him. 

i’m sharing this about myself, i’m sharing this story, not because i want you to perceive me as a troubled artist, a wild and wayward wanderess, a deep and introspective individual or a warrior who’s fought a hard battle, but because i believe i went through what i did for a reason. 
to deepen and strengthen my character and sense of self-sureness: yes
but also because i know there have been so many words voiced, experiences shared, confessions given, and admonishings made from others that have helped me get into-through-and-out of so many hard times in my life.  
and if mine can in any any any way do that for someone else, even on a small scale, than i want to honor myself, my experience and my one Holy God in that.
because i went through such darkness, despair, and inner struggle.
and if you’re there, if you’re in a dark place right now, so much so that you’re having a hard time seeing anything anymore at all, i want you to hang on because there’s still light. 
there’s still a little prick of it shining-glowing-beckoning from the end of the tunnel. 
and you have everything in you already that you need to start working your way towards it. 
you can’t do it alone. 
you need to be okay with asking for help.
but the start? 
the first few steps of making your way in that direction? 
that’s all you.
start walking.
there's level ground just ahead.

 
//

And I will lead the blind
    in a way that they do not know,
in paths that they have not known
    I will guide them.
I will turn the darkness before them into light,
    the rough places into level ground.
These are the things I do,
    and I do not forsake them.

—Isaiah 42:16

Every valley shall be lifted up,
    and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,

    and the rough places a plain
—Isaiah 40:4

Teach me to do your will,
    for you are my God!
Let your good Spirit lead me
    on level ground!

 —Psalm 143:10

But as for me, I shall walk in my integrity;
    redeem me, and be gracious to me.
 My foot stands on level ground;
    in the great assembly I will bless the Lord.

 —Psalm 26:11-12

Imperfections

the history carried within things is much more evident within their imperfections.

of objects. of ourselves.
by which i mean:

it is by the worn deck of a boat that you can gauge how many storms it’s weathered.
the lines by a woman’s eyes that tell of how many times she’s smiled because she’s chosen to see the good in life vs. the bad. 
the calluses on a mans hands that showcase how hard he’s worked at his craft.
the chip in a plate that shows how many meals have been loving prepared on it.
the crack in a door that speaks to how many guests your home has greeted and how faithfully it’s overseen your own coming and going day in and day out.
the patches on a pair of jeans that tell the story of the journey and adventures of their wearer. 
the scars on an arm that whispers of a soft and unspoken strength.
the dog eared and underlined pages of a book marking how meaningful it’s contents have been to it’s readers.

the value in not only our own history, but that of the things in our lives, is often overlooked. 
the recognition of it is another of those slow-living practices.
the appreciation for things worn and weathered is scarce.
the idea that the old has more value than the new is not an idea held frequently, or for very long, in our society.
for we are bombarded with needing to refresh-replace-redo-renew-remake daily.
of course there is time for those practices. 
(although there is certainly a privilege that comes with being able to act out such things— to be able to replace something instead of having to make do with what you have.)
but it’s not as necessary or as often needed as our culture would want us to think.
this is definitely one of the main reasons i started Folkling
it’s why all of my clothing is handmade, secondhand or vintage. 
the same goes with most of what i have in my home.

but this idea, this appreciation for things worn, for something visibly showcasing it’s history, it goes beyond our possessions. 
it can also be read on our own bodies.

i recently have found grey hair on my head and this is something i take pride in, odd as that may be. 
i’ve never dyed my hair. 
(disclaimer: in saying this i am not speaking against anyone who does dye their hair. everyone is different. this is just my personal stance.) 
because for me it’s a way of being able to treasure the signs of age.  
it’s a sacred and beautiful thing to be allowed to do so, to be allowed to live, to be allowed to carry on.
for there is a time coming where i will not be. 
i don’t know when that is, but every day i get to still be here and show up and add more to my story is a gift, so why would i want to reverse the telling of it? 
to seem as if i haven’t had as much time and as much story here as i have?
i shouldn’t continually want unrealistic and unnatural change and alteration from my body towards an idea more so of perfection because in fact it is moving more and more in the opposite direction. 
but in that, in the age spots, wrinkles, scars, grey hairs, folds, curves— there is a history. 
a telling-of-me. 
it is my own personal story.
one i should be proud of.
because it is wholly mine.
and this is how i was made, and this is how i am being re-made, as i further my journey and weathering of this life.
we should honor ourselves for that more than we do. 
ourselves, others, and the things around us.
to see imperfections with a different perspective. 
to see the history and story behind them and have those be more beautiful and valuable than perfection.

//

(thank you to a dear reader, Karen, for prompting me to think about this due to your lovely comment on my last blog post)

30 Days of Slow Living Recap
www.agirlnamedleney.com

this is a recap, of sorts, of my 30 Days of Slow Living challenge i started last month!

towards the end of my 30 Days of Slow Living project, i didn't lose steam, however i did slack off in posting specifically as much about it. mostly because, for me, i found that a huge part of slow living is getting off of my phone.
so a lot of the things i was doing ended up un documented and just-for-me. which, to a certain extent, is something i'm always trying to find the balance of. 
the encouragement and inspiration that can be found in sharing beautiful things you find in life with others, but not to the extent that you are always living through a screen.  

but i did want to do a bit of a summery in regards to a few of things i did during these past 30 days and some ways i integrated slow living into my life, in some new ways and also some old and familiar ones. i don't have 30 in all, because, remember, some of those things ended up being just-for-me, but here's a few for you to chew over if you need some promptings and ideas of what it could look like to start living more slowly.

  • knitting for myself and not for work
  • keeping a little jar of lavender by my bed to smell off and on throughout the day for feelings of calm and clarity
  • walking more often to the tiny free libraries around richmond (which i've started to document here)
  • leaving screens behind and heading outside to read in the grass was the order of the day on more than one occasion
  • visiting The VMFA to take in a new exhibit 
  • spending a morning painting
  • taking a morning walk by the river with The Sailor, despite an impending busy day.
  • and then just ignoring responsibilities altogether one day and going sailing
  • spending a weekend, unplugged, with some very dear friends (in a yurt no less! lucky us, i know...)
  • opening a too-long-neglected book
  • learning how to develop and print my own film in a darkroom (finally) i've started to chronicle this adventure under #thedarkroomdiaries (of course...)
  • adopted some new plant babies to take care of
  • writing some letters and postcards to some special people
  • paused to admire the changing light and shadows that the coming of Spring brings
  • buying myself a bottle of wine to enjoy with dinner just because
  • taking time to practice extra yoga in the morning
  • breakfast and a book in a detox bath (i think this may have been the first time i took a bath in the morning. usually that's an end-of-the-day thing you know? it was such an excellent way to start the day though)
  • setting the intention to start my mornings s l o w. enjoy the coming in of the morning light. making healthy breakfasts. reading a book before starting work. putting on some calm and inspirational music. it's made such an immense difference in the consistency of my days
  • spun some yarn
  • calling friends more instead of texting them. just all around being more intentional in my communication
  • cleared out a cluttered corner and made it pretty
  • just stepping away from everything and taking a walk (this happened on several days. really need to maintain this. i feel so much more present after a walk outside)

as i said on instagram on my last post, i want the #30daysofslowliving hashtag to be a constant thing, not just for this past one-time 30 day time period. 
i want you guys to jump in on it whenever you are feeling the need to re-set, and be able to get a little bit of accountability in regards to living more mindfully and intentionally if you need it.
i know that i myself can foresee doing another 30 days later this year after the rush of summer gets going and sweeps me up, as it is known to do.

so if you want to have a conversation about these sorts of ideas and concepts, i will definitely be checking the hashtag from time to time to check in with all you wonderful people!
you can also always email me, which a lot of you guys have been doing lately and makes me so incredibly happy. i have loved the conversations we've been having and talking to all of you passionate and purposed filled people.
let's keep it up.

xo

A New Direction
www.agirlnamedleney.com

so i meant to post this the same day i announced the new website being up, but wouldn't you know it i blinked and it's already over a week later...
but then i ended up wanting to share my New Perspective post first anyway. which i'd love for you to read, if you haven't already, to grasp a better understanding of where A Girl Named Leney is heading and what my heart for it is.

but yes friends, superb news. the new website is up! 
i wrote and deleted twice (or maybe three times) the following words, but i truly don't know how else to say that: i could not be more excited to finally share this new direction with you guys! 

today i wanted to go over some notable changes within my business to help you better understand where it is i'm going and what all of these new changes mean! 


Ventures


ventures are what i am calling the different components and pursuits that make up my business.
these will undoubtedly change and evolve as i too change and evolve as an artist.
(you can read about these on the ventures page here, but i wanted to give a little bit more in depth explanation of each one!)


FOLKLING — i have been a life-long thrifter. my mother took me when i was young and i remember the excitement of finding treasures of varying kinds to give a new home to.
she's truly the one who's taught me the value and beauty in giving things new life
it was also my first introduction to shopping and learning to spend my money wisely.

as i've found and made spaces of my own over the years, one of my favorite things has been curating their vignettes. i love photographing my home and the pieces of it i'm always rearranging. it's something i shied away from for a long time, as my space is something that's very sacred and private to me, but i found so much unexpected joy in sharing it.

in addition to vintage homewares, i have an affinity for vintage clothing.
do i risk sounding like a broken record by saying that they just don't make things like they used to? well, it's true. there was nothing that educated me on this front more than watching this film and reading this book.
again, i grew up thrifting, and so have always had a fairly unique and eclectic wardrobe because of it. however, in my early twenties, i started shying away from secondhand and got caught up in the fast fashion industry and excessively consumed and over-bought, until my closet door and dresser drawers weren't able to close.
it was sometime in 2015 that i finally recognized the problem and started getting back to my roots.

i've been exclusively buying secondhand and handmade clothing for two years now and i feel so proud and accomplished in being able to say that! 

and so, because of my passion for adopting and curating unique things to give them new life, i want to help educate and pass that love onto others.
shopping small, locally, secondhand, sustainably and ethically are all elements of consumption that are incredibly important to me.
for it's not necessarily consumption that's bad, it's how we consume and why.
so i want to encourage others to examine the ways in which they're doing that and give them more options and promptings for an alternative lifestyle.

you can follow Folkling on Instagram and Facebook.
 



SUSTAINABLE KNITWEAR — i've been knitting for about 17 years. i didn't fully understand patterns when i first learned, so i started making up my own and have essentially been designing ever since. i started my etsy shop in 2011 and have had 6 knitwear collections released and sold on that platform, with smaller batches of "unofficial" bodies of work sold on commission and an as-i-made-them basis, before that. if you'd like to take a stroll down memory lane with me those were:

Sartorially Inclined: A Mens Knit Lookbook
Sartorially Inclined: A Ladies Knit Lookbook
On The Road
Gypsy Soul
The Classics Collection
OOAK Knitwear

it's amazing for me to see how far i've come in my work and watching my style and aesthetics change over the years.
similar to Folkling, in 2015 i had a "come to God moment" in regards to how i was living, what i was putting value in, knowing the origins of what i bought, having more of an appreciation for the process of products and making things from scratch.
my knitwear didn't escape these revelations.
i realized that i had no idea how the yarn i used for my pieces was made or where it came from. was it made sustainably? were the animals used in making it raised ethically?
when i started looking into it, the things i found along the lines of factory pollution, harmful chemical usage and animal abuse were troubling. 

as i changed other aspects of my life in regards to how i ate, dressed and shopped, it was bothering me that this aspect of my business wasn't fully aligning with my values as well.
so after two years of studying and learning the art of processing, spinning, and naturally dyeing wool, i'm going full steam ahead with this new kind of knitwear!

from now on, all of my pieces will be made from yarn that i've either: 
1. fully, from start-to-finish, processed and then spun myself from fiber i've sourced from a farm that i've built a relationship with and, when possible, visited myself. 
2. spun myself from roving that's been made and processed by a trusted source. 
3. bought from another like-minded fiber artist locally or during my travels. 
4. recycled.
 

additionally, some pieces will incorporate natural dyeing (something i'm still learning the vast art of!), furthering each pieces story and one-of-a-kind-ness.

i'm really excited to fully pursue this path of creating. it feels really good to have this align fully with who i am as both an individual and an artist.

sustainable knitwear will be available through my Etsy shop as well as the Folkling instagram.
you can watch a video on how i process wool here.
p.s. i don't know how to shear sheep yet, but just know that element of sustainable knitwear is in the works. ;)




THE TRAVELING PHOTOGRAPHER — i've been "the traveling photographer" for some years now, but i want to refocus that aspect of my business in three ways.

but first and foremost i want to be honest with you all in saying that in over eight years of doing photography as a job, six of those full time, i have experienced some burnout.
the rush, stress, and keeping-up-with-the-joneses mentality that is in a significant part of the digital photography industry, has put me through the wringer on more than one occasion.
i want to be true to my heart and the passions i feel that i was given for a reason, and right now the below is how i feel pressed to chase after them.

1. to focus (no pun intended) on primarily, if not exclusively, doing travel related work, because that is where my heart and inspiration are most in sync.
2. i am not a smile-at-the-camera-and-point-and-shoot kind of photographer.
i need you to know this if you want to hire me to work with you. this isn't to say i will never take photos of people smiling at the camera! but the way i document is a little bit different than most.
you can read more about what that means here.
3. i have fallen in love with film over the past few years and am presently undergoing a more intensive pursuit in educating myself on this medium. i have both film and digital on my portfolio page, and you can see some other film work under the film tag on the journal, but until recently this has all been more or less for personal documentation.
i think at it's essence though, it's the "slow living" aspect of film that i've fallen in love with.
i would really love to start branching out into working with film more in my sessions and collaborations with people. so if that's something that appeals to you as well, say so in your inquiry!




TUMBLEHOME — those of you who have been long time followers are familiar at this point with my self identification as The Daughter of A Sailor. 
most often conveyed by way of my hashtag on instagram.
this story became one that a lot of people really loved reading about and were intrigued by. so i decided, along with my father, to share more of our adventures through a separate platform in the way of creating Tumblehome! in addition to sharing our adventures on the water, and our somewhat alternative lifestyle pursuits in the way of living more slowly, intentionally and mindfully, we both really love making things with our hands. after realizing a lot of people loved the things we make, we decided to start offering them to a wider audience.
which also feeds back to my aforementioned desire to surround myself with well-made things and cutting down on the need for over consumption by buying quality vs. quantity.

you can follow Tumblehome on Instagram and Facebook.


all of that being said, i am also pursuing writing more, which isn't officially listed under ventures right now, but that's something i might change.
i've been honored to be a part of several publications in the way of magazines, books and online articles over the past few years and conveying my heart through words has been such an amazing experience and way for me to connect with people. the conversations and various relationships i've had a chance to engage in as a result have been truly life giving at most, and thought provoking at least.

i'm pursuing refining my writing skills and being more consistent with putting out new content that is writing based, whether here on the journal or on instagram (a place i frequently share thoughts and musings).
if you want to learn more about this you can read Writings From A Would Be Beatnik.

in conclusion: all that i am pursuing is fueled by, what i call, the art of slow living.
you can read more about that here, and on posts on the journal under the slow living category

speaking of slow living, i'm starting a newsletter!
i technically have had the newsletter around for a while, but i think i used it... once? twice?
yea. not very much. 
i have some new ideas for it including a bi-weekly email that contains a sort of roundup of various slow living, mindful, and intentional things i've come across around the web and found value in.
what do you think?
it's still an idea in the works, and i haven't sent out the first one yet, but if you think you'd want to at least check it out sign up for it here!


whew!
we made it to the end friends! i know that was a lot all at once.
all of that has been inside of me for so so long, upwards of a year now, and being able to convey it to you now, fully as a whole, feels good.
i hope it all made sense! 

essentially: before now, i was primarily focusing on my knitwear and photography. now i have two new ventures i'm pursuing as well as a little bit of tweaking to my current ones with a few extra strings (or strands of yarn??) in between that tie everything together.

i appreciate you taking the time to read this. 
i've been having some wonderful and thought provoking conversations with you guys lately (over email/instsgram direct messaging especially) and i just want to say how grateful i am for you.
i'm grateful for your insightful comments, your encouragement, your engagement, your positivity, your beautiful minds, all of you.
thank you.
i wouldn't be anywhere close to getting all of this off of the ground if it weren't for you.

if i had the time and ability, i'd knit you all sweaters from 100% leney-processed-and-dyed wool. 
over all, i want to thank you for giving me grace as i pursue these new ventures and navigate their newness and working-out and chase after that every calling dream of living a fulfilling and passionate and purpose filled life using the gifts and abilities i was given.

xo

p.s.
i want to work with similar minded people who align with the values and lifestyle that i am working on pursuing! 
so if you feel like that's you, come say hey (even if it's just because, i love having conversations about all of these things).

Ten Years

i visited one of my favorite places last weekend the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
this place has been witness to so many moments in my life.
both with others and alone.
it's a place that feels like home to me.
(feel free to search the VMFA in the search box at the bottom of the site to see some of my other visits there from over the years)

i specifically went to see the new exhibit of Jasper Johns and Edvard Munch's work and was surprised by how much i loved it and was inspired by their artistry. 
previously only familiar with Munch's The Scream, i was truly enrapt with the diversity and beauty of both of these artist's work.

i read a plaque on one piece (often the words on the plaque beside a piece of art end up meaning more to me than the work itself. i'll frequently snap photos of them or write them down in a notebook. words immerse me.) that stated that Jasper Johns worked on his cross hatching technique for ten years.
ten years.
that's about a third of my lifetime.
i've heard it said that to truly have mastered the art of something and to do it well is to have stuck with it for a decade. 
an idea, in this have-it-right-now society of ours, that's so foreign.
we are used to instant gratification.
what is it to work at and stick with something consistently for ten years?
perhaps that strikes you as discouraging, but i find it the opposite. 
because it's a reminder that success, in all of it's various forms, is not instant. that the achievements truly worth having in life are worth working hard for. as, once obtained, they will taste all the sweeter for we truly know what it was to earn them with our blood, sweat and tears.

my business is reaching it's sixth birthday this spring, and while it's changed and varied in it's execution, i'm proud to say that i've stayed true to who i am as an artist and how that's translated in different ways over the years. it feels good to look back at something and, while the look of it doesn't appeal to me now, or my tastes have changed since, i'm still proud of it. because i know at the time of it's execution, that was who i was, and i embraced that and lived it out fully and gave it my all.

so here's to the next four years, to reach that ten year mark.
i hope i look back when i get there and am able to still be proud of what i've created and what i've worked for. 

p.s. another realization and thought brought about by the exhibit was on the resiliency that joy brings amidst despair, which can be read here.
p.p.s. this exhibition prompted me to get back into painting more than ever (something i shared a few weeks ago)! you can see a photo of that here.

A New Perspective

i wrote the following on January 1st 2016.

they were words i never ended up sharing. i think because i was still figuring out what they meant for me and what it would tangibly mean to live them out. looking back, i realize now that this is what most of my 2016 was about.
that discovery.

i think we are as a whole always becoming, we never arrive. if we have, it implies a staleness. a lack of growing. we should always be growing. we’re like trees in that way. even if we aren’t growing upwards, we’re growing outwards.

so last year was, indeed, a year of becoming.

as i announced the new website launch the other day, i now finally feel able to fully explain the reason i'm switching gears with my business.
because i have a renovated platform, in this website, that lays things out more clearly and genuinely and authentically to who i am and what i do.
i also am now finally on the other side of knowing what i want that to look like.
i'm going to share more specifics about this in a later post, but i think it's important to lay out the why first.

i’ve learned the importance of publicly sharing certain things after you are on the other side of them, after your healing and okay-ness and figuring-out no longer are dependent on others reactions to what you’re sharing. 

so, with all of that being said, please continue reading to understand where my heart has been at this past year.


this is extremely important.
something i want to discuss openly.
something i want to encourage others to seek out in their own lives, using their own experiences for perspective.

that being said, i also want to preface this with saying that this is a deeply personal post for me.

it's one i sort of all-at-once wrote and didn't even fully realize i was feeling and thinking as a whole until it all got out there. 
i’ve mentioned bits and pieces of the following to a couple of people in my life, but to have all of this out in once place for anyone and everyone to see is somewhat a scary thing. i am actually quite a private person in nature, despite my brand and business as a whole being a large part of who i am and therefor public. 

what's more, i have a horrible tendency to be rather prideful. to admit any sort of wrong, fault or lack is quite hard for me. 
however, i’ve felt something foreign in me, these last few months especially, that i wasn't able to put my finger on until now. until i wrote all of this. until i tried to put this all together as a cohesive thought and communicate it to you, as a reader. 
it ended up actually communicating something to me instead.

which is: i need a new perspective. 

i talk a lot about my love for list making, goal setting and generally being in a constant state of learning. 
this is possibly because i didn't go to college and so, with the exception of high school, i’ve never been made to learn things i didn't care about or have any interest in.
learning has rarely been a have-to or forced upon me.

as a result, i am constantly fascinated by new ideas, foreign cultures, different religions, involved hobbies, things and experiences i’ve never heard of/tried/seen/done. this amounts to an endless compilation of possibilities in the way of entertainment and wonder for me.

i truly am a person that is able and willing to talk about virtually anything because i’m genuinely fascinated by the things that people are passionate about. 
the passion part is the key for me though. 
if someone's excited about something, i want to know why and how.

also i find it's important, even if you don't agree with a certain idea or perspective, to learn about it. to understand why people believe what they do, where they're coming from, how they arrived at their conclusion.
what it is that a person ascribes to, whether it be thought, action or belief.
both to solidify your own understanding and conviction and to be open to a change of mind and new way of thinking when it's needed (remember what i said earlier about us being like trees).

and so after much thought today, on this first day of a new year, i’ve decided to make that a focus of mine in 2016.

perspective.

in the aforementioned ways but also in a few newer ways that were revealed to me in 2015.
namely…

sustainable and ethical living.
slow living.
shopping small.

what’s more, i want to do something with my life to help people find those things.
because i think they're important.
i really do.
i am by no means an expert on any of those subjects, but i’m trying to be intentional about seeking what living in those ways looks like and in what ways i need to educate myself and grow as an individual and a business owner.

not to say what i’m currently doing with my photography and knitting can't teach or inspire some of those things for people, but i’ve been feeling this itching, restless, this-is-not-all-of-it sort of feeling for quite some time now that has me searching, moving, wanting to figure out what else there is that's missing from my life.

there's something more i was made to do.

i want to educate on the importance of living slow and sustainably. 
to practice finding "the art of the every day", which has been a mantra of mine for a few years now.

i want to do that in and with my business.

it's not to say that i’m not passionate about knitting and photography anymore. but i've slipped into a place of finding my identity in those parts of me and it's gotten to a point where i have a hard time seeing past those two pieces of my make-up to the other smaller, or maybe even just-as-big, parts. 

there's so much more to me than my business and what i do. 
and what i find my identity in.
because i believe in a creator who molded me with His own hands, by which i mean that my life is purposed. 
all of ours are.
but i need to walk in it.
knowing that regardless of my accomplishments, or lack thereof, my worth is pre-defined and outside of those things. 

which isn’t how i’ve been living.

my tastes, interests and passions are always evolving.
as an artist. as an individual. 
i want this space to be a place i can express and share that. 
for whatever reason i’ve had this stiff regimented you-can-do-this-but-not-this sort of attitude with this space. 

if i posted about a wedding, i had to post this many photos of it, if i wrote something it had to be on one of these topics, if i took photos i loved the day before, i couldn’t post them until i posted the ones from the week before. 
which is silly.
i don’t even know where i got these rules other than from my own perfectionist, semi OCD, overly organized brain. 
so in the new year i want to be more free with this space. 

i want to write. 
i want to share non work related photos. 
i want to share late night thoughts and lifestyle moments.
i want to share photos from all of my travels from this past year. because there have been so many. 
i want to urbex more.
i want to learn more about sustainable and slow living and do my best to pursue a lifestyle that reflects that.

these are things i'm passionate about. what's more is that i'm learning that that's okay to say. 
additionally: i’m passionate about passionate people.

odd as that may sound… i am. 

it's why i love working with other artists and shop owners. for there are fewer more passionate people than the artist, maker or small business owner. people who dedicate their lives to their craft, business or passions. 

there’s no surefire way for me to be turned off and disconnected from another than by their expressing overall apathy.

i see so much of this in our culture. we do so much mindlessly, routinely, just-because. because it’s easy. because we’ve been sold the lie of it not mattering and we shouldn’t care.

do something. stand for something. i might not completely agree with what you do and what you stand for but, bordering on outright lies and injustice, i sure as hell will respect you more for at least caring enough to be a part of something.

please don't fall into the entrapment of apathy that our society has been so good at cleverly and attractively disguising.

i sense a rant beginning so i'll end here...
overall i just want to express my own personal need for a change in direction and in perspective, in multiple areas of my life.

i hope that as i seek out these translations, in my business especially, that i am able to act them out effectively and with love. 
and i hope you will give me grace as i figure that out.

thank you for reading friends, as always.
xo

30 Days of Slow Living

A photo posted by Leney (@agirlnamedleney) on

so remember that project i mentioned a few days ago?
well i'm ready to share it!

i talk about slow living on here a lot. it's a thought process and lifestyle that has honestly changed my health and well being in countless ways as it's become engrained into my daily life. 
what is slow living?
in short: it's living your life with intention and mindfulness. it's taking the time to enjoy life's gifts in the various, often overlooked, forms they take. even when it requires extra steps and time-maybe even especially when. 
SO. 
starting tomorrow, February 1st, i'm starting a slow living project. and i want you guys to join in! for 30 days i'm going to intentionally do one thing each day to slow my life down and help me be more in the moment. 
this could be anything from going for a walk, mending a pile of clothes, reading a book, writing a letter, listening to a record instead of Spotify, cooking a meal at home instead of going out—it is 100% up to you. it doesn't have to be instagramable or glamorous and you don't have to share it. just so long as you make the commitment to yourself to do it. and you can join in after the 1st of the month too! there really aren't rules. this is just to help foster the beginnings and stirrings and commitment of a different mindset and a healthier way of living. 
if you want to participate use the hashtag #30daysofslowliving so we can all inspire each other and be held accountable! 
who's in?

Books I Read In 2016

i am an avid reader.
books often win out over groceries in the way of my budget sometimes....
last year i had a goal of reading 50 books and while i didn't quite make it, due to a bit of sidetracking in the middle of the year, i did read 32. 
i'm resetting the goal again for 2017 (already 4 books in!) and i'm also trying to make a point to use the library more again, as well as read what's already unread on my shelves as opposed to buying new books. 

here are a few from last year that i especially enjoyed.
//

Wild by Cheryl Strayed -- i know i know, i was late on this bandwagon, but this being my first read of 2016 was very fitting. i loved it. i'm very much a lone-traveler and this was a story whose spirit, sense of adventure and narrative resonated very deeply with me. 

Spark Joy by Mari Kondo -- the sequal to The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I loved these books. hold onto only that which brings you joy.

Hold Still by Sally Mann -- i thuroughly enjoyed reading this memoir from Virginian photographer Sally Mann. her work is nothing short of stunning and inspiring, so to get a look into the thought process and reasoning behind some of her most moving bodies of work was really amazing.

Memoirs of A Geisha by Arthur Golden-- while this book was almost a bit too long and i had a hard time maintaining interest finishing it because of it's length, it was something i couldn't put down for the first half. it's a book on a culture and a time that's completely foreign to me, and, as any good book is able to do, it was able to immerse me into that in a breathtaking and complete way. my interest in the Japanese culture has been growing in recent years and this did nothing short of jumpstart it again.

Make Your Place: Affordable, Sustainable Nesting Skills by Raleigh Briggs -- filled with so many wonderful recipes and DIYs, this book that a friend leant me is still on my bookshelf and i need to give it back... but there's so many things i want to try from it. 
i think i just need to get my own copy.

Spinster: Making A Life of One's Own by Kate Bolick-- while i wasn't in complete agreement with everything in this book, there was a large amount that very much fascinated me and that i could relate to and loved. a good read for all of us living-on-our-own types.

How To Be Parisian by Anne Berest-- a fun and light read that had me wanting to return to Paris something awful.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery -- one of my favorite stories ever ever ever (having watched the old movies countless times growing up). i want to live on Prince Edward Island.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert -- i actually feel the need to re-read this since i feel like i breezed through it during a slightly distracted let's-check-this-off-the-list sort of period in the year. but there were some golden words of wisdom in this one for sure. i also loved listening to her podcasts a while back too.

In The Heart of The Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick --i found this true story extremely riveting. but that might mostly be because of my sailing obsessed tendencies... #daughterofasailor

You'll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein -- a hilarious read. i often like having light and entertaining reads amidst my more serious/self enlightening books. this was good for that.

Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline -- i cannot stress enough how great of a read this was for me. just education and facts wise in the way of the fast fashion industry- a topic i've become so very passionate about. i want to re-read this one as well and actually cite some of the facts for remembrance and educating others. or, again, maybe i just need to buy my own copy and underline the mess out of it...
if you don't know much about the fast fashion industry, start with watching The True Cost.

Words From A Wanderer by Alex Elle-- everything my dear friend Alex writes is radiant and light filled and amazing. i almost have all of her books now and i can't wait for her new one to come out. reading these little bits once a day for 65 days was so wonderful. i'm actually already going through this one again.

Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifle Brunt-- i tend to be quite picky about fiction but i was really surprised as to how much i loved this story. the voice of the main character is beautiful and the way the author depicts the situation and the words she uses were so unique and had me unable to put it down.

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown-- a friend and i read this together (which i highly recommend doing because i got more out of the discussion and how-do-we-live-this-out accountability of reading this book with someone more than anything). it was essential in revealing important aspects of my life in regards to showing up more fully and being more present and honoring my authentic self.

Woolgathering by Patti Smith-- a quick read that was simple and beautiful.
but i love everything Patti Smith writes.

The Peregrine by J.A. Baker-- this was another book that seemed to drag on just a bit longer than i wanted it to, but it had some one liners in it that dare i say, at the risk of being overly dramatic, have truly changed my thought process on wandering and traveling and what beauty is in almost revolutionary ways. 


what were some of your favorite books from last year? 
what is on your to-read list for this year?
did you read any of the above books?
give me your lists and thoughts! 

let's pretend the comment section of this post is a mini book club.

xo

Incubation Time

earlier this week i read this post (thanks for sharing this with me dear Brian!) and i really really loved it.

it's an interview with Raf Simmons -the previous creative director at Christian Dior- and in part of the article he talks about the sacredness of having allowance and space for ideas to have incubation time.
and that's definitely an idea that tapped me on the shoulder and got me thinking.

especially because slowing down my life has been such a theme for me in recent years (read about some of the creative aspects of those excursions into this here and here and here and here).
but in relation to giving that slowness to ideas specifically, (especially to my constant idea-producing-big-dreaming mind) is somewhat revolutionary to me.
not necessarily in the practice of it but in the naming of it in recognizing that that is what i'm doing.

but at the same time, it's something i have subconsciously always sort of done.
to the point of it being a fault (mostly because of my over analytic i-don't-want-to-make-a-mistake tendencies).
this is definitely seen in my writing and photo work that i share publicly. i am not one to post in the moment, rashly, or without thinking about it for an extended amount of time. 
i tend to let things it sit for a few days.
however there are dangers with this sort of methodology. 
such as: losing momentum and passion for an idea (on your part, or on that of the short-attention-spanned viewer), having a message come across too premeditated, and the one i think i most often might be guilty of: forcing an idea out that isn't meant to be out there because of guilt you feel in having spent so much time on it... because surely it's meant to be, simply because of all the time and thought you've already spent on it. 
such tends to be my thought process.

which is somewhat reflected in the article from this quote: 

"Technically speaking, it works. Does it work for me emotionally? No, because I’m not the kind of person who likes to do things so fast. I think if I had more time, I would reject more things, and bring other ideas or concepts in. But that’s also not necessarily better. Sometimes you can work things to death when you take too much time."

and so there's a balance to be sought.
as with all things.
i just hope i can stick with the pursuit of that and not embody this overwhelming issue that i am also so familiar with...

"Everything is so easily accessible, and because of that you don’t make a lot of effort anymore. When we were young, you had to make up your mind to investigate something — because it took time. You really had to search and dig deep. Now if something interests you, one second later, you can have it. And also one second later you also drop it."

a few more thoughts i had on these words can be found here.

Revisting Core Values
film photo by Meagan Abell

film photo by Meagan Abell

i happened to re-visit my list of core values today (which can be found here on my website. but for the sake of this post i’m going to list them below).
they’re something i wrote three years ago. 

and if there’s one thing i’ve learned about the power of words, it’s that writing-saying-proclaiming them out loud in one of those ways, is so powerful.
even if we don’t constantly come back to their original documentation, putting them out there in the world intentionally is often enough for us to end up embodying their message subconsciously.

i think this because i have to say that despite the fact that this list has been on my website for over a year, it’s on a card that i stick into each and every order i ship out from the shop, and i’ve shared it a few times here and there on social media when i first wrote them, i haven’t especially meditated on them or kept them in the forefront of my mind.

and yet, reading them today, i realized that my life embodies these values.
this is what i live out.
this is my life.

and the pride i have in that, in myself, for bettering my world which includes myself and the people i have the opportunity to come into contact with, is such an incredible thing.
it's so important to think on these things.
to live with an intentionality.

what are your core values?


1. Do everything with Passion
Do my best in whatever situation I'm presented with. 
Stay tremendously interested in things. 
Above all point back to my creator in all that I do because He's the source of all things good. 

2. Be in a state of constant Exploration. 
Seek adventure not just in traveling. 
Challenge myself. 
Always be willing to learn new things. 
Observe the world around me. 

3. Love.
Fall in love with people. Their stories. Their uniqueness and individuality. Love them where they're at, wherever that might be. 
Fall in love with work. With what I get to do for work. With the process of things. 
Be in love with my life. 
And above all: Remember what love is

4. Enjoy the art of the every day
The simple. The routine. The ordinary. Because there's beauty in all of it. 
Live in a state of thankfulness. Have it be a part of my lifestyle, not just a list. 
Collect moments not things.

5. Create. 
Whether that's knitting a sweater, taking a photo, building a new relationship, or learning how to make really amazing guacamole. 
Make more. 
And in the making, don't be afraid of failure. 
Remember that no great thing is created suddenly. 

6. Dream fearlessly. 
Do not let the world's standards or definitions of what's possible define who I am, what I want to be or where I want to go.
Have vision and drive for doing and being better. 

Never settle. Aim high. Go confidently. 

7. Inspire. 
Help others discover their dreams and passions by simply pursuing my own. 
Pursue excellence. 
Encourage and motivate others to be the best that they can be. 

8. Be Leney.
Authentic. Confident. Unique. Genuine.
Whether that's the donut obsessed Leney, the avid picture taking Leney, the never not knitting Leney, the Leney who likes to dance to cheesy pop music or the Leney who likes getting on buses alone to find a new adventure at the other end. 

Remember that comparison is the thief of joy and to not let my vision of who I want to be obscure my view of who I actually am.