Wednesday, July 21, 2010

An Open Letter to My Daughter

When I was the same age as you, someone (we shall not place blame or impugn family) decided it would be a great idea to cut off the long tangled rat's nest that was my hair. I went from hair down my back to sixty year old grandma. I hated it. I hated everything about it. My soft round face was not flattered by the sudden absence of hair. To me the shearing of my hair represented loss. The loss of a mother who was available to comb the aforementioned nests out of my hair. My mother had spent an entire year fighting to stay alive. She succeeded, but my hair was not so lucky. A casualty of war. When my mother recovered I'm not sure what went through her mind - as an adult I can only imagine she now had a greater urgency of getting on with her life - living for herself. As a child I perceived it as madness, because I went from having no mother to an upwardly mobile mother. From where I sat it did not feel much different - I must admit much of that was my own doing as I made some unconscious choices to detach - not to love so much. But my hair, well I am sitting here a grown woman with a knot presenting itself in my throat as a write because the hair was a symbol of what I lost. Someone to sit and untangle. Someone capable and willing to find bows that matched and fuss with curlers. I am a girly girl. I'm not ashamed to admit it. Yes, I climbed trees, and caught reptiles, swung from kudzu, and brought home countless wild creatures but I did it all while wearing a dress and red shoes and curls blowing in the wind.

So imagine my chagrin, dear daughter, when at the exact same age as I, you announced you WANTED to cut off all your hair. I tried being passive. When you oohhed and aahhed over Mia Michael's hair I stated quietly that it was not my cup of tea. I being the pleaser, just knew that would rain on your parade. But who am I kidding, you are NOT me - so very NOT me. You have a deep care for those you love and yet you are never moved by wanting to be a people pleaser. You decide what you like and what you don't - and that is that. So I helped you find pictures of the exact kind of haircut you wanted and I emailed them to your ever so talented Aunt. But I was a coward and made your father be the one to take you.

I love who you are my daughter. I love everything about you. I especially love the parts that are so completely foreign to my make-up. Where you get the inner strength and determination you have is a wonder to me. I love that you could careless that every tween star has long locks of shiny hair. I love that you have not noticed that not a single girl you know has short hair - pixie hair. I love that you decide what makes you cute and that your identity is not braided into every silken lock. I love that you are brave and prepared for the comments that may or may not come from the peanut gallery of life. When we discussed the possibility that you might get called that dirty three letter word... a "boy" you didn't even bat an eyelash. I love that my brokeness is not your brokeness. As Marty always said, "Be original. Make your own mistakes!" So although I am not inclined to follow, I salute you for your brave new do. And besides, it was about time I dealt with all this anyway. Thanks for the jump start.

Always and forever your biggest fan,

Sunday, July 11, 2010

All my crafty friends won't want to miss this...

Go to this link and check out an amazing give away! It's a digital cutting tool. The possibilities are endless!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Little Offerings Everywhere

This sweet little girl loves to make sweet nothings for me and leave them when I least expect it. Here is a collection of just a few of the latest offerings.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Oh the joys of thrifting

I ventured out today to my favorite thrift store. My niece is having a baby and I wanted to make some projects from Amanda Blake Soule's books to welcome the baby. In her latest book, The Handmade Home, Soule gives lots of creative ideas for finding materials that have been gently used. One idea is using men's extra large t-shirts for fabric for kids shorts, leggings, etc. I made Jman an entire wardrobe of shorts last summer with just that. So with a small list in hand I headed out... Little did I know the treasures that were waiting for me! First I wanted to find some men's dress shirts for fabric for the baby bag. My niece is using pinstriped baby blue (like a men's shirt) and navy in the nursery. So I scored with these...
Which turned into this bag from one of Soule's books...

Next I came across these nubby wool blankets...

Which will become versions of this at some latter point..

We love Mommy's Little Monsters! The striped roll in the front is wallpaper. It is still in the plastic. I will use it to line my bathroom cabinets. Then I came across this...

Loads of vintage fabric scraps from a failed quilting attempt plus some felt and canvas. I use all of these all the time in craft and sewing projects. Felt is so easy to work with and the vintage scraps make nice appliques and accents.Then I found something I wasn't even looking for but I just had to take home...

Aren't paper dolls just the best!!!!! This package had never been played with. My daughter and I love to play paperdolls and this set even came with that neat backdrop, score! Then I stumbled across another surupise....

That is a bowl full of rubber stamps. Lots of animals in the mix. My kids will use these in their creations and later I can use them in the classroom! What did I come for again?

I'm doing the happy dance. Since I was already on a roll I decided to stroll down another aisle. Which is where I found these vintage glasses...

So cute! They will go great with the vintage drinking glasses I already have. Next came a soap dispenser which I wanted for my bathroom.
Then I hit the jackpot. Obviously a local stationary store had discontinued a couple of lines of greeting cards, one of which happened to be one of my favorite illustrators, Mary Englebreit. I scored a shoebox full of greeting cards for $4!!!!!!

Finally I got this out of date calendar for FREE. It has prints from vintage military posters. I'm going to use one to make a card for my Dad this Memorial Day.

Well there you go! Hope you are just as lucky in your thrifting excursions this summer!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

You LIttle Sew and Sew

Recently my daughter discovered a gift card she had overlooked in the mayhem that was her birthday sleep-over. The gift-card was to a store in our local mall geared toward tweens. Last night we decided to check it out. There was everything a fashion diva like Miss T could want. Outfits and accessories galore. Unfortunately, one would need to make diva dollars to shop there on a regular basis. T was shocked to discover that her $20 was not going to go very far. She decided on a cute pair of earrings and a necklace.

I kept looking at everything thinking ,"even I could make that"! So today I woke with a bee in my bonnet and headed off to the fabric store. I came home with this.

All fabrics for $1 to $2 a yard. Then I got busy making this skirt...

And this vest....

Both which were remakes of stuff we saw last night. Let be clear, I am no seamstress. No one ever taught me to sew. I just decided to get a little inexpensive machine and go for it. There are no patterns when I sew and lots of trail and error. But in the end I was so very pleased. I cannot wait to tackle that mountain of fabric in coming weeks and make more clothes for Miss Priss. I have so many ideas floating around in my head!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Tiny People are Healthy People and Other Lies I've told myself.

There is a myth about tiny people that says size equates with healthiness. I must break the code of silence and tell you nothing could be further from the truth. As a tiny person I have done more than my fair share of eating-out this semester of school. I only put on around five pounds but it all seems to be concentrated like a floatation device around my mid section. My husband brought home Jillian Michael's 2010 Challenge for Wii yesterday. I decided to give the circuit training a go - you know just for kicks. Even though I started out on the easiest possible setting, I was definitely winded when the workout was done. Also, I need to mention that for the first time in my life I bounced when I ran - jiggled really. To a tiny person never having experienced this sensation I must say it was rather traumatic. But just the kind of wake up call I needed. I may be tiny but I am VERY out of shape. So when the last Oreo disappears from the pantry I will say adios to processed food indefinitely. And that my friend is a fact.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Spring/Easter swap

My friend over at Through the Eyes of a Yak is hosting a Spring/Easter swap. I know many of us are feeling a little tired of all the cold, snow, and gray everywhere. In anticipation of spring why not participate in a swap with another family? Details on the swap are here . You will make or purchase something spring inspired or Easter inspired or specifically for Easter basket... and send it to your swap partner. They in turn will send you a surprise in the mail! Participants will be matched according to interest and the number of kiddos you have. You can sign up for the swap by clicking on the email link at the end of her post. Hope you will join the spring fun!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Being content

It's snowing here. That's big news in the rural south. I was enjoying watching the snow gently fall this morning as various song birds visited the feeder on our deck. I couldn't help but think of the many times I have sat at my kitchen table staring out the french doors at the beautiful birds who visit our home. I love watching the birds. It brings me such joy. In that moment I thought I never want to leave this home. I love my home. My home brings me joy. I must confess I am not always so content. On more than one occasion I have looked longingly at someone's yard or play room or office or gourmet kitchen or large laundry room or bonus room or.... you get the picture. I have looked at what others have and wished I had that too. I have compared and envied and wished for more or different or change. Often I justify the longing with "We need" or "If only" as in "We really need an office space" or "If only we had a laundry room instead of a laundry closet".

What I realized this morning was that I have so much to be grateful for. What if I looked at my spouse the way I do other things in my life. What if I was constantly comparing him to other people's spouses and wishing he cooked more or made more money or was more laid back or had blue eyes? That seems ludicrous but the reality is that if I coveted other people's spouses I probably would never find true happiness with my own. I could spend countless hours thinking about what I don't have rather than focus on all the wonderful things I do possess. In our Western culture it is so easy to want what we do not need, to compare unjustly, and to always be discontented. Our consumerist mindset teaches us to always be looking for the next great thing. I want to be like Paul who was content in all things. I have so much to be truly grateful for. So today I give thanks for the joy in my life and say thank you for all my blessings.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

From the mouths of babes...

My sister has come to my aide this semester and picks up my kids from school two days a week. Yesterday, while talking my son (who is very much like his Aunt in temperament) and my sister said the exact same thing at the exact same time.

To this my sister quipped, "You know what they say 'Great minds think alike'."

To which my brilliant son replied, "No, great minds think like no one else!"


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Psalm 119
9 How can a young man keep his way pure?
By living according to your word.

10 I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.

11 I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.

12 Praise be to you, O LORD;
teach me your decrees.

13 With my lips I recount
all the laws that come from your mouth.

So after seeing Julie and Julia I have been inspired. No, not to cook my way through 2010 , but rather to live my way through the Word this year. Throughout the end of last year I could not help but consider how much of the Bible just seems ignored or non applicable to Western culture. From my perspective it seems that my Christian experience is a far cry from Biblical mandate. For years I chalked it up to the great cultural divide - you know, believing things don't apply to us because we live in a different time and space. While I do believe that the Bible holds great symbolism and everything shouldn't be taken literally, I also believe we conveniently opt out of a lifestyle that would be less than comfortable for us as Westerners.

I'm not sure what this will end up looking like - I never claimed to be a Bible scholar. I don't plan on growing my hair out to my waist and I cannot fathom going without makeup but I don't think that is the point. Take for example the ten commandments. Most Bible Belt Southerners would concur that the ten commandments are a good thing and that they should be followed. However, what is the Sabbath and how many of us keep it holy? I was struck today when I was reading through them to discover the clear instructions

"No working on the Sabbath; keep it holy just as GOD, your God, commanded you. Work six days, doing everything you have to do, but the seventh day is a Sabbath, a Rest Day - no work: not you, your son, your daughter, your servant, your maid, your ox, your donkey (or any of your animals), and not even the foreigner visiting your town. That way your servants and maids will get the same rest as you." Deuteronomy 5:12-14.

I have not had to work on a Sunday in many years. However, what about giving the others a chance to rest as well? If my family and I insist on going out to eat, getting groceries or gas, or going to the movies aren't we insisting others work on a day intended for rest. I'm not trying to convince others I'm right. What day the Sabbath is on is up for debate. I'm certainly not trying to make others feel bad if they disagree or make other choices. I am trying to make one small calculated effort each day to live by a biblical mandate. I am hoping many small steps will find me in the way of David in Psalm 119

33 Teach me, O LORD, to follow your decrees;
then I will keep them to the end.

34 Give me understanding, and I will keep your law
and obey it with all my heart.

35 Direct me in the path of your commands,
for there I find delight.

36 Turn my heart toward your statutes
and not toward selfish gain.

37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word. b]">[b]

38 Fulfill your promise to your servant,
so that you may be feared.

39 Take away the disgrace I dread,
for your laws are good.

40 How I long for your precepts!
Preserve my life in your righteousness.

Here is to a year of walking in the Truth. Precept by precept.

Friday, January 8, 2010

New Year - Same Old Moi

People tend to always want to reinvent themselves around the first of the year. Isn't that what resolutions are really all about? Casting a wish for betterment out into the Cosmos and hoping somehow that will bring about the change we so desperately desire? Don't get me wrong. There is plenty about me that I want and need my Creator to daily transform. But lately I have just not been myself at all. Do you know that feeling? Feeling like you are walking around in a bad dream as someone else? Well that is how I have felt anyway.

School per usual took over my life last semester. What I am slowly realizing is that it is not all "schools" fault. I am a perfectionist and also tend to focus on one thing at a time. So whatever is taking up the major chunk of time in my life tends to be where my focus lands. Sounds appropriate unless you realize that I have two kids who are rapidly morphing into people all together different than the ones I brought into this world. And a very patient husband... and a ninety-four year old Grandmother who was like another mother to me. Sigh, do you see my dilemma?

To say it rather rudely, I just suck at balance. When I used to homeschool my kids and bake bread from scratch and make every meal from fresh organic ingredients (I only know this because I recently found my entire life in pics from 2007 in a random place on my computer), I felt rather smug, as if I had it all together. It seemed good and right because I spent 100% of my energy on my kids/family. What I know now looking back is that my friendship with my husband was sorely neglected and I had no time whatsoever for myself. Balance - why must you allude me so?

I am of the belief that part of this is strictly nature - genetic inborn temperament, while still other is nurture. My Dad is exactly this way. Well actually, my Dad and my Mom. My Dad in a more helpless way like myself. He simply can't juggle. Plod away at one thing well and let all the other balls land where they may. I swear we don't even notice the cacophony of balls ricocheting around us in deadly fashion. We are just that focused on the one ball we have in motion. Proud of it really. My Mom, well she can certainly hold more than one thing in her mind at a time (and does). She juggles. She just tends to put the lion's share of energy into the task she deems most valuable or necessary at that juncture. Makes sense I guess - unless you are one of the other smaller less important balls.

But I digress, this is not a session with Freud nor are these challenges I face my parent's fault (sheesh now I know where my son gets this from). I just need to allow Creator to realign my thinking and make some changes. He's done it before - I know He's the man for the job:) All this silly rambling really leads me to my point that I am celebrating feeling like myself once more. Not some solely obsessed she-devil - but M.E. I never knew how fond of M.E. I had grown;) I am so grateful this new year for the holiday's that afforded me time to slow things down significantly. I am so grateful for the Arctic blast of air that has turned my rural town into an ice rink for the past week - and afforded me time to snuggle up with the ones I love most in this life. I am thankful for a Creator who gave me a husband with the patience of Job - at least as far as I'm concerned. I am thankful for a niece who prays mighty prayers, a brother-in-law who doesn't view church as a one man show, and the faithfulness of the Holy Spirit. I am full of gratitude to feel spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically more myself than I have in over a decade.
So this - I welcome change that is eternal - not temporal. I thank Father that the wilderness did not kill me and that in fact it allowed me to see the miraculous lengths to which God will go in order to preserve His children. I am grateful for fourteen years of marriage - seven years running away, seven years working in sobriety. I realized the other day it has been like Leah and Rachel. We want the Rachel but we need the Leah. Gratitude for the Leah years - and so excited to see the many "children" that will be birthed over the next fourteen years. God is good - all the time.