Monday, March 30, 2015

Fort


One of the best parts about having little boys is that I have the perfect excuse for doing all sorts of things that might not be considered appropriate for an adult woman...like building forts.

Forts are a special kind of fun that we should make a part of life long fun.

I mean, how great would it be to come home on a cold, rainy day, pile some blankets on the floor, layer blankets over the couch, chairs and tables, grab a friend and a flash light and crawl inside for a snack or a nap?

Lets do it right now...who's with me?

As I approached this layout, Echo Park Paper's products seemed to perfectly fit my mood...To be honest, Echo Park is my go-to manufacturer for my little boy layouts. 

I don't know what it is, but they seem to put out super fun kid lines that are not overly cutesy...and the colors are always vibrant, saturated and just perfect for the photos of my boys.


AND, their products blend well when line mixing lines...This layout mingles papers from (a very old) Photo Freedom Volume 1 mini theme, the (very old) Scoot collection, the We Are Family collection , and the brand new Jack and Jill collection.


There is even a little scrap from the Independence Day collection. 


Super fun and so cute!!

Peace, ya'll!



Sunday, March 29, 2015

Palm Sunday

And so begins Holy Week...

Today is Palm Sunday...it is a story recorded in all four of the gospels in various detail and depth: Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; John 12:12-19.

The shortest is perhaps Johns version...the most detailed perhaps Matthews. (I am partial to Matthew, so my opinion may be skewed.)

Jayden and I were listening to the song Drops in the Ocean by Hawk Nelson. There is a line in the song: If you want to see how much you mean to Me, look at My hands, look at My side. 

I asked my sweet 8 year old if he knew what it meant, and ensued a conversation that was probably a lot for his eight year old heart to take. We embarked on the simplest way I knew how to explain why there would be a wound in Jesus side. He asked me to stop talking "all this death."

It got me really thinking about Palm Sunday...My children know of the Lordship of Jesus, of the miraculously empty tomb. They know of Heavenly eternity and how Jesus loves them so much He came for them. It is enough for now in their journey. But it is far from being the whole of the story. Christmas and Easter belong together...He came, yes...but He also suffered and died. 

I remained in the happy parts of the resurrection story for far too long in my own Christian journey. 

I comfortably camped there in the "Happily Eve After" until after 30 years of age. Its a nice place to camp. But it does not grant us the perspective of our freedom from sin that we really should have.

One day, on the drive home, I heard a radio program where a doctor was describing the physical aspects of Crucifixion. As I listened to the very graphic explanation of how the process worked in Roman times and the effects on the body of such a torturous method of execution, I had to pull over on the side of the road.

I was sick to my stomach and sobbing so uncontrollably that I was not safe driving. The truth of just the physical suffering is enough to wreck my frail human heart. I almost dare not consider the spiritual suffering that Jesus endured.

For me. For you. For us all.

My favorite version of the Palm Sunday story is the one in Matthew:

21 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”
This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: 
“Say to Daughter Zion,
    ‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
    and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”
 

The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
10 
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

His riding into the city on a colt from a donkey would have been well recognized by any devout Jew...it is part of a prophesy in Zechariah 9:9 - something at least the men of the time would have studied. There would have been no mistaking the statement he was making with this entrance.
And the crowd who met him there in the streets celebrated his Kingship...a Kingship they did not fully comprehend, laying palm branches and their cloaks before him, in offertory submission...
But by Thursday, they would be crying for his death...
The fickle nature of the human heart...
Today I will reflect...who is Jesus to me? Is He only my Happily Ever After? My celebratory cloak thrown to the ground? Is He, my prophet, my teacher, my rabbi? Someone to grant my own selfish desires and make me comfortable?
Or is He my Savior, my Master, my salvation from sin and my own wicked ways? Is He holes in hands and side in supreme sacrifice for the souls of the lost? Do I remember how it felt to know what His crucifixion was like? What He suffered so that I don't have to? 
Which Jesus am I looking at as I approach the Cross?
Peace, ya'll

Thursday, March 26, 2015

My Kind of Brave

I'm sure for many, being a Christian seems like the safe thing to do. Its perceived as an established spiritual choice, and has at its core what might be considered a very conservative, unrisky platform. 

But that is not what it is like for me...it is not what it has ever been for me. 

Today I'm exploring how faith choices are brave choices over on Inside Out.



Once again, I used the gorgeous BRAVE kit to explore this theme...

Come over and join me!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

When Meh takes over…

     
I’m not typically a Meh person. I can be emotionally or spiritually motivated by much. I am quite motivated by building a schedule of things to do, and then systematically checking them off, one by one.

I’m quite motivated by playing loud music and singing along.

I can find motivation in getting artistically messy, playing at the park with my kids, and working out.

I am, after all, a doer.

Life is busy, though…and I find myself in a cycle of too much work, too many chores, too little time and space. I find that I don’t have silence, I don’t have much art and my quiet time is limited or broken into several small moments instead of one expanse of time.

This is not motivating for me to go mindlessly from thing to thing and suddenly I’m on the verge of Easter and feel…gray, washed out, unmotivated and uncooperative…and sleepy.

Yet still I persist.

I am, after all, a doer.

I am often discouraged by those around me who don't seem to have any ambition, or to even show up.

My discouragement comes from knowing how much of myself I put into being prepared, being present, being available, living up to my commitments and honoring those who depend upon me. 

I forge ahead in these times because I feel it taints my message, my witness if I do not proceed as committed and planned. 

I am, after all, a doer.

A few weeks ago, I got the flu. Like the stay-in-bed-raging-high-fever-can’t-eat-can’t-move flu. I’ve never been so sick. It took a long time to recover. I skipped the gym while ill and then for a few more days because I couldn’t kick the congestion. And I all I wanted to do was sleep.

I’m a poor sick person. I don’t rest for HOURS at a stretch very well. And I always feel like there is something I should be doing instead of just laying there.

Even if the "something" is reading a book or laying in the sun. 

I am, after all, a doer.

My point, I suppose, is that I got myself into a cycle – work, do it, work, do it, push through, push through, push….

And my body took me down. And forced me to rest. And then forced me to wait to be a doer…even though I went back to doing some things before maybe I should have.

And here is the thing…

I’m suddenly unmotivated by doing.

I feel meh.

But here is another thing.

Right now…unfilled expanses of time are not a real option for me.

I suppose they could be…but then a whole lot of other things would fall apart…and I’m not ready to let that many things fall apart.

I am, after all, a doer.

I have a wonderful friend who has been creating space in her life. She quit her job and followed a dream and is now trying to teach other women to create space.

In my life, I just don’t see how that is possible at this time.

OTHER people in my care need space…OTHER people in my care need for me to check things off of that check list, get up, go to work, do the doing.

So…I continue…

I am, after all, a doer.

But how and where does the energy and strength come when I find myself in one of these places (this is not the first time)? I could (and have) kicked against the goads, exclaimed that all of this is SO NOT fair, been stubborn, and argumentative, pushy, mean and stopped participating.

I’ve cried.

I’ve shut down.

Just for the record, I don’t know who all those things work for, but they don’t work for me.

For me…it is time to press in to God, to press into the promises that this, too, is a season…

I go looking in my Bible for encouragement…I go looking for God to reassure me that He is still there, He knows what I am going through, He feels my frustration and pain, He understands my lethargy for this life…and He grants me peace...

Exodus 33:14 “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

Psalm 73:26 “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

Psalm 116:7 “Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.”

John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

And above all, I remember that tomorrow is another day, another chance, another sunrise...and in that I have so much hope!

Lamentations 3:22-23

22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;[a]
    his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
    
great is your faithfulness.

Peace, ya'll!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Love You & Then Some

Love is brave. 

Today I'm sharing the story behind the art of Love You & Then Some over on Inside Out.


Please join me as I explore how love is BRAVE using Inside Out's BRAVE Kit.

Peace, ya'll!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

I WANT to be creative....

I really do...

As I work away at my job all day long, I dream of all the creative things I'll do when I get home.

I plot layouts, think about paper, organize my scraps, cut things with my Cricut, design cards, experiment with color combos, take photos...

All in my head.

While I'm working on computers that won't communicate, orders that don't find their way, requirements for the NEXT thing...

And I have great ambition to get into that studio and make a big old mess.

Then I get home....

And nobody has had dinner...

And its Cub Scout night...

And there is an adorable 5 year old blond boy child who wants to go to the park.

So...

We make some sandwiches...

And homework is hastily finished and shoved into folders in back packs.

And then the big boy and my sweet man are gone, off to scout and discover together.

This wide-eyed boy says "can we go to the park now?"

Yes.

Yes, my sweet son...the park.

And we swing and swing and swing....

He gleefully declares that he is "higher" than me on that swing and pumps with all his might to keep it up.

We run and he climbs and slides, climbs and slides, climbs and slides - one slide on every slide in this park.

Then we must visit the geese.

We must honk at them and get a good long look, but from a safe distance. They are almost as big as he is and he is unconvinced that they will not chase him.

There are frogs in that pond...we have to see if we can find one.

Of course he chatters non-stop, thus not a frog is to be found. They could hear his little chirp from miles away.

Back to the swings...and then its getting dark.

One more round of slides...a jump on the balance beam.

On the way home he gets the brilliant idea to do his brother's chore...lets get the trash all taken care of for Jayden.

We hurry - gathering all trash and all recycling so we can have the cans on the curb before they pull into the drive.

He races upstairs to put on pjs, brush his teeth, be ready to announce his good deed.

And then they are home and the house is full and it is a mad dash to the finish line - pjs, teeth, covers, prayers, kisses, hugs, I-love-yous...

Then its done.

Not one photo taken.

Not one layout made.

No cards, no cricut, no color combos...

Sure I could stay up late and force it....but I'm tired too now.

Little boys and their park shenanigans have a way of wearing out a person.

Pretending I can only go so high on a swing so a little boy can go higher is its own kind of creativity.

And pretending that he needs me to stand at the bottom of slide so I can catch him is creativity.

Swinging him in a big wide circle after each slide is creativity...

Assuring him that the goose can't hurt him in any meaningful way, pretending we might actually see a frog with all that chatter, pretending that I can't run any faster back to those swings...these are all forms of creativity.

And so, for this day at least, I must put off the documenting of my memories, the creating of things beautiful, the making of artful messes.

Because we have just been pretending, playing, running and plunging gleefully into just being together...

Sometimes, the making of the memory is ever so much better a form of creativity than the documenting of it.


Peace, ya'll!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Card Friday


Today, I'm bringing you a scrap-busting card that I created all on my own. GASP!!! WHAT??? CARDS on my own? You betcha!

Anyway, its Friday the 13th and seems like a ripe time for a good thank you card.

For this card, you will need:

4.25 x 5.5 card base
matching envelope
white cardstock
coordinating scraps
Square punch
1" circle punch
Sentiment stamp
ink
embossing powder

I happened to use several scraps from Simple Stories Sea to Shining Sea, some old paper from the Heidi Swapp No Limits collection, and a Thanks stamp from a collection of sentiment stamps. 


First, punch six squares from coordinating papers. I chose a strong image for the top left corner and a star for the top right corner of each card. 


Next, stamp your sentiment on plain white cardstock and heat emboss with your chosen embossing powder. Trim the sentiment to desired size.


Adhere the six coordinating squares to the card base with even margins all around. Mount the sentiment with dimensional adhesive in the center.


As a final step, I punched a coordinating image using the one inch circle punch and added it to the front of each envelope. 

Voila!  Cute thank you cards, easy peasy!

Peace, ya'll!