always a fresh start

For years I refused to make any New Year’s Resolutions…I felt as if it was a complete and total waste of my energy.  I knew I didn’t have the fortitude to go the distance, to finish what I started…so why bother?

I find myself in a different position this year.  I am staring at 40 and my body knows it.  In the past year I have been diagnosed with several health issues that have left me tired, run down, heavy in body, and heavy in heart.  As I struggle finding the right balance of medications, and do everything I can to heal my chemistry, I have been thinking about my commitment to the rest of my overall well being.

You see my body didn’t tank over night.  It has been years in the making.  Years of living in extreme stress, worrying about the big things and the little, worrying about “fairness”, not having the faith that my heavenly father was BIG enough to see me through.

In order to become who he has created me to be I am going to have to fight.  I am going to have to stop listening to those voices in my head screaming “defeat”.  I am going to have to put aside and forget what I want and listen to God’s voice and where he is leading.  Let me tell you this will be no easy task for a headstrong know-it-all like me.

So here’s to 2016, it’s a year of promises and as always a new beginning and fresh start.  Praise the Lord for “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)

Finding purpose…

I have had this little space for a while now and have yet to decide really what to do with it. Therefore it hasn’t been made public, but I’m not sure I want to stay quiet.

For a while I thought it would be a great private way to vent…but the internet DUH! The risk of hurting feelings was way too great and words have a way of wounding like no other.

Then I thought I would chronicle all the little crafty bits that I do… But that just didn’t feel right either.

Today, the day after Thanksgiving, I have been sitting in a quiet house in my pajamas reflecting.

You see there are massive changes going on in my heart. I am not sure how to balance the feelings pulling me back and forth (I would love to use a beautiful waves of the tide analogy here but it is more..) like a washing machine churning around trying to get things clean. For the majority of my life I lived selfishly, I tried to be kind and good, but honestly I was selfish. It did not matter the good deeds done because I was not truly doing them selflessly to serve and honor anyone but myself.

I cannot live that way any longer.

I am going to write out my journey here. My tale of learning to live in the world but not be of it.. My story of attempting to love with Jesus’ heart.. My story of finding acceptance where before I only had room for scorn and judgement..

It is going to be hard.
It is going to be ugly.
It is going to be cleansing.
It is going to be redeeming.

A..B..C.. as easy as 1..2..3..

I am making sure my space is ready for all the hard core crafting I am going to do this summer (bwahahaha! you know..while the kids are home, silently reading and having perfectly harmonious tea parties together).  It is going to take a bunch of little organization projects to make this happen.

A good place to start, in my mind, was with my alphabets.  This is in part because I needed them for a project and got really frustrated when I couldn’t find what I needed, only to go out and buy what I needed, only to find it in the bottom of the box i already had.  Soooo..

Here is what I started with..

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Yeah..what a mess!  There are all sorts of amazing and beautiful storage boxes to hold and sort stuff like this.  However I wanted something portable, inexpensive, and preferably already in my closet.  Which is where I pulled these from..

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Plain..multipocketed..plastic and light.  I can throw them in a bag to scrap on the go.  I can toss them in a drawer for easy, out of sight access.  Perfect!  All I needed was to take about ten minutes to sort what I have in to usable categories, and file them away.  I finished off the project by labeling the envelopes (since I have a strange feeling more of these envelopes will appear during the course of this project) and labeling each pocket so I can find what I need in a snap.  Here is a collage from start to finish.

 

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I couldn’t be happier with the result.  It was a super simple way to save time and energy.  After all, I am pretty sure that my projects are going to be done in two to three minute bursts in between refereeing sessions.  Gotta make it work!

The little things

So I have started identifying and eliminating areas of clutter and stress. One of them happened to be my medicine cabinet.  Actually we don’t have a medicine cabinet, so everything we needed to “get well soon” was shoved in a big box under our bathroom sink.

Now I am sure you are all peaches and cream and roses and sunshine when you have a headache, but I am NOT.  When I need aspirin, I need it yesterday..and I for sure do not want to have to dig.  That fact alone made this project a priority for me.

So..imagine a giant plastic box of every medicine you could possibly need (i.e.. I have no “before” picture)

Now get a load of this..

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I basically sorted my meds in to categories we could use.  Then off to the store to find containers that had a little color and fun print.  Add some labels and viola!

Now if the rest of that closet could be as easy to manage as the meds!

 

***ADDENDUM – This was a post I should have made last spring.  To me the test of a good organization is, can it be maintained for the long haul?  The answer for this particular project is yes!  It has been very simple not only to find what we need, but to get things back in their home for the next time we need them.  I give this little project an A+.  For about twenty minutes worth of work (gathering all the items and putting them in one place, sorting, and organizing) I cut my stress level way down.  Which actually means I need a lot less of the meds in those bins.

Why people who condemn girl legos should just stop…

To preface the rest of this commentary, I am a person who thinks it is OK to be a girl.  I not only think it is OK, I think we should celebrate it.  I think that people, especially other women, should stop trying to turn girls into boys.  We are not the same and that is by design.  Instead, set a fabulous example of what it looks like to embrace your femininity and be a woman.  Teach your girls how to be gracious, kind, loving, and sensitive and watch them become resilient.  Teach them to dance, paint, act, and sing and watch them love reading, and pursuing knowledge. Teach them it’s all right to dress well and wear skirts and watch them express themselves with their clothing choice.

That being said..

I recently read an article written by the little girl..now woman..who was in the initial advert for lego to get kids building.  She basically said Lego should can the prepackaged sets that limit creativity and went on to claim Lego was gender insensitive to make Lego friends.  WHAT? I then searched and read a whole bevy of articles/blog posts sharing the same sentiment.  I read the comments, and was shocked to hear there were teachers urging their students to view the Lego friends sets as evil, and demeaning, and boycott.  WHAT?

I think the feminist perspective on this is missing something HUGE.  With Lego friends there is a group of girls who would never ever never picked up Legos had they not been initially attracted to the themes and colors and characters of the friends.  Right now, as I type I am also watching my daughter and husband build the Lego friends cruise ship.  They have been doing this activity together for close to an hour now.  They have been doing this activity TOGETHER with the TV OFF.  They have been building without an iPhone or iPad in sight.  It does not matter what is going on with social media because they are engaged with EACH OTHER.  (As a side note the baby has been spending just as much time playing with her princess Duplo set because she wants to be a part of the action.)

Their conversations while building have nothing to do with how cute Mia’s hair looks, or if Stephanie’s skirt makes her butt look big.  Instead they are talking about the structure, they are collaborating to find pieces and get sections complete, they are referring to the pieces by their characteristics unwittingly getting some math in there.  Yes it is a “girl” set, but the work happening is not girl work..or boy work for that matter, it is Lego work.

You see my kid is one of those kids that would never have touched a Lego set if it had not been for the friends.  She has an incredibly stereotypical “girly” personality.  She has always enjoyed wearing tutus and pink…and if there was glitter and unicorns involved she would be all over it.  It’s just who she is, and I would never try to change it.  She saw the Heartlake Vet and decided that this was something she wanted to try.  And come to find out, she LOVED it.  I don’t know that she ever would have looked at a Lego city vet and fallen in love.  Something about the lime green and turquoise and the animals with little bows on their heads made her want to build.  You know what Lego friends haters…I am OK with that.  

So the rest of my evening is going to be spent with my family working on this crazy behemoth of a set until we finish it.  And then we may pull some of our storm trooper figures over from our Star Wars sets to take over the ship, or Andrea just might go to the ship spa for a mani/pedi.  Either way I am happy and grateful for the time together building.

Birthdays are for themes..

I love a good party!  

Each of the girls have had their birthdays at our home.  They get to pick the theme, and we (I mean I) have a ton of fun putting together all the decorations and food.  One of my favorite parties was the little bits 3rd birthday.  She wanted a “catapiwer birfday” so that’s what we did!

Eric Carle to the rescue for lots of inspiration!

This wreath is how our guests were greeted..and how they knew they were at the right place.Image

To honor the birthday girl we hung this in our dining room.

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The food was really easy, and for a summer birthday just right!  Each of the kids had their own muffin tin to keep all of their food separate and contained as they snacked around the house or poolside.

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Two of my favorite items were the chocolate dipped marshmallow ice cream cones, and the lollipop topiary.  

 

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While the party was a pool party, I wanted to have a craft for those littles that did not feel like taking a dip.  Fingerpainting caterpillars worked out perfectly!  I wish I had a picture of the finished products, they turned out super cute. Thank heavens for the plastic disposable tablecloth.

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Since the guests were all little, we did not have a set agenda.  Lots of running around playing, snacking, crafting, and giggles.  

As a thank you, I put together just a little bag with some summer fun items like sidewalk chalk, bubbles, and markers with a note pad.  Tying a little caterpillar tag on the bag was an easy way to say thank you for coming.

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I think the birthday girl and her friends had a good time!

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This is NOT a post about resolutions..

Do you hear me NOT resolutions…

However, in the coming year there are a few minute items I would like to develop and refine.  Items such as…

1. Get really good at running 5Ks.  As you may know the hubby has become a triathelete.  He is getting in ridiculous good shape, and while I have no desire to run another half marathon I recognize the need for more cardio.  (You know in case of the zombie apocalypse).

2. Continue to clear out the clutter.  Nuff said.  There is an awesome group I follow on Tumblr called “Unf*&$# your habitat”.  They show all these pictures of real people making real progress on their real spaces.  It ain’t Home and Garden, but right now it makes me wanna clear out more crap.

3. Actually blog.  I have this space to put things out into the universe and I rarely do.  I am going to try and get better at this.

4. Read and memorize a scripture or two.  This year was really tough for me.  I feel like we were thrown a lot of curve balls (none of which we had any control over..they were like curve balls thrown by “wild thing” Charlie Sheen).  I feel that if I arm myself with scripture, it will make these instances easier to manage/endure.

5. Spend less time documenting family time, and more time enjoying family time.  Honestly who cares if we went to the zoo…again, or out to the theatre…again.  However, our kids will care that we are there with them wholly and uninterrupted.  Now I do not mean that I won’t be taking pictures…I have a kick butt camera and a beautiful family.  I just mean there are going to be a lot of #latergrams this year.

So this seems like a good start.  And it might be attainable.  Here’s hoping!