Babies & A Little Quilt

This month has carried strife. More than expected. This past week was on it’s way to true damage, yet in the midst came blessing. Reminders of goodness, joy, peace, beauty…life.

As Not The Mama and I were some of the firsts in our group to marry and have kids, we have been a bit ahead of some of closest friends. We have been on different pages if you will. While there are times it’s been lonely or frustrating, for the most part,  we haven’t minded. But now this really amazing thing is happening: our kids are growing up and our friends are having kids.

I didn’t know how sweet a time this could be, to watch our friends become moms and dads. I didn’t think at the time how great it is that my kids would be older when these babies would be arriving but it’s that much sweeter to have not held a newborn in years when a friends little one is born. I’m not so tired from rocking my own and I miss the newborn stage just enough to thoroughly enjoy being a helper to those walking through it now. Time is good.

This week, I was able to meet a very dear friend’s handsome baby boy: I am a big fan of Ace and deeply appreciate getting to cuddle that guy for a few hours this week.

Additionally I was blessed this week to get to host a shower for another baby and to give her parents  a pretty little quilt I have been making for many months. This quilt is for a dear one’s daughter, for one of our favorite people in the world who is expecting his first baby with his beautiful wife in just a few weeks. It was the greatest honor to create something for a tiny baby girl I haven’t yet met but already love. I can’t wait to hold her.

The quilt fabrics are from the Emma Grace Collection at Hawthorne Threads. I was insanely impressed with the quality and accuracy of the fabrics. They also arrived in a timely manner. I also will take this moment to confess that I stalk their website weekly in order to daydream about my next project. Their prints are just incredible.

I have to thank the wonderful and lovely Trinity Henley for all her training, help, coaching and kindness. This quilt would not look like this without her.

IMG_6768.JPG

IMG_6753.JPG

REBLOG: The Monster’s Legacy

Originally posted on Grace for my Heart:

It’s Narcissist Friday!  

I recently wrote an overview of the damage the flood from a year ago did to our little church building. It surprised me to look at the simple facts. We had to strip everything from the building, down to the studs in the walls and the concrete under the flooring. Everything was lost: all furnishings, wall coverings, fixtures, appliances, and nearly every small item. Our final costs, with a great deal of volunteer help, will be well over $50,000.

So, if the water only came up to three or four feet in the building and didn’t actually reach the rear of the building at all, why so much loss? Simple answer: mold. Invasive, destructive, smelly mold. Within a week or so, it had climbed to the top of the A-frame and penetrated almost everything in the building. Books sitting on the shelves, far above any water, were…

View original 875 more words

homelearning: one year later

It’s been one year since I posted that we had DONE it: unenrolled our kids in public school and registered for homeschooling. Oh my, was I scared!

One year later, what does life look like here?
As I type, Adam is playing a science game on the computer. To be honest, I’m not exactly sure which one it is, I can hear it but I’m not standing over him….this is his downtime and he is permitted to play anything on his list. Noah is playing with Legos at the Lego table. Lily is laying beside where I sit, alternating between reading words she sees on my screen and sucking her thumb (oh the irony!). Seth is playing in the playroom the way he does (multiple toys from multiple sets/shows/stories all rolled together in some elaborate world he has created in his mind). It is that time of day I’m a litle sleepy and everyone else is a little bit quiet (hooray).

In regards to the 2013-2014 school year (our very first homeschooling year), what a success! I honestly could not have expected things to go as well as they did.
Adam is reading!!! Anyone who follows along knows that Adam was our main reason for homeschooling to start with. He needed one-on-one attention, the time to master skills and some major work in phonics. I cannot express my relief and my joy when, a few weeks ago, the kid just started reading…everything! I can’t take all the credit, (and some I even give to his stellar speech therapist this past year) but we are thrilled with this development. His pediatrician told me at our last ADHD checkup that he believes we have done the right thing by Adam by choosing to homeschool. He felt that a very different child sits before him than last year. Adam’s anxiety is under control, and so much of his sensory seeking is better. I have no words to say how encouraging this was to hear and how happy I am for my sweet son that life is a little bit easier  when we live a homelearning lifestyle.  As for Noah, he is right on target in his subjects and has even progressed up a grade ahead in math. This doesn’t “matter” (I hear you, homeschool moms) but at the same time, to the naysayers who couldn’t believe I could do it: this homeschooling thing is working! Hooray!

As I type this,we haven’t started back to school officially yet. We have done some summer school to keep some of ours skills but we haven’t been sticklers about days/hours/subjects. We have taken all of the last three weeks off. If kids have done schoolwork it has been on their own.  I have to have some time to plan, right? (And I think I needed the break more than they did since we have schooled since last summer!)
I have an ‘easing in’ week ready to go soon but we just aren’t that worried about it. We will start when we do and I know it’ll be a great year.

I’m just not afraid anymore.
I know homeschooling is the right thing for my kids. I know we made the right decision. The doubt is gone.

(That doesn’t mean I don’t ever doubt my abilities; any one does and every one of us should do self-assessments anyway. But just like I know I was meant to parent these children, I know homeschooling was the path we were meant to take.)

IMG_2306

This week, public schools in our area returned to school. I have several friends posting on social media sources their sorrow at their kids leaving for school, their worry and sadness and lack of peace at sending them to school (“school in a building” as my kids like to say). How much I remember that feeling! I believed so whole-heartedly they were supposed to go to school and I was supposed to “get used to” that feeling. I’m so glad I was wrong. And to those who are in doubt about their schooling choice: trust yourself. It is okay to keep your kids home for learning.

As many of my fellow homeschool bloggers post at this time of year, I plan to do a post on our curriculm choices and such. We also are participating in a weekly co-op for the first time this year. We will still have ballet, baseball, soccer, gymnastics, and Awana. We will be back to our field trip adventures and library dates and science experiements so soon.
Stay tuned for more homeschool posts on another day.

 

You make all things new….even me.

There was a time, not oh-so long ago that I didn’t know what gossip really was. I was taught that gossip meant talking about something that wasn’t true. Just talking about people was a part of my family of origin’s every interaction. That wasn’t gossip, that’s just what you do. This is what we were taught.

There is a dangerous aspect to talking about people because it creates a (false) bond between the people who participate.

There is a culture of gossip in the family I grew up in, particularly on the maternal side. It is simply the main part of their interactions with each other to discuss the other people in the family, usually with a feeling of displeasure and judgement. Even without the ugly side, gossip is idle talk about another. This truly is gossip as is mentioned in God’s word. He also warns us against slander, which is where we use false or DAMAGING statements in our talk about another. This pattern of interaction in my family is most times all there is; talking about each other. (Proverbs 11:13/16:28/18:8/26:20, 2 Cor. 12:20, Titus 3:2, 1 Tim 5:14, Romans 1:30, 1 Cor 6:10)

As these activities became more and more accepted and more and more the main stay of gatherings of any number, external things became more chaotic. I received texts ABOUT me that were intended for others from people who were “discussing” me in slanderous and gossiping ways. I also had people who repeated statements back to me, made about me and others in a way that left me wondering how they handled the  moment- did they defend me or the accused or just go along with the slanderer?
Of course, when someone in the family was confronted for actions such as these, they called their slander “concern” for the people. Things that are said like this “She should hang her wedding picture on the fridge so she will remember not to eat so much.” “You have beautiful hair and yet you wear it like this.” “Perhaps she should go to work and he should stay home, she is such a failure as a mom.” “She never cleans her house. She lives in the middle of all that junk.” “She should never have had kids, she doesn’t spend any time with them.” This does not sound like concern to me. Does it sound like it to you?

I’ve watched as the longer this behavior was permitted, the further and deeper it has gone until outright lies were said as though they should be believed. “You can’t listen to anything she says….Didn’t you know she said she was going to drive off a cliff a few years ago? With the kids in the car!” “They keep their curtains closed all the time because they are probably cooking meth in there.” “They never have enough food to feed their kids anyway.” “She is too messed up, she will never marry.” “They will never make it. They don’t know how to love anyone but themselves.” “He never works, he is so lazy.” I could go on and on, folks, because some of these things have been said about me but some have also been said TO me, about my siblings, and cousins, other family members and mutual friends.These are not statements of concern. They are statements of accusation. Of serious slander. Of crimes and fabricated conclusions.

I have years of ugly statements like this stored in my brain.

I felt I could ignore them, control them in my mind.
But they still come up unexpectedly at times when I see the person in question. This is the worst part of it all, in my opinon. That statements like this take root in your heart and mind. About others. About yourself even.  Is that true of them? Could that be true of me? Am I what they say I am or am I who I think I am?  Is that person who he seems to be or is he a stranger in my brothers face?

This gossip has created an entire community of people who cannot trust each other.

It has created an entire community of people who can be controlled by a few who have heard everything you’ve ever said. Have added to it, taken from it, will quote what they said as though you said it and will certainly quote you in your moments of participation in order to destroy any relationship you have outside of their control.

Gossip does not make you a safe person.  In fact, a person who makes statements like this is an emotionally dangerous person. And anyone around them who allows them to do this is also to be considered unsafe.  Like wearing armor, I no longer spend time with any of them. Respectfully, I also say, if you are one who does this, just don’t be my friend at all.
I have never been a part of a culture of gossip outside of my family and I regret to say in my youth, I often tried to create them in other circles. I knew how to bond this way, with other women, by talking about other people. I am suceptible to fall into it at times. I know this and it terrifies me.
I am thankful to God Almighty for the several friends who sat me down at different times and said “I don’t want to do this with you”….”This isn’t how friends treat each other”….”I won’t talk about so-and-so with you.”  It’s even been in the last few years that I’ve watched myself get sucked back into that culture inside my family, that some of these talks have resurfaced in my heart: OH, THATS WHAT SHE MEANT. Thank heaven for understanding. Thank heaven for this armor and protection of good friends, good people, good leaders to follow.  Thank heaven for circles in which the culture of interaction is to uplift in acceptance. To all those old friends who had the hard talks with me, I truly thank you. I often thanked you then (Sometimes I fought you. Defending myself.) and only now do I know I’ve reached full understanding of what you were doing for me. Thank you, thank you, thank you. What amazing people you are!

It is enlightening to understand that truly, though this may be a regular culture to some people, there are many where it simply is not the reality.  In other words: this isn’t NORMAL. Especially in respect to mothers, daughters, grandmothers, and the like. It also isn’t necessary.

I am watching from a distance as some of you try to interact with people from my past, people in my family and people who are simply like those from my past…watching you try to find your footing when the rug is always knocked beneath you, watching you fumble your way on whether this person is right or did that sound quite right, wondering if they’ll do the same exact thing to you (they have and they do and they are) and your uncertainty shows me you’re standing where I’ve stood before.  Baffled. But longing to be in that fold. Not knowing why, really. But the bond is pulling.  Run from it. That’s my only advice: Run.

I am thankful for a recent study I was a part of on Titus 2. It was so hard to hear and to particpate in in my broken state. But I came away with so much understanding. Here it is in part only.  Titus 2, “3 Teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to  much wine, but to love what is good. 4 Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands. 9 Avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.  10 Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that have nothing to do with him.” This, too, is why I tell you: RUN.

I am slowly but surely recovering from some of this. I’ve asked God to cleanse my mind and my heart of that which is NOT TRUE.  Reveal to me what of these statements are real about myself so I can be better and so I can deal with my sins and flaws. But the rest, be forgotten. Not even a distant memory but forgotten.  I want to believe once more that I am who Christ says I am and nothing else. He is faithful and I believe the years the locusts have eaten will be repaid. Renewing my mind, day by day.
I’ve also asked Him to cleanse me completely of the statements made about others; it isn’t mine to know or ponder.  I don’t want to see someone and wonder if what I was told was true or untrue- I want to forget it. I want to know them on my own, see them for who they are, not someone else’s false or partially true or convoluted conclusion. Renewing my mind, day by day.
I want to always interact with others without any tendency to control or manipulate but to bond over real life, in this way other friends have taught me. In my experience, those have always turned out to be the best of friendships anyway.
Life-giving friendships.
Trusted-with-your-soul friendships.
Thank heaven He makes even me new.

Then Noah turned 6!!!

Noah had his first taste of a pool party for his birthday last year. It goes without saying that was, of course, his request for this year as well. He has a long wait, Noah does, for his birthday at the end of July in comparison to the others whose birthdays follow one another swiftly; mid-February, mid-March, end-of-April. He waited and waited for his turn to have gifts and balloons.  He changed his mind about his party theme no less than 12 times.  On his you-must-decided-by-the-end-of-today date in June, he had chosen baseball as his theme!

Noah had his first season of baseball this spring. It was SO. MUCH. FUN. Adam had played a few years ago and didn’t like it. It wasn’t so fun to make him go and play. And while he had natural talent, he just didn’t enjoy it. Noah, on the other hand, lived for baseball this spring. He loved his practices, his games, his jersey. He wore his glove around the house and we spent many hours practicing throws and hits in the backyard. I even bought myself and Greg a glove so we could truly play with him.IMG_9489

This was a very exciting time for me, personally, as I love watching baseball. I especially loved watching Noah come into something he really cares about. That it should include Coca-Cola and popcorn and picnic blankets and the sound of the bat hitting the ball and the cheers of the crowd and snowcones, well, it’s that much better.

So the baseball theme seemed truly fitting. Only problem was, there isn’t baseball birthday supplies to be found. There are plenty of plates and banners and decorations that include multiple sports. But none that were just baseball. I’ve been here before, in the planning past, and so I just elected to make things myself.

I decorated the tableclothe with cardboard baseballs, used Noah’s glove and helmet and our collection of balls as decorations. For snacks, I supplied the kids with sunflower seeds (so funny to watch them figure this one out) and crackerjack boxes. Our bakery had no trouble making the cupcakes into balls (so cute.) I couldn’t find baseball wrapping paper so I bought black and white polka dotted paper and drew the laces of the baseball in with a red sharpie.

IMG_4255 IMG_4251 IMG_4327

The guests most enjoyed the pool and it really makes for a fun party for us mothers- the kids just want to SWIM! Several of us moms did get in with them. It was a hot day and they’re so much fun in the water, it makes it hard to resist.

I have a love for blowing-out-candles pictures. Always one of my favorite pictures after the party:
IMG_4326
The kids loved the pinata which isn’t something I normally do at our parties but was just too cute to pass up!IMG_4333

Noah had a great day. It’s hard to believe my beautiful boy has already turned 6. To your sixth year, then, my dear one! I love you more than words can say!

A little DIY Update

Well, my dear Sonya noticed I didn’t have a back porch table. She found one someone didn’t want any longer and brought it to town to me. It was a good table just old…you know, chipping paint and raw wood.
A little sandpaper, a couple cans of spray paint, and a new foam brush for my polyurethane and voila…

20140702-143653-52613724.jpg

20140702-143655-52615677.jpg

THEN….I realized I’m sewing enough to need a sewing corner (a sewing corner!!!!) and decided to trade in my big HUGE desk with built in filing and shelves for a smaller desk and a filing cabinet. The filing cabinet we bought from a friend and that took only a little spray paint and a few minutes. This set up maybe doesn’t sound smaller but trust me it’s a huge difference. The corner itself is likely temporary, the floor in our old house is very uneven in several places and unfortunately this is one of them. I may need a new spot. But for now it works…. here’s how it went….

20140702-144530-53130335.jpg(Don’t worry about the white on the outdoor carpet (HATE outdoor carpet btw) because when something gets on it, I just paint it back to black. Tricky.)

The desk was one given to us several years ago. Adam has used it for his desk catch-all for a couple years but recently chose to share a room with his brother and was ready to release it (if not the rock collection, scrap collection and drawer full of what we can only call trash). It had a laminate top like my dining room table had and I have had no issues with that redo. So I did it exactly the same way: my grandfather Clock’s sander, fine sandpaper, primer and paints. I love shabby chic decor and I adore the look of furniture much used so decided to give my new sewing desk not only the look of paint scrapped off but also with several layers underneath.

20140702-144528-53128636.jpg
To do this you sand then prime.
I added a coat of white after my primer using interior paint. Then sanded a couple places to show wood. Then I added colored paints (I went with a green and yellow that match the kids playroom since those rooms flow into each other (and I like them). After letting the colored paint dry, I added some Vaseline to those spots. Sounds crazy, yes I know. Then I spray painted two more coats until the white was even. I don’t often use spray paint but I’m trying to more- it is so much faster and easier.

Using sandpaper I sanded a few more corners and using a rag, wiped away the Vaseline. It’s hard to perfectly control the application of the Vaseline which makes it perfect for shabby corners- they look more genuine that way.

20140702-144821-53301125.jpg
While all those steps were taking place I also painted the old hardware the cute green. I needed two knobs as two were missing and found these at Hobby Lobby. It looks just perfect.

20140702-144942-53382604.jpg

20140702-144940-53380608.jpg
The finished project looks perfect in my little sewing corner.

20140702-145232-53552404.jpg

And the little corner is getting good use already….20140702-145233-53553947.jpgThis is a quilt I began in 2001 during my senior year of high school. I spent a lot of time, a whole lot of money and a lot of frustration cutting and sewing the pinwheels together. I had a good bit of help and I’m proud to say I finished it by myself (and have begun two more in the meantime without the kind of “helpers” who take over…I have one in the hoop and one being pieced just like I wanted). It’s a beautiful quilt and I love that my whimsical tastes of youth fit right in with my kids’ playroom and styles now. It took me many years to finish this throw but it I believe it was all in the right timing afterall.

 

20140702-145327-53607757.jpgThis picture is a tiny glimpse into my current quilt being pieced. It is a surprise gift for someone and so I won’t show it yet. But let me just say it will be the most beautiful quilt I’ve ever made…the fabrics are glorious. I can’t wait to start making it real.

20140702-145328-53608688.jpgAnother pillowcase dress (shocker)! Lindsey and I decided to make the girls special dresses for Independence Day. We both have always gotten our girls a special dress for the fourth…this year we made our own. So proud and they are SO pretty! Can’t wait to see the girls in them on Friday.

20140702-150124-54084163.jpgOh, the little filing cabinet went from “fine” to cute. :) It fits right in now. (And is actually full of files. I’m so strange I enjoyed all that organization almost as much as painting the sewing table.)