Category Archives: Musings

Be Available! Peptalk Free Printable

be available 6x6 color

This little peptalk — “be available” — has kept resurfacing over and over in my life the past few weeks. For Anna’s school, we read a few chapters (from this book) about others who were “available” and therefore able to do what needed to be done because they were willing.

This struck a chord for me in my own life. I can be very task-oriented. I can feel the pressure of limited time and a long, long list of things to do– and in an effort to be efficient and quick, I can be a little bit of a tornado of productivity. : ) Not necessarily in a good way: those sweet little souls of mine can quickly become interruptions right in my path. Don’t we often view people that way, in general? You’re a speed bump slowing me down. Your personal life story is taking too long to tell. You’re taking too long to walk to your car. You’re too slow to pay. Just make up your mind! I have too much to do to listen, help, go out of my way…

I met with a (newish) friend this week, also a mother of many little people. She challenged me think through piling too much on myself in the “crunch” moments — those frantic, everyone’s-fussy-and-needy moments when, for whatever reason,  I also decide to do three things at once! I am not available then, when they need me the most.

I want to be available — to spend ten minutes playing dollhouse, to watch a new dance move, to wrestle with drooly & growly twins,  to see “something amazing!” outside that the girls have discovered — with a joyful, peaceful soul! I mean, aren’t all of these — the things drawing me away from my “tasks” — meaningful, beautiful, and important? Aren’t these what really make up “life”?

After meeting with my friend, I was reminded of two C.S. Lewis quotes. Maybe I need to handletter these, too, as a reminder to me!

“The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own,’ or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life — the life God is sending one day by day.”

and

“Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.”

Maybe you’re caught in a fast-paced race of productivity but not availability, too?

You can download & print this little reminder, then. : ) 4×6 & 6×6 in one PDF.

be available 4x6 color

Be Available Watercolor PDF

(I have Staples print mine on 110-lb full-color cardstock… it looks lovely!)

(Next week, another printable!! –> think Cinderella…)

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A 2014 {Crafty} Year-in-Review

craftymusingsheader

This post kicks off my attempt to blog at least a little more regularly. I really do love writing & sharing house/crafty/minibook/life stuff!

A few months ago I did a post on “one year in” our 1980’s house, which did a pretty good job summing up our past year. Which really was: twin pregnancy. premature birth. NICU stay. adjusting to life with 5 under 5. And that was most of it. We could not keep up with social commitments. We let a lot of good things go. The months leading up to the arrival + the arrival of our precious, wonderful little loves turned the rhythm & flow of our whole life upside-down, in the best way possible. : ) Adding souls to love & nourish & pour into a family is one of the greatest reasons to have your “life interrupted,” and I mean that with all my heart.

Rewinding to 2013, it was a highly active, inspired year for me as far as minibooks went… I tried four new minibook styles (as I had intended in my 2013 memory-keeping goals) and made over 20 minibooks, some of which I hope to blog about in my attempt to “catch up” to blogging…

2013 minibooks2

2013 Minibooks

 

Pregnancy & nausea & finishing our first year of homeschooling & settling into a new home slowed down the minibook-making early in 2014… it wasn’t until I started feeling better in March/April that I caught up on some minibooks…

2014 Minibooks1

 

…then after the twins arrived, I managed to do a few simple minibooks for the girls during the late summer. Then living with very little sleep for several months caught up to me, and my creativity & motivation & inspiration went dormant until December.  : )

2014 minibooks

 

minibooks completed

Sporadic crafting in 2014 happened in & around the upheaval of pregnancy nausea, a vast amount of doctor appointments, trips to hospitals, homeschooling, trying to be mentally present with the girls, NICU stay, and that post-baby zombie stage (which some days I still feel like I am kind of in!). And blogging kind of never happened. : )

Mostly, I practiced hand-lettering with colored pencils, or watercolors, or chalk, with a few random easy-peasy artsy projects mixed in…

2014 Crafts

And one of the most rewarding feelings: finally putting stuff on the walls of our house, adding a little bit of personalization to make it more of our home. : ) I hope to “catch up” with all the unwritten or partially written posts!

gallery walls

 

What kind of crafty year was 2014 for you?

Twins Musings: A Very Un-detailed Birth Story

These Small Hours: Twins Musings

“Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them.” Psalm 111:2-3

I remember celebrating an uneventful 32 week milestone with the twins. 32 weeks! Yay! We were getting farther along in the third trimester! It had been five weeks since I was released from the high-risk maternal unit for low fluid, and for the first time — despite tiredness and a return of nausea — the pregnancy felt mostly ‘normal’. The twins’ fluid levels were holding steady. Their movements and dopplars and size were great. I felt confident we would make it to 36 weeks. 

Tuesday morning, June 10, at 32 weeks & 3 days, my water broke. I was sitting on the bed, saying good morning to the girls, and my water broke. In spite of the rush of adrenaline, I felt a deep calm. We scrambled to get ready to go the local hospital & waited for my parents to come and get the girls. 

Anna, five, said to me that she was afraid I would die or the twins would die. I said, “I really think by the end of the day, we will have two little boys.” 

We went to the local hospital, where I was put through various checks to make sure my water broke. They didn’t think I was in labor (not dilated at all); my contractions were intermittent & not at all painful. Then I was cleared for transport to the hospital about 2 hours away, where my maternal fetal specialist worked. I had my first ambulance ride, sirens blaring. Rust followed along in our car. 

Once at the hospital, the goal was to stop any contractions & determine if I was really in labor. At noon, my contractions were still inconsistent, I wasn’t dilated, and I wasn’t in much pain. I won’t describe in detail the next few hours — I want to get to the best part — just: by 4:30 pm, I was a full 9 cm, with wave after wave of contractions, and the magnesium they had given me in hopes of stalling labor 48 hours wasn’t working. 

“Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!” Psalm 107:8

They were prepping the OR for me (in case of a C-section), and as they were almost wheeling me out the door, little Grayson was born with a beautiful fierce little cry. Less than a minute later, Noah made his entrance en caul — which means his bag of waters (amniotic sac) never broke. The L&D nurse and resident OB carefully opened the sac. I remember the L&D nurse shouting down the hall, “RUN! RUN! The babies are HERE! They’re HERE! NOW!” All manner of NICU staff, nurses — honestly, I don’t even know whom! — rushed into the room. I laid eyes on both of them, the NICU staff began to care for our precious preemies, and before they transported them to what would be their first home for the next 20-27 days, they let me see them one more time. Then they were gone. I was in a daze. Rust was in a daze. 

But here are the beautiful, extraordinary details of their birth… these details which gave me deep peace about the timing of their birth, their prematurity, our NICU stay… 

After sweet Noah & Grayson were taken to the NICU, the L&D nurse & my maternal fetal specialist told me that being born “en caul” was rare, very rare (some say 1 in 80,000 births!), and that those babies throughout history have been considered special. 

Noah also had something called a velamentous cord insertion — something that even with all the ultrasounds & monitoring had not been detected. This type of cord insertion leaves the vessels exposed, instead of protected into the heart of the placenta, and are “vunerable to rupture,” as the article says. If that were to happen, Noah could have died in utero. 

My maternal fetal specialist said that when they know about velamentous cord insertion, the way they deliver those babies is via C-section — ready? — en caul. In their sac. Exactly the way Noah was delivered. 

Noah was delivered in the safest way possible in the midst of a crazy, fast, unexpected premature delivery. 

Or as several nurses & staff commented, God delivered him in the safest way possible. 

It still takes my breath away. 

Our mouths were filled with laughter,
    our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
    and we are filled with joy.

Psalm 126:2-3

I am so thankful for the crazy-fast, unexpected, chaotic way our Thunder & Lightning came into the world. I am so thankful they were born in a hospital where the NICU was right down the hall, the staff responded so quickly to our sons’ quick delivery, and they were in immediate care. I am so thankful God arranged every detail perfectly, and where we did not know of the danger Noah could have been in, He oversaw their very special delivery. 

Grayson Noah

 

 

Musings No. 2: Art through the Sorrow

musings2

What to do with all the hurt & loss & brokenness & sorrow going on all around? Sometimes it is in our own life; and other times — to watch those for whom we love & care pass through their own difficult circumstances or loss.

I tend to always try to work through my thoughts & feelings with, aside from writing/journaling, art. A quote, a verse, a phrase, a song… what latches onto my heart as I process & sort all the messy emotions & thoughts that come with heartache or pain or loss.

Here is some art I’ve done in the last 6 months, as I have watched others experience their own heartache & loss, and feel so helpless…

plans

daisysmom

{these words were written by Daisy’s mom, after her daughter passed away…her words kept getting stuck in my head {not a bad thing!!} until I wrote them out.}

givemejesus

jesus2

{I now love this song.}

carry-the-fire

from Andrew Peterson’s Carry the Fire.

LOTR

{My favorite quote from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.}

Musings No. 1: Make Beautiful Things

musings1

This post will be a little bit all over the place. That’s because I’m musing here!

I saw on Pinterest a while ago a nice little quote that’s stuck itself inside my mind, and it won’t let go. So I made this one afternoon.

IMG_2258

“I just want to make beautiful things, even if no one cares.”

Ha! So often I feel that’s exactly what I’m doing! Crafting & making & creating, all in my little corner of the world, even if no one cares or notices or sees.

But it begs the question: for whom do you craft? create? make stuff? For whom should you craft, create? Yourself & yourself alone, for the sake of your own pure enjoyment? For you, therapeutically? For others, in hopes of inspiring & challenging & offering a piece of beauty in an often not-so-beautiful world? What about God, for Him? Does He care about beauty & art & the tiny little projects we pour our time & soul & creativity into?

There are many, many reasons I just want to “make things” — I won’t go into them now. I have so many thoughts about God & creativity & art and how it’s all entwined with life here on earth… : ) But I will recommend a book my husband Rust just finished, and which I read the last three chapters of on his suggestion — Eyes Wide Open: Enjoying God in Everything by Steve DeWitt. It can help you answer many of the questions I posed above.

And every time I think of the quote above, I end up humming this song…

It’s “Beautiful Things” by Gungor.

The quote above also spurs on other thoughts about what I “just want to” do, “even if…”

I just want to sing my favorite songs, even if no one is there to listen…

I  just want to write, even if no one reads it…

I just want to capture the moment through photography, even if no one else savors that same moment…

I just want to make lists, even if I never complete the stuff on them…

All things I love, all things I do for fun, for refueling, for expression.

Why do you craft or sew or bake or garden or build or make or cut paper or decorate or DIY or paint or sketch or hand-letter or flower arrange or sculpt or design or photograph or write or blog or dance or write songs or sing or  _______?

What are your, “I just want to…. even if…” sentences? I would LOVE to hear!