Thursday, May 27, 2010

I think I'm in heaven...

I would like to introduce to you the person that is living my dream "career life". If I had a career outside of my home, her career is the one I would want. The only problem is, she is amazingly talented and trained in art, and I am not. Her name is Molly Courcelle and from the minute my eyes met her work, I was in love with her art and her heart.
While in Asheville this past weekend, we spent a day walking around the the Arts District and I stumbled upon her studio. I was searching for her mother, Bee Sieburg's studio, and to my delight I found Molly too. I told my husband when we left "I bet she is a Christian". I don't know how I knew, I could just tell. I could have sat in their studio for hours just taking it all in. It was beautiful and inviting and Spirit-filled and I kind of wanted to move in.
Some of Bee's work...
Here are a few of my favorites from Molly's collection. Don't miss the beautiful names they have, it makes viewing them all the more sweet...

God Breathed


Out of the Pit

(I think this might be my favorite)

The True Vine
Don't you just love her? Go pay Molly a visit at her website, there you can also find a link to her blog. You can't help but love her work, and I can't wait to own some of it.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Truth and the Liar

Change is hard for me. It sneaks up on my world every time, and I tend to not see its' relentless, approaching march for two reasons. One is that I am far too disorganized and scatterbrained to know that the day has come for change to happen. It is that phone call coming in on the line where you look at the Caller ID, and it jolts your memory that you are supposed to be somewhere other than in your house answering the phone. The second reason change is often a surprise is that I tend to simply ignore the reality of its presence with an "ignorance is bliss" kind of attitude. If I pretend it's not happening, and I pretend I don't feel it's presence, then perhaps 'change' isn't really staring right at me.

The end of the school year is upon us. I have longed for the days of summer for several months now. The ease of not having to load three children into the car for carpool at 7:25, or not scrambling to find something edible in my pantry to throw in a lunch box and call nutrition, and not having to endure the torture of learning to phonetically code a word during homework every night... it's things such as these that I have been waiting on. I have anticipated this time, and now the time has come. The marching troops of change have finally arrived on my doorstep, so why was I fighting a lump in my throat as I read Ella's last newsletter of the year?

Could it be that the joy of living is in the mundane, everyday moments of life? Could it be that to deny yourself the gift of packing lunches is to miss the face of God entirely? I think so. I think it is a lie that we believe all year, "oh if I can just make it to fall break, then there will be down time". Or "once we get to Christmas break, then we can all relax and enjoy our time together". Or "once summer is here, things will seem less hectic". It's nothing but a lie. It speaks against Truth that tells us "this is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it" Psalm 118:24. The verse speaks nothing of only rejoicing in the day, if you don't have to drive carpool. The Liar comes to deceive and rob us of the joys that come with a car packed full of children on their way to school. He would like nothing more then for us to live out our days looking for what tomorrow might bring us. What a thief He is.

As I read Ella's final newsletter I smiled as I saw her memory verse for this week "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23. It's strange, there is no mention of anticipation or anxiousness here, and yet I live out so many of my days pretending as though that is the spirit that is alive in me. I know that ultimately the Spirit of Truth will be the one that prevails, but along the way we grow weary fighting battles that we were not meant to fight. For the love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and goodness and faithfulness and gentleness and self control of the Spirit has already slain the anxiousness and anticipation of the Deceiver. I should really stop returning to the battlefield of what has already been conquered, and just get on to the victory party with those who believe. Because the party banner they have hung reads all the fruits of the Spirit....and they're partying whether I choose to believe and show up or not.

Thanks Emily for allowing us to unwrap our gifts here.


Friday, May 21, 2010

One year to go

They come to my house every Wednesday and sometimes I wonder why they do. They are my high school small group of girls from church. I think I am supposed to be doing profound things with them like reading the Bible from cover to cover, or at the very least the New Testament. Or maybe I am supposed to be giving them solid, biblical advise on life for all their struggles. Or maybe I am just supposed to be providing them with a place to get together and fellowship. I think my job falls somewhere between the lines of all these things, but it doesn't really matter because I am not sure I ever really accomplish any of it. It seems as though, regardless of my preparation or lack there of, sometimes I feel God really move, and then other times I just wonder why they drank all my milk without asking. Sometimes in the middle of discussion we all end up praying on our knees, and then sometimes Jesus isn't mentioned once and they end up in my bathtub playing dress up in my clothes. This high school ministry thing is a mystery. It is based around relationships and hormones and attitudes and a God that himself is a mystery. It is a humbling roller coaster of emotions. Some days I feel hopeless over them and then some days I get so excited to see God's hand in their lives.

They are Juniors now, so that means two things: I have known them for three years and I only have one year left. I wonder how I will feel when they are gone? I hope I will feel it has been worth every one's time, but I fear I will wonder what the heck we accomplished over the past four years. Please don't think I am fishing for a pep talk or some stamp of approval that I am doing a good job...I am not seeking that, I'm just pondering the mystery that is high school ministry. I know that I will miss them. I will miss the innocence of them, the beautiful jewels of Jesus' crown that they are, even though they don't know it...and refuse to believe me when I tell them. Maybe by the end of next year I can convince them of it, maybe. I am not holding my breath though, because I cannot even convince them to stop drinking all my milk.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Was he too proud or too prejudice?

Remember here when I asked you to help me name our new puppy? Well, deep down I had already named him and I was just seeing if anyone was going to give me the right answer. Not really, just kidding...kind of. As luck would have it, no one gave me what I perceived to be the "correct answer", and so I finally caved and let my cute carpenter name him what he wanted to name the dog: Ty. Are you ready for my confession? He is just not a Ty. I thought he might be a Ty and I thought that I could get on board and I thought I would be okay with it, but I am just not. I feel this weight on me every time I look at those big, distinguished eyes of his. It is as if he is pondering why I am denying him his proper title. Every time I call his name, I feel obligated to offer him an unspoken gesture of apology for calling him by the wrong name. He always wags his tail in forgiveness, but deep down he knows it too. It is just simply time that I admit "we" made the wrong choice. So because he is a dog and I think the damage will be minimal, and because I am the weirdest person I know, I am changing my 4 month old golden retriever's name to his rightful one. He will henceforth be known as "Mr. Darcy". And if you do not know who Mr. Darcy is, go order Pride and Prejudice on Netflix right this very instant. And if you are the smarty pants type then go read the book, but I promise that you will be denying yourself the pleasure of watching Mr. Darcy walk through the lingering, morning fog to tell Ms. Elizabeth "you have bewitched me body and soul, and I love, I love, I love you "...seriously, rent the movie. And then you tell me that you too do not desire to name someone or something Mr. Darcy....I would change my husband's name if he would let me.


Monday, May 17, 2010

A weekend to sew

Yes, we loaded up the minivan with too much fabric; and yes, we really thought we were going to use it all. Yes, we take messy to new levels of messy.Yes, we had five machines set-up; and yes the one whose beach house we were in owns the world's most amazing and magical serger that has ever been created.Yes, she and the Sassy Seamstress stayed awake sewing until 5:30 am, woke up and started again at 8:30 am, and yet at some point during the night still managed to cook sausage .Yes, she knew and sang every song from the "Music of the 90's" tv channel.Yes, I fell asleep on the sofa at 10:00.Yes, we ate Krispy Kreme doughnuts.Yes, she ate too many.Yes, we created our own patterns.Yes, we left with a lot of great outfits for our kids.

And yes, I intend on buying a Toyota Sienna solely based on the awesomeness of this ad campaign...we laughed about the Swagger Wagon all weekend.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Just one suitcase is by the door...

There is just one suitcase and one pair of shoes by the door. Are you wondering why? Even if you are not, I am going to tell you. Back in the fall my girlfriends and I got together one evening to sew. We all brought our machines over to The Sassy Seamstress' house and attempted to accomplish at least one outfit before the night was done. Well it turns out, that by the time we all set everything up, pulled out all of our fabric, and decided on a pattern, it was 1:00 am and we had accomplished very little. So the girls and I decided that we needed to go away for an entire weekend so that we could be truly productive, and not have 7:00 am carpool looming in the near future to worry about being alert for. Guess when the next available weekend was...this weekend. Between all of us, we have 13 children (and one more due in 4 weeks) and it is hard finding time when we can all get together and do a noncritical little thing like sew.

So with a minivan packed full of sewing machines, fabric, and patterns; I say good-bye to my husband, my children, and you for the weekend. My cute carpenter husband said that though my expectations for productivity while I am away sewing are high; that I should keep very low expectations for what will be going on at home while I am gone. He says that when I return, if all three of my children are still breathing, I should consider that success....I see we are drastically lowering the bar.

See you all on Monday!


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Sitting Duck

Do you ever feel like Caroline's duck, just along for the ride? I do. When times are good, I love it. I feel part of a beautiful story where I can sit back and let the breeze blow in my hair. I look around and enjoy the scene passing by me. When times are not so good, I hate the feeling of being that sitting duck, strapped into a seat that I would rather not be tied to. When the passing scene becomes littered with fear and uncertainty, my first reaction is to tense up and begin frantically looking for an eject button, and then to desperately try and get my hands on the steering wheel.

Why is it that all the cares and concerns that we leave at the foot of the cross, we sometimes consider picking back up and fixing ourselves? Why do we start rationalizing in our brains that maybe we would be better suited for the driver's seat than the One who sees the road ahead with much better perspective? It is such a strong temptation as mothers. We were designed with hearts for nurturing, protecting, and caring, and sometimes we blur the line between our role and God's...oh how wish I would stop doing that. I want to be the mother that sits in the passenger seat with a relaxed heart, regardless of the scene around me. One that trusts the driver, even when everything my eyes see is telling me I shouldn't. I want to accept the gift of not having to be a Savior to my kids, as there is already A Perfect One who is willing and able. The gift of riding in the passenger seat is a lovely thing, but we can only enjoy it if we choose to unwrap it.

Linking up with Emily today as I attempt to peel back the paper of my gift. Click over to Chatting at the Sky and see what other gifts are being unwrapped.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Sewing by default

I have been sewing against my will and I am not happy about it. First, there is the fabulous Amy over at Brownie-Goose whose orders are currently closed; however, even if her orders were open, she does not sew my girl's sizes. Secondly, there is The Sassy Seamstress who is equally as fabulous in her sewing abilities, but she is currently refusing to sew for the general public (aka: me). These ladies are forcing me to sit awkwardly in front of my sewing machine and make my own clothing.

How about you? Do you sew? Are you a real seamstress or do you pretend like me, someone who only sews by default because your friends will not do it for you? Have you ever checked out Allegro Fabrics? They are dreamy. Did you know that Tina Givens is coming out with her new fabric line at the end of May? And did you also know that my husband is not excited about the fact that Tina Givens is coming out with a new fabric line at the end of May? In fact, he fears that day, as well he should.


Friday, May 7, 2010

A Conspiracy Theory

I love being a mother, and I really love being a mother to girls. There has been no calling given to me in life that has compared to the fulfillment and joy that I have received from raising my kids. I am a girly girl and I like girly girl stuff. I suppose it is because I was raised by a girly momma and surrounded by sisters, but I just cannot get enough of girls. And for that matter, I am also drawn to other people's daughters. I love seeing the differences in woman and girls, and I love knowing that back when God created Adam and Eve, He desired us to be lovely, set apart, and different from men.

All this to say, I feel compelled to call a spade a spade. I think Mother's Day and Teacher Appreciation Week must indeed be a conspiracy created by Hallmark and men. I was on the way to sweet Caroline's Mother's Day celebration at her preschool yesterday (which let me say carried a "no siblings aloud" rule which is awesome for me as I am now paying for a babysitter...not that I really blame them for not wanting a one and half year old terrorist in the room); and I was having a conversation with my sister on the phone who had experienced a panic attack in the middle of the night over all the stuff swirling around in her brain. We were trading sob stories about all the school parties that were going on right now (she has 4 children), and the fact that Mother's Day coincides on the calendar with Teacher Appreciation Week. A fact, we both find amusing. Her theory was that some man decided they would stick Teacher Appreciation Week on the calendar as the week before Mother's Day, because they figured that they would just try and butter us up on Mother's Day as a way to make up for all the busyness from the week before. All the draggin' your misbehavin', screamin', whinin' kids in and out of gift shops and hallmark stores...of which I was almost uninvited back into after the destruction Thomas displayed in Hallmark. We teased that all "the men" just figured, "Yeah, we will torture them pretty good that week before Mother's Day, but then we will make it all up to them by having the kids cook and bring them breakfast in bed Sunday morning...a breakfast that they can then get out of bed to clean up. Because that will make it all better". Do you see what I mean? A conspiracy.

Now before you gasp at my audacity to not joyfully appreciate my kids teachers, you should know a few things. I was a teacher (as were all my sisters) before I had children and I am very well aware of the fact that it is one of the most challenging (and rewarding) professions out there. You should also know that if I could pick only a few people to live on a deserted island with for the rest of my life, my daughter's kindergarten and first grade teachers would be on my list. These are a few of the finest woman God placed on this earth, and they are indeed appreciated and loved, I adore these women. You should also know that all the moms and grandmothers in our lives are treasured beyond selfish complaining has nothing to do with the teachers or the moms in our world, but rather Hallmark and "some man". Like I said, I think it's a conspiracy.

I also hope you are smiling and not offended, and I trust that you will enjoy your breakfast in bed that was prepared not by the hands of your children, but rather straight from the heart of God...and that you will joyfully clean the disaster that will surely be in your kitchen when they are done cooking.

Happy Mother's Day!


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Discerning His Voice

This might have been the best part of my recent trip: a breakfast smoothie by the pool, looking over the side at nothing but ocean, and a good book. My husband was sitting next me with some awful book in his lap, something about guns, the mafia, and witness protection programs...not my choice of a good read. I told him "don't come crying to me when you are not able to discern the voice of God". He rolled his eyes.

How about you, have you read Priscilla's book? I am almost done with it, and I must say that it has been a needed read in this phase of my life. The phase of life when you are busy raising little ones that are always busy, thus making my "life equation" equal busy all the time. The phase of life when if you don't get in the shower before 5:30 am, it is likely that your body will never see water that day. The phase of life where you are constantly needed by a lot of little people that are all moving in different directions. You know the phase, right? It also happens to be the phase where I have found it difficult to hear the voice of God. Now please do not misunderstand, this is my problem and not God's. He is there, He is always there...the problem is that sometimes I am the one not present. I am too often anywhere and everywhere other than in God's presence; quiet, still and humble. And after awhile I start to long to here His voice and I begin to slow my days so that I might hear it. If I don't, I will eventually drown under all the stuff that has risen to the top of a false priority list. I begin to clearly see that stopping and slowing is the only way to really survive, to really hear the voice of God.


Monday, May 3, 2010

Art Camp

On a rainy day last winter, the girls and I painted Monet's Water Lilies. When my husband and I were in Paris last fall, I kept asking him to buy me one of those Monets, and he kept telling me that if I could find one for sale then he would buy it. We never saw any price tags, so I came home without a Monet. So instead, the girls and I painted our own and I kind of liked ours better anyways...kind of.Then last summer I had every intention of hosting bible art camp at my house. I am a "pretend artist" and I thought it would be fun to do this with my girls and some other little friends whose mothers were looking for ways to fill the long days of summer. But then I remembered that Thomas the terrorist was crawling everywhere, and I figured the timing wasn't great. I am now hoping that this summer we can make it work, even though Thomas is still a terrorist, only now he is walking and not crawling. We practiced last week with Daniel's lions and I was pleased with how they turned out, and the girl's ability to use craypas, a very cool medium!

So as I begin this process of already over committing myself before the summer has even begun; can you help me plan my "curriculum"? What are some other great bible stories that we could learn about and then easily demonstrate through art?