Thursday, December 27, 2012

My favorite moments

Our house, on Christmas morning. While My Middle Boy was unloading his own stocking, he was excitedly distracted by his brothers opening theirs. Sweetness.
(you'll notice, we're not big on candy here. We like it, yes.
Love chocolate.
But we've chosen, for the most part, not to give food as gifts/rewards/incentives. Soooo, we do art supplies, little toys, bubbles, measuring tape, stickers...) 

A bonding moment shared over action figures, below, between Fred and the Oldest Boy.
 My sweet niece, so excited, at my Dad's house. Love this girl.
Love them all, with their excitement and drama, the noise and activity.
It was such a good day!!
 My Girl, the geography buff, opening all kinds of geography games from her Poppy.
 Last, but not least, my Man with his glow-in-the-dark toilet paper and little book of secrets. Because my sister is awesome enough to find these kinds of gifts for a very funny man! Don't you love his fuzzy ninja turtle pajama pants, that he wore to the family Christmas? Love love love my family!
I wish I'd captured a moment of my Dad reading the Christmas story, as he does every year. It's what the season is all about-- Thanking God for His amazing Gift for us.

We had wonderful family celebrations, and I'm so thankful that we were able to go to all of them before our family got sick. Today is another day of aching, sore throat, coughing miserableness in bed. I'm blogging from the comfort of a mattress on the floor in the living room, smelling like cough drops and Vicks. The only one who has escaped the sickness is My Girl, who has been helping take care of the rest of us.

I know the flu has hit soo-oo many families this year, and hope that my friends are all recovering now. Maybe we'll all get it out of the way before the weather warms up enough again for hiking!

Have a wonderful time enjoying the Christmas season, and your families!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Colors of our Christmas

Yesterday we had the big hoopla Christmas celebration with Fred's dad and stepmom, and both sides of their families.
So many sweet people, smiling faces...
 Lovin' his plaid on plaid! :)

Ah, and this redheaded baby cousin in stripes. Too cute!!
 After the big meal, a group started playing basketball.
Me? I was so stuffed I could barely move around with the camera!

 Love these girls. My sweet pink plaid niece Caitlin and my yellow striped daughter.
They were born just 3 months apart.
 Then Fred's sisters and their families headed back to our polka dotted, bright home to open gifts with us.
Happy Time, y'all!!
I get to see these wonderful people fairly often, but it's still always a treat!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Art Journaling and remembering

Today we celebrated my Man's birthday. I'm so thankful for him, for his quirky humor and frank honesty. I'm thankful that I learned to look beyond my own narrow perceptions of the world, when he was brought into my life. I'm thankful for our differences, and how we came together!

We had a good day, eating out at a little surprise party for him.
Right now he's at a local wrestling event with two of the boys. I stayed home with the sleeping kindergartner, and teenager who enjoys a quiet house.

Really, I wanted to spend some time in art, hoping that it could heal or soothe a bit of the pain that will continue to carry over from yesterday.

I've journaled through some of the best, and some of the hardest, moments of my life.

Lots of processing through the years, and plenty of things worked out through that process.

 These books, stacks of them, have been my diaries, prayer journals, Bible workbooks, and unfiltered memories & thoughts.

 They've helped me with who I am, who I am growing to be, and what God plans for me.
(yep, those pictures above are of me. I am a true blond.
But, more important, I have always been passionate about art and nature.)
Just working on this, below, led to talks of how our family might change.
How we want to keep our doors and hearts open to possibilities.

Working through the "how should I feel" part of life. How do we cope? Where do we turn? Who is ultimately responsible for our happiness? How do you reconcile the beauty in this world with the pain?

It's like exercise. Often when I need it most, I have the hardest time getting going. Tonight, I NEED to draw. Even if my pen just moves across the page, it helps. 

No one draws or runs without a thought in their head. You start off, and begin processing and/or praying without realizing that "therapy" has started.

After a day in our country like yesterday, we could all use some prayer and a healthy dose of therapy.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Conquering fears

I've reached a turning point in my life. 
I am done letting things hold me back.  

**I could go into the disclaimer of --
-yes, there are good reasons to fear
no, we shouldn't just go around doing whatever we want all the time
-no, I'm not advocating irresponsibility
-yes, abide by your morals
-no, don't put yourself or others in serious jeopardy**
(Lots of DUH statements, for the naysayers.
Don't be a naysayer.)

...but anyone who knows me, knows exactly what I'm saying...

Do not let fear hold you from your passions!
Here, I'm talking good, healthy, God-given passions.
I'm talking about exploring the world, doing art, speaking to groups of people, inspiring others, writing, swimming, singing, whatever it is that you think you might really want to do, but you're just too darn scared.
Or busy. Or tired. Or broke. Or old. Or young.
Stop being your own worst enemy.

If you want to change your life, then CHANGE it.
Did you hear that? Quit whining and griping. Quit blaming.
You have the power to make decisions, big and small, that will impact your life for good!
It may not happen in a day, or a week... but everyone has to start somewhere.

Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other. ~Walter Elliot

Forgive the picture quality. My man took it with his phone, standing on the boulder next to me.

If I climb carefully, over water, I will not die. I wasn't even high enough to DIE from that fall, even if part of my brain screamed otherwise.

All my life, I've been scared of heights. I feel like the edge is pulling me closer, drawing me in, sucking me to certain death. Yes, dramatic. I know. Still, I'm dead (ha) serious.

BUT I've always wanted to climb and explore. I want to hike, canoe, cave, raft, zipline, mountain-climb, ski, you name it. You can see how a fear of heights would certainly hinder some of these ambitions, right?

I finally decided to just do it, for crying out loud.

I can inch towards the edge of the earth (at least that's how it felt, below) without it pulling me over.  

Give me credit here. It may not LOOK high, but that was high. It was scary. It was scarier than climbing the boulder.
I was on.the.edge.of.a.cliff.
I'm not one to tempt fate by dangling my legs over the edge, but I did crawl close, and sit. I did not die.
I enjoyed it there, looking at the scenery, feeling the breeze. And then I inched my way back.

I've also had this weird fear of dead things. C'mon, they're DEAD, what're they gonna do, right?
But it freaked me out. Bones freak me out.
I've been married for 15 years, and have not cooked meat on a bone.
I handle meat carefully, with gloves, and then I think happy sunshiny thoughts while eating said meat.
Call me weird, whatever, it just makes my stomach roll.
However, I am a firm believer in being prepared, learning survival skills...
Yeah, I'm a work in contrasts.
Soooo, when my dear friend's son shot his first deer, she offered it to me, from the kindness of her heart.
(I believe she may have chuckled inwardly, because she's awesome like that.)

See that? I put on gloves, processed, and ate that sucker!
Without wine, even!

"I believe that anyone can conquer fear by doing the things he fears to do."  
~Eleanor Roosevelt

PROOF, people!!

(again, not the best photo of had been a long day!)

I had some help, from a wonderful friend who is experienced,
and had the right equipment in her well-stocked kitchen! 

These may not seem like big things, but they were holding me back. 
There are far too many things in life that we have no control over. But far more things that we CAN change, given the right mindset and motivation, persistence, and prayer.
Don't let unsubstantiated fears hold you back. 

Next up, I will hunt.
Annnd, I am starting private art lessons.
I've always wanted to, but never really had the faith in myself.
I love art. I love kids. I love teaching. What's to fear?
Also, starting my first rock-climbing class this week!

What's holding me back? Nothing. Because if you really want to do something, you can usually find a way!

What's holding YOU back?

Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy."
~ Dale Carnegie

Amen, Dale!