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To all the Moms, Happy Mother’s Day!

 

The Artist Within

March 21, 2013 — Leave a comment
artist

An artist in all of us

I am not an artist. 

I hate when people say this!

Yes, I have said this statement many times.

Why do we feel like art is strictly sketching, painting and sculpting? If that is the case then yes, I am not an artist. My abilities are limited to bubble letters, flowers and hearts. In this scenario I have not one artistic bone in my body.

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” 

Pablo Picasso

Think about it. Every child gives the world’s largest grin as they proudly show off their scribbles. Isn’t this a masterpiece? Yes! I firmly believe that it is. I don’t believe that it’s the actual drawing that makes it “art” but simply the imagination that it took to create it. That my friends is what I believe is the root behind being an artist. You don’t have to draw amazing portraits or paint like a pro to have the imagination to create something spectacular! It merely needs to be thought up and put into being.

Think outside the box. Making a garden, baking, making up bedtime stories, picking out your clothes for the day, creating music, poetry, scrapbooks, decorating cakes, cutting hair and even blogging is coming from someone’s imagination. So is it art? Yes! It most definitely is! I am tired of using the phrase I am not an artist! I am going to raise my children to never believe in that statement. Children probably do not remain artist merely because of believing this terrible phrase so many of us have uttered, Building a castle from legos- art. Creating an intricate train track- art. Building a fort- art. Whatever you can think, you can create and that makes an artist! Let’s stop believing in the lie and start creating! I did, just now with this post!

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination.” 

Albert Einstein

 

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I’m a little messy and I smell like menthol, but I’m okay with it!

With still having five days to go with my Searching for Simplicity clothing fast I have finally stopped spilling food on me! Instead I have started having another issue. Since there has been a shift in the weather my Lupus has flared up and sometimes I use a muscle cream to soothe my aches and pains. This is normally not a big deal when you have an entire wardrobe to change into, but only having seven articles of clothing is leaving my shirts smelling like menthol. Isn’t that just lovely?!? You can probably smell me coming around the corner. But, I decided that I just don’t care. If the cream helps, which sometimes it does, then I am just going to have to smell! So be it!

I trade one issue of stained clothing with smelly ones and it’s not even because they are dirty! Oh the irony, how I truly appreciate you! It definitely is giving me a humbling experience, no fast is supposed to be easy. There are always challenges and I could very easily let these little bumps in the road cause frustration, and even distraction from the entire purpose of the fast… BUT only if I allowed it. How easy it would be to let my spilled food or menthol smelling shirt cause me to worry about what others will think of me… They probably think that I don’t wash my clothes? Didn’t she just wear that? Why does she smell like menthol? Does she own anything else? Guess what… those lurking questions are WHY this fast is so important! It’s breaking me free of what others think of me! All that matters is what God thinks of me and what I think of myself. So what if I tend to be a messy eater and get food on my clothes… yup, I’m a little clumsy and I am okay with that. And so what if my shirt might occasionally smells like menthol, that’s just what I have to do and I am fine with it.

I never would have thought that this fast would have brought so much insight into myself. I am so glad that I started my seven months of fasting with this one. Check back next week for my Top 10 things I learned during my Searching for Simplicity clothing fast.

 

For those of you that have followed the guest blog posts you will remember Michelle Clark of Miss Banana Pants from her earlier post she did for me about All Moms are Liars. Well today she brings some great insight into her journey of a seven month fast…

 

We’ve all felt the clutter of life at one time or another. I think that it comforts us to a certain degree. Having more “stuff” makes us feel secure, distracted, and accomplished.  I’ve truthfully never been very materialistic. Stuff doesn’t mean very much to me. Just ask my husband in the way that I take care of my mess of a car, continuously pile clutter in every corner of my house, and resolve to the fact that we will never have super nice furniture because we have kids. I’m okay with it. To a certain extent.  The truth is I’ve been a horrible steward of my stuff. I should take better care of what I’m given/what we can afford. I’ve just always had a very “disposable” mentality about stuff. It’s here today, it’s helpful, if it breaks/is stolen/goes through the ringer, it’s okay. It’s all disposable and we will just get something else. I trick myself into thinking that my stuff does not own me.  Maybe it doesn’t. But my perspective on my stuff does. Just because I don’t cling to my stuff, doesn’t mean I don’t take it for granted. I’m not concerned with it being gone, because “out with the old, in with the new”. Do you struggle with this? Or do you hold on to your possessions as if they define you?

Enter the book 7 by Jen Hatmaker and my life is wrecked.

I made the massive mistake of taking this “simple-looking” book with me on vacation to read by the beach. I think I must be the very first girl ever to sit in a lounge chair in the sand staring at the ocean waves and reading a book about EXCESS. Seems a bit hypocritical.  Not an easy book to read while on vacation, I’ll tell ya!  Try reading it at the pool…in your ocean condo…while your kids argue about cable TV stations.  It did feel wrong.  I was so spoiled at that moment.  No, it wasn’t wrong to go on vacation.  Actually, it was an amazing free blessing/gift to our family and we were humbled by the love that has been shown to us.  It just wasn’t an ideal place to read about excess. Not at all.  We just have so much stuff and are so selfish.  Don’t you ever get tired of how greedy we have become?  It seems like the more we get  –  the more we THINK we need.  We feel like we DESERVE it all.  It’s a terrible cycle and I was ready to get off.  Something definitely had to give.  I soaked in each word and let it simmer in my mind and heart throughout vacation and came home with a resolve.  This stuff that Jen Hatmaker covered in her book wasn’t “new” new but she did something about it.  She put feet to her words.  I knew that I wanted to begin to put feet to mine as well.  I was not going to be just another woman who simply reads this book and says that it’s a “life changing” theory and experiment.  I wanted to do.  I wanted to act.  I wanted to be wrecked to the point of change.  It was official.  I didn’t want to be comfortable anymore. I wanted to take on Jen Hatmaker’s challenge to fast in the seven areas of my life that were defining who I was:  Food, Clothes, Possessions, Media, Spending, Waste, and Stress.

Currently, I’m just finishing up my Food Fast for month one and boy, am I glad it’s almost over! Not because I didn’t learn a TON, but because I am ready to try to be a better steward in this department on my own. In the book, “7”, Jen just chose seven different foods and ate nothing but those seven things all month-long. What dedication! I am not that spiritual! Ha! I, instead, made seven food rules for myself to adhere to for the entire 4 weeks, and I have to say, I followed most of them pretty well.  They were:  No Fast Food, No Pop/Soda, No Alcohol, No Pork, No Chocolate, No Eating After 7 pm, and Only ONE grocery trip per week.

During this whole first month, the main things that I’ve learned are just how spoiled I am in the area of food. I’ve never had to worry about what I will eat until now. I’m having to plan ahead because I can’t just grab something on the go. Sometimes I have found myself literally consumed with how to organize my day around us having enough time to come home and cook something. I’ve never had to think about food so much in my life! I am realizing what a blessing it’s been to be born into a society that, for the most part, doesn’t have to worry about food.  I live a privileged life.  I’ve never known hunger, poverty, or despair. I have been ridiculously blessed relationally, spiritually, and physically.  My life is so happy, it’s almost embarrassing at times when I think of it in comparison to so many other people in other countries.  And yet, this month, I let the little things like the fact that I couldn’t just run through a drive-thru window for lunch or grab a soda obstruct my view on my reality.  I struggled to see how blessed I am because I wasn’t able to see the forest because I was concentrating on the trees.  Even before this month I did that.  I concentrate too much on the few things that I can’t have instead of all the endless things that I do have at my disposal  I have more food (even with all this month’s limitations) in one single day than most of the earth’s population see their whole lives.  If anything is ridiculous, it’s that fact. But how many times do we really stop and think about that fact?  If we did, it would not only change the way we think about food, but it would revolutionize the way we think about life.

As this month ends and I am about to embark on the next phase of this 7 month fast, I’m excited to see what more God has to teach me. Next month’s focus is “Clothes” and I’ve decided to mirror the experiment that Hatmaker did in her book.  She chose only 7 articles of clothes and wore nothing but those things for an entire month. Sounds completely ridiculous, eh? But I really think that this month might stir in me a new-found appreciation for what it feels like to not only not care about what you look like, but focus more time and energy on changing the ME behind the facade of fashion.  This month I’m sure to see some inner change. I can’t wait.

For those of you who think this whole thing is so WEIRD, you are totally right. I think it is too, actually.  Really, it’s okay to think I’m becoming one of those Christians. But in the words of our pastor, “I welcome WEIRD. Normal isn’t working anymore.” It’s not. I’m sure that most of Jesus’ ideas weren’t so popular either.  I’m convinced that He got the “I-thought-you-were-normal-but-now-I-see-I-was-clearly-wrong” face plenty of times. He seriously knew how to thin out a crowd.  He always gunned for less, reduced, simplified.  He was the most fully and completely unselfish, ungreedy, unpretentious man to ever live, and I just want to be more like Him.  It’s as simple as that. If limiting myself of my favorite things for 7 months can help Jesus overcome me, then so be it.  I’m okay with an oddball label.  I think we should all learn to be a bit more different. One of my all-time favorite quotes came from a speaker at a youth conference I went to almost 10 years ago but it has always stuck with me.  “You cannot make a difference in this world unless you ARE different from this world.”

 

Photo Credit: Rachelulgado

Table Tantrums

July 10, 2012 — Leave a comment

Every parent book out there will tell you that the secret to raising a child is consistency. I would have to agree with this statement. BUT, there are some cases where it feels like no matter the consistency, your child is just NOT going to learn anything from the situation and your efforts are completely hopeless. This was such the case last night at our house. It was time for dinner and Eli came running up to the tabel exciteed for his meal. We sit him in his chair put his plate in front of him and immeiately began the tantrum! I made something new for dinner but I had intentionally put sides of potatoes and carrots on his plate, which he normally loves. Every word from his mouth was “no!” He pushed his plate away, we scooted it back, he pushed it away… this was an ongoing process. Throwing the food to the dogs was his next step in his plan of action. Now I don’t know about you but I was completely at a loss, my child has never been a picky eater. I have never dealt with him completely refusing to even try one bite! I had always said that I didn’t want to be a short order cook and make several different meals every night to meet everyone’s taste buds in the house, the kids didn’t have to like what I make but they had to at least try it. Sounded real good before I had any kids… now it’s finally the current chapter in my book. Everything is always easier when you are not facing the situation at the time! So what’s a parent to do when your toddler refuses to even taste dinner? Consistency… right? That’s what everyone will tell you but sometimes it’s just hard when they are in the midst of a tantrum and you are thinking to yourself… is he even learning anything from this? Yes, after an hour Eli did eventually try his dinner after my attempt to dip his potato in ketchup (which grossed me out because I can not stand ketchup, but hey, he tried it!) Whether you have a child that is grown or a newborn, as parents we have all faced or will face nights like these. So remember… while consistency is the key so is supporting each other along our journey in parenthood!