Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy Monday

Are you all having a great President's Day? We are.

This morning (and into the afternoon) we visited the home of a very sweet friend. Her two littles played with my two littles while we chatted about life, school, faith and family. Isn't that always honey for the soul?

{Completely unrelated to this post-- It just made me smile.}

Now we're back home and the kiddos are silently reading for an hour. I'm about to sneak back into the sewing room to work on a special project for a precious new client. It's a good day. I'm thankful.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Dreaming and the Doing

Admittedly, I spend too much a lot of time filling up on great ideas. They suck me in. They beg me to grab them and get ready to run. So I do.

I line up at the block. I set my focus on what's ahead. And when the whistle blows, I'm off and on my way. Darting toward the finish.

LSE Sports Day, Malden Sports Ground, c1920s

But then something happens almost every single time after the race has begun. I look to my left or to my right. I become distracted. I get bored. Overwhelmed. Anxious. Afraid. Tired. I forget my motivation, so I just stop and drop the baton mid-race. I don't even pass it off for someone else to carry.

If I'm honest, I'll also admit that I've usually left room to justify my reasons for dropping the baton. Before I even began the race, I unwittingly plotted away at my exit strategy. After all, if I wasn't entirely committed in the first place, then I really didn't quit or give up on anything anyway. *shrug* Nonchalance. A defense for my own self-doubt.

What I'm beginning to discover is that if I spend my time doing {no matter how tiny the project or task} that it helps me to better filter my dreaming too. Some of those ideas really aren't good-- at least for me. I'm a realist. But if I try it and finish it at least once, then I can better sort through what I love to do versus what was simply a neat idea. After I've tried,  I can hone in on what makes me tick and look for what ideas beget more/better ideas? A sweet cycle of joy emerges in the process.

I wrote recently that I never ever considered myself a creative person-- and it's true. I didn't. But now, I don't know. I feel a little bit like a creative fraud. That since I never really dreamed it, that surely it couldn't be. That a painting, a sunset, a stack of fabric, a clothing design, a splash of unexpected color on an old barn...that surely just because it evokes something in me doesn't mean I'm creative, right? Or does it?

Did God create me to create? I'm still dreaming. Only now I'm working on doing too. I couldn't be more thankful for the opportunity to just soak it all up and enjoy the new work that God is creating in me. All I know for sure is that an adventure lies ahead, and it's bound to be good.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

To Homeschool or Not to Homeschool

We spend our days a little cooped up here at the Smith house. Between homeschooling, the cold dreary winter, Jeremy's unconventional work schedule and a teeny-tiny house, even for an introvert, I feel a little stir crazy.

But you know what? I actually don't feel stir crazy to get out of the house-- I feel stir crazy to have some time ALONE-- or even one-on-one with friends and family. 

Last year, we sent Peyton to a wonderful little Christian school run by missionaries with YWAM in Tyler, TX. At the time I felt like I should get the "Mother-of-the-Year" award (note sarcasm here). I had every intention of homeschooling Peyton for Kindergarten, but when I heard about CHS, and given that we were in a new state and Peyton desperately needed some new friends, it just felt right in our spirit. So off he went to school all day...on a bus...24 miles away from home. Gasp! But nonetheless, it was unequivocally the right choice for that season too.

When our time in Texas came to an end and we migrated back North, homeschooling was our only best option on the table for first grade. Given that we weren't sure exactly where we would land, it only made sense that we could best give Peyton and Parker some stability by teaching them at home and letting them get involved once again with activities here that included their old friends. It was/is the right choice for the moment.

Now that we're nearing the end of first grade, I'm feeling the nudge to get Peyton back in a classroom-- and Parker in one next year too. For all of the frenetic pace that can come along with rushing to finish homework assignments and spend quality time together in the midst of a "conventional" schooling schedule, it does bring something to the table that I love: a time to refresh, recharge and reorganize my thoughts, my life and my schedule.

So here we stand on the precipice of another year, and as we move forward, we have decided to pursue the possibility of putting the kids in private school. In no way am I anti-public school either, but for right now, private school is simply the best fit for my two sweet peas.

Homeschooling is rewarding. It's wonderful in it's own right. I so very much appreciate that it is always a viable option. But right now, I'm thankful for schools too. And tonight I'm grateful that as we wait and see what doors the Lord opens up for our family that we have such wonderful options to consider.

I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Joy: A Mini Quilt and Auction for Ashley Hackshaw of Lil Blue Boo

I've been on a little creative journey for the past couple of years. Never ever EVER would I have suspected that I might just fall in love with creating anything (except my children...they're pretty great)! But somewhere along the way, blogs came on the scene. And splashed on the pages of those blogs was inspiration. Fabric and color and words and ideas started swirling around in my brain. Something finally clicked and I realized that it was OK to be inspired by someone. And oddly enough, I don't think that I knew what inspiration was before then. Aspiration, yes. Inspiration, not so much.

Ashley Hackshaw over at Lil Blue Boo was one of those initial few people to capture my heart by way of the creative. The first thing that won me over was her heart to SHARE creativity with the world. Not only through her shop, but by offering oodles and oodles of tutorials as well. I'm pretty sure that I immediately subscribed to her blog-- and I'm so thankful that I did.

It followed that I fell in love with Ashley's positivity, joy, strength and spunk. She has purposed to "Choose Joy" in each and every circumstance that life throws her way. So when life threw her a curve ball this fall and an invasive cancerous tumor began as a result of a molar pregnancy, it kind of rocked my heart too. But Ashley is one amazing fighter. Full of life. Full of faith. Overflowing with JOY.

(Click on the photo of Ashley below to see more about her journey)

A sweet group of women affectionately dubbed "Team Ashley" sent me an email asking if I was interested in donating an item to an auction that would raise money to benefit the Hackshaw family. Amy over at Evy's Tree wrote a post explaining how this auction will help cover Ashley's mounting medical expenses in greater detail. Please hop over there to read more.

I wholeheartedly wanted to make something-- but I wasn't sure what. And then this idea for a mini quilt came to mind. So I sketched out the letters, created a template and got to stitching. Unfortunately, the binding fabric took a little longer than expected to arrive and they have over 260 (that's right, TWO HUNDRED and SIXTY) items donated so far, so I think that my photo and item may not make it directly into the official auction now. (Lesson learned: send confirmation email with a note saying that photos will follow next time!)

Nonetheless, I will list the mini quilt on the Lovespun Studio Facebook page and here on the blog and open it up as a teeny tiny private auction with the proceeds going to benefit Ashley 100%-- that means the shipping is on me too friends! Please check out the auction when it goes live. There is a button posted on the sidebar of the blog that will link directly to it as well.

Please pray for sweet Ashley and her family. Also, please spread the word about this auction. Let's link arms and make a difference.