The Landslide

When you have a hard time jumping back into making art you’re supposed to just start small and simple- doodle on the envelope, just plop down some paint, flip through some magazines for inspiration. Do anything- just start.

Consider this my artistic doodle back into this space.

I can’t even begin to explain what this past season has been. I don’t know how to put into words what life has been. The most beautiful tearing apart?

That might do it.

New life, sorrow, breaking down and building again. That’s the stuff of life. I’m learning how to take up space in my own life. Rather than trying to copy what everyone else’s form of following Christ is…I’m here, praising God with paint and scissors. I’m telling a story of redemption, as I live it out.

But this world, it is so distracting.

So I remember, I cut away the background noise and the excess and I am creating a collage of truth.

And maybe that sounds like Ive abandoned my motherhood duties- but on the contrary, Ive finally found them.

Because here in the daily washing and rendering of life, I find myself learning to remember again and again. There is life here, there is more life here than they want you to see. It’s all in the falling apart. It’s the rotten log, broken and abandoned, that is teeming with life about to burst. Mushrooms and fungi and beetles and moss and it looks like death at first glance, but I’m here to tell you it’s art and it’s life.

That’s what my lens is for, my paint brush, my scissors.

We’re the body of Christ after all, and you heavy lifters, you earth shakers, you theology proclaiming members…must remember. Remember all that you are certain about- is uncertain but this. It’s the death that is life.

Just begin, just begin again. If you’re like me and you feel empty from the existence you thought you wanted. If you’re like me and you dreamed that dream- and some how ended up the one fallen star. If you’re like me and you’re not sure what the next step, tomorrow, phase, hope, breath looks like…

Then take up your pen, your brush and find life with me. In the smallness of toes and the blueness of eyes. In the swirl of dishwater mixing with bubbles. Find the art. In the colour scheme of childhood, in the beauty of swaying laundry. In the dancing sound of laughter. In the awe of a child pausing to witness the sound of the birds. The birds they would not know if you didn’t whisper: listen.

Listen to the art that is your life.

Begin on the scrap piece of paper. Show up to your day. Take space in your home. Be here for those around you.

You are, after all, a work of art too.

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Pregnancy Journals 3.0 #3

Wow… Seriously fell off the track for these! Sorry sweet baby… ❤

*edited to add- and this is now a week old but oh well. 😉

How far along? 38 WEEKS. Phew.
Total weight gain/measurements: Definitely more than recommended but that’s no surprise. I’m cool with it, I’m more than a number so go away. Lol 😀 I can say that after last weeks growth and position ultrasound he’s looking to be on the smaller side just like his brothers. But again, 100% okay with that.
Maternity clothes: I have only purchased two dresses and two pairs of leggings this time around. I haven’t even purchased nursing bras because who knows what size etc I will be. I have been taking a new mindset with clothing lately. I don’t want to support the “fast fashion” industry anymore and it can be hard to find good second hand maternity things. So I have been making do with less and just constantly wearing what I know I love. Often the same black leggings and long tank top with layers- cardigans or scarves. Being pregnant in the winter is the best.
Stretch marks: I honestly haven’t even really bothered to look until this prompt! Not a lot new but I got tons from my other two pregnancies. They really just don’t bother me. I never wear anything that shows my stomach anyways.
Sleep: UHG. It’s been awful because of my hip problems. Injured my back and it threw my pelvis off and basically I feel like an old lady. I have to use the body pillow every night. And do tons of stretching all day. Magnesium powder helps too. And hot baths. And making sure to change positions- even standing at the counter in one way can aggravate it! I also had the usual insomnia for a bit- the magnesium (Natural Calm) powder helps with that too though. Wish I had that my other two pregnancies…
Best moment this week: setting up our room for him! Seeing him last week was also wonderful hehe. Having the in home midwife visit was also so great- my toddlers were all about that experience!
Miss anything? Rolling with ease at night bahaha. Having energy all day long rather than for little spurts. Mood swings being reserved for once a month occasions…poor husband! Also normal jeans. Maternity jeans just don’t feel the same.
Movement: Definitely less than before as he has less space! Mainly kicks and punches and hiccups. That’s my fav. He is in head down position so I get lots of lightening crotch (joy!) and pressure and having to pee…
Food cravings: honestly not much. I really wanted plain ripple chips the other day. And I have been really enjoying bananas. And all the dairy because I magically lose my intolerance when pregnant heh.
Anything making you queasy or sick? The smell of hot sauce always makes me gag. And the taste of artificial sweeteners. Can’t even. But that’s it. So grateful that I still have yet to ever puke due to pregnancy.
Gender: another boy! Three boys for us hehehe.
Labour signs: Increase in discharge, fluxing energy- nesting to napping 😉 Pressure. Him hitting nerves. Occasionally more space to breathe when he pushes down. That feeling of I’ve been pregnant forever, birth doesn’t seem terrible at all. But also I’m not in a rush yet. I am enjoying this season with my two big boys. They can really play well by themselves right now. (Of course it always ends in mess or trouble, but you can’t have everything :P) Soon I will lose that time haha!
Symptoms: 
Mood swings- always and forever my biggest pregnancy symptom. Been doing a lot more to help that this time- vitamin D and B3 specifically.
Insomnia here and there- which of course means mid day naps.
Lack of appetite/ not knowing what I want to eat.
General discomfort…
Belly button in or out? In
Wedding rings on or off? On!!!! I can’t say enough about not being pregnant in the summer months. Not being swollen like crazy is so amazing…
Happy or moody most of the time: moody all of the time…
Looking forward to: his arrival and being a family of five!

February Planning

Planning Lately…

So for the 2019 year I have been using the Simplified Planner by Emily Ley and using my bullet journal as a creative/ writing space. However half way into January I started missing the weekly overview and reviewing how the week went and making mini goals. So I decided to just do both! I don’t actually use the bullet journal calendar for appointments…more just for memories. The monthly spread is kind of like a vision board. I went a little overboard on the pink because…I can. Hahaha, there is no pink in my life okay? Boy mom probs.

I keep my SP on the kitchen planner and it keeps me on task. And in my bullet journal it gives me a view of what my week will be like- this is a tool I use to decide how much I can handle or where I need to add space in my days. If we have lots of evening plans then it changes what meals I make. Plus I just love the creative space it provides.

Sometimes its simply some mild liners and a strip of washi tape. Sometimes I get all arty. But it’s flexible and whatever I need it to be. That’s what has kept me coming back to bullet journaling these past 3 and a half years.

When Baby #3 Comes…

I will most likely set the bullet journal aside. It may simply become a space to “brain dump”- a key practice for my mental health. Some days I have a lot going on in my head or heart and I need to declutter my inner life. Scribbling out a list provides me with tremendous peace and clarity. I can then edit and focus. What needs to be worked on now? What is a project for another day? How am I really feeling about this event? Do I need space to process this more?

I was also given a “Mom’s Line A Day” journal from my dear pen pal so I will keep that up. It’s surprisingly wonderful to jot down a little thought each evening and I know it will keep my journaling heart happy when time is short for that sort of thing.

Things To Plan In A Weekly Layout

I always make a little calendar for the week that lists what appointments or major events are taking place. And then I add in maybe a date night or see if a friend wants to come over or schedule in some quiet time for myself- all depending on the level of demand that the week has.

I also make a grocery list and write out a list of dinners I could make. I write down whatever healthy things I am trying to add into my life. Smoothies, supplements, more salads etc. All these things fluctuate and it’s overwhelming to try and think of changing food entirely so I manage it week to week. Based on my review of the week I add things. Had low energy? Mood was off? Too much of something? I have seen a lot more happy progress when approaching my health this way. Rather than restricting myself or condemning myself I focus on giving my body what it needs. And re-evaluating consistently means I am able to set things aside when it’s too much- knowing that another week will be another story. Pressure is off!

I also keep a master task list. Things that need to be finished or started or worked on that week. And each day when I make my list in my main planner I pull from it. I honestly rarely finish everything- this is where the “method” of bullet journaling kicks in- unfinished tasks are simply moved to the next day/ week/ month.

I also make a Saturday Project List. My husband and I try and schedule an entire Saturday morning to deep clean as a family. The boys get in on it too and it’s quite fun! Having one morning means we get to all “those” piles around the house. As long as I keep on top of dishes and laundry and general tidying during the week it gives my husband and I a lot more time together in the evening- and energy- and it means that I can spend more time actually playing with the boys. Or reading 😉

I also list a handful of words or goals as a Focus. Sometimes it’s simple like “be joyful” or “spend time at desk” or “focus on this parenting issue”. Sometimes it is a whole list of things that comprise a new morning routine. Sometimes it’s a pretty picture from Pinterest to inspire me to hold those squirmy little loves. I just enjoy remembering what I wanted to work towards during that week. It often has a lot to do with what’s on my lists. Like lately they have been themed towards revamping our family dinners and food inspiration.

And if there is a holiday then I will add in some ideas to celebrate or maybe print something to inspire me.

This notebook is by the company Scribbles That Matter- from Amazon. It went on sale so I decided to try it out. LOVE the paper. And a lot of other things about it. But I think I will return to either the classic 1917 or my true love- Moleskine. Just can’t get over the way that notebook feels in my hands…despite the paper definitely being thinner. Hah! I am such a paper nerd…

A Space To Be Creative

The biggest change in my bullet journaling has been adding more printed elements and using it to record things that interest me. Whether a book I read or something I came across from another blog, it’s been so much fun to document the things that I learn and thoughts about them.

I really love keeping a journal. I tried out a lot of different systems and styles over the years. The thing that remains consistent is that my life is always recorded in some form. It’s both inspiring and frightening to look back on them. Heh…

When I fill this notebook up (about 50 pages left) I am thinking of going back into my B6 Chicsparrow Travellers Notebook. I got a notebook in that size to put in the leather cover so of course it must be loved. But I also have been loving having a hardback notebook…I have a mostly unused Moleskine that might be better to jump into during the season of life I’m about to enter. Baby number three to join any day now!

Anyways. This has become a behemoth of a post. I hope you enjoyed a peek into my journal- aka my brain 😀

A Book Review, Prayer Project and Some Thoughts

I have read this book before but I decided to pick it up again as part of my morning devotionals. It’s amazing how much you can forget is in a book. I knew I loved this wonderful encouragement that Gloria Furman wrote, but I forgot just how deeply these truths she shares hit my life!

I recently created a “control binder” as per Fly Lady’s instruction to help manage house work. At first it was just chores and a meal planning section but then I decided to add a “Faith” section.

Enter many YouTube videos and blog post researches later and this lovely binder became a catch all. I also do my planning it it- until the 2019 calendar year starts and I’ll use my Simplified Planner by Emily Ley.

The sections I have are:

  • Praise Him
  • Confession
  • Intercede
  • Grow
  • And other

I haven’t completed this project as I count working on it as part of doing devotional time. What is seen above are the chapters in Jen Wilkin’s book None Like Him. I have been wanting to meditate on God’s character so that when I feel overwhelmed by my shortcomings I can instead turn to how great God is.

I have some bible verses and quotes here as well.

In confessions I have some prayers printed out. “Biblical Prayers for Inperfect Moms” by Maggie (I don’t have any more info than that but it’s from Pinterest)

And then I have intercede- which is prayer. I have a group for every day of the week and one of those days includes the 2 Plus Prayer card my church is working on- praying intentionally for an unbelieving friend in our life.

I also included a Valmarie printable- she has lots of awesome free printables on her blog. She makes prayer journals as well.

I don’t do all of these things every day. I try to of course but these are mostly used as prompts. And since they sit on my kitchen counter I see them all day long.

I flip to my calendar and to do list and chore charts and meal plan- and then remember to flip to prayer too. I really like having it all together. It reminds me that as a wife and mom I cannot neglect my great salvation- that prayer and studying God’s character is work I must attend to and need to prioritize.

The grow section is kind of whatever I have time for it to be. I intend to practice meditating on the Word by writing it out and also by using this Risen Motherhood printable to inductively study the Bible when morning or nap time allow for it.

As a mom with littles I can’t get caught up in the world of “always and only” ways of studying and devotion. I need to be flexible but always show up. And this has been a great encouraging tool for that.

I love what Gloria wrote when she shares:

“The Gospel stands above and beyond all the most practical, family friendly, and cost-effective philosophies of motherhood. The good news of Jesus Christ is superior to our to-do list and metaphorical mother of the year trophies. This is because the greatest problem a mother has is not a lack of creativity, accomplishment, or skill, but her inability to love God and others as Jesus loves her.”

Page 20, Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full, Gloria Furman

This was a timely thing for me to read as I have been battling understanding my role as mother mixed with my personality. Comparison to others only discouraged and condemned me, and yet turning only to my own strength and desires distracted me. But the truth is that I am neither bad or good.

Never good enough and never bad enough.

I cannot even walk the simplicity of only loving my children. I struggle with it and sometimes I even knowingly choose not to. Sinner, through and through.

And that is where the truth of the Gospel swoops in to save the day.

“Jesus saves, and the fruit of the Spirit is far sweeter than the fruitless flowers of mere moral living. God transforms us from the inside out.”

P. 21

I am looking forward to working more on this Faith Project. One of my plans is to go through my previously completed bible study by Priscilla Shirer on the armour of God.

I intend to start with the book and then add in my notes from the Bible study to create a specific plan for praying over my personal spiritual development. Things like my mindset and not turning to idols for comfort and having emotional stability in God.

I hope this encourages you in your walk with God- to either press on in the grace of the Gospel or to go back to the drawing board and use creativity to inspire remembrance of your great salvation.

Loving The Way I Make our House a Home

After my rant filled blog post the other day about not doing chores and squishing my self into boxes, I’m here to tell you about how I mix being a creative AND a momma who seeks to love God and others through homemaking. Not that they have to be two different things. More so that at the heart of each way of being are often clashing priorities.

God gives me the freedom to create my own standards so long as it loves God and others.

Sometimes this means a season of disciplining myself. Sometimes I need to make myself do chores before I allow myself to enjoy a lengthy “quiet” time. And while I do those chores I pray that God will help me to put my desires in the right order. That I won’t let the care of our home fall to the wayside just because “I don’t feel like it”.

Sometimes it looks like stirring up desire to be a servant hearted mama by using a creative project to inspire me. Making a sign to hang by the door with scripture. Re-arranging furniture to give myself a renewed appreciation for my space and things. Going on a “prayer walk” through my house and praying over each room while decluttering. Rather than just allowing myself to sit and study, sometimes I need art or movement.

And sometimes I need to sit and remind myself what my duty is as a follower of Christ. Sometimes I need to ask God to turn my heart and to write his law upon it. Sometimes I need to war against my flesh by memorizing scripture or turning on a podcast while doing dishes to remind myself of the grander narrative. Worship music dance parties are helpful too.

All this to say that I can’t tell myself there is only one way to be a godly wife and mom and home maker. I need to allow myself to be creative as I do these things.

I’m the kind of person who reads multiple books and works on multiple projects at once. I pick things up and then lay them aside. My hobby is collecting hobbies. I thrive off of new and also returning to favourite thing.

What helps and inspires me as I embrace my creativity in motherhood?

Making the rooms I clean beautiful.

Making cleaning into my workout time by adding a timer or weights or stretches.

Music during those hours my temper and the kids patience are at the lowest.

Planning it out and trying new methods when things don’t seem to be going smoothly. There’s nothing I enjoy more than going back to the drawing board. Probably why I enjoy bullet journaling so much.

Completely walking away from it to give myself perspective and rest. This is what I talked about in the previous post. Sometimes work does need to be left undone.

In one of my favourite books Tech-wise Family by Andy Crouch, he introduces a new way to view work. That some work is the futile sin wrecked kind. Took. It doesn’t add to our purpose. And that as a western society we tend to make time for leisure while neglecting rest.

For me that would look like cleaning my house to impress company and complaining when my children try to “help” because I want efficiency. These reasons for cleaning don’t add to my purpose of restoring order and loving others or glorifying God.

Or on the flip side if I was to choose leisure over rest it would be watching YouTube videos of someone doing art instead of having a quiet evening of using watercolours and journaling my thoughts. Consuming creativity rather than stepping into it.

More ways I use creativity to be a joy-filled homemaker:

Having my kids join in- this requires me to change the pace and to make it safe and do-able for their ages. And it always warms my heart to see them delight in things like a spray bottle and finishing a task.

Asking my husband to take over a task. Sometimes my shoulders are heavy laden and I need to partake in the rest that Jesus provides. Sharing the burden of house work with my partner in crime sure helps. It requires being humble in admitting I cannot do it all and also gratitude even if he does it differently. This goes both ways- sometimes I give my husband space to recharge. It’s a wonderful way to love him and it always feels good to see him excited and fresh again.

Surprising my husband with a very clean house and favourite meal. Sometimes I don’t want to clean. But I do love giving my husband the gift of a tidy home. Only because he so enjoys an orderly space. Not to please him. Only to show him love and kindness. Half his heart lives in his stomach 😉

I’ve recently found a new “method” to cleaning that has been very inspiring. It’s called Fly Lady.

Perhaps I’ll make a separate more in-depth post later but here are the basics I’ve come up with so far…

So that is the way that I am bringing who I am into my homemaking.

One of the things that I’ve come to learn about this role and stage of life is that my biggest work is constantly revising and changing with my circumstances and surroundings. I have a hard time with this because I love control. I like knowing what to expect and being able to fulfill my own expectations.

But laying these things aside always helps me to enjoy my role as mama much more.

Embracing My Need to Be a Creative

I have always had a passion for projects and art and making things. I have always loved notebooks and pens and all things stationary. Before becoming a wife and mama, these things fit into my life without thought. And afterwards…it takes a lot of thought to remember these parts of my soul!

That was why, after all, I started this blog.

As a space to create. A place to just be messy and try something different. To document my journey through being a mom.

Somewhere along the way I got a little lost.

I thought to be a good mom, the only crafting I could do was with safety scissors and crayons. I thought that I had to only pursue projects that had to do with our home. And while I definitely love those things, trying to push myself into a box was not a good plan.

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It took me a while to set up this desk in our back entry way closet. It works well because I can keep my kids out of my piles of things and my husband…doesn’t have to see my piles of things. Haha! I am not messy or neat. I both organize and let things go for a while. I enjoy changing things around even if I do keep it all tidied up. And sometimes I have to dump everything on the desk to feel inspired.

But the biggest problem was that I wasn’t even using my desk.

Even after I went out and got new file folders to sort all the legal/ financial/ important-y papers. Even after I got little bins to sort all the little things.

I kept holding back because I kept making rules for myself. 

Rules like…

  • no using the desk for wasting time, it’s for organizing the family calendar
  • or: you must do your 15 minute devotionals here before you make a list for the day
  • or: you can’t use your desk until it’s clean
  • and: you’re a mom, you don’t have time to play with water colours
  • and: your children will turn into delinquent pumpkins if you don’t spend your spare time entertaining them
  • and: if there are chores to be done then you are not allowed to organize your growing pile of papers or write in your journal or be a human

Basically, I was trying to squash out everything that made me who I am. I sometimes really enjoy just working on the house. Actually. I love especially to make things all white again- which is why my kitchen is one of those mostly white kitchens. I enjoy sorting things and trying new systems of organizing and I love to cook and bake.

But other days I have no spark for these things.

Other days I want to curl up with my kids and read books and then make art messes at the table and not clean them up until just before a boxed mac and cheese dinner. Sometimes I even need space from them altogether and I put the baby gate over their door (which is literally beside this desk closet space) and I let them tear a part the bedroom for an hour or so. And sometimes my dear husband lets me run away to starbucks to pretend I’m 21 and free from all things tiny for a while.

I always felt guilty for this weird ebb and flow of motivation. I wanted to just be one way. To always love being a homemaker or to always be in the mood to make things.

But I am not that kind of woman.

I have five projects on the go at any given moment. And they all overflow and feed into the other and spark and enliven my heart.

It has come down to knowing what things must always be upheld.

And for a while I would say that things like dishes and laundry always must be done. But you know what? That’s not true. My to-do list doesn’t define me. My productivity doesn’t keep the world going. I am a limited, finite, needy woman. And I can leave the existing thing to God.

And in fact, as per my calling, all that must remain in each day is love. Love God. Love the people God places in my day/ life/ season/ place/ mind.

So that looks like- of course I feed the tiny humans that live with me. And I truly try to remember to make sure my husband has a “crispy” bed to fall into. (Seriously a tiny thing that he absolutely adores.) What simply loving God and simply loving others looks like is freedom. Freedom to use my actual personal “gifts”. My talents.

My love for art and reading and writing and re-ordering and chatting and thinking and all those things…can be used to glorify God. How do I glorify God with thinking? By using those thoughts to serve others for His name. I suddenly think of a friend- and turn it to a prayer. And jot it down in my notebook. And later that month in a time of monthly reflection, praise Him for how he worked in that situation. I can artfully love people by taking time to send snail mail to others. To give my sons the gift of quiet water colour painting. By passing down a love for books through modeling. Modeling reading outloud, modeling reading my Bible, modeling the enjoyment of discussion, passing on lessons learned to my husband, using books as an excuse to cuddle.

See, I am not a good Mom because I have learned how to do certain things. I am never going to be good enough- or bad enough. Jesus died for both my trying and failing.

However, I am still purposeful. God designed the woman that I am to be the mother my sons need.

Maybe (probably) my once dream of being a home-school mom will fall- but perhaps what will happen instead is we will all be in school one day and I can show them what it is to love learning. For example if I get some kind of degree in english which often entails how to communicate- then perhaps I will pass those lessons along to my sons. Three men who know how to talk? I mean, that sounds like a good outcome to me.

I have been wrestling with these things for the better part of this year.

And finally I am just tapping out. 

And embracing that despite what I thought- I can’t think myself into some ideal mother. God holds those things. God knows and plans and works for those things. And my job?

Love.

birthday

Pregnancy Journals 3.0 #2

How far along? 18 weeks!
Total weight gain/measurements: whoops, I haven’t kept track of this yet… next appointment will measure fundal height. I can only wear one pair of jeans and all my bras are waaay too tight.
Maternity clothes: I got these nursing tops from old navy that I like to wear around the house because they have a sort of built in bra. And I love my over sized mighty from la senza to sleep in. The waist on my normal pants were bothering me. My motherhood maternity from my 1st pregnancy are still amazing. Best purchase! (This is my 3rd)
Stretch marks: Nothing new but lots of old! Occasionally they itch a little.
Sleep: It’s pretty decent right now! I like to take a power nap most days. But praise God for second trimester energy.
Best moment this week: love feeling those tiny little movements. Hearing the heart beat at each midwife appointment never gets old. And I love preparing my two older boys for the baby!
Miss anything? Being able to bend down without worrying I’m going to send my back into a spasm. And my hips feeling like they might fall off at the end of a long day isn’t very fun either.
Movement: not often and usually in the evening when I am still enough.
Food cravings: olives!!! Rye bread with butter. Green beans with Parmesan. So much water! And weirdly enough I really love the smell of beer 😂
Anything making you queasy or sick? The smell of hot sauce. Lol.
Gender: we find out next week!
Labour signs: Nothing truly however I can feel my uterus harden when I am active which I know is a good and helpful labour ready thing! Haha and my hips being more spread. So uncomfy. But mostly just growing right now.
Symptoms: 
Energy- cleaning random things, yay nesting.
Emotional.
Very ready for bed in the evenings, up to pee usually once.
Bloating after meals.
Sore muscles at the end of the day.
Belly button in or out? In
Wedding rings on or off? On
Happy or moody most of the time: happy most of the time- but a violent swing into moody here and there 😂
Looking forward to: finding out he gender next week!! And then collecting a welcome home outfit and crib sheets and such 💕