Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Why I love to scrap...

When I am "in the zone", everything I see and experience becomes an idea, inspiration or trigger that makes me want to scrap and create something. I am so happy to say that that feeling and desire has returned to me in full force the past couple of months. I know it may sound crazy to some, but I will admit that I actually included scrapping in my prayer life. I have written about my struggle with depression and just feeling like life was getting the best of me from about the time Wyndham had her major surgery and I had a newborn plus  other kiddos to care for at the same time. I had already "let scrapping go" in a way because the site and friends I had been so active and close with at SIStv shut down and most of us went our seperate ways since we are actually miles and miles apart in the physical world.
So as things became progressively overwhelming in life and I became progressively bitter about parts of my life, the thing I felt least like doing at that time was documenting the details of my life. The details were not "pretty". They weren't fun. Or exciting. Or even different. There were stretches in that time of my life where I went days without even leaving the house. One stretch was a full 17 days! It wasn't for lack of my wanting to leave; but the fact was I couldn't leave. Chip and I were {and still are} Wyndham's full-time caregivers. When she was in double casts, we were the ones to change every diaper {and we still do}, administer pain meds round the clock, bathe her as best we could, and get anything and everything she needed, since she was immobile. It was and sometimes still is exhausting, just to meet her daily needs. Throw in 4 other rambunctious, growing, healthy kids and one newborn nursing baby into that equation, and it's no wonder I couldn't step foot out my front door to even get the mail at that time. Chip would grab groceries on his way home from work every couple of days, and other than dropping off and picking up the kids from school, we were stuck at home.
It was hard. It felt unfair. It was smothering. It was tiring.  I can't tell you the number of loads of laundry I did. I can't tell you the number of times I wished I had a different set of life circumstances at that point in time. I can't tell you how many months Chip and I didn't even get to sleep in the same room- much less go out and have some one-to-one couple time without worrying about meeting someone's needs.
It was a time when our world seemed very small. And yet our "problems" felt very big and real.
Flash forward through nearly 2 years and we have come a long, long way.
My attitude has started to come back to the one I remember and love best. The kind of attitude that says, "Yes, rough stuff happens, but we have it oh so GOOD!". The clouds have lifted in my heart one tiny bit at a time as I have watched Wyndham gain at least some strength back and finally gotten to the point where she can move around on her feet instead of a chair. She is not "the old Wyndham" that we had before in that she basically sits/stays in one place all day unless we help, ask or demand her to move. She used to walk around the house and play what sh wanted to play and interact with her siblings and do stuff like open the fridge and point to what she wanted to drink. She has an iPad that she loves now. She doesn't use a wheelchair at home, and she is close to herself at least when it comes to her sense of humor being back. So we are thrilled with that type of progress. But I wonder at this point if she will ever be like she used to be. I never want to hold her back, so I support her and push her and we continue to have her in therapies each week.
Teague has gone from newborn to a big 2 year old now. He wants nothing more than to do everything the "big kids" do around here. So that means he has mastered the iPad. And Angry Birds on our cell phones too. He plays hard, eats well, laughs lots, looks for trouble, gets in trouble, still takes daily naps, and basically continues to capture our hearts all while we try to find ways to wrangle him and keep him from too much trouble.
We have moved. We are not settled. But as I wrote earlier in a post about excuses in life, I knew that just because I didn't have spot set up or my scrap supplies unpacked didn't mean I had to give up the creative side of me that was craving the opportunity to make stuff. Between all the demands of life and the stress of not being settled in a home is about the time when I decided to take my 'cravings' to God. Why I didn't just come to Him with one of the great needs of my heart in the first place, I don't know. Maybe it's because I think in comparison to some problems in my own life and certainly in our big world around all of us, it just didn't seem to deserve a spot in my prayers. Maybe it's because I just felt like I should be able to meet my needs in that area of my life all on my own. Maybe it's because in all the Bible stories I have ever read since I was a little girl I don't ever recall anyone asking God to give them opportunities to scrap and create stuff.
But for me scrapping isn't just about cutting and gluing and playing around with cute stickers and ribbons and stuff. It has been so much more than that to me. The most important part of it has been the friendships I have established with other scrappers/creative people. These people have become a part of my life and connecting with people who have the same passion for the same kind of stuff is a truly wonderful thing to me. It has gone beyond sharing pictures and projects- to sharing hopes, fears and even wild dreams too. It's true I was missing the "stuff". But more than that I was missing the people who love to share that stuff and love to see me share too. It has been more than just putting memories and photos down on pages and in mini books. Scrapping in my life has opened doors and given me expereinces with people I would otherwise never have crossed paths with in my daily life. It has stretched me creatively and grown a part of my heart that I would have otherwise never have known existed.
It has become a way for me to share what's in my heart in a tangible way. It has become a wonderful outlet for me to express some of the funny or serious, or simple and quirky, or heartfelt and fleeting things that touch my heart and mind. I used to think that scrapping meant you took your kids' school photos and glued them to a page with stickers and the name of their teacher that year. But it is so much more than that. One of the things I love most about creating pages and other things is that there are no set rules. There are no 'right or wrong' ways of doing things. You don't have to put your pictures on a straight line. You don't have to match your alphabet letters to your paper. Anything goes. You don't even need pictures. You can just make what you want, how you want to, and out of whatever you want to use. And in the process of doing that stuff I have made some great friends and filled a few albums with pages of stories and pictures that I hope will give the people I love glimpses of what was on my heart and mind at that time.
Being a part of the Cocoa Daisy community has been an answer to my prayer. I was asking God to give me ways to connect with others {being a stuck-at-home mom is hard work!} and ways to tap into the creative side of life that I had been missing and craving. Without even knocking on it or looking for it, the door to Cocoa Daisy swung open. I felt from the first moment that it was God's way of answering my prayer. I am so thankful that He is a God who cares about the smallest details of our lives. I know I have bigger,pressing needs (like selling a house, for one) in life, but I love that God sees our hearts when we open them to Him and He even meets our needs in ways that surprise us.
The pages I share with you today are a couple that I created using the September kit called, He Said, She Said. It goes on sale to anyone that wants one on September 1st. That page about Teague in his sock monkey jammies just makes me happy. I cut strips and strips of paper and stapled them down and then added a bunch of little details that I thought were so fun. He has outgrown those little pajamas, but I couldn't help but want to hold on to my memory of him in them anyway. I called him, "Mr. Monkey Pants" in the morning when I would get him out of his crib. So the journaling reads, "You may grow up and hold a distinguished title someday, but I'll always be grateful that you started out as Mr.Monkey Pants to me."
The second page is a snapshot of some of us eating ice cream cones on the front step. We haven't taken big trips or done major summer outings as a family, but just seeing the smiles on our faces made me realize we have such an amazing life regardless of the stuff we might not have. Just recognizing that the ordinary days of summer- where we are all healthy and together and laughing and eating ice cream- is a gift and I am grateful for every ordinary day we have.
My heart is full right now. I love that scrapping fills it up a bit too.


Mary Ann Jenkins said...

OMGoodness, I love both layouts! I know I've mentioned it already, but I am so happy you are scrapping again. You inspire me in so many ways far beyond scrapbooking, and for that I thank you.

Susan said...

LOVE this!!! I am so happy that you have found time to do something that makes you happy. So often we forget that when we don't take care of ourselves as moms, we can hardly take care of other people!! It is easy to say that but doing it, in the midst of messy life, is sometimes hard. I have read your blog for sometime now and I am so happy that you've found your way back to YOU!

Anonymous said...

So glad that you are finding your way back and scrapping again- you are so talented and have a gift! :)

Marge Froese said...

I love your layouts, they are very inspiring, and I'm so glad you have returned to scrapping! It struck me when you said 'stuck at home mom'. Most women are 'stay at home moms', and that dictates a choice. You had no choice, and you have gone through such a valley, but through all your posts, I could tell you cared so very deeply for your family, and especially Wyndham. I commend you for that. Happy scrapping times ahead! Love seeing them posted