Thursday, January 31, 2013

A little book about YOU.

I have a friend named Sarah. Sarah has a couple of doggies in her family. One of them is a Boston/Pug and I am always gushing over his pictures when I see them in her Facebook feed. I asked her if I could scrap some of the pictures she has posted of them. She said, "yes".
That was several months ago. Just before we found out we had to move out of the rental house we were living in. It was before my life got extra crazy and I was well into enjoying my 'free time' by scrapping and making stuff with paper and other bits and pieces that come in my mail each month from Cocoa Daisy.
I had such great intentions to create a little book with the puppy pictures I had received the blessing to scrap. Flash forward all these many months later, and when my February kit- Double Feature arrived and I opened it up, I instinctively knew that this was the time to put together the book I had been longing to create. The kit is live for purchase tomorrow if there are any still available. Each month the kits and add-ons have been selling faster and faster. I know that Christine {my friend and owner of the awesome Cocoa Daisy kits!} is upping the number available as of next month. So there is hope you can get in on it then- if you miss out this time. Or you can become a subscriber and know that one kit will be headed your way each month, if you are into that and I can attest to how great the kits are- each and every month!
So there's that bit of inside info for my scrap readers here.
A bit more about the book I made. There is a tutorial I posted about some of the process of creating it on the Cocoa Daisy blog here. This is a link to the book in my gallery where you can click through the pages and see them enlarged and in greater detail if you like to see them that way here.
The story behind the text of the book, "You" is that as I thumbed through the pictures I wanted to tell a story and not just scrap cute photos. I used the images to sort of 'guide the storyline', but the truth is the statements and messages along with the photos are something I wanted to share with my friend, and it is so fitting for my kids, and I think it is a message for anyone who reads it. It's as much for me as it is for anyone else too.
It is hard to hear the 'truth' about us at times. It is hard to grow up and live in this big world of ours and find our way, or just be still when it is time to do that too. I am still learning. Still growing. Still hiding in corners so many days at a time, and still trying to believe in the fact that I have so much to offer. That is the message I wanted to send. Loud and clear.
And yet in a subtle, adorable, scrapping, unimposing sort of way. That is how this book of "YOU" was born. I hope it speaks to your eyes, your heart, or to whatever other part of you is open to receive its message. And if you take nothing away from it except one thing, I hope it is this:
You are loved. xo
You come into the world tiny, soft and full of needs.
There is much to learn.
You will have days filled with play, curiosity and wonder.
Other times you will have days that just wear you out.
You might even feel like hiding in a corner.
You might feel like finding a cozy spot... and let the world simply pass you by.
But always know that you are special.
And loved more than you can possibly know or feel.
Putting on a special shirt or tie, or a favorite pair of shoes can bring out the spunk in you.
But the truth is that you don't need anything extra to make you a better you.
I love you... & the world shines brighter just because you're in it.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

What I do when I'm snowed in...

Scrap, scrap, laundry, a bit of cooking and playtime with the kids, and then more scrapping. =)  We have gotten several inches of snow this week and as much as I used to love going out in it as a kid, I am absolutely content staying inside and avoidig it as long as possible now that I am grown up. I am lucky that Chip doesn't seem to mind grabbing groceries and doing all the snow-blowing of the driveway when it's like this outside. He spoils me that way.
So while the snow piled up outside, I have spent the past few days upstairs in my favorite spot in the house- my craft corner. There are a couple of sky windows- that actually were covered for awhile, but with the yellow walls and warm air that rises, it makes for a good spot to play with paper and ink. The pees you see here are made with the upcoming February kit from Cocoa Daisy called, "Double Feature". I have been 'pushing myself' a bit with the stencil in this kit and I have been getting more and more into stamping each month when my box of goodies arrives too. It is so fun to play around with the color combos that Christine comes up with and there is always so much in the kit that I am hoping to make a Valentine banner or garland this weekend too!
If I get around to that, I will be sure to show you the finished product too. One sure way to pass the long winter days is by making something cheery and bright, right?! Of course, give me a toasty warm day and I will probably tell you that I think it is a good idea to stay in scrap to stay cool too. =) I am fairly adaptable and am good at scrapping in any kind of weather! {hee hee}

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The rising.

One of the wonderful parts about being a scrapper is that it makes it very much "okay" {not that anyone ever needs an excuse!} to go through photos, sift through memories, take lots of pictures, and hold onto mooments we might ordinarily miss in the busy, routine-ness of our days. I learned so much after Teagan's first year of life, just how quickly those days and moments fly by. So I had gotten better at grabbing my camera and snapping everyday moments during her second year and moreso as her baby brother, Brock, made his appearance in our lives.
Today I pulled out a small tote of photos and even just thumbing through a couple of sleeves of pictures I was taken back and reminded of some of the beautiful times I was lucky to have in my life. This picture of Teagan just jumped out at me today. We just had a big winter storm, so the dea of sunshine and short sleeves very muh appeals to me on this January snowy day in Michigan. =) The scene in that pictures is lost by the framing of the lens, but I still remember those days like they just happened. Brock {you can see his baby toes if you look closely} was 6 months old and was an easy going baby propped in his carseat where he could keep an eye on Teagan and me as we went about ur activities each day. Teagan was outside playing this day and I had handed her a few cheese crackers to munch on for afternoon snack. This is a rare look at her- where she is looking at me, but without all the normal mischief in her eyes. She probably turned and snacked her crackers while dancing in the grass after this picture. But those blue eyes and blond curls and perfectly shaped tiny lips were something that melted me everyday I spent with her.
As I flipped through the photo album today, I realized I have never stopped missing everything about her- even all these years later. My heart drops when I let myself accept the reality all over again, that yes, she was here. Yes, she was mine. Yes, she still makes my heart melt at the sight of her.
Oh to love someone so much and have them suddenly gone without one more time to dance and hug and sing a silly song together is the cruel reality of grief and death. It is the part that I have had to wrestle with and wrap my mind around- even as my heart longs for a different reality. It is the part that makes a good day just not as good as it could be. It is the part of living that makes the bad days that much worse. It is the part of living that makes me wish it didn't exist, but the very part that makes me want to rise above and choose happiness as much as I can.
The truth is I am not as good at rising as I once was. Or as I maybe thought I was. Or maybe I am just not as high as I had hoped to be in life by this time. Maybe I just never realized how far the climb from the pit of grief really is, but no matter the reason, I find myself wishing the happiness came easier. I posted about my word of the year being "soar". When I looked at this picture of Teagan today it brought a smile to my face and I could almost picture a soft pair of wings where her little sleeves are at her side. I know that wherever she is, she soars. I know that she still makes my heart flip- that I got to love her and hold her and nourish her and teach her new things and delight in her learning and at the end of the day I felt her hugs and nose rubs and kisses on my face. She is forever a part of me and I know that even on the days I don't soar the way I wish I could, that I have years of rising under my belt and sometimes if all I can do is look back and see how far I've come, that's a part of soaring too. I never want to lose sight of the rising. I am glad I have pictures of a little angel to help me reach higher too.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

I can't help but love it. Sometimes.

Friday I washed four loads of laundry. I don't have a laundry room, so my laundry baskets get brought up to the top of their stairs and this is the sight you would see if you rang my doorbell and I opened it up to say hello. My task on Saturday {while Chip hosted 80 people throughout the day out golfing on his new course!He has a job again. We are thankful.} was to fold and put this laundry away. I managed to get three of the four put away. As well as wash 3 more loads.
Between towels and bedding and just daily dirty clothes, there is literally never a time when I don't have piles of clean or dirty laundry sitting around somewhere at our house. It is one of those things that actually drives me crazy at the same time I love and appreciate it so much. I DO love clean, fresh folded laundry way moreso than piles of dirty stuff. But when I fold it and it piles up and I throw yet another load into my wash machine I find myself still thanking God that I get to be the mom to do this thankless job. I even pray for and am thankful for my kids and Chip who wear and dirty the clothes and towels and sheets. I think back so many times to the day I first did a load of laundry- it was several weeks after Teagan had died and I was "happy" to be getting back to doing a normal chore again. I had spent a few weeks with Wyndham and Chip in ICU, and even then when we came home from Hurley I was in a wheelchair and unable to go downstairs to do the laundry. So when that day finally came that I could do something so ordinary and something I had done over and over, I was unprepared at how different it was to wash, dry and fold clothes with Teagan's clothes not in the mix. It rocked my already grief-stricken world and I it is one of the "cries" and memories that has struck me so many times since then throughout the years. I was totally unprepared for the "missing" of her in something so routine. It made me realize how much I had taken for granted. It made me realize how much she was and always would be a part of my life. It made me realize how lucky I was to still have Chip, Brock and Wyndham and my physical abilities back to even try to resume our "normal" life once again.
My heart had ached at the loss of Teagan and all our bodies, hearts and minds were healing from. But I never knew doing laundry that day would change my persective on so many levels. I have been buried in laundry every year since then with the addition of more babies and with the growing that everyone has done through the years. But when I see baskets of laundry, on my very worst days, I still see something to give thanks for. I am ever grateful for the baskets that overflow. It reminds me of how many people I have to love and care for inmy home. It reminds me of how blessed we are to have so many things- clean water and soap to wash with, clothes to wear, closet space to put it all away- when I get around to doing that. I don't always love a lot of things in my life. But I am always trying to be better at even loving the parts that aren't always so lovable.
My word for this year is "soar". I want to soar and appreciate the stuff that is ever-present and not always so thrilling. To do so gives my heart and mind the push to be thankful for everything. Seeking to love the 'gifts' in life that we don't always think of as gifts is one of the ways I am choosing to look at life. I know I won't always have this many full baskets in my life. So that makes me even more thankful for them now. And that is the kind of thing that makes my heart soar...and makes the laundry less of a chore and turns it into a precious gift. I think it's why I enjoy stocking up on Tide as much as I do too. {Seriously, I usually keep at least 8 jugs on hand...partlt because I buy them on good sales. And also in part because it isn't surprising how much we go through it and I never want to run out!}Oh the joys of life when we just start breaking down the stuff we have and seeing it in new ways. I am not always good at it. But that's part of what makes life a good challenge too.
And now I want to know, is there something in life you can't help but love, even though most other people might think it's not all that great or fun? And what about a word for the year. Do you choose one? Feel free to share. I would love to know what you you are all focusing on for this year. xo