Mother vs Mother

It happens before the moment we hold our baby for the first time. Women everywhere are taking sides in the mother vs mother debate. Natural child-birth mother vs pass-me-the-epidural mother.

Even before the sleep derivation makes us so crazy, men run and hide, women choose a side in the parenting-child-rearing war.

Breast feeding vs formula bottle feeding.

Co-sleeping vs crib sleeping.

Cloth diapers vs Huggies.

Organic, make your own baby food vs convenient store-bought baby food.

Nanny vs daycare.

And the dreaded stay-at-home mom vs the working mother. Which is an oxymoron, because all mothers are working mothers.

Whatever.

From the moment of conception, society demand mothers pick a side in the mother vs mother battle. And. It. Never. Stops.

Not even when your child is a toddler (spanking vs time out), or when they start school (home-school vs public school vs private school), or when they are old enough to walk to school, or get a cell phone, or have a sleepover, or wear that belly-bearing top, or go to a concert unsupervised without a parent hovering. And, the versus go on and on.

Motherhood is tough. I am going to say that sometimes it feels like a down-right battle field (moms vs our kids). We are all doing the best we know how. We are all doing what we feel in our hearts is right for our children, our family. So, why are mothers so often pitted against each other, mother vs mother?

Mothers are in the trenches everyday. We are getting our hands dirty and getting the job done. The last thing we need is another mother all up in our business, judging us, and undermining our parenting decisions.

We must stick together. We must make a pact with each other. When a tough parenting decision comes up, one that we know will make our kids’ unhappy and risk them ‘hating’ us, to stick together for support of one another.

String Art Project for Valentine’s Day

My One Word for 2015 is Create. Thanks to Pinterest I have a serious case of Create Envy. First up on the create list is this string art project for Valentine’s Day.

return of string art

Do you remember making string art in grade school? I vaguely remember making a gold and orange owl mounted on a brown piece of painted wood. Very 70s chic. Well, string art is making a comeback in a big way.

string art love

Just Google ‘string art’ you will see this is a very simple version of the art, but it is so cute for Valentine’s Day. And, the kids can do it too!

String art for kids

Go on…Create something.

INSPIRATION & TUTORIALS | Honey and Fitz was the inspiration for this project, also has an optional tutorial to using wood. Wonderland5 has 12 tips to make your string art project a success. LINKING UP with Craft-O-Maniac.

From Widowed Child Bride in Nepal to Hope

My daughter will be 13-years-old in two weeks. She’ll officially be a teenager. Which is exciting and terrifying at the same time.

She enjoys playing basketball and soccer. She is artsy, creative, and has a love for words. She is smarter than me at her age. She can be goofy and she can be serious. She is a loyal friend, and encourager. She is fun-loving and can cook a mean batch of scrambled eggs.

What she will be when she grows up, I don’t know. Will she attend college? Art school? Be a Starbucks Barista? Her possibilities are endless. Although, she hasn’t been making grand plans for her future yet.

One thing I do know is she is not ready for marriage.

SOME GIRLS ARE CHILD BRIDES BEFORE MY DAUGHTER WILL LEARN TO DRIVE.

Imagine being a child bride in Nepal at the age of 14 and being taken away from your friends and family. Imagine by the age of 21-years-old you had lost your husband to illness, buried your young daughter from malnutrition, leaving you to fend for your two daughters all on your own.

There is no family to offer support. No women’s programs to turn to. No food bank or soup kitchen to feed your children. No transitional housing for your family, let a lone a women’s shelter to offer a bed.

Imagine being completely on your own. ALONE.

Sounds depressing, right? But, this is not that kind of story. Yes, it’s full of unimaginable heartache, but it’s more than that. 

This was the story of Shiuli. A story of survival, hope, and the love of Christ. Click here to GFA to read her amazing story.

*I am a Gospel for Asia Blogger. I feel blessed that I may share stories of women, such as the one above, with you. GFA is a Small Seed, growing faith and compassion through their good work and love for Christ. Story and photo used with consent from Gospel for Asia. All Rights Reserved.

When Insecurities and the Messy Middle Collide

It’s the kind of thing that leaves my fingers frozen on the keyboard, staring at a blank screen. It’s when insecurities and the messy middle collide that has me stopped cold, not knowing what to do next.

These are days when I believe my story is not big enough, or brave enough, or tragedy-to-redemption enough. It’s just vanilla.

There’s nothing wrong with vanilla. I love vanilla, especially when it’s in the form of ice cream and topped with chocolate sauce, but vanilla is predictable. It’s perceived as ordinary, boring, safe. It is the crowd pleaser. Most people like it, but it’s not going to change the world, shake things up.

And, even though I worked hard last year, writing, networking, researching, I still doubt. This writing thing? Does it really matter? Does anyone, besides my mom, really care?

That doubting voice is working hard like it is her job. “Nobody wants to read vanilla.”, she says.

So, the doubting voice is there. Then there is the messy middle. It is when you have too much time, and sometimes money, invested to give up on your plan/goal, but you are not sure what to do next.

It’s when you set goals, lofty goals, and met them, but you forgot to plan what to do after that point. It’s like when you hit a plateau in weight loss. You’re trying like heck on the treadmill but all you’re doing is wearing out your shoes, the scale not moving.

Both are equally frustrating but when the two meet? Houston, we have a problem.

That’s where I am at right now. The insecurity of the messy middle. Doubting myself and this plan. Is it His plan too? Is the plan worth pursuing?

There will always be doubt…it stinks to be human sometimes, but the doubt shouldn’t be crushing.

Psalm 56: 3-4
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?

Don’t fear the messy middle. Pray, then keep moving through it.

My dream is not someone else’s dream. It’s unique to me. Yours is unique to you. Believe that. Trust your gut and trudge through the messy middle. When insecurities make themselves at home, kick them out and move on.

At least that is what I am telling myself.

Read More Books This Year Challenge

My daughter has to read a lot of books in middle school. This school year, which has only been 5 months, she has read 10 Books! Last year, I read 5 books.

FIVE.

I read a lot but lately, not a lot of books. I recently discovered Jon Acuff’s blog. He has a little challenge for us book challenged…read more books this year than you did last year.

book challenge

Photo background: StockVault

Read more than 5 books? Sure! I got this…right?

Your challenge, if you choose to accept it: head over to Jon’s blog to get tips to make your 2015 book challenge a success.

Then, I suggest making yourself comfy…curl up on the sofa with a blanket and get started!

One more thing. I never feel guilty for not finishing a book that I hate. If I can’t get into it, I put it down and move on to the next book. Which always makes me wonder why kids are forced to read books in school that they hate. Doesn’t seem to foster a love of reading. Reading shouldn’t be torture.

I am taking the challenge. How about you?

January’s books: The Red Tent by Anita Diamant, and I will be reading to Parker The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Embrace Winter

When the weather outside is frightful…don’t let the winter blues get you. Even when it is 18° degrees outside…we just need to embrace winter!

Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius.”
~Pietro Aretino

Some lucky kid has been making a fort

While I relish our warm months, winter forms our character and brings out our best.
~Tom Allen

Blooms frozen in time

Even in winter an isolated patch of snow has a special quality.”
~Andy Goldsworthy

Ducks don't mind that it is cold

Winter brook

winter photography

You can’t get too much winter in the winter.”
~Robert Frost

Everyday Creativity That Happens Around Here

everyday creativity

This is the everyday.

This is the seemingly simple, everyday creativity that happens around here. When I am old and gray, these are the moments I want to remember.

My eight-year-old is busy creating art on top of the dining room table. All her new art supplies that she received for Christmas are scattered in various places around the house.

This is something she has to do. This is creating for the pure joy of it. Creating something is a part of who she is, just as is the sound of her laugh.

The urge to create can strike at anytime, anywhere. And, when that creative bug comes calling…you just have to answer the call.

Which totally explains why there is glitter all over the entryway stairs.

Create Your Vision for 2015

My One Word for 2015 is Create. No sooner than I found my word, I was invited to a vision board party. (Kind of wishing I had thought of this party idea myself!)

You may know what a vision board is, or you may be thinking, “What the heck is a vision board, woman?”

“A vision board is a simple yet powerful visualization tool that activates the universal law of attraction to begin manifesting your dreams into reality.” Selfgrowth.com

Yeah, that.

Another way to look at it: Jen Sincero, author of the no-nonsense self-help book (which I have only read part of), You Are A Badass, describes the process of creating a vision board “a craft day with God.”

Craft day with God? Now, that sounds like fun!

A vision board is also a great way to keep your One Word, or resolutions in front of you all year long, so that you don’t forget about it.

Want to make a vision board? Use markers to spell out your goals, One Word, or resolutions. Cut out pictures, words, or quotes from magazines, or whatever you like to create your vision board. Make it a personal vision, professional, or both. Be creative. There are no rules. Your vision board is created by you, for you. Then, display your vision board where you will see it everyday to keep you on track.

Envision a great new year and create your vision board today.

vision board

“Create” and other big things for 2015

 I made mine. How about you?

FYI, kids love making these vision boards too.

Kid's Vision Board

Apparently, Parker envisions owning a zoo in 2015!

* * * * *

LINKING UP @ Coffee for Your Heart with Holley Gerth and We Are THAT Family.

One Word 2015 | CREATE

Create Stuff

Do you make New Years resolutions? Not me. I always have good intentions to get in shape. Then, by February I am sitting on the couch eating Cheetos watching The Biggest Loser.

Instead of a resolution I choose One Word. One word helps keep me focused for 365 days.

Every year I wait.

I wait for my One Word for the new year to reveal itself to me.

Some years it’s been really easy. Other years, not so much, but either way I try not to force it. My word must mean something to me, or I will just forget about it, and end up doing nothing at all…or eat a bag of Cheetos.

Lately, I have had a yearning to create something…even if nobody cares. I used to be pretty crafty, or so I have been told. I’ve always loved art…I went to art school, after all. I started to quilt last year. It’s a new found source of creativity, in a way, it’s graphic design with fabric.

But, you know, life, kids, life gets in the way and before I know it, it’s been a long time since I’ve done anything that I once loved to do. Someone asked me recently who my favorite graphic designer was, and I couldn’t answer that question. Seriously. I drew a total blank!

I feel I have been out of touch with my creativity for awhile, crafty and designer-y. That doesn’t feed my soul.

I think you can guess where I am going with this.

My One Word for 2015 is CREATE.

Create something lovely. Create for the pure joy of it. Create to get back to the basics of design. Create for my soul. Create to make pretty little things. Create because that is who I am.

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” ~Maya Angelou

So, how about you? What’s your One Word for 2015?

HERE’S A FEW LINKS FOR CHOOSING YOUR ONE WORD | Find your tribe at One Word 365 and get ideas at Ali Edwards.

Create Mug

ALSO | WHAT A GIRL WANTS. I’ve got some new watercolor designs in my shop; available in wall art, t-shirts, throw pillows, tote bags, phone cases and skins, mugs and travel mugs. Check out my shop here.

 

One Year Blogging Here

Someone brilliant once said, “You never know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been.”

The beginning of the year is the perfect time to look back on the year gone by. Looking back gives us a moment to remember what great things we achieved, what we still need to work on, what mistakes we don’t want to repeat, and what we see ourselves doing in the new year.

For me, 2014 was all about leaping, blogging, and finding my voice. It was a thrilling, and sometimes frustrating, year of blogging. Moving from a free WordPress blog to a self-hosted blog with a custom URL was a huge LEAP of faith. It was as much work as I thought it would be, and then some. There were days when I wondered what I had got myself into. It was a huge learning curve. 

Blog maintenance was a big time sucker. Oh, how I miss the days of WordPress doing all the work of staying on top of plug-in updates, broken links, and spam control. I estimated I spent 50 hours on maintenance, but that is probably a low guess. There was the time I went months with little maintenance, then BOOM…I had 200 broken links that needed to be fixed after an update was installed. Learning curve.

Happily, I reached all my blogging goals for the year, including, a new blog design and logo design, learning some HTML coding, adding affiliate advertisers, and becoming a member of BlogHer Network. I know the numbers above don’t mean much in the blog world. But, compared to 2013, my organic page views almost tripled in 2014. 

I learned a lot about you too. Turns out three of my top five blog posts were about craft projects. The other two were faith based posts. Interesting.

I took on a variety of new projects and writing assignments. I connected with some really awesome bloggers around the world, some of whom I will be collaborating on blogging projects in the near future (The Warrior and the Flower). I also used the necessary evil called Social Media a lot more. And, I consumed an unknown amount of coffee. I’ve got myself a bit of an addiction.

I also launched Small Seeds, featuring bloggers who are growing in faith and compassion. I don’t know where this will take me, but I am continuing to pray about this aspect of the blog.

My whole-hearted thanks to all of you who continue to read my blog. I hope that you have found inspiration here, and continue to do so. I ultimately blog for myself, but when I see your comments and page views, I won’t lie, I feel all warm inside. Because of you too, we raised money for charities that help those in need and spread the Word of Christ. And, thanks to the inspiring faith bloggers out there (Holley Gerth, We Are That Family, Chatting at the Sky, & Faith Barista). You ladies rock!

Still leaping. I am far from knowing everything there is to know about running a blog, so I will continue to learn, grow, and, of course, leap. But for now, it’s time to focus on other aspects of my creative life, which will involve choosing my One Word for 2015.

Yep, I’ve got mine chosen, but I will reveal that after January 1st. Do you have yours?

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