Wednesday, August 31, 2011

{there is no medicine like laughter...and a healthy dose of friendship}

You might remember that recently I vowed to {LIVE} a great deal more and  {BLOG} a great deal less. I have been faithful to this self made promise and I have reaped the rewards. 
To have a few {GREAT FRIENDS} is to be considered fortunate. 
To be able to leave the door open to your {SOUL} when you are in their company is a {BLESSING.}
I know this good fortune.
I am this blessed.

I, once again, found myself in the company of not one, not two, but {FOUR} cherished friends last weekend.
I was, once again, {LOVED & UPLIFTED}.
 I was, once again, {RESPECTED & LISTENED TOO}.
I was, once again, {RESTORED}.

I consider myself to be {BEHOLDEN UNTO GOD} for the gift of these women I call {FRIENDS}.
I am blessed beyond measure.
I am loved without condition.

Each woman brought to the table a gift fit for a king.

One brings a gift for creating beauty. A beauty that shines. A beauty that makes the others smile. Creations that bring joy and inspiration world wide.

One brings the gift of compassion. A deep and real love for mankind. A gift for seeing the good in everyone, everything. An ability to make one feel worthy...even when we feel we are not.

One brings the gift of insight. A knack for seeing and knowing who we are, even when we doubt ourselves. A gift of direct and unwavering love. A keen sense worth. She is a steady pipeline that connects us all to one another.

One brings the gift of optimism and laughter. A bounty of charitable thoughts and ideas. A superior mind filled with creative & loving ideas. An all encompassing spirit of good and possibility. 

And when I sat across the table from these women and their gifts I realized something.
While each woman might have placed their own sweet boon on the table, their one ingredient ready to be added to this wondrous and rare recipe of kindred friendship, their was something else...
...I looked around and  I realized that each one of these extraordinary women had taken on the
collective gifts of the others. 

When at first I thought a single woman brought creative beauty to the table -  I now realized that each woman had brought the gift of creative beauty, but in her own dynamic way. The same for compassion and insight and optimism.

These women were indeed kindred spirits ... and I was among them. 
Uplifted and strong. 
 Dedicated and devoted. 
I was the fortunate one; adding to the pot, my own strength of creative beauty. My own cup of compassion. My own pinch of insight. My own dash of optimism.

And in the end? When the weekend was over and the time came, once again, to part ?
Well it was bittersweet. Like any great meal, I left feeling satisfied.
Full, yet hesitant to leave the table.
Sad that our time together was to be suspended....{FOR NOW}.

And so I have the next gathering to look forward too.

My appetite will grow in the interim and I will be ready to partake in the banquet of
love and laughter and creative inspiration. 

I will come to the table hungry with expectation...
...ready to feast on the joys of {REAL FRIENDSHIP}.

God is so good to feed my {SOUL} in such a way.
I am so very {BLESSED}.
I {LOVE} you all.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

{summer in snapshots-week 9}

It is time again for {SUMMER IN SNAPSHOTS} !
I can't believe it is already week {NINE}...where has this summer flown?
It has been a whirlwind and I am sad that it is coming to a close next week...
School will start, and with it, all the {BUSY,BUSY,BUSY} times that come with it. There will be swim meets and golf sessions. There will be Math Club and Bible Club and Debate Team. There will be late night events and many, many early mornings. Substitute jobs and weekend volunteer events.
The list is of jobs and responsibilities is endless, but thankfully, so are the rewards.
I will receive tons of hugs goodnight, and kisses good morning. I will reap loads of sweet smiles after just a tiny bit of homework help...and sighs of relief as I help collect project supplies. 
I will be rated the {NUMBER 1} taxi service by the kids and {NUMBER 1 IN MY HEART} by my husband, whose job no longer allows him to be here for most of these events...
...but for now...

I have {ONE MORE WEEK} to love, hug, and enjoy my "babies." 

All of them.

{even the ones who no longer think of themselves as such}

{Please stop by and visit Amber this week...I will be linking up here!}

Thursday, August 18, 2011

{I never thought I would love a rainbow this much}

Anyone who knows me will tell you this


...and so it is rare that I find a real connection with things of vivid color. 
Don't get me wrong. I do love color. I love to dye wool and see all the shades that can be created. I love to see my garden abloom and the sky at sunset.

It is just difficult for me to mix a lot of color and love it. Was difficult.

Recently I was introduced to one of the most talented women I have had the occasion to meet. {ROBEN-MARIE}. She is so over the top creative and so inspiring.  I love everything that she does...and she does it with color. {LOTS OF COLOR} She mixes it, smears it, rubs it off and adds more. She swirls it, circles it, stencils it and blots it off. She is a {TRUE MASTER OF COLOR}

She has inspired me to get in touch with color again. Since meeting her I have dyed some of the most beautiful swirly colorful wool I have every dyed. I have made some of the most luscious mail art. I have dyed and painted and stained and stenciled and {ALL OF IT WITH COLOR}

Please go check out her blog and all her {AWESOME TUTORIALS AND VIDEOS}

{I just dyed this batch of muslin and monks cloth today... along with some yummy marbled wools...I even decided to keep the paper towels & stray strings from the clean up!}

It is all so random & beautiful.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

{a love of numbers & how counting calms my heart}

I have always loved numbers.
  Sometimes people ask me why I have such an affinity for numerals and I am pretty sure my standard answer has always been somewhere in the realm of "because I like the way they look..."

...but that isn't really true. I DO love the way a simple digit will turn a sign into a conversation piece or a pillow into a piece of mathematical art. I love the way a group of numbers will turn a table top into a game board or a chalkboard into a funky frame for lists. The possibilities for using numbers in art are endless, and they have a certain allure when drawn out in certain fonts, but none of these are the truth behind my reasoning or love of integers. 
  The reality is this. Numbers calm me. They soothe my heart...equalize my soul...even if I don't realize it they steady me. Ease my mind. Allow me to think more clearly.
I can not take my walk without finding myself counting...not the steps I take or the cracks I cross over. Not the trees I pass or the birds I see fly overhead. Just numbers. Lots of numbers. It is a tonic for me. A way to push the worrisome thoughts aside. A mental pushup. A subconscious workout.
 Sometimes it is the counting itself that brings me awake to what I am doing. An uncomfortable situation...a scary thought...a nervous moment. Suddenly I am awake and I am counting. It is as if my brain realized the overwhelming process that is taking place and switches gears of it's own accord. Is it normal? Probably not. Does it help me? Who knows. But it DOES allay my fears...a simple and often endless string of numbers stroking my thoughts, disburdening my mind.

 So I love numbers.

I live with OCD and counting helps... it is just another one of life's sweet bonuses that numbers look so great in ART FORM.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

{rested, sun-kissed & back to busy}

It goes without saying that the time off from 
was just what we needed. WE. ALL OF US. 
It wasn't until we were a few hundred miles away from home, safe on a pretty little island that we all heaved a collective sigh.

It was as if the whole family looked around at once and realized what we had been missing...time together. 
We laughed, we rested, we laughed a whole lot more.
We were comfortable. We enjoyed each others company. We wandered and never looked at a clock...never asked what day it was...never made a phone call.
I missed my family.
I missed all the time that life cheats us out of...
...but we made a pact.
We aren't going to let the every day hum drum life swipe from us what is {LIFE REAL}. We aren't going to sacrifice out laughs or our hugs or our simple moments anymore.
 We are going to carve out time. 
Time for games, time for walks, time for random love and hugs. Time for each other.
Vacations are a thing of rare beauty around here. We can not afford to wait around for another one.
Time for "mini vacations." 
There is no excuse for putting off today what we could do tomorrow.

The ride home was quiet. We were rested, sun-kissed and a little sad that we would be 
in no time. We were thinking. Thinking that we loved what we have. Cherish out time together.
Rarer today than it was yesterday. 
Bad economies led to worse hours at work.
Worse hours at work led to less time together.
Children are growing and leaving the nest. This year one couldn't make the trip. 
Next year it might be two, or three. No one knows today.
Time is precious. More precious the older we all get.

Tomorrow will just have to wait.

{more beautiful beach photos to come}

Friday, August 5, 2011

{see you in eight days...}

It has been two long years since our family went on a vacation together. Time and jobs and all the other little divets in life kept getting in the way.

Well God has blessed us with a tiny window of opportunity -that coupled with the gift of extreme budgeting -and we are off to the beach for a week.

When we had ALL FIVE of the kids together on that last trip it was so wonderful...and yet we knew it was maybe the last time it would happen. 

With the girls getting older  {18,20 & 22} it is just getting harder to plan around their jobs, as well as ours.

...I think we have been blessed beyond words to have them along for as many adventures as we have...this year we are revisiting this happy and memory filled little island minus one.

{ the sweet joys of having children from 10 -22}

Our oldest daughter just could not get the time off work and while it is 
heart breaking to us, and her, she is quickly realizing how "unfair" LIFE can be.
With her own new little place and bills to pay, it just was not a good time for her to leave work.
We will miss her deeply and are hoping that the weekend will allow her a short escape.

{six sets of crossed fingers can't hurt}

We hope that this year will bring as much adventure and blessed weather as two years ago...
...the time together...the real down time is what we are all seeking.

Eight days of sweet, precious time to relax, explore, connect.

It will be Heaven!

Enjoy your week !

Thursday, August 4, 2011

{week 7. summer in snapshots}

It is time again for Summer in Snapshots
a fun and inspiring party hosted by Amber over at The {Starfish} Blog. 
How can the days get any busier?
I am cramming tons of odds and ends into each day... uniform & supplies shopping, work, work working,
the usual chores and of course, creating...
but creating was extra special this past week. Not because of
what I created, but because of who I was creating with.
You can read about it here.
...and sometimes, just a simple photo of what we are working on
can be just as rewarding....

I will be linking up here!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

{friendship, art and deep belly laughs}

REAL friendship . A gift so rare that those in possession of such a thing cling to it with a fierceness likened to that of a Mother to her child.

I have been blessed with such friendships. A tiny gathering of hearts that uplift me. Support me. Love me. 

My time within this circle of companionship leaves me feeling restored, fulfilled, strengthened. I can be my whole self. Good and bad. I will not be judged, only comforted. I will not be chastened, only emboldened...

...and so it is an even rarer treat to get time to CREATE with these women.  Most recently, 72 hours of connected occasion. Stories, {some with tears}. Creations. Plans and promises. Laughter. Not just the proverbial "catching up", but a kinship. A bond strong enough to shun even sleep for fear of losing just one moment of time spent together...

...These are special, special  women. They listen. They cheer me. They listen some more. They steel me. They do not disregard my dreams for rambling wishes. They ignite a desire in me to grab the reins and move forward...not at a trot, but a full gallop. They are along for the ride. The long haul. When I look to my left, to my right, they are there. The wind whipping through their hair, as it is through mine...because we are charging ahead. Full steam. Together.

And at the end of the day? They make MORE TIME STILL.

We pass around the art, swaying with fatigue, and sing each others' praises.

Cohorts in creativity - they raise my spirits, elevate my heart and induce in me, soul reviving deep belly laughs. They COMPLETE ME.

{ you ALL know who you are...and i love each and every one of you.}

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