Friday, August 31, 2012

Family Night: Beach

Confession: I do not like going to the beach.

I know, isn't that awful?! I mean - we live right by the ocean and I hardly ever take my kids. They are going to have more memories of going to the mountains which are 27 hours away than going to the beach which is less than an hour! In my defense, it has been very hard with three so close together and so young to go to the beach and feel safe with three little ones.

And, when I agreed to go with a friend - I was so glad my children would have these memories and I knew I wanted to make it happen. It was much easier this time with the ages of my children being a little older and therefore safer around water! We went in the evening which was also more enjoyable because it wasn't so hot!

It was a fun, enjoyable time. I enjoyed seeing how much my girls especially had fun playing and made some new friends! Samuel is more like me in that it doesn't come naturally to him to love the sand and the water, but he did have pockets of fun as well! And, I enjoyed visiting with my sweet friend Melissa.

David had to work this particular evening, so one very important member of our family was not with us for Family Night. It was a fun way to spend an almost-family-night and to be with friends!

We packed a picnic dinner, a few toys and planned on stopping for ice cream on the way home - which we did! Yum!

The weather looked a little iffy when big black clouds rolled overhead, but a few drops of rain is all we were sprinkled with and no lightening! I so enjoyed the cloudy cooler visit to the beach and not being so hot. And, the dark clouds over the water looked pretty.

In the end, I have to admit that I had really been looking forward throughout the week to going. It was a mostly stay-home week where we went to CC on Tuesday and ran two errands on the way home. But when we got home by about 2 in the afternoon, we did not leave the house again until Friday at 3 to go to the beach!

Earlier in the day, I read a book, took a nap {while Samuel built a huge train track right next to the couch and was chattering up a storm!} and felt so completely at peace and relaxed. I love staying home!!!!! And, had fun looking forward to this outing - my children were SO excited at the idea and promise of a beach visit too!

A day ahead of time, they had their toys packed up, had scouted out the best pails and shovels and were dreaming of sand castles and waves and all the fun they were going to have.

Then, the morning of - they wanted to know how many hours until we left for the beach! They counted down all day. I, on the other hand, though looking forward to it - will admit that it makes me kinda grouchy when there are non-stop questions and wondering how much longer til we leave? Sometimes I'm weary long before the event ever arrives, so I usually don't provide that info very far in advance.

Having a reader in the house has changed that because Emily knows how to read my calendar and announce it to the others in the household. :) I do love their zest for life and I guess I share that it is a struggle for me to manage this to be real and to admit an area of weakness.

Fortunately, my children are not deterred in their quest for fun - they just pressed on in their exuberance and made the most of the time we had. They loved it. And, I must admit - I had a great time too!

To: Emily, Rachel and Samuel
Fun Memories from the Beach:

I love ...
* ... that you were so excited to go
* ... how easily you make new friends

* ... burying your toes in the sand
* ... hearing your giggles and squeals
* ... seeing you enjoy God's creation
* ... watching you dig and drive a tractor and get muddy
* ... not being in a hurry
* ... that you don't give up on fun even when I'm unsure
* ... seeing you enjoy every last drop of ice cream
* ... smiles on little faces
* ... that you honored my rule of not going in deeper than your knees
* ... watching how nicely you played together
* ... that you noticed the beauty of the dark clouds, sea gulls catching fish, rays of sun beaming through the clouds and more - you are little beauty lovers and I adore that in you
* ... seeing you have fun!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Artful Living

One Saturday found me near a Barnes & Noble, a rare treat since there are three but each an hour away! I had really wanted to go in and get the new Life: Beautiful magazine - but it could not be found. However, I chose this lovely magazine this time. I won't say instead, because I hope to still see the Life: Beautiful magazine! But, this was a treat to myself. {update: hooray! My mom found the magazine and it is on its way!}

The cover! The title: Artful Blogging! Ahhh - very inspiring indeed. I decided to just drink in the cover and set aside the magazine and save it for my next Slow Day. Do you know what will power that takes? It has been sitting on my counter for several days now and today was the day!

I had it all planned out, I wanted a cup of tea and the magazine and just some quiet and slow. And, I can't seem to help it - I could not just fix a cup of tea. I wanted a tea tray with this lovely visual inspiration and something warm and soothing to enjoy with it.Then, of course I had to take pictures of it first before sitting down to enjoy!

Opening the magazine feels like opening a letter from a friend. The featured writers live all over the world and of course, the photos are lovely and very pleasing to the eye! It is hard to focus on words when there are such beautiful pictures - art. Yet, the words are art themselves reminding the reader that it is enough to do art just for yourself and for the benefits to our very selves for expressing creativity.

Instantly I felt at home reading the words. Yes, that is exactly why I made the artful tray of tea. For myself. For beauty's sake. There are some great quotes in the magazine, hopefully I will eventually share those - but for now, I want to process this one thought before moving on.

One writer pointed out the one great asset each of us has and that is the uniqueness that makes me who I am. That makes you - you. For me, it isn't more about having a beautiful blog. It is about cultivating a beautiful life.

Yes, I do want a beautiful, artistic, creative blog. Posts with any kind of beauty are my favorite to write and post. Beauty seems to be what I was wired with and created for. It runs through my veins and beats closely to my heart. However, what I want more than this is to create a beautiful life for those that share the most special of all places with me: {home}

 I am reminded that if no one else ever read my blog, I would still love doing it. It makes me happy, makes me smile, brings to mind happy memories, provides inspiration when I need it. One thing I've noticed since beginning Slow Day is that those are my very favorite afternoons to blog. I am relaxed, have had a slower pace, have lived artfully through the day and feel very at home with myself. I love to download my pictures from Slow Day and get them ready for my post the next week.

To me, this says that artful living makes me feel more alive, most like my true self. And, when I am peacefully home with myself - it overflows. Slow Day could also be called Artful Living day - it is the day I take time for creativity in the everyday things, to set a pretty breakfast table, pack a picnic lunch, have a tea party, listen to soft music.

After only having Slow Day three or four times, I am hooked. I hope we continue this forever! And, it is addicting - making me seek a quieter, slower pace more than just one day a week.

Artful Living ~ speaks to my soul, calms my heart and helps create a beautiful life around me for my sweet loved ones! These are great benefits, but I honestly think it helps me to physically feel better. Here's an example that goes with these pictures.

It's a Wednesday afternoon, yesterday was draining and I'm just plain wiped out today. After an al fresco lunch with my sweets, I am just sort of dragging myself around. I have this great magazine I want to look at and a cup of tea calling my name and I am wondering if I have the energy to follow through on it.

Yet, I've been looking forward to this for several days, so I know I want to make it happen. And, that is when I have the whole argument in my head about just fixing a cup of tea vs. no, I want to make a tea tray and make it pretty. Wouldn't you know that after fixing that tray, I felt lighter and better and had more energy. And, after sitting and enjoying the tea and magazine - I felt better the rest of the day and evening. There really is something to this for me!

What is it for you? Maybe artful living isn't your thing - but something else is, right?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Photo Book

Turn your favorite photos into a photo book at

I had fun making a photo book of just beauty and simple pleasure and worship thanks to a free photo book from My Coke Points! Thought it would be fun to share here too - plus I get a free $10 Shutterfly credit just for sharing! :)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Crafting Beauty for Hard Times

Every Saturday, I look forward to Ann's posts of weekend ideas and links. There is such beauty to be found there and we frequently do at least one of the ideas listed. So, a couple of Saturdays ago was no exception - I waited anxiously to see what she would suggest and was inspired.

She linked these cute DIY - Bird Cage Lanterns and God brought a friend to mind instantly who is going through chemo and I knew I wanted to make some of these for her and for myself!

Sunday afternoon arrived full of time and inspiration and was sprinkled with cozy rain. So, the time was right to get the crafting goodies out!

And why not make my crafting space pretty too?! I love the candle inside an old potato ricer - the green chippy paint is perfect!

Of course, I made a couple of changes to the original idea - or perhaps I should say additions. I added a circle of paper to the underneath side of the lid just so the bright colors would not show while it was hanging, and then put moss inside the bird cage to make it look more nest-like - that was my favorite addition!

After that, I wanted to make it meaningful before sending it, so I hung words that I would be praying. I am hoping she can hang this across her bed and as she is laying there not feeling well, I pray it would be a blessing, a beauty and an encouragement to her soul.

I made a few little birdy cages for us too that are hanging in my kitchen window. Now, enough words - lots more pictures to come...

When things are hard and I don't know how to comfort or what to say - crafting comes from my heart and pours forth worship to the One who created this in me. And, I'm trusting that He takes it and blesses it to the receiving heart as well.