Makes Me Happy Monday: My Art Space

It’s odd that I dislike clutter and messes …
yet my art space is FULL.
I utilize every inch of space so that all my collecting is contained.
My art space is a stark contrast to the rest of my home
where you’ll find few knick-knacks and dust catchers.

Our living room My art room is orderly with like-things grouped together:
scissors, paper, stamps, found objects, ephemera,
paint, frames, ribbon, fabric … and more.
And what would be my “open wall space” is an inspiration line
filled with magazine tear outs, memorabilia and collected scraps of paper.

My art table The more time I spend here,
the more I realize how much I need to create
and enjoy the rich rewards of its pleasure.

My art space I’ve often felt embarrassed by all my craft stuff … because it seemed like “too much” in the eyes of some.
But, having spent some time with other creatives like my friend, Elizabeth, who is a potter
and my friend Gina, who is a painter and shop owner,
I realize that my space looks like other artist’s spaces;  f.u.l.l, busy and wonderfully inspiring.

Art spaceThis is the first place I go in the morning. It’s where I watch TED videos while I make cards or work on some parts of the process in creating mixed media work. It’s where I am choosing to work through Danielle’s book The Desire Map.

Paper Tiles on Stair Risers

It is the room that dons my paper stair tiles.

My art desk
And it is where I feel most inspired.

My art space is a place that is specifically and distinctly mine
and it brings me great joy.
What about you?
Where do you feel most yourself?
What makes you happy this marvelous Monday morning?

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The hardest thing – that I am SO glad I did

Years ago, I read an article in a Reader’s Digest magazine that really struck a chord with me. I ripped that article out of the magazine and filed it away … holding the idea close to my heart because it resonated with my soul.

The article was written in 1999. That’s the year that Joy was born so …. I first read that article when we lived in Bainbridge, Georgia. We moved there right after Glory’s birthday in August and right before Joy’s birth in September. My parents live within 30 minutes of the home that we rented. I felt like I had finally “moved home” though I was not raised in Bainbridge.

Our Backyard .. in Bainbridge, Georgia. Absolutely beautiful.

Our front yard was a pecan grove
and our backyard was a field that was planted in corn, peanuts, cotton
or soft winter wheat that whispered gold in the gusty spring wind just before harvest.
I felt like I lived a dream in that ancient old farm-house that sat in a clearing atop a small hill.

I thought we would stay there in Bainbridge, but that didn’t happen.
We made two more moves before settling on the home we are in right now. Home, Real Home, Reader's Digest, Mark Harris

And as we shopped for a home to buy almost ten years ago, I remembered that article. I knew we had to choose our home carefully.

Mark Harris shares in his article that he and his wife chose their home with great intention. He talks about moving often as a child and says, “Our transient lifestyle offered a grand upbringing, but it came at a cost.” 

His wife was offered a job in a dying steel town, so they moved from Chicago with the intention to be still. Mark wanted his kids to start and finish school at the same elementary school and carry friendships on to finish high school. He wanted to focus on building community with neighbors.

He talks of the jewels of the town like wonderful parks and a folk-music club that draws fabulous acts. And he says,  “Where we found good places, we found good people.”

And I think this is life. When we chose to invest ….
when we chose to stay and search for beauty …
when we look for good things … like good people and places
we find them. 

DSC00539

Sometimes we do the opposite what our parents did because we feel our parents did things wrong. Mark chose to be still, in part, because his family moved often. I’ve known plenty of people who were born and raised in the same small town. Sometimes, when a child doesn’t have the chance to move, he becomes restless and wants to “get out” or “get away.” And then there are those children who have moved so many times that they feel they have no hometown. They have no grounding.

In reality, we as parents have to do what we believe is best for our children at the time. We will make mistakes. But, every child grows to be an adult taking with them childhood messes to work through. This is part of life and part of maturing. In Maya Angelou’s words, “Do the best you can until you know better. And when you know better, do better.”

At the time that we bought our home in Augusta ten years ago,
my oldest child was 16 and had lived in 15 different houses.
Glory was 14 and had lived in 14 homes.
Montclair offered Joy her third bedroom.

When I found myself on the verge of becoming a single mom, I knew there was one thing that I didn’t want to do;  I knew I did not want to move. With all the turmoil that happens with divorce, another home would not help us heal. We needed remain be still.

I thought about Mark Harris … and the last line of his article,

“There is no more basic commitment than staying put.” 

So, I signed the dotted line to say that I would take full responsibility for our home. I would pay every tax and house payment. I would cut every blade of grass, paint every wall and repair everything that ever breaks – large or small.

Our living room

And I have learned so much by being in this home.

God has used it to teach me so much.  I’ve learned about community and found comfort in knowing that I could be HOURS from home on an out-of-town trip but can call a neighbor long after mid-night and say, “I’m out-of-town. Glory has never been to the emergency room alone. Would you mind going down to hold her hand? She’s very nervous.” I’ve watched God show me how to do things that I NEVER would have thought possible, like repairing a hole in my roof.  And I’ve learned about God offering what I need when I need, like the brawn of a man with strength that helped me replace my kitchen sink. 

I’ve written before (here and here) about how much I love my neighborhood. Part of why I love it is because I have chosen to stay. I have chosen to invest. I have looked for the good and the beauty and the joy and found it.

My dining table

But, staying here hasn’t been easy. In fact, it’s been a very hard thing. Taking care of the inside of the house, the outside of the house, the repairs and the bills WHILE being the only parent on the premises …  the taxi, the bread-winner, the chef and the organizer …  is exhausting.

my hall ...
Even so, if I had to do it again, I’d take the same route. I’d choose to stay.
I’d choose to  remain still so we could focus on healing.
I would choose to look for the good and beauty in the place and the people.
This basic commitment … has been a very good decision.
And I’ve done the best I can.
It has been the hardest thing  … that I’m so glad I did.
I don’t know what the future holds.
I don’t know how long I can afford to stay here.
But, as long as we can, we will remain.

No more fear?

About two weeks ago, I realized that
I hadn’t felt fear in at least ten days.
This was huge …. to the point that I stopped in my tracks and stood there on the deck …. dumbfounded.

Me - paralyzed with fear ... on my roof

This ^ …. is me …. paralyzed with fear in March of 2011. I was TIRED of waiting for someone else to come along and fix my roof so I marched out into the yard and got the ladder. I leaned it up against the roof, climbed up on the roof with fear and trembling and then … laid there grasping the asphalt shingles with fervor. In the end, James fixed the roof for me.

James took the picture as he danced and leapt over me and around me. By the time I was able to find the courage to climb back down, my belly muscles ached from laughing at him … making fun of me.

Since then, I’ve written over and over about my roof-relationship, I’ve made great progress. I can now climb up without fear. I know which ladder to use (the 6′ step ladder NOT the 75′ telescoping aluminum ladder that can reach the sky!) and I know where to put it to feel comfortable (next to a wall … not in the middle of the roofline). I’ve figured out how to walk on the roof. And now … I’ve even repaired holes!

I haven’t had the money to do any big repairs … and paying someone else to repair even the smallest problem quickly makes the repair feel like a “big repair.”  I’ve had a friend or two help me here and there … but lately, I’ve started asking myself, “What are you waiting on? Why can’t you figure this out on your own? Do you really think some guy is going to ride in on a white horse and save you? Because … if you’re waiting on that, the house may fall apart around you! Figure this out! You can do this!”

So …. I wrote over here  about a hole.
If I can be brave enough get up there to replace the patch,
can’t I figure out how to repair the hole?

Plastic temporary coverA few weeks ago, I googled how to repair a hole in a shingle roof.
I watched three videos.
I made a list of things I needed to buy.
And the other day, I filled a bucket with all my tools
and climbed back up on that roof.

That hole was about the size of my thumb. It didn’t need a huge repair job because the hole doesn’t put at risk the stability or integrity of the roof.  All I had to do was pull up a few shingles, fill the hole with roofing tar and put down new shingles. It took me a little while, but I did it … all by myself! I DID IT!

Small hole repair job

And repairing this hole, gave me the confidence to tackle a bigger one.

The next morning, I headed back up that six-foot ladder
and I thought about a phrase that has become a mantra.
For almost a year, I’ve posted on Instagram  and Facebook
and I’ve written text messages to a few close friends …
“I CAN DO HARD THINGS!”
In my head, as I climbed that ladder, I thought
“I can do hard things” …
and my next thought was ….

” ….. wait. this isn’t hard.”
It hit me ….
this was unfamiliar … but it wasn’t h.a.r.d.

I realized that climbing up on the roof wasn’t hard any more.
Worrying about making a mistake wasn’t an apprehension.
Fretting about losing my balance wasn’t a concern.
Getting stuck and not knowing how to get un-stuck in the repair hadn’t even crossed my mind.
And ….. having someone I love doubt my ability and warn me to slow down or quit wasn’t a fear.
I … wasn’t even afraid.

The hole ..

This hole was larger than the first one.

Revealing the damage

Once I peeled away the shingles and roof paper, I could more easily see the damage.

Damage revealed

I cut away a small piece of wood so that I could determine the thickness of the wood of the roof
and match it with a piece of wood that was the same.

Squaring up the hole
Then I cleaned up and squared up the hole.

Sewing tools are multi-functional

I used a sewing tool to help me get the EXACT depth needed for the brace to be properly spaced.

Building the brace

I made braces to attach to the joists that frame the roof.

Perfect fit.
I was absolutely shocked at how easy it was to repair this hole.
My rectangle fit into the existing hole with ease.
It was surprisingly precise.

Do you see that? FLUSH, I tell ya!
And it was perfectly flush.

Roof Paper
I tucked new roofing paper as far up under the existing paper and shingles as I could, making sure that it was under the paper above the hole and tucked under the shingles but on TOP of the paper below the hole (so water won’t work it’s way under the shingles and onto the raw wood).

Completed roof repair! Yay! I did it!I used 8-10 shingles total for this repair. I KNOW that I did an excellent job and I know that my repair is as strong and secure as any other part of my roof.

And I wasn’t even scared.

I can’t really put into words just how excited I am about this repair. As I told my dad the story, my voice quivered and I found my self trembling (a nervous reaction for me). I was just so proud of myself!

As I worked up there on the roof, I thought about how closely related my fears of repairs at home,
my fears of creating my art and showing it
and my fears of working outside my home
must be intertwined to my fears of not pleasing people.
In my head, I have heard lines like,
“You don’t know what you’re doing.” “It’s easy to lose your balance and fall.” “See. I told you.”
But, in the past few years of working through fear, rejection and people-pleasing,
my practice of “I don’t care” is helping me shake loose these worries.
And it’s really a good thing.

And as I start 2015, I realize that I am beginning more fearless
than I’ve ever been in my life.
It’s a wonderful feeling.

Makes Me Happy Monday: Salmon & White & Rose

I’ve seen Christmas cactus plants that are so full of blooms that they appear to have more blooms than greenery. I don’t know why, but my plant has never been like this.

Thanksgiving to Christmas Cactus

For years, it didn’t bloom at all … and when I say years … I mean five or ten or more? I shared my disappointment with my mom and even begged for help here on the blog (back in 2008). And each  year, I learn a little more about how to get my sweet little plant to bloom.

After asking for help, I actually had a few blooms in 2009. Here’s a photo I posted on Facebook that year. It was SO exciting to see blooms on my plant!!

Thanksgiving cactus

I’m proud to say that she blooms more and more beautifully each year.

Thanksgiving to Christmas Cactus

This plant was given to me by my mother. The pot must contain sprigs from several different cactus plants … because it blooms in several colors – a beautiful light pink, a yummy coral and even a few blooms that are white.

My first bloom usually appears around the week of Thanksgiving and continues to flower for several weeks into December.

Thanksgiving to Christmas Cactus

These sweet blooms remind me of my grandmothers and my sweet mother. They remind me of home and childhood and being with family for Christmas.

Lately, I’ve found myself sitting in the chair in the bay window, basking in the sun and just soaking in the beauty of those delicate petals, pistils and stamens.

Thanksgiving to Christmas Cactus

It’s a small thing and these fragile flower’s blooms are fleeting. But, I enjoy them so much.

My blooming Thanksgiving/Christmas cactus brings me such joy!
What makes YOU happy this marvelous Monday morning?

Sewing Space & Chest ReVamp

Some time ago, I moved my sewing machine from the corner where it was tucked in my art space to my dining room.

My sewing space ...

I use my dining table as a work surface when I sew curtains and work on other large projects. Running back and forth from the sewing machine in the art space to the dining table to the kitchen where I had my ironing board set up just seemed to waste SO much time. So, I brought everything together into one area.  The natural light from the window just makes this perfect and the hardwood floor makes a dropped pin *ping* so I can quickly retrieve it … rather than searching through carpet to save myself from impaling my foot. I LOVE this set up.

I needed a small chest of drawers to store thread, scissors and notions so I brought in a little cabinet that Glory left behind when she moved. It was painted this fresh, neon green that went well in her room. (You can see more of her old room here.) It matched her accent wall. But, it clashed loudly with everything in the rest of the house.My sewing nook

So, I layered color-upon-color to take it from her Vibrant, Funky Teen style
to my Natural, Relaxed Outside-comes-Inside style.

I used a medium brown base layer, the same ivory as my walls as a second layer and lastly, a soft dry-brush layer of medium brown on top. It turned out just the way I envisioned it and it fits so comfortably in my house.

Years ago, when I painted it bright green for Glory, I spray painted the handles silver. Using a fine sandpaper, I lightly sanded some of that silver away revealing the brass underneath. This rough-and-tumble style goes well with the rest of the chest and fits perfectly with the rest of my furniture.

And last, I tucked patterned paper away on the sides of the drawers as a peek-a-boo surprise when you open the drawers.

Roughed up handles

At .25-.59 a piece when purchased on sale, the paper was just a few dollars total. I have plenty of paper and oodles of scraps  and the paint was just left over from other projects … so I didn’t actually have to spend any money to complete this project.

Decoupaged drawer edges

So, here is a before and after.

Before and After Sewing Cabinet

I love the way the space looks now.My sewing space - a easy triangle of activity

I love how it feels. And I appreciate that I can sew in a place that is bright with everything close at hand.

Yes. Those are bird feathers on the floor beside the bird cage. And I didn't edit them out ... because real life is rarely neat and tidy to view.

The best part about space may be that
I can put away the ironing board, cover my machine
and you’d never know area is used as anything other than a dining room.

My dining room

This was a quick Saturday project. Creativity feeds my soul and gives me energy. What do you enjoy? Can you find a way to work that into your weekend? Can you find a project or activity that would soothe you and bring you joy? Figure out what boosts your spirit and make a way to do some of that this weekend.

You know, it’s not a selfish thing? When you feed your spirit, you’re loving yourself and strengthening your being. And when you’re a stronger, more emotionally happy person, you bless those around you. I hope you can find a way to make time for something beautiful this weekend or some time during this next week.

Lessons Learned from Odessa’s Sink

Back in the early years of marriage, we had some friends who were adventurous, dear neighbors. They worked overseas but came home to our historic district to spend their summers working on their early 1900’s home. Those summer weeks seemed to fly by to me. I adored seeing Bea & Win come home and hated to bid them farewell.

There were times when I would make my way up to their home for a quick “drop in” visit
and there were times when they would invite us up for a meal.

I remember one particular conversation with Bea when she told the story of a friend of hers from her early years. She said that this woman would throw her kitchen towel over her shoulder as she worked in her kitchen. On her shoulder, it was handy. Bea said that she picked up that habit from watching this friend.

I had never seen anyone do this. Maybe this was a “Northern” habit? Or an “Old-timey” thing?  I remember that the story stuck to my ribs. I remember thinking about how others influence our habits and actions. And I still remember the sight of Bea with a towel thrown over her shoulder as she worked in her kitchen.

I can’t say that I have adopted this mannerism as my own, but on occasion
when the kitchen is busy
and there are many hands around,
I will throw a towel over my shoulder
so that I know that I have a clean towel ….
a towel who has a history that I know ….
not one that has been used to wipe up a smear of raw meat juice
or a puddle of spilled beverage off the floor without my knowledge.

And on those occasions that I find a towel over my shoulder, I remember Bea.

A kitchen habit that I do use from time to time
is a habit gleaned from my sweet grandmother, Odessa.
There are many sights and sounds I remember about my father’s childhood kitchen
and the things that happened there.
I remember that the water from her “tap” was hotter than water at anyone else’s house I knew. I knew it was hot enough to burn me. Yet she washed dishes bare-handed. I can still see that dishcloth circling those dishes …. bubbles swooshing and steam rising and her soft, gentle hands covered in tiny bubbles.  She had no dishwasher so feeding a family of four when we visited created more dishes than she was accustomed since she lived alone after my grandfather’s death when I was about ten years old.

My kitchen sink

As she cooked, my sweet Mama would take a moment to put dirty utensils and dishes into the sink. As a few items accumulated, she would stop there a that sink and quickly wash and rinse. This kept her counters clear and made for a quicker clean up after dinner.

My kitchen sink

I don’t really remember if my own mother had this habit, but I remember it about Mama. When we would go to visit, I was always underfoot so I watched her closely.

We don’t have an operating dishwasher in my home right now. With four eating and drinking bodies in my kitchen, the counter fills quickly with dirty dishes. And when I begin to cook, I have a tendency to throw dirties right into that empty sink with a *clank.*  When I remember to fill the sink with hot water and keep the strainer on the left full rather than tossing metal and glass into the empty right side, cooking and after-dinner clean-up are much more expedient. Ahhhhhh …. but, therein lies the crux of the problem: I have to remember to fill the sink with hot water and intentionally wash as I cook.

My kitchen sinkI would do well to remember Odessa’s sink. I would be wise to make it a life habit to cook in a kitchen that has a sink full of hot, soapy water.  I’m going to work on remembering this in the future. Sometimes I think about all the beautiful lessons that I learned from my sweet Mama. She was an exceptionally beautiful and talented soul.

What about you? Do you have a habit that you gleaned from a friend of family member that made an impression and that you still employ today?

Worry and Termites

The screened porch/breezeway to The Party Room/Mother-in-law suite

We don’t have a garage. Or a shed. Or a workshop. Or even a covered car port. We have a screened porch … with a large picnic table ….that is always covered with sockets, wrenches, wood, an open tool box, found objects, stuff that needs to go under the house in our little storage area and, if James is living with us, lots and lots of car parts.

On occasion (ie, when company is coming), I use the energy and motivation to clean things up out there. Of course, the vow is made to never let the screened porch get messy again …. but that is SO unrealistic for a creative, crafting, building, repairing bunch like us. The screened porch is our ONLY covered, outdoor space. So … it gets messy.

A month or so ago,  I was on the porch cleaning up before a guest’s arrival.

So, I was sweeping.  It was spider season here in Georgia. Yes, there is such a thing. Somewhere at the end of summer, spiders spin humongous webs that cross paths where people walk and others huddle in corners and create massive window nests. They fill these web homes with two or three or eighteen little balls of spider-baby-ball-sacks (I’m pretty sure that is the scientific word for them) that hatch in a few weeks so that we have millions and millions of new spiders for the next summer. I’m really not a spider-hater, but I have to admit, spiders were a little bit extreme this summer. They were everywhere!
But …. I digress…..
In sweeping, I began at the ceiling pulling down webs and spiders and cajillions of babies. I worked my way along door facing and across window panes. And I made it to the corners of the porch to begin to pull the dirt, trash, leaves and nature …. out!

And because this doesn’t happen often enough, I must do a good job. So, I have the dust broom …
and I’m digging debris out from the corners
and I see a small pile of wood dust under the “big stuff”
there
in the corner
below the door-facing
and my mind began to  r . a . c . e.

 

Sawdust

“Termites.

Oh.Lord.No.”

“Termites are eating my house.
And this is a bit more than tiny dust, these are tiny pieces of wood.
These must be huge termites. ”
I sweep and dig, looking for more evidence.
“How long have they been there?
How big is the nest?
Have they eaten the deck? The party room floor?
Are they in the walls? Will I be able to find them easily?
How much will it cost to kill them?
How much damage have they done?
If I call the termite company, will they be able to find them ALL?
Can I wait through the weekend to call  …
or should I call NOW?”

Porch mess
… and then I remember …
we use the jigsaw

Jigsaw

on the porch

Sawdust
because we don’t have a  garage. Or a shed. Or a workshop. Or even a covered car port.
That is not termite evidence. That is sawdust from the jigsaw.
And I laughed … really loud … from the belly … towards the ceiling.

Isn’t it comical how our mind can race quickly
when we are under stress or have an adrenalin rush going on?

I love the quote
“Worry is using your imagination to create things that you don’t want”
or
“Worry is a terrible misuse of the imagination.”

Sometimes, we can’t help it. I’m sure that my adrenalin flow from cleaning helped foster my imagination.
But, there are other times when I fret and worry about my uncertain future, my health, finances …..

Matthew 6 tells us,

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

I love the last verse.
Do not worry about tomorrow …. each day has enough trouble of its own.”

I’m always thankful when God grabs my attention. He certainly did that busy, end-of-summer afternoon. I am reminded to do what I can about today. I plan for tomorrow … I plan meals, plan bill paying and how my child will get home from school. I watch for messes, like my falling deck (read here). But, I refuse to worry. As best I can, I rest in Him. I trust Him. I plan on Him.

Others have turned their backs. Others have walked away. Others may be unkind.
But, God is faithful.
I see Him in my day-to-day.
He provides. He protects. He comforts.
I have no need to worry  … about anything … including termites.

We need no “reason” to celebrate today

We do not need a special reason to celebrate life.
We were given that reason when we got up this morning.

Last of the sun at the park near my home

As a young adult,  I lived in New Bern, North Carolina.
Our local newspaper was the Sun Journal.
There was a young woman who wrote a little opinion article each week.
She wasn’t much older than I was at the time.
I remember enjoying her articles, but there was one article that stood out to me.
Written sometime between ’85 and ’89,
it was, in fact, life changing.

I even cut out the article … and saved it.
It is one of the few that I have continued to save.

 

Celebrate Today

She wrote the story of hearing of an estate sale and a.l.m.o.s.t choosing not to attend
because she knew the woman who had died
and she knew that the woman’s home appeared full of
thread-bare, well-worn and even tattered items
but nothing that might truly be of value.

But, arriving at the estate sale, the writer admits that she found that she was wrong.
The woman who had died had many things that were lovely and valuable …
she had simply chosen to stash them away … to save them … for another day.

Newspaper clipping

Per the writer’s prompting from the lesson that she had learned,
I made a conscious decision to USE what I owned.
I didn’t want to have closets stuffed with beautiful linens and quilts that were never enjoyed,
pretty plates and glassware that sat in dark cabinets
or jewelry that never left the drawer.

While I am a collector of some things, with the exception of crafting items, I don’t hoard and collect.
For example, we have a total of four sets of sheets for our three queen-sized beds
and enough blankets for each bed to have two to three on cold, winter nights.
I try to keep a “Goodwill bag” in my house so that we are constantly culling.
I am well aware, in fact, that in just a few short years, I will be alone.
It will be time to downsize deeply when the children are all gone,
so I live thinking about and planning for that transition.

As much as these words changed my life thirty years ago,
causing me to intentionally enjoy the “stuff” that I own,
they continue to guide me today.

I am always asking,
Do I need this?
Do I need a second one?
Can I let it go?

And just as important in my mind,
Do I love it? Does it bring me joy?
Does it represent who I am today?

Graham Hill’s TED talk challenges us to go even farther.
He links our stuff to our happiness.
Have you ever thought in your frustration,
“I just want to walk away from it all? Divorce it? Leave and never look back?”
That desire to leave is based in the struggle that comes from care and upkeep of our stuff.

I have gotten rid of so many things since becoming single.
My home has almost been aesthetically remodeled.
Everything in my bedroom has changed except the three large pieces of furniture.
Walls in my home have been painted, artwork replaced,
window coverings have been added or replaced.
My home is much more authentic for me
and I use and enjoy every item in our home,
as I live and remember the words from that wise young woman
three decades ago
reminding me
that we need no special reason to celebrate today.
You were given the reason when you got up this morning.

Have a beautiful day.
Take some stuff to Goodwill and then …  CeleBraTe today!

Sun Journal Article

 

This post fits perfectly into the Tuesdays Unwrapped category that Emily Freeman features at Chatting at the Sky. If you’re looking for the beauty in the ordinary, you should swing by her blog and read what she shares … and what so many others are sharing on Tuesdays in December.

An everyday Thanksgiving

I find that I reach for my camera less and less.
I am home and still and just soak it all in … still and quiet.

But, today, as I think about all my blessings.
I decided to grab my camera to remember what life looks like
right now
before everyone is up and moving
before friends arrive
before life gets busy.

I have learned
ever.so.slowly
to let it go.
Don’t fret over the mess when company comes.
Just enjoy the people … in the mess.

And I am learning to let other things go.
Our table isn’t complete. It is forever changed ….
and that is a difficult thing to accept.
But, I rejoice in the small things that surround me.
There is great freedom and peace here now!

Before we sup, this table surely must be cleared
but I am thankful for an abundance of gorgeous fabrics
that I have been playing with lately.

Plentiful fabric

Our home has many beautiful plants
that we faithfully bring in on cold nights.
They make our deck happy during summer
and bring life inside when it is below freezing overnight.

Plants that didn't freeze in the chilly night air

I am thankful for smoke that billows from a faithful smoker
billowing smoke
and wood drenched in water and flavored with garlic and orange that slowly infuses a bird.

smoking chips
There is fire in the fireplace
that warms our world.
Light reflects on glass ….
an amazing feat, if you think about it ….
glass being transparent.

Fire reflecting warmth
Words on my wall remind me to
create
breathe
and rest.
Yes. I will do that. today.
Words on my wall
I listen to John Denver sing “Oh, it’s good to be back home again,”
and I ponder home.
I’ve heard “Home is where your Mom is.”
I like that. So, home for me is far away ….
with my mom on the other corner of our fair state.
But home is also here …. because I am mom.
Each of my little ones are here to celebrate and give thanks.
Life is good
and rich
and blessed.

My "Home" painting
My mantle is scattered with findings …
a beautiful scrap of paper in an interesting shape,
autumn leaves
and a twisted bit of grass that is comforting to view.

Home
J
oy wanted these pencils …. just sticks … filled with colorful lead.
It makes me happy that she walks by and admires them. James does the same.
Those two … so very much alike in many ways.
Glory, sandwiched there in the middle, my Sunshine and Butterflies girl.

sticks that write in color
I
 am thankful for a coffee ring on my counter
and a gorgeous ceramic cup.
The dribble is evidence that I still have a few wonderful pleasures that are so sweet to my soul.
Creamer with a bit of coffee poured in. A comfort food, if I have one.

stains on the counter and pretty ceramic
A
nd this turkey bag? I love the geometric pattern … rhythmic and balanced and sturdy and white.
I cut it off the bird and will use it later in some art project.
It makes me happy to see beauty in the common.

The turkey wrapper
Leaves sit on my deck
too damp from recent rain to crunch the way fall leaves should.
We’ll sweep them away soon … but for now, they remind me of the sloughing away of summer
and the stillness of winter.
They are good.

fall
T
he watering can sits idle.
She’ll only be used a few times this winter.
She is bathed in light … and cobwebs.

left on watering pitcher that won't be used much again until summer
A
s much as I used to love Sweet Gum balls,
having several trees in my yard has led me to not care for them so much.
But, tiny ones
like this
make my heart sing.
Isn’t she precious …
almost hidden in the shadows.

a tiny sweet gum ball
T
erra Cotta sits dormant, as well.
Yet, I know, spring will inch near
before we expect it
and this earthenware will be busy
with new life.

terra cotta stillness
Here is hoping you find beauty in the common
in the everyday …
those things that you see all the time.
May they richly bless you this Thanksgiving day
and often.

Happy Thanksgiving.