My Introduction

Today I had to make an introduction about myself in a FB group I’ve just been added to.  It really got me thinking about who I am and where I really am at this point in life.  Yes, it’s been a hard year, but I keep thinking to myself that I need to dig deeper than that.  Pull back the layers and get to the truth of it.  What is it I’m doing.  Is it important? Am I really doing anything? What is it I truly want?  Feel?  Need? Am supposed to be doing? Where do I want to be at this point in my life and is that an attainable goal? Do I like the person staring back at me in the mirror?  Am I proud of what I’ve become?  How can I change the things I don’t like and become stronger in the areas I do?

I feel the years creeping up on me quickly now. I want to leave a legacy for my children but wonder if I’m too late for that.  I want to feel inspired and nourished.  To be a part of something important. To feel alive again.  I want to do more.  To feel more.  To be more.  Yet somehow I feel stuck in place.

I can admit that some of it is fear.  But I’m really not that fearful of a person so that’s not the whole truth of it.  Something else has been holding me back and I haven’t exactly been able to put my finger on it completely.  I know in part it’s a combination of things.  I know that fear and finances are a few of those things.  I also know that somehow I hold myself back and I don’t quite know why that is.  Right now I feel a whole lot of things.  And yet, at times,  I feel nothing much at all but a strange numbness.

The truth is that for years I looked to others in my life to fill these voids in me.  I now realize that other people cannot fill those voids and it only leads to let down.  Keeping a strong relationship with the Lord and learning to love yourself is the way to fill these dark places.

I heard a quote recently and unfortunately I cannot remember who said it (maybe Lacey Sturm?) but it basically said, “how can you love anyone else if you don’t love yourself?”.  That quote ran straight through me.  It’s so true yet so simple.  And that my friends is where I’m at and what I’m working daily. Loving myself, taking time for myself and working on things that make me happy and whole.

Things are coming along

Things have come a long way but still feel like we’re miles and miles away from where we feel we should be.  When you’re living through a remodel things always feel much slower than they actually are.  Looking back to where were started less than a year ago, we’ve actually come a long way. Most friends cannot believe what we’ve done in such a short amount of time.

We now have two working toilets which is something to sing praises to Jesus about!  Seriously!  And our bathroom vanity is tiled and the vessel sink installed, it just needs a few tweaks.  This morning was the first time I was able to get up and use my bathroom and then brush my teeth without walking to the girls’ bathroom to brush. It felt like such a luxury!

We’re now getting to the parts of the remodeling that I call the “fun” stuff. It’s the finishing touches…the lights, tile, paint, etc.

One thing I’ve learned through downsizing house is that have entirely too much stuff!  We just had too much room in our last house & thought nothing of bringing more and more in.  I think the girls have been doing a great job getting rid of things.  I’m continually weeding out and re-weeding out.  I think, in the end, it’s gonna take a while but we’ll be much happier without all the stuff. Life will be easier and less stressful.

As far as goals that I posted last time I blogged…I’ve decided that a 365 photography project is off the table, for this year at least. I am photographing regularly but haven’t really taken the time to post.  I think I’ll stick with the 52 week group I joined and the other monthly themed group I’ve been enjoying for about a year now.

Have you made any goals or have any projects going on?  Post a comment on what’s going on in your world, I’d love to hear about them!

 

 

 

Goals

I wanted to stop in and write a little bit.  I know after the new year most people set resolutions.  I’ve done that in the past and I’ve mainly failed at them…go figure! This year I have goals I want to set for myself.  I’ve been organizing them in my mind for months now.  Why wait until the new year? Honestly, the second half of last year was just an extremely rough, crazy time for me & my family so I thought that things would calm a bit after the new year.  We knew we’d be moving (and we did…twice in a 5 weeks span!!), that I’d be quitting my full time job (just weren’t quite sure exactly when) and that things would be hectic for a time.

I must admit that things are still pretty hectic but I know this too shall pass.  We have all of our belongings moved in (including all the animals) and the girls have their rooms pretty well set up but are just waiting for some finishing touches.  The rest of the house & our bedroom, well, that’s still a work in progress.  BUT we are making progress everyday!  We now have flooring down in every room and the last two tiled rooms (the pantry and bathroom) were grouted yesterday.  We have two pantry cabinets to move into the pantry and we can now get a toilet put in-in our bathroom.  We still have boxes piled higher than I can reach in the kitchen, living room & our bedroom but I’m hopeful that’ll change in the next few weeks.

Now for the goals I have set for myself.  I honestly didn’t plan to share but thought it’d be nice to be able to look back at the end of the year to see if I accomplished what I set out to.  There are a few that I’m holding close to my heart and not sharing as well but maybe at a later time I will.

  • I want to use this year to work on learning as much as I can (editing, lighting, posing, night photography, fine art photography, etc.) and grow as a photographer and artist.  The possibility of starting a photography business is still one I’m entertaining and, honestly, go back and forth on quite a bit.  For now, I just take on sessions when I’m approached
  • I’m still debating on whether to do a 365 photography project or a 52 week project but have started photographing daily. Of course, I didn’t start on January 1 because that would’ve been way too easy and anyone that knows me, knows I like to do things the hard way ;)
  • I’ll be gardening this year which is something I used to love to do but it fell by the wayside as things got busy.  I’m not sure as to the extent of my gardening but I’m hoping to do decent amount. I know I plan to set up a composter and would like to raise soldier fly larvae for the chickens and possibly meal worms as well. I’m planning on lasagna gardening so I’ll be putting the layers down for that in the next few weeks
  • I want to do some volunteering and I’m currently researching to figure out where I feel led
  • Blogging-here and on my photography website
  • I plan to rework my entire photography site to update my portfolio and give it the look I have in my mind for it as well as add a blog portion and personal project area
  • Reconnect-with God, my family and friends

I have high hopes for this year.  Spiritually, physically, and mentally  and cannot wait to see where God leads. Leave a comment and share your hopes and goals for this year.  Maybe we can encourage each other!

Getting back to blogging

I haven’t written here in a very long time.  I have written several posts in my head but haven’t actually sat down and typed them up. That’s something I plan to change.  I miss writing.  Journaling my thoughts and life.  When I started blogging I shared it everywhere for all to read.  At this point it’s more for me than anyone else and so I don’t plan to shout it from the rooftops, so to speak.  I’m thankful for anybody that chooses to tag along though🙂 It’s almost like a form of therapy at times. I also do plan to update the blog.  It’s very dated and I’d like to change it up to something I like better.  Look for the layout to change around the beginning of next year.  I’m certain that I won’t have time to update until then as we are remodeling a house and selling our current house (set to close the 30th and no, I’m not prepared and should be packing right now!). And things will be crazy for at least the next few months, I’m sure! I’m hopeful it’ll only be a few months.

The past year has been a mix of things for me….depression, loss, anger, sadness, joy, anxiety, overwhelming…. Most people, even family, don’t know this.  The one thing all this taught me is that I want to be honest.  Always.  Even when it’s hard. With myself. With others.  And to own those emotions. Honesty isn’t always easy.  Trust me.  And because I’m walking into this new season, I’m sure this blog will reflect that.  I think that’s another great thing about blogging, it evolves with you as you grow and change.
You see, for years I tried to be what everyone wanted or I thought they needed me to be. Careful to try not to offend anyone. What I’ve come to learn, in doing that, was that being honest does offend people.  And you have to be ok with that.  I can’t say I’m sorry that I was honest.  I can say that, at times, there were better, more loving ways to go about it and for going about it wrong I am very sorry.  I tend to be a very blunt person and I’m working on honesty in a more loving way. It bothers me when I speak directly to someone is that they don’t give me the same respect back.  Instead of receiving an e-mail or text, I’d prefer people talk to me directly.  I can’t say I blame anyone for this because I know it’s easier to e-mail. I’ve certainly been that person sending e-mails rather than a direct conversation, even a few months ago, so I totally understand it but being on the receiving end has taught me that it’s not even close to the best way to go about it.  For that I’m thankful because now I will make the conscious effort to be direct and not take the coward’s way out, which is what I’ve done for years.
I’ve been working at a place for a little over a year that I love at times and hate at times but one thing I’ve learned working there is that communication and honesty are key.  If you’re being an a$@ someone will most definitely call you out for it and straight up tell you you’re being an a$@! You can either deny it and get mad or you can evaluate and realize that they’re right and adjust your attitude and go about your business.  I’ve been on both sides of this and the worst side is definitely being called out but having someone keep you accountable is a good thing.  It’s taken me a while to swallow that pill but it definitely humbles you and makes you think.
The biggest loss this year was my sister’s passing in September.  No matter how prepared you think you are, you aren’t. Trust me!  It hurts.  I don’t know when or if it ever stops hurting but it has definitely been a devastating experience.  We were told in January she had only 2 weeks to live but she fought until September when she just couldn’t anymore.  I still have her ashes with me daily.  I still tear up when strange things come to mind and remind me of her…a butterfly flying across my windshield as I merge onto the highway…  I still can’t talk about her without getting teary eyed so at this point I mostly just don’t. I believe I’ll get to that point where I can and I want to.  I want to talk about her.  I want to tell her kids (and mine) funny stories of us growing up.  Us fighting.  And did we fight a lot but in the end we loved a lot too.  Some days I feel like everything is so very urgent and needs done…NOW.  And others I feel like why bother… I’m still working out my emotions.  Talking to God and letting Him help me.  It’s made me reevaluate my relationship with Him.  I see changes that need made and am working on that.  I think I walked away from Him for a time, even if I didn’t want to admit it, but I’ve recommitted myself to the Lord and He & I know what needs worked on and we’re getting there.
Just weeks prior to my sister going into hospice I had a friend decide it was time to say goodbye to our friendship.  It was a mix of emotions.  This friend and I had several tumoltuous years so it’s really probably no surprise to anyone that knows us. It’s probably best for us both, even though it still saddens me to think about it.  I will always love her and wish her the best in life. I won’t lie, it’s hard but I know that people are in our lives for seasons and there are reasons for this so I’m learning to live in the season I’m in and let go of past. I think that this particular situation taught me a lot.  About myself.  About others. I really do want to know what people think of me.  Even when it hurts.  I’d prefer they tell me at the time and not hold onto it for years because I think that stings worse.  I know that I can’t control others’ actions though so I can’t expect them to do things the way I’d prefer. There were things I held onto and didn’t tell her for years as well and that was wrong on my part. A lot of it goes back to trying to keep everyone happy.  When I just couldn’t keep her happy and no matter how much I apologized she wouldn’t hear it and I didn’t want to be honest (with either of us) it came out as anger toward her.  Hers came out in various ways toward me.  For me, I think I generally get mean or walk away from people once frustration hits. In this case I got mean and she got mean back and walked away. And that’s ok.  Boundaries do need set and maybe that was part of our issue, boundaries were crossed.  I think I tried to do the kinder thing and not respond to her angry words.  I went back and forth on defending myself on the parts that she got wrong and telling her some things I felt she needed to hear. In the end though, I felt it was best to let it be.  Sometimes it’s nicer to let others have the last say and speak their peace.
So this little back story is where I begin my journey back into blogging and changing the world around me.  I hope that anyone that reads this joins me and if you choose not to, well, I wish you nothing but the best that life has to offer!

52 weeks of Pinterest-week 5

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This week I decided to do an altered domino pendant.  I actually made a few.  There were a few tutorials I had pinned for this but I mostly just went from the photographs of the pins.  On the first one I glued some newspaper down, added alcohol ink & once it dried I finished it off with Glossy Accents.  On the second one, I actually just decided to drop alcohol inks onto the domino, move it around a bit, let one color dry and then add another color until it felt complete. Then I finished it off with Glossy Accents. The second one seems to be everyone’s favorite in my house.  Except me, that is, I can’t decide & think they’ll both look great on the end of a necklace!  Here is a tutorial I had pinned, if you’d like to try one yourself.  I think it’d be a good place to start.

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52 weeks of Pinterest-week 4

I know, I’m a day or two behind on posting this!  I had it completed yesterday but was out late & didn’t have good light to take a photo when I got home.  I’ve really been wanting to try art journaling for quite some time now but never had the nerve to just do it.  Well, finally I did.  I really liked it in a freeing, no need to make great art but pour it of you kinda way, and most definitely plan on going further/deeper with it in the future.

I didn’t really follow any tutorials on this one but here’s my art journal inspiration pins page on Pinterest.  I used some acrylic wall paint on my background (after gesso) and then used alcohol inks and permanent marker.  I don’t think the permanent marker was the best thing to use & I’m pretty sure it no longer works but ya live & ya learn!  Ok, so here are my first two pages.

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52 weeks of Pinterest-week 3

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This week I decided to veer away from any kind of clay craft.  I landed on polaroid coasters.  It’s a pretty easy craft.  I’m ok with how mine turned out but I will be trying them again.  I let my girls choose the photos they wanted to have on their coaster.  The Modge Podge seemed to leave little air bubbles, which I didn’t like, so I’ll have to read up to see how to prevent that.  I didn’t rough up my coasters either but liked that the photo would move around so I could straighten them.  I would like to use a paper cutter next time instead of scissors.  That’s just been one of those things that has always been on my to buy list but never was purchased.  In the end, I think these would make wonderful gifts but may take a little practice to perfect :)  At 16 cents a tile (I bought mine at Lowe’s) the cost is very minimal!  Here is where I found the tutorial on this one.

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Week 2 of my Pinterest making adventure

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IMG_2206For this week’s crafting I decided on another polymer clay craft.  I have to tell you, before I share the pin, that I totally went my own way with this.  The pendant I pinned was adorable & I’ve always wanted to try making it.  In the process of making it, I really just had different products…and colors…and technique!  Basically this looks nothing like the one I pinned but I really do like it.  The photo doesn’t do it justice so I’ll be working on better photos from here on out!  I did use polymer clay & the lady’s technique for lettering but after that I took it in a way different direction that she did :)  I then used a copper colored Martha Stewart glaze I had left over from previous crafts and Glossy Accents to finish it up.  Mine is pretty thick too!  I think I will revisit this one again & try it a little differently but I’m sure it still won’t much resemble the original pin, which you can find here.  I still think her pendant is just adorable & if I was making it for my sister, I’d make it look more like hers :)

Happy New Year!!!

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This is my first post of 2014 & I’ve set a few goals for myself this year.  One of them is that I plan on doing a 52 week craft/Pinterest challenge this year.  It’s not really a  because it’s just me but that’s the best word I could come up with!  I pin soooo much to Pinterest & hardly ever get around to making any of it so I thought if I do this challenge at least I’ll have done/made 52 things that I had pinned!

Since this is week one, I tried my hand at a polymer clay craft.  Here’s the link I had pinned for this one.  I chose to do this little Nightmare Before Christmas keychain for a friend’s little boy.  I know that he won’t pick out the imperfections but will be happy to have this little guy!  They made it look so easy but it turned out (for me, at least) to be a little more of a challenge than I thought it would be.  I’ll be the first to admit that I need some practice with clay after this craft!

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Ukrainian Eggs

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Over the weekend we (my two older girls & I) had the opportunity to learn how to make Ukrainian eggs.  After learning how they are made I will never look at them the same way again!  It it a very tedious, yet therapeutic process.  I didn’t take photos while making them as I was caught up in the learning of it myself.

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For our first egg we all did the same thing and followed a pattern to learn.  I love how the black made it pop at the end.  Before I saw the end result, I didn’t like it that well.

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For our second egg we were able to look through catalogs or freehand.  I decided to freehand my second one, which didn’t turn out quite as well as I envisioned it in my mind.

People take weeks to make their eggs and we made 2 in a few short hours.  It’s also much more difficult than it looks!

When I get the opportunity to try my hand at it again I will definitely plan out my drawing and colors before hand.  I also learned that I don’t have to start with white.  I can actually dye the entire egg and then add my first layer of wax.

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Another very interesting fact we learned is that you don’t have to use blown eggs.  We actually used hard boiled eggs for our first “lesson”.  The egg inside seems to drive and shrivel up inside over time. We were able to shake some of the samples she showed us and hear the old egg inside shake.  It will only smell, we were told, if you crack the egg.  I did crack my freehand egg as I was taking off the wax.  I kept it to take a photo but plan to throw it out since it wasn’t a design I truly loved anyway.

Now I just need to look into the supplies so we can practice up at home!  She also told us that you can use natural materials/plants to create dyes and I’m very interested in learning how to do that as well so I guess I have a research project in the near future!