Rock hunting catches clarity

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.
~”Melody Beattie

This is such an amazing quote on how fulfilling life CAN be when we reach that point in which our perception of the reality in situations, presents true clarity and a sense of what we DO have as opposed to what we DON’T. When I look back on my life so far, I see that every opportunity; ups and downs, highs and lows, amazing’s with confusing’s and all the rest, is a chance for finding and acknowledging the fullness and blessings in it. The acceptance of each experience for what it was and that it was given for a reason has been such a learning and fulfilling moment to me. I know I was not put on this earth to waste my time. Each of us has our journey and special gift of life to live which hopefully can be done so with clarity and with purpose.

So often I have moments like this one pictured below. My surroundings strike me with a period of thoughtfulness. Where I don’t have a clue why it’s important at that exact point in time, but it might somehow reveal itself down the road again.

This was simply a beautiful day out on Lake Mohave, which has been an enjoyable vacation spot for my family ever since I was a kid. It was during the summer of 2010 on this particular day. Past the years of my childhood, abounded into motherhood and now camping on the lake for the first time during this trip, braving the heat with an 11, 5, 3 year old and 6 month old… it’s quite the experience!! Nursing a baby in 115 degree weather is just not pleasant for either parties involved let me tell you lol. But we managed and survived! It was a memorable trip for sure.

 The kids love to collect rocks while we are out there on the lake. It’s just something you do. I remember it as a kid, it’s like searching for buried treasure but it’s everywhere. There is only one catch..

When you take rocks out of their happy beautiful state in that water, they dry up and aren’t so pretty to look at any more.

Now that I have come to terms with this fact as an adult, I’ve grown fond of admiring the underwater beauty from above, and I leave it at that. It’s no coral reef to awe over of course. It has desert and heat written into all the fiery red-oranges, sunny browns and sandy beige you find throughout this rocky treasure. Somehow in the midst of all the rocks in this desert lake, you can come across shells as well. When you scan across the rocky floor, it’s almost hard to notice them.

That’s when on this day I was just itching to create a little underwater art, scoping out the shells with the kids and sort of messed around with the colors and layers. Brought a little order to this bit of chaos in nature as you can say….my organizing freak personality would try to bring order to nature of course lol. It was a fun little pass time which really is probably why “rock hunting” has evolved into the activity of choice on these trips. It is that pass time while you are up against nature and heat with children and without the screaming TV or bright and fancy toys around. You make the most of nature and something we can call God’s toy box. I have been reminded many times that he does always provide.

The clarity and beauty in this picture of underwater creation brings meaning to how I relate with and understand certain times I have gone through in my life. I believe so much can be revealed during certain moments and experiences throughout our lives, if we are able to reach that clarity. To see through it all and with a real openness and to be grateful for what “it” is in that very moment in time. I know that there have been times that I remained closed to what I was meant to see, may have lost out on a number of learning experiences. But my heart is ever trying.

There are also those times, where try as you might, you just can’t see why or what to be grateful for. It’s the times of not being able to see through such crystal clear water so to say. It’s harder to see past the surface. Maybe it’s not being able to see further, the fear of what lies ahead. Or maybe knowing that it is something deeper you need to get to, but just don’t want to go there, because you know it will be a lot to work through all the muddiness of the inevitable. It might hurt too.

It’s hard to feel assured in those times, whether you quite know what you are dealing with or not, being grateful in a moment which feels overwhelming and confusing is a downright challenge. I have faced this feeling many times throughout the past few years.

 Sometimes it just takes time. In fact a lot of the time myself, I realize that giving things time can bring the most clarity to a situation and it is in those ‘real’ times of growth that I’ve felt blessed with and grateful to have had a chance to learn during it. I am grateful for the outcome and seeing that the time was a gift in and of itself.

Time doesn’t stop, nor should we. Two and a half years ago, we couldn’t stop to really breathe in the harsh reality of losing a family business that was our livelihood. It was who we were. No, there was not time to look back and sign a farewell to that chapter which was forced to close on us. Because time was still going to carry on and wouldn’t wait for us to do so. Nor would it bring back what mostly we needed to move on from. It was denial, it was confusion, and it was chaos. Pregnant and expecting our third child, having just stepped down from a regional make-up artist position to be with my kids just weeks prior, and then be facing the job loss of my husband was enough to send a crazy prego lady over the edge of sanity.

Thankfully though, FAITH stepped in. It said move on because you have NO choice, but still be grateful for what lies behind you. It still is and will always be a part of you. Bitterness and blame won’t sustain much overtime. Resentment and hurt could only do more damage than the freeing possibility of accepting what I couldn’t change and had no control over.

Clarity in darkness is the most beautifully reassuring.

Terrified to let go and trust in the next step, afraid of falling without seeing who will catch you, yet still jumping into that unknown place with your arms out wide and a heart that is at peace, that is what facing life clear and head on feels like. Then you land safely and see how reassuring it felt to give it all up. It may not have been an easy ride. Ours certainly has not been in terms of rebounding from a life changing loss like that, but it’s the fact of being clear in this new direction and grateful for every new opportunity and new day of course. It’s another chance.

The setting summer sun on the lake is always so amazing. The stillness of the earth settles in on the water as the sun has made its way over. Any beautiful sunset can capture you, but this is a bit different. With the lake water so calmed, and the quiet desert dryness, it’s just something else. It brings peace to my mind. I could get so lost in the breathtaking few minutes of that sunset if it wasn’t for the giggles or child-like footsteps I’d hear creeping up on me, knocking me back into my reality.

Then I become grateful to the ones I am able to share that moment with, and it’s still breathtaking.

I honestly sometimes wish I was as sure as the sun sets, in what my life is about or how it will end up. I wish it was laid out with answers of what lies ahead, although I know reassuring as it sounds, it wouldn’t be as enjoyable. That is though the beauty in life, that we have the ability to change our destiny and ultimately direct our own lives to where we want it. For me the moments of pure gratitude are made clear in times when I almost don’t realize it happens.

It’s reaching a state in my mind that truly appreciates what I have in that given moment and not questioning it, just having faith!

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Cheer them up with a “FEEL BETTER FRIEND” – tutorial

Turning little frowns 😦 upside-down 🙂 and it ended up as a tutorial…

Well we certainly started 2012 off on one sick note…literally! The kids ALL came down with the flu for what felt like an eternity almost!! It was the most awful sickness that they (and this worry-wort mama) have ever been through to date. I have never been one for flu shots, and honestly it didn’t matter because they never came down with anything besides the common cold usually during this season. This year was a different story and a bad one at that!

The hard part is not so much the fact of taking care of 3 sick kids at one time. For me the hardest part is stressing and worrying about them getting better (I couldn’t bribe them to eat to save my life!). I prayed that their little systems could fight off whatever they were dealing with. I may sound extreme with it only being the flu but I’m not kidding when I say I’m a big worry-wort and this bug had me going crazy! Every parent hates to see their child go through anything that we don’t have the power to make ‘all better.’ It is such a helpless position to be in. Chicken broth, Tylenol and Pedialyte only go so far with the flu and it ultimately comes down to their bodies doing the hard work, plus as much TLC as ever!

As we were on flu house arrest that week I went a little stir crazy too. I decided to pull out some old Martha Stewart KIDS mags that I had saved for a “rainy day.” This was definitely the day, and I happened upon a super cute idea in one of the issues. I tried searching the web to see if maybe the same article had appeared on her site to link up for this post, but couldn’t find it. My issues were pretty old though, to be honest lol. So forgive me now for this not-so-great photo I snapped to show part of the article… It was entitled Imaginary Friends!

Now this is not your AVERAGE plush toy by any means. This is a custom recreation of your kids’ artwork! I thought it was genius and such a fab way to bring life into their little creations. Mostly I felt inspired to do something WAY different and personalized for them, to cheer them up during those sick days. That’s when I dubbed it the “Feel Better Friend.” 🙂 I explained to them that it would be their little cheer up buddy from here on out when they are sick or get hurt.

They managed to brighten up at this idea and both Ella and Gavin were excited to come up with what their little buddy would look like. Grant on the other hand hasn’t mastered much more than scribbles, circles or a random abstract face so I’m waiting to make one for him at the moment.

Ella and Gav found some ideas in the article as well for the creations and this was what they came up with…

Octopus and Fancy pink lady

Hip-hop snake!

And here is what Mama came up with….

Project Supplies:

Various fabrics/scraps

Scissors

Ribbon/buttons/beads for embellishment

needle & threads or machine

Polyester fiberfill

kids character artwork

So after you get your hands on the masterpiece character that your child dreams up, you hunt down any scrap fabric or old shirts and things you might have around. The article even had examples using muslin and fabric markers so they can draw directly on that, then cut, sew and stuff! Play around with fabric and textures to try to match up to the colors they chose or make suggestions. Don’t forget buttons, ribbons, beads, etc. for accessories! The kids can help to pick out the embellishments they might prefer. Ella enjoyed picking through buttons. It really is a fun project and delightful for them to have a tangible piece of their imagination to keep forever!

It is a little time-consuming, mostly depending on how much detail is added. I used my sewing machine to make the pink one of Ell’s and then hand sewed the other 2. Hand sewing is better for the patchy look and buttons. The more hand done it looks, the better it is for this type of thing. After all it is child art, so you don’t want it to lose that imaginative edge!

Make sure to create the character details (eyes, mouth, or hair) before sewing edges together

Sew the seam with right sides together and leave a gap to stuff the filling!

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Gavin totally wanted his guy equipped with head phones to make it look “hip-hop” as he says, and a mohawk haha…

You can’t forget to add a lil’ love from MOM for them to cherish forever…

So this was definitely a rewarding project to take on and most especially that it brought smiles out to drown the sad tummies and noses for a bit. I was glad to have something lift all of our spirits and not let the draggy week have its way entirely!

Here are Ella and Gavin now sick free thankfully, and happy as could be since they have their new little ‘Feel Better Friends’ to cheer them up on any occasion!!

Happy fourth of July, it’s January…

You are wondering why I might blog about July 4th in the dead of January.

Just looking at happy faces and moment’s not forgotten.

It’s these happy faces. Setting excitement to green grass on a warm summer day. Spending time with our family that we love!

*COUSINS*

*DETERMINATION=RIDING A BIKE WITHOUT TRAINING WHEELS FOR THE FIRST TIME DURING THE BIKE PARADE!*

*A SMILE WITH HER TATA*

*CURIOUSLY CHECKING OUT THE FESTIVE PINWHEEL*

*ENJOYING THE MOMENT WITH MY DAD AND SISTER*

*CAPTURING A PHOTO OF THE MATCHING ENSEMBLES I MADE FOR THE KIDS*

*MY ADORABLE NEPHEW BENTLEY*

This is the best part about looking back on photos…it’s that moment in time, captured forever. It re-ignites those wonderful memories made and experiences shared. A photo can speak.

These photos spoke to me again about the happy fourth we all had last year. Though it was surrounded with some changes that were about to take place. Between it being the last celebration we would have there at my sister’s house before her family would move to San Diego, and knowing a move was beckoning us as well, that did not stop us from enjoying life in that very moment, and cherishing the fact that we have each other! (Unfortunate thing was that my youngest sister couldn’t make it that day)

*MY PARENTS AND BROTHER-IN-LAW ANDY*

*CALIFORNIA SUMMER + 4TH OF JULY + WATER = GOOD FUN!*

*CUTE PATROL IN ACTION*

Some great memories I felt inclined to share! I LOVE this family of mine so much!

Now I’m about ready for July already…no offense to January. 🙂 Makes me super thankful for this sunny state when we get summer ‘like’ days in the winter though!

 

2012

First post of the New Year… Happy 2012!! 🙂

So I raise my glass (of water since that is what I have at the moment) to all that is to come in this next year. Every start of a year feels so promising and fresh. A road never traveled, with its endless possibility. A lake water so still and waiting for a first morning touch and ripple.

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For me, I’d like to take complete ownership of the coming year. It’s not about what ‘might’ be awaiting me, it’s about what I am going to make of another year. Life doesn’t just say, “here I am, there you are, now go about your business.” Life is about actions, which I am big on right now. If you aren’t willing to take the action then it just doesn’t happen. It’s applicable in every aspect of life whether its work, relationships, personal goals and even parenting. You need to take action and own the responsibility of what it is you take on or are facing. I aim to take action in life rather than be a reaction of it. I know its not easy, but it starts with a thought and the right attitude!

So tonight, as I rang in the new year in my ever so stylish purple leopard flannels, glass of water in hand as I’m still replenishing from a 16 mile run this morning….huddled over a canvas I’m working on for project, while watching The Song of Bernadette and snacking on a bowl of cheerios (major multitasking going on)… I enjoyed what is. It was a new years doing what I enjoy. No ball drop or horrible hangover to look forward to in the AM for this lady. This celebration was a unique one for me. Simple.

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Well boring festivities aside, I am very much anticipating the year to come. I’m excited for the untraveled road ahead, and the new memories we will be blessed to make. These three blessings right here are my
biggest motivation, they make every year worth having no matter what becomes of it! So cheers to all and may the year be very prosperous and fulfilling!!

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2012 here we go!! 🙂