July 19, 2012

fun finds.

I took the girls with me today for a lil retail therapy at Hobby Lobby and Michaels... mostly visual retail therapy, but we did leave with a few fun things.  And I'm honing my shopping skills with two little girls, slowly but surely... Anyway, thought you might want to see what caught our attention today.

First up, some eye candy for those of you who haven't been to Hobby Lobby lately. {I kind of feel like I just had 5 cups of coffee when I go here, because I'm excitedly trying to look at 50 things at once and process what I'm looking at, all at the same time...} Anyway, I saw these and would've loved to drop one in my cart, but at $50 a pop that was a no go:

Still, awesome to find. I'm telling you, hexagons are seriously making their way into the mainstream... I'm lovin' it.

Later on, I found a whole wall of lanterns with different shapes. Would be so cute on a deck.

I also found some adorable mirrors--I loved the little yellow one. So colorful. (Look at that big girl, sitting in the front of the cart now... aww.)

Over at Michaels, I thought this was cute: a little crocheted apple coaster sample hanging in the knitting aisle (crochet aisle, if you prefer :)...

We made our way to the "dollar" section, and I found some adorable Paula Deen cupcake holders for $1.50--I'm making a cupcake kit as a birthday gift and these will fit nicely:

The turquoise one says "You brighten my life." Aw. Tis true of the recipient.

I finally decided on a box to hold crafty stuff of Liv's--on sale for $6.59. Love the magnetic flap.

We're keeping construction paper, crayons and markers (need to add), watercolors, scissors, pompoms, foam shapes, glue, and beads in here. Now Liv knows what box to look for when it's artsy time.

 Here's Natalie, just smiling away, urging me to check out the clearance section. "You know you wanna look, mom." So we did.

We found some cute felt activity boards for $5--how cute is this. I would've chosen the astronaut or the dinosaur board, but I let Liv choose... she liked the castle the most. (She's really into building with legos right now, castles in particular...)

I also randomly bought a ceramic number 5.

It was $3, marked down from $8.99. It was one of those things where I saw it a couple of months ago, and I thought to myself, "Hey, if those are ever super on sale, maybe I'll get one." And then Nat forced me to look through the stuff, and there it was, soo... They had all sorts of numbers, so why the 5? What does the 5 represent? I don't know, but I like how it looks. We have five in our family: R & I, Liv, Nat, and Dex the dog. I was also thinking of 05, the year we got married. Hopefully more 5-inspired memories come to mind so I have a better story for it down the line. :) Five 5Ks we've run? Five families who have lived in this house before us? Five years in this house? Yes, actually, this year. So there you go. Here it is on our mantle (which, I'm realizing, is oddly spaced out... must condense...) :)

Window shopping is one of my favorite things; it's fun to get ideas, fun to pick up stuff and put it back (I tell Liv to say "bye!" to things she wants to hold as they live at the store... totally works), and then fun to see how much money you can save and not spend when you really do want to purchase little somethings for your home, or your kids.

Anyway, that's all from here... Hope you're well!

July 18, 2012

honest ramblings.

It has been a hard season around here. I keep fading in and out of "myself," although I've fully accepted that grief alters you forever. I'm kind of mourning that truth on top of everything else. The last couple months have just been rough. I hear six months past can be the roughest, and I believe it.

I find that I either put thoughts of my mom on hold and function normally, or else I'm processing her death. It hasn't overlapped very much, or very well. It's play for one, pause for another, back and forth, on or off. R mentioned to me recently that he can tell I'm pulling out of the funk a bit--actually attempting to clean the house and sew and get back to things I enjoy doing--and that meant a lot. I need him to keep telling me these things, whether I'm sailing or falling, because it's hard for me to see it. I need him to help me in this, I can't do it alone. I usually keep a good finger to the pulse of me being me, but lately that seems to have gone by the wayside. This indicates to me that the Lord is wanting to rebuild me, grow me, and I want to be willing... am I resisting?

I drove home from Bible study a couple of weeks ago, and stopped at my dad's apartment to bring in his mail. (He had gone to Ohio to visit my brother and his family.) It was the first time driving over there in the dark since the night my mom died, and I guess I didn't realize it until I pulled into an empty parking space.  Memories I hadn't thought about in awhile came flooding in. {Speeding over there at 2am in February in the snow. Parking in the handicapped parking spot because there was no where else to park. Silence, snow, and wind ushering me to the apartment door under flourescent lights.}

I dropped the mail on the counter, and looked through my mom's closet for awhile. All of her things were still there, although my dad had hung up a couple of shirts outside of the rest, I assume ones he liked of hers. They were ones I would've chosen, too. Mom was so orderly and organized, and seeing her closet this way made me smile a little. It was like she just put her slippers away and closed the door, and here I was peeking in again. Has she really been gone five and a half months now? Why is this so hard for my brain and heart to understand? How can I smile in memory one moment and then fade back to sadness?

Journaling has been a solace--an avenue of release, and a way to see how the Lord is at work during these hard days. I never see it while I'm thinking about it, and I really don't see it while I'm actually writing; it's after the fact, when I'm leafing through entries, that He shows himself, and He shows me my true colors, too. I have to lay it out there, all before Him, and then we comb through it together.

I realized two entries ago that I tend to run to that notebook when I'm overwhelmed. I will feel a dip in mood, and go on a search through the house for where I last left it so I can write.  "I come here on the hard days, it seems," I wrote. Reading back about 10 entries, this was entirely true. My handwriting started clean, ended sloppy and hurried. Gotta get it out. Just get it out, leave it, and read it later. I can't do it all at once. Sometimes I'm mortified at my honest thoughts after re-reading them days later, but I'm glad I'm acknowledging them and can move on instead of letting them fester. Healing, you could say.

C. S. Lewis wrote in A Grief Observed, after the passing of his wife, "...this record [journal] was a defense against total collapse, a safety-valve, and it has done some good" (pg. 71). When I read that I murmured in total agreement and praised God. (I really enjoyed this book; you'll probably see more quotes down the line from it!)

It's hard to know how much to share here about all of this, but I felt I owed some update of some kind; this is me and where I'm at. No glossy pictures, just words. I wish it could all be gloss, and there's nothing wrong with that sometimes, but after reading Ann Voskamp's blog today, as well as Lewis' book, I realize I need more of  the unglossy in my life.  The uncomfortable. Hmm, more like the wrestling through the uncomfortable, not pushing it aside. I'm trying, and with the help of sweet friends and patient family. But the root of it is between God and I. And that is where some hard thoughts are spoken.

Like, why us, why now? Daily, people cry grief over loved ones, over lack of water, over lack of food... Why would I think that I am any better than them? Should I be spared from this emotional turmoil? Can my discontentment seethe through my actions despite loving God and believing His truth? Do you ever feel sheltered, or unable to relate to the truly brokenhearted? Have you ever looked into someone's watery eyes and been unable to truly feel for them? Do you want to? Would it bother you if you couldn't?

I wish I had answered these questions before February 7, 2012, just to see the change in myself. Today, I say a resounding yes to those last two questions. I'm processing this, and figuring it out in my own life, but I know I want to relate, I want to go deep, I want to give. I understand a little more in ways I simply couldn't before. Would you call this understanding a blessing? A good thing?

All I know is that in the end, this hurt can't be for not. I pray that I don't let it be for not.