If you could use a little inspiration on finding your way to a slower lifestyle, my daughter Kate is doing a blog series on Seeking Slow beginning April 1st!
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside still waters.
We live a pretty low key life at this point.
Home, and family, and church, and friends, and a few weekly appointments and activities that go along with raising kids. Our weeks usually feel rather normal and routine. I like the feeling of knowing what happens on specific days of the week. Sometimes, though, it does feel like the days and weeks run right smack into each other, without much of a real “stop what you’re doing and lie down” sort of rest. We had one of those this past week or so.
The Tummy Bug hit.
Mom was the first victim, getting sick on a Sunday night, completely out of the blue. I spent Monday on the couch. Nana and Pop-Pop swooped away the active Toddler Boy, leaving me with just a Tiny Boy that stayed right next to me in the Pack ‘N Play or swing. As long as there were bottles and diapers and snuggles, he was happy. Hubby had to work, but he ran the errands and brought home ice pops, diapers, Gatorade, and a rotisserie chicken.
The next morning I felt a little better, but we called off Tuesday’s Tot School with the grands just to play it safe. Wednesday, Tyler was acting mildly sick and wouldn’t eat much, so we decided we’d better stay home from church and not spread any germs. And thank goodness we did… Hubby woke up at midnight with the same hard-hitting yuck that attacked me three days earlier. Tyler’s version was mild, so we kept watching him like he was a time bomb, waiting to explode at any moment. Thankfully, he didn’t, although he barely ate anything all week and was very droopy and tired.
The “yuck’ part of this lasted only a short while, but the “wiped out” part lasted for days. Every day I woke up feeling slightly better, but ended up needing to sit still after cooking something or washing some dishes or folding a bit of laundry. On Friday night, I turned the remnants of the rotisserie chicken into soup. By Saturday, I was feeling energized enough to go to the grocery store, but when I got back I slept all afternoon. We took one more day to rest on Sunday and then I began slowly pulling the house back together on Monday. The parents of the grands were still boycotting any potential germs, so Tuesday’s Tot School was cancelled again.
Ten Days of Rest.
Rest that interrupted our plans of fellowship, family
activities, and work, but evidently was much needed.
It made me think of how the Good Shepherd had to MAKE his sheep lie down and rest in the cool, green pastures. How He had to LEAD them to drink the cold, still waters. I wonder what those sheep were trying to do or where they were trying to go? Were they so busy doing sheep stuff that they forgot to rest and be still for a little while? Sometimes we all need a few days of forced rest.
Also… Isn’t it interesting that the prescription for
getting over illness is plenty of rest and lots of fluids?
Green pastures and still waters.
March came in like a lion here in Delaware!
How about where you live?
Today was much nicer, though there was quite a nip in the air. I got to head outside for a few minutes, and found a nice little bunch of daffodils along the ditch bank. So of course they needed to come inside… Daffodils are my absolute favorite “First Sign of Spring.” I’d love to have them blooming everywhere on our little homestead!
One even got its portrait drawn in my art journal…
I got a little vibrant with the color… Let’s call it “artistic license.”
I used watercolor pencils on this page… They are great to work with in art journals, since you can color your drawings “dry,” and add just a dab of water later to make a watercolor wash. You can also touch a wet brush to the pencil tip and use that concentrated paint to add details to your sketches.
Looking for “First Signs of Spring” is one of the journaling ideas for March!
Click on the image below for a printable version
of the March Art Journaling page!
Moses had a stick.
The widow had a small jar of oil.
David had a slingshot and five little stones.
A young boy had five little loaves and a couple of small fishes.
God was able to use those small things in mighty ways.
Choosing my “One Word” for 2017 took a little while. It was a bit jumbled up in my head… and even on paper… until I realized that “Stewardship” best summed up all my random thoughts.
To me, “Stewardship” means taking care of what I have… keeping it, managing it, organizing it, saving it. But more importantly, it means USING IT. Enjoying it. Finishing what I’ve started. Filling it up and not letting it sit idle and empty. Creating and building with it. Spending it down to the last bit if it will bring about something good and useful. Taking a risk with it rather than squirreling it away. Redeeming it and giving it back to the Lord with interest, like the two faithful servants Jesus spoke of in the Parable of the Talents.
It might seem as if there’s not much you can do as a homemaker on
a tight budget with lots of little people hanging on your legs.
Or as a working Mama with barely a minute to spare.
Or as an emptier nester whose chicks have flown off.
But what’s that in your hand?
A well-stocked pantry? A dining room table? Unfinished projects? Tons of craft supplies? Your home? An empty bedroom? A few spare hours? The nest egg you’re saving for a rainy day? Talents you’ve set aside during the busy and demanding years of life?
That’s the question I’m asking myself this year…
How would the Lord have me use what is in my hand?
Sometimes there’s a really good reason to slow down.
The clearing of your schedule,
and the decluttering of your days,
and the un-obligating of your time
can be for a specific purpose…
And sometimes it takes a while to figure out what your “why” is.
For many years, my days were filled with simply living life with my family. When things got too busy, we trimmed back activities so we could live more purposefully. But as the girls grew older and eventually married and moved away, my days filled up with many different things. At first it was the incredible opportunities that came our way as a family and the many activities that come with teenagers and young adults. And weddings! And then there was finally time to start working on my art again, and to explore some things I had always wanted to do, and to finish my college degree. All good things, but for about five years, I seriously overloaded myself. I rarely said “No” to anything, and eventually I was in way over my head. And I do not swim very well… literally or figuratively. It was beyond the back float, beyond treading water. More like a furious doggy-paddle to get to the side of the pool, but the current was way too strong. Somebody needed to throw me a floatie. And fast.
I knew deep down that I wanted my “empty nest” years to be just as fulfilling and purposeful as the filled-up nest years… but how and what and who were the big questions. It sure wasn’t a filled-to-the-brim calendar, or a massive to-do list, or packing and traveling to shows, because those things were draining me. So I started praying, and reading, and thinking, and journaling, and blogging, and eventually began paring back the things that weren’t necessary so I could have time for my “why,” whatever it was.
I knew I loved working with kids, but wasn’t sure how that could fit in this stage of life. Teaching art classes or Sunday school? Helping homeschool families? Volunteering with 4-H? A full-time job as a teacher?
And then we had the wonderful opportunity to babysit a tiny little girl… sometimes even overnight… and a light bulb went on. Hubby and I absolutely loved having kids around, and we realized that kids were what this home needed. And we soon discovered there were lots of kids that needed a home. So we made a phone call, sent some emails, attended an information session, and suddenly found ourselves taking classes, being home studied, and finally approved to be foster parents. And life has not been the same since.
It has been the hardest “job” I’ve ever had, but also the simplest. You have to ride a crazy roller coaster of emotions and behaviors and visits and court appearances and doctor appointments, but you also have to just plain love on them like they are your own and make lots of peanut butter sandwiches.
And that empty calendar is needed, because a phone call can come at the most unexpected time. A fellow foster mom might need a weekend away. Or a social worker needs to place a child tonight… “Do you have room in your home… in your schedule… in your heart?”
And there is still balance to be sought… There must be time for your kids and grandkids, for your family and friends, and for your church family, for yourself and for your spouse. Sometimes the pendulum swings far in one direction, and then way back to the other side, but knowing your “why” helps keep it ticking away gently in the center.
What is your “why?”
Some days, my only goal is to finish something.
Like ALL the dishes.
Or that last load of laundry.
Or some projects that have been sitting on my desk FOREVER.
With little people running about, work seems to
happen in fits and starts, but some days I actually
see something all the way through to the very end.
I just finished these two special papercuttings…
… and actually got them into frames.
It was fun to weave the realistic Jenny Wren
and daffodil into the folksy fraktur-style papercuts.
At this moment, the paper cuts are one-of-a-kind,
though I may have some prints made, or do another
papercut version of them at some point in the future.
(They always change slightly when I make a pattern.)
20% if you buy both… use the coupon code
when adding each one to the cart!
Don’t you just love new beginnings?
A blank slate?
How about a brand new journal or sketchbook?
When you’re staring at all those blank pages, and smelling that brand new pack of crayons, it’s hard to imagine what will eventually fill up those pages. How you’ll keep everything organized. How pretty you’ll make it. How you’ll fill it with thoughts and dreams and plans and schemes.
How much better it will be than your tattered old sketchbook,
which has been a little scribbly and disorderly for a while,
and you’ve not been all that inspired to open it and doodle.
On Sunday, my daughter took one good look at my website and decided it needed help. She was right, and I had been thinking that same thing for quite a while. And my blog too. My main hope was to put everything in one place…
Blog… Website… Shop, eventually.
Where I only had to remember ONE password.
(If you’re over 40, you will totally get that.)
So here is what became of that sudden blog revamp. She set up the bare bones stuff and it’s going to take me a while to pretty it up, but the ideas are flowing once again. Scissors and paintbrush have been employed. There are plans for bringing the Most Important Posts over to this new space.
And then there are the blank pages to
be filled with who-knows-what…
…Gotta get my crayons!