Thursday, December 11, 2014

Getting Past Pinterest Perfect

So, I was sharing with some of my friends just the other day my thought process in doing nice things for others. This is literally how it goes...

I should say 'hi' to my neighbor.
You know what I should really do, I should make some sort of homemade gift. 
I should make her some of that all-natural cleaner that I make.
Oh, that means I should probably go to the Health Foods store to get more essential oils. 
Do I really feel like dragging all three littles in with me?
I am envisioning many broken small glass bottles of oil puddling on the tile floor in aisle three. 
Oh, you know what,  Dan has the extra car seat in his car at work.
I guess I'll have to go some other time. 

And so, I just don't do anything.

Does this sound familiar to you? It sounds so hilarious/neurotic when you say it out loud, does it not?! It reminds me of those children's books, If you give a Moose a Muffin! 

My question is, how do you combat this sort of analytical paralysis. How do we move forward and skip the homemade gift and literally just say 'hi' to our neighbor?

Not that homemade all-natural cleaner is not totally awesome....

Monday, November 24, 2014

Thank YOU!!! One MILLION views!!!

I am so grateful for the people who have followed along these last few years and for the feedback I've received from so many! I am super duper excited to announce that Little Fellows blog has exceeded my goal mark of 1,000,000 views and counting!

I've been dreaming of what I would do when this day came. I am doing a little happy dance right now! In light of hitting the mark, I am working on a revamp of the blog and also planning to kick it up a notch with a full editorial calendar set for 2015.

Some new goals are 1-2 posts per week, exciting new crockpot recipes and better quality photos.

I also would be foolish to say that I have done this all on my own. I feel that God specifically gave me this task. I hope that I can continue to encourage someone on a weekly basis. Thank you so much for the times that you have actually read my writing. That means the world to me. My heart is so full of gratitude.

Cheers to a wonderful Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Dear Girl, it is time to open up.

I know your hesitation. I can see your pain. Sweet girl, you are beautiful still.

It is so hard for you to share the burdens that you carry around your shoulders, so heavy, so obviously there. You have been badly mistreated, time and time again. You know that you are drawn to that type.

But this time, it is different. You are surprised and even confused by the way he treats you. You are sure he will not love you. Just give it time. Time for the truth and the burdens and the baggage to get unpacked, then surely he will not love you.

But this time it is different. He gently slides the backside of his hand across your brow pushing back the few hairs that have come untucked and put them back in their place. His touch is gentle this time. His heart is steady and he feels safe.

His heart belongs to the One that you know. The one true God. The One that will always be there.

And He says, "My dearest, it's time to open up. You have carried this weight for far too long. You are beautiful and precious and radiant and you will become stronger because of this. Open up to me. Open up to another. Open up to a life more abundant. Yes, YOU deserve the best."

We are all mistreated or carry pain that we cover up and try to bury deep in our hearts. God wants us to uncover it and to heal. He is our ultimate healer. It is time to open up, my dear friend. Your life is waiting and it will be wonderful. Believe it.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Scrappy Burlap Fall Wreath

Continuing my simple inspiration challenge, I was feeling more creative and in the mood to make something relatively simple, but festive and fun. So, I made this "Scrappy Burlap Fall Wreath". Every once in a while my Fine Art education gets trumped by Arts and Crafts. :) There is certainly a feeling in the rustling breezes around here and I am in the mood to celebrate my favorite season-Fall!
I was surprised with how simple this project was. I have seen these made before and so I went to the store only with a vision in my head. I found this wire wreath base at Jo-Ann's for only a couple of dollars. Originally I had envisioned regular brown burlap, but happened upon a whole shelf of interesting colors and patterns. I fell in love with this burnt orange glinted with gold glitter. I knew it would look striking against our black front door. I think knowing your front door makes all the difference in wreath choice. I always love a good contrast. 

I chose the 18" wreath frame and bought 1.5 yards of burlap. I cut the fabric into roughly 4"-5" strips.  I also bought a small wooden letter 'D' and some bits of flora and golden leaves to accent the letter.


Then all you do is tie the strips in half all over the wreath until they are all bunched up next to each other and hardly enough room left to tie on the wire. Pretty simple! The strips don't even have to be the exact length, I preferred them all a little bit different. I used a hot glue gun to adhere the little bits of flora on one spot of the wreath and then also glued the letter on top of that. This part is a little tricky but it just takes some trial and error.And that is basically all you do!

I'm proud of myself for actually carving out an afternoon to make something! I think that is so important to MAKE the time as a Mommy. I hope you make time this week to do something you LOVE.

        Happy Fall,

Friday, October 3, 2014

Simple Inspiration Challenge

One of the hardest things that I have found to maintain about myself since becoming a mother 5 years ago, is to keep making art. 

Part of the problem is that I always have grand ideas for paintings or projects that I just never seem to find enough time to complete, or start for that matter. 

I'm stripping it down and lowering my expectations (a common theme?). I am challenging myself to simply notice and allow myself to be inspired in small manageable moments. Anytime I have a moment where something strikes me as beautiful or interesting, I am going to try and capture it either by a photo or a rough sketch or some sort of small way of studying it further. 

This morning I pulled into our Pediatrician's office parking lot and noticed the field was full of beautiful grasses all bursting in crimsons, ochres and chartreuses. It was a moment where I had a couple extra minutes and so I took a photo.

That is a simple inspiration. And a beautiful one.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Getting Real About Arthritis

Adjust your expectations. "When you get rheumatoid arthritis, you have to adjust your expectations and so does your spouse," Flynn Peters says. The spouse with rheumatoid arthritis may be in bed part of the day and can't contribute to running the household like she did before becoming ill. Everyone must realize the change and adapt, or resentment and more stress will build. If you set realistic expectations — perhaps the spouse with RA agrees to do more on days when feeling better — neither of you will be set up for disappointment.

I just read this in an article this morning. How fitting, as I fell asleep last night at 5:30pm. It describes the exact scene in our home. I have been so frustrated with not being able to keep up with cooking, dishes, laundry and everything. Sometimes I feel like I just can't do it all. And alas, I just can't do it all. 

Some people may not even know that I have rheumatoid arthritis. I guess this is a way to help them, especially my family, understand better. This past 6 months I've been on a diagnosis odyssey. I went back to to the drawing board to make sure the symptoms I'm having are in fact arthritis, although I was once diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis several years ago. The symptoms of pain and fatigue (among others) have become strong enough for me to decide it is time to really do something about it. So I began with my primary care physician. We took lots of general blood tests and when my levels were there for an auto-immune disease we began following the trail taking more specific testing until she finally referred me to a Rheumatologist in South Bend. They would have even more specific testing available. So that is what I did. Along with the examination, it was determined that I have what is called a negative rheumatoid. Which basically means some of the levels are not showing up in my blood work, so it may be a different kind of arthritis, but it is treated as rheumatoid. 

I never, ever thought that I would have some sort of chronic illness, but alas I do. The hardest part in all of this is that to most people, I appear perfectly normal. It is a silent secret that I feel pain in my hands, wrists, knees and now elbow most of the day, though some days are better than others, it is always there. I don't say this to make you feel sorry for me. I don't want that at all. I just need others to know that I may need a little extra help now and again. Also to lower their expectations in some ways. I guess, for myself included, I just need to receive a little more grace when I can't do it all. I need to slow down and accept this new challenge for what it is.  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The problem with the real world...

... is that it never quite compares with the illusion in my mind. 

The place in my mind where my house looks like a pin on pinterest, all white and modern and gorgeous. Where I imagine myself primped and in my best little sundress, my hair glimmers with sun flares and palm trees surrounding me. 

When the hardest choices I have to make are which trendy corner cafe to eat lunch, which weekend to do which fun thing? Or what on earth am I going to do with another couple hours of free time?

Instead, it is continually doing things that I don't want to do. 

Waking up when I'd rather sleep in, to dress and feed three little munchkins so they can make it to school on time. Then consequently clearing all the dishes and wiping counters only to sigh, disgruntled over another small mountain of rainbow plastic dishes growing in the sink. 

It is pulling back dirty hair barely brushed.
Slinking on my black yoga pants for the fourth time this week and touching up with a bit of mascara and powder. If the children stay occupied longer, I brush my teeth.

The real world is all about doing things you don't want to do. Even though my season now is raising small children, there will be other kinds of demanding work in other seasons. We all have to do work. 

The particularly challlenging part about this sort of work is that its hard to measure its success, like a mountain of rainbow plastic dishes that never seems to stay clean and put away long enough.
But as the good book says, we reap what we sow. We are sowing everyday. Sowing seeds in the hearts and minds of those little people entrusted to us. The rainbow dishes may seem insignificant, but we are sowing there too. Our home and our habits are a big part of who we are and how our kids will behave when they are on their own. 

The reaping will be evidence of our hard work. What kind of fruit will there be when the time comes?