Monday, March 31, 2014

Give Away: Zentangle

If you haven't figured it out yet I love art! Anything I can find that gives an outlet for expressing yourself...I love it! A friend of mine introduced me to this crazy thing called Zentangle. When she first told me about it I just thought it sounded crazy. And then when I saw some examples I thought there is no way I could do this! But I dove in and I love it! Not only is it a great way to exercise your artistic side it's also a great way to relax.

I loved the book my friend loaned to me. It was full of wonderful tangles and inspiration. However when I was looking around for my own book I found this one! The Art of Zentangle! It's a lovely book filled with ideas and areas to practice! I haven't had so much fun with a book in a long time! I highly recommend it. 

There are so many different ways to zentangle and one of my favorite is to use objects and tangle inside of their outline. There is no wrong way and every time you make one even if you use the same outline, they turn out different. 

Think you can't do it? Well her is my daughters newest work of art using the Zentangle method. Simple, fun and creative! And you are all in luck! Because today I am giving away one copy of "The Art of Zentangle". This giveaway will go for 1 enter now for your chance to win this book!

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Make It: Gratitude Journal

Being grateful is something that does not come naturally to us as humans. Especially in America it seems as if the idea of being thankful is a foreign concept to many. I think perhaps because we are growing up more and more with the idea that we deserve everything given to us. Living in a land of wants with no needs has a tendancy to suck out all thoughts of gratitude from our minds.

There are times when I struggle and I struggle deep. During these times I feel as if I have nothing to motivate me. I am not inspired by much and my thoughts tend to be dark. A couple of years ago when I was messing around with one of these times I feel across Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experince. I started a journey of "One Thousand Gifts". I have found that taking time each day to find something I am thankful for has opened my mind to possibilities that I wouldn't see if I just sat in my dark places.

I have been asked how I teach gratefulness to my girls. The idea of teaching them to be thankful seemed strange to me. For my girls it seems to come natural, but at times I have noticed that they can show a very ungrateful attitude. It's frustrating when we see this with our children. Why can't they just be thankful? Don't they realize how good they have it? Don't they understand that there are so many kids out there who wish they had these things? But the reality is...they don't?

Our kids only see what we show them. They only know what's around them. What we share with them is what they will understand. One large way that we help out children understand the idea of being grateful is by sharing others stories and talking about what we are thankful for in our lives. With this in mind we have started a family gratitude journal. It sits open on our table and anyone can write it in. I have encouraged the girls to write at least one a day. They younger ones will tell me and I will write it for them. But this gives them daily practice in being grateful. Something I can't complain about.

If you are interested in learning more about making a family gratefulness journal or want to start off with one just for you please visit Ann's blog here. One her blog you can find the download for the printable that you can decorate your own with or just fill it with your own doodles or stickers. Start today on having a more grateful attitude! Sometimes all it take for children to be more grateful is to see their parents being grateful.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Can We Pretend?

We often get accused of not allowing our girls to enjoy the simple things of childhood. This assumption lies with the fact that when we are asked "Is Santa real?" we give an honest answer! We aren't trying to ruin any fun and we aren't going around spoiling anything for other children. We just couldn't see ourselves holding back when we are asked.

Just last night our 4 year old asked if the tooth fairy was real. When we are asked one of these questions we have to approach it with love and tenderness. I never know how they are going to respond. The last time I gave an answer it was followed with tears and a "Why didn't you tell me?" It was as simple as she had never asked, but she was still so upset that I had never told her. So this time I turned it back to her...

"What do you think?"
"No...but who's the tooth fairy?"
"Who do you think?"

When given this question she giggled. She knew the answer and to her it was funny that mommy was playing tooth fairy. I could see her mind just turning. Trying to figure out what I do when I am pretending. Maybe she was thinking I had the ability to do a Magic School Bus move and shrink myself. I love to watch my girls think...because I love to imagine what is going on in their heads. But I love when they finally let out their thoughts...

"Do you wear a tutu?"

The grin on her face was enough to make the rest of the world smile! The thought of her mom in a tutu really made her day. Now for the record...I do not wear a tutu and when I told her this she let me know that I need to get one!

Many think that our "brutal" honestly causes our children to have a lack of imagination. That we don't allow them to be children and play pretend. Trust me. My kids do not have a lack of imagination and pretend is a game that is well known in our house. The same night we had this tooth fairy conversation our girls went quickly to work on "Fairy Homes". I was told...

"Even the smallest of creatures need a place to call home."

I find it important to allow my children to use their imagination. Letting them use their minds to travel to lands unheard of and build homes for creatures no one has seen...this allows them to see the world in a different way. It helps me to know that so many things are possible. There was once a time when telephones were only the imagination of a child.

Tonight snacks were put out for the fairies and their pets. And yes I will play along with this pretend play. I will go along and take out the snacks. Letting my children know that their imaginations are important to me. Helping my girls dream big!


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Make it: Painted Pepper Flowers

Today I was so excited when the girls got home from school. I felt like I was floating a bit. Perhaps it was my few minutes of fame on the radio this morning...Or maybe my wonderful talk with a friend? Our giddy excitement over her new jewelry she's making? Not sure. But I was ready to go! So I grabbed our wonderful green peppers out of the fridge. I had asked the girls to clean off the table and get it ready for painting time and when they saw the green peppers in my hands confusion was all over their faces!

I let the two oldest help me cut off the tops. They are getting old enough to use the dullest of our sharpest knives and I love teaching them to use them. They also enjoy the feeling of growing up when they get to use them. The wonderful news is that green peppers are soft enough that even younger kids can cut the tops off with butter knives. So if you still want your kids to help out...just have the use the safer knives. I had seen this craft done on another blog, but they had made clovers out of the pepper shape. Cute idea...but I wanted something a bit more colorful. Just a little bit more spring involved.

So my vision was really simple. Flowers! Lots of wonderful colorful flowers on pretty paper. Perhaps it all started going "wrong" when I told them we would only be doing two colors. I thought two peppers = two colors. I didn't want to bother with color contamination, and if any of you know my two year old you would understand that not having to deal with this stress is a good idea. They choose purple and yellow. Anyone see where this is going?

They were having a fabulous time. Pushing the pepper tops in the paint and pressing what I believed to be beautiful flowers onto the paper. So when I gave them the paint brushes to put stems and leaves on this is what actually happened...

This masterpiece is called "Mixed up Minions"! Oh yes. We had papers full of minions! In the end I loved it. It didn't turn out to be what I thought it would. We didn't end up with beautiful flowers to hang on our art wall, but in the end it was theirs. Their vision and their creation. They thought of an idea. Fell in love with it. And created it for others to enjoy. They also made me a little "Minion Friend"!


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

My Life of Want

I live a life of want in a world of no needs. I reach out and within my grasps I have all that I need...and more. Yet I want. I walk in the stores and I want what I see. I feel a deep need to have things. I fill my house as if this will help my feelings of want go away. But...they only grow stronger.

I desperately want to rid my life of the feelings of want. They make me feel guilty and jealous all at the same time. It's emotions like this that try to tear your heart into tiny bits. While your mind races time is wasted. I finally throw my hands up in the air and give up...

The issue is not that wanting something is bad. It's not that I should try to stop wanting, but it's what I am wanting that shows where my focus is. Shows where my heart is. I want to newest fashion trend. I want the biggest T.V. I want the fittest body. The cutest hairstyle. I want. I want. I want...My focus is on things. It's on material and physical possessions. What good are they to me?

God made me a wanting person. He formed me to long for something. But it's not all the stuff in the world that I should long for. It's Him. I long to be satisfied and rest is found in His arms.

When I start to want more of Him, my wants become His wants. He begins to show me something more than just what is sitting right in front of me. He opens my limited mind to a world that is much greater and larger than this little town I live in. I begin to feel the ache for those who have less. I feel the pain of their want. Their want...that is a need.

They want their next meal. They want clean water. They want education. They want clean clothes. They want a home. I see their wants that are easily provided to me. I see their wants as a need. And my wants that I once had are no longer. My wants have now become a want to see their needs fulfilled.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Mess in my Heart

I've reached inside my heart to write a post, and all I see is a mess. When tragedy hits close to home I feel it hard. It's moments like this when I tend to hug my family a little harder. A little more. I have the last moment I saw her in my mind. It's just sitting there reminding me of how happy she seemed. Reminding that she always had a smile on her face. Moments later she was gone. Her life taken from her. Now 4 children are without a mother.

I don't always understand life. I have stopped trying. I can't make sense of a tragedy of a mother being killed. I have come to terms with the thought that I don't understand what God is doing. But I know who He is. It's moments like this when we have to let go of wanting to understand. How can we ever understand a senseless crime? How can we ever make sense of murder? We can't!

Letting go of wanting answers is never easy. It goes against our very human nature. We often want to shake our fist at heaven and ask "Why God? Why?" But we have to understand many times the answers aren't always going to come. We have to trust that God knows the big picture. He understands our pain and He wants to be there for us in the mist of our mess.

When my words fail me God always comes through. I have realized that it's not always words that help, but actions will often make the biggest difference. Right now I am not sure what my actions should be. I know that there are children who are grieving. Family that is hurting. Perhaps it's a meal. A small note or picture drawn. I urge you if you live in the area pray about how you could be a blessing to this family. Find a small way that you can show the arms of God wrapping around them.