4.21.2015

... a rambly note:

(Credit: our talented pal Chance Faulkner Photography)
I guess now is as good a time as any to dust off the cobwebs in this corner of the inter-webs.
You may have guessed that I had lost my will to write as of late... but in reality I have had many blogs fluttering around the caverns of my brain.  I just have spent my time on other passions than putting these to paper screen (?).

To be honest, I'm still struggling with keeping this blog even a thing.  I love to use it as a space to inspire or encourage... but it also runs the trap of being a vanity parade for myself.
Like, 'woo, looook at me' and 'hear my thoughts' and 'aren't I profound'.... kind of weirdness.
I like to run as far from that kind of stuff as I can (although getting away from my own head is a real trick).  So there it is, to blog or not to blog...

I also don't feel like the same person that started this space.
Or, the passions that filled this place have become more 'secondary' feeling than all consuming, you could say.  So, if you are here, you are getting my heart.
A heart that desires more of Christ, and less of me.

Maybe I could tell you more about that next time?
Secret confessions of a re-converted convert.. or, something like that.

Alright, the chili is steaming up the house.  The monitor tells me that baby #3 is having her afternoon nap.  The boy just spilled beads and rice all over the floor.  We need to pack up and get big sister off the school bus soon....  here we go!

Thanks for popping in, and patiently waiting me out,
Mel ;o)  

3.19.2015

give a girl a paintbrush...

Yet another moment in parenting where I am learning to 'let it go' and foster our kid's creative expression.  Because yes, yes our five year old did just paint her wall.
Mama drew the outlines... and then she slap-happily brushed the paint on (while I 'touched up' the final bits... because I just can't fully 'let it go').

This project was the result of her declaring that her side of the room should be her favourite colours - pink/purple.  Her brother could keep all this delightful 'boyish' green on his side.
Sensing and impasse I used the age-old trick of distraction, and offered her the option of just painting some flowers, or swirls... or birds.

Birds, of course!
Our house is filled with them, and trees (and bunting) all throughout our nest.
----------------------------

It's funny, this was another moment when I looked back with gratitude for how my folks raised me.  Some parents would have likely balked at letting their kids assert their creative fingerprint on their home decor.. my parents embraced it.  I think that was very empowering for my individual expression and confidence as I grew up.  They didn't bat an eyelash (at least outwardly) when I wanted to do all sorts of craziness to my room.  Or, when I wanted to shave half my head.  Or, when I wanted to wear a tux to my grade 8 grad... etc.

As I grow in this parenting thing, I'm learning (even from my own parents) to not sweat the small things - and to recognize what the small things are! 

It's a beautiful thing to see their creativity take flight.

Mel ;o)
 

3.11.2015

creARTures great and small:

 There is something so wonderful about a shared delight.
I love painting.
The kids love painting.
We all feast together in this creative communion.

Maybe this is how the techy parent feels when they see their kids hack a computer.  Maybe this is why the sporty parent delights to see their child thrive at the game.  Maybe we all just love to see our kids embracing something of our own heart.
Don't get me wrong, it's not that I'm forcing them to like what I enjoy... or trying to live vicariously through them. It just brings such a deep joy that's hard to really describe, when I see those small hands pick up a paintbrush and so confidently swirl and splatter out their unique souls on to the canvas.

Then, I stop and wonder.. maybe this is just a hint of what God must feel about his kids.
When we have that shared delight.
The Creator and his created who love to create.
I feel his pleasure when I paint.

Just saw this quote today.. and it's fitting:
“All my life nature and art have been reminding me of something I’ve never seen.” (C.S. Lewis)

creatively yours,
Mel ;o)
 

3.05.2015

she's the ONE:

Be still my heart.
Our little lamb, Talia, is officially a YEAR old today... where did that come from so suddenly?!

She's still the sweetest apple of her whole family's eye, I can never quite tell which one of us is most smitten with her. Our oldest, Azriel (5) still acts like every.day.is.Christmas to see her baby sister who is just "SOOOOO CUTE!!" she can't even handle it.

I still maintain that having a third child is a wonderful gift of 'perspective'.  Since the first two have grown in much the same blur of diapers and delight... I feel like this time I at least knew enough to stop and savour this child through each stage.
Despite sleepless nights and all the rest she may have syphoned from me.
I've counted (almost) all of them as extra moments to snuggle her.

This little bundle of blue eyes and two teeth loves her family.
She delights in peek-a-boo.
She squeals from tickles.
She eats ALL the food put before her!
She's a crawling machine.
She stills sits up at night and doesn't know how to lie down again...

And, she's our gift from God.

Happy Birthday little lamb.
xx
mama

3.03.2015

tweet family painting fun:

Hello there friends,

Today we just wanted to share a fun little project we finally finished as a family here.
Taking our inspiration from a tweet mug a friend had given me.. we set off painting.
The kids love working on a 'mama project', and we all work alongside each other through each stage.

We used fabric to get the bird patter motifs in place.. but, I would recommend using scrapbook paper for anyone else out there - as it lays flat and wouldn't bubble up with the paint.
We added all the 'sand/grit' texture to try and camouflage a bit of that fabric blunder.

Most of my art comes from 'fixing' mistakes, actually.

Another creative and colourful addition to our nest here.
Creatively yours,

Mel ;o)

2.24.2015

how to: be relevant.

Curious title for a blog here, isn't it?
But I've discovered a 'secret' about life (that maybe you already know too).

Now, I didn't know this secret when I was bit younger.
Like the time I started to work at a youth drop-in and wondered "how will I relate?"
Or, when our friends started having kids (before we were even on that wagon).. and we thought "ugh! We are NOT kid people.. how can we connect?"
Or, maybe it was when we'd visit our Grandma... and I'd see other seniors slouched in the halls and not know where to start with a conversation.

Old, or young.  Rich, or poor.  Teenagers, or toddlers.
We all can struggle with knowing how to 'connect' or even feel relevant to other demographics and generations around us it seems.

So what's the secret I've discovered, that makes you able to connect with anyone on any level...?

LOVE.

 Both the old and the young can see it a mile away.
Even the teenager covered in goth makeup, or tattoos, or piercings... recognises when you see through them - to them - with respect and warmth.
That one inch thick surface that so many of us use to differentiate ourselves by... is filled with the same substance that unites all mankind.
A soul.

If we can look with the eyes of faith, the eyes of love, to see that soul in every one we meet... we would find ourselves connecting with many around us that we didn't feel 'relevant' enough to talk with.

We're not so very different after all.
Mel ;o)

 

2.20.2015

dis.courage:

 There are days when the sun is shining, and I have a good day with the kids.
We've shared laughter, meals and tickles.

Then, just when you've let down you 'guard' - and you start to pride yourself on being a pretty decent mama - things start to unravel.
Someone is whining about the texture of their snack.
The baby is shrieking because she can't figure out how to lay down to nap.
The constellation of crumbs under the table is growing.
Every where I look I just see chaos and need.
I feel my eye starting to twitch.

Then, it just takes one little thing for me to crash like a house of cards.
Maybe like the futility of picking up that certain toy for the millionth time today.
I start to fume inside.
The child pees next to the potty instead of in it.
I choke-hold the air in front of me.
The phone rings right when I'm changing a diaper.
I feel utterly exasperated.
At this point I'm ripe to explode.
On the inside.
(I told my husband we'd be rich if we could patent a 'scream room' for mamas who are having a meltdown.  You know, just a sound proof - padded - space that we could have our own temper tantrum in.
Because I refuse to yell at my family, but if they were inside my head...)

Now, I've written before how isolating that moment feels, when you've seen such a beast of anger lurking within your own heart (confession post found here)... but I want to further share.
I think many of us step under a burden of discouragement at this stage.
Because after some 'blow out' of my anger, I fall into a sullen silent stage.  Moping around the house, smothering my heart with a heaping yoke of guilt and contempt.
I feel like I've seen many people fall into this rut... and lose all hope of climbing out.
Maybe because this dark under belly of parenting caught us by surprise.
We were told that there would be diapers and delights with having children.
We likely weren't told there would be deep discouragement and despair.

Because, if you ever want to feel like you're a pretty decent person, don't have kids.
(Actually, just keep yourself isolated from any and all things that put enough pressure on your heart to push out all the nasty bits lurking beneath the surface).

But, if you want to grow and learn what grace looks like.. have kids.
The path that shows our inner ugly bits in the brightest light, is also the path that leads us to humility.
To be honest, I was having one of these melt-down moments this week.
In the wake of this discouragement I happened to pull a book of our shelf and find this quote:

"It is of great importance to guard against discouragement on account of our faults.  Discouragement is not a fruit of humility, but of pride, and nothing can be worse.  It springs from a secret love of our own excellence.  We are hurt at feeling what we are.  If we become discouraged we are the more enfeebled, and from our reflections on our own imperfections, a chagrin arises that is often worse than the imperfection itself.  Poor nature longs from self-love to behold itself perfect; it is vexed that it is not so, it is impatient, haughty, and out of temper with itself and with everybody else.  Sad state; as though the work of God could be accomplished by our ill-humor.  As though the peace of God could be attained by our interior restlessness"
(quoting Fenelon from Hannah Whitall Smith's "The God of All Comfort")
---

I'm learning to find every trial and tempest that pushes me to despair in myself.. as a gift to look past myself.
Introspection in a bottomless vortex.
Guilt is a terrible motivator.

For me, looking to grace, looking outside myself to the Giver of grace, lifts my heart from this terrible rut.  When I see the God who reaches down to me in my brokenness (instead of waiting for me to be 'good enough' or 'perfect enough' to reach up to the heavens), I see hope.
When I am discouraged, I need to have the courage to behold Christ.
Every time I fail, to fall upon His grace afresh.
"..Where sin abounds, grace abounded all the more" Romans 5:20.

So, let's not resent those children for pointing out our darkest parts.
Let's not resent our imperfection and stroke the ego till it's purrs again.
Let us throw aside the burden of pride, and take on the light yoke of humility.

The harder path is the better path in the end.

Mel ;o)