a little sunshine.

A little ray of sunshine to break up the mood here. :) 
I finished up my project from THIS post.  
In case you missed it...the smiles are drawn by Moses and embroidered by me. 
I LOVE how it turned out...could not be happier.  And I see more in the future...he just started drawing pirate ships...and flags and all these other fun things that I just know I will want to preserve.
His artwork adds just a little ray of sun...or rainbow...right by the front door.

And because I know I will be asked...the hands print is from HERE.

The other prints are from HERE.


Sharing here never ceases to amaze me.  Since I began blogging three years ago I have learned that putting myself out there leads to encouragement AND hurt.  Some people get it...some don't.  Some people want to read fluffy, happy, blogs where the sun always shines.  Some, like me, choose to share the good and the bad because that is what I feel is the most encouraging and God honoring thing I can do.  I keep this blog to share, not only with the world but also with my boys...so that they can one day go back to these pages and read about how their mom really was...not how she portrayed herself.  I share the ugly so that when I share the beauty of how God came through...it is all the more awesome.    
If you are coming here thinking I am a constant whiner...you are wrong about me.  If you think I am not thankful for my blessings...you are wrong about me.  If you think that I don't know that I am living a life I don't deserve...that is full and blessed and rich...then you are wrong.  Wrong.  And clearly you have not read this blog long. 
I am also going through a phase that is really painful TO ME.  I get that some may not see living in a city that I dislike as a big deal.  That is awesome for you.  It's painful to me.  I get that others may LOVE this place.  That is OK.  Even if I don't get it.  I know my experiences.  God knows my heart. 

I know that I have tried and worked and pushed myself.  I know that I have gotten up and tried again and again.  I know that not ALL of Charlottesville is the pits.  I have great neighbors next door...while our church is not ideally what I would want, we DO love it...our boys have great Sunday school teachers, Moses has a great preschool, Doug has a great job, I have a great marriage and family.  Yes, I am blessed.  None of that makes what I am dealing with any different or less painful to me. 

 Hurt is hurt and I am hurting.  I am being honest and showing a REAL person here.  A person that is being tried and shaped and cultivated to be something better than she is.  I am SO THANKFUL that God is not content to say I am good enough where I am.  I am grateful for the growth.  I know where I am on my path and my experiences...and I don't for a second pretend to know where others are.  I don't, for a second, want to pretend to have it all together and take away the glory that is God working in my life.

I was just telling Doug that it is amazing to me to be 30 and look back on how dumb I was at 20 and how I can't wait to be 40 and see how far I have come since 30.  And that is so true...and I am thankful in a weird way for the pain...because it means change is happening...and that gives me hope. 

I said in my last post that I didn't really want to move back to where we came from.  And that was true then...but now...not so much.  Not that we would move to the same location and do all the things we did before...but the area is sounding good to me.  And those feelings are a first since we moved here.  

Isn't it human to want to be where your soul is fed? 

I called and talked to my pastor and a friend in Radford...and though the calls were brief and punctuated with tear induced silences...I felt all the things I have been longing for in Charlottesville...being loved...being prayed for...having what I have to offer being wanted...being understood...being authentic...being ME with no facade and no fear of rejection. 

   So, yes, my feelings are valid.  And yes, this is my reality.  I don't think sharing hurt and struggles is pitiful.  I think it opens the doors for God's good to shine through.  

I am thankful for each of you who has commented or emailed...or encouraged and given me hopeful words.  I thank you for understanding that my pain IS real and I thank you for your prayers.  I still have no resolution at the moment, still hurting and crying a lot...still don't know what to do other than turn to Him...and request a lot of prayers from a lot of people...and maybe that is part of the lesson.     

the post where i whine about charlottesville.

I think I got to the core of my gloom. 
I hate Charlottesville.  Mostly because I feel like it hates me back.

That is the long and short of it.  Ever since we moved here it has been a series of painful events for me.  I feel like I am doing my best to throw things against the wall but nothing sticks. 

We moved here from Radford.  A place where, on every corner was someone we knew.  Someone we went to church with, someone who knew us and loved us.  My pastor was like an adopted father to me...who knew each and every hurt I had and prayed for me on the same level that your best friend would.  I had been at that church since near the beginning and knew most of the souls that came through the door.  Most of them had been in my home...or I had taught in Bible study...or who had taught me.  We were a network of friends and family...a church choosing to build relationships with each other.  There was no end to the people I could call on to help or talk to or be with.  Loving and being loved was easy and effortless...though it still took work.  It was like there was no end to building relationships and there was always room in the circle for more.  It was wonderful.  

Fast forward to Charlottesville.  I have been through a number of churches and Bible studies and mom's groups.  And have nothing to show for it.  I have put myself out there time and again and still have an empty lonely place to call my own.  I have lost the energy to continue to try.  It just hurts TOO much.  I have been told (literally)that what I have is not enough...that there is no time for me...that it just won't work.  Rejection over and over again is painful.    

I was crying talking to Doug about this last night and I gave him this comparison...imagine your blowing bubbles...sometimes you get those bubbles that just stick to each other and build up together and become this huge massive collection of bubbles...still individuals but collectively together...one unit.  That is Radford.  Then you have the other kind of bubbles...the kind that float around alone and when they bump up against each other they pop...unable to group together in a healthy way.  This is Charlottesville.  I can remember the first time I hugged someone here...it was like I passed along the plague...I can vividly remember the look I got.  I have gone from a hugger to a non-hugger.  That is sad to me.      

I have lost my ability to build relationships here.  I have tried and pushed myself and continue to hit wall after wall.  I hate this place and miss (terribly) the place we are from.  I know the answer is not to move back there.  Not that that is even an option, nor something that I would even choose if given the chance.  

I am just at my end.  I am tired of trying and being rejected.  I am tired of not belonging where I live.  I am tired of being at a church where we can come and go unnoticed.  I hate that we are at a church where not everyone knows and loves my kids...which is something we would have had in Radford.  I hate that there is no one here I can call "just because".  I don't know what else to do and I am so. tired. of. trying.  

I long to be part of a community.  A tight knitted one.  Where I am loved and needed.  I am tired of this life in Charlottesville and I am longing for what is next. .   

I also hate that I am not content.  I hate that I am so resentful of the place that Lord has undoubtedly brought me to.  I want to learn the lesson the Lord is trying to teach me here SO I CAN MOVE ON.  I know that sounds ridiculous...but when have you known me to not call it like it is?  This is where I am right now.  This is real and this is my life.  Right now.  

I feel like in Radford I had x but was missing y.  Now I have y and am missing x.  I just want to be where x and y can live together.     
I HAVE however gone from crying "How can I get out of this (here)?" to "Lord, what DO you want me to learn from this?"  I am trying.  I am seeking.  I am still hurting.  I am still knowing that this is part of the process.  That shaping and forming is not meant to be painless. 

I just want to be content.  And done already.

So I am not sure of the point of writing all of this...other than to share and relate.  And document the process so that one day I can look back and say "ahhhh-ha!".  I realize that this may be my most whiny post ever...shining a light on just how pathetic I may be.  But that is OK with me...because at least it's all true and real.  And I am OK with sharing the ugly, lumpy parts of being a chunk of clay that is being sculpted into something better.  

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord,
"Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Jeremiah 29:11

turn your childs art into embroidery!

Over the summer, Moses' drawing skills and changed by leaps and bounds.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE the cute little smiley faces that he draws and wanted to capture them in a way that was better than stuffing papers in a box.  So...
I collected a bunch that he had drawn...and asked him to draw me a bunch.  I was very careful not to give too much direction...I have learned that that will only change what he would naturally do.  Once I had as many as I thought I would need, I traced on top of each drawing with a sharpie...being careful to keep the original artists integrity in tact. :)
I then cut them out...and taped them onto a piece of paper that was the size I wanted the final product to be...in this case an 8 by 10. 
I taped the 8 by 10 to the (clean) counter and then taped a piece of white fabric on top.
Then I traced each one with a cloth pencil...something that will wash/wipe off. 
Now I've started to stitch away...stay tuned for the finished product. 


20 minute crafter. {photo ornament}

Hooray!! At long last I have another 20 minutes crafter for you!!
Now this one is a Christmas one...and I know it's August.  But if you *really* want to make things to give as gifts...*this* is the time to start...and not in mid-December.
So here is what we are making...cute little photo ornaments for your tree!
Or to give to grandma...or teachers or anyone who would just LOVE a photo of your child...or pet...or you! :)
Here is what you need:
one 4 1/2in by 6 1/2in white piece of white or light colored fabric
one 4 1/2in by 6 1/2in piece of patterned fabric
approx 9in of ribbon
a 2 by 3in piece of vinyl
(i get it from Joann's...i don't know the gauge...but get something in the middle range...not too thick and not too thin)
either a set of letter stamps and ink pad
fabric pen
Step one...stamp the name you would like on your fabric...practice on paper first to get a good feel for how hard to press and make sure everything is spelled correctly.  If you are using a fabric pen...practice first! :) You can lay the vinyl in the middle of the fabric to get an idea of where to stamp. 
Step two...using a zig-zag stitch go around the bottom three sides of the vinyl.  
Step three...fold your ribbon in half and pin it in the top middle of the piece you just sewed.
Step four...lay your patterned fabric on top of what you just did...right sides together and sew around the perimeter leaving a two inch or so opening.
Step five...clip the corners.
Step six...turn right side out and stitch around the edge...leaving the opening.
Step seven...stuff and sew closed...either by hand or with your machine.
Yes, this photo is sideways...sorry.
Add a photo and you are done! :)

Enjoy and have fun!
I'll answer any questions in the comments!
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