My house smells like whatever has been cooking on the cast iron pan, or the fireplace.
I have to plan certain activities around my house according to the sunset. Like getting the mail, taking out the trash, gathering kindling for a fire and getting anything from the basement or lower porch; all of these things require daylight in my opinion.
Waking up with the sun is ideal, but can cause great tardiness.
When the leaves are all fallen off the branches, the light show of city lights begins.
The sounds of birds in the woods is like a wonderful gift.
When many inches of dead wet leaves cover the earth, there is a new living environment underneath. Colorful squishy fungi, salamanders and millipedes tell you that the world is still very much alive.
A good broth on the stove for hours makes everyone happy to eat dinner no matter what that broth becomes. Well, most of us, Tess is still a wild card
And that fog, rain, and greyness can be a comforting blanket for my mind, heart and home.
I’m a bit behind, so let me catch up. Here are our Halloween 2013 costumes. We’ve got Josiah the gigantic Viking, I was very pleased with his choice this year. Very little to buy or make. We picked up the felt beard at a local craft show a couple years back. The hat was from Warrior Dash that Joel and his buddies ran a year or so ago. Josiah wore my fuzzy vest and my boots ( we are now the same shoe size and T-shirt size) I bought a $5 flat black sheet for his cape. Oh, and his main request was a battle axe. I bought a dowel, painted it black, formed an axe shape form cardboard and covered it with duct tape. Since my duct tape was blue (what the) I had to spray paint it silver. Note to self: Always have SILVER duct tape.
Tessa was a puma (black cat). Again, an easy thing to quickly do. I did make ears and tail. I whip stitched poly felt to a headband and made separate ears that are stuffed. I wanted her ears to have some longevity because the girls play “kitties” pretty often. I added bling, because I had it. Tacky glue is my friend. I bought some feather boa for a the tail. Wrapped it around some floral wire, and sewed a felt nubby to one end so it could be pinned to Tess without scratching. Not as much longevity with this tail. Feathery bits everywhere, bleah. I dislike feathers, but not as much as glitter.
I gave Eden the choice of being a peacock (like she was a few years back) or a flamingo. Pink clothes are easy to put together. I had a blast making the mask. Those flamingo beaks are an unusual shape though! I bought a plain plastic mask and then used a paper plate to create a hook-like tube beak. I attached the beak with duct tape. Creating the curve of the flamingo beak was tough as I had to clip the end of the beak tube, and retape the tip. Once the right shape was achieved, I painted over the duct tape with white paint. I couldn’t think of a better way to make the tip of the flamingo beak black, other than to paint the tip so it could fade perfectly. I glued some coffee filters to the beak to cover up all the plasticky surfaces, kinda paper mâché style. I could not find pink feathers I liked, so I bought pink poly felt and cut feather shapes out. I layered them around the eye area. I did find white feathers I liked, so I glued those to frame out the mask and give it drama. The mask got bling too, of course! My client was happy (Eden B) and I told her I would be glad to make a bird mask each year. They’re fun! I also, made Eden a tail out of another pink feather boa with wire wrapped through it so I could loop it around like a flamingo tail. Again, I put felt at the end where Eden would wear it so nothing poked her.
My mom put on her historical best on to answer the door for trick or treaters. She dressed as Katie Luther. She researches her favorite parts of history down to the tiny bits. She made her bonnet and stuffed it with a grey wig to fill it out and make it look more accurate. Mom says she has made several bonnets for her other dress up occasions, and the adult bonnets are huge, while the children’s bonnet pattern is a little small. My precious peanut-head of a mom. She dresses up as a Puritan for the ESL Thanksgiving feast. Super cute, and her students love it. She’s gotten my dad to dress up too. He loves her a lot.
I like sharing the run down of how I made costumes. I have gotten really elaborate in years past, but my theory is, buy things you will use again, and the things you don’t use again, don’t spend too much time on them so throwing them away won’t hurt so much. Glue, simple stitches, staples (if you must) and plain bits of clothing, that should do it!
Trees Are Happy
The Sun Broke Through
Today is hard. My plans and joys seem impossible to grasp. I feel lonely. I feel trapped by my choices, not freed by them. I wonder if my peers are lonely too. I’m guessing they are.
I check social media more times during the day than I care to think about. I’m surrounded by my beautiful kids, but I am lonely. Friends are busy, schedules conflict. I long to be the friend I want, but then I think, “I have nothing to offer”. I haven’t been to the store, we have no firewood, and my house is covered in the days trappings. So frustrating.
I feel I work hard for no reason, what’s the point? I have my life to share, my time, my thoughts. Where are those who also desire that time. Even my husband is overcome with his own struggles and crashes before I even have the time to tell him how I feel. Will a desperate text drive him away? Will a cry on Facebook be scoffed at? Haven’t I felt that before? “why would she post that! How embarrassing.”
I want to be the friend I want to have. It just doesn’t seem to work. Oh lord, what are you trying to tell me? That 12 year old girl sitting by the phone has never gone away. All those inadequate feelings still bubble up.
O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it. (Psalm 139:1-6 ESV)
Living in the woods has had some amazing effects me. I can’t begin to reflect on them all. Watching the organic shapes out my bedroom window every morning. Seeing the light dance between swaying branches. The colors, they are intoxicating. The smells of fireplaces being used, the crunch of leaves under my feet, the signs that life is still active when I turn over our rotting pumpkins. It’s poetry, every day. My heart feels still as I observe the bigness of what is around me. I have a tinge of fear as a rainstorm blows the tree tops a little farther, left to right. But the colors. My yard is blanketed with red maple leaves. I stare out into the National Forest and I see yellow. I long desperately for the time and emotional energy to paint the amazing autumn that surrounds me. I sigh when another week goes by where I haven’t had anyone over to sit and marvel at the beauty with me and feel that satisfying crunch of leaves. The year will be over and the winter will be dark. I will cure my cabin fever by setting many pieces of wood on fire. Smelling the smoke in my clothes and watching the glow die out right before bed. I have a pioneer bubbling inside of me, I’m not quite so brave. But there will be more moments and things to accomplish. The first thing I want is an axe. Then some bookshelves. Joel will go away on business and I will paint walls. The season is rich. I’m watching the changes and mourning the end of the colors. Winter will usher in other delights, and I am excited to see what our mountain home has in store.
It has been several years since we have been to the Atlanta Zoo. This time we had a couple of great reasons to go. First, our kiddos are bigger. We had no strollers or gadgets, we just walked and enjoyed the place, for three hours! I never thought I’d see the day. It was very rewarding. The kids sat through explanations, shows and took turns when they needed to. They were all thrilled to see and read all sorts of info, and Joel and I were free to walk leisurely, enjoying the sights for ourselves. I loved it. The other awesome reason to go was that the Zoo has Giant Pandas, and Tessa LOVES pandas.
Animals are so beautiful. I think I am more overwhelmed by their beauty than the children, I’m sure. It’s amazing to see the small and large, the exotic and seemingly ordinary. And watching them be themselves, makes me think of how creative our God is. It’s like watching things I’ve never dreamed of move around and take breaths and move gracefully. The folks who handled the animals, taught us bits of information, and asked and answered questions seemed to be so passionate about the same things I am completely in awe of. They truly love the wonder of these animals. Think or say what you will about zoos, I am happy i got to see an amazing tiger. I wouldn’t get to see that “in the wild”.
Tessa is almost 5 years old. I say this with some shame because I am finally getting a portrait painted of her and it is painful. It’s slow. But my trials to get a portrait painted of my youngest is very important. She is important. Photogenic? She may take after me in that department. Rubber faces we are. When I was thinking of what image to use for her portrait I was waiting for the one that popped out at me as something that captured her beauty, her personality and had the potential to have symbolism added to it.
She’s a joy. She’s a firecracker. She’s the girl that God knew we needed. It is my pleasure to paint her. Right now, her portrait is in a standstill. I have struggled with it, late into the night sometimes, waiting for what skill I have to come through and represent her perfectly. The tough part is, I chose a three-quarter view portrait. I recall the last piece I tried at three-quarter view, I ended up chopping that part off and restretching the whole piece. But that’s not an option, so I have been praying for it. I have been asking God to show me and use the skill He gave me to make it right, technically. I look forward to adding that symbolism. Beef up the background and making it a piece that reflects what a joy she is to all of us. And I can add it to the other two pieces that bring that forever thankfulness to our home.
He prowls like a roaring lion waiting to devour me. Yeah. I’ve been keeping that on my mind for a while. He wants me to scream at my kids. He wants me to get afraid of every little thing. And some days, I feel like he wins. But I tell myself: You have been given a very important job. You are parenting the next generation. You are also teaching other people’s children. You also are a wife “til death do us part”. It is not in Gods plan for the enemy to win. The enemy will not win the war. So, with the knowledge of that victory, I take up each battle knowing that I’ve already won. It might still be hard to deal with the anxiety and sadness. The thoughts of failure loom around my head. I have the ultimate champion contending for me, my children, my marriage, my sanity. And for everyone else’s too! God has won, and with that i pick up my to-do lists and I believe each day will have victories. Each day will have joys. I can plan for my health and well-being and not believe I’m already defeated, because I’m not! I believe He has more for me than I have planned even. So, I will get up, do my chores, and look forward to the gifts and blessings he has in store for me! Gifts like time with my husband. Time to paint and make good food. Time to go out with my girlfriends. Time to spend in the outdoors. Time to take care if myself with exercise. The “what-ifs” still haunt, but I believe He can take that away too, and show me His perfect plan and rest in His arms. I see that prowling lion and I feel my faith rising. Oh Lord. Your daughter is willing to fight each battle, because you are my champion. You have won the war for my life.