Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Word of the Year 2014

{photos by Julie Christine Photography}

I am so excited to finally announce my word of the year for 2014.  It's taken me a while...in between raising a busy (yes, she's actually busy now) toddler and simply trying to stay awake through these exhausting pregnancy days...But here it is:

NEW!

NEW! NEW! NEW!

The Bible has a TON to say about NEWness.  It's something I love most about my particular faith: it's not about trying to REform, but being TRANSformed.  When Jesus came into my life - or when I allow Him control over an area of my life - He takes the old, burns it away (painful...that's what He was busy doing last year), and makes something NEW and more beautiful, more amazing, more divine come out of it.

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” 
– Ecclesiastes 3:1

New year.
New baby.
New family.
New normal.



“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!" 
- Isaiah 43:18

New goals.
New purpose.
New intent.
New meaning.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 
- 2 Corinthians 5:17

New relationships.
New conversations.
New connections.

New perspectives on old things.



"I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven."  
- Philippians 3:14

New thoughts.
New feelings.
New actions.
New heart.
New ME.

"And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you."  
- Ezekiel 36:26

That is SO what I need this year.

Last year, I did a lot of hard emotional work.  I'll continue to press forward with that work, because it's in valuable.  And, sometimes that work means simply submitting, surrendering, letting go.  There has come a season in my life (as one who is committed to self-improvement) in which I will finally get to take a deep breath and reap the benefits of all those tears.  Reap the new joy of all that sorrow.  Reap the new lightness of all that heaviness.  Reap the new respite of all that diligence.

 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The
 old has gone, the new is here!” 
- 2 Corinthians 5:17


*EXHALE* 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

One Little Word

Any of you hear of the One Little Word project?  You can read all about it here: http://aliedwards.com/shop/one-little-word-2014

It's an amazing idea: Choose a word for your year.  Then, do something with that word.  Make art.  Write.  Wear your word.  Share it.

I've done this project before, and found it a fun and helpful way to focus my resolutions for the year around one idea.  Here are my old posts about it:

http://scrap-therapy.blogspot.ca/2010/03/canvas.html
http://scrap-therapy.blogspot.ca/2010/01/word-of-year-enough.html
http://scrap-therapy.blogspot.ca/2010/03/enough-projects.html

Last year in 2013, my word chose me.  I didn't blog about it.  I just went through it.  Those of you who are close to me know about my struggles with certain relationships last year…and you can probably guess what 2013 was all about for me:

FORGIVE.  (posting pictures of my cute puppy Jolie Violet because I'm pretty sure no one forgives better than a dog!)




I'm obviously not going to go into unnecessary details on the world wide web…but what I WILL do is share about what I learned this last year.  Because, I'm a different person today as a result of these painful experiences.  God has allowed me just enough pain so that, by harnessing it's opportunity for growth, I could become a NEW person this year!


I LOVE THE PERSON I'VE BECOME, BECAUSE I FOUGHT TO BECOME HER. 
- KACI DIANE

Forgive.  The Bible is one of the most potent resources on this topic.  God actually goes so far as to say in Matthew 6:15, "If you don't forgive each other, I don't forgive you."  WOAH.  Back the truck up.  Salvation is dependent on me forgiving other people?  Sounds like that's what he's saying…After all, if we've humbly asked God's forgiveness recognizing that we're unworthy of heaven do to our imperfect nature, who are we to hold a grudge against another imperfect human?  It makes a lot of sense for me to realize that I'm no better than the people who have hurt me in my life…so I have no right to hold a grudge.


HE WHO ANGERS YOU CONTROLS YOU.

The other thing about forgiveness that the Bible has taught me loud and clear is that it's a one-sided activity.  Romans 12:18 says, "As far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."  I cannot make the other person like me, or talk with me, or work it out, or even forgiven me no matter how much I plead.  I cannot make RECONCILIATION happen, but I can be open to it.  I can let things go so that I am in a position of love, grace, and kindness toward people who have caused me great harm. 


LET NO MAN PULL YOU LOW ENOUGH TO HATE HIM. - MARTIN LUTHER KING

So…what exactly IS forgiveness?  I think there are a lot of misconceptions about what forgiveness is out there.  I know it's NOT unhealthy boundaries, being a punching bag, or chasing endlessly after someone who doesn't want you anymore.  I have come up with this definition: to let go of the right to hold someone accountable for perceived wrongs against me.  In other words, they don't owe me anything.  I'm going to put myself in a position where I won't get hurt anymore (to the best of my ability) and let that person be that person.  I'm not going to try to change the person, make them understand me, or give me an apology.  I've let it go…all on my own.  Why?  Because forgiveness is for ME!


ANGER IS AN ACID THAT CAN DO MORE HARM TO THE VESSEL IN WHICH IT IS STORED THAN TO ANYTHING ON WHICH IT IS POURED. - MARK TWAIN

For me, it's a continued practice of handing over thoughts to God.  Whenever my mind starts circling (over and over) about the things that have hurt me so deeply, I go to God and say, "You take this.  This isn't my project to fix - it's yours.  I trust you and I pray that I will have a heart of forgiveness.  Soften me and let no bitter root take hold."  


MAYBE ITS HARD TO FORGIVE, BUT TO TRUST AGAIN IS THE HARDEST.  

Forgiveness is a continual process…it doesn't happen like magic in one sitting (unfortunately!)  After many months of continuing to practice this…I'm excited to share with you my Word for 2014…in my next post!


IF YOU GET THE INSIDE RIGHT, THE OUTSIDE WILL FALL INTO PLACE. 
- ECKKART TOLLE


Thanks for listening…and feel free to share your thoughts about forgiveness :)

Saturday, December 7, 2013

"Do You Know How Lucky You Are?"




Every year we attend David's emergency department Christmas party.  It's a wonderful celebration with clerks, doctors, nurses, porters, management...all the people who keep this critical area of the hospital operating.  And, of course, every year David is involved in the hilarious entertainment that goes on.  He's just a riot!  His humour and extraversion shine through at these kinds of events, and I love seeing him in his element...a "class clown" to be sure ;)

Last night while dancing and enjoying the festivities, a pretty young nurse touched my back and said in my ear, "DO YOU KNOW HOW LUCKY YOU ARE?"

It struck me. 

Yes, I know David is amazing and I am so very thankful to be married to him.  But, it's interesting how people (not everyone, but some people) think that I am ESPECIALLY lucky...particularly I get lots of comments like, "Oh, you must love being married to a doctor!"  or, "He's a handsome doctor!?"  

Being married to a doctor isn't really how I see my life.  Yes, we're financially blessed because he works hard.  But, when I first met him and fell in love, he was a poor struggling student who still hadn't been accepted into med school.  We journeyed through those difficult academic years and have only recently begun to reap the wonderful benefits of all that hard work!  

I didn't fall in love with a handsome young doctor.  I fell in love with David because he's David.

For those of you who have found your true love, you know what I'm talking about.  You know that you don't marry someone because of their profession.  You don't fall in love with their career.  And, if you do, you'll end up likely unsatisfied.  Because when he's home with us, he's just David.

Nonetheless, I do appreciate the reminder...I am very lucky!  I am fortunate that the risk I took when saying "I do" has so far worked out.  He's faithful, loving, and devoted.  What more can a girl ask for than that?


(pics from our recent "babymoon" to San Fransisco)

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Value of a Thing


Look at the quote to the left...the one by my picture.  The one about how it's not how much we HAVE but how much we ENJOY that matters...

I put that quote there because it's something I aspire to.  It's not something I've arrived at.

Many of you who know me know that I love to shop.  As a matter of fact, just the other day when I quickly thought about a few of my favourite things, scrapbooking, Starbucks, and shopping were right at the top.  

Nothing wrong with that.  Right?

Yes.  And no.  There's nothing inherently wrong with scrapbooking, a cup of happy, and a cute new pair of earrings.  The problem is, I'm never satisfied.

This year, I decided to give up all shopping for lent.  I'm not catholic, but often I like to practice lent because I've often experienced it to be a helpful spiritual exercise.  This year, it was a 40 day round

of practicing self-control.  Surprisingly, I didn't find it too hard.   

Also surprisingly, the most amazing epiphanies happened AFTER lent was over:
1) I really really really like having a ZERO balance on our credit cards!!!!
2) Shopping is something of an addiction to me, and I found myself chomping at the bit to get back into those stores!

and, the most incredible part:
3) Shopping hasn't given me the same thrill ever since this fateful last Easter Sunday.

You may wonder how epiphanies #2 and #3 can coincide.  It's sort of like this: the smoker quits and feels great relief.  But, then all of a sudden they pick it up again, out of habit or whatever...and they just don't LOVE it anymore.

So, that's it: I just don't LOVE it anymore.  It's a habit - be it good or bad, affordable or not.  I do it because it's what I'm used to doing.  But, I don't seem to get that enticing, exciting, over the moon happy thrilling FEELING anymore.

Take a couple weeks ago as an example.  I was in Oregon...yes, OREGON: the tax-free shopping capital of the west coast!  And...not only was I in Oregon, I was at OUTLETS!  Outlet prices, outlet selections, outlets for hours and hours...

I hardly bought a thing.


Now, what I DID buy I truly adore.  I didn't settle for something "on sale" and I didn't buy things just because they were a good deal.  I only bought things I was actually looking for (namely summer dresses that were long enough for a busy toddler-mother).  And, even when I was buying these things, I really didn't get my usual high.

***

We've been working on our will these days.  It's a sobering project - something all responsible parents need to get around to at some point.  Do you know what our will calls all of our belongings?  ALL of our belongings??

RESIDUE.

Yes, residue.  Like the film inside my veggie drawer that develops after something rots.  Like the red layer of slime gathering around my bathtub drain.  Like the white blanket of dust over my oak bookshelves.  Residue.  Something extra left behind.

THAT'S what I spend our money on??  That's what stresses us out financially??  That's what I waste countless hours accumulating??  That's what I daydream about??

Makes the thrill of the shoppping experience a little less enticing, a little less addictive, a little less thrilling.  

And that's okay.  There are lots of other fun things to do that don't require shopping...like scrapbooking!  And, playing with Evalie!  And, baking chocolate cake!  And ...

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Card Frenzy!


Have had a card making frenzy over the last few weeks - love love love it when creative inspiration strikes!  I've been able to whip out dozens of cards and add to my stash...something I haven't done in months.  And, for those of you eager for some cards that I usually gift to you...they'll be coming soon!  A peek :)







Notice how I don't reinvent the wheel every time I make my cards...if I come up with a design I like, I make it for girls and boys alike...and I'll make totally different kinds of cards using the same layout.  Copy yourself!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Retreat Results

A few layouts from my recent scrapbooking retreat with a group of LOVELY ladies!  Thank you for the creative inspiration and supportive encouragement that kept my artsy mojo flowin' all weekend long (oh...and the coke helped too...lol)!


 (the one below is a scraplift!!!  Not my original design - I got the idea from Scrapbook & Cards Today magazine)















 Yes, I did use Jolie's actual old dog tag on this one :)


Thanks for looking, everyone!!!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

She's just Two-Two CUTE!


One fine morning I was chit chatting with the Starbucks barista while waiting for my drink...she asked, "What are you doing today?"  When I mentally went through the mile-long list of birthday party to-do's, I realized my answer was complicated.  I simply remarked, "I think it's fair to say that I've become the Crazy Party Mama...I'm planning my daughter's 2nd birthday party and it's gotten out of hand."  We laughed, and I proceeded to continue with (caffeinated beverage in hand) weeks of decorating, shopping, list making, food prepping, pom-pom making, and day-dreaming.  All for a few short hours of birthday party bliss!

Which, I might add, aren't possible without the amazing PEOPLE who joined us for this special celebration.  Truthfully, all the beautiful stuff in the world doesn't a lovely party make...it's actually beautiful people that make the day.  


And, I think it's safe to say, everyone had a good time!  Now...on to the details :)


THE STATIONARY

For some, this might not even be a category in party planning.  But, I gotta tell you: I LOVE PAPER!  I love making the invitation something super special every year (for all of my events...although, there have been last minute times when I've had to only rely on the good ol' www!)  This invitation, as usual, didn't turn out ANYTHING like I had envisioned, but I still thought it was pretty darn cute.  After all EVALIE is right on the front of this postcard style card...and there's a fun little poem on the back.



The thank you cards were made using my cricuit die cut machine.  I'm planning on enclosing photos of the guests in their thank you cards, and having Evalie colour a picture inside...It's very important that I pass on the value of a handwritten thank you card like my mama passed on to me!   That reminds me...sorry if I owe you a thank you card...lol!


THE CAKE

Last year I made Evalie's birthday cake...but it was simple.  This year, I was intending for someone else to make this cake.  Didn't work out that way, and I was "stuck" with the job...something I don't TOTALLY love doing, but wasn't able to simplify it after I had already dreamt of THIS cake!  It's three layers on each tear of ombre teal cake inside with ombre purple buttercream outside.  Oh, and before you go thinking that I am an amazing baker...it's from a box!  lol!  I will say, however, that Betty Crocker knows what she's doing...it tasted great.
 

I am SUPER proud of this adorable cake bunting I made with scraps of tulle from various decorations - how CUTE are those little pom poms?!?!  Seriously!  


The cake topper is a vintage address number that was painted turquoise.  I found it at my favourite new store in Abbotsford, which within three months of opening its doors was published in House and Home - for good reason!  http://www.sprucecollective.com/




THE DECORATIONS

I've been decorating this place for weeks...yeah, I'm not kidding!  This wall of photos was from the photo shoot I did with Evalie in order to capture a perfect shot for her invitation.  I had so many cute pictures afterwards that I thought, why not blow them up and add another splash of purple and teal for the photo wall?!  I left two black and whites from her 9 month photo shoot with previous local business Red Wagon Photography.  Love how it added a little whimsy to the living room :)


Two of these frames are filled with simple free printables I found on pinterest - here's the awesome blog I got them from http://www.nestofposies-blog.com/2013/02/easter-chalkboard-printables/  Thank you Nest of Posies!  The middle one is actually one of her thank you cards yet to be sent.



We didn't make tutus for all the little girl guests.  (See?!  I'm not really as crazy as you thought!)  We just invited them to wear their own tutus - but just in case we had a few little dollar store ones strung along the stairway as extras ;)


My dear friend Jenn helped me with this pom-pom centered balloon-strung crete-paper ceiling for the living room.  The banner was something I already had (remember Christmas?...yeah, this is the one that says Merry Christmas on one side and Happy Birthday on the other!)  Even though it doesn't perfectly match the theme of this particular party, I am hoping to use it for all the birthdays...that's why I kept it neutral.  I think it worked out okay!



We converted Evalie's toy ottoman into the kids eating table by putting a board over it and wrapping it in simple plastic table cloths.  It worked out great to have the kiddos on the floor and their parents keeping an eye on them on the comfy couches.  David also made a slide show of Evalie's last year of life for everyone's entertainment - the computer is playing it over and over on the mantel in the background.  I had leftover chevron fabric from some curtains I made for my scrapbooking room, and hung it as a backdrop for pictures of the birthday girl enjoying her cake at the head of her kiddie table...simple!



The front room was converted into a "dance party/photo shoot" room with huge wrapping paper backdrops and banners and balloons everywhere! Auntie Krystal was blowing bubbles off the staircase for added excitement - the kiddos just loved it!


I had this picture from in my craft room for various photo shoots.  My mom and I painted it purple for this special day - it worked out pretty cute I'd say! 


THE FOOD 

I'll be honest, the food part of party isn't really my thing.  I'm not that great in the kitchen - never have been.  I much prefer to just eat out...truthfully.  The food was mostly from M&M Meat Shops...I mean, why try to make what you can buy?!  But, there were a few little things that were homemade...

 

As usual, there was way too much food.  But, I'm always nervous that there won't be enough!  Yes...I just ate another Feta Pepper Pinwheel before I typed that last sentence.  They're good!  I forgot to get a closeup of the jello cookies in teal and purple and the jello trifle also in teal and purple (I thought about yellow and red instead, but then realized that wouldn't really GO...lol!)

 
Last year my MIL had the brilliant idea of making rice crispy "cake" balls for any gluten free guests to enjoy.  This year I did it again!  But, I dipped them in frosting to keep with the theme...actually, I used frosting because I had SO MUCH that I had made!!!  All you do is microwave the frosting for a few seconds to make it soft enough for dipping - who knew?! 
 

Little die cut flowers were sprinkled on the table to add another touch of colour.

 

You may have noticed that my table is wearing a tutu.  Yeah.  I DID that.  It started off as an EPIC pinterest fail!  But, I just kept adding more and more tulle, and then finished it off with a big pretty aqua bow, and voila!  It worked out.  Unlike all the tutorials online about making a tutu table, I had to come up with a way to do this that didn't involve nailing, stapling, or gluing anything TO our actual beautiful locally created real wood table.  This is a piece of furniture we would like to have forever, so I couldn't damage it in the process of dressing it!  How did I do it?  My table is literally WEARING a tutu - it's made of elastic edges, with command hooks for added stability along a built-in wooden lip underneath.  



The guests enjoyed 7-up and cool aid in mason jars with spill proof lids.  I used my crop-o-dile to punch holes in the lids of the jars, and then we covered them with cupcake liners.  Amazingly, the lids just screw on right over all that!  They're like party sippy cups ;)  And filled with delightful childhood sweetness!  So much sugar in those little jars...mmmmm!



THE FAVOURS

We seriously contemplated giving out puppies this year.  Then, we realized that our dog is really great.  So, we contemplated giving out toddlers instead.  Just kidding!  We had cupcakes in bags, magic wands for the girls, and bow ties for the boys.  Of course, the boys wanted the wands to use as swords, and the moms wanted to put bows in the little girls' hair...so whatever!  It was cute anyway ;)  Oh, and it should be noted that everyone got to take home a helium filled balloon with a bag of aqua jelly-bellies on the bottom (given the world-wide helium shortage, it's difficult to say if this could one day be considered historically significant!  Floating balloons photographed above may one day be unrecognizable to our youngsters!  You have no idea the moral dilemma I internally faced trying to decide if we should fill some of our balloons...in the end I figured that the helium is sitting there at the store ready for use...I might as well use a little of it to bring smiles to a dozen children for the day...)



After the party, I watched Evalie run around back and forth like a maniac dancing, twirling, singing happy birthday, and then repeating this process numerous times.  I fed her a steady diet of cheese and beans before bed, hoping that some of the protein might off set her crazy sugar high.  I have never seen my child like this in her life!  Let's just say that if she had been in the process of a psychological assessment during this time, it would likely have resulted in some serious treatment recommendations - haha!  She slept deeply that night...and so did I :)  


It's been amazing to watch this little baby grow into a toddler with her own opinions, thoughts, and especially strong will.  Discovering her personality, her likes and dislikes, and her hilarious thoughts has been an unending delight.  Nothing in the world is as rewarding as being Evalie's mama!  Happy birthday my sweetest little girl!!!!


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