Thursday, January 20, 2011


Ann Voskamp said it true this morning: 

"Science may call it entropy, the second law of thermodynamics — nature slipping from order to disorder. But really, it’s this: the first law of motherdynamics — the clean always slips to chaos."
Sometimes we go around taking pictures of the mess, when we are feeling brave, and ready to conquer.  When we want to be able to look back and compare, and breath gratefulness at the results of our efforts, remembering the ugliness of the past, feeling proud that we made things new.

Sometimes I forget about that old picture, the ugly one; I don't really want to dwell on that anyway.  So I don't look back and see how bad it really was, where we started from.  And sometimes I get so caught up living in the new that I forget to take a picture of that, and all I have is half a record.... an album full of messiness.  I sometimes wonder, if I were to die and my survivors were to see my records, would they see how I immortalized the mess, or celebrated the newness, the redemption, the results of all the hard work?

We did this together, as a family, and I led the way,with encouragement.  My demeanor meant everything to this.  I got up and walked, with a little elbow grease and a lot of coffee and I loved on them and we worked as a team.  As much as I'd like everything to be equal and really, easier for me, I am their leader and that is my calling.

And there was another.  Those are steam-cleaned beige dining room carpets (the decorating flaw that is my homemaker's affliction!)  That only happened because of the kindness of a friend.  We don't come to this alone.  It is good to remember.

Today I am inspired greatly by Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience.  ALL MAMAS,  YOU MUST READ THIS!  These are good, redemptive words...

"Simple acts of cleaning are my humble, conquering efforts in the quotidian struggle between chaos and order, creation and disintegration, God and Death."

"True saints don't seek God only in still cells, but commune with Him in the clatter and the kids calling -- this is their calling."

I am thankful today for how far we have come, that we haven't come here alone, and that there is cleanliness and order to show for it.  I am thankful that this is my calling.

Friday, January 14, 2011


One of the reasons I blog is to practice writing.  I've never been opposed to getting, and would actually encourage you to give me feedback in this regard, but most of you are not my English Professor and aren't reading in order to critique my storyline, grammar and overall cohesiveness.  And that's okay too.  I'm also a born scrapbooker and with all my fancy scissors, stickers and a rainbow of paper collecting dust, let's just admit it: this is the new scrapbook as well.

After the last blog entry, a good friend pointed out that it wasn't extremely clear how the title of the post was proven in the copy.  I re-read it and it was true, but by then I was just going to have to leave it, as I told her, "a cryptic ramble with a misleading title."  I was remembering the all-day process it took to get me to the last sentence.  I was up and down out of my chair, doing that mommy thing (food, water, toys, cleaning, redirecting, food, mediating, damage control, more food).  And that's with Dave home doing the other half!  It was exhausting and I just didn't care anymore by the end.  I could have saved it, slept on it, proof-read it once more, and then published something more polished but I'm just glad I'm hitting that publish button at all (this applies to everything on this blog, really).  Does my desire to cross something off a list and get it out of my noggin override my desire to be a good writer?  Unfortunately, I think it does.  But still...critique away...if you have any idea what you're talking about.

By the way, want to know what kind of shenanigans go down when mommy blogs?  Try this on for size:

They were especially proud/excited about the dramatically-placed knife.  Is there a Gulliver moment in my future?

Just so you know, we're not one of those families that keeps everything dangerous away from our children-- we just don't have the fortitude of those blessed people.  Rather, we like to immerse our children in kitchen danger: such as chopping vegetables, boiling water for noodles, steaming said vegetables, and the most casualty-laiden of all: WASHING THE DISHES.  

Although, the casualties are usually to my wedding dishes.

We won't talk about the hanging of outdoor Christmas lights with Daddy [shudder...]

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Holiday Open House: Success!

The Domestic Bias Holiday Open House was such a blast for me!  I'm sure that is due in part to the fact that I want these people to adopt me into their family so our total of 10 kids can play together and be over-the-top cuteness every day!  I love this family.  But I digress.  This is about me!  Being crafty!  Starting a business!  Kinda...

This was my display, so fashionably put together by Jaime from DB.  I sold the cards individually (in a fancy plastic wrapper!) and as Christmas four-packs.  I made a little money (but not a profit), and I have a LOT left over...which motivated me to send out Christmas cards to my own family this year (um, yeah...I've become a pretty big slacker with holiday greetings the last few years).  But overall, I deem it a total success for Chroma Aquatic.  This show pushed me forward into the production and business aspects of selling art.  And doing that has impelled a change of heart over depreciating everything I do.  Not only do I have a tendency to undervalue my art, or value one piece lower than another because of how long it took me or the ease with which it was done, but I am not a very gracious receiver of compliments.  To be honest, I am surprised by what comes out of me artistically, and I feel like very little credit should be given to me.  When I draw/paint something "good" I'm really not sure how it happened.  I just put my nose down and later.... "ta-da!" is on the paper.  It's weird to me.  So instead of nay-saying all compliments and hiding my gift, I need only to give praise to the One who fearfully and wonderfully made me who I am, and give every piece back to Him as an offering of worship.  So there.

I was astounded by the professionalism of this in-home craft bizarre, and of the marketable talent of my fellow mommy-friends and acquaintances.  Like these hair pins/brooches, made by my friend Lindsay:

I've never been much of an accessorizer, but seeing how they are made and worn by friends has changed my mind.  It's time to flower up...I totally want some.

And I know I can put together cookie mix myself, but when it comes to cute packaging, I start to stutter and forget who I am and what I was doing and then I just take a nap.  What I'm saying is, I won't ever do this, like Janine:

The thing I really wanted in my stocking was one of these beautifully hand-felted soaps by this amazing woman I know, Gretchen.  Do you know, the soap is just in there, and you rub it on your bod in the shower and the whole thing just felts tighter as the soap disappears and then you are left with a wash cloth thingy?  So hippy and I love it:

 Unfortunately, she isn't selling them online or anywhere public that I know of.  Fortunately, I know where to find her!

Now, I don't need any stuffed animals in my house.  To put it kindly, I'm not a big fan of the things.  And yet still, I found myself oogling and perhaps coveting these strange and beautiful creatures by OLBAPI:

Check out this very cool pendant jewelry by Gretchen as well.  Also, these killer candles by Courtney.  And the wood-circle journal on the left by Domestic Bias (love!).  Who knew these mamas with their busy lives were gettin' all crafty, making these wares like you see in shmancy boutiques?

These pictures do not do justice to the beautiful work that is Domestic Bias, but you can check out their Etsy Shop or visit them at the Portland Saturday Market:

 The jewelry on the left, which I didn't even try to take a picture of because I didn't think I would capture it's amazingness, is by Renee Tracy Design.  This was by far, to me, the most impressive art represented.  Having never worked with polymer clay myself, I was blown away by how beautiful, intricate, colorful and time-intensive these were.  Check out her blog to see how it's done....fascinating!  Tracy sells her designs to support herself as a missionary in the Dominican Republic.

I didn't get a picture of, but was thoroughly impressed with my friends Sarah and Emily, who are starting an Etsy shop too!  Keep checking back so you don't miss when At The Table opens!  They made cute hats, canvas bins, little girl dresses and little boy shirts, adorable felt hair clips and probably some other things I'm forgetting.  They are ├╝ber-talented.

There were a few other vendors there, but they don't have websites and I don't have photos, and I've maxed out my blogging patience for today.  Over all, I'm so glad I did this and I realized that I love to paint and create illustrations and my eyes have been opened to career possibilities I have always taken for granted and not thought possible.

May my God look upon me with favor as I follow and honor Him!