It’s been a tricky start to this year. When my kids started back at school, I ended up heading there with them to sub for the art teacher for a few days. It was easy to get back into the groove of school teaching again – but I was super happy yesterday morning when I woke up and I just dropped them off and came back home to work!
I’m having a hard time finding a good book to read lately. I used to love Phillipa Gregory and picked up her latest book, The King’s Curse, at the library a few weeks ago and I just can’t seem to get into it. Three out of four of us are reading through the Harry Potter series and it’s been fun for my kids to be at the ages where we can all read the same thing and then talk and joke about it around the house. Last night I started The Ex-Pats by Chris Pavone and so far it is intriguing. I have to say it already reminds me of a mash between the old tv show Alias and the current show The Blacklist. The reviews on Goodreads are a fair mix of love and hate.
I’m also reading through Kari Chapin’s book Grow Your Handmade Business and so far it’s been great. I’m also ready Make it Mighty Ugly and I’ve enjoyed many of the exercises in it. What’s been most interesting is this project:
I started this project waaaaay back last fall and honestly I’ve struggled with it since I started it. It’s one of those that I had this picture in my head and it’s not turning out anything like the picture in my head. I’m not afraid to stop a project that I’ve started…to a point. This one had gotten past that point where I could just let it go. So I would pick it up and put it down and finally forced myself to finish it this past weekend. I’m still not happy with how it turned out and it’s been interesting to be reading Kim Werker’s Mighty Ugly book while struggling through it. She spends the first part of the book talking about creative demons and oh buddy, did I have some creative demons screaming at me while working on this project. But to be honest, when you do create art there are times that you make projects that are downright ugly and times that you create things that maybe end up being “ugly” to you merely because they aren’t matching that picture that you had, but they aren’t really ugly. I’m putting this in my shop with confidence that even though I’ve got voices screaming that it isn’t perfect and it’s a silly project etc that there isn’t truth in that and this hoop might actually grace someone’s home and encourage them.
I did finish a project that I do just love. I started this hot air balloon last fall too and finished it up a few days ago. It’s currently hanging in my dining room and makes me smile every time I walk past it. It’s up in the shop and ready to hang in your house to bring you a smile!
My husband and I watched the movie Begin Again with Kiera Knightly and Mark Ruffalo. I have to say we went into the movie not expecting much, but as it went on it’s probably one of the best movie’s we’ve watched in a while. I don’t know if it was just because it was so “counter-cultural” in so many ways that I didn’t expect or if it was the struggle to maintain who you are as a creative and not give into what others want you to be or what you think you should be just so you can make loads of money. It was just overall good.
A few other things I’m enjoying lately…
- I saw this mug on instagram and golly it made me laugh. I totally need to get this and another one for one of my sweetest friends who needs that introverted reboot time too.
- last year I tried to do the whole One Little Word thing with Ali James and honestly I flunked out about March. I didn’t even attempt to do anything like that this year, but I am recently intrigued with the idea purchasing a journaling Bible and spending some time weekly working on some creative expression that way. I’ve recently discovered Shanna Noel and the beauty that she is creating with God’s word in such a new and fresh way. She has an awesome instagram feed if you are interested.
- If I ever thought that the last few years I’ve been pushed out of my comfort zone regarding selling at markets, teaching sewing classes etc – this month I was asked to be interviewed by Debbie at Work Your Art. Go check it out!
So for the past few weeks my instagram feed, feedly feed, facebook feed – basically everywhere – has been filled with people’s goals and lists. To be honest, I’m a list person. I love to make them. I love to get a new calendar and fill in all the yearly information. It totally makes me happy. Until 2015 hit. I swear I feel 500 steps behind already and it’s all because I’m comparing my lack of a list of goals to those around me. I did set forth my one goal that this was my year of not comparing – and 6 days in and I’ve already fallen for it!
Ultimately, I don’t want to write long list of goals. I feel like the thing I keep hearing myself say is take it small and step by step. I can tell you what I think my top 5 priorities are this year and I can tell you 100 other things I hope to accomplish, but the idea of writing them down and holding myself accountable to share them with the world and blog about them regularly is driving me crazy. It’s that old beast of comparison stealing my joy.
I do have a couple of books I’m trying to read through and I’m having fun perusing all the blogs of lists and goals (sewmamasew has been doing a great series on Sewing Resolutions) but to be fair to myself and my goal of not giving into comparison…the list of goals and objectives isn’t going to happening over here. I do want to blog more this year and I do want to share what I’m teaching in my sewing classes, learning as I sew more for myself and every other distraction that comes up, but that’s my only intention.
Well – almost. I am turning 40 this year and come April 2nd, I’m hoping to start my 40 while 40 list of things (40 things I would love to do in my 40th year). But it’s a list to inspire me to step out, loosen up and spread my wings a little more.
What about you? Do you have goals and intentions for this year? Do you have one little word? Or do you just go head first into the new year with the expectation that whatever comes will come?
I read a great post about “new years” and essentially our desire to just wake up on New Year’s Day and think we can just begin anew; that all those things that happened to us in 2014 might just disappear because it’s a New Year. But in reality that doesn’t happen. Everything that happened this past year – the good, bad and ugly – is transforming me and my family more and more into what God desires for us and that wouldn’t happen if we just woke up on Thursday and it was a blank slate. In the midst of everything this year, it’s the words inspired from Ecclesiastes 3 that have really set a focus forward into the new year.
No matter what time it is we learn to adjust to it on the basis of the hope and purpose that God is in it, that everything has a beauty to it by which the Preacher declares that every disquieting and delightful moment under the sun has been fitted by God for his purposes. ~ Z. Eswine from Recovering Eden
The way forward into this New Year isn’t found in rehearsing (insert “planning”), but in remaining faithful to what we do know. I’ve been praying for months that the Lord would help me to stay focused on today – my eyes forward. I can’t just be eyes forward, but I have to be eyes up. My need to know and solve and prepare for the “what-if’s” is clouding my mind and focus. This cloud I live in is the cloud of the future – keeping my mind too far forward when all I am responsible for is tending what I’ve been given right now.
I desire to move into January 1st with the knowledge of January 1st. Yes, it is a new year and with it brings new opportunities – but so does every day. God is gracious to us that we have the chance to begin anew every day.
And while I intend to keep my mind clear and focused on the here and now, I also want to move out of the idea of comparison. I am promising myself to tend to the needs of that day and not compare my life, my family, my marriage, my children, my art to anything or anyone. I long for my life to be a reflection of the Great One that made me and molds me daily. Not a comparison of everyone else.
So, Happy New Years! Here’s to an eyes forward and up 2015!
I’ve recently started running a couple of times a week. While I pretty much hate it, I’m convinced that the purpose of running is mainly to provide great metaphors for life. Today was a perfect example.
Our home is situated right inside an amazing park. My typical running day routine consists of me walking the kids to school and then instead of heading home, heading towards the greenway that runs through the park. It’s about a 2 mile run from where I start back to my house. I started out walking more than running and I’ve gotten a pretty good routine of walking some of the larger hills (of which there are 2) and running all the rest. I know where the smaller hills are and I know exactly how much I have to go before I get to walk again. It’s a battle of pushing myself and also knowing that I’ve done it millions of times already so I know I can do it.
Today was a hard day. I knew starting out that my body was not going to cooperate and it was going to be a good mental battle to keep going. There is one long stretch of running I do at the very end. It’s probably about half a mile (although it feels like 10) and I’ve run it successfully at least half a dozen times. But every time I have to battle those voices telling me to stop running, it’s too much, you need to stop and walk etc. So I have to remind myself that I’ve done this, I’ve run this path, I’ve run as far (and a couple of times farther) and I can make it.
I realized that this is my daily battle in life.
My husband and I are walking through the hardest battle that we’ve ever been in. While some of the hills we are climbing up aren’t new ones, there are some parts of this journey that we haven’t been through before. This is where that running analogy comes in.
We’ve been through some tough stuff. I’ve been through some tough stuff and
every. single. time. God has come through for me and for us.
But it’s a constant, minute by minute battle to stay on the course, to keep going, to stay hopeful and rest in the promise that I’ve walked this (or run this) before and will get through it.
Stronger than I was and full of more and more of His grace.
If you buy something from my etsy shop or locally at a market, you will more than likely receive a bag or some sort of packaging with this stamp that declares “with gratitude and blessings.” I often find myself signing my etsy conversation emails and really almost all my emails with the closing “blessings, aimee”. But often times I wonder if people just hear it as a regular platitude or something?
I was reading in Paul Miller’s book A Loving Life about the word “blessing”. In our Western Culture, it has become such a trite word. It more often is an empty word that we say out of rote, like “hello” or “fine”. In the world of Ruth (which is what his book centers on), it was a heavy word, a word loaded with power and thought. It meant that you were calling on God to act with the full force of His nature…and many times to work through the hands of the person invoking that prayer. It was in essence a prayer full of faith.
And when I stamp these bags or envelopes or whatever, I am full of praise and gratitude and blessing. It is because of others that this opportunity I have, to create and make via the work of my hands, is nothing less than me longing for the Lord to fully bless those that I am making for.
That He would use my hands to bless others.
And for that I am forever grateful.