"…And she smiles at the future." ~Proverbs 31:25

Posts tagged ‘scrapbook’

First things first

“Everything’s a trade-off.” I say that all the time—mostly to myself. It helps me get back on track when I begin mentally veering off in the wrong direction…which I guess happens pretty often. For example:

Here’s a scene which makes me want to laugh, and cry.

{My scrapbook school desk in my scrapbook school room}

I laugh because of those scrapbook supplies on the back side of the desk. That’s me pretending like I’m going to be scrapbooking sometime soon. Ha ha ha!  In my mind, I even like to call this my scrapbook desk. But that big binder in the foreground–my lesson plan book–gives away the truth. The times I sit at that desk every day are spent going over our curriculum, planning out lessons, and assigning schoolwork. The scrapbook supplies and tools nearby serve only to make me wonder when I’ll get to use them again.

Although your hobby might be something different, I’m sure you can relate. There’s always something we NEED to do sitting right in front of the thing we WANT to do. That’s just life. But sometimes it’s really tough to accept.

Whenever I make the mistake of flipping through a scrapbook magazine, I start to feel a tiny stab of jealousy. I start wishing I had the time and opportunity to scrapbook whenever I wanted. I start wishing I had my own scrapbook room. I start wondering if I’ll ever be done with all my “obligations” so I can have a little free time to myself. That’s when I quit wanting to laugh, and start wanting to cry.

And that’s when I have to remind myself once again: “Everything’s a trade-off.”

You see, if I had my own scrapbook room, that would just mean that one of my children wasn’t here with us. I certainly don’t want to rush that! If I had the time to sit down and scrapbook whenever I wanted, that would mean that my littlest one was growing up and becoming independent way too fast, and that I didn’t have the privilege of educating all four of my children at home.

Yes, lately I’ve been trying to figure out how to carve out some “me” time on a more regular basis. Mainly, I’m wanting to scrapbook. But what am I willing to trade?

Should I use the early-morning time when the kids are still asleep? Nope. My Bible study and prayer time is way too important. I can’t afford to give that up for anything else. Where else can I fit it in during the day? Pretty much…..nowhere. There’s school, and laundry, and cooking and cleaning and playing and errands, and a little one who skips naps as often as she takes them. And at night? Well…I’d like to list off some very noble-sounding activities for you, but most of you would see right through that and know that the truth is, by that point I’m just too tired!

So you don’t need to argue here that moms need time to themselves. I know that’s the case. But if we get too focused on what we think we’re missing out on/what we don’t have, we start to lose sight of what we do have.

We have lots of laundry because we have families who live with us and are active, and because we have plenty of clothes to wear. We have dirty dishes to do because we always have enough to eat, and school to plan and teach because our children are smart little sponges with whom we have the opportunity to share new things every day. We have responsibilities because we are needed, and that’s not a bad thing!

Sometimes we let the things and people we care most about begin to feel like burdens. Remember how much you wanted that house? (Think about that while you’re cleaning!) Remember how desperately you wanted those babies? (They are not burdens! They’re blessings!)

So today I’m going to thank God for all He’s entrusted me with, and I’m going to try to do what I need to do with a smile. Not just a smile on my face, but one that’s genuine and comes from the inside, because I know my work is important. And maybe one day soon, I’ll scrapbook. (If not, I know my supplies will still be there when I finally get around to it.)

What are you sacrificing to keep first things first?

Is it worth it? Why?

I hope you are able to smile about your priorities today. I hope you remember why you’ve made the choices you’ve made, and that those reasons motivate you to keep going. And even if you feel like you want to cry, I hope you can laugh instead.

Thanks for stopping by!

Scabs and siblings

Lately I’ve been feeling the itch to scrapbook…But, since that’s an itch I just can’t take the time to scratch right now, I decided to content myself with posting some already-made pages. Though the photos are older, these are the most recent layouts I’ve made (…recent being a relative term, here). As you can see, I’ve been in a keep-it-simple phase lately. Remember, you can click on each photo to enlarge it if you can’t read the journaling.

Maybe I should have entitled this first one, What Every Little Girl Wants. Or, maybe not.

And yes, that was Addy. (I told you I’m a little behind.)  Ahem. Moving on…

I’m trying to do better about recording not only the big events (birthdays, holidays, etc.) but also all those little everyday occurrences and the things that showcase each child’s unique personality. All children try to manipulate their way out of naps; this was Remi’s method:

I’m also attempting to do a better job of documenting relationships, especially within our family. I made these pages to remind our kids how valuable the connections with their siblings are. (OK, and ’cause I liked the sweet pictures!)

Thanks for stopping by!

Thankful for messy rewards

When I came across this scrapbook page with a several-years-old picture, I was struck by the fact that everything in my journaling–except for the number of kids!–still holds true today. Our life is still crazy-chaotic. And I still feel so very blessed. I would not trade this privilege for anything!

(Journaling is typed below the page for those of you who don’t want to squint.) And yes, they’re sitting in chairs on TOP of the picnic table. (Why did I let them do that?)

I "threw" everything together on the page to reflect our crazy, messy life.

Journaling reads:

Right now, my life revolves around taking care of you three.

It’s the job God gave me, and I wouldn’t choose any other way.

The days are filled with messes, noise, laughter, learning, playing, chaos, reading, singing, dancing, teaching, pretending, praying, and hugs.

The house is never clean and there’s not much peace and quiet…but love and laughter are even better!

I love my life! I am blessed…

Did you notice that little sticker with the word ‘JOY’ at the top of the clipboard accent? How fitting is it that I overlooked it the first few times I looked at the page?  It’s not always easy to see JOY in the day-to-dayness of a chaotic life. But it is always there somewhere, ready to be found IF we are searching for it.

It also struck me that the words on the arrow sticker–‘it doesn’t get better than this’–turned out not to be true after all. Because here we are, six years later, having been blessed with another little one, which just means we now have even more noise/mess/chaos. And I love it.

But I’ll also be the first to admit, it isn’t always easy. (Actually, is it EVER easy?) So, if you are feeling overwhelmed today by the insanity that life with little ones can bring, please remember Psalm 127:3 with me…

“Behold, children are a gift of the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward.

Let’s thank Him for the chaos this reward brings–noise and mess and all. It won’t last nearly long enough.

Thanks for stopping by!

The tattling fridge

Refrigerators talk. And I don’t just mean the contents, although peeking inside one is sure to give some clues about the owners’ eating habits and cleaning habits.

I’m talking about the doors, and what they say about their homes and the people who live there.

In our previous house, the front of the fridge was almost completely hidden. I remember walking by it one day, glancing over, and thinking to myself, This won’t last. I’ll turn around, or blink, and it will all be different. And so I decided to preserve this fleeting era in our family scrapbooks. (I even rolled with the theme by making the page all crooked and cluttered.)

Journaling reads:

{busy}

Our busy life is reflected in the chaos on our refrigerator door. Sports schedules, homeschool schedules, awards, reminders, artwork…it’s all there, a reminder of our busy schedule & our rich, full life. I know our fridge door won’t always look like this, though, & one day I’ll look at its nice, clean surface…..& be a little wistful thinking about the busy days gone by. But for now, I’ll just enjoy the chaos!

Fast forward a couple of years. In our current home, the fridge front is usually bare.

If you looked around the corner you’d see one wallet-sized picture of a very special family I want to remember to pray for every day. That’s it. And to be honest, sometimes I already miss seeing all the things that made that “mess” on the old fridge. So it made me happy when I dragged into the kitchen one morning to find these little additions from our teenage son, attached to the refrigerator door.

{subtle hint}

{not-so-subtle hint}

And when I turned around and glimpsed the island where he’d spelled out his name in pretzels, I knew there was another page that needed to be created, so a second, simpler fridge page was born to better reflect the way things are at this stage.

What does your refrigerator say about you? Have you snapped a picture so you’ll always remember it? How about doing that today?

Thanks for stopping by!

The Kentucky weekend that changed my life

Have you ever noticed how certain memories tend to lock on and never let go, washing back over us at the strangest of times? Or that even years down the road, some memories still cause our emotions to swell as if the remembered events had just taken place? Or that the potential for really bad news tends to make good news that much sweeter?

Here I am more than five years ago during a visit to Kentucky to spend time with my dear friend, April. Notice that I am smiling as we scrapbook into the wee hours of the morning.

Oh, the smile was genuine, alright. But lurking nearby was something else. Not fear, really, but more of an acceptance that something really awful might be around the corner for my family and me. And if that sounds a bit melodramatic, so be it, but I look at this picture and can still taste the uncertainty I felt during that time.

I came to some important conclusions that weekend, and when I got home I scrapbooked them, too. Obviously this page was not about scrapbook style or design, but about the memories of that incredibly emotional time. (I typed out the journaling below so you don’t have to squint or buy glasses to read it.)

Laughter Therapy: The Kentucky Weekend That Changed My Life

Journaling reads:

The getaway had been planned a full ten months earlier, so how could I have known what God had in mind for me that weekend? I couldn’t have known that shortly before my trip I would find a problem…or that my doctor would find the same problem without my mentioning it…or that he would order the series of mammograms to determine what was wrong. I couldn’t have known I’d have to spend that weekend waiting…hoping that I could handle whatever the test results showed.

Ten months earlier, the trip had been planned as a way for both of us to get away from it all…to spend a long weekend in another state with only our scrapbook supplies and each other. No jobs, no home schooling, no cooking or cleaning. No husbands, no kids, no deadlines. Just precious, quiet time to relax, listen to music, eat junk, scrapbook, shop, and catch up on each others’ lives.

Although I hadn’t planned to spend that weekend waiting and wondering, the trip was just what I needed. Not only did it provide the blessing of diversion, it taught me some lessons I hope I never forget.

Here is what I learned in Kentucky:

1. Everything is going to be OK. And, even if it’s not, well…everything will be OK. Really.

2. The family I so much needed a break from is made up of the people most important to me. I began to truly look forward to whatever time I had left with them.

3. Friends and friendship deserve so much more time and effort than I tend to give them. Having a friend to pray with is an indescribable gift.

4. Laughter really is the best therapy. We laughed, and cried, and laughed until we cried. There is something so cleansing, so rejuvenating, about a long, deep, belly laugh.

I must admit…when we began this little photo shoot on the last day of our trip, I couldn’t help but wonder if these would be the last photographs we would ever take together. After all, as I was being reminded, who ever knows how much time they have left? I found myself being so thankful for the precious time we had spent together and the fun memories we had made. As we posed together, I felt sentimental and nostalgic and blessed.

Yet it didn’t take long for the serious poses to give way to fits of laughter. What started it? Absolutely no idea. How long did it go on? Not sure, but just look at how red my face and chest were!

I will never be able to look at this picture without smiling, or even laughing out loud. Thanks to a friend who was wise enough to keep shooting pictures even after we’d completely lost our composure, a moment was captured that I never want to forget. A moment where I knew that regardless of all the uncertainties of the future, I could still live in the moment…and laugh.

Here are just a few more pictures (all by Connie Vernon–THANK YOU, CONNIE!) from the gazillion we took that weekend.  Note the progression of our facial expressions and posture, from serious and contemplative to hysterical and out of control. Love. That. Memory.

“…and she smiles at the future.” ~Proverbs 31:25

Thanks for stopping by!

Who is this young man, and what has he done with my little boy?

Something about braces and a tie on the same kid just gets to me…

This scrapbook page is a recent favorite since it showcases our oldest son who is growing up in so many ways, and faster than I ever thought possible.

Journaling reads:

Yep–Chandler is definitely growing up. He is a teenager–15 years old–taller and much stronger than me. But the physical growth isn’t what I’m most impressed by…..We bought him some nice dress clothes for Sundays since he & Troy would be serving the Lord’s Supper together all this month. But, when November was over, he told me he planned to dress this way every Sunday. And he has. Yep–he’s growing up.

What milestones have you and/or your kids hit recently? I’d love to hear about them.

Thanks for stopping by!

Connor’s capture

Sadly, Connor doesn’t catch many frogs these days, so when I ran across this old picture I was anxious to get it into my scrapbooks. This was pretty typical of him at the time. They grow up so fast…

Journaling reads: "You love catching them...You love naming them...Posing with them for the required picture for Mommy--not so much...Thanks for doing it anyway!"

Thanks for stopping by!

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