Rainbow Art Party

Well, the birthdays just keep coming! This one was really fun, and fairly easy.

Theme: Rainbow Art Party
Age: 10

DSC_0018 2

DSC_0001

We opted to have it in an art studio where an artist instructed the girls on painting a picture. Each participant painted their own so they came out unique but “the same”.

Kylie-invitation

Invitations: I designed these and had them printed up and we mailed them out about two weeks ahead of time. They didn’t say “NUM.1” on them, obviously. Who names their kids such things?

DSC_0027

Activities: We started with some food and chatting while we waited for everyone to arrive. Then we began the painting. The teacher instructed them on the background and while they waited for that to dry they took a break for dinner. After dinner and snacks, they finished their masterpieces.

Food: We had pizza delivered for our main course and with it we had rainbow fruit and veggie platters. As a treat I let the girls have some soda with straws and “clouds”. they came out so cute! Then while they returned to painting we had some rainbow candy to snack on.

DSC_0011

DSC_0019

DSC_0005

DSC_0012

DSC_0006

DSC_0016 - Version 3

DSC_0036

Cake: Since I didn’t have time to make my own double decker rainbow dot cake, I made a run to the grocery.  They said they usually needed 24 hours notice, but since I am a “special customer” they would make an exception. So sweet! But since I don’t know them, and because this is a big chain grocery, I’m sure that’s what they call all their customers. But it didn’t matter, I needed a cake and they were happy to help me out in a pinch.

DSC_0016 - Version 2

DSC_0021

DSC_0016 - Version 4

About-Kylie

DSC_0009

Decorations: I made rainbow puffs and stuck them on sticks in jars. The food was as much decoration as anything. Then I added a pennant, personal poster and the glasses with straws and clouds topped it off.

The girls had a lot of fun, and it wasn’t too difficult for me either. Fall is busy 🙂

Children Experiencing God

DSC_0341

I pray that my kids will experience God in a real way everyday. I pray that as they encounter God in their lives their faith will grow and they will see who He is for themselves. Not just what their Sunday School teacher says, not just what their parents say, or worse, what their friends say. But that they themselves KNOW that God is real.

I pray these things, but I don’t always get to be there when it happens for a child.

But the other day, I did have the opportunity to see God at work. Number 1 and I have had many, many conversations about appropriate books and inappropriate books for her age lately. And I have come down on the “too protective” side according to her (and some of her friends). Maybe so. But I made the decisions (with some help from http://www.commonsensemedia.com) to help guard her heart and mind UNTIL she is ready to deal with such topics.

This isn’t about how over-protective, or permissive I am as a parent, It’s about how number 1 saw God in our conversation that day.

As I explained to her why I didn’t feel those books were appropriate to read yet and why it mattered, I quoted:

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

DSC_0014

She looked at me and said, “you just read that off my paper.”

No, I hadn’t.

But sure enough, there it was written right in front of her and as I quoted it, she looked down and saw it for herself. When I told her that in fact I had not seen that written there I looked at her and said, “God just spoke to you. You, my sweet girl, just had a moment with God. Believe that.” And in her reaction I know that she knew it too.

Thank you LORD!

My Favorite Fall Kids Craft EVER

SONY DSC

This has to be the cutest idea ever. I had two kids do this craft in preschool and all the parents were nuts about it. The only problem is that you can’t keep it since it is all organic material, but the pictures of them will last forever.

Each child received a small pumpkin and they had all sorts of food, ribbon and material to decorate with but mostly food. Each child got to pick out what they wanted to use for eyes, a nose, mouth, ears and hair if they wanted. Then the teacher attached them to the pumpkin for the children with corsage pins.

SONY DSC

This is a great idea to do at home and then use as your halloween table decoration!

How to Talk to Your Kids About 9/11 (Or Not)

DSC_0781

You may be thinking, “your a little late aren’t you? I could have used this advice yesterday.”

Hang with me, you’ll see.

My kids weren’t even a thought when 9/11 happened. But once I did have a few kids I wondered how I would ever talk to them about that awful day.

How can you tell your innocent, sweet, precious child about such things? Well, I didn’t think about it long enough to actually come up with a good plan for that day. I guess I hoped it never would.

Silly me!

DSC_0738

One day my husband and I were on our way to a wedding with two of our kids. We were all dressed up looking nice and pretty.  It was Labor Day weekend and the anniversary (I think the 10 year) was coming up in a few days. My husband needed to run into a drug store for something so he left us in the car while he ran in. The three of us were sitting there listening to the radio while we waited quietly. Almost immediately after my husband got out of the car the announcer started talking about the 9/11 anniversary and the events of that fateful day.

Then the questions started coming from the back seat. “What happened, Mommy?” “Were you there?”

I new I had to say something. I could’t change the subject, they were too old for that trick. They were sitting in booster seats now! So like most uncomfortable topics I decided to tackle it head on with enough information that they know the truth and know that I will give them answers and not hide things, but not so much that I tell them more than they need (or want).

So I just started. “Well it was a really scary and sad day…” This, that and some other things were explained and when I got to the part about the men on the 4th plane that took it down before it hurt anyone… I lost it.

I mean, LOST IT.

There I sat talking through my sobs like a child. Eyes pouring tears. Mascara running down my face. Trying to catch my breath. I was a sight.

Then one of the girls (and mind you the OLDEST at the time was only 6) let me off the hook and said, “Mommy it’s OK, please stop crying, you are going to ruin your makeup.”

So I pulled myself together. Quickly. And the conversation was over.

My husband came out of the store and got back in the car.

No one said a word. It was months later before any of us told him what happened that morning in the car. I would have, but I was too embarrassed and I am sure the girls didn’t want to get me started again by saying a word.

They did get a good laugh out of it when we finally broke the silence – months later.

DSC_0042

So yesterday I finally had the opportunity to redeem myself and handle this teaching moment with poise and grace. This time number 2 was asking me questions because it came up in class.

Well, I failed again. I was a little more graceful about it, but not much. OK, maybe not at all. I’m just wishing.

So my advice to you is that you should definitely consult someone who has it all together on this topic because I have no idea what I am doing.

DSC_0335

I can only pray that through my tears they know I will talk to them with transparency about anything; that I am a real person with feelings and that feelings are not only OK, but normal; and that 9/11 was serious and life altering for our country, a piece of history to know and understand; and that they should go ask their dad all about it.

So while I can’t be of much help, I do wish you the best of luck in your conversations!

September Slam

vulnerability

September hit me like a ton of bricks. During the summer when we were vacationing and taking it slow and easy I signed us up for all sorts of fun stuff come fall. And now we are in it and I’m wondering what was wrong with me. It all sounded so fun back then.

Now every evening is packed with kid activities and trying to fit in Bible study and homework is not easy.

Lesson learned. Next time take on less than you think you can handle.

Unknown-1

I may be crazed and confused, but I have not finished my quest for wholehearted living and true vulnerability. I have much more to say on it, so stick with me!

I have some fun things to share with you soon! I can’t wait.

Until then…

Tuesday Tip

vintage_hair_brush_and_comb_silver_plated_floral_design_56a30534

Hairbrushes!

We are always losing hairbrushes. My two oldest don’t care because they hardly ever brush their hair but number 4 loves to brush.

I find hair brushes in toy bins, car floors, random baskets, under sofas, and in kitchen cabinets but rarely in a bathroom drawer where they belong.

Most of the time someone comes asking me to put their hair in a ponytail and since we are always in a hurry we don’t have time to check all the random places you might find a brush in our home. So I have to try and create a smooth ponytail with “no bumps” magically with my fingers without “hurting” them.

Impossible

hairbrush-bristles-01

And then there is my brush. I really get frustrated when I go to blow dry my hair, open the drawer and find it empty. Blow dryer in hand and no brush in sight? This may not be a real crisis for you, but I have troubled hair. Hair that needs extra discipline and care. My hair has to be finessed, worked and coddled, not just thrown together. That’s not going to work. It’s touchy. It’s got a ‘tude. It requires extra assistance. So it just won’t do to NOT have MY brush.==

So brushes were the bane of my existence some days.

DSC_0004

DSC_0003

Then a friend, whom God alone sent my way, told me this nifty trick. Tie your brushes to the drawer handle with a long piece of ribbon.

How simple, how splendid, how perfectly perfect.

I LOVE IT!

We now have brushes when we need them, where we need them, every time.

Building a Personal Board of Directors

board

Several years ago I read about a blogger who created her own personal board of directors. She used this board to help her decide on projects to take on or turn down. It was all in an effort to keep her commitments under control. She wasn’t good at saying no and she needed a group of people to help her define when she needed to say no, and sometimes say it for her.

Well, that wasn’t really my situation, but I thought it was a really cool idea anyway. Man, I thought my own personal board of directors would make me officially “important.” And I would like to feel important. Very much, I would like to feel important. This mommy-business is really good at making you feel rather un-important some days.

Years later, I was attending a conference with my husband where they discussed everyone setting up a board of directors for themselves, even me – just a stay-at-home mom. Wow! Really?

I wasn’t sold. What would I do with one, except walk around feeling important. But they insisted we do this exercise, so I came up with a few ways I could use one:

1. Help me turn work or volunteer projects down that aren’t beneficial for me. I have a habit of signing my name on any dotted line thrown in front of me only to ask later what it was for. It’s usually just heading something up.

2. Navigating kid-raising situations. Because, honestly, I have no idea what I am doing sometimes most of the time and some sound, non-emotional advice on raising my kids could do me (and my kiddoes) some good.

3. Processing personal things I deal with. Baggage, hurts, concerns, you know “my stuff”. I got lots of stuff.

If you look at it this way, EVERYONE could use a personal board of directors.

KC- K fam

You can see why I might need one.

If you are interested in creating your own personal board of directors, or PBOD as I like to call it, here are some guidelines to get you started:

1.  Define the purpose for your PBOD. Think about what areas you need help with. Parenting, health and wellness, motivation, business, marketing, speaking…

2. List possible candidates. They never have to even know. Look at the people in your inner circle, people whose opinions you value and respect, mentors older and younger than you, people you work with, someone you aspire to be – or be like, people you trust, historical figures (they don’t even have to be living, seriously). Then decide if you are one that needs a broad range of perspectives, or a few close and dear.

3. Ask, or if you are like me your PBOD doesn’t even know they are on your PBOD! Don’t even ask just start going to lunch or coffee with people and talking. Build the relationship so that when you need it, it’s there.

That’s really it.

As an aside I thought I was “all that” when I put Jesus on my list until I looked over and saw several others at our table had him on theirs too (yes I was looking on other’s papers). He’s popular, but I’m sure he has the time for one more PBOD if it’s yours.

At the Core of Vulnerability is Shame

patio-string-lights

I carry more than a fair share of baggage with me in life and although I have done lots of work to unload it and deal with is in appropriate ways it still creeps up once in a while. We moved a few years ago to a new state and when we did I lost the support system I had spent seven years building at our old home. Although I knew it was very important that I had one I didn’t bother to build a new one until I crashed and burned. Oops, lesson learned again.

I found myself at a very low weight that I hadn’t seen in many years with anxiety through the roof. My heart was beating erratically, I had pain with no explanation, emotional craziness and I wasn’t functioning as the mom I want to be. I was checking out way too often.

I went to the doctor for some help. And I entered therapy again.

Things in my life that were completely out of my control were giving me great anxiety and I had no way to safely deal with them so I spiraled down very quickly. A little help from the doctor and a booster shot from the therapist gave me what I needed to get back on track.

hanging-paper-lanterns

I’ve had setbacks before, but this was a bad one. And I had a lot of work to do to keep it from happening again.

One of the things that was significant in my search for answers were these TED talk by Brene Brown on shame and vulnerability. I posted about the vulnerability one yesterday. And I said then, I dare to be vulnerable IF it helps me live life wholeheartedly. Because that life sounds so very good.

Well, Brene goes on to explain where true vulnerability starts (you can listen to that TED talk here: http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_listening_to_shame). And it isn’t pretty. It starts with your shame.

After listening to this I thought, “Oh, I can be vulnerable, but maybe not with my shame. I take it all back, I would rather live in a cave. Forget the wholehearted living thing.”

Chinese-Lanterns

But truthfully, I do dare to live courageously and deal with my stuff so that I can live wholeheartedly. For me, for my husband, for my children, I dare. So I set out to rebuild my personal board of directors.

I searched my current contacts for people I might feel comfortable being vulnerable with. I reached out to them and started the process of building the friendship deeper. Some were a bust – that’s ok. Others were a gold mine. And I love them for it!

Brene Brown uses different friends for different situations. When a kid or mommy situation arrises she calls those friends. When a work situation arrises she calls on those friends.

I’m a girl with only a few friends at this level. I need about 2 or 3 so they need to cover just about all areas. I have to keep it close you know.

I built a new support system in about a year’s time and today it is working well. I have 2 (maybe 3) people who know my “stuff” and I can call anytime for help. A pre-requisite of mine was that they had to be vulnerable with me too. I don’t need a listening ear, I need people in this fight with me living vulnerably and open with their shame as well. Having a bunch of friends listening to your stuff who appear to have no stuff is not encouraging at all.

31d3015225e344fe90c6ee6562432565

In Brene Brown’s book, “The Gifts of Imperfection” she talks about using her friends to bounce things off of immediately after she feels the shame. She urges you to never let shame sit there festering inside you, tearing you down. The longer that goes on the worse the ramifications are.

Shame grows in darkness.

shame definition-01

For me, shame feels like rocks in the bottom of my tummy. When it first comes on it feels heavy and sick. And if I don’t expose it to the light, talk to someone about it, it will grow and destroy – quickly. This is when I call on my girls. The faster the better.

Let’s say I am visiting a friend and they say something that really cuts deep. And it stirs up all my old pain. They may, or may not, have meant to hurt me, but they did nun-the-less. And it reminds me of my feelings of unworthiness, being unlovable and scared. I hear things like, “your not good enough, you need to be better, do more.” So when I get in the car, I send a quick text or make a phone call to ask for prayer and a little time to talk. Then I pray and ask God to remind me of how He thinks about me.

As soon as light is shed on your shame it knocks the legs right out from under it. Your friends can shed truth on it, God will blow it up with His truth every time, and all of a sudden it isn’t growing anymore, it’s dying.

images-2

I wish I did this well every time. But, no chance. It takes work and courage and vulnerability. Some days I possess more of these qualities than others.

But I can say undeniably that when I deal with my shame well it is life-giving. The benefits are immediate.

I am enough. I am strong. I am courageous. I am loved.

Dare greatly with me to live vulnerably in your shame so that you may live wholeheartedly.

 

Living Wholeheartedly

Last week I talked about people who make us feel good by just being around them and I said I would like to be more like that kind of person. I keep thinking that those people must be very comfortable with themselves or they couldn’t give off the vibe they do.

Thinking along the lines of how to be a more approachable, comfortable, loving person myself, reminded me of a talk I heard a few years ago by Brene Brown on wholehearted living.

You can listen to it here: http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability

This is Brene Brown’s definition of Wholehearted living:

wholehearted living-01

Oh, that sounds really nice!

I want to live wholeheartedly.

I long for this kind of life.

I desire to be this kind of parent.

DaringGreatly-ParentingManifesto-dark-8x10

Wow, I want to grow up in that home, don’t you?

But how do you do that? Somehow I don’t think the answer is found on pinterest or in a list of 10 things you can do to increase the fulfillment in your life.

She says the answer starts with vulnerability.

So, In order to live life wholeheartedly, I not only have to accept my own imperfections but I also have to share them with others? Ouch.

That’s going to take come courage.

Do you dare?

I think I dare.

Focusing on the Beautiful in the Mess

 

DSC_0001 2

DSC_0007

It is so easy to get down on my house. When I just look around the house and see all the projects I haven’t gotten to or the stuff sitting on counter tops and floors I get frustrated, and beat down and sometimes even angry.  It’s easy to stay there, irritated and madly picking up like some crazed housewife. But it’s like that again the next day, so the crazed housewife thing doesn’t seem to be fixing anything. I bet you feel the same way some days.

DSC_0020 2

DSC_0086 2

DSC_0079

DSC_0015 2

So I started wondering what would happen if I focused on the beautiful in the mess. The things in each room that bring me joy not all the things that I need to still get to.

DSC_0001 3

DSC_0045

DSC_0023

DSC_0018 2

I went around the house taking pictures of my favorite things in each room. The room’s jewelry. The piece de resistance. Almost every room has one. And on the days when my house was under siege by trash mongers I focused on these pieces. I found that I was able to rest amongst the chaos when I focused on the beautiful.

It’s the same way with our soul. When we are not restful, if we focus on what God says about us it brings us rest in the middle of the crazy.

DSC_0039

DSC_0258

DSC_0003

DSC_0065

The truth is my house isn’t all junk, there are projects that are completed, and there are beautiful things in it. Just as I am not a total looser in life, God says I am beautifully and wonderfully made no matter what someone else does to me or says about me.

It’s what you focus on. If you focus on the negative and undone in your home, your home will be a tangled mess in your mind, but if you focus on the beautiful your home, it will be a restful and peaceful place, even amongst the mess.

If we focus on what others say about us, or do to us, we may feel bad about ourselves, but if we focus on what God says about us, who God says we are, we will be peaceful and joyful.

Today, I challenge you to focus on the beautiful in your home and in your life.