Monday, February 29, 2016

Muse Mondays: The Sea the Sea

Today I am starting a new blog series called Muse Mondays. This series will explore whatever is inspiring me lately. Some Mondays it may be music, visual elements, poetic, mathematical, or who knows what else! What I do know is that it will be a fun way to share and document what has been inspiring me.

My muse for this Monday is The Sea the Sea. I came across their new EP while exploring iTunes last week. I was struck by their sound, but most of all by their lyrics. There are moments when I listen to music and a line of lyrics stops me in my tracks. There are multiple such lines from songs off of their In the Altogether EP. Over the weekend their music has been the soundtrack to my creativity, cleaning, and relaxing.

The Sea the Sea is the creative expression of the singer-songwriter duo Chuck e. Costa and Mira Stanley. I highly recommend checking out their EP on iTunes or in their store.

What about you? What is inspiring you this Monday?


Friday, February 26, 2016

Sistership Zine Published!

Today I am incredibly excited to share a creative project that I have been dreaming about for over a year that is finally a reality.

Introducing Sistership! It is a digital zine focused on women that inspire me. This is the first of what I hope will be many future volumes. This project is focused on nurturing relationships and is centered on the theme of encouragement. I am so thankful for the many women who contributed. This first volume was released on February 13th (aka Galentine's Day) and features interviews with six incredible women.

I hope you will take a little time to read some of the inspiring interviews within these pages. Each woman is so unique and I am excited to be able to share the completed project with the world. Most of all, I am thankful for Nadia, Chelsea, JoAnna, Jessica, Liz, and Katie for taking time to contribute to this project. 

If you have a dream for a creative project, I would like to encourage you to take that first step toward making it a reality. I am so thankful that I finally made the decision to start reaching out to women that inspire me and ask them if they would participate in this project. Dreaming is a wonderful thing, but stepping out and beginning to make a creative dream a reality is even more wonderful and exciting. I hope you will dream and then take brave steps to make it happen.

I wish you a weekend of happy reading and artistic expression/making creative dreams happen!


Sunday, February 7, 2016

Dry-Erase Board Memories...

It is incredible how meaningful little moments can be in life. We often get so caught up in the busy of daily living that we stop embracing the special moments and memories in even the smallest of things.

Just before the new year we found out that my beautiful Momma had breast cancer. It turned life upside down. Daddy took time off from work to be with Mom through medical appointments and procedures, my sister put looking for a job on hold, my brothers took on extra responsibilies around the house, and I withdrew from college to move back home and help support her on this journey.

On February 4th, she woke up early and prepared to go to the hospital for major surgery. I walked into the kitchen that morning and saw that she had drawn one of her Mommy doodles and written in bold letters, "Mom LOVES YOU!"

Beneath her words I wrote, "And we love Momma!"

Next to my words my sister wrote a long line of O's with two X's at the end.

My heart was comforted as I looked at the board the rest of the morning. There is so much love in our family. Momma loves each of us so very much and we each love her and one another. We aren't prefect. We bicker, we disagree, we sometimes hurt the feelings of one another, but we choose to keep loving. We learn lessons daily in forgiving, loving when someone is acting in a not-so-loving-way, comforting through hard times, celebrating in times of joy, having honest conversations, and growing together. Family.

The older I get the more I realize that all relationships take work. It is a choice to keep loving in my friendships, my family, and other relationships. Relationships take investment and nurturing. I learn that more and more each day. It means so very much. I continually give thanks for my family and the close relationships that we have. I also continue to learn to never take it for granted and to always remember that we are as close as we are because we continue to choose to love and learn and grow together.

Today I sit and write all of this from a hospital room while Momma sleeps. Today I reflect on the love of my family. In this month so filled with hearts and valentines, I give thanks for the love of my Momma.

My Momma who:

-Carried me within her and fought through pain to help welcome me into this world.
-Taught me how to read, to love learning, to cook, and so much more.
-Comforted me in sickness, in heartache, in pain, in sorrow.
-Was the first to celebrate with me when life held cause or news for such jubilation.
-Spoke truth into my life even when I didn't want to hear it.
-Held me when I needed to cry and rubbed my back when the world felt overwhelming.
-Let me fly as I was more and more independent.
-Stepped back and let me make mistakes.
-Led by example in her faith in Christ.
-Taught me to look beyond myself and to help others.
-Showed me the passion of a Momma bear when she told an angry dog to leave her babies alone while we were on a childhood walk.
-Allowed me to explore creativity even when it looked very messy.
-Instilled the lessons of how powerful words can be and the importance of meaningfully apologizing.

I am so humbled to call this woman Momma. I am so thankful to have her in my life. Today as I look at this mighty woman in the hospital room, I am reminded of all of these things. Today I hope that I can love her even half as much as she loves me. If I ever have children, I hope I can love them as fiercely as I have been and continue to be loved by this incredible woman.

This February, I hope you won't forget to look beyond the busy swirling of daily living and cherish the "dry-erase board memories" of life. There is so much love contained in those little treasures.


Monday, February 1, 2016

Small Goals: February 2016

It is officially February!

January was nothing like I expected it to be. My Mom was diagnosed with cancer just a few days before the new year and January was spent with lots of medical appointments and news about her health. Originally, I planned to return to college for the spring semester, but as time continued it became very clear that I wanted and needed to withdraw for a semester to support my Mom on her journey. So, January was spent focused on helping my Mom, spending time with family, withdrawing from college, moving back home, losing my student job, and being supported by the most amazing family and friends.

With that said, it is still important to me to reflect back on the goals I set for January and create new goals for February. I think January was definitely a reminder to be kind to myself when life takes all of my plans and scatters them in all directions.

Here were my January goals:

1. Create a blog post schedule. I did create a general blog post schedule. Hooray! However, I definitely didn't follow it considering I only posted twice in January. I am okay with that. January was honestly a month where life was pretty consumed with riding out the craziness of major life changes and loving and supporting my Mom.

2. Work on my zine project. This is the goal that I am most proud of myself for last month. I had the idea and dream for the zine and I took major steps toward making it a reality. During the month of January I reached out to many individuals to ask if they would help contribute to the project and I was so humbled and amazed by the beautiful responses I received. When life is crazy and filled with challenges, creativity is even more vital to me. I am thankful that I didn't give up on the project last month and hope to share more about the zine later this month!

3. Continue to develop self-care and attend counseling. I am really proud to say that I continued both of these even in all the craziness of January. I did not miss any counseling sessions and I continued self-care.

4. Create a budget that helps rebuild savings. Funny story on this one, I did create a budget before making the decision to withdraw from college, but once I had withdrawn and lost my student job on campus it was no longer valid. My plan is to find a job back home once Mom is more stable and then recreate this budget. However, since I did create the budget I am going to proudly check this one off of the list.

5. Photograph my outfits each day. (This was to help me get a better concept of what clothes I wear the most.) haha Nope. That one simply fell away in all of the craziness of January.

Now it is a new month with its own new set of challenges. Today I want to link-up to Writes Like a Girl's monthly small goal post for February.

February Small Goals:

1. Support my Mom as she has surgery and goes through an intense recovery period this month. Goodness, this month will be intense, but I am so thankful for my amazing family and friends that are supporting my Mom, my family, and I as we walk through this season.

2. Make sure that I find moments to take care of myself through rest, self-care, and continuing counseling. I realized last month that this journey that I am on in supporting my Mom is not a sprint. It is important to find moments to recharge. I can better love, support, and help my Mom and family when I am making sure that I am re-energizing. Some days that may simply be a few minutes in the morning and a few minutes before I fall asleep, but those minutes are still important.

3. Take time to crochet. I continue to realize that taking little moments to crochet is very therapeutic and stress relieving. In the craziness of this month I hope to use it as a healthy form of stress relief.

4. Continue working on my zine project. This small goal is not my #1 life priority this month, but it is important to me to make a little progress on it. Maybe it will simply be creating a little bit of art for the project during the small minutes I take in the morning and evening, but it will still be progress.

5. Work on my taxes. This is practical and also a necessary part of being an adult. *sigh*

Do you have any goals for this month?

If you want to join in the monthly small goals fun, check out this link for the February meet-up. Plus, it is always great to read Nicole's blog. ;)

I hope that your February is off to a great start!