Monday, November 28, 2011

I lost it. Then I got it back.

Advent, that is. And my sanity.

We were tearing our house apart, preparing to move on December 8th. Then our buyer's buyer's loan got weird, then okay, but we won't move for two more months. I say I "lost" Advent because I felt like I didn't have room in my head to move our house and peacefully reflect on Christ's birth through anything that took planning and intentionality.

Now that I've regained my presence of mind after freaking out about our contract falling apart, I've taken some big breaths, stopped packing and started enjoying--CHRISTMAS!!

In the last couple days we've:
Decorated a little tree
Decorated our big tree
Listened to an obnoxious amount of Christmas music
Read Christmas stories by the light of the tree a couple times--with lots of blankets and stuffed animals
Drove around looking at Christmas lights
Made a gingerbread house
Played a lot with the "little people" nativity set

I'm still trying to wrap my mind around how to practice Advent with our kids since they are at a great age to begin this, but it's a new tradition for me. I'm drawn to it because I love the idea of preparing mind and heart before the actual holiday celebration. So far, I have a couple books of poetry that I've been reading and reflecting on myself:
Accompanied by Angels by Luci Shaw and A Cry Like a Bell by Madeleine L'Engle

I think I need some candles? Some specific scriptures to read with the lighting of those candles on specific nights? I know we've missed like half of Advent already, and I know it only takes is a quick Google search to figure out what to do, but I'm still reveling in the freedom to celebrate Christmas in our house one last time--and the feeling of sanity.

Art credit: I adore this little tree painting made with vintage paper dots!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Goodbye, House

In less than a month we will move out of our house. Over the past years when talking about the idea of moving I've said things to friends like,

"It's just a house, I'm not crazy attached to it, I'll be fine when we move."

"It's not like it's our dream-home, it's a great house, but when we move, I won't be crushed."

"It's a roof and walls."

That was my idealistic, unattached, overly-positive self talking. Now that moving is a near reality, I'm trying to allow myself to honestly feel the transition and all it means. It means leaving the place I've watched my babies grow out of their babyhood and into childhood. These walls encase precious memories of playing sports in the living room with my son, dancing in the kitchen, playing pirate ship in the loft. The floors have been witness to both kids' first steps, wrestling matches with Daddy, games of hide-and-seek, potty training. The roof has sheltered all kinds of noise, lullabies sung late in the night, countless boy sound effects, parties with friends, Jon and I living life together and weathering storms together. During our longest storm of the "never-ending job hunt", our kitchen seemed to be the setting for many moment of truth conversations where one would bolster the other with, "it's going to be okay" and "don't loose hope".

In reality, I am leaving a roof and walls for a different set. This house hasn't done anything another house won't be able to do in the future, but this has been a dream-house for me. I've lived out dreams in this house. I've grown my own dreams for myself and my family while living in this space. This house is unique in the time we've lived and loved under it's shelter. And for that, I'm sad to say goodbye. Now to start packing...
And try not to freak out...

Lovely houses:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Freedom of Routine

You know how we all tend to cling to a false-belief or beliefs that can spread into our way of living and behaving? We carry on without even noticing and our lives are shaped by the belief. Big or small, they have power to create patterns in our lives. A big one I've been working through lately is:

"Routine will suck the life out of my creativity and be a vicious death of any potential spontaneity and fun in our schedule." Dramatic, I know, but that's really how I feel/felt about "routine". 

Since I've recognized this as a false belief, my new theory is this: 

If I can create effective routine to accomplish the mundane (the stuff I'd rather be in denial of its existence--like bathroom cleaning) my time for creativity and spontaneity will actually be more free.

I've been wanting to write about this for a while but each time I start, I have visions of the post plummeting quickly into dark depths of boredom on levels never before seen. But this is pretty huge in my life right now, so I'm going to take the risk and write about it anyway.

I've been testing my theory, these past couple weeks, through what I've named a "Housewifery Bootcamp". You have to pronounce "housewifery" like this {house-wiff-ery} in order for it to be effective.
I have a schedule of housecleaning jobs and I've stuck to them (mostly) and it's been amazing. I won't go into the details for fear of boring myself to sleep on the keyboard, but I'm now a believer in the benefit of a healthy routine, even though it's still majorly a work in process.

This week I'm testing out part two of my theory--the creative part. The idea that my head will be clear enough of the necessary mundane that I can write and paint without feeling like I'm neglecting my home or my family. I've designated this week as "make progress on my creative projects week". Okay, so I don't have a creative title for the week, but that's the idea. I want to work on my novel and finish an art project.

Since it sounds like my little one is actually going to nap, and my coffee is done brewing, I'm going to stop writing ABOUT it, and actually DO it. Off to be creative...

Next up in my false-belief bashing process: "I have to have a gym membership to work out". 

One false belief I will not give up: "Each time I kiss my kids' foreheads and stroke their hair, it slows time a little bit."


Friday, November 4, 2011

Thankful--expression through visual art

My friend Dawn is having a blog "link-up party" and invited me to join in. The theme is 30 Thankful Days, where bloggers write about what they're thankful for each day in November. I am really not going to pull off a post-a-day, but I'm shooting for twice a week. :)

Today I'm especially thankful for truth expressed through visual imagery. I love words, hence, this blog. Writing is a form of self expression and a creative outlet for me, but I think what most speaks to me at my core is the visual. I love how so many times in our lives words are unnecessary in expressions of love and communication. I love how God communicates Himself through creation--visual expression.

Well, today our friend Luke posted this video of a live illustration he did during their church service. I loved it. I think especially in church, sometimes a break from words can be welcomed. We speak words when singing, listen to words of the pastor, think words when we pray. Then of course, talk, talk, talk after the service.

This is his description of the video: 
"live ipad illustration created in a span of 35 minutes during the worship time at Woodmen Valley Chapel. For the series Extravagant Grace. Using the ipad2 app Sketch Club, I recorded the sequence of illustrations and then played it back during the final worship song."

Check it out:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Airplanes: A love story

After a year and a half we have a contract on our house and we will move into a different house in another part of our city. We've lived here for over five years and one thing I will miss deeply is living under a flight pattern for our city airport.
When I was a girl and my family was shopping for a new home, I recall two big rules for choosing a good location: 1. Not backing to a busy street. 2. Not near an airport.
I've since learned rule #2 does not apply to me because the sound of an airplane rumbling toward our house sends me flinging curtains aside and shouting, "airplane! come look!", every time. 

I think this love came upon me by proxy through my toddler Jack a few years ago.  Like many toddler boy fascinations--construction trucks and cars--airplanes were one of them. We would gawk in wonder, time after time, pointing up. "Ah-plane", he called them. Now that he is five and Nora is two, and not as taken by them as he was, my love for planes endures and is outlasting even their wonder.

I've been wondering why. Why, after seeing maybe hundreds of airplanes fly by in the past five years, do I still look with anticipation to see what is flying by?  I keep rolling metaphors around in my head trying to pinpoint the reason for my endearment. I feel like my adoration is deep and subconscious. So far, I have enough reasons to start an entire blog on airplane love, so I'll try to summarize. Ready?  This is going to be one of those "write to figure it out" experiences for me.

I love the sound, the power of jet engines zipping souls through the air in encapsulated safety.
I love their lines and the gray silhouette against the sky. Blue and Gray.
I love what they represent in my memory: vacation, adventure, the world.
I love riding in them and seeing the ground below as a quilt.
I love the history of their invention and development.
I could go on...and I said--airplane blog.

Airplanes, to me, are moving art merged with scientific marvel in my favorite canvas, the sky. When I look at the sky, in any state, my soul stirs. The variegated blue inspires creative thinking. Gray churning clouds remind me of my powerlessness, and conversely, God's power. Like a canvas, the sky is often a starting place for me in prayer. Airplanes flying past my house pull my eyes upward to the sky, reminding me. I remember God is present and surrounding. They remind me of God's immensity and how He gifted humanity with creativity and ingenuity enough to create something so intuitively illogical as a giant hunk of metal floating weightlessly.

Airplanes are part of my scenery, mixed with my natural surroundings. We live deep in suburbia where the minimal vegetation is still young and tiny. We sit on a slight hill overlooking a sea of rooftops with a backyard void of plants. Being a naturalist at heart (but now pretty citified if I'm honest), what I love about our setting is when I look out any window in our house, I see three quarters sky. Rooftops and sky.

A plane's low hum draws my eye to the sky. I am reminded to dream big, to pursue the impossible in my own world, like the Wright Brothers did in theirs. I'm reminded that God surrounds me in my pursuit of living and loving; there always in the endless blue, gray and black.

Our new home will most likely be away from my beloved place under the air-traffic. I guess some airplane art on my walls will be a tiny consolation for me.

Cool airplane art in this post:
Paper Airplane Heart
Boy with Plane
Paper Airplane Card