Love at first swipe.

Dreamy, vibrant or pastel. 
Dark-hued or light. 
Love at first swipe.
I'm a lover of pretty much any art or creative form.  Sewing, art journaling, collage making, painting, banners.......I'm excited by almost every kind of creative process I can get my hands on.  One day Anna Ruth and I were watercoloring with a Crayola set of paints.  Which work just fine by the way!  You don't need fancy materials to express your creativity. 

And it made me want to paint more.  I let that thought and desire lie dormant for far too long for far too many silly reasons (remember my Internet post?)  

One day at Hobby Lobby I picked up this watercolor kit for $5.99.
 Love at first swipe. 
I think if my thoughts were to have an art form, it would be watercolors. 
I love how dreamy the colors look, going bold (with less water) for the strong emotion days. 
Or, on the soft, whimsical days-more water.  The paints can change with your emotion, mood, or thought you have to express.  I like that.   

I can't wait to experiment more with them and see what else I can make.  So much possibility, so many colors!
I also had fun getting creative with our Christmas packaging this year also.  A big motto, theme, or life goal right now for myself is to stop thinking I always need more.  (The book 7 by Jen Hatmaker ruined me). 

So we had this roll of wrapping paper we've had for the last 2 or 3 years.  A giant roll, like never-ending.  I really didn't want to use it to wrap presents with again, but why would I need to buy more when we already had some?  I decided to challenge myself to wrap each present in the paper and then see how I could customize each one.  

This turned into a very fun project for me and I was pleased with the results! 
Another win for creativity and being frugal.

Even brown bagging it can look cute! 
I clipped together a doily, photograph from my shop, a scrapbook card, and pretty ribbon 
to dress up this plain brown bag, also gifted at Christmas.  

What have you done creatively lately, using what you already had on hand?

Our family Christmas(es)

 Is anyone else other than me sad that the Christmas season is slowly fading away? 
Which is strange.  Normally I am ready for it to end, spending the day after Christmas rapidly taking down the tree and decorations.  This year, I just can't bear to do it. 

I heard more than ever how ready other people were for Christmas to be over,
and I silently protested.  This year, I just wanted it to last forever.

(and as for the picture above, I know one of the faces is blurry but don't my nephews look equally ornery, delightful, and sweet all at once?!)
 Maybe it's because the girls were older this year and I wasn't living in a "I haven't showered in peace or slept in days" newborn stupor that we dressed up and tried to call Christmas last year. 

This year I got to fully enjoy our wild-hair Betsy Grace....and even sleep some! That sure was a game-changer.  With our snow days early on, the girls and I were in full winter/Christmas mode. We snuck crafts, treats, Christmas books, caroling (to our own merry selves), and seeing the Lights on the Square in. And Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.  The sweetest reason of all for merriment. 

 Each year we celebrate Christmas at my grandparents house, which I affectionally think of as Narnia.  It's like stepping right back into my childhood there.  How delightful it was this year to watch Anna Ruth's eyes light up as she discovered the same delightful treasures as I used to.  

We also celebrate at home, with our family of four, as well as at Nana's house AND Granna and Poppa's house.  That's a lot of love, presents, treats, and family folks. 
I wouldn't have it any other way. 

(My mom is the MOST talented seamstress. EVER.  I sadly, did not inherit this gene.  But she made Anna Ruth this cute little kitty-cat apron.  Anna likes to wear all throughout the day)
 A tradition I remember growing up with was sugar cookie decorating.  Now that I'm an adult myself and have taken on this task a time or two for the girls I realize how much sweet time my mom poured into making the cookies, cutting them out, and frosting them. 

We continued the tradition with all the cousins this year! 
Anna's version of "decorating" was raking her fingers through the icing on the cookie,
and repeating. 

 The Lights on the Fayetteville Square must get bigger and better each year, I'm just convinced of it.  We went twice this year (and might even sneak in another visit) and were spellbound.  The girls both loved it!  Anna Ruth even got to ride a pony, by HERSELF.  She grinned her proud, big girl grin.  

Fortune teller, I think I see a pony in our future.

 Brett and I got the girls a few toys each, because we knew they would be spoiled silly at their grandparent's house.  I am happy to say they both really appreciated what they got.  Anna is just fascinated and thrilled to have her own "Can-Ma", just like her Mama.  

Betsy Grace got mostly musical toys because this little gal can rock her body like nobody's business.  She's got the music in her, for sure.  

Christmas 2013, how I loved you. 
Although not perfect, the best things never are. 
You were sparkles and lights,
treats tucked everywhere,
merriment making. 
I'm sad to see you go,
but thanks for the memories. 
'Till next year,
expectantly yours.

I'm back: Changed. Different. Unsure.

I've been on a bit of a vacation from the web.  It's been glorious and life-changing. 
And that's not even being dramatic one bit.  

I've been writing.....old-school way, in Microsoft Word. 
I suppose something that could be viewed as a strength or weakness of mine is that I like being honest and open and sharing my thought processes with others. 

And so, over the next few days I want to give you a peek into the inner workings of my mind, 
while away from Facebook and Instagram. 

Perhaps you'll be changed, amused, or befuddled as to why I would become that girl whose "not on Facebook".  I realize how UN-popular that is to say, write, or even whisper. 

I'm just suddenly so tired of popular.  Of the superficial interactions I give my mind, time, emotions, and energy too all. day. long.  While my real life art, passions, and people get a lesser version of myself. 

And so, I'm done.  To what degree, I don't know. The Rosy Life blog will stay, definitely.  Just not so rigidly scheduled and machine-like.  I am not a machine, and I won't pretend to be just to get higher blog stats, cranking out blog posts six days a week.

I want to quit Facebook completely but I'm still figuring out how to keep in touch with people (because NO ONE emails anymore apparently).

I like Instagram.  So it'll stay in some form or fashion too.  (You can follow me if you want.  I'm sunshinebysara)

And now, for the story I sat down intending to share. 
An excerpt from my Word journaling over the last week..

"Sometimes I think how I must look to God.  I wake up and instantly check Facebook, Instagram, and my blog.  I make breakfast, sneaking peeks here and there at my phone.  I capture a cute moment with the girls.  Send it out into the “world”.  And repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat. 

By day’s end I’ve clicked, liked, and pressed heart’s ‘till my fingers should be blue.  But have I really connected with another human soul?  Found my way into the company of a good friend?  No.  Have my hands felt the warmth of a genuine, living, breathing, human?  Probably not.

I’m missing it.  I’m desperate to be an Internet Superstar, yet empty. 
I crave:

Crafts, made with love for myself and others
To serve God in a way that pains me, to feel how His heart feels
To talk and express how I really feel, without worry over judgement
To connect with others
To sit around our table with a community of friends who have endured the famine and the feast with us
To show the girls how needy our world is for Jesus and how brightly He shines
Twinkle lights
Rosy Retreats with a PURPOSE to impact a hurting, lonely world.  To have women leave empowered to be a LIGHT for Jesus to a needy world.  Not just leave with a pretty craft.
To stretch the limits of my creativity, using what I already have on hand (and not giving into the monster that says I need more, more, more)
To be brave
To have long hair and cute glasses and wear boots
Movies under the covers with hot chocolate
To unplug
To sit and really listen to a great album
To talk with friends
To laugh, long, hard, and often
To train my artful eye
To party and feast

So much of what I crave (most of it really) cannot be found on the internet.  It’s as if I can feel God telling me to shut it down, so that I may invite the GOODNESS of God in.  I don’t mean the easy, happy go-lucky life.  I mean the holding God’s hand tight because this is a new, scary, and hard life.  Being brave.  I feel like I’ve outgrown this same sad story and song I’ve been writing endless lyrics too long ago.  It’s decision time.  Either jump and see where my wings will take me or stand still until they’ll no longer fly. 

I picture myself taking the hard, yet wonderful choice of flying.  I imagine they are beautiful wings, handcrafted by God’s angels.  I can see God laughing and delighting in my flight pattern, eager to show me a world just on the other side of the mountain top I’ve been scared of for so long.

I wonder what it would look like if I let God radically change my life?  If instead of saying “But everyone’s on Facebook and Instagram, how will I keep up and connect?” trusting that God is the ultimate connector.  What if I stopped trying to plan miracles and connections and jobs and attention?  What if I slipped out of the technology world quietly, only leaving a trace of my old self behind?  Could I trust that God is a music-maker, scene painter, dream changer, even behind the scenes? 

I’m ready to take the slogan I’ve heard so long “Off your device, and into your life”, and be.  Be present, brave.  To stop over planning, because it kills magic.

Can I let go?  Can I sink into my life and magic and twinkle lights and merry-making without making it all viral?  Can I give myself a vacation “away” from this stupid machine of a computer? 

I want to. I need to.  I need to craft and make and read and watch and view and listen and pray and sleep and be emptied so I can be refilled. "

That's a wrap. My most honest truth and a dare.

(this is still a favorite project of mine.  You can read about it here.)

Christmas is coming! Christmas is coming! 
In only FIVE short days. 

You've seen and read rosy reflections, DIY ideas, crafts, art journaling, and lots of little girl stories this year.  But now, for a peek behind the curtain at what you haven't seen. Because I feel like not everything needs to be shared all the time, but only when it's right.  And this is the right time to let you in on what reality is really like around here, beyond the rosiness of the computer screen. 

I say that because I've had a few people who see me in real life, but only "know" me on the computer screen call me Super Mama or comment on all that I get done.  They think I'm Miss Happy, with boundless amounts of energy.  Reality check-I'm not. In fact, as I'm typing this I'm propping myself up on the desk and about to go watch Duck Dynasty before I pass out in bed.  How's that for being honest?! :) 

The truth is this year has been a challenge!  For some reasons that are unbloggable, and some that are.  A big bloggable reason I can now share is that Brett was traveling for work, for months and months.  He's not anymore but it has taken it's toll.  Being mama to two little gals without help is just plain exhausting.  I don't know any other rosy way to put it.  That was our biggest challenge by far this year. Adjusting to Brett being gone, and then him coming back home again.  Two different sets of "normal".  

But, he now has a new position and is HOME for good.  Whoohoooo! I am so proud of him for both jobs-the one where he was traveling and this one.  He is a smart, gifted business man and is figuring out the journey God has for him.   I support him whole-heartedly! 

The good news is also that he is home on vacation for a solid week.  Go us! 
With Christmas and New Year's coming, I need to be honest. I need a break.  The exhaustion from the last few months has settled deep in my bones and I just need a week or two to be with my family, and use nap times for....naps. :)  And maybe painting, or eating treats, or reading a book. Just being, without blogging. 

So, I'm saying thank-you all for being such a loyal, loving Rosy life community and goodbye for now.  I'm going to take the next couple of weeks off, and will be back at the start of the new year.  Hopefully with a new blog look...and plenty of ways for you to get plugged in to the Rosy Life this year!  It's going to be a great year for us folks! I can't wait to grab your hand and tell you all about it. 

'Till then, I pray bravery instead of fear, joy instead of despair, gladness for mourning,
dancing instead of depression, loveliness instead of loneliness, and warmth and light for days....
Sara :) 

Ooops, I forgot Thanksgiving.

I was looking through some older pictures and came across these beauties and just had to have a laugh. I completely forgot to post about Thanksgiving!  We celebrated at my parent's house this year, with my twin sister and her family, plus my grandparents (Grandma and Papaw to me!)  

It was a day full of laughter, toy-playing, and of course-great food.  I even had seconds at lunch! It was THAT good! 
My sweet niece's braids looked adorable....
she is quite the personality.  She's a very animated little gal, almost all the time.  
I could watch her for hours! You never know what she's going to say or do next, or what face she'll make.  
My sweet Grandma helping.  This is a sight I will always associate with my Grandma.  She is such a servant, and always, always tends to the needs of others.  A top example for me. 
My silly girl! 

Dessert for days?
Yes please. 
My parents have a little toy workbench Anna Ruth always really enjoys. 
With the way her organized mind works I wonder if she'll grow up to be a builder? Or engineer? 

One of the sweetest moments of the day was when Caleb taught Papaw how to build something with the Legos.  Papaw said he'd never built anything with Legos before!  
I love these pictures.  They are priceless to me. 

What do your family holidays look, sound, smell, and taste like? 
I'd love to hear.

Dear December,

Dear December,
You snuck up on me. 
It was October and the most brilliant autumn I've seen in years,
and then suddenly I blinked and YOU were here. 
I braced myself for you this year. 
Running here and there, the present buying, package wrapping, fired-up frenzy that happens around this time of year. 

I stood waiting for your over-crazed, evil best friend "MORE" to come knocking at my door. 
Offering to show me all the ways I am less, and need to be doing more. 
But this year, you surprised me.  "MORE" was a no show. 

Instead I was met at December's door with a beautifully decorated home, 
handmade style.  Little trinkets and art from the girls everywhere.  Not Better Homes and Gardens worthy...but better.

Instead of going more places and doing more things, you handed us a vacation package of snow days that kept us in, safe, warm, and together.  You December, taught me how fun, educational, and freeing it can be to stay home. 

Twinkle lights tucked in every nook and cranny,
overstuffed hearts with the anticipation of celebrating your birthday. 

December, you've surprised me this year.  Thank-you for stuffing stillness in all the right places,
a quietness than can be felt.  Thank-you for shining more light at just the right times, for reminding me we are not overcome with darkness.  You're so very welcome in my heart this year December.   You are paving the way for a very different kind of 2014.  Tell January I'm ready. 


Dear film camera, I miss you.

Today, something different instead of Homespun Happiness.
Something to make you think, and change the way you view what "Homespun Happiness" really is.

Where have all the pictures gone? 
Are you wondering that?  

Me too. 

The other morning some random thought leapt into my mind.  I was remembering my college days and some photographs I have from those glorious years.  Seriously, some of the best (and hardest at times) years of my life.  I learned about happiness and heart ache, trusting God, and what real friends are.  Glorious.  And I have the pictures to prove it.  As I was thinking on those pictures I was trying to remember what kind of cameras we used in "those days".  Because you know, at 30 I'm sooo old. :)

Not really, the truth just is that technology is so much on the rise that I'm sure things were a thousand times different 10 years ago.  I was remembering a particular set of pictures that were especially my favorites.  Looking back now, I was appalled to think that we weren't able to look at the pictures before processing them.  

What I DO remember however, is the feeling of anticipation and excitement both while taking the photos, and while waiting the one-hour time at Wal-Mart to see them.  What we didn't realize then was how authentic those images were.  It wasn't like it is now, where we can take 400 pictures and keep 40.  

Life was truly captured, in its raw, real form in those days.  You put the film in, 
you captured authentic moments-a blink here, a face caught in mid-conversation there.  It wasn't considered "bad" like it would be now.  It was a piece of the whole picture puzzle.  Because that's how I used to view my packet of pictures, back from the film developers.  As a puzzle, each moment of time fitting together with all the rest.  The eyes-closed photo just as important as the dazzling smile one. 

And oh friends, as I thought about this truth, that the level of expectation and perfection is on the rise (and keeps rising higher and higher) it just made me ache for the film days.  Long for the negatives. 

Miss the days of excitedly opening the photo envelope to see how the images turned out. 
The belly laughs over the missed shots. The tears welling up when your eyes landed on an image that made you feel. 

This is what I want to do with my photography.  I might still take hundreds of pictures and be caught up in the fast lane of today's photography world, but I want to capture every moment. 

Not just the perfect ones.....all the moments.  I want to lower the bar and capture people, my home, my family, as they are.  To bring the excitement, real authentic moments BACK.  

To tell stories-and just happen to use pictures instead of words.

Snow Day: In COLOR

And I'm back.  In full Sara mode. 
You didn't reallllly think I only captured the snow in black and white did you? 
As beautiful and breath-taking and moving as it was, the color also popped brilliantly against the natural white background.  Of course I had to capture that too. 
A little word about our snow days. 
After a day or two I heard complaining galore about being stuck in.  I admit to having one day where I felt very, very tired of entertaining the girls constantly.  But, we were in for six days straight.  (minus the trip to the local gas station restaurant)  And I enjoyed it. 
We played all sorts of activities, like puzzles, blocks, and slides.  We zoomed toy cars, made cookies twice, read books, sat by the fire, and watched extra cartoons.  We snuggled.  We danced.  Listened to Christmas music.  Made lots and lots of art. Played in water and bubbles.  Played in bowls of snow.  Art journaled.  
We enjoyed the slower pace of life as I believe God intended it.  I even read a book! (more on that later)

Anna Ruth was super brave girl and went sledding, by HERSELF! I was so proud! I honestly thought Brett was going to jump on the sled with her and was left standing there, with my mouth gaping open when he pushed her down by herself.  She got to the bottom and immediately said "That was fun!" with a huge grin.  So proud. 

And on a sidenote, I went down once by myself (and hollered the whole way because it's fun to act like you're five) and Betsy Grace HATES to be away from me so she screamed in Brett's arms the whole sled ride.  LOL :)  Memories...

Do you enjoy snow days?

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