Bouncing back.

I quickly (and rather hastily) posted a quick DIY project on Instagram this week and wrote a few lines about feeling sluggish, both mentally and physically.  I instantly felt guilty for not being strong enough to overcome those feelings and then almost in the same breath, felt free and normal and human for saying so!   I think the thing others sometimes forget about me (whether you know me both in real life AND the blog, or just the bloggy world) and what I often forget about myself,
is that I have a one-year old and a two-year old who are 17 months apart and I get tired.

Enough said!  I happily and joyfully have two little gals that I love so much it takes my breath away sometimes.  They are literally my world, walking around.  They are rambunctious, energetic, sweet little gals who are learning about everything at lightning fast speed, including discipline. 
And so-back to that whole sluggish thing. 
Need I say more? 
I also think sometimes I forget (and maybe you forget about this too?) that finding the rosy in the routine isn't always......rosy.
A lot of days I work really, really hard to find the rosy in my routine.  I pray for it, ask for it, and seek it out.   One night I decided to relax by creating a pretty table-scape, complete with lots of candles.  Take that, dark winter nights!

I laid out our best china (which I'm still in love with) and an assortment of dish cloths and handkerchiefs (most thrifted) and added candles (clearance at Target!) in various jars.  And as always, our faithful candlesticks from our honeymoon to Italy. 
 The next morning I lit everything for the girls and I at breakfast.  Anna Ruth instantly commented on how pretty it was and said the sparkly ones were her favorite.  

Mission accomplished.  
 Brett also surprised me with a date to Crystal Bridges, our local art museum that is a very big deal around here!  Seriously, like it has famous works of art in it, it's not just a small town kind of thing.  

 Isn't this WEIRD?! I mean, it looked JUST like a real person.....
 and so did this! Ok, so it kinda freaked me out.  I kept glancing over at the statue to see if he had moved. Or was looking at me.  I mean, the man even has elbow wrinkles.  Seriously, so fascinating.

 And then there was this.  Caught my eye all the way across the room.  Quite possibly the loveliest painting I've ever seen. Ever.  It made my eyes want to fill with happy tears.  If you're the serious type, you'll shake your head and think that's silly.  If you're the dreamer type, you'll get it.  
(but even the serious types-look again....)
I loved, loved this painting too!  It was called "September Sunshine"! Isn't that lovely?  
I was most drawn to the paintings that had "the light".  You know the one-the glow that makes you feel warm and cozy and full of sunshine and happy?
THAT light. 

And that is how my candlelit table and date night made me feel.  I told Brett I felt like I'd bounced right back after this date.  A dress, cowgirl boots, art...and Brett are just what I needed.  

What have you done to bounce back lately? 
(I need to bounce back with my exercise routine next week-pray for me!)

It's ok. You can laugh.

 If you're not quite getting the "funny" in these pictures, allow me to explain. 
I had this idea....(oh, how many of my conversations have started like that!) to photograph the girls in our upstairs nook.  A cozy, cute little spot that looks school-ish.  Anna Ruth was not interested.  I distracted her a bit with the old-fashioned lunch box like my dad used to carry.  

But her displeased face just makes me laugh. 
And the six bows piled on one headband (when she's only worn a headband a handful of times in her ENTIRE LIFE),
and Betsy Grace's sweater that was supposed to have a shirt on underneath but I didn't know...and so it became a belly shirt (because she still throws a fit every. single. time. I dress her or wipe her face/hands...so who wants to take the sweater off to put an undershirt on for that?!)



 Betsy's hair that always has volume and body,
and her feet that go, go, go, go, go.......
laughing. 

 And then there are these.

Anna's tiny little body in leggings,
I just can't get enough.  She was running laps this day around the kitchen island.  I think we already determined winter has overstayed its welcome, so why not? 
 You should see her little hop! She finally learned how to get both feet off the ground and she is PROUD as ever.  Watching her tiny little body leap off the ground (a half inch or so, lol) and then her big proud grin makes me laugh and laugh and laugh.  Such joy.


Get it sister! 
We are dancin' fools in our house. 
Where only us can see us. 
If you saw me dance,
I would say-it's okay, you can laugh! 

What's making you laugh today?

Winter. And Waiting.

 The cold (in both my little gal's bodies) and outside seems to be doing its best to knock our door down this winter.  My optimistic, rosy spirit usually permeates even the coldest and darkest of days/nights.  The last few days I admit, have become more of a practice and ritual of finding the rosy in the routine as it seems the walls are beginning to close in a bit more each day.  This just makes the hope of spring even sweeter I think.  

An especially bright sight this winter has been the sun that usually seeps in most afternoons.  Around 4 it is just magic... 

The last day or two I decided to capture what things around the house brought my eyes (and mind and heart) joy when I looked at them.
 I mean, of course this.  
Do I even need to explain?  
 I get teased sometimes for being disorganized but the truth is, sometimes it means I come out ahead.  Like when I discovered Christmas sun-catchers in our art and activity cabinet that I'd forgotten about.  Instant fun for both my gals! Even when Betsy Grace tried to eat the paint, lol. 
 As we anxiously await garden food the less-than-tasty, but still ok herbs from the grocery store will do.   Parsley, who knew you could look so pretty?  Wouldn't a whole table full of herbs in jars (instead of flower bouquets) be gorgeous?!
 I moved our dining room table around and am loving how the light filters in behind it.  
 The theme of my life lately seems to be doing less to be more. 
Like saying "no" more often and simplifying my to do list and taking naps.  As often as necessary naps.  On average, I'm up at least 3 times a night. I can't even remember the last time I slept a full night....
a conversation we won't get into because I've realized, some people are mean and judgmental when it comes your kiddos sleep. LOL.  BUT, these naps! Did I mention how great they are?! (especially if you light a candle, my new favorite scent EVER is Sugared Lemon by Bath and Body Works) 
 A happy little spot in my craft room.....I haven't been getting in there as much lately because I've changed my focus towards improving my photography skills and learning the ins and outs of my new camera. I'm dreaming of sneaking in there this weekend though...and spending an evening or two.  
 Coffee, how do I love thee? 
Let me count the ways. 
One cup. 
Two cups. 
(Sometimes) three cups. 
Hot, comforting, a ritual.  Not just a drink.  
Do you know what I mean?
 Can someone please tell me who this big, grown-up girl is?! 
 I put a jar of colored pencils on our coffee table (which is really purely for the girls, they're the only ones that use it!) and they have LOVED taking the pencils in and out of the jar.  All day long.  It's the small things, right?
 For some reason, I'm fascinated with tables.  Real-life tables.  I think it would be fantastic to have a book dedicated to table tops.  Messy ones, neat ones, perfectly planned ones.  They are all beautiful to me.
 I picked up these water bottles on sale at Wal-Mart with hopes to place them on the table, full of wildflowers.....a table scattered with flowers and loads of candles.  I can just see it! The farm produces the most beautiful wildflowers (or weeds as Brett reminds me sometimes-ha!) all throughout spring and summer.. 
Not to deceive with my last food post, I do fully intend to return to smoothies soon.  I've been having one some days.  But other days when I'm starving and the cold runs all the way down to my tippy toes, I eat something warm.  Like a warm cheese sandwich.  

Well I don't know about you, but already I'm feeling warmer and .....
sunnier.  
Let's rally 'round this quote the next few weeks,
"Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: It is the time for home. " Edith Sitwell

Here's to comfort and embracing all that winter has left to offer! 
(but seriously sweet spring, hurry it up, will ya?)

I went to a Mary Kay Party! (and liked it)

Are you a makeup kind of gal?  I am most days.  I've always liked makeup but have the good (or bad) quality of being completely fine with myself without it also.  In fact, on the days we stay home all day a lot of times it's a treat to myself to not have to put it on.  I'm definitely not one of those gals that won't leave the house without it.  I do feel better with some on though..especially mascara. 

My friend from college has started selling Mary Kay makeup, which I was pretty unfamiliar with before I went to her Mary Kay party.  This is a dear friend of mine, since my college days.  She is a teacher at a local school and has started selling Mary Kay makeup in her spare time.  My twin sister hosted a party at her house and it was so much fun!  

I went, not knowing quite what to expect.  Mikayla (the gal on the left) had everything all set up so pretty and organized.  She taught us all about the skincare line first and we got to wash our faces with the best smelling, best feeling soaps and scrubs.  We also got to pamper our hands with some scrubs and lotions. What a treat for my very neglected, dry hands!
Isn't my twin sister beautiful?!   This is when she's about to get her makeup done.  Mikayla was so knowledgeable about the colors and techniques that would look best on each individual person.  



Of course, what's a party without snacks?!  We enjoyed munching on some cookies and a veggie platter with hummus in-between learning about Mary Kay products.  They have makeup, fragrances, and skin care.  After trying the foundation and skincare I can honestly say they have an awesome product! 
And the after!  I ended up ordering some eye shadow and a clear lip liner.  For now.  I loved each item in the catalogue so much I wanted to order more and plan on it in the days to come! 

If you're looking for a Mary Kay consultant, or want to have your own party with Mikayla,
you can send her an email at
mikaylanewton@marykay.com

This was such a fun break for me last weekend!  

Brave.


Did you watch the Grammy's?  Brett and I turned it on for a bit after the girls were in bed. And this song made me stop and actually listen.  It's brilliant, bold, BRAVE.  Not really a match made in heaven with the barrage of cow and farm pictures I'm about to hit you with, but to me they make sense.  Both lyrics and looks at the farm speak of encouragement, of beauty, of a certain calm and order and purpose beneath what's loudest in life.  




I love cows.  I could look at them all day.  I always imagine little stories about them, wondering who has buddied up with who, which calf is in trouble for the day, and which cow thinks she looks extra good with the sun glinting off her messy fur.   It's silly, but what else?
This is my response to most things most days lately.  If not silly, what else is there?  Serious all the time?  We both know how much fun that is. 



The lake near our farm and pond on our property are both mysteriously and wonderfully brave and beautiful.  Cold and frigid and dark looking on some days,
shining, bright, and cheerful on others. Always doing their job to the fullest, whether a human eye notices or not.   Waiting for the weather to change their state, probably preferring to be warm on the cold days, but being as COLD and frozen and beautiful as they can.  Being bravely beautiful. 

I've had a lesson or two in being brave lately. 

I've had a project of sorts I've been working on behind the scenes.  You all know I love to take photos of just about anything, but what I really like to take pictures of are things.  Still-life photography, if you will.  I've enjoyed this for years, and have dozens of photos that have been taken throughout my life story, since my love of photography has taken flight.
In the midst of a very mundane Monday a while back I got an email from a friend, Holley Gerth, asking me to help with her new book promotion.  The idea was that I would use my photographs and combine them with quotes from her new book, You're Going to Be Okay, for her to use on social media sites once the book was released.  The icing on the cake?  I even got paid, like a real job.  
I instantly felt non-qualified and nervous.  And then a tiny twinge of excitement.  I told Brett and a few family members about the exciting opportunity and then got to work.  I decided to be brave.  The work was totally enjoyable.  I never knew or dreamed I would get such an opportunity and really, really love it.  The excitement quickly overcame the nerves as I started to realize all those photographs I've been taking (and feeling silly for sometimes, honestly) were now serving a tremendous purpose, as I matched up photos with quotes from Holley's book.  It was as if God (through Holley) was saying "I want to see you be brave." And I was.  And it felt so, so good.


I want my girls to watch me and learn that, just like the quiet strength of the lake when no one's looking, whether your brave is seen or not, it matters.  Brave to me is somedays not posting on Instagram a million times, but instead quietly folding the laundry that's waiting.  Choosing to realize the mundane chores that depend on me matter, whether they win the vote of a thousand "likes" or not.  Brave is also praying for patience, just one more time, when my sleep is interrupted.

Brave is looking at the roots near the creek and asking God to show me meaning in them,
rather than allowing the thoughts that it's too silly to think so to rule.

Brave is saying no to the most popular things,
when I instead need to speak a "yes" to the fainter whispers of my heart.

Brave is laying down my thought-so's,
and could-be's,
and to do's,
and what if's,
and holding a big empty canvas out to God instead.
Giving up and giving in,
to the very GIFT of life and surprise and celebration that's waiting.

And for today, BRAVE is sharing this exciting news with you (Holley's book comes out next week and I'll tell you where to see my work then!)
instead of worrying over what people will think.

I want to see you be brave! 

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