Do you have fun? ever?

I keep getting asked a lot when I paint.  How I find the time.  The truth is, I haven't found much of anything when I go looking for time.  Time slipped out the door quietly when I had Anna Ruth and hasn't been seen around these parts since.  I have been painting though by the way.  I have two new canvases sitting in the craft room, ready to show you. I just haven't had the....time.  That word again.  But I'm painting canvases, enough to fill a shop "someday".  I'm reading through the e-course on creative businesses and learning.  So much learning right now.  I'm painting and learning and will open an Etsy shop (most likely) to sell original canvases and prints in the future.  Possibly adding other painted items (like bookmarks) later on. 

It's struck me as odd several times lately though how backwards society seems to view this motherhood thing.  For me, I generally write about rosy things because that's my thing....focusing on the "rosy in the routine".  That's a great gig to play but what about when the gig's up, the fun's over?  I've noticed when I'm real and transparent on Instagram people do one of two things-they either greatly appreciate my transparency or tend to think I'm complaining.  Clearly I stink at showing real life through a humorous voice.  That's what we have Jen Hatmaker and BooMama for! 

I keep my mouth shut about the honesties of life a good portion of the time.  I'm clearly lucky to have two beautiful, healthy girls.  I live on a dream farm.  I have family who loves me.  But after reading Momastery's book and blog I'm feeling a bit freed up to let the captivity of being "fine" go.

The truth is, anxiety has become a very close, annoying friend that won't go away lately.  My girls are one and two, 17 months apart. And YES, we "planned" it that way.  At this particular stage though Betsy Grace is on the move, constantly.  She's climbing on top of the table, or stepping in paint, or getting on top of the open dishwasher.  All day long.  My life looks like you pressed the fast forward button, day in and day out. And then we press rewind and it starts over.  So, I feel like I'm constantly darting my eyes around to make sure both girls are safe, learning, loved, challenged, and getting along (sorta).  And already just admitting that I hear my working mom friends telling me how lucky I should act to get to stay home.  And I am friends, I truly am. 

(no source, link takes me to Facebook?)

I feel though, that if I let the daily grind of having two toddlers take over it will TAKE OVER, all the way.  If I'm running ragged, why not give myself a break, a breather?  Why not have some fun?  Do you have fun? Ever?  

You should.  We should.  The truth is, life in general is sad and anxious sometimes.  It's hard, hard work.  But I just can't get on board with the thought that in an effort to serve our families and communities we work until we're bone dry, our hearts parched and imaginations wiped clean.  Shouldn't we have FUN every now and then?  I think so.  And that is why I paint.  I paint to add some light to my life.  What most people don't understand is that I'm not painting to "do it all".  I'm painting and creating and taking photos to slay the dragon of guilt, anxiety, and exhaustion.  Painting is my creative expression of life and light, that chases darkness away.

I think of two things-
One, the part in the notebook where Noah (I think?) asks Allie what she does for fun, just for her.  She lists off a whole bunch of things she does for other people and then he asks her again...what she does just for her.  And she admits she likes to paint.  

I also think of the bible verse where Jesus tells the man to get up, pick up his mat, and walk. 

I believe in a God who wants us to work hard, serve even harder, and love no matter the cost, but also live.  To get up and walk!  I believe in:

bubble baths "just because it's fun", 
cheese and cracker date nights,
 watching a movie with popcorn on a weeknight just because you can, 
cheerful books and magazines, 
funny t.v. shows (I can't WAIT for America's Got Talent to come back on!), 
getting our hands dirty in the garden, 
drinking coffee with two hands (a term borrowed from Under the Sycamore),
running or exercising and breathing deep,
funny texts to friends,
bible reading,
window shopping,
feeling pretty,
being spontaneous,
taking pictures,
online classes (think: art, photography, cooking, etc.),
happy mail,
a new haircut,
IG and blog friends,
sleeping under cozy quilts,
and being honest.

My friends, Satan and life are nipping at our heels all day long.  Satan will use the tool of anxiety and guilt and even cause us to think we're bad mamas if we take a timeout for ourselves.  He's done it to me more than enough times.  When I commune with God and pray while I paint, I come away with my eyes sparkly and ready to play with my girls.  They are my girls in every sense.  They have my heart in a way no one else does.  I love my girls and they need me, desperately.  Brett is my partner, my best friend, the one I trust with my everything.  He's also a lot of fun.  We're not doing anybody any favors by starving our souls of fun, working our fingers to the bone but never put anything back in.

Let's have fun today.  Let's find something that makes us laugh, grab our husbands hand when the kids are in bed, and belly laugh together.  Let's kick anxiety to the curb.  

Let's have some fun.  Our kids and husbands and community and the rest of the tired, worn out world will thank us.  

Join me?

Dreamy Dandelions.

(just daydream a bit today for me, will you?
No words needed)

the creek.

 I never would have expected to end up here.  The tale of my college days spent dreaming of the biggest of cities to dwell and my happy ever after ending landing me on the farm never gets old.  Quite honestly it still surprises me every single time.  Growing up I lived in a rural area and remember being absolutely terrified of the cows at my grandparents and of trying to traipse through woods, rocks, and the creek.  I had no idea on the great world of discovery I was missing out on!  Thank goodness life, God, and Brett rescued me from my small, in the box thinking before it was too late.
 Our farm has been one of my greatest joys in life.  It's one of the prettiest (if not THE prettiest) places on the planet to me.  Destinations like Italy may seem enticing and adventurous and exciting, but the farm is all that too....and more.  It's rocks and pebbles and splishes and splashes.  It's relaxing and the wind blowing your hair just right.  It's the chirping of birds, their familiar song making you feel right at home even when the rest of the world doesn't.   The farm is a masterpiece, each season on full display.  When spring rolls around, it really knows how to put on a show.
The farm is also the perfect playground for learning some of life's greatest, most valuable lessons.  Like curiosity and imagination.  We have a creek that runs on part of the property and about once a week the girls and I have been loading up to visit this gurgling fountain of life.
We even got extra brave and brought Bouncy, the puppy last time.  We load up our "Treasure Bag" with miniature notebooks and markers because you just never know when inspiration will strike.  Anna Ruth documented a caterpillar in her notebook last time we visited.

 We touch, smell, question, and wonder at The Creek.  We imagine like the sky's the limit.  We are brave at the creek, crossing over the slippery rocks with just the right amount of caution.

 The creek and farm are where we breathe a little deeper, we pray a little longer.  We speak a little kinder and linger a little longer.

The farm and creek are where some of my biggest whispers have been uttered, dreams birthed, hopes sown into the wind.  

Behind the Scenes: My creative process

Wondering how things are going on the artist side of life?  Slow, but steady.  A mixture of answered prayers, thoughts, comments, messages and signs from above all crashed into each other a couple of weeks ago and that's when I decided to go for it and say the words out loud, that I was aiming to be an artist.  The scariest proclamation I've ever made thus far in my life I think.
That kind of a statement can seem big and exciting but also kind of vague to anyone outside of my mind, meaning the entire rest of the world.  My creative thought process is anything but vague but just doesn't get mentioned very often.  Honestly, I always just assume that everyone has as much going on in their minds as I do.  Surely it's normal to have more ideas than time, to think in colors and sketches, to see the world as a constant photo op.  What I'm learning lately is maybe not all minds are wired like that and what a good thing it is!  Can you imagine if people like myself ran the world?  It would be a happy, carefree, artistic kind of world but with less organization and order which is also sometimes needed.

(we had some extra kiddos around the art table-our cousins!)

At any given moment of any given day I typically have two or three creative projects stirring in my head, heart, and home.  This could mean a decorating project for the house (inside or out), a handmade gift for a friend, or planning a party or get-together for friends or family.  Add in the staples of blogging and painting and a creative life is built.  I was asked this week how I find time to create so let's start there today.  I could write about my creative process 'till the cows come home and trust me that's a LONG time.

I've tried lots of times (unsuccessfully) to rise before the girls and go into the craft room.  It just doesn't work for me.  I wake up hungry and in need of caffeine with lots of needs to tend to!  Waking up earlier just doesn't fit my schedule right now because I'm almost always still getting up in the night at least a couple of times with a baby.  In short, mama needs her sleep!
SO, I do find time to create other parts of the day.  Creating with the girls is a given and often sparks ideas for my own independent art time.  I upload photos and blog during nap time, which is getting shorter by the day.  I don't worry about scheduling blog posts a certain amount of times a week, but I always have tons of photos and little snippets of life I want to share so it works out that I post about 5 or 6 days a week.  I've also been reading the e-course about making your creative business happen a bit each day during nap also.  
Once the girls go down to sleep at night I like to continue my creative/art time.  Sometimes I'll go into the craft room for an hour or so while Brett does farm work.  Other times he'll watch t.v. and I'll bring my art supplies into the room with him.  On the weekends I especially like to paint in the evenings and set up camp in the craft room.  I always have tons of ideas for painting canvases and keep them in a sketch book.  Again, more ideas than time.  I think that's a great "problem" to have.
And that's how, baby step after baby step, I'm evolving as an artist.  I'm choosing not to get overwhelmed by all that I "can't do" right now because I'm the luckiest gal in the world to get to stay home with my babies.  Instead, I'm focusing on painting and creating and improving in tiny little doses, taking one step at a time.    Once I have a better grasp on pursuing a creative business and a LOT more canvases painted, I'll be opening shop.  (insert butterflies in stomach here)

How does your garden grow?

My garden grows with puppy dog tails,
fountains of sparkly water drops,
squeals and giggles. 
Wonder and amazement,
imagination and the cutest of conversations are sown in my garden.

New adventures to try,
mama's lap for comfort,
and joy await.

My garden grows with color and hope,
a spring in our steps and sunshine to tuck in our hearts.

How does your garden grow? 

"Free" indeed.

 Happy Friday folks! 
Here's a look at my newest creation. 

May you be free, free, FREE indeed!
Free from negativity, guilt, stress, worry, to fly, laugh, eat well, play. 

Free indeed.

{I hung up all my art behind Betsy's's a happy, happy spot now!}

Dream Yard: Grandma and Papaw's House

 The girls and I have been gladly making the trek to see my grandparents, Grandma and Papaw, every few weeks or so.  It's always a wonderful visit.  Anna is growing quite accustomed to the toys and routines she likes there and will remind me of very specific things she intends on playing with once we arrive every single time.  I like that.  
 The last time or two we've visited the weather has been nice enough for us to spend some time outside.  These are the same stomping grounds I grew up imagining all sorts of things on.  The same hideaways, paths, and beauty I've been lucky enough to be surrounded by since I was a little girl.  

I told Grandma that their yard is our dream yard!  There is beauty to behold, literally at every turn.
 She reminded me they'd had 30 years to get it that way.  
And isn't that true?  I'm finding that behind the most beautiful things and people are sometimes life's longest stories.  And the path to the beautiful statue of a moment is usually one filled with stumbling blocks, hard things.....yet look how beautiful the reward is!

 Grandma and Papaw's house is one of my top favorite places on the planet.  Ever.  
I don't have a single "bad" memory from here, at all.  Not a one. (and I even tried to think of one, haha)

Do you have a place like this?  A place maybe from childhood or even adulthood that is your own real life hideaway, a place of happy with the best of the best memories? 

I hope so.  And if not,  I hope you can create your own space today.  

The rosy in my real life!

Hello friends! I'm here for another edition of "rosy in my real life!"  I tried to number these and do one for every week o...