A thrill of hope. (the longest post ever).

Yesterday, I did it.  I finally tackled the beast known to households around the world as a "dirty house", wrestled it to the ground, and won.  I kid you not, once the last swipe of the mop had been run across the floor something in me clicked into celebration mode.  We are completely and totally ready for Christmas.  
Every single family celebration, fires to sit by, treats to eat, presents to wrap and then unwrap. Giggles and laughs to share.  
More than anything, ready to wrap arms of love around our Savior, and celebrate the absolute miracle that is His birth.  I've been reading little snippets of the birth of Christ all throughout this week and it just blows my mind.  Every bit of it.  The humble people and places God chose to work through, grace and hope found in the most unlikely and unexpected of places.  God went for real and raw people, not the fanciest king or most popular person he could find.  He loved the ordinary right into extraordinary. 
THAT is what makes our hearts merry and light.  It is the thread that stitches all the other parts we love so much about Christmas, together. 

"A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices"…

I entered the fall and then winter, kicking and screaming.  Certainly NOT ready to be shut indoors, the whole rhythm to our days disrupted.  Then along came our fires that warm you from the tip top of your head to the very bottom of your toes, homemade hot chocolate, conversations with Brett while  he strums his guitar, reading, art videos, and being close in the kitchen with the girls…

and then I realized I was ready for winter and not just ready, enjoying it.  
We've fallen into a nice little rhythm for our days, the girls and I.  Somedays we get terribly off balance but things always straighten out in a day or two.  We've come a long way in a year.  Last year Betsy Grace was still very much a baby and this year she's taking the world by storm.  I suppose if I were to think about it, it is rather tiring keeping up with two toddlers.  But usually the good things in life both energize and tire you out entirely at the same time.  At least that's been my experience.  My girls do both for me.  They are my greatest joy.  Goodness, I love my little girls….
I look at them all day long and think "Oh, isn't that pretty?" 
"Isn't that pretty?" is a question I find myself murmuring a lot to no one in particular…
even this mess of a studio looks pretty to me!  This means that life is happening in this tiny room and I like that.  It means gears are turning, fingers are painting from the heart, and new ideas are marching in one by one.

(a funny story-occasionally I get contacted by companies who compliment my blog….they usually go quite overboard on the compliments and in a roundabout way end up asking you to review something for them or write them an article.  For free.  You can guess how many of those I've taken on.  So this week I got one of these emails from a nail polish company.  I laughed clear out loud!  The well-meaning folks at the company clearly hadn't visited my blog all that much.  The only color that ever gets applied to my nails is paint.) 

The craft room/studio was in all sorts of disarray which made my eyes twinkle so I snapped a few photos.  I'm often standing in conversation with others and hear statements that make me realize just how odd I must truly be.  Like for instance, this type of mess would stress some people out (most probably) and they wouldn't ever, ever think of a scene so messy as "beautiful." My brain however, automatically bypasses the stress factor and just goes straight to "Oh, that's pretty! That's beautiful." 

To each their own. 

Sometimes I'll even notice the way paper scraps and colors have piled up, serendipitously, and that will spark an idea for a painting. 

This week I'm proud to say I've woken up early (like real early) to go into the craft room by myself.  I start out by reading my Bible and journaling a tad, coffee always in hand.  Then if there's time, I'll paint a bit or browse through an inspiring read.  Maybe even sketch.  I've found this is such a lovely way to ease on into the dance that is our day.  

Of course, sometimes the little girls must figure my little game out and wake up real early themselves. 

Are you creating these days?  If so, what?  

I have a little list jotted down of projects and art ideas I'd like to try soon.  Stretching my wings creatively, so to speak.  

Of course, I'm still painting.  I can honestly say I love it more each time I pick up a brush.  How I made it to age 30 without every really diving into painting is just mind-boggling.  It sure has been a gift discovering the world of paints.  I have so much more I want to learn and so much more I want to let my paintbrush feel.  Painting to me is part knowledge, but also a whole lot of heart.  

I've been trying to focus on my word for the year as well, which is "slow". 
That means not agreeing to multi-task, 24 hours a day.  
It's surprising how good this has been for my soul, as well as my girls.  They're watching and definitely notice when I'm more present, instead of multi-tasking in the car when Brett's driving, or constantly on the go at lunch.  

Boy, I sure hope my girls learn at home how to really slow down and enjoy and gaze and wonder and reflect and breath deep. 
The table is our go-to spot for creativity, conversation, questions, laughter, eating, and just being together.  I added a few things to this toolbox to keep everyones spirits bright. 

Some interesting art books for me, art supplies and seasonal trinkets for the girls.  I've found them examining and enjoying the cedar, pecans, and pomegranate many times. 

Have no fear, my clean friends.  I DID clean up the studio, in hopes and preparation of Christmas crafting.  Yesterday we cleaned the whole house, from top (well, almost the top) to bottom and I made myself a smoothie afterwards. 

Silly choice, it chilled me right to the bone!  I didn't think I'd ever get warm again. 
But of course, dear Brett came home and built the most warm fire and I quickly began to thaw out. 

 This is my newest art print! 
If you go looking for it in the shop, you won't see it yet.  I'm going to be adding several new things in January, once everyone has had time to sleep off the turkey and eggnog. 
 I have a rule for myself…I must love all my canvases I paint and list in the shop.  I must! How can I expect someone else to love my work if there is no heart and soul and love from me there in the first place?  So many times I paint something and it gets painted over again or just never ends up in the shop.  Not so with this piece. 

I had such fun creating the background with all kinds of delicious layers and then thought real hard about how I wanted the rest to look.  I had a clear vision of this flower and painted here and there on it. When it came time for the words my first thought was to browse my favorite quotes on Pinterest that I'd saved.  But that didn't feel very authentic this time around so instead I sat with my soul and thought real hard about what it is I might need to hear in this season of life. 

And there you go…the words were born.

That's not the only thing I've been up to! 
I'll also have some smaller original canvases to list,
wood photo/note holder blocks,
and a few more goodies in January! 

I'm so excited to share and wanted to give you a sneak peek today! 

Inquiring minds want to know-what's pretty in your part of the world? 
Are you ready for Christmas or ready for it to be over? 

I pray a thrill of hope finds its way to you today.


  1. I LOVE that long sheet of paper on the table with the painting!!! We currently don't have a dining room table but as soon as we get one I am DOING THAT!! Loved all the pics in this post.


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