Hello Rosy, week 15: kindergarten germs, a breath of art, eclipse emotions, and more.

(8x10 art print available here.)

This week the big news around the internet was the eclipse! Rightfully so.  Anna came home from kindergarten the first week, extremely excited about making her eclipse glasses.  I didn't know much about what was going to occur until my good 'ol friend Google came to my rescue.  It wasn't long before I too, was rushed into the wave of excitement with the rest of the world.  It mostly felt good to be thinking about and anticipating something other than more Trump/political news.  

Monday came and went and Betsy and I viewed our little hearts out, as best we could without the eclipse glasses.  Anna looked on safely from school and we compared notes afterwards.  We each saw different things, but we each saw beautiful things.  You can see our photos below! 

All that to say, for about a week straight-from the weekend before the eclipse 'till now, I have felt extremely "off".  My endometriosis symptoms were almost unbearable.  Extreme cramps, headache, and nausea decided to be my friends for the week.  I will say that Anna was also fighting off kindergarten germs the whole week and I seemed to get those too.  But I started clicking around the internet and read several articles claiming that women were feeling off because of the eclipse.  Isn't that so strange?! I believe it though.  

Did you feel any different?  Am I making this up? :)
(8x10 art print available here.)

I did push through the yuckiness, as us moms are so fantastic at doing and completed some art pieces I have been longingly staring at for a few months.  My painting time has come and gone in waves and seasons as my girls have gotten older.  I can honestly say I've made peace with that.  Sometimes I'll have extra spare time and all the creativity I lug around (that almost feels like a burden sometimes) can come out and be shared and expressed! Those times are such a delight. 

Other times life and other responsibilities leave slivers of time, tiny bits of margin space for me to create.  That too, is ok.  But can I admit how wonderful it felt to get these art pieces out into the world?! I have been enjoying them from the privacy of my craft room and they have certainly taken me months to complete.  But each is a sign that the wild passion I have for art hasn't died, it still lives! Hooray! 
(8x10 art print available here.)
(8x10 art print available here.)

Now I'm going to make a confession.  It's only because of other moms throwing the guilt around I even have to call this a "confession".  Next week I'll have a few hours a week to myself, or at least with less children at home. I'm still crossing my fingers and toes for a foster placement that fits with our family, age-wise and number of kid-wise.  But, I will have time once again, to paint.  Or pursue creative things for at least a bit each week.  It feels like Christmas.  It feels like something that laid down to rest in me suddenly sprang up, very much awake and alive.

Friends, you've been warned.  If I start spewing art everywhere, that's why!

 But first, a look at God's art! Betsy and I held white paper underneath our shade trees during the eclipse and it took our breath away.

 *Sidenote: I've had "Total Eclipse of the Heart" go through my head at least a million times this week.  Somebody get. it. out. 

Ok, who are we kidding? I probably just got it in your head! You're welcome. ;)
 Long story short, I really have been on a quest the past year or so to better my overall health, lessen anxiety, learn to go with the flow, and just dive deeper into my real life.  The alternative to all this?  Living anxiously, scrolling too much, recording/photographing/posting too much, gaining too much weight, etc.  

I am feeling like I've arrived in new territory with my health, anxiety, and even weight, during the past few weeks or so.  And friends, it is so nice and refreshing.  I can breathe better, sleep better, and manage my emotions so. much. better! It's always a bit tricky to know how much of this to post because there are a million ways to view ones health.  For me "health" means not just my weight (in fact, that's a tiny part) but instead my gut, mood/emotions, energy, and overall strength.   

So if I post my weight loss (13 pounds, hey!!) I don't want someone to think that's what I'm all about, or that it was super easy, or that I'm wanting to pitch products for them.  

It hasn't been easy, the loss is the icing on the cake, and I don't use any products nor do I want to. :) 

 A couple of things I've gotten rid of are coffee and photographing things as much.  Neither on purpose.  The coffee thing started because one day I noticed my anxiety was through the roof and my gut was NOT happy after having my morning cup. So I went to half a cup. 

Still not happy.  So then I began a new routine of warm lemon water first thing in the morning, followed by a big cup of hot tea in the carpool line.  I won't say it turned my long carpool line into a dreamland or anything, but it did make for a very soothing way to start my day and my nerves/gut were happy, happy, happy.  So it stuck.  I've had 1/2 a cup of coffee a handful of days, but I've mostly been free from it.  I used to be like Lorelai Gilmore with the coffee, so this is quite shocking for me.  But that tea...it is just so delightful! I start and end my day with tea now. Yep, I'm a tea weirdo now.

Do you drink tea? Any recommendations for me? 
 I've also started setting my camera and phone down more.  It certainly has me living in the moment! But it does mean I have to remind myself to run in and grab the camera sometimes.  I don't want to stop capturing things completely!  But now that I've stepped out of the fog of feeling like I "needed" to post several times a day I can see how absurd that is.  Especially for this highly-sensitive, INFJ personality! 

This sweet little photo is from last Friday evening, a favorite of mine.  It poured down rain and we let the girls play in the puddles, while sitting on the porch and listening to music from the 1920's. It was as dreamy as it sounds. 
 Last Saturday we went on a little family adventure.  Lest you get the wrong idea of me and think I'm perfectly rosy all the time, I'm not! Far from it.  I wasn't feeling great this day and it took forever to finally arrive at our hike.  Then it felt like the path and waterfall were full of young, college age kids, free to jump off the falls and swim and do whatever they pleased. 

Meanwhile I was dealing with mom shorts, cramps, and two slightly grumpy kids.  Suffice it to say my attitude wasn't the best.  This is why I love blogging, because we can let out our breath and be real for goodness sake! If I hadn't told you all that you would have viewed these beautiful photos and maybe even wished for my life for a day! 

 But still, despite my crummy attitude and tummy, my rosy view and camera were what kept me going.  I tried so hard to look for the beauty and I found it! 

 For all you locals, this was at King's River Falls.  SO GORGEOUS.  The hike takes a while, a mile there and a mile back I believe.  I recommend wearing good hiking shoes, swimsuits, and a backpack full of snacks and water so you can jump in and stay awhile! 
 I left my mark while we were there, a mini alter of sorts. 
 In other news this week, Betsy and I have quickly adapted to our new school routine and the carpool line.  Every afternoon we sit and wait for a while.  She watches a show and I read.  Or rather I try to read, until my mind starts to wander and I have the most desperate urge to write.  I've been keeping notes here and there on my laptop this summer.  Really, more like a journal that just happens to be typed out.  Who knows if I'll ever write a book or not or even figure out how to make that happen, but the writing lets something out in me I don't quite feel compelled to share with the whole internet world.  As I watch the same middle-schoolers come out of the school building each afternoon, or my new mom friend from Japan hurriedly walk past to pick up her daughter, I wonder what their lives are like.  I wonder if I DID write a book, what would be a book that mattered?  That truly mattered?
 I hate to say it, but we only made it a few days before Anna was sick from kindergarten. :( :( These were taken when she was feeling slightly off, but my gal is so tough I thought she simply had a cold! After a few days of sniffles it just made my heart ache so desperately to send her into the school building.  But she didn't have fever, so I packed her some Kleenex and off she went.  It wasn't until Wednesday of last week when she came home with a severe rash that I really started to wonder and worry.  After a sleepless night we loaded her up and went to the doctor.  We had the funniest doctor by the way, who was just so charming and made us all laugh.  I do love a bit of comic relief! 

The diagnosis was a strep-related rash. :( :( Off to Walgreens we went and then home with me for a couple of days.   I am praying this isn't a regular occurrence! She really does like kindergarten!

The hardest part of her being sick was watching her little spirit quiet down.  I am happy to report that this afternoon her imagination and spark is back! Praise Jesus! 

Being mom to a school girl is so new to me! 
This brown-eyed beauty starts her last year of preschool this week! We are so blessed to have the same teacher Anna had the last two years.  Any time others comment to me about public school or preschool with a nervous tone, I try not to listen too hard.  God has always, always provided the most caring, smart, sweet, individuals as teachers for our girls.  They have always been in excellent hands! 

People have asked rather incredulously "What will you DO when the girls are both in school?"  Well for starters, this year I'll do what I always do.  I'll paint, exercise, clean the house, and do the laundry. Maybe I'll even do something fun. (gasp!) I'll hopefully have a foster baby who needs my love and attention. 

Next year when they're BOTH in school I'll probably just cry a lot. 
Just kidding. Sort of. 
I'll have to wait and see and so will you. ;)  I have a dream list of jobs a mile long so maybe I'll go back to work.  Maybe God has a little one that will live with us and that's what I'll do.  

We are living in the land of wait and see. 

A few other things I want to share with you this week: 
I am back to making my own kombucha and checked this book out from the library.  It is amazing and is such a great resource for all things bucha! I highly recommend it! 

You have to read this book.

This is Us returns to t.v. in September!!!!! I purchased Season 1 here. It's 42% off! 

For the first time ever I will have my own art/photography display at our local library! There will be an artist's reception once the display is up and I'd love to see you there. I'll share details soon! I'm setting up next week! 

I purchased this jump rope and love it! 

Now your turn.  
What are you reading/watching/eating and drinking? 
What's exciting you and what are you looking forward to? 
What's making you laugh these days? 

Hello Rosy: Week 14 (thoughts on vulnerability, blogging, and throwing the plan out the window)

Something has come to my attention this week-how much I truly am longing for this space on the internet called mine and how it feels like coming home whenever I stop in to write a word or two or three.  I just finished paying an invoice via Paypal for the most gorgeous original piece of artwork, made by someone I've only known virtually.  Yet, my heart squeezed when I read their kind note sent on the invoice and I thought again to myself how there is truly a good vibe and power to this internet thing if we let it be. 
  But much like pulling on a stray thread on a favorite quilt can quickly unravel the whole thing, putting a complete thought or sentence out into the world wide web has made me feel like the whole story could unravel along with it.  So I've mostly shared the rosy and the bucket loads of photos I take, keeping the meaty stories to myself. 

But you see, there's this book I'm just about to finish called Hope Heals.  You absolutely must read it. You just must.  In the book Katherine writes "I don't think any of us can tell our most vulnerable stories in the moments they occur for fear that they may undo us. " I read that line tonight and something immediately clicked in me and I felt like she had put words to a thought I didn't even know how to express.  If you've read her book you may find it ludicrous that I am even saying I understand where she is coming from.  Katherine did, however, suffer a stroke in her 20's.  Although our life circumstances literally couldn't be more different, I am living in a season of vulnerability.  
Anna Ruth has started kindergarten, leaving me home to figure out a new routine with Betsy Grace.  And although I'm excited at the thought of time to paint or photograph again once she is in preschool a couple days a week, I also feel rather vulnerable.  I just KNEW we'd have a foster baby for a long-term placement by now.  But we don't.  The quiet and wondering at what is next haunts me. Vulnerability at it's loudest. 

I watch Anna Ruth walk confidently into kindergarten, a trail of prayers going in front of her and behind her.  I know she is protected and I know we have made the best decision to have her attend public school.  I mean, I know it deep in my bones.  Yet the minute I have a second alone at home the doubts, fears, and anxieties rush in like consuming flames.  Vulnerability trying to become my vicious vice. 
I used to make bucket lists and dream lists by the dozens.  Literally as far ahead as I could see was planned.  I couldn't ever imagine a season without being home with my two babies.  Then once they started to grow up some, I simply couldn't imagine not having my adopted baby or foster baby along for the ride.  Yet although we've had 3 placements so far, none of them have stayed.  I wake each day literally not knowing what it will hold by the supper time and my thoughts start to race, wondering how I'll entertain a little one in the car line and still get dinner on the table.  Is this vulnerability or worry?  Or both? 
In this season I have longed to spill my soul, to share the messages God is whispering into my heart.  There are lessons being learned, so much love filling our home, and also much pain as we learn to say goodbye not only to foster babies but to the picture-perfect plan we thought was a given.  

The only thing certain about our life ahead is Jesus and the uncertainty.   I don't have a lot figured out.  I wake each day (at 5:30!) to serve my family well for the day, finding little thoughts about going back to work someday, painting and photography, questions about "what ARE my passions and hobbies?" filling my head in random bursts here and there.  Yet none really ever take root.

We are truly in a wait and see kind of season.  Can I tell you though, it's a beautiful one.
I truly, truly mean that.  Sometimes there's a fine line between being honest and being hopeless.  We, in the Torbett household, are NOT hopeless.  In fact, we are more hopeFULL than ever before about our future. 

Want to know why?  Because we've truly moved out of the good Lord's way. It's terrifying, I'll be honest about that.  I'm a plan girl.  I like a good plan and a daily to do list and a tidy schedule.  It feels very uncomfortable standing tall with the Lord, asking "What's next?".  Yet there are moments of excitement starting to flit around, here and there.  They show me that God truly has plans bigger and better than my imagination could muster. This is not just good Christian girl talk. It's true.
Just last weekend we had a little one with us through foster care.  I just fell in love immediately.  We all did.  As I pushed them around the farmer's market in the stroller, strains of a local trumpet player were wafting through the air.  I had a contagious grin I just couldn't contain.  I bent my head down for a quick moment and told the Lord "we're in trouble, no way can I say goodbye to this one", not knowing that later in the afternoon we would receive a call to do just that. 

Did I later regret the morning and the heart connections made, however short our time may have been?  Not for a second.  I had a glimpse at the unspeakable joy and excitement that comes when I get out of God's way and follow His lead.  A couple of years ago I would have NEVER, ever even been open to the thought of foster care.  Yet here I am, living heartbroken and fiercely passionate about doing something about these precious lives. 
Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus. 

In-between these growing and stretching pains our family is facing, there is so much good that keeps us going.  Simple things like playing out in the rain on one of the last summer days, cutting a bouquet of zinnia's, or chasing butterflies with a pink net. 

Dance parties to the Trolls soundtrack, fluffing our nest and decorating here and there, cooking with garden-fresh tomatoes, stacks of books on the bedside, and morning cups of tea are all bits of joy.

Endless giggles, silly time with Dad, lego building, checking the cows, conversations with Nana, pulling out my Nikon, early bedtimes, weekend adventures, growing in friendship with our church community, and having fun date nights with Brett are all constants. 
These constants and daily pockets of joy are like diamonds in the night sky, shining the way to a heart of gratitude, no matter the weather outside.
It has occurred to me this summer that I could very well live in my beautiful country home, with my safe and predictable lifestyle and that would be fine.  I could get to the end of my life, having loved many people, even loved them well. 

But that story seems dull.  Even typing it I felt a small sigh escape my lips, immediately thinking "that's it?"  

I am instead, going for the choose your own adventure kind of life. 

Only I'm not choosing. 
Just trying to be a patient follower of the one who is. 

The same God that raised Christ Jesus from the dead and saved my sins permanently and made the butterflies so fantastically creative and gave them wings to fly, 
is the same God going before me and behind me and everywhere around me for the glory of Him.

I just have to do this.
Wake each day and do this. 

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