Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Power of Handmade

Yesterday I pulled out the tin of quilt blocks I cut years ago- blocks for the quilt "Double Wedding Ring" quilt. I love that pattern and it has so many memories attached to it.

It has been probably 15 years since I cut those blocks- and life has changed so much. I left my homeland; my country, married and become a Mom. Yet with those quilt blocks nothing has changed- it is as if time stopped when I laid those hand pieced rows together on the top of neatly stacked piles of still to be sewn blocks.

There are so many memories stored in that box of blocks, so many careful stitches placed years ago when I was still and unmarried maiden. There are so many pieces of fabric in prints that remind me of "home" and my Mom and our quilting days together.

There is such a power in hand work- so many thoughts, dreams, desires are sewn into the seams of quilts and other hand created items.

When I sew by hand I have time to think, to remember, to value those women who taught me to sew and the chain of seamstresses I come from.

Then too there is time for dreaming- about the ones I am sewing this little quilt for and for those so far away.

Each stitch is sewn with love- each piece planned out and carefully cut and placed.

My life of late has been full of paintings on silk, and those too are created with such care and thought. Each brush stroke containing thoughts and dreams of beauty and delight.

There are faster ways of creating these days- and prints can be bought at half the price of originals. But there is nothing that can replace the joy of creating and gifting something you poured your love and dreams into whether sewn, painted, or otherwise created.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Thank you for caring

Just a little phrase, but with power to make tears jump into my eyes.

"Thank you for caring." my Mom said as we hung up the phone on a 1 minute Skype call.

My parents are moving today- and I wanted to know how its going and where they will sleep tonight.

Mom didn't have time to talk long with the moving truck coming- but said those 4 little words, "Thank  you for caring."

As I hung up the phone tears started rolling down my cheeks. "Oh how I wish I could do more than CARE." But living an ocean away makes that impossible. . . if I were a millionaire I'd own the fastest jet around and be there for all those moments and birthdays and special occasions that happen without my presence.

Yet here I am- in this blessed life an ocean away- but with the power to show I DO care with a simple phone call.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The BEST Questions

I have always loved asking questions- and when I ran across this fantastic list I could not help but share it and mark it for later and print it and put it on the fridge. Our firstborn starts first grade in September and I will so use these suggestions. ( I got this HERE on Huffington POST)

Do you have any more ideas?

1. What was the best thing that happened at school today? (What was the worst thing that happened at school today?)
2. Tell me something that made you laugh today.
3. If you could choose, who would you like to sit by in class? (Who would you NOT want to sit by in class? Why?)
4. Where is the coolest place at the school?
5. Tell me a weird word that you heard today. (Or something weird that someone said.)
6. If I called your teacher tonight, what would she tell me about you?
7. How did you help somebody today?
8. How did somebody help you today?
9. Tell me one thing that you learned today.
10. When were you the happiest today?
11. When were you bored today?
12. If an alien spaceship came to your class and beamed someone up, who would you want them to take?
13. Who would you like to play with at recess that you've never played with before?
14. Tell me something good that happened today.
15. What word did your teacher say most today?
16. What do you think you should do/learn more of at school?
17. What do you think you should do/learn less of at school?
18. Who in your class do you think you could be nicer to?
19. Where do you play the most at recess?
20. Who is the funniest person in your class? Why is he/she so funny?
21. What was your favorite part of lunch?
22. If you got to be the teacher tomorrow, what would you do?
23. Is there anyone in your class who needs a time-out?
24. If you could switch seats with anyone in the class, who would you trade with? Why?
25. Tell me about three different times you used your pencil today at school.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Refusing to Worry

Today my boy has his exam in violin at music school. Tomorrow his exam in theory. And here I stand- trembling in my boots.

It isn't that he can't do well or isn't prepared. He knows his pieces on the violin like the back of his hand. But he is 6, emotional, stubborn at times and prone to silliness.

And so I have been in a growing panic since I found out his exam was today and the hours have ticked slowly closer.

Why? I ask myself do I feel so worried? Would him failing or messing up mean I had failed as a Mom? Is it the pressure I felt as a child preforming for judges still gnawing away at me? And would it really be so horrible if he did play poorly or get up and get stage fright and refuse to play altogether?

I have been there, I know the embarrassment of forgetting 10 memorized pieces which had to be juried. Yet, I was older and a very conscientious child. He is 6, and doesn't seem to be fazed by embarrassment yet or failure.

Today as I had my quiet time these words came leaping off the page at me

"I offer abundant Life; your part is to trust Me, refusing to worry about anything, . . Determined to make things go your way, you forget that I am in charge of your life."

Wow, that hit me right where I needed it. I have fretted and fussed over this exam, and it isn't even my exam. Sure it is the first major exam a child of mine has ever had, and so I feel it very keenly. But God is in control of this- and I must try him.

So wish my boy luck or better yet say a prayer!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Encouragement For Moms

Today I stumbled upon this lady's blog and it is so full of encouragement for Mom's. I cried my way through this video and it was so TRUE and so blessed for my discouraged moments. 

You are a mighty MOM! Don't give up! 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Power of Kindness

So often in our rush of life we forget just how powerful a word of kindness can be. I have thought about that lot lately, and this article I read today again reminded me of that.

A week or so ago we had some missionaries staying with us from Australia. They were like a living breath of peace. They were joyful in their attitudes towards those around them and each other. They were genuinely interested in the little things and in the lives of those they encountered. They  played with my kids. They encouraged my husband and I in so many little things and they shared a bit of themselves with us- making our days a bit better because of them.

Kind words flowed from them and blessed those around them- and they shared that that is one of the secrets to having a good marriage- a covenant of kindness- wow!

Haven't you ever felt that glow of warmth that embraces you when someone says a kind word and affirms you in some way. I know I have and those kind words go with us- sticking in the fabric of our lives- reminding us to be better people and carry on strong.

Yesterday at the dentist the hygienist commented on how well cared for our kid's teeth are- she asked if I brush them or they do. I told her we both brush their teeth- she said, "You are an active Mom!" The praise in her voice reaffirming the hard work I put into dental hygiene and carrying for my kids was affirmed in that one little phrase. This woman was anti-typical to so many people I meet here. She was positive, gentle, and affirmative to both the kids and I, how thankful I am for those little gestures of kindness that make this world more lovely.

So how about YOU and me, how are we spreading kindness today?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Pride and Thanks

Days fly by in this race of life. Days filled up with raising 3 kids, gardening, running kids about, painting, cooking and being a wife and all.

Spring is slowing making herself known and it is like being reacquainted with an old friend- the greenness of it all- somehow I forget every winter just how green this beautiful place is. The leaves have burst open, the tulips are waving their fiery heads. Aww. . . . how spring delights the senses.

I want to stop and express my thanks to the One who created all this. Thanks for provision, thanks for good times as well as hard- because He uses all of this to make us who we are.

We have been working hard at reading for our soon to be 7 year old, he must start school come Autumn and due to our dual language family and his learning to read already a bit in both languages his reading in Latvian is behind what it ought to be. Dad has taken over this "fight" and the Legos have been put away until he gets this mastered. He is reading, though slowly and is making improvements (though not without a daily quarrel on the matter).

I am so thankful that his teacher sees the progress and praised his good behavior this week at his kindergarten lesson. That was a like a breath of fresh air to this Mama's soul.

I am also so thankful my husband stepped in to fight this battle with out very stubborn boy who would rather be doing ANYTHING to avoid homework and reading practice. Since he stepped in our boy's respect issues have subsided and he knows his place again. We Mom's need to let our husbands rule these growing men in our homes. . .

Thankfulness - that somehow God works all things out for His good.

Monday, May 11, 2015


From the moment you discover that your body harbors a life, a growing person you become a mother.

There is something so pure, so deep, so profoundly mysterious about motherhood that perhaps no one will ever comprehend it.

We who were once babes ourselves- blossom, mature and become the vessels through which all life continues.

Mothers- when we choose to let our body become the growing home of a person we are forever changed. We can never been the carefree girls we once were.

Our bodies are grown, stretched, wrenched with pain and we succumb to this change- some willingly, some with resistance- and life is born through us.

And then begins the coddling, and sleepless nights caring for this little soul.

We shed many tears, we mothers; tears of fear, guilt, worry, concern, joy and pleasure. And these tears wash the edges and roughness from the humans we are- we become stronger more beautiful souls.

We run, we catch, we scold, we hug- and somehow these little people grow up- and their characters emerge.

We then begin to fret and worry over the people they are becoming and the lives they will live. Their failures are our lashings, their reprimands our scouring, their tears the bitter salt rubbed into wounds.

Sometimes we think we can do it all- sometimes we forget the place fathers hold and the guiding force we must let him take in these lives. Then suddenly we let go, and leave him the reins- and he guides these stubborn ones with a gentle hand and they stop their headless dashing. Let's let these fathers do more in the running of our households- our kids need that and so does our sanity.

Mothers- whose motherly power love will make her bold as a lion, whose very character seems to change in the process of motherhood, whose depths are fathomless, and love abounding. Thank you for bearing us life- thank you for guiding our faltering steps and believing is us.

Thanks for being our Mothers.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Cultivating Thankfulness

At the beginning of 2015 I felt a need to work on a thankful spirit in my family.

Kids are so prone to entitlement in our times- and they fuss and complain and have a lack of thankfulness that is rather shocking at times.

I looked into my own heart and realized how much it hurts me when I ship an international gift- and never even hear a word that the receiver got the package I sent. I realized that not receiving thanks is painful to the giver and harmful to the one receiving.

I make a plan to endeavor to cultivate thankfulness in my life and in my home this year- because there is no other better way to teach our children then by example.

These are the ideas I had at the beginning of the year and that I am trying to practice.

  • Write thank you notes - I have been trying to write hand-written ones- like we used to do growing up because that is so rare in our times-and hand-written notes are so special. If the gift was something given to my child who can't yet write then I have them draw pictures on the card as an expression of thanks (if they will cooperate)
  • Be sure to thank those who assist me/us: clerks, doctors,strangers,etc. 
  • Share those items we no longer need- rather than selling them- and when the kids have too much. 
  • Make gifts- don't buy so much- use the talents I/we have and be thankful we have them. 
  • Act Respectfully- Our kids will not respect their teachers if they hear us belittle them to our spouses. 
  • Acts of Kindness- Say thanks to someone who always serves you and never gets appreciated (postal carriers, those who work in the places we always go and know their faces but not their names) by gifting them something baked or a gift card. 
How are you cultivating thankfulness in your family? I'd love to get more ideas!