Sep 30, 2009

Growing in Beauty

So I have a girl. I going to be honest. We didn't find out what Ainsley was before she was born, and I secretly hoped for another boy. Not that I didn't want a girl. I just find them far more challenging. Sure, boys do things like pee off trees (see my last blog post), but in the long run, I think girls are the most challenging to raise. Mostly because girls are far more emotional and struggle with self-worth far more than boys. I taught middle school for several years, so perhaps dealing with the emotional hormones of the 6th-8th grade girls has left me jaded in this area....however, I think that the struggle for confidence and self-worth are a life-long struggle for most women. So this is my beautiful girl. She's a tiny little thing. On growth charts she is at the .19 percentile. Yes, that's POINT one nine. That wasn't a typo. But she is full of life and confidence at the moment.

She believes herself to be a very big girl, and loves to stand on the scale, because this shows how "big" she is.

She thinks she is SO big!

At what point does this confidence slip away? At what point do women look in the mirror and see their flaws? Out of all my best friends, I could tell you what each of them thinks is their most glaring physical flaw. And should you ask me, I could quickly tell you what parts of my body doesn't match what I think counts as "beautiful" by the world's standards. But this is changing as I grow older. To tell you the truth, I see my friends as such beautiful strong women, and I am honored to be counted as a friend among them. I don't see any flaws. And this has also changed in myself as I peer into the mirror everyday.

"Beauty is not in the face. Beauty is a light in the heart." --Kahlil Gibran
It's true isn't it? I believe this is why children are so beautiful. They still possess that "light in the heart" that shines with purity and innocence.

"Youth is happy because it has the capacity to see Beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see Beauty never grows old."
-- Frank Kafka

So my question still stands. At two, Ainsley has all the confidence in the world. She loves to comb her hair, get dressed up, and believes herself to be beautiful. When do women first decide that they are inadequate? That their beauty doesn't quite measure up?
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you NOT to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won't feel unsure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. As we let our own Light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. "
-- Marianne Williamson

I want my children to know that they are made with a unique light that needs to shine. It is not in the outward appearance. But rather what is in the heart transforms the very essence of your being. It reflects in the eyes, the creases around the mouth, the very way you hold yourself up, and the unconscious mannerisms of your body. And who will model this the best for my children? I will. What a large and grave responsibility. My children walk in my footsteps.

"Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical."
-- Sophia Loren

It transforms the physical.

And somehow, I think beauty is earned. You may be born pretty, but there is a difference with beauty.
Pretty is something you're born with. But beautiful, that's an equal opportunity adjective.


"The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen. "
-- Elizabeth Kubler Ross

While as a mother, my first instinct is to protect my children, yet somehow, I also think that they need to experience the heartaches of life. And they will. Because sooner or later, life catches up with everyone. My job is not to protect them from life, but to prepare them for life. A subtle difference, but quite a strong one. I want my children to know defeat, suffering, struggle and loss. I don't think I am a terrible mother to admit this....because I also want them to rise above it. Because only then will they know joy, confidence, their worth, grace, patience, and kindness. True beauty stems from true depth and character of the soul. Something that doesn't "just happen." My heart aches for my children, but my heart also hopes for my children. I have great hopes for the person they will become.
I used to hate my smile. Too large, it showed a lot of teeth and gums, I have large lips. I mean it literally takes up most of my face. I used to be self-conscious. The last time I went to the dentist, she told me I should consider plastic surgery to make them smaller. But I have learned that my smile was my greatest means to disarming other people, and making them feel at ease. I have a loud laugh. It's not a cute chuckle. But I've learned to let it loose. Laugh loud. Because my smile and laugh are ME. They are genuine. When I am confident and at ease in my laugh and smile, they are beautiful. I believe it. They are beautiful. While too big to ever grace the cover of a magazine, I believe they are one of God's greatest gifts to me. I would never get that plastic surgery.
"You can take no credit for beauty at sixteen. But if you are beautiful at sixty, it will be your soul's own doing. "
-- Marie Stopes

"The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives."
-- Albert Einstein
So, yes, God saw fit to give me a girl. A beautiful girl. One girl whom I hope learns to let her inner beauty shine, learns to cultivate the true beauty of the soul, and one who can look past the temporal shallow images of false beauty, and find the "real deal".

I love you little girl! I hope you grow in the knowledge, grace, and beauty of our Lord and Savior!

Sep 29, 2009

This Child....

This child....

....is going to be the death of me. Cute as can be up in this tree isn't he? Well, this tree now has a story. This is his favorite tree in Fresno. We actually have to drive to go see it. It's on a favorite old street we like to walk on. I believe I blogged before about walking Huntington Blvd. Anyhow, this old tree is huge with large roots on the bottom to climb on, and wide arching branches, just perfect for perching in. This last week I took Hunter and Ainsley for a walk there again. He climbed up in the branches and started "whoo"ing like an owl. He loves to pretend he's an owl up there. I turned around to speak to Ainsley for a second and I looked up to see a stream of water arching from the upper branches and I heard giggles. I walked around the tree to find my son whizzing off the tree, playing target practice, with his pants down around his ankles. He thought it was great fun. I was mortified. This a very busy street with cars whizzing by, and walkers and joggers all over this sidewalk. You should have seen the looks on the passerbies' faces. And here is my son peeing off the highest tree on the street in all his glory. I tried to get him to stop, but it's hard to stop midstream I guess. He thought it was great fun and was giggling up a storm. I tried to talk sternly to him after I whipped him down off of there and got his pants back up, but it was hard to be firm inbetween his chuckles. Especially when you don't know whether to die of mortification or start chuckling too.

Anyhow the theme at Iheartfaces this week is "blue". Hunter is as cute as can be with his blue outfit on and the mischevious sparkle in his baby blue eyes, but mostly I had to pick this photo to share this story with you.
Head on on over to IheartFaces for more "blue" photos. I couldn't get their button linky to work today, but you can click on the name.

Sep 22, 2009

Candid


A totally candid moment, by my son, Hunter. He bent over to look in the fountain right as it shot up at his face. I nabbed the shot by some miracle. See more at I heart faces:






Bird clips

What do you do when you have a box of scraps that looks like this? This is a year's worth of scraps from sewing shoes. A whole year of brightly colored fused fabric and felt. So why did I save all these "worthless" scraps. Because everything can be put to reuse, silly! I have been meaning to make clips out of this box since I began, but never got around to it. Yesterday I did. Boy are these cute little suckers addicting to make! And so darn cute in Ainsley's hair! I made a lot of them. They each have a different colored belly and wing with a tiny beaded eye.
They have a felt lined snap clip on the back. The felt makes it so it doesn't slip out of Ainsley's ultra fine hair.
I pretty much have a bird for every outfit. You can find them in my store now. I sell three in a set. No two are alike and you get a random assortment. However, it doesn't seem to matter. They match pretty much anything.

Sep 18, 2009

A Purse, a giveaway, and an update

Occasionally I break out of the box. OK, actually I sew a lot of other things besides baby shoes. I just don't sell them. So I made this purse for a friend. Actually I made two exactly the same because I liked the first one so much. So while my friend got the first one for her birthday, I still have this one. It's not super big, but it's roomy and it has a large strap for going around the shoulder. The outside is practical brown corduroy for tossing in the washing machine hiding the dirt. I mean you could toss in the washing machine, but if you're like me, I would prefer one less thing to remember to wash. Oh yeah, and those flowers? They're on pins so you can just take them off, put them on a jacket, rearrange them, or wherever else you can dream up to put them.

It fastens with a loop over a wooden button.


So if you want the extra purse with flower pins I made, there is a paypal link at the bottom of this page and it can be yours! However, I did make a couple of extra pins, in addition to those on the purse as well, that I am giving away. Just leave a comment and I'll pick a winner on Monday and send them out to you. A daisy in green damask fabric, and a flower in a natural canvas fabric.

My garden is fading. It's the end of summer and the roses are throwing out some last blooms. To make three little blooms still look like an arrangement on my table, I put them in three little vases lined up on a vintage bread plate.


Now for an update on the kiddos. If you have made it this far reading, good for you!

Ainsley has enough hair for pigtails! Probably the smallest pigtails you ever saw on a girl, but since she is now two and I have been waiting for hair FOR-EV-ER, this is blog worthy. I LOVE doing little girl's hair with braids and ribbons and bows, and have been waiting and waiting and waiting on Ainsley's.

Luckily she likes to wear things in her hair everyday. She loves to comb and fluff her hair - what little she has!

And Hunter. After his rough start in kindergarten, I have had many inquiries about how he is now doing at school. While we periodically have a few tears some days, he has settled into the rhythm of it all and is enjoying it. He loves the predictability of the schedule, and works very hard at getting all his work done. He is working on beginning reading, and is doing quite well.

He is still managing to make a name for himself however. This week he got sick at school. The teacher and I thought he was faking because he got sick during a tough workpage and started crying about not being able to finish it. Then he said his tummy hurt. Anyhow, we largely ignored the fact that his tummy hurt, and enouraged him to participate, thinking he was just upset over not finishing the page. But he never got over it. I finally realized his tummy did hurt and he slept on the couch the rest of the day. The next day he was perfectly fine and we fed the ducks and then I sent him off to school. Apparently he was fine the whole day until it was time to go home. As he walked out of the classroom past the office door, he started crying and throwing up buckets. Mind you this is when the whole school is letting out and walking right passed that doorway. Yes, it was special. And super gross. I think everyone at John Wash School is starting to learn who Hunter is.


PS. I let him stay home the next day


Purse and pin set is $30 (and this includes the price of shipping).





Feeding Ducks

Three little ducks went out to play, Over the hill and far away,
When Mommy duck went "quack, quack quack,"

Two little ducks came waddling back.

Two little ducks went out to play,
Over the hill and far away,


When Mommy duck said, "quack, quack, quack,"

One little duck came waddling back,


One little duck went out to play,
Over the hill and far away,
When Daddy duck went, "quack, quack, quack,"
Three little ducks came waddling back!
Ainsley loves this poem. I had been promising the kids a trip to the park to feed the ducks for quite a while now. We took a friend with us, and they had a good time. I had a whole bag full of bread I had been saving and the ducks got quite a stale bread feast. So would have Ainsley. I had to make sure she didn't sneak bites of the nasty, stale bread.

Sep 13, 2009

Contemplative

I have this photo of Ainsley taken this week that I think fits the word, "contemplative", for a two year old very well. She's certainly thoughtful alright, but she's also devious, as seen by the slight smile in her eyes. It's the contemplative looks like these from my two year old, that make me wonder dread what she could be planning next. This week I told her, "good night little angel" when I was putting her to bed. She looked up at me from her crib and said, "No I not ah angel, mommy. I'm two!" Not knowing what an angel is, she felt the need to be contradictory. Well spoken, Ainsley!


For more "contemplative" photos head on over to www.iHeartFaces.com for this weeks photo challenge, or click on the button below:

Sep 10, 2009

Catching promises

Everyday for about 5 brief minutes, a vase in my living room catches the sun and casts a small rainbow on the wall in vibrant colors. The children seem to find it everyday and they put their small hands in it and try to "catch" the rainbow. I told them where the rainbow comes from. God made it as a promise. God promises a lot of things you know. While he doesn't promise adversity will never come, He does promise to uphold us, He promises joy, He promises to never leave or forsake us. It was enjoyable to reflect on His promises today as my children caught rainbows in their hands. Unlike this fleeting rainbow, His promises are true and solid and constant.
Many days I grasp at them since I have daily struggles and fears. Worries and deadlines can crowd my mind and drown out the quiet voice of God saying, "I am here." I often clog my days with too many things to do and fall into bed exhausted, out of sorts, and impatient, wondering, where is that joy I was promised? The joy of the Lord is our strength we are told.

But God operates on a different agenda than I do. I have so many things to "fill" my day with, but what has God asked me to do today? Meaning, I can never complete everything that I have on my "to do" list. The demands come at me from all sides. But did I finish the work that God gave me to do today? Am I distinguishing the demands and things that I think "I am supposed to do" from what God has really asked me to do today? Often I see other women accomplishing what appears to be so much more than I am, and I can quickly compare and become discouraged. But the tasks God is asking me to complete are not going to be the same as someone else's. I once was sharing with husband that I feel like a failure because I can't complete all the tasks that I thought I "should" complete each day. He asked me, "who said you 'should' do them?" I realized I didn't have an answer. It was an imaginary agenda made up from my perceptions of what I thought other people wanted from me. He remarked that instead of comparing myself with my upbringing or with other women, I should only regard my day only by the light of what God has asked me to do.

Joy, fulfillment, and a peaceful spirit come from being able to let go of the things that I cannot do, and simply do what God is asking me to do today. Some days it may be cleaning the house so my husband comes home to a clean environment he can relax in. Other days, I may have to let the house go, to focus more completely on the needs of my children. Sometimes, it may be that I need to spend time on my business. Keeping my heart in tune to the needs of my household and family, and being able to let go of things that aren't beneficial to keeping a house in harmony, is hard for me. In no one day can I keep the house up, work on the business, make meals, play with the kids, discipline the kids, attend to my husband, run all my errands, spend time with God, and keep up my friendships. I think a peaceful and joyful heart is one that adapts to the need of the day, as God shows to me throughout the day what the most pressing needs are. The promises of God are a direct result of following God. May I follow Him in what often appears to be the mundane, but all-demanding, tasks of each day.

In honor of bright colors, here are some new shoes I just created today for the shop. They are bright, bright, bright. Maybe more suitable for summer or spring, but I enjoy these colors at all times of the year.