Begin Again


This morning, I just needed to dig my brain in to something new and a little challenging.  I'm not sure why I thought I needed that as I've been learning to use a new app on my phone and it's been making my brain hurt already.  I suppose though that the time spent learning in Photoshop this morning will also help me learn that new app.  The negative space font was a free one on Creative Market and I just wanted to learn how to use it.  I did!  Now...if I'll remember how when I come back to it again, ha!  But, seriously.  I learn and forget.  Forget that I even learned in the first place sometimes.  Can anyone relate???

So I made this little digital art piece.  Just like the learning of the software and apps, if we don't keep working at our faith we will lose it or it will become stagnate.  Daily practice for art and creative work is touted everywhere and is so truly beneficial.  But first, please, daily practice of our faith.  Scripture reading, prayer, meditation, adoration, praise, good works...whatever and however your desires and God's promptings lead you.  That daily practice means more that any organized drawer, tv show, special dinner, new skills, etc. 

 My husband and I finished this book a few weeks ago.  So good! It was the first time we've read a book out loud together. We didn't really plan to read it that way, it just happened.  I think we will do it again.  Takes a while to get through, but a spiritual book is usually best in small bites with time to talk and think about what was read.  That's how this transpired too. I'd read, then we'd talk about it.  

The main message from the book to take away was to "begin again".  To nurture your faith and if you feel like you failed, let it go and begin again!  And again.  And again.  (You get the picture.)  Words to live by for sure. Continuing on with the garden metaphor;  When a plant doesn't do well in one location,  I change the watering/fertilizer practice:  Begin again if you will.  Still not doing well?  I move it.  Begin again. The book was full of encouragement, and very easy to read.

I'll leave you with a quote from the other book I'm just finishing, Anne of Green Gables:

"Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it...Yet." 

Begin Again

Foraged Wreath

I am enrolled in Kim Klassen's Inner Circle. One of the projects was to make a foraged wreath and then take a photo of it. Kim and her friend Aileen posted a video a couple of years ago about making wreaths from vines and I have been making them ever since. So, this wasn't new, but always fun to be inspired to do more so to speak. I had seen a beautiful wreath on the Terrain's website and decided to use it for specific inspiration to make one for this challenge. You can see it here

I am always foraging and this past Sunday we went out to the Native Prairie near here to do a little more. My husband sat in the front while our 15 year old worked on her driving skills. I enjoyed watching the ditches and taking pictures from the back while our 14 year old listened to music on her headphones. My husband very quickly honed his visual skills to help me spy different grasses and weeds with interesting seed pods or leaves. I posted a few pictures on Instagram.

So here is my "inspired by Terrain and Kim Klassen" wreath!

I could make wreaths for hours!  (and have...) The dried bits are certainly fragile, but they are also pretty forgiving when a piece does break off.  It's usually pretty easy to not fret about it whether I fix it or not.

So today is election day here in the US.  It's so sad to think that no matter the outcome, close to half of the people will be unhappy.  I really don't like that.  My eyes have been opened to the polarization of the world.  And I avoid it.  I won't listen to it and I try to not participate in it.  I'm trying to eliminate the us vs them mentality in my mind. It's hard.  I was in it deep in my young adulthood.  Loved the news.  Loved the politics.  Very much us vs them.  I've left that space years ago and am trying hard to "sing a new song" as God asks us to do so many times in the Psalms.

So wreaths may seem silly to some in the world right now, but it's more in tune to the song God has put on my heart.

Back to School Pictures


Here we go!  They've been home since March and we truly have had very little contact with others.  They are ready to roll.  My second to last child is entering high school and my youngest is entering the eighth grade.  This was probably the most ideal age to be stuck at home for all of us.  They can entertain themselves and aren't too used to running off on their own yet.  

I decided with the requirement of masks in school, that now would be the time to get them contacts.  Oh dear, fighting the steaming up of glasses all day would be so hard.  I'm sure some of you are fighting just that, and I feel bad for you.

Along with no steamed up glasses, contacts mean you get to wear sunglasses!  So they bought some this past weekend.  
Earlier this week I suggested a photo shoot with the new shades.  I thought it would be fun and a boost to their confidence.

I love to shoot non traditional portraits.

The girls were very willing participants.

It was good to be shooting photos again, it's been awhile.

The summer without one visit to a swimming pool, no vacation, no fair, no 4h projects, no schedule of any kind.  It wasn't awful, that's for sure.  I'm not sure what to say about it.  No way to easily sum it up as I'm sure many of you can relate.  Moving on to the next thing certainly feels like the right thing.

Continuing to pray every day for a vaccine, better treatments, protection, and graces.  For the beautiful graces that God can bring from all of it.

Discernment: Listen to the Tone

I speak regularly to a Spiritual Director.  She helps me discern God's voice in my life.  I started meeting with her years ago after going through the Saint Ignatian Spiritual Exercises with the Priest who confirmed me in the Catholic Church.  Funny side note:  One time I mentioned driving to go talk to her (my director) to my Mom who very nicely gave me a slightly pathetic, (but attempted sympathetic) look and cautiously asked, "Is she a counselor?  Are  you seeing a counselor?"  First of all, if I was, that would be fine so that made me roll my eyes inside, but this concept was very foreign to my Mom.  As it is to many people so now maybe I'm introducing the practice to you too.  Back to where I was going with this...

One thing she has taught me is to listen to the tone of the voice.  The voices that one "hears" internally.  Is it loving?  Is it condemning?  Those two right there will take you quite far.  Guess which comes from God? And where the other comes from.  Often, it's tricky, which again points to the evil one and not God.  God is not ever trying to trick us.

In the past years in the 'online' world of social media, we often heard a repeated message in many different quotes of "you are enough" and that was such a beautiful message that people were sharing.  Sometimes Satan got in and twisted it for sure, but there was a lot of truly good and loving posts by people encouraging others to know their value in the eyes of God.

Now, it seems the tone had definitely changed.  What I see and hear often is "you are not enough"  "you are wrong" "you should do more" etc.  Satan has come in and divided people.  He has divided those who truly are most likely on the same page.  People are being divided not on where we want to be, but on how to get there.  And there is almost always a condemning voice.  A "poking" as it were.  For those of you who have children, you may remember them poking each other to irritate each other.  Or perhaps they poked you, to get your attention. One of my kids poking me when they were little, I could handle, but this virtual poking is annoying.  I bet many of you have felt the need to poke back, right? (I fight the urge and know it's time to walk away from the phone/computer.)

We, as people, certainly may be divided in places where you need to stand strong.  For me that's in the area of human rights, the rights of the human embryo.  There is no compromise for me there.  What I'm talking about is the division in so many areas that are gray.  The divisions that are being stoked with sometimes aggressive and sometimes passive aggressive messages.  If you can discern the tone, you may know how and when to turn away.

My son said to me a number of years ago while he was college.  "I turn back to my opinion.  My opinion doesn't hate me."  And I laughed and thought how that puts something so complicated in to a simple form.  He by the way doesn't engage in political or controversial conversations.  

God may be calling you to take action, he may call you to vote a certain way, he may call you to just do your life the best you can.  But, that call will be loving, a drawing in, a drawing attention to, not an aggressive poke.

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