This is Real. This is Me. I’m Exactly Who I’m Supposed to Be.

Two weeks ago I went out in the pouring rain with my umbrella and a pocket full of nerves to meet Sandra Eilers at Fishtrap Creek for a photoshoot. We wanted to freeze time for a little bit…the colours, the brilliance of fall, and the fact that I am alive and that dreams are coming true. Sandra is an incredible photographer, with a sharp eye and unique angle on things she sees through her lens(es).

Yesterday, I got the pictures back. They are amazing because Sandra is amazing. But there in one tiny little problem….I am so frickin hard on myself. And it has really bothered me all day, because I ought to be proud of those pictures…but they make me want to hide because they have exposed me.

One of the blogs I sometimes read is about a set of quintuplets in Texas, and I came across this post, which put some things in perspective for me. You’ll have to click on this link because I don’t have the rights to a certain picture that is hilarious. If you don’t want to click on it, that’s fine, and basically the post is about what happens behind the scenes of her seemingly “perfect” quintuplets. There is puke. There are tears. There is hair pulling and ear grabbing. We just don’t see those things, do we? Most parents don’t want to post pictures of their kids hurting each other and regurgitating their lunch. And that’s kind of like me.

So anyways, there are pictures that Sandra took that make me feel insecure because I am not perfect. And even though the world sees me through their own eyes every day, I like to think I have some control over it. Like only posting the best of the best pictures on facebook, not to mention my eHarmony profile.

But you know what I decided? I decided that what you see is what you get. And I don’t want some guy on eH to decide I’m attractive because of a particularly flattering picture of me taken who knows how long ago. I want someone to be attracted to me because I’m me. And I have flaws. And you still love me.

So here they are. I’m not posting them just for the sake of them being looked at. I’m posting them because even though I am insecure about a few, this is real. This is me. I’m exactly who I’m supposed to be.

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I love you for who you are,

~C

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Monday’s With Martha—Week 4 (Christmas Mobile)

My mother can correct me if I’m wrong (which I ‘m sure she will!), but I’m pretty sure I didn’t have a mobile on my crib when I was a baby. Not that I have asked or seen any evidence either way, but sitting here right now thinking about it, I have no memory of one. However, I did have a pink clown (yes, a clown!) which sat on a swing and it attached to my light on the ceiling. And from the stories I hear of my infancy, it was a tradition and nightly rite of passage that I “whack the clown” before I would be able to sleep. You’d think that would be creepy, having a swinging pink clown in my nursery, but I don’t think it was.

Even though traditionally babies are the ones who are supposed to be the ones who enjoy having things dangling over their heads as they try to sleep, there is something in me that loves it too, despite the fact that I am 27 years removed from my babyhood.

One Christmas, when Alisha and I were living together, she heard me talking about wanting a mobile, and the dear girl spent who knows how long creating this amazingly perfect and fitting and freaking beautiful mobile for me.

It was one of the greatest Christmas gifts ever received, because not only did she make it just for me, it made me feel heard…One of the last things Oprah Winfrey said on national television was this:

“I see you. I hear you. What you say matters to me.”

Amen, my sister from another mister. Amen.

Well, this year I decided to make a mobile for the outside of the cottage, and it was important to me that it be beautiful but also functional somehow. And by functional I don’t mean I wanted it to make toast or do a dance or anything…no, I wanted it to be welcoming.

I started with two metal hangers, a few scraps of garland, and fishing wire. I stared at those things for awhile but finally received a vision, and I ended up with this:

It makes me so happy to see those 4 words of hope and truth swaying gently as I come home from work or choir rehearsals or wherever the day has taken me.

The ball in the middle is pretty significant, too. I choked up a bit taking it out of my Christmas box last week, because I have no memory really of why I made it say what it says…

this too shall pass…2009

I’ll be writing about that little ball in the near future.

Hope y’all have had a lovely weekend…our last weekend in November. How did that happen?

~C

PS I got those 4 wooden little sayings at Walmart last January for 25 cents each! It really does pay to stock up at the end-of-season sales!

PPS I don’t suppose ‘snow’ is really a word of hope or truth, but it’s pretty and I don’t care if it fits in or not! 😉

On the First Day of Christmas…

…my true love gave to me:

25 fun things to do before December 25th!

Sorry that didn’t rhyme.

And I’m also sorry I don’t actually have a true love…so that not only didn’t rhyme, but it was also kind of a lie.

C’est la vie. Such is life.

Pretty sure most of you will agree with me on my next two statements:

a) Christmas is amazing.

b) Living life to the fullest is a must.

Agreed?

Sometimes I worry that I am too busy living life to really enjoy it. Sometimes I forget to breathe properly. Sometimes days will go by where I don’t connect even once with the people I love most. Sometimes I am completely unintentional with my time, my love, my dreams.

And I want to change that.

So I made a list of 25 things I really want to do this year. Some I do every year, some are brand new dreams. I have confidence that I can accomplish them. It’s good to have goals that don’t revolve around making money and getting ahead in this world, sometimes.

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In no particular order…

1) Write meaningful Christmas cards to the people who touch my life, and really take a moment to thank them for the ways they bless me.

2) Try some new recipes for Christmas cookies and give them away to people who would never expect it, like the sweet couple who own the cafe where I work.

3) Go to the Lights of Christmas at Warm Beach Camp in Stanwood, Washington (anyone up for it?)

4) Put up Christmas lights on the cottage.

5) Make one Christmas craft per week and share that time with people I don’t often see.

6) Take lots and lots of pictures, especially when no one is looking.

7) Go shopping at North Gate Mall and spend at least 2 weekends in Seattle.

8 ) Ride the Stanley Park Christmas Train.

9) Go to Starbucks alone and get a hot Christmasy drink and people-watch.

10 ) Watch every single Christmas movie possible.

11) Go to Chapters and read all the children’s Christmas stories and enjoy (rather than be annoyed by) the little kids playing at the train table.

12) Allow myself to feel the overwhelming emotions of the true meaning of Christmas.

13) Listen to O Holy Night and try to recapture the complete peace I felt when I spent Christmas in South Africa.

14) Buy fake snow in a can and go nuts on my 4 precious windows at the cottage (they are the perfect kind of windows for it, with wooden slats dividing them into 9 little squares). Sigh…I am so in love with my house.

15) Blast Mary’s Boy Child (gotta love Boney M!) and dance like a crazy person. No matter who is watching.

16) Go to a Christmas music concert featuring the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. The Nutcracker would also be good if an alternate plan is needed.

17) Call my best South African friend Laura-Loo and tell her how much she means to me.

18) Try to find the kind of Christmas lights that plug into cigarette lighters…I’ve always been jealous of all those sweet holiday rides!

19) Go to the Vancouver Christmas Market!

20) Find a tiny (fake) tree that fits perfectly in my tiny cottage.

21) Make popcorn strings for said tiny tree.

22) Create a Christmas 2011 time capsule…as most of you know, I am in a very very very different place than I was last Christmas. Who knew that life would change so drastically in one little year? This time I want to document it all; write letters to myself and capture memories with photos…and tuck it all away until Christmas 2012.

23) Finally make it to the Annual Abbotsford Christmas Tree Lighting…in the 8 years I have lived here I have not yet made it!

24) Sponsor an Angel Tree child. Or two.

25) Love more. Hands down.

~C

This is a German Christmas market in Bremen, which is super close to where my family lived/lives…I miss miss miss it. If I could, I would put THIS as my number 1 on my holiday to-do list!

Monday’s With Martha—Kylee’s Edition (aka Week 3)

This week’s project was a little different.

A little different in the sense that it didn’t take me a week. It took me a LOT longer than that! I’ve been lacking time lately for some reason (coming from a girl who can’t say no…what a shocker), and so this sweet little baby was on the back burner for far longer than she should have been.

But she was worth the wait, and I hope Kylee and Myranda agree!

Behold, Week 3…

Kylee’s First Baby

This sweet little baby was crocheted using a pattern off of freepatterns.com, size F/5 and G/6 hooks, 4 ply yarn (baby sport) and fiberfill stuffing. Total project time: You Don’t Want to Know…

I’m very thankful for the 40% off coupons that Michaels has all the time…it’s a bit of a pain to go in frequently and only use one at a time but it’s worth it when you can create a project such as this and have it cost less than $10…not to be tacky and give away the cost…pretty sure Kylee’s not paying enough attention to have caught that!

My family might be a bit bummed because in the past I have been good about spoiling them at Christmas, but this year everyone’s gifts will be handmade, like it or not! I’m going old school and in it’s own way, that in itself will spoil them.

But don’t worry, Nick. I won’t make you a baby doll. Maybe a monkey or teddy bear instead 😉

(if he’s lucky!)

It was really fun having my pseudo sister and niece over to decorate the cottage, and it was super fun giving Kylee Ray her Christmas dolly, albeit a little early.

(sorry that the last picture is a bit blurry—it’s from an iPhone!)
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Christmas festivities are really picking up around these parts—the cottage is a dreamland right now and I can’t wait to show you pictures! Or better yet, come on over!
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Happy Monday, my loves!
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~C

A Sneak Peak Into My Dreams…

There is much to be said for the dreams that came true this past weekend.

Much.

But for now, a little sneak peak of what is to come in the days ahead…

Not to mention this…

Someone was a leetle bit out of her comfort zone this weekend…for 3 days straight!

Your girl is stretched to the limits right now, especially emotionally. I feel like I’m a movie lately—all these amazing things are happening and it’s my life and yet I still can’t quite fully comprehend what just happened.

More on all these things soon. I promise.

Lovin’ life,

~C

Monday’s With Martha-Week 2

So, it looks like I’m stickin’ with this weekly crafty time of mine…which kind of surprises me. Not because I’m a bailer, but because this past week was insane.

It was busy and crazy and stretching and exciting and nerve-wracking and packed to the max.

And yet, here I am, typing away furiously on a Sunday night as my beloved Sarah McLachlan sings about skating away on a river. My craft (sorry, I still kind of lol when I write/think/say ‘my craft’) this week was a pretend snow globe.

My friend Anne met me a Walmart and we perused the aisles seeking inspiration for this week’s project, picking up random bits and pieces of crafty stuff and finally settling on 2 glass vases, a bucket of sculpting clay and some stuffing.

Behold…our not-so-snowy-globes:

Me likey. So does Anne.

Super easy, promotes lots of creativity, and there aren’t too many ways to screw this one up, short of dropping and smashing the vase!

Oooh, and I can’t forget to mention that we had hot chocolate and cranberry white chocolate biscotti (which I made myself, thank you very much!) and watched Home Alone.

I suppose it’s now safe to say it’s officially Christmas at the Cottage. 🙂

Happy Monday’s With Martha, my friends! Stay warm out there this week—looks like (real) snow is coming our way! Yay!

~C

Monday’s With Martha-Week 1

Martha Stewart, that is. Ironic how a few posts back I talked about being Martha’s complete opposite…it’s one of those many mysteries in life, I suppose. 

Evelyn texted me last Monday and asked me what I wanted to do because it was one of those rare times that we were both free. That is a miracle in itself! I suggested shopping in Bellingham. She suggested doing a craft.

Haha. A craft!

I thought she was joking. But oh no, she was not.

The amazing girl (lady?) I teach with laughed because when it comes to crafts, especially with our little kids, I kind of fall short of…let’s say…passion. Nothing against crafts; it’s just not really my thing.

But how can you argue with this face?

Crafts: 1. Bellingham: 0

The girl was prepared. I met her at the dollar store and she was practically buzzing with excitement. It was a little bit contagious…I started feeling a bit excited about our little project too, especially because I got to pick out TWO pairs of socks from the most amazing assortment. Go Dollar Giant!

We picked up french toast lattes* (to die for) and headed for the cottage, which was absolutely the most perfect location for our little project.

Due to, um, limited space, we made a pretty huge mess, but I’d say those (normal) people with kitchen tables could have a much easier time making these ADORABLE snowmen/snowwomen.

We watched Eloise at Christmastime whilst glue-gunning and elastic-tying and giggling and sipping lattes. Pretty swell afternoon, I’d say!

This is instalment 1 of Monday’s with Martha. Here is hoping it is instalment 1 of 7. I’d like to make 1 craft per week from now till Christmas…holy smokes. Does that mean Christmas is in SEVEN WEEKS?

SWEET!

If you want to get crafty in the cottage, please come over! I’m joining Pintrest because word on the street is, they have some AWESOME craft ideas.

Who am I? Did I just commit to crafting once a week?

Maybe I need more sleep. 😉

Toodles!

~C

*French Toast Lattes: 1 pump cinnamon, 1 pump vanilla. Heaven, I tell you. Tamaringo’s at Cannor Nurseries on Marshall is where we got them, but it’s simple enough to make them at home, too.