Archives for the month of: December, 2011

I am anxious to return home and to the blog.  Thanks for your patience during my Christmas sabbatical.  I’ll be back next week with lots of good news!!

 

Love to all.

I am relaxing,

finding my center,

slowing,

listening to the waves,

and listening to my life.

I’m reflecting on 2011.

A year of growth,

humility,

change,

and dreams come true.

I’ll be back in a few days.

Merry Christmas to you all!

I have often considered myself to be a servant. Leadership positions at church, always saying yes when asked to do something, and my willingness to put my needs last qualified me for such a humble title.

I learned long ago that putting myself last as some sort of sacrificial martyr is nothing to be honored.Even after learning this, I still prided myself on my servanthood and even more now for being wise enough to recognize that if I take care of myself I will be more capable of serving others.  The “I am second” movement  and things like it only patted me on the shoulder even more.

If you ever want to learn the true meaning of the word humility….get married. It is in the last 7 months of my marriage that I learned I am nothing close to a servant. I may help serve, but I do not have the heart of a servant. I have been more focused on looking like a servant than having the heart of a servant.

Servanthood was more like a piece of clothing I put on and took off, rather than a part of my character. 

Serving while mumbling unsweet nothings under my breath isn’t quite the image of a servant that I think Christ had in mind.

This smells of people pleasing doesnt it? It smells like fear. It smells nothing like the fragrant life of prayerful incense that God’s word speaks of. I am thankful to learn this lesson now and even more thankful that God has continued to work even in my shortcomings.

I would love to hear your thoughts on servanthood.

What have you learned about being a true servant?

Do you have any resources on servanthood to share?

My grandmother has always told me that I’ll never be able to make everyone happy.  As a reformed people pleaser, I know this is true, but it has done nothing to slow my attempt at trying to appease everyone.

So what about those decisions that you know are inevitably going to hurt someone?

What about when you know you will be trading hurt for hurt?

Without going into details, this was the situation my husband and I found ourselves in regarding our Secret Marriage.  Do I regret that we had a private and public wedding?  Not at all.  It is exactly what we wanted.  What I would have changed however was the way we went about it.  We denied our instinct and tried to please others along the way.  This is never a good idea.  It left me walking around in fear because I know it was waiting to bite us.

Someone once told me to be 100% committed to my beliefs and actions but be 100% willing to own up when I am wrong.  This motto has never failed me.  I have found it is easy to admit when I am wrong when I have acted out of something I believed to be right.  Knowing you are wrong when you denied your heart and tried to please those around you is a harder pill to swallow.

How can you defend or apologize for something that you don’t even believe in?  It’s here where I’ve inevitably always found the bitter roots of guilt and shame wrapped around the seed of people pleasing.  It’s here where I find myself standing on sinking sand.  It’s here where I realize that a decision made out of people pleasing is a decision made out of fear.  

You have probably heard it said that if you please everyone, then you stand for nothing.  Ugh, the truth of that is like a slap in the face.

At the end of the day, I have been reminded to trust my instinct,

to seek God’s guidance in decisions that are guarenteed to cause hurt,

to access my motives in decision making because though the decision may be right, the heart behind it may not be

and to take responsibility for my wrong doings.

If there was ever a day growing up where I felt the most lonely, it was at Christmas.  My friends had stories of staying up all night with their siblings, watching I Love Lucy Marathons, sneaking cookies, waking each other up early in the morning, and playing with their toys all day long.

My Christmas’s looked nothing like this. I was never more aware that I was alone than on Christmas morning.  Opening presents is fun, but it’s more fun when there are others to play with.

The weight of this loneliness became almost suffocating to me in high-school.  My parents were gracious enough to understand my feelings and let me spend the night at friends houses on multiple Christmas occasions.  I wanted to be part of a big family. I wanted to feel the anticipation with siblings, as if I had missed out on what Christmas was really all about.

My plan backfired.  Each Christmas morning I spent with a friends family, I only felt more lonely.  I wanted to be with MY family, and couldn’t wait to get back home.

This feeling of being on the outskirts, of never fully belonging, of always being outside and looking in has followed me my entire life.  I can’t think of a memory that did not have this attached to it.  Looking back, I also can’t think of a memory where this actually was true though.  It was a fabrication made up in my mind.  No one ever told me I didn’t belong.  I drew this conclusion myself.

This last year for me has been one of growing into my own skin, of realizing that I do belong, that my voice matters, and that I am not alone.  This dead skin of insecurity hiding behind a false humility has started to flake off, and I am oh so thankful for it.  It’s humbling to realize that the only thing holding you back has been yourself.

A common thread in my paintings has been community, or the striving toward it.  There are groupings of women, groupings of trees, and then the occasional lone subject.  Often the individual trees are women are in the process of being blown by the wind (my version of being refined by fire). It’s been a reflection of how I have felt as well as what I have longed for.  It’s fascinating to me to look back at the paintings over the years and I see the isolation in them.  I took a long break this year from painting to get married and my paintings since then have become full of community.  I’ve always thought of my paintings as journal entries and I see the truth in this statement now more than ever.

What I have realized this Christmas is that I have found what I’ve been looking for.

I have been living in it all along, I’ve just been unable to see it.

I am not alone and never have been.

My voice has value regardless if people listen or not.

I am a Child of the Living God and with that comes more siblings than I could ever begin to count.

It’s here that I am home.

 

I joined Pinterest and Twitter this week!

Better late than never, huh?

If you know me well, you know that I have been fighting this for some time.  First off, adding one more ‘mind numbing’ technological outlet into my life just didn’t seem worth it.  Second, As fast as technology changes and new things come out, I wasn’t convinced that either of these would be around for long.

It is no shock that I am wrong on both accounts.  Pinterest is anything but mind numbing!  I have found it to be such an amazing motivator.  Every DIY project I see, I am convinced that I am capable of executing.  Every well designed house I see, I am convinced mine can resemble the same.  Who would have known that Pinterest would be such a motivator!!  It’s unexpected and welcomed!

In honor of my new found love, I’ve decided to host monthly Pinterest DIY Project Parties at the new studio!  For those of you on Pinterest, I know you are now drooling with excitement!  For those of you not on Pinterest, you are still welcome to join us.  Just be prepared to fall in love with this crazy thing!

I’ll be thinking about our first party over Christmas, and will post the final details the beginning of January. If you have any DIY ideas, post the link down below, or find me on pinterest! To see some ideas I’ve already collected…click here!

What is better than Women, Wine, & Pinterest!!

In the months following our public wedding, we have been asked countless times, “So how’s married life?”   It’s not the question that is disheartening, but the look on peoples faces as they ask it.  It’s as if they are expecting me to say that marriage is terrible, or nothing what I expected; or alternately, that we are still floating on some imaginary cloud nine about to be caught off guard by a gravitational plummet back to Earth. (slightly dramatic I know, but you get the point)

What is more concerning than the look on their faces, is what tends to immediately follows their initial question.  It usually goes something like this. “So how’s married life?  Don’t worry, it gets better, I promise!”  I never know what people mean when they say this.  Are they trying to let me know that I don’t have to give the standard answer of “It’s amazing, we are so happy”?  I don’t get it.

For me, the beginning of our marriage has been incredibly sweet.  I liken it to times in my life when I felt particularly close to God.  You know how when you start studying the character of God you become keenly aware of where your own character falls short? Marriage is that for me.

Having someone so close, so constant, and so intimately present has made me sharply aware of my character flaws.  I have never been more cognizant of my selfishness, of my fears, of my weaknesses, and of my need for God’s grace.

Is this awareness hard?  Of course.  Is it humbling?  Absolutely.  Is it welcomed?  Most definitely.

In hindsight, I find it crazy that weddings come before a marriage.  Weddings are notoriously a selfish endeavor. It’s about what the bride and groom want.  Their desires reign and it’s their dreams coming true.  The world revolves around them.  How crazy that we enter marriage, a most selfLESS endeavor, with the most selfish one.

Its as if a wedding is the one last selfish soiree, because once all the candles are blown out and bottles of wine corked, life is no longer about you.  This is what marriage has taught me.  My life is not my own.  My life does not revolve around me. My life is a gift from God and it’s my job to be a steward of that gift.

A deep calm has covered my spirit since getting married.  I have learned that I am not perfect and don’t shame myself for such a fact.  I am learning the heart of conviction and that guilt belongs no where near it.  I’m learning my words are powerful and need to be used intentionally.  I’m tasting the sweetest of a love that motivates me to take care of myself but for a reason greater than myself.

There is a level of healing that I do not know if I would have experienced had Dirk not entered my life.

My husbands presence inspires me into a deep reconciliation with God.  

So how’s married life?  It’s amazing. 

Don’t these look divine?!?!

Well they are!  I made these this weekend and they taste SPOT ON for regular Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars.

Only difference is, mine don’t look anything close to these!  They didn’t stick together at all, so I ended up making Granola Bar “Shots” by putting them in mini muffin paper holders.  Being the visual learner/eater/communicator I am, this just will not work!

There is something so weird every time I throw back one of these granola bars.

What they are lacking in function, they make up for with taste.  

Click here for the recipe.

So consider this a call to all of my gluten free bakers out there.  How do you get these to stick together?!?!

I’m brand new to Pinterest and found this amazing recipe for some Gluten Free/Dairy Free/Sugar Free Oat Drops.

I am new to baking and the recipe looked easy enough!  I can’t rave enough about this recipe!  Not only was it super easy, but the end product looked exactly like this picture!  Being the visual person I am, the way things look is important!  Eating starts with your eyes, right?

I did make a couple of modifications worth noting.  First, I did not use dates.  I don’t particularly care for them and didn’t find anything lacking from leaving them out.  I also near trippled the seasoning it called for; and even in doing that, I felt they were under seasoned.  I wonder if using 1/2 applesauce and 1/2 bananas to stick them together would have been better.  Maybe even a cinnamon applesauce.  I’ll have to try this and get back to you…

They are the perfect breakfast cookie.  

If you are expecting a sweet oatmeal raisin cookie…these are not it.  Though you could easily sweeten them up to be so.  I think next time I will add a little bit of coconut sap to add a touch of sweetness!

Give them a try and let me know how they turned out for you!

Alright ladies!  I tallied up all of your entries (most of you had multiple) and used an online random generator pick the winner!

Yay!  Tiffany, shoot me an email (laura@creativespillage.com) and I will get you all the details!

Now for the rest of you..don’t think I’m going to leave you empty handed!!

I will honor the early bird discount rate of $75 for you, as well as for 1 of your friends beyond the January 1 deadline for the January 28th workshop!

Spaces are limited so I do encourage you to let me know if you are interested so I can hold a spot for you!

Thanks for participating ladies!  In honor of the new studio, I’ll be offering some more giveaways in the months to come!