It’s been a busy week – activities and expectations rise and suddenly I realise how mush there is still is to do that can’t be done until just before….
But each morning we have had the delight of unwrapping. I love the concept of this swap the joy of being allowed to open something every day, of pausing to feel blessed that someone has thought of you. Of unwrapping a gift with genuinely no idea of what might be in it!!
I so appreciate the work Cat put in to pairing people up who suited each other
DAY eleven (the boys smelly markers had already been squirreled into bags for show and tell!)
and her gorgeous hand-crafting
DAY thirteen (and more special characters for our magnetic nativity)
and her generosity to the boys (their gifts are disappearing into their room very quickly!)
Bounce got his crocheted bauble off the tree the other day just to show me again ‘this is the one I got first Mama and it’s still lasting.’
DAY fifteen (the lace is wrapped around a whole box of licorice – yum!)
10 days left until Christmas. I hope your weekend is filled with everything good.
I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed getting out of bed so much… over the last 8 days I’ve been woken to the sound of my boys whooping with delight over the beautiful and thoughtful things Leonie has picked out for them each day. (There was no expectation for her to do something each day for them that’s just the measure of her generous heart!)
One of the best things they have said this week was when they opened this awesome magnetic story board with some of the nativity characters in it and Bounce said to me ‘Mum I think Jesus is coming for us‘ (he wasn’t in the first parcel of these they unwrapped.) I thought to myself yes little man how true.
|Awesome jacket and skirt pattern, airhostess beads and gingerbread cottage|
|Story board with nativity characters|
This morning I was thinking about all the amazing things Leonie has picked for me and I felt like oh my gifts are so small in comparison and then I thought isn’t that just like Christmas. We carefully pick gifts for others and wrap them with care but really they are so very small in comparison to what heaven gave us at Christmas. A God who would walk as human, grieve, feel pain, lose friends, have enemies, laugh, eat, hope…. A God who would give up power and clothe himself in helplessness.
(the glo sticks the boys received were squirreled away faster than I could get a photo of them. Flip was found sleeping with his that evening!)
|Brownie In a Jar|
I love how no matter how generous our love, how kind our deeds, how wonderful our words they are only ever a tiny glimpse of the extravagant love of God who gave everything. A God who opens his arms to love us just as we are.
|Gorgeous Crocheted Flannels|
This Advent swap has been so wonderful and it’s not even half way through. Leonie has really chosen things so carefully in line with the things I said I liked. I think it is such a compliment when someone picks something for you, with you in mind. That is really the great discipline of gift giving to buy what someone else would like rather than what you would like yourself.
|I adore this quote – all framed up for me x|
I’ve also had such fun listening to all the excited exclamations of the boys and their sense of anticipation each day. Their absolute favourite has been the magnetic story board and they are already telling and re-telling the story to each other with the characters they have so far. It’s made me think after Christmas I need to make some more characters for them to re-tell other stories they love. I do remember getting hours of delight from my mama’s flannel-graph boards as a child.
Day SEVEN boys:
|More magnetic characters|
Tune in next Saturday to see what else has excited and delighted me… and to see if I’ve been brave enough to cut into this fabric which literally made me squeal when I opened it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen fabric I love more!!!
I’m one of those people who always has room for another friend. I’m not necessarily great at keeping in touch with you all the time or remembering your birthday or seeing you every week (or even year) but for me that makes no difference in the ‘how I feel about you stakes’. I know it doesn’t work this way for everyone. Some people like a few (very few) close friends. Some people walk closely together in terms of time and communication. People like this probably don’t find friendships with people like me very easy. Others have lots of friends and still manage the great balance of contact and regular check ins.
I just like to have lots of friends and pick up from wherever we left off and make a lot of noise and hopefully induce some laughter and encouragement along the way.
Since I have started blogging I have made a new circle of friends. For me these online/virtual relationships don’t take the place of in-life relationships but they introduce me to people I’d like to have in my real life circles. If the opportunity arises I want to cross that blurry line from virtual to real (maybe it’s a bit like the velveteen rabbit!!)
This weekend I have been away with some beautiful, talented, creative, smart, life-giving women and all bar one I would never have met (or started a friendship with) outside of blogging.
Although I’ll never meet the authors of all the blogs I read and certainly though I enjoy reading many blogs there are definitely those who I think ‘I’d have a great coffee date with you’.
I want to live my life accountab-ly and with integrity both online and in real life and when we talked this weekend one of the girls said that my virtual voice and my real voice married up for her. This made me very happy.
A weekend of talking, crafting and making the transition between the velveteen and the real was such a great time and I realise that these virtual relationships bring energy to me and challenge me to be the best of me.
Do you take time out with girl friends?
Do you believe in the transition between online and real?
Would you go away for a weekend with people you haven’t ‘met’?
Some photos from the weekend and some I took on the plane this morning – there are advantages to early starts after all!! (Deb and Juliet took most of the photos so hopefully they will do their own post and there are a few on Cat’s blog already).
You know the saying ‘It takes a village to raise a child’? I have to say I’d be a bit selective about the village members myself but it is a sentiment I want outworked for my children.
On Sunday afternoon while The Atlas was on a special ski trip I went walking the hills with some friends – the day was awful, visibility was low, the wind was cold (but the boys were well dressed mum!!), and the track was narrow, slippery and covered in gorse in places – sound good? It was until both my boys had moments of being ‘a donkey on the edge’ or even a donkey over the edge.
At every one of these times and a few others besides there were adults at their sides – mamas and papas – holding their hands, speaking to them kindly, distracting them with stories, offering to carry them on their shoulders.
It is a privilege to The Atlas and I that we have a great collection of ‘villagers’ around us. People who love their own children. People who treat our children kindly and talk to them with honour and respect.
I want my children to grow up with models of healthy families and with adults, who we like and respect, to relate to them and show interest in them.
As our boys grow and mature I want to have voices speaking words that my boys can hear when our voices get lost in translation. We intentionally want to have these good people in our boys lives (and of course we also get the treat of their friendship too).
We are blessed with a an amazing range of family (related and not) in our lives and I am firmly convinced our boys’ lives will be richer for it.
Simple. Achievable. Intentional: becoming the mama I want to be.
This week we received a very special parcel from a friend in London
Bounce immediately knew ‘It’s the Olympics’ when he saw his…. ??? My boys seem to love signs and symbols (they didn’t get that from me)
Flip said ‘I can actually speak British because I was born there, aye mama?’ (he was but his accent needs some work!)
And last week a friend dropped a wrapped sheet in my letter box because she knows I am on a no-fabric for 6 months challenge and she saw this and thought of me.
I do have the best kind of friends….
but the VERY best kind of friends are the ones who are so proud to be in the same t-shirts and hug with great enthusiasm and very little encouragement.
Again I am SO grateful for the gift of these boys and the crazy-fun they bring to my life.
On my birthday I was very spoilt.
I wanted to share a few of the handmade gifts I received that might inspire you.
This amazing bag Juliet made.
This cute, cute purse/clutch from Nin made by Annie.
This gorgeous stitching made by my sis.
And this incredible cake that I was given at music group made with love by one of our mamas.
With all sorts of my favourite details made from handmade-fondant icing.
And I received a cake on my birthday from another friend too.
I know – so spoilt and that was all of the handmade loveliness either.
I married The Atlas
I made some big promises
I voted in my wedding dress
and since that day I have laughed until I cried on many occasions and I have watched my best friend become a Dad.
For 12 years I have had the privilege of being married to the best person I know. ‘the boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places.’
Happy anniversary – I love you babe. More than I could ever communicate in words. You. Are. Awesome.
who else would want either of us????!!!!!!
A while ago Juliet emailed all the Chch bloggers she had emails for and asked them if they’d like to do a Christmas Swap.
Hello? Yes Please!
So on Friday night we got together and swapped anonymous presents (until we had a competition to guess who gave to who).
There was a $10 limit and an encouragement to be creative, thrifty, crafty.
This is what I got from the delightful Kirsty – I am in love with the fabric and the tray will be undergoing a transformation.
And also this very exciting stuff to laminate fabric with….
Also Juliet gave me a present for hosting and she made me my own labels – insert squeal here – now my creations will be so professional looking!
I love making friends and I love that one of the things blogging has given me is more precious people to share my life with.
Photos of the night c/o – Juliet. If you want to see what I gave pop over to Sophie’s blog. (link above, click on her name)
On Sunday night I had such a lovely night. A friend and I hosted a fabric swap and show and tell night.
Girls (ladies!) brought fat 1/4s to swap with each other and they also brought creative show and tell.
I love seeing what other people are doing and feeling inspired by their ideas. I love that creativity comes in wildly different packaging – we do different things, we like different colours, we do the same kind of projects in totally different ways.
It was such a good night to chat to people and hang out with other creative types and it was such a mix of people there too – school mums, blogging friends, drama friends, church friends….
The delightful Kirsty also kindly agreed to come and bring an assortment of gorgeous fat 1/4s for people to buys as well. I got some SUPER cute boy fabric – which I never buy so I have to think up some cute boy projects to go under the tree now.
Kirsty sells online too and her postage and prices are so reasonable, do check it out especially if you despair the lack of decent fabric shops in your area.
And look she gave me a present as well to say thanks – generous! and the pleasure had been all mine!
If you want an inspiring night I so encourage you to think about a creative show and tell night. Once you remind everyone how much pleasure they get out of seeing what other people make they/we are very good at overcoming our ‘creative performance anxiety’ and bringing something with them/us.
(In case you were wondering this idea was all mine and Kyleigh’s and we asked Kirsty to come and she said yes. We didn’t do a hard sell on fabric we just had it there for people – like me – who wanted to browse. It was a chilled out crafty kind of night not a promotion – Kirsty’s fabric does that for itself!)