Friday, February 19, 2010

nana's chair

There is a chair in my house that we call Nana's chair because every time she's here, that is where she sits. She has trouble getting around and this chair is so comfy and just the right size for her short self. Any chair that Nana's in must also hold one to three additional children at any given time, so this chair has been, shall we say, well loved. It is kind of a Velveteen rabbit of chairs because this once lovely green silk, wing-back chair now had stuffing coming out and spots that had been loved right off. Anyone who has been around my mother can see that little people, especially her grand-kids are drawn magnetically to her lap. For several reasons really, because she has pretty jewelery that little fingers love to touch. She has lots of silly voices, and her lap is never too crowded for one more, but most of all because she always brings new books and is the most amazing story teller ever. No one can make the written words come alive like she can. But years of rocking babies, kids romping, and piling into it had left the chair looking like it belonged on the curb.

I was inspired by the patchwork chair on Indie Fixx. It made me think that maybe I could save the chair from the sad fate of the roadside. The only problem being that I couldn't afford to have someone else reupholster it and I don't sew. So I ran the idea by my faithful and more crafty friend, seeing if maybe she could help me. She said,"Yes we should do it!" as if I had just asked her to bake cookies with me. Her confidence and help was all I needed. I chose fabrics from Alewives going for a eclectic, patchwork anthropologie feel. Alewives fabrics are gorgeous and just looking at the colors and patterns made me want to create pretty things. I figured the hand-made, patchwork look might disguise my lack of sewing skills as well. So Laura and I took on a perfectly reasonable first sewing project: reupholstering a chair.
She worked on the seat cushion cover on her machine while I yanked and stapled and hand-sewed each section. We both enjoyed watching our creation evolve. Meanwhile we had lots of little "helpers" covering entire portions of the chair with little rainbow pearly push pins. I was pleased with the outcome although I still want to put a few applique birds and circles on the wings of the chair. I had enough fabric to make some new throw pillows to brighten up the room as well.

It's definitely a throne fit for our sweet Nana. All pretty and bright, waiting for lots of cozy reading and snuggling, until the day that the birds and flowers are worn off and we're left with a patchwork, velveteen chair. We're keeping it warm until your next visit.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Valentine's day

We don't usually do much for this holiday, but little girls make it a whole lot more fun. It's amazing how paper hearts and hand made cards for friends can be so exciting. It's so nice to see how much they want to show their love. So the heart chains went up and we embraced the heart doilies, glitter, glue and paint mess. This year our newest Auntie had a tea party for all the girls. There was pink, and tulips, and chocolate and ballet so it was pretty much a little girl heaven.

The sisters and their red hot Valentiney shoes.


Aunt Trish brought out lots of white tulle to dance and play with.

Tea parties are so exhausting.

The only thing that would have made it better was the presence our NJ cousins. Thank you Aunt Trish for the lovely memory with the girls and hopefully a new tradition.

Monday, February 15, 2010


My baby girl turned three today so I suppose I can't really call her my baby any more. I actually just got her down to bed. She is usually like clockwork when it comes to bed time so it was unusual for her to be yelling from her crib. When I asked her what she needed she stuttered around for an answer and finally said, "Um, I just luf you and I wan you." Still in a little disbelief that my baby is now three, it was actually a welcome time to hold her a little. With Josh gone for the night it was just me and my girl. I sat near the fire and held her in her blanket. I sang songs I've always sung to her but now she sings back and hums with her cheek against mine like a little out of tune song bird. I thought about the day I had her, first seeing her with that head full of velvety black hair. I thought about all the love and joy she brings to our family. I thought about how we named her and laughed a little. Naya is an Indian name that means gentleness, so we named her Naya Faith as a reminder of these fruits of the Spirit. Gentle is not exactly the first thing that comes to mind if you know Naya. You know that quote,
"Well-behaved women seldom make history." --Laurel Thatcher Ulrich?
I'm thinking Naya might be a history maker. It always amazes me how quickly you start seeing these strong qualities taking shape in your children. Naya is bold and strong-willed and she just has a little fire in her. As I think about her name though, I can't help but think that it fits her perfectly. Sometimes when you think of gentle, you think of some fragile, quiet, soft, delicate thing with a sugary-sweet voice and tilted head. The fruit of the spirit that I see in the Bible looks more like a strong and peace-loving wisdom. And that is what I desire for Naya. That in his grace we would know how to train and shape her to be a bold and fearless and gentle woman of God.
Even in her fitfulness and craziness she is so tender and so full of love. Not a day goes by that she doesn't tell each one of us that she loves us. Not a day goes by without her making us laugh. I am so thankful for the precious gift she is.

Today was a freezing cold day but daddy had off so we went out to lunch and to the toy shop. We ran around the park till we froze, but you didn't seem to mind. You need no encouragement with the girly stuff so you were delighted with your new tutu from Mimi and some new pink shoes. You love dancing and really want to do ballet with Ella and Dove.

We love you and can't wait to see what this year will hold.
Happy Birthday baby girl.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

tenderly speaking

Monday was my birthday and usually at my age it's like any other day. But when something happens that makes it, not-so-ordinary it's really nice. I went down to my favorite Italian place to meet up with some of my very favorite girls. It was so much fun just to all get out together. There were thirteen of us in all and as we laughed and talked, I felt so blessed to have such a tribe of amazing women. Some artists, some mamas, some teachers, all so diverse and each so beautiful in her own way. One, I've known since she was itty-bitty and I was her camp counselor, one was my college roomie, some were from the girls' group I've been in for years, and some are sisters. I don't think I'm alone in the realization that there is healing in the understanding between women. The conversations went from art, to Jesus, to birth stories, to dreams, to sex, to hilarious things our kids do. We stayed for three hours, laughed a lot and covered a wide array of topics; our poor waiter got an earful. And then they surprised me with this:

I wrote about it here. I suppose it's the goal of most artists to create something that communicates; that stirs something in the viewer. I loved "Tenderly Speaking"(by Cat Collier) the first time I saw her. The colors, the textures, her expression which to me seems simultaneously timid and bold,peaceful, mysterious, edgy and feminine all make her intriguing to me. It seemed fitting to be given it by all my girls and now means even more to me. I hung it on my wall and looked around at the various pieces of art I've been given. Little corners of beauty, reminding me of people I love, and making my house a home. They just make me happy. I was sharing what a blessing these friends and this gift was to me last night at small group and still couldn't say it with out crying.
I was brought up, not to ask, expect or take things from people and I find that being on the receiving end of love, gifts, or attention is still kind of hard for me. I get embarrassed and emotional. But being humbled and overwhelmed by love isn't such a bad thing. I think we all need that source of encouragement sometimes. That in all of my messiness and weakness, someone sees me for who I am and still likes me. Can it be? It's such a picture of Jesus and how He loves us in our brokenness. It's real and healing to be with these women who build me up and bring me closer to Jesus. The evening was just a reminder of the treasure these girls are to me. We've been through relationships and finding who we'd marry, growing up, pregnancies and the loss of them, figuring out motherhood and creative endeavors, lots of joys and lots of tears. One of them gave birth to her daughter in our bed! Two of them married my little brothers. One of them dated my husband many moons ago. Needless to say, there is some history there. More than anything though, they are loyal, strong creative women who I know I can trust with my heart. They know when to listen and when to advise, they don't judge me and they make this journey easier and so much more pleasant. Thank you all for the treasures you are.

My little Dove-bird niece made her mama buy me tulips and a candy bar. She knows me well.

I came home to some of the loveliest home-made cards from my babies and Van Gogh yellows from my love. Lots of pretty paper, cards and fresh flowers made me one very happy girl.

"Happy Birthday. I love you. I wanna have a whole lot of fun with you. I give you this rose. I love you with all my heart. I love you more than the whole planet loves the moon.
Love, Juden"

Be still my beating heart.

Monday, February 08, 2010


Rain pours into my bedroom closet and our yard is a mud pit so we try to create our own light and our own blue skies. Just looking at these makes me miss my sisters. The girls are the same size now and lots of people ask if they are twins. They are so very different from each other but such very good friends.

blue skies

This has been the grayest,wettest January I can remember. So when the the sun finally breaks through, and there's blue skies above we make sure we soak it up. Last Monday Josh had a snow day so we took a drive up to enjoy the icy Narnia mountain. It was a sight to behold, thick crystal ice encasing every branch. We walked around Covenant College, our Alma Mater. I always feel nostalgic up there. It reminds me of being inspired by wise professors, worship, community and meeting this really cute crazy boy with a fro of curls. I lived on the fifth floor of what used to be an old hotel called The Castle in the Clouds. Everything seems so familiar, that it almost felt like I should be getting to chapel instead of making sure my kids didn't walk under any falling ice.