Monday, October 22, 2012

For My Mother

Yesterday I did the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.  I had the honor of speaking at my mother's celebration of life.  I've spoken to crowds, given lectures, taught lessons and more in the past.  But this was so much more.  It was heart wrenching and the hardest thing I have ever done, because it meant that my mother was gone from her earthly body.  Going into yesterday, I wasn't sure I would be able to do it.  I wasn't sure I would be able to get the words out in a clear and coherent manner.  But when I walked up to that stage, I felt her with me more than ever before.  I felt her strength and her love and her encouragement and with her right beside me, as if she was somehow within me as I spoke.  

This is what I had written to say- it's not exact, I was able to add even more... but it is close.

Thank you Mom for helping me get through this.  Thank you for teaching me to be strong, to be passionate and creative, loving and bold.  Without you, I am nothing.  And because I have you, I know I am everything I need to be.

For Mom

I would like to begin by reading a native American prayer. My mother loved the native American culture and I remember seeing this once in her things when I was younger. It has been a comforting thought to me and one that at one point in her life meant something to her.

I give you this one thought to keep - 
I am with you still - I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the sweet uplifting rush,
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not think of me as gone - 
I am with you still in each new dawn.

I was blessed to be born to the most amazing mother. I spent thirty one years trying to tell her in various ways what she meant to me. How much I loved her, how grateful I was that she was my mother, how much she taught me, inspired me, encouraged me and loved me.  After we got the call that she had passed, my husband said something to me that hit me to core and stuck with me.  He talked about how comforting she was and how she always made him feel so safe.  And he was right.  And I still feel her comfort and her safety today and know that I always will.

She taught me more than I could ever sum up in words that still, especially now, do justice to the truth.  There are two key lessons  that I would to share today.

She taught me to tell and to show the people that I love that I love them.  Growing up my brother and I never went a day without hugs and kisses and the words "I love you" being said to us. She never let a phone conversation end without those three important words. She never sent a note, card or letter without them and never left a message without those being the last words she spoke.  Even now I can hear her tell me she loves me from the voice messages that are saved and treasured.  Because I knew I was loved from the minute I was born it was instilled in me to do the same for the ones that I love and hold dear.  

My mother also taught me to be an active, passionate dreamer. That it was never too late to achieve your dreams and continue to dream new ones. She lead by pure example in this with her life, her education, her career and her unending determination and drive to reach her goals and live her dreams. She was working for, striving for and achieving those dreams until the end.  I am grateful for the example that she set for me, for her granddaughters and everyone who was blessed enough to know her.  I look out in this room and can see the impact that she had on so many people and it makes me swell with pride and the honor of having her for a mother.  Especially her students, past and present.  I see you and I can see the impact that she had and cannot tell you how blessed you have been and how blessed she felt to have been able to teach you.  Rarely a phone conservation passed where she did not tell me about her class and her students and how much she loved watching you grow and learn.

Being Linda Ansick's daughter is my honor.  For she was not simply my mother.  She was my best friend. She was my soft spot to land when I needed one. She was my teacher, my mentor and my example of what I wanted to be and everything that I could be. She was the encouraging words and the swift kick in the rear when I needed one.  And perhaps the most cherished role she was to me was the role of grandma to our two daughters Roslyn and Vivienne.  When I look at Roslyn I see so much of my mother in her. In her strength, her drive to do the best and the most that she can, her wit and her wisdom beyond her years.  To look into the face of Vivienne is to look into the beautiful face of my mother as a child with those eyes so full of wonder for everything around her, wanting to learn everything that she can.  When I think of my mother, I'll forever see her smiling and holding her grand babies, with a joy that I'm convinced only a grandma truly knows.

I could go on forever talking about my mom, and it would never be enough. To put it simply, she was and will always be my hero.

Khalil Gibran said:
"When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight."  

Thank you for being my sheer and abundant delight mom. I love you.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

finally fall...

Its finally that magical time of year, my most favorite of seasons... fall.  I love everything about it and loo forward to it with baited breath each and every year.  One of my favorite traditions since Roslyn started kindergarten a few years ago was to truly ring in the most beautiful of seasons with a special day devoted to fall.  This year, we loved it so much that we did it twice.  This last friday I picked Roslyn up from school and we grabbed some sandwiches and our favorite pumpkin spice drinks from Starbucks and found fall at the square.

Then on Sunday, we did it again, this time with Drew.  The girls loved finding fall with daddy and nothing could make me happier than my favorite guy, my girls, some Starbucks and beautiful fall.  This time we headed to Granite Creek Park to sit under one of my favorite trees during fall... the one that the leaves turn a beautiful red and fall early on in the season.  It was a wonderful day!

What are some of your favorite fall traditions?  I'm so looking forward to the pumpkin farm, collecting more leaves, pumpkin spice everything, Halloween, taking time to be intentional in my gratitude and celebrating Miss Vivi's first birthday.  It's simply my favorite time of the year and I love being in it!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

making it work...

I saw this on the ever addictive internet crack that is pinterest the other night and was struck silent and motionless by the truth that it holds for my life.  

So often in my life, I feel like I spinning counterclockwise in  this adventure of life with Drew.  I love him like crazy.  He's my world.  My best friend.  My soul mate.  My love.  My rock.  My soft spot to land.  My safety.  My warm embrace.  My adventure.  Simply, my everything.  Because with him, my life has turned into EVERY SINGLE THING that I ever thought it could be.  Our song even contains the lyrics:

"ain't no me, without you."
baby us the day we got married 1-22-99

It's our truth and what we endeaver to live every single day.  

But it's not always easy.  

I've been told we make it look easy.  
Adventuring in CA July 2012

And I've been told "I could never deal with that!"  

You see, I'm married to a man of excellence, determination, integrity and drive in every little thing that he does.  Whatever he sets his mind to do, he does and he does it well.  With his entire heart and soul. He is a devoted, loving and true husband.  He is a devoted, doting, loving and strong father to his little girls.  And he is a talented, driven, professional and humble musician.  And he is in DEMAND.  By sometimes it seems like every single person or place on the planet.  He's gone a lot.  And I get tired of that honestly.  I get burnt out.  I get over worked and sometimes it feels overlooked due to the nature of his life and the sacrifice that that entails.  Oftentimes, I do without him, so that others can have him.  And sometimes that gets old.  

We recently came off of a stretch of time like that.  He had gigs and rehearsals for 6 days straight in addition to the 60+ students that he teaches a week.  I rarely saw him, let alone had quality time or even an uninterrupted conversation with him.  I was cranky.  I was sad and yes, I was even angry.  I ranted to a few of my great friends (thank you again Shannon and Sera!) and I just endured it.  I missed him.  I longed for him to be home.
Drew doing his thing with the Cheektones 2012

So how do we get through those times when people can't seem to see how one could?  

We are grateful that we have the other person to miss.  We're grateful that the others absence in our life is noticeable.  And we don't take one single second of time together for granted.  We encourage each others needs and passions in life and we try to help each other in any and every way that we can.  I stay at home with the girls so he can go play music.  He works hard to pay for my education and tells me every single day that he is proud of me.  He is silly with me.  If something is important to me, it's important to him too.  We make even a simple outing an adventure together.  We ask each other questions and genuinely want to know the others answers.  We talk about future, our present and our past.  We are the very best of friends.  He is my one true very best friend in this entire world.  He makes me a better person.  He taught me how to love, he taught me how to need, and he taught me what it feels like to be truly happy.  He's my everything.
with my very best friend. August 2012.

I'm grateful that I get to miss him and that when those times that I do really miss him.  I'm grateful that when it comes down to it, all i want is to rest my head on his chest and have him hold me.  I'm grateful that we found each other and we have this life together.  I'm grateful that he exists.  Because there ain't no me without him.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I always wanted you.

My dear sweet Vivi,

You're 9 months old.  NINE.  MONTHS.  OLD.  You've officially been here and in our arms as long as I had the privilege and honor of carrying you inside me.
Tonight, while sitting on the couch, you snug in my arms, listening to music and the rain falling with our front door open I looked at you and wanted to cry.  And my heart sang out to me the words that I hadn't conciosuly thought in all this time but always knew to be true...

I always wanted you.
I always wanted you.  Exactly who you are.  Those beautiful blue eyes that curve just like mine.  That little nose that fits so perfectly between those adorable cheeks of yours.  Those perfect rose bud lips that smile so brilliantly and sweetly.  That curve between your neck and shoulder that I can't help but want to kiss on every moment of every day.  Those little hands that always find their way onto my cheek or in my hair or around one of my fingers.  That belly that is always just waiting to be rubbed and those chubby little legs that kick with happiness and sheer joy whenever you see your mama or daddy coming your way.

You're everything that I always wanted and so very much more than I could have ever imagined that I could deserve.  You are the sweet baby girl of each and every one of my dreams.  The perfect puzzle piece to complete this family puzzle of ours.  The perfect baby sister and friend.  You are a perfect dream come true. 
Thank you for waiting for us and for joining our family.  Thank you for blessing our lives.  Thank you for wanting us too.  For your whole life I want you to know this.  I always wanted you.  And I am so grateful and joyous to have you in my arms.

I love you my dear sweet Vivi-kins.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Vivi has TOOFERS!

After 9 months, and the last 4 in particular, of constant teething, Vivi's bottom front two teeth have broken through!

It's kind of sad- those gummy grins have been simply the cutest! But surprisingly I don't feel like crying like I thought that I would. I simply have a new favorite smile- the Vivi toofer smile! It's so very cute and I am so happy that she might have at least a moments relief from working on those two teeth so hard.

My sweet Vivi is growing so fast and I am loving and relishing in each and every moment!


Time: 12:35am
Location: sitting on the couch in the living room.
Watching: Greys Anatomy Season 6
Eating: nada
Drinking: iced tea
Feeling: reflective, fidgity, like something needs to happen
Thinking: about how I have been wanting to write again but when I sit down to do it, a part of me is scared of what might come out.
Wanting: a break... life has been very chaotic and I have been living like a single mom lately.  Mad props to all the real single mamas out there.
Needing: motivation and inspiration. A break.  Peace.
Making: a framed chalkboard with song lyrics to hang over our bed.
Loving: the thought of creating, scrapbooking, etc and wishing I had the time to do it.
Reading: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Thinking About: the to-dos of the week
Anticipating: Vivi waking up soon- she's sleeping restlessly.  Secretly I don't mind at all- more snuggle time with just my sweet baby.
Wishing: that things change soon.
Making me happy: feeling like maybe, just maybe... I helped someone feel better today.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

some exciting news to share :)

I'm back to designing again!  And I couldn't be happier that after about a year of barely scrapping and just not being that into it, I am back at it and loving it again!

And I am the most happy to share that I am again designing for Michelle at A Million Memories!

To make it even more awesome- she sent me the amazing new Dear Lizzy stuff with some perfectly coordinated embellishments and her unique vintage trims and fabrics.  I've been in heaven!

Here are two of the layouts that I have made- more to come for sure!

The title of this layout and part of the journaling comes from the Jim Croce song, Time in a Bottle.  One of my very favorites.  This layout includes hand stitching, confetti punching and to get the ruffle along the bottom I wet and crumpled up the vellum until it looked like I wanted it to look.  I also added a doilie that I dyed.  Peeking out from the photos is some of the adorable trim that Michelle sent.

This next layout was inspired by the title and title work of THIS amazing layout that I pinned on interest.  The minute I saw it, I knew that I was too inspired to not create a similarly themed layout.  I believe the saying comes from a kids shirt.

Again, I hand stitched on this layout and included a lot of layering.  The little rosette trim is cut from the rosette fabric that Michelle sent me and watercolored to get the color that I wanted for my layout.

I used Dear Lizzy ruffle paper as a mat for my photo and base for my title.  I also included three doilies.  One straight from the package, a hand dyed one and a Martha Stewart shimmer die cut doilie.  Peeking out is more of that adorable trim.

I made the title from mixed fonts and added glossy accents to "dad's lucky" to emphasize it.  I reproduced a similar layered doily look with the cut out sentiment to balance the layout.

Thanks so much for peeking at my blog today and checking out my layouts!

Monday, March 5, 2012

I’m super excited to share a fun new digital/paper crafting kit with you today!

One of my online scrappy friends, Shanna Vineyard, has combined her love of hand-drawing and painting mixed with her fondness of bright, happy colors to bring us a kit that is different than anything you’ve ever seen!   In celebration of her relocating back home to Arizona next week, she was inspired to create this kit, “Home Is Where the Heart Is” that includes over 50 different hand-drawn and painted images.  They can be used in your digital projects or can be easily resized and printed to cut out and use with your traditional scrapbooking and card making creations.  The possibilities are endless and you will have them to use over and over again as much as you like for as many projects as you wish!  So FUN!!!

Here’s what I made using her kit…..

When I first looked at the kit I was immediately drawn to the adorable polka dot hearts and knew that they would be the focus of my project.  I printed one large pink polka dot heart as my large pattern background and then printed 4 more hearts to use as embellishments.  I also decided to add some of the adorable flowers and leaves to really brighten it up and give the layout that perfect lovely, girlie feel.

One of my favorite aspects of this kit is all of the detailed, accented line work in the images.  It gives it that perfect finished, polished look while keeping it whimsical and fun.  I decided to borrow that idea from the kit and outlined my thickers to coordinate perfectly with the kit images.

I used foam squares to pop up some of the hearts while keeping some of them flat on the page to give it the appearance of floating along the page and to really draw you in when you looked at it.

I know that these flowers will find their way onto many of my projects because they are all so versatile!  I popped them up off the page with foam squares after using my bone folder to shape the petals to give them a realistic, dimensional look.  I finished them off by adding small yellow buttons for the center.

Visit Shanna’s blog to purchase this kit and see LOTS of other awesome samples that were created specifically to share with you today!    In celebration of this fun, new release she is also doing a huge giveaway valued at over $275.00 with lots of fabulous new scrappy goodies and several ways you can win!  So head on over and check it out! 

Thanks for stopping by! 

Friday, January 6, 2012

the first Vivienne layouts :)

I'm so excited to be sharing the first (of what I assume will be far too many) Vivienne layouts!  Kristin came over to scrapbook on Tuesday night and I got inspired to finally dive in and start creating some pages of this little beauty.

"a face so sweet"
this layout was made using Studio Calico's Autumn Press collection.  I absolutely adore this line and think it is so perfect for my baby girl pictures.  It's soft, feminine and sweet without being that typical baby pink or theme.  It's also incredibly versatile... I will have another project I made using it to post soon!

I also added some Studio Calico mist (used with a doily) in Cameo, a couple of crocheted flowers from my stash, a Prima flower, some American Crafts thickers, Basic Grey chipboard alphabet and my Jenni Bowlin pennant punch and Stampin' Up! border punch.  The twine is from my Dec. Studio Calico kit add-on... love how I can usually mix and match out of my kits to make them stretch!

Some detail shots:

"Welcome to our nest"
This layout was created using the Studio Calico November kit.  I added some American Crafts thickers and Basic Grey chipboard letters, a vintage lotto game piece (I used a brown marker to color over its original red), a sunflower doily, a creative imaginations twig, and twine from the December kit add-on I purchased.  I used my Jenni Bowlin sparrow, file tab and pennant punches, as well as my Stampin' Up! heart punch.

some detail shots:

It feels so good to have Vivienne's book started and be back to scrapbooking for fun!  I've been so project oriented (Roslyn's birthday party, holiday decorations, etc) that I feel like I haven't sat down and just played in FOREVER.  I'm so inspired and already have my next layout sketched out, product pulled and ready to be made when I have the moments to do so, and a notebook full of ideas for pages I want to make sure to do to capture all of those little things and memories that fade over time.  My goal for the year is to make sure I create every week, so I will hopefully be sharing often!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

embracing 2012

I'll be honest... I wasn't looking forward to the whole New Year thing this year.  I'm not sure if I just wanted some more time with 2011 or if I was honestly afraid or nervous about what 2012 held for me... but I had anxiety leading up to it the whole time.

Usually I am one of those people who see it for everything that it is- a new year, fresh start, a jumping off point for whatever you want, hope or dream of and a time to dream big and plan on how to make every single one of those wishes come true.

from Joseph Arthur's song "In The Sun"- 
sums up my state of mind leading up to 2012
But for the longest time, I couldn't even begin to think of what was coming.  Because I have been wrapped up in the whir, the busy-ness and craziness of NOW.  

Lately my life is a series of hurrying up to slow down.  Running to get a bottle or change a diaper or check on sweet Vivi to come to a quiet stillness of meeting those needs.  And a lot of time to sit and think comes after the rush in the stillness of these most important tasks.  I don't always do well with the sitting and the thinking.  The sitting and the thinking often lead me down roads of worry to the city of anxiety and it can be overwhelming to me to the point where I just have to stop.  Stop thinking, stop listing, stop tasking and planning my life with that overwhelming thought of "when will I get this done?"

And then, like a ray of light, I received an email from my friend Kristin.  For the last several years (at least five, probably much more) we've always shared an excitement and goal-oriented outlook on New Years and shared our goals/plans/hopes/dreams/resolutions with each other and we vow to help each other throughout the year achieve them.  We encourage support and even let the other rage-quit a goal if need be.  It's a fun tradition and one that has truly helped me to be able to focus enough to even make goals some years, this year especially.  When I got her email, it finally gave me some excitement and the motivation that I needed so badly to stop for a minute and DREAM and PLAN. Not just THINK and WORRY.

And what I came up with inspired me, encouraged me and helped to give focus to my outlook and help ease the anxiety and worry that I had been feeling.  I emailed them off to Kristin and was immediately showered with love, support and encouragement for my plans, goals, dreams and resolutions.  There are a lot things out there in blog land about how to do your New Years resolutions, ranging from Ali Edwards' 'One Little Word' to making phrase or a mantra for the year, to the ol' tried and true list of resolutions.  I did it all because all of them are a great idea.  So, for 2012~

my one little word- be.
my phrases for the year/mantra- be active. be real. be present.
my more specific list of the things I shall do-
  • enroll @ Yavapai College for the Fall 2012 semester, starting my associate degree in Social Work
  • take my vitamins daily.
  • move more.
  • rejoin the Y.
  • drink water.
  • get tattooed (Roslyn's silhouette and the tops of my feet at least).
  • blog regularly (4-5 times a week at least)
  • date my hubby (cause he's awesome and really really ridiculously good looking). <3
  • save $ regularly.
  • set & live true to boundaries (with Drew, MIL, etc).
  • take lots of pics of my girls (specifically Vivi's monthly pics w/the month stickers).
  • see my friends weekly.
  • get an eye exam and glasses.
  • keep up on my thyroid meds/checkups.
  • get ready for my day everyday (hair, makeup, etc).
  • maintain hair cut & color and my nails.
  • scrap/craft/create weekly.
  • finish Vivi's room.
  • finish our room.
  • put together Roslyn's big bed.
  • visit my friends down in the valley (Alex, Audrey, Marina, Teresa).
  • go to a concert.
  • have mama/Roslyn days.
  • don't wish time away or to be faster.
  • relish every moment with Vivi as a baby.  every tear, every cry, every bit of spit, every dirty diaper, every smile, every coo, every squeal, every cuddle. CHERISH and RELISH it all, IN THE MOMENT.  BE THERE.
So, here's to a great year of adventures, fun, growth, love, fun, family, trial and error, failures, resolve, trying again, being real, being active, being healthy, being present and so much more.  May it bring you your every wish come true and lessons learned gently.