Saturday, October 26, 2013

Stargazing, Fall Crop and a life lesson on Monday.

I have been busy behind the scenes of Nitty.Gritty. Our fall slipped very quickly into the first white of winter this week when we awoke to a whole backyard/golf course covered in snow. The good news is that it has already melted again, and we also learned how cozy our fireplace heats and makes our house feel. My scrap loft is just up and over the stairway from the living room, so all the heat rises and I was happy to plunk myself down in there and make a pretty mess! =)
The next kit is just about to be revealed. It's called Stargazing and it is full of Cocoa Daisy exclusive designs and products. It is my favorite kit and combination of 'stuff' and has made me happy as I cut it up and crafted with it. I get to be the host on the message boards on Monday night when the kit goes live, so feel free to stop in and say hi while you get the first look at everything in this kit. It's a good one!
The following weekend- Nov. 1-3 is the fall online crop. I am teaching a class called, "Layers of Goodness:: 1 class, 3 ways" and it has been fun putting it all together, so I am excited to share it with whoever wants to log on next Friday night. I promise it is easy, fun and hopefully it will kickstart some ideas in your own head that you can turn into a cool project of your own. This is such a great time of year to settle down and make pretty things. If you're like me, you wish someone would jump in and make dinner and do your laundry so you can scrap some more! =)
My kids have had three days off of school this week due to parent-teacher conferences and fall break. They all received really great reports and assessments from their respective teachers. I am a proud mom to them as they have been through so many transitions and yet still are making the most of it and trying their best through all of it. I am thankful for teachers and staff that have helped them succeed too. Wyndham also started school and has gone to her new classroom for the past 10 days. She attends a local area learning center and we have been so proud of how she has settled into her new routine and she is very happy to be back it school it seems. There are about 10 students in her class with various challenges and issues. There are several other classrooms at her school too, where we have seen just how blessed Wyndham is to be functioning at the level that she is at. There was a bit of heartache and heartbreak for me when we first toured the school and I saw just how many kids there are with life challenges far greater than the ones we deal with every day.
I'll be honest, it was hard to see the severity of some of their special needs. This world throws out a lot of curveballs and when they hit innocent little kids it is hard to swallow. But in those same hallways and classrooms I saw people helping and caring and meeting needs that made me realize just how lucky these kids are too. There is something very special about those who serve and teach and love people with disabilities. I am sure the ones serving and caring would tell you story after story about how they feel blessed to do what they do too.
As Chip and I dropped Wyndham off on her first day we stayed and helped her get settled in and just observed her interactions for a bit. The first part of her class the teacher goes over the basics, such as calendar, weather and lunch orders. You know, the important stuff in life! =) Each student gets a chance to respond to what month and day it is and the teacher goes around the room letting them say or point to the answer on the smartboard on the screen up front. It was quite the lesson for me as I watched this unfold. First of all, it was a Monday in October. I don't know about you, but a Monday in October can be a pretty challenging thing just getting up and going. But these kids taught me something and I want to share it with all of you...and hopefully revisit this life lesson often, as needed.
It went like this: As the teacher announced to the class that today was Monday and the month was October, some of the kids started cheering and getting excited as they raised their hand to repeat the answer. One little guy especially could hardly contain his excitement. She called on him first. Willie answered, "Monday and October" and then he clapped loudly and repeated 'Monday' in sort of a chant/cheer format. He was all smiles and even though it was a cold Monday in October, his enthusiasm and sheer happiness over answering correctly was contagious. Little Willie has no idea that so many people hate Mondays. He has no idea that Monday is the dreaded day of the week for countless people going back to school and work or whatever it is that they do on Monday. He has no idea that some people wake up on Monday counting down the days til Friday.
And it hit me in such a vivid way that we ALL need a little more joy and contentment and excitement and enthusiasm in 'this moment'- even when, or should I say especially when it is Monday! Several of the other kids were all smiles and seemed very happy to announce that it was Monday that day too. Despite all the challenges they had going on in their bodies and minds, they had something going so 'right' too. Far better than many people who aren't labeled "special needs or challenged". Their attitude toward life and learning is something to be envied. I walked into that building feeling sorry for all the kids and heavy-hearted for the families who even need the extra assistance and care of the staff at that school. However, I walked out of that building softened and changed a tiny bit as I realized that maybe I am the one with the challenges and they are the teachers to the rest of us. Disability is only that when we allow it to hold us back. These kids and teachers are ready and even experts, I think, at taking on life just as it is handed to them and making the very best out of it. Even on Mondays. Now that is something to aspire too!
I think Wyndham is lucky to be in such a special place.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Autumn, fall, I love it all.


I am not sure how September seems to have suddenly turned into October, but here it is and the calendar doesn't lie! Yesterday I baked a new recipe- the Apple Pie Bread found at this link- and it made the whole house smell great. It was pretty tasty {crumbly, when cut and eaten!} and the kids loved it! I am not a great cook, but baking makes me happy and I almost always make someone else happy when I bake too, so that is a win-win in my book. Cooking is best left to Chip, and I am looking forward to the delicious soups and fall flavors that will happen in our kitchen in the coming days and weeks too.
Cocoa Daisy's "Sweater Weather" kit is now available for purchase. You can see more of the add-ons and Day In The Life kit at the site too, as well as all the awesome design teams' layouts and projects. I so enjoyed meeting my friends in person and love how I get to play with paper and new products each month, but more importantly the friendships that we share online grow with each layout made and chat shared too! That is another win-win in my book. =)
Our weather is supposed to feel like summer for another few days here in Michigan, and then the cooler weather will kick in. I love the change of seasons and yet I know I am not going to look forward to a long, white winter yet, so that means we will soak up every bit of fall that we can.
I have a heavy, burdened heart for some of my friends going through some really tough stuff in life right now. Life and death stuff that sort of sucks the joy of life and makes one miss everything going on about them- like the changing seasons. I know that God is in and over all of it, but that doesn't make the hard times in life less hard. They just point us to a Hope and a greater trust, but developing that comes at the cost of suffering and pain.
I think the changing seasons is such an 'obvious time' to see God at work and a beautiful reminder that He is steadfast, He loves, He cares about the details, and He is merciful. I pray you will see that, feel it and believe it with your whole heart. He is our portion- no matter how little or much we need. Always.