Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

As we send out 2010 and usher in 2011, I have been reflecting on the last year. In some ways it has been a great year for me and my family.

The flowers in my garden were beautiful. Some of them amazed much so that I forgot to grab the camera. My cosmos grew taller than me and were gorgeous. I wish I had remembered the camera. I always enjoy the flowers. The weeding, when I have time is the best stress reliever around.

I enjoyed creative times with my kids. These are a couple of mini hats that we made together.
We added hair combs to hold them on.

My daughter, Courtney graduated from highschool and started college this year.

At her graduation party we had severe thunderstorm warnings. It was a little scarey for a while but the kids made the most of it once the storm passed. Here are both of the twins, along with some of their closest friends dancing in the puddles in the driveway. I wish the picture I have of Courtney in a puddle at the age of three was on my computer. I would show you that some things never change.

In July, we got a cute little puppy. He is a boxer/pitbull mix. His name is Jaws, due to the fact that he enjoys chewing on just about anything. Actually we have only lost a couple of shoes to him so far. He does love to chew up any toy we give him as well as milk cartons, pop and water bottles. Here he is peacefully cuddling with his stuffed toy shark.

He grew a little bit in a month. He also decided he was Cody's puppy. If Cody is around, Jaws is as close to him as he can get. In the months since we got him, he as done a lot of growing, and a lot of chewing. He has dug his way deep into our hearts.
I was able to spend a couple of days in California with Chris. We enjoyed the most amazing sunset. The weather there was beautiful and the time spent with Chris was amazing.
My time out there was too short. I now know, without a doubt, that at some time in the near future, I will live out there with this man. I am hoping for some time soon.

My children tested my skills with their ideas for Halloween weekend. In the week before Halloween, I finished (about half) of Cari's costume. She was set on being Belle this year. In that week I also made Christine's costume (Snow White), Courtney's costume(Ariel) and made Cody's costume(For the life of me I can't remember what video game character he was).

The night we finished the costumes, the kids wanted to go to the Disney store in the mall. We had a lot of fun walking through the mall. The little kids in the mall were amazed to see "real princesses" walking through the mall. We were stopped so many times by people (young and old) who wanted their pictures taken with the girls.
There were other wonderful things that happened this year too. The greatest gift this year was on August 14th. That was the day I was declared cancer free for one year.
There were some things that tested my strength as a person this year. I have struggled all year to stay afloat financially. It has seemed that I am constantly paying the past due amounts on the bills to keep the power on and food on the table. I believe that God has been watching out for me. Even though it has been a struggle, we have never been hungry or cold.
The week before Christmas, I fell on the ice while working and tore my rotator cuff. I am currently waiting to find out if workmans comp is going to do the right thing. I am most likely looking at 6 weeks off work and I really don't know how we will survive without an income if they decide not to...let alone the medical bills. But once again, I know that God will provide what we need.
I am looking forward to the new year in ways most don't understand. I know there are some big changes about to happen in our lives. My girls are talking about moving out on their own with some of their friends. Their dad is talking about getting married and moving away. If these things actually happen, and I can financially find a way, I will be living in California by this time next year. Cody will get to decide where he wants to live and who he wants to live with.
I also plan to use the time off work to be creative. I know that there are some things that I will not be able to do, but I plan to put a lot of energy into getting my art business off the ground since I have the time to do it. If nothing else, it will keep me from losing my mind while I am off work at the post office. I believe that God has plans for changes in our lives and I want to be ready when He does.
I'm not making any resolutions, persay, this year. I am just going to go with the flow and try to do what God is leading me to do. I will enjoy life, and the people I love,to the fullest. I will try to keep a smile on my face no matter how hard life gets. And do my best to catch up and stay caught up on my financial responsibilities.
These are just some of the things that my family and I have experienced in the past year. There were much bigger things happening through out the world...devastating earthquakes, oil spills and so much more. So much happened in 2010 in our world that I can't even touch on them. Hopefully our world will have a better year in 2011 as well.
I wish you all the greatest year ever in 2011! I hope you all prosper in all the ways that matter the most...peace, love, health, and true happiness. May all your dreams come true and may all your families and loved ones stay safe.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Have you ever thought about what makes a person creative. I know that some of us are born with God given talent to be creative, but what does it take to encourage us to tap into this creativity? I believe that everyone has some form of creativity inside them...even the people who can't even draw a stick figure. Some people are given an awsome artistic talent, but if it is encouraged, I think everyone has a little bit of creativity inside them. So how do we bring it out?

I believe in encouraging our kids to be creative. I feel that it is as important as reading, writing, and arithmatic. I know that there are those who would disagree with me on this, but I think that it is truely necessary if we want our children to thrive in other academic areas.

As a child I was encouraged to tap into my creativity at all times. There were always art supplies of my choice available to me. When I was 4 I made placemats by weaving yarn through strips of shiny stuff with holes in idea what this material was and have never seen anything like it since. At the age of 6 I learned to sew. The first projects that I remember were pot holders and oven mits, a pair of pants, and a purse. Since then I have made clothes for myself and my kids. I have made costumes for my kids and my sisters kids. I have made gifts for friends and families for as long as I can remember. Over the years, I have worked with paper, making cards and scrap booking. I have cross stitched as well as knitted and crocheting. I have worked with wood to make Christmas ornaments for gifts and to sell. I have taken classes in photography as well as metal jewelery and ceramics. I have painted and drawn. My most recent media is stained glass. I have made many gifts from glass as well as supported my income during tough financial times. I took piano lessons, and played in the band in school (first playing the french horn and then the trumpet). I was in the flag corp and was co captain for junior and senior years. I struggled with math and I can remember my parents using sewing for me to understand fractions. You use fractions when you buy fabric. My parents used buying fabric as a way to make me understand adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing fractions. They used this same technique when I started algebra. It helped me make sense of something that I couldn't understand any other way. They used quilting as a way to get me interested in history. They used painting to help with chemistry. Even though I was an intelligent kid, I struggled in school. If it weren't for art, I don't think I would have made it through high school and I doubt I would have gone on to college.

I honestly can't remember a time that I haven't been creating something. Art has been my therapy over the years. It is my best time with God. When I am alone and creating, I can talk to God about whatever is on my mind. As a shy child and teenager, it gave me the confidence to be myself and know that it was alright to be myself. My talents have gotten me through tough financial times. Whenever money has been tight, I have been able to sell some of my creations to help out. I honestly don't think I would have survived some of the hardships I have been through in my life without being able to express myself artistically.

I now see my children following my footsteps artistically. They each have their own niche but they are all artistic and I see them become more confident in who they are through their art. Every time someone sees what they have done and like it, my children grow more confident in themselves. I have seen them use art to understand an academic area that they were having a hard time understanding. I have always made sure that my kids have had whatever art supplies they have wanted to use over the years. I have also always encouraged them to use their imaginations to create outside of the box. My daughters are now both going to school for 3D animation. The both draw and are constantly writing stories. They both have interests in other artistic areas as well. My son is interested in puppetry and photography ( I never know where my camera is!) All three of my kids are into anime and they love to create and wear costumes. I can't imagine my children without their creativity. I know that they all have artistic talents, but I also believe that if I hadn't encouraged them to be creative as they grew up, they would be very different people than they are now. I believe that some of the confidence they have in expressing themselves, comes from the confidence they have in their creativity. Some children gain this confidence through sports. Others gain it by excelling academically. Some need artistic outlets to prosper in life.

So tell me, what do you believe makes creative people? Were you encouraged artistically as a child? How do you encourage your children's talents? I would love for you to leave a comment....