and they’re always glad you came

My sister and I used to live half a block away from each other. Next month, it will be two years since they moved away. This time of year I get kind of nostalgic about it. Not to mention the fact that the Lost finale was last night so that just solidifies the season of goodbyes.

And my house is a mess. Used to, when my house was a mess and I needed a change of scenery, I would grab the kids and we would walk down the street and hang out with The Nester.

nester-abide

Only she wasn’t The Nester back then. But she still nested. Her home is always so cozy and inviting. And she makes a great iced coffee.nester-desk

When you’re on the verge of losing your mommy mind, or your grown-up, work full-time mind,  or whatever kind of mind you might happen to have, there is something about having a place to go. Like Cheers except without the addictions.

nester-craft-room

Something that seems so important and patient-testing when I am by myself turns comical and lighthearted when I’m with my sister. Everyone should have someone like that. And everyone should also have a jar of wooden eggs with a spoon in it. Don’t you just love her?

nester-green

She only lives a few hours away now, so I really can’t complain. Still, today I’ll have to settle for these photos I took at her house. It’s not as good as the real thing, but I’ll take it.

tuesdays unwrapped

On Mother’s Day, I had a small role in the service at our church. Because of that, they requested I send in a photo of our family.

Sue: Would you mind sending a photo of your family so we can show it during the service?

Me: Uhh…the whole family?

Sue: Yes, the whole family.

Me: You mean like, the kids and The Man and me?

Sue: Yes.

Me: So like, a photo with everyone in it? And me too? And The Man? And me?

Sue: *pause* *giggle* Yes. Everyone.

Me: slight panic. Sure. I’ll get right on that.

Because y’all? I have no recent family photos. As you know. So I had to grab a friend who was visiting to take a quick photo of the fam.

the-family1

photo by Alisa

There we are. The whole family. And me. So what am I unwrapping? Well, the fact that I have taken a small step toward following my own advice. I got in front of the camera rather than hide behind it. Because even though it was sort of required that I do it this time, next time I’ll do it for fun.

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What moments are you unwrapping on this Tuesday? Link up below so we can celebrate with you and maybe gain a little perspective in the midst of this busy time of year.

1. Include a story or a photo documenting your messy, lovely, unexpected gifts of the small and ordinary nature.

2. Link up below to the permalink of your Unwrapped post. To find out what yours is, simply click on the title of your post and grab the permalink from the address bar. If you do not use the permalink, your link will be deleted.

3. Link back here in your post so your peeps will know what it’s all about. Grab the pink button if you feel so inclined.

4. If you don’t have a blog, please feel free to unwrap your daily gift in the comments section!

you speak

Remember how I’m going to She Speaks again this year? And remember how it is a conference for writers, speakers and those who blog? And remember how I’m going to be presenting in a couple of the sessions about blogging with my sister and Dawn?

Well, I’m getting nervous. Nervous and excited. It’s only 2 months away. And I need to hear from you.

1. Have you registered for She Speaks?

If the answer is yes, please say so in the comments section because I would love to meet you! If you are thinking you want to go but haven’t signed up yet, now is the time as spaces are limited. Visit the She Speaks Conference Website for more information.

pink-flowers

2. Whether you are attending She Speaks or NOT, what is the main thing you would hope to learn during a session on blogging?

Not that I can answer all the questions you might come up with, but hearing how you think could help us know how to think, too. Especially since every time I have gathered at a conference with other women who blog, my favorite part has been chatting it up between sessions or over meals. Stuff happens during the in-between. But without sessions on blogging, there would be no in-between and no reason to gather. We want those sessions to be as useful as possible.

I can’t wait to hear what you have to say!

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Don’t forget to come back tomorrow to celebrate the small and the sacred for Tuesdays Unwrapped.

life is where you are

lake-at-sunset

Loretta has cancer. She is now stage IV. She commented on yesterdays post that she regrets not taking more family photos with her daughter when she was healthy and well. In her own words:

Don’t let the years go by, thinking you’ll wait until you lose a few pounds or get less busy. Let someone else hold the camera sometimes and get in the shots with your kids and spouse. It’s definitely worth it!

Wisdom pouring out from suffering. I know she was just talking about photos. But doesn’t that wisdom apply to so much in life? Don’t wait to live. It can be scary to live in the moment, to trust God with our now.

Hannah Whittal Smith says it is easier to trust God with the keeping of our future than it is to commit to Him our present. The future is obviously out of my control, out there and ambiguous. But my present? It’s right here in my hands. It is tempting to think that because we can see the present, we can master it. Wisdom says otherwise. Unwrap it, yes. Enjoy it, yes. Plan, sure. But my attempts to control or manipulate this present moment have many times kept me from living it.

All that to say, the comments are my favorite part of this blog. They can get ugly when Anonymous shows up, but for the most part I am blessed and encouraged on a daily basis by the words and insight you all share. So thank you. Now go hug your mom.

evidence

When my kids look through albums from when they were babies they always ask the same question: “Mommy? Were we all alone without any grown ups?” Then, they turn the page and sigh with relief. “Ohhh…good. There’s Daddy.”me

True story. I’ve told them many times how Mommy was taking the picture so of course they weren’t alone. But it begs the question: Should I take more photos with me in them? Are my kids going to be telling their counselors 15 years from now that their mommy left them alone to fend for themselves when they were babies? And they have THE PICTURES TO PROVE IT?

Karen @ 6 by His Design has turned the camera on herself and I think its a fabulous idea. She says:

I guess in the internal solitude of myself I focus on me a lot. But by day and by camera angle, most of my attention is elsewhere for most of my life. And that’s OK. I love being a mom. But in the midst of being Mom, there ceases to be photos of me. Because I’m always the one taking the pictures.

She had a delightful little photo session with herself that is worth the read and inspiration. I think I’m gonna follow her lead on that one.

If you aren’t quite as savvy with your camera’s self-timer and happen to be within 120 miles of local, cute and talented Alexa @ Alexa’s Photography is hosting a last minute giveaway on her blog for a free mothers day session. But you have to hurry because it ends tomorrow. My “kids” are totally going to enter me. Yours can enter you, too. But I hope I win.

Whether you win the giveaway, schedule a portrait session or turn the camera on yourself, I urge you to begin to gather evidence of your existence in your kids day-to-day. It will save your children tons in counseling bills.

unwrap your tuesday

tuesdaysunwrapped1

After 6 hours down, Mister Linky is back up! Please continue to add your links below.

Yesterday’s post brought on a wellspring of memories and emotion for me. In fact, my dad and my mom both left comments, which has never happened before in the history of history. Dad said he loves hearing about what went on in our heads while we played and mom admitted that she would sometimes eavesdrop on our Barbie chit chat. (MO-om. Geez.)

My parents were there, but they weren’t in on it. We were the kids. They were the grown ups. Though we were all a family, there is a different connection that exists between siblings than the one that exists between kids and parents.

sistersBut now I’m the mom. And I’m the one listening in on the other side of the door while my girls apply pretend lipstick and make up wacky storylines for their polly pockets. They have language and jokes and experiences even now that I may not hear about until they grow up. Or perhaps I’ll never know about them at all. Because I’m not in on it.

I captured this moment between them, a moment like so many others that come and go so often around here. I know the day is coming when these sister moments will no longer happen under my roof. My prayer is simply that they happen, whether I’m blessed to see them or not.

What moments are happening in your world right now? What gifts are waiting to be unwrapped on this Tuesday? Simply follow these instructions and include the permalink to your Tuesdays Unwrapped post in the Mister Linky below. Be sure to include a link back here so people know what its all about. The big and important things are hiding in the midst of the small and the ordinary. Now find them and share them with us.

it all started with the barbies

nestershouse

School was out for the summer and we had a hundred years of warm ahead of us to play and be and pretend. As the little sister, I typically followed her lead in things. But on those bright, Indiana summer mornings, she and I had completely different ideas of what it meant to play Barbies.

The set up was always the same: Barbie furniture on one side, dolls on the other, and piles of pink and white sparkly clothes and shoes in the middle. With sun-kissed shoulders and skinned up knees, we would sit cross-legged and eager with all of our loot spread out before us. It was time to pick.

For me, picking the dolls was the most important part. Deciding which dolls would be related, dating, or married was half the fun. Then, you got to choose their ages and names and determine which ones were gonna be nice and which ones weren’t based on really objective things like hair color and eyebrow shape. That was the serious business of Barbie playing.

But not for my sister. To her, picking was all about the furniture. She would always choose the best stuff. The pink couch, the plastic china cabinet and the bed with the lacy canopy. She wasn’t limited to the ‘real’ Barbie furniture. She would shop the house for unlikely things to use to make the Barbie houses better, like the artificial flowers from mom’s dresser that would become a gigantic potted plant in the corner. That kind of thing.

While I was busy making up pretend scenarios for our Barbies to live out, she was busy creating a beautiful, pretend house for them to live in. And she is still doing it. Only now, her furniture isn’t pink or made of plastic.

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She writes about imperfect, inexpensive ways to make your home beautiful on her blog, Nesting Place. Most of you already know that. What you may not know is that she has compiled her philosophy of nesting in an e-book entitled It Doesn’t Have To Be Perfect To Be Beautiful. It’s free and full of pretty photos and practical tips to help you create an environment in your home that is beautiful to you.

So while I may have been disappointed as a kid that my sister wouldn’t play Barbies for real, I now reap the benefits of her nesting ways and simple, creative ideas. And you can, too!

spring things to chat about

Some of my favorite spring things these days are  Kimba’s beautiful pins @ A Soft Place to Land. I am not the best accessorizer in the world. But these pins give a fun color splash to anything. I think I now own five of them. Here’s one. See?

me-and-kimbas-pin

Speaking of spring, there is a  spring cleaning party @ Simple Mom starting next week. I would like to think I’m going to do it. But I am making no promises.

I already have a jump start, though. We are having a neighborhood yard sale tomorrow. If you are local, come on over! You know what they say about one ma’ams trash.

Jen @ Balancing Beauty and Bedlam has a great post about yard sale tips and tricks. Just incase. Now I gotta run and go price my stuff!