Friday, June 26, 2015

Fed Up Friday

This may be the pregnancy hormones speaking, but this is a place for me to share my thoughts, feelings, and art, so I am going to share them. I have never posted anything political on my Facebook. Politics are not my thing. I am a teacher and a Christian and feel I often don't have enough information or the right words to put my thoughts out there for the world to see. I know once I hit publish, I may not be able to take back anything I have said. The internet can be altered but it is there for the finding. And I may regret this, but while I have the courage to do so, I am going to share what is on my heart. This showed up on my newsfeed today.
I didn't react the way some people may think. I didn't jump for joy as some of my friends and family may have. And I don't regret that. 
And I didn't cry over the direction our nation is headed as some of my friends and family may have. And I don't regret that.
I was somewhat indifferent to the picture above on my newsfeed. Politics have never been my thing. I am able to separate my spiritual views from my political views whether that is right or wrong. I realize that not every American is a Christian and accept that is why sometimes the laws of my country do not line up with the laws of the book I try to live my life by. So for that reason I did not feel strongly one way or another when I saw this article. 
But the responses to the article brought me to tears. And I haven't been able to get over the feelings that the responses gave me. I thought about posting some of the hateful comments people made in the name of Christianity to prove my point but I don't think more negativity needs to be out there. And part of me hopes the people will see the hate in their words is not a reflection of the love of Christ. I know in the past I have said things I wish I hadn't in the name of my religion. I have been known to talk about a speck in another's eye while ignoring the plank in my own. I am not innocent in the judgment department. But I feel one way I have grown in Christ is that I have learned to love where I used to judge. I have learned to bite my tongue when I used to yell. I have learned to look within before pointing fingers. 
I know my God is not ONLY a God of
Love. I know he is also a God of wrath. But I have also really searched for the heart of God in this situation while my heart broke over the hateful words spoken by my brothers and sisters in Christ. To me this is not a matter of right or wrong or good or evil. This has become a matter of love and hate. And while I may not know what the heart of God is feeling today, I do know what the heart of Christ would be. All I could think is what would Jesus do if he were here today.  What would he do if he scrolled through his newsfeed (which he probably wouldn't waste his time doing) and saw that article. I don't think he would cry over a court decision or shake his finger in someone's face or share the link and write above it "our country is going going to hell in a handbasket." He knows without him that is where we are going anyways. 
And he may not change his cover photo to the rainbow flag. But he sure as hell would not be spewing words of hate and wrath. He would probably be giving a hug to the person whose heart was broken by those evil words. He would probably go on with his life loving on people...all people. He would do so knowing that the God who was using him to give FORGIVENESS AND GRACE AND LOVE to his people was still on his throne. And he would make sure that the love overshadowed the hate. And he would probably make it known that his God is a God of LOVE. And I plan on doing the same.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

To-Do-List Tuesday: more in-memory quilts

Hi friends, remember those baby in-memory quilts I made out of Lindsey's Grandma's old PJs?

Well, now I am working on something that I think is even more special. Her grandmother started on a quilt she never finished. And Lindsey and her mom asked if I could finish it. I am so honored! I am hand-quilting it. And I am liking how it is turning out. This is this week's work in progress. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Finished Product Friday

Life has been crazy lately.  Being a stay-at-home mom is hard work. This 2-year-old is wearing this 34-week-pregnant-mom out.

He is nonstop energy, sweetness, entertainment development, and discovery. This makes me feel blessed to have this extra time one-on-one with my sweet little man to be a part of all of it. It amazes me how quickly he learns about the world that is so new to him. It is crazy to watch him go from the kid saying a word or two and us racking our brains to figure out what he is trying to tell us, to a kid communicating in sentences..."I watch Mickey TV please, Mommy?" "Mommy pitch gloves?" "I have more pop tarts, please?" "I sorry for hit, Mommy." "I love you SOOO MUCH!" 
But he is also a little frustration, confusion, crabbiness, whiny, noisy, aggressive, and rebellious. The whole terrible twos is not a myth. I wouldn't call him terrible by any means but his newfound independence has made him a little sassy. He thinks rules don't apply. He thinks anything and everything is his for the taking and messing and throwing. He thinks he can always have what he wants when he wants it. And when he doesn't get it, he thinks it is perfectly acceptable to hit or bite or cry to tell you just how much he wants it. And that makes me so tired, and frustrated and impatient at times. Sometimes I lose my temper. Sometimes I don't use MY inside voice. Sometimes I temporarily forget that he is still a new human just learning how to be a person, just as much as I am a newish mother learning how to be a parent. But I have also seen God building up in me more patience and calm than I had before. I am learning that I can't do it alone. I am seeing more of God's grace in the moments where I mess up and Shea turns out okay anyways. The times when I have to tell my little boy sorry for how I reacted and he hugs me and says he loves me remind me of my Father's love and forgiveness.
 There is no still or chill in this little one. But because he is more or less an energy drink in a 27-pound package, he is FINALLY taking decent naps. 

And what a blessing that 1-2 hours a day has been. Not only do I get to fight him for 15 minutes to stay in bed, but I get to spend the next 10 minutes or so singing and cuddling my little person and holding his hand until he finally gives up fighting. Then I get to do the other things I love, like crocheting and sewing. And thanks to that quiet time, here is what I have finished this week. Before this week I have been busy making memory blankets like these twin onesie quilts.

But this week I have been doing IN-MEMORY projects. A dear friend from high school sent me this message a little while back.
"Hey Meredith,
Hope you are doing well, I see you're expecting your second little boy is well. 😊 I have a couple of sort of special baby quilts I would like to have made I was wondering if you were possibly interested in doing them for me...I am expecting another boy in July, and my brother Alex is expecting his first at the end of August. We were both very close to my grandmother who passed away in 2008, and for as long as anyone can remember she was always wearing the silk pajamas. Not real silk of course just some kind of fake polyester. I have a pair of those and I would like to have a baby quilt made for both of our children that incorporated those pajamas into patches. nothing large just small baby quilts." 
So here is what she got. This is quilt #1.

Working on number 2 during today's nap if all goes as planned...which it often doesn't.

This is the second In-Memory project I finished this week...another mermaid wrap blanket.

This one was extra special, and here is why. This is the text I received with her custom order.
"Oh my gosh I have been looking for someone to make these for me for a year now! My best friend and I both shared a love for mermaids and she passed away last summer, our favorite colors were pink and purple and she loved lime green, could I possibly get one with those colors?"

I love how it turned out and so did she. 

I hope it brings her comfort. 

I would love to do more projects like these (or any projects for that matter), so message me here or on Facebook if you are interested. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

To-Do List Tuesday-Before Baby #2

Baby Patten Turner Strauss will be joining the family soon.  Not sure when, but going from previous experience with his big brother, Shea, who decided to mix things up by trying to come 7 weeks early, it could be soon. But if he decided to be like most babies he may not be here until his due date on July 29th. Gotta wait and see.

But there is quite a to-do list to finish before he arrives. I am blessed to say that list is MUCH shorter than it was last week. My dad and little brother came and did some extensive house-prepping and cleaning and detailing the past several days. I cannot thank them enough for all of the love and hard work they put into our house that had bit by bit gotten a little out of hand.

They cleaned out our whole garage and added shelves to store our stuff that doesn't have a spot in the house. That included burning a pile of about 70 cardboard boxes that had accumulated since we moved in a few years ago, and shop-vaccing crawly critters who decided to make those boxes home. As soon as we have our next yard sale we will be able to fit 2 cars in the garage, which hasn't been possible since we moved here.  

The kitchen appliances are sparkling, the windows are clean, the floors and baseboards are scrubbed. A few minutes ago Shea left the living room and headed in the kitchen.  He's supposed to stay in the living room with me. When I asked him to come back he started crying. "I white, I white." I am not yet fluent in toddler speak but I am getting there. I was stumped.  I said, "show Mommy what you want."  He grabbed a dish towel off the stove, ran back in the room, and proceeded to "white" (wipe) the windows.  "I clean, Mommy."  He has learned a servant's heart by watching the people he loves and looks up to.  I think his love language is acts of service like his daddy and my daddy.  So I smiled and thanked him and gave him a big hug because my love language is physical touch.  :)
Paint has been touched up. We could probably sell this house tomorrow if we wanted to.  They left early this morning to drive back to Texas leaving behind a different house than the one they arrived at.  We are truly grateful.  

To-Do List
-Finsh organizing Patten's nursery and Shea's bedroom
-have another yard sale to clear out the rest of the garage
-clean my bedroom and bathroom as well as the rest of the house has been cleaned
-organize my arts and crafts from the studio in my basement (see previous post)
-finish the edging on My brother's high school t-shirt quilt
-make some quilts for my friend from high school

It's done list
-twin onesie quilts
-puppy quilt for Ryder
-photo props for Lorie 
(who happened to have done an amazing job on Shea's one and 2 year old pictures)
-a crocheted baby blanket
-and another mermaid wrap blanket

If you are interested in having me make you something, either message me on Facebook or leave a comment at the bottom of this post.

I love my crazy life and am so thankful for the help with the craziness.

Today's to-do list includes joining my hubby for lunch at UTC followed by a visit to the doctor to check up on our little Patten...hopefully followed by a nap for the other little one when we get home.

We may not have it all together at the Strauss house, but we are on our way, works-in-progress. And God is using us and molding us and teaching us and humbling us and LOVING US in the midst of the madness.

My verse for today:
If I say "my foot slips," your mercy will hold me up. In the multitude of my anxieties within me, your comforts delight my soul. Psalms 94:18-19

I was anxious, thinking "how in the world will it all get done? We aren't even close to being ready for Patten. This place is a mess and I don't know where to start. How are we going to afford another one?" But it is getting done. And we have been blessed with resources and help to make life more organized. And God will provide what we need just like he always does. He has brought comfort and joy to my soul in the form of organization and family.  Now that they have headed home, I am homesick but I'm looking forward to a family reunion soon when Patten comes.