Monday, November 18, 2013

What does your real beauty look like?

*Disclaimer this might be the most political I have ever gotten on a subject here in my happy place. 

I struggle with confidence on a daily basis. It is either my hair getting flatter, my pants getting tighter, my cheeks getting fuller, my artistic work just being lost in the masses and not special enough to stand out....blah, blah, blah. Seriously. 

Every. Single. Day.

I am not saying this as a pity party or an invitation for compliments. It isn't about that. It isn't that I don't get complimented. I don't think that is the issue for most of us. It isn't that my husband doesn't tell me I'm beautiful, because he does probably every day. It is just some warped thing in my head that is probably in your head at least part of the time too. 
Am I right? 

That is why this video struck such a chord with me when a friend shared it on Facebook. I am not usually one to share things like this, but it is something I feel everyone, especially women, can relate to in some way. 

Just like everything out there, there are critics [here and here for example] and those that mock this idea or say it was the fault of the "useless" sketch artist. Okay, so maybe most of the women were Caucasian. Honestly I didn't notice because race is not the first thing I notice about a person. Maybe because it doesn't matter? And okay, so maybe most of the things they didn't like about themselves involved weight, and maybe they emphasized "thin as beauty" encouraging the same ideas as our current culture...more blah, blah. So maybe that is true, but isn't that the real issues that real women struggle with? I know I am not an obese cow, but I do feel fat most days [just ask the mister]. I am not saying whose fault it is or that anyone should tell me I'm not, but I do feel like it is silly to criticize this ad for focusing on weight because you have struggled with your own body image. That is the whole point! Everyone does! But I digress...

It isn't the final drawings that impacted me the most in this video. It was the words the ladies used to describe themselves and mostly the way those words obviously made them feel. I know the words that I would have used to describe myself would not have resulted in anything I would want to see. 

What would your words be? 

Yeah, sure Dove is a company, and yeah this is just a marketing tool. But for me this didn't make me want to go out and buy Dove soap. It just made me realize a few truths about myself. A few truths that needed recognizing. I am actually going to try to take this one with me and remember these things when I am criticizing myself. I am going to try a little harder to look at myself as others see me. And maybe, just maybe, the next time my husband tells me I am beautiful...I just might believe him. 


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Dreaming big

Lately I have been doing a lot of dreaming. Don't get me wrong! I have so much to be thankful for! We have a cozy home, and I have a husband who lets me do whatever I want to it [Thank you, mister]. I have a fun job that has taught me new skills and brought me friendships that I never could have imagined. I belong to a wonderful church where I leave uplifted every week. I have a fabulously not-so-fabulous life, and this only makes me more excited to dream about all the future may hold for us. Some of the things I see when dreaming of our future together are:
  • making a new-to-us home together in the country-I dream of a big garden and hearing nothing but crickets in our back yard
  • chickens in the yard-I really want chickens and fresh eggs...preferably in an adorable coop.  
  • kiddos running barefoot-though we aren't quite ready for this step I look forward to dirty little feet and giggles running about
  • fresh wildflowers on the table...picked from our backyard 
  • my guy having a "9-5:00" kind of job so that we can spend every weeknight and every weekend making memories 
  • finding a place with my creative endeavors where I no longer seek the praise of others but am satisfied with myself

Some people might not consider these "big" dreams, but they are mine. Every now and then I think about how I could have chosen a different major and have a "real" job. But then I snap out of it and realize that I am right where I am supposed to be. I am not a "real" job kind of girl. My dreams have never been to have a demanding corporate job. For some time now I have envisioned me staying home to raise a family, and I am so thankful for a husband who is supportive of that dream. I am also thankful for the skills that I developed in college that continue to fuel my creative drive, and I look forward to finding out where this leads me in the future. 

It is dreaming about the future and reminding ourselves of our currents blessings that helps us through the less than desirable seasons in life. As I struggle to get everything done at home, I am thankful for that home and for a gratifying job with a boss whom I love wholeheartedly. When the mister and I are only able to greet each other in passing [our work schedules are often perfect opposites], I am thankful for a hardworking husband who is willing to sacrifice in order to better provide for our future. When I feel overwhelmed I remind myself that my worries are few. We have so much to look forward to, but we also have much to be thankful for in the present. It is easy to get overwhelmed and feel like it is all a waiting game, but [just like we discussed in Sunday school class today], God is at work even in conflict or difficult times. We just don't always see it until the struggle is over. I know He is preparing us for something great, and I am super pumped for it.
[I made this free printable to share. Just click the image, download, save, and print!]

All this dreaming and waiting and hurrying and trying to be thankful are things I have been dealing with all week, and I am celebrating today that I feel more peaceful about it all than I have in some time. My mister is at work, and I miss him. I still have tons of unfinished projects, and there is dirt in every corner of my house right now. But getting down to basics, we are blessed. The rest is just clutter in our lives, and this week I will try to be thankful for it all.
Linking up with Rebecca over at Simple As That for Simple Thing Sunday.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Ashley and Allison: Senior Portrait Session

Some of you might already know that I have not been scheduling regular sessions this year. I have taken a bit of a break from it, and while I do miss being behind the camera, it has been good for my sanity with everything else going on. I still have lots of projects when I get home from work, and I know that there is just no way that I could juggle it all. However, I could not turn down the chance to do a senior portrait session with these fun twins. I took their brother's senior portraits a few years back. Their dad was one of my principals in high school and is now the superintendent. He is such a great guy with a big heart, and you definitely see that in these girls. They were so fun and so sweet. I am thankful for the opportunity to capture the bond between them at such a special time in their lives. 

We had a crazy hectic afternoon, but they were great. I wish these sweet girls the best of luck! 


Monday, November 11, 2013

to-do, to-do, to-do

My to-do list is getting a little out of hand. These are some of the things I need to do [not counting laundry, dishes, etc.]. 

finish Mary's graphite drawing
charcoal Twiggy drawing for Marina
Lisa's painting
finish Cassie's two small paintings
Rosemary's painting
prints for Pat
painting for Pat
drawing for Grandma
Emily's photo edits
Green twins' photo edits

What do I want to do? Snuggle on the couch with my mister and watch a movie. Maybe go on a leisurely date that doesn't involve stopping for milk...the kind where we just look at things we don't need and hold hands and talk about the things we didn't finish discussing on our way out the door to our busy days...

We have not done this nearly enough lately, and I am missing my time with him. However, I know all of his hard work will pay off someday. Thankfully that day is getting closer all the time.

Friday night I started to get overwhelmed with all the things we have had going on this week and the growing list of things I have to do. I was doing laundry and working on my to-do list, all while just wanting to go to bed after an 11 hour day at work. Then I felt a wave of guilt wash over me. My guy drove 3 hours to a job interview Thursday. Friday he worked until 10:30 after a full day of classes, and and went back to work Saturday, after doing homework that morning. Okay so, overwhelmed might have been an understatement.

 Then I looked up above my desk and saw this.

This simple reminder calmed my frazzled nerves. I realized that I don't have to compare our burdens. We share the same ones, and we have nothing to worry about. We have so much to be thankful for, and our troubles are few. Sure, we have a lot on our plates right now, but God will reveal his plan for us. I just hope I slow down enough to see it.

If you need me, I will be in the basement painting.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Successful Sunday

Tonight there are projects unfinished, shoes in my living room floor, and mugs with only the remnants of hot chocolate. I did not complete my to-do list or even a few things on it, but I went to church, picked what is probably the last of my zinnias, cooked lunch for my husband, and watched a Christmas movie with him. I think this was a successful Sunday.

These are the simple things I love. 


Monday, November 4, 2013

Busy week, busy life.

I am bummed that I have not been able to post in a week, but holy smokes it has been so busy! Halloween was crazy at the bakery. We did a rough count, and I know I cut and iced nearly 800 sugar cookies in 3 days! Not to mention the cakes and other things we did. I also helped this little lady put her costume together, and I could not have been more pleased with the way it turned out. I used the wig tutorial from the girls over at A Beautiful Mess, and it worked great! The dress is one of my shirts with a long sleeved shirt underneath, the tights are from WalMart, she already had the apron, and the shoes are just her every day shoes. I added the ribbon to her shoes, and I used pinking shears to cut a wide strip of gingham for the bow at her neck. So easy, and it just might be is definitely my favorite costume ever. I just can't get enough of it.

Thursday night the mister and I handed out candy at the bakery for the Downtown Trick or Treat event, followed by Chinese for dinner and squeezing in as much time together as possible before I headed to AR Friday morning. I made probably the best time ever on my way down, and had time to have a cookie with my favorite baby [who isn't really a baby anymore] before heading out for a senior portrait session. Phew! It was a jam packed day, and I will be sharing more about the senior session [and the adventure that was] in a later post. Overall it was a fun time with gorgeous twin ladies, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to capture such a fun and special time in their lives.

Unfortunately, I was so busy that I didn't get to share my post for Simple Things Sunday. I hope I am not breaking a rule by sharing late.

As for today...after waking early, making the six hour drive back home, doing several loads of laundry and sorting through lots of images for is time to call it quits.