Light and Loveliness

Reflections of Emily Sue Allen

Browsing Category Creativity

Creativity / Poetry / Prayer

Paris

They spill
Tears like arms flung out
Desperate to console, comfort, understand
Where tears fall short, prayers move and maneuver
Going quick where tears and arms cannot reach

It howls pain, the city of love
Torn deep at the hands of evil men
Whose hate compels them to hurt; to wrestle violent for power
With the banner of widespread fear

They will not find what they seek
For love cannot be quenched
Love cannot be banished, or imprisoned, or stamped out
For it lives and springs from ashes in tears and arms and prayers
That refuse to let darkness be the pen that writes the end of the story

We raise a banner of love with prayers for the broken
The ones wronged, and the ones wrong
May love ever have the last word

Prayers for Paris

“Evil will not deliver those who practice it.” Ecclesiastes 8:8b

“Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Amos 5:24

Creativity / Life & Faith / Poetry

Poems from Abide Retreat

As I mentioned in this post, I wrote some poems as part of a few of the workshop exercises. The first was a spinoff of Pied Beauty by Gerard Manley Hopkins. We borrowed the first and last lines, and filled in the middle with our own poetry.

Trust

Glory be to God for
Plentiful peace found on paths of fleeting sorrow
Soul spoken awake to dwell in artful rest
Bright wings to bear skies beyond a bristled nest
Take flight to follow forth on trust no longer borrowed
Praise Him!

The second poem is a pantoum, which is a particular form that builds on repetition in a particular pattern. I find this style to be most enjoyable being read aloud.

Glory, a pantoum

Too wonderful to comprehend at once, in full
Shrouded mystery kept from bare sight that would surely blind
Light in firegolden trees and shimmers on water
Moss clings tightly to a rock that does not move

Shrouded mystery kept from bare sight that would surely blind
Glory restrained, revealed in small ways for simple hearts to understand
Moss clings tightly to a rock that does not move
Invited to experience glory in still and solemn peace

Glory restrained, revealed in small ways for simple hearts to understand
Light in firegolden trees and shimmers on water
Invited to experience glory in still and solemn peace
Too wonderful to comprehend at once, in full

Creativity / Life & Faith

Abide: A Writing Retreat

About a month ago, I attended my first-ever writer’s retreat. It was a humble-in-the-best-way, not-your-average conference for writers of faith. I’m not sure exactly how I became convinced I should go, because despite my ten years of privately writing out my heartaches and thoughts in various spaces, I hesitate to call myself a writer. I guess this is a common thing among writers. Somewhere, there is some invisible list of qualifications that make some writers ‘real’ writers, and other ones are…something else. I concede that by the simple fact that I put words down, I technically am a writer, but I’m certainly not an author or a writer with serious professional ambitions, which is why I hesitate to identify as one. More than anything, I see myself as a communicator, and written words just happen to be the easiest and most accessible way to communicate with others in this season of life.

On the way up to the retreat’s remote location near Leavenworth, Washington, the mountainsides were ablaze with autumn color. I was curious what I would discover about myself, or about writing, over the weekend, being in a space without children (a rare opportunity for me) and without any real idea of what to expect. I guess most events of this nature focus on how to build a platform, how to get a book published, or any number of other outward-facing topics for all different types of writers. This retreat was different. For starters, it was a very intimate setting with about 10 other women, and any part of the ‘business’ of writing was not on the agenda. It was a space to listen and to explore the creative side of writing from a context of faith and the movement of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

I arrived there with a stupidly oversized suitcase…not because I took all that many things with me, but because I am pregnant and I need all my special pillows. Pregnant mamas everywhere can nod their heads now. I kept laughing to myself about the size of the thing, and made jokes about my luggage to anyone who happened to notice that it was associated with me, feeling the need to confess that it was all pillows and not a bunch of unnecessary stuff. I had all of 2 outfits, a few simple toiletries, my journal, and the pillows, without which I could not be guaranteed a comfortable night’s sleep. Comfort matters, friends.

We gathered first for dinner, sharing names and backstories. I am always a little amused when people look at my round belly and ask me if this is my first baby. It’s a rare person who doesn’t bug their eyes out when I tell them this is number six. I know, its totally weird. But it’s also awesome, I say. The truth is, for all its challenges, I’m so grateful for the story God is writing in my life, even though it is so different than what I expected or might have written myself, and even though I find it more difficult all the time to wrestle with the isolation that comes with mothering a big family.

We kicked off the evening session with worship, and sang together for a long stretch of time. They were trusty, old songs I loved years ago and was glad to revive in my heart. The sound of our voices together was beautiful, and a perfect way to set the tone of the whole weekend. We followed worship with meditating on a particular scripture for a long stretch of time, really letting it wash over and sink deep. I was reminded of the beauty of drinking deep from the Word, not just drinking much, which is my usual approach in my season of life.

How well do we really listen? To listen well, we have to be still, become quiet, be comfortable with silence and waiting. We have to find a way to open the ears and the heart to tune in to something that is on a different wavelength than the noise that is typically pawing at us from every direction. That is really what this weekend was about.

The morning session was a look into writing as a spiritual practice. Our speaker offered us some perspective about the value of listening to God in quietness and recording the things He puts in our hearts during that time. I am already a fairly reflective/contemplative person, so I wasn’t quite expecting to be so profoundly touched by the assignment to go sit in nature for half an hour and record what comes to mind. I plan to share more about those specific revelations in a subsequent post…but they are far too deep and poignant to gloss over here. Suffice it to say, I ended up with pages and pages of thoughts from a short 30-minute sitting, and recognized that I need to find a way to continue this kind of practice on a semi-regular basis.

The other sessions that day were about playing with words. Another of our speakers introduced us to a few different forms of poetry, and invited us to create our own poems based on those forms. If I don’t consider myself a writer, I certainly do not consider myself a poet, except maybe one of the most accidental/free-form kind. Still, I enjoyed these exercises immensely, and feel like they have given me new inspiration going forward. My compositions can be found at the following link:

Poems from Abide

I really enjoyed meeting the other writers who attended the retreat. We were only together for two nights, but it was a truly wonderful experience holding space and creating together. There was clearly an abundance of talent and heart in attendance, and I look forward to continuing the relationships that were ignited there.

In all, I have to say the retreat was not especially remarkable, but it was incredibly powerful for me personally. There were no fancy lights, or famous writers, or 10-steps-to-success tools. It was simple, and understated, and lovely in every way. It was an intentional space held open to listen, take notice of things God wanted to bring to my attention, meet other thoughtful and creative women, play with words, and specifically dive in to writing as a spiritual practice, which I will continue to do with intention.

If you’re curious to read more about the retreat, I offer the following links:

From the two lovely women who put the retreat on:
Jody Collins –
(Prior to the retreat) Rethinking Writers Conferences
Retreat Recap: Yes He Abides

Kimberlee Conway Ireton –
(Prior to the retreat) Abide: A Little Announcement and Invitation 

From a few of the attendees who shared their reflections:
Nancy Ruegg –
The Wisdom of the Woods

Alyssa Santos –
Power Made Perfect

 

Creativity / Life & Faith / Poetry

Sails

nature-0004

the ship i sail crashes the rocks

sharp water lashes

striking stones scrape

thunderous fear claps overhead

reverberations of brokenness

from lifetimes ago

 

revisiting aches, once put to rest

insides churn and boards buckle and

i wonder how long i will last

 

i am tender of heart and strong of will

 

i hold with white knuckles and pray nothings

and thrash

fearing not reality, but memory

 

i struggle to live now what is now

and leave then what was then

 

to let light touch my eyes

to make bright what i often forget

 

i am not the sailor, only the sail

stretched wide to catch wind

to catch breath

the promise that only surrender and trust

can bring up from the deep

peace

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“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:6-7

531. a rescuing husband, 532. new tire, 533. two year old negotiations, 534. six year old tooth-holes, 535. sweet party plans, 536. help, 537. miles journeyed on foot, 538. the smooth day before the bumpy one, 539. silent-night squeaks, 540. light-ups

 

Creativity / Family / Life & Faith

Celebrating Advent

You can pretend not to notice that I’m sharing this post one day before Thanksgiving, unless of course you are a fellow Christmas-lover who has also been indulging in Christmas music since the first of November (or before) like I have.

Last year, I embarked on the new adventure of intentionally planning out December’s Advent activities for our family. I made a calendar and a list of things we would do together to celebrate in a more thoughtful way than we had in the past, trading  out-of-control holiday shopping craziness for reflection, peace, and sweet memories made together. For me, this practice is about casting vision for an on-purpose approach to celebrating together that reflects our family priorities. It is not meant to be some impossible to-do list that (if not executed perfectly) means we have failed at what would be ‘ideal’ during the holidays.

Will we do everything on this list? Not a chance. Will we do most of them? Yes, whatever fits. It is really just a road map for me as I reach to make Christmas about reflection, generosity, and togetherness. If you are in search of a similar experience this Christmas, I invite you to borrow whatever you find helpful from this list. Most of all, I hope you’ll give thought to being intentional this December instead of getting lost in the sea of jingles, billboards, black friday deals, and all the rushing ’round.

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One photo a week of our family throughout the year. 47/52

Advent 2014

december 1 – get christmas tree + decorate

december 2 – make jesse tree & ornaments together

december 3 – find new christmas music to enjoy

december 4 – read christmas books from the library

december 5 – visit nursing home & sing christmas carols

december 6 – go to a tree-lighting ceremony

december 7 – make & send christmas cards for grandparents

december 8 – make red & green play doh

december 9 – give away toys to make room for new ones

december 10 – send a family christmas card + mailed gifts out

december 11- deliver a care package to Seattle Children’s hospital

december 12 – holiday work party w/ daddy

december 13 – watch the nutcracker ballet

december 14 – family lego night + hot chocolate

december 15 – make paper snowflakes

december 16 – clean the house from top to bottom for holiday fun

december 17 – buy some canned foods + donate it

december 18 – make cookies together

december 19 – cookie decorating with friends + deliver some to the fire station

december 20 – sing christmas carols

december 21 – watch a christmas movie

december 22 – see the lights + hot chocolate

december 23 – review the jesse tree

december 24 – read the christmas story from luke

december 25 – open presents + make christmas day video

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“The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him– the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.” Isaiah 11:2

471. meaningful times with homeschool mama-friends, 472. supplies procured for sewing projects, 473. baby crawling and standing, 474. neighbors spared in home fire, 475. the kid who flipped a pancake ‘for the first time in her life’, 476. thoughtful family, 477. health and safety, 478. reflective music, 479. laughs around the dinner table, 480. sleepy cuddles

Creativity / Family

Costumes

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One photo a week of our family throughout the year. 43/52

I have mixed feelings about Halloween. I would say I mostly dislike it. I don’t like the candy that is floating around everywhere to tempt my little people into sugar-frenzy. While I do let them have some, I can’t help but have serious anxiety about the GMO sugar and additives and dyes and chemicals and all the other things that just shouldn’t be in our food, but are there.

I am not a fan of celebrating death. I can get behind pumpkins and hot drinks and fall colors and the changing weather, but the skeletons and goblins and coffins and spiders…not my favorite things. I would skip over Halloween altogether if it weren’t for the cute faces that plead with me every year to get a new costume and go trick-or-treatin’.  They love all types of dress-up and pretend play, and costumes are a staple around our house all through the year, so that makes Halloween a draw for them.

The quality of most costumes for sale these days leaves much to be desired. There are good ones out there, but you can expect to pay a pretty penny for them. Then there are some not-so-good ones that get a run or a tear after the first day, or were somehow not even stitched correctly in one place or another, and somehow, you pay a pretty penny for those too. Well, no more, my friends.

Every year since the first halloween with my first kiddo, I have planned to make costumes instead of buy them, with the hopes that I could make something quality that would hold up to the nearly 24/7 wearing for the next 6+ months our costumes now endure. (Really, I dare you to drop by on a random day, and you will more than likely find at least one, if not all my children in their costumes instead of clothes.) This year is the first time I have actually made a costume of any kind (how is that for good intentions/procrastination?), and I managed to do four of them! The kids couldn’t be more pleased, and I have to say, I’m really happy about it too. My husband commented that he was “really impressed” that I pulled it off this year, after hearing me talk about it for the last 8 years. This is the first time I’ve made anything from a pattern on my own, so I feel extra accomplished about that. Yay for learning new things.

We have (from left to right): Ninjago ninja minus the sword he will have by Halloween to accompany the costume, Princess Anna of Arendelle (our take on it, anyway…we had the red dress already, so we switched up the colors and made a blue cloak instead), Queen Elsa with a long flowing cape, and Captain America with a daddy-made shield out of cardboard and tape. The baby doesn’t have a costume, but she may before the week is over…we will see how ambitious I feel. I may just put a tutu on her and call it good.

We snapped this week’s photo after dark, so I set up 2 of my off-camera flashes to light the shot. Try not to fall off your chair laughing when you look at the ninja-boy’s eyes. Makes me laugh out loud every time I look at him.

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“You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11

421. successfully sewing from a pattern, 422. a clear desk and mind, 423. stories and how they change our hearts, 424. late night silliness with missy moo, 425. an organizing cart for crafty stuff, 426. balanced day of work and play, 427. how great the Good News is for all of us, 428. God’s patience with me, 429. pare-down progress, 430. gentle words

Creativity / Family

Birthday Party for a Creative Child

Daddy bought her flowers for her birthday. She turned 8 last week. Oh man. That is just weird. I think it was about 3 blinks ago that she was a toddler, and here she is genuinely appreciating a bouquet of flowers with the best of ’em. She’s the kind that savors life….breathes it in, pours stuff out so she can really see it all, touches everything, and lives with perpetual enthusiasm.

She has taken to wearing a pink feather in her hair. It was originally held in her hair by a crimp bead, but after we took it out to tame the nest around it, she tied the feather onto a headband and there it stays. You would never know that the flower photos and the cake/party photos were taken days apart from each other because that headband stays on all the time.

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We always do more understated birthday celebrations. For me, it is more important to give the kids a fun/meaningful experience and time together with a few loved friends than to have a zillion presents come into the house and a million friends that you barely get to say hello to before the party is over. This year, for this creative one we did a small home project/craft party, at the birthday girl’s request.

She decorated the house on her own with pink zebra striped streamers and a roll of packing tape (not pictured). Awesome.

For the cake, she wanted to make a cake from scratch and decorate it herself. I wasn’t feeling up to the from scratch part of that equation, so we compromised and got a white cake from Costco and some supplies for her to add her own flair to the decor. She had a fantastic time coloring up that thing.

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One photo a week of our family throughout the year. 29/52

For the party projects, we did fuse bead creations (not pictured) and some simple appliqué on pre-made canvas bags. As is normal with our parties, the main activities were also the party favors! I’m not much for trinkets, so I always gravitate toward favors that can be useful or longer-lasting. The girls all seemed to love being able to create their own personalized totes. I just raided my fabric remnants and pre-ironed the fabric adhesive on the back before they cut out their shapes.

It was a simple but sweet affair for my sweet girl. Fun way to celebrate 8!

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196. crazy candles, 197. sweet birthday girl, 198. the help and company of a dear friend, 199. the friends who helped eat cake leftovers so I don’t eat them, 200. blue, yellow, orange and white fabrics, 201. astronomy facts that boggle my mind, 202. reconnecting with old friends, 203. finishing a good book, 204. sweet days at home, 205. hard lessons that lead to growth, 206. cardboard handprints, 207. cooler days after a heat wave, 208. finding my fabric scissors I forgot I had, 209. peace that truly surpasses all understanding, 210. helpful kids

Creativity / Family

On Planes & Passion

He is my grandfather by marriage, but I feel like I have known him forever. I have seen the twinkle in his eye plant seeds of wonder and adventure in my children’s lives, and I attribute many of my husband’s strengths to his lifelong love and influence.

He has a childlike, nonsensical way about him. He tells the kids that wild bunnies live in our yard. Every time he visits, he takes them outside with a lettuce and carrot offering for the bunnies, so they won’t be hungry. The bunnies always nibble just enough to keep all the kids convinced they truly do live in the yard, even though they’ve never seen one out there.

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We have special Grandpa Mac storybooks…ones that contain special hidden hand-drawn pictures on each page that you have to find every time you turn. Ladybugs, kites, flowers, etc. No storybook is complete without them.

Then there is the airplane room…the magical place where the kids sleep when we visit. They fall asleep by the glow of the bathroom light with dozens of skillfully crafted miniature war planes overhead.

Every plane is made by hand from raw materials. He first researches all there is to know about a specific pilot or mission and the associated aircraft, then he sets to work, creating these miniature models of the plane with skill, precision, and no small amount of passion. He has made them for years, and now there are dozens, if not hundreds of them in existence. Even though they are not mine, I treasure these planes along with the man that made them.

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Mention anything about planes or any of the American wars and you’ll have his attention in a quick minute. He is invested in preserving history in his own little way. I love hearing the details about each plane and what inspired him to build it. The attention to detail and craftsmanship is truly astounding.

A heart’s passion turned into planes.

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During our last visit, I asked Grandpa Mac if I could photograph some of his planes. We photographed the planes in the backyard, suspended by fishing line in front of a a piece of cardboard he spray-painted to look like sky. I thought about photoshopping out the fishing line, but decided I rather like seeing it. This is a small sampling of the planes…there are many more that we were not able to photograph for one reason or another. For size reference, they are each about 6-7 inches in length.

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It occurs to me that when the art we make truly matters to us, we create with deliberate intentionality. Passion for anything isn’t a static thing…it is a dynamic expression of what we value. I’ve been a bit spoiled to have digital photography as my form of art for the past decade…the instant gratification of the single (thoughtfully composed) click of a button. But I’m venturing into forms of art (sewing, writing, raising children, living life) that require a lot more time investment, infinitely more patience, and grace for myself and my shortcomings. I’m learning to breathe deep and approach life and art with careful intention. Clearing space and my mind to focus on little details that make all the difference.

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24

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121. bunny jammies, 122. swedish pancakes, 123. puppet workshop, 124. baby giggles, 125. sleepy smiles at every storybook picture, 126. small reminders to take my time, 127. music that lifts, 128. friends that pray, 129. deep breaths, 130. knowing many passionate people, 131. grandpa’s stories,  132. warm days, 133. banana bread made by an almost 8 year old, 134. taco dinner made by the six year old, 135. the many ways a person’s legacy manifests

 

 

Creativity

Halfway & My Writing Process

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One photo a week of our family throughout the year. 26/52

We have reached the half-way point of 2014. Half behind. Half yet to come. For me, this is about the time that I take a look at the goals I made in January, cross off what I’ve done, delete what is no longer a pursuit I wish to spend time on, and make new goals for the rest of the year. You’re welcome to read about my thoughts on goals/priorities here. Since I haven’t formally done my re-evaluating yet, I don’t have any specific goals to share, but the biggest change from my original list is the unexpected closing of my photography business of 9 years. I didn’t plan that one! My goals for the rest of the year will include making a more serious effort to grow as a writer, lots of homeschool and family goals, and some personal fitness-related things.

I was tagged in a blog hop by my new blog-friend Rachel Haltiwanger at The Inspired Story with some questions about my writing process. Rachel describes herself as an “arms-wide-open type” and I resonate with that description. I’ve only recently become acquainted with her blog, but she has already inspired and challenged me through her writing. Check her out!

What Am I Writing or Working On?

Right now, writing for me is more about just writing something each day…an intentional attempt to express the richness of my life experience so that others will hopefully be encouraged. Life is busy with 5 kids ages 8 and under, and it really does take most of my energy to keep up with them. However, I’ve felt a call to write for nearly 10 years and only more recently (in the past year) have found the courage to write and share more publicly on this blog.

Behind the blog scenes, I free-write as often as I can. In July, I will be focusing my attention on two separate themes that have emerged from my free-writing over the past year and working toward developing and expanding on those themes. Either may become a larger work down the road, but for now I’m not putting pressure on myself to ‘write a book’. Instead, I’m doing my best to develop good habits for a healthy writing life, and move toward more focus and discipline as a serious writer.

How Does My Work Differ From Others in its Genre?

I’m not sure I know the answer to this question. First of all, I don’t really know what my genre is, besides a very general “Creative Non-Fiction” label. That is so wide open! I think my writing is an extension of my heart and spiritual life. I don’t really know how to separate the reality of my experiences with God from all the other parts of life, so that is probably something distinctive about my work.

How Does My Writing Process Work?

I don’t have a consistent process, really. Writing looks different from week to week, season to season. At times, I embark on ‘writing challenges’ where I make some short term goals and try to  dedicate all my free time to completing those challenges. For example, last November I did a 5 week challenge. My goal was to write 60,000 words in five weeks. The result was 60,000 words of wildly random free-writes, but I did feel it was successful in moving me forward as a writer. This July I will embark on a similar challenge for me with a lot more focus as I narrow in on the themes that have surfaced.

I find with a challenge before me, if I cultivate space for where I’m headed, I’m a lot more successful. I set up a new document and title it with the date (YYMMDD) and later I add a keyword to the end that will help me remember what I mostly wrote about that day. I typically set up the new document every evening for the next morning, and save/close whatever I wrote for the present day before I turn in for the night. About half of my blog posts are lifted out of a free-write. The other half of my blog posts are inspired by the photos I took that particular week or situations I encountered. I keep a journal to jot down prompts and ideas as they come, and those often become my free-write prompts.

What Other Writers Would I Like to Introduce to You?

Christin Taylor – I have a huge amount of respect for Christin and have been privileged to follow her writing journey for several years. She is a published author and a true wordsmith. Christin – I would love to have a glimpse into your process!

Lesley Miller at Barefoot at 45th – I was introduced to Lesley’s writing through Christin (above) when we both participated in a writing workshop that Christin facilitated. She doesn’t know (I guess now she might!) that I have stalked followed her blog for several years now, through the births of both of her children.

Hillary at Capturing Motherhood – I’m not sure if Hillary would really call herself a writer, but I have loved following her blog for years now. She writes in unconventional form, but I am always blessed by the thoughts she shares. She also loves photography, which is another thing we connect about. Hillary – I’d love to hear about any part of your creative process…writing or photos!

Kimberlee Conway Ireton – I first met Kimberlee through a local homeschool program where both of our families participated. I read her most recent book earlier this year (I highly recommend) and fell in love with her thoughtful writing style. She is wonderful!

So friends, if you have the time, I’d love for you to answer these questions on your blogs!

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106. color by number books, 107. freedom in every sense, 108. perspective, 109. taco chili & cornbread, 110. new astronomy book, 111. pink polish, 112. blog hops!, 113. help along the way, 114. pouty lip from a certain someone…not working, 115. happy baby, 116. room to grow, 117. community, 118. joy of giving, 119. weekend down time, 120. writing journey

Creativity / Family / Motherhood

Go Fly A Kite

One thing I have loved about schooling at home these past few years is the open time and space for my kids to explore and create whenever inspiration strikes. For this sweet chica, inspiration strikes multiple times a day, and she has created all sorts of interesting things out of ordinary household items. This time it was an ‘owl kite’ that she found directions for in a library book. I confess I immediately thought it was a fish, but she quickly corrected me. She asked me for days about getting some wire for the project and because of the many other things on my mind (plus the fact that at first I had no idea what she wanted wire for) it took me a few days to dig some out for her. Once she had the wire in hand, she sat for several hours crafting this beauty, remaking the wire frame a few times because it ‘just didn’t look like an owl’.

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When she came to me several hours later with this completed kite, I was a bit surprised at how well it turned out…not that I was surprised by her creativity, but I was surprised that she hadn’t called upon me to assist her in crafting any part of it, save procuring the wire. Usually she is bugging me about doing this thing or that, and while I do sometimes oblige her, a lot of times I either can’t or don’t want to.

She may be the oldest of the bunch, but she is also the most scatter-brained, and hands down makes the biggest messes of any of the kids. It drives me nuts because every time I turn around she has left another pile of supplies half-finished out in a space we need to utilize for something else. Of course it bugs me mostly because she is just like me. Leaping from one idea to the next without ever finishing because how can one possibly suffer through the finishing of a task when there is a whole new idea to chase after? Guilty as charged.  And yet, there is the reality that some things must be finished. And every project has to be cleaned up by someone. Sometimes I don’t want her to create new things because it is not convenient for me. Sad truth.

In reflecting on her strengths and weaknesses (ok, and mine too) I came to the realization that I have a choice to make about how to respond to her creativity. I can either make time and space (and joyful attitude and supplies ready) that give her freedom to create, or I can shut her down just because I don’t want a mess on the dining room table, forgetting that her presence in our family is the very reason I have been able to recapture wonder and unlock my own creativity in recent years. I don’t want to slow or stifle her unique brilliance, even if it does cost me a tidy room. Of course, that doesn’t mean we won’t keep working on how to start, finish, and clean up our own creative projects…but it seems we’re on our way to that, if this kite is any indication.

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She asked to go out in the yard to fly the kite, so of course I had to bring the camera.  I love the above photos of the little sister following behind and the photo below of her goofy teeth (a perfect picture of her equally goofy and joyful personality). The takeaway for today….take time for the sweet and silly things your child likes to do. They are only children for a short while, and inconvenience is no reason to miss the delight and wonder. I swear it was just yesterday she was the size that the little sister is now. Excuse me while I go kiss her sleeping head with a tear in my eye.

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