untitled-identity crisis.

The last few weeks I feel like I’ve been having an identity crisis. Am I being a good mom? Who am I as an artist? Am I being the best wife that I can be? Where am I in relation to my community? I think that since finishing school there’s been the constant question from others, “so what are you going to do now?” I don’t know, I’m still figuring that out and taking it day by day. I have passions that are pulling me in all directions and I don’t know where to go. I’ve had family emergencies that brought me back and forth to California, inevitably leading to the passing of my grandpa from his medical complications. I’m unsure where I want to take my business and I simply haven’t given myself enough time to sit down and really think about what I want. 

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The stresses from the last few weeks, especially from being away from home more than being home have been driving me crazy. I like things to be neat and I hate clutter. I haven’t had time to clean and don’t even remember the last time I scrubbed down our shower. I often find myself measuring my worth of being a good wife against my abilities to keep a clean house. While sewing something for my grandpas funeral I turned on the Risen Motherhood podcast series to play in the background. I soon found myself playing my fourth episode, soaking in all the wisdom that I could from those wonderful women. As Jasper gets older, I find myself thinking about how Grafton and I are being examples for Godly parents. Are we teaching him to be a caring person, someone who wants to be a part of their community? Are we teaching him biblical lessons that he’ll hold dear to? One episode I was listening to gave me encouragement to start small, reading stories that are easy to digest and general rather than reading some obscure Bible passage his little mind can’t comprehend just yet. It also made me think about my own relationship with God and the church.

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In Boise we were super involved in our little church, Grafton did worship and I worked in children’s ministry in the nursery. I loved being connected to the people in our church. These relationships weren’t formed because everyone was the same age as me, had the same interests, or even similar personalities. I connected with my church body because we all had the desire to serve God and love on our community. Moving to Spokane, I lost that. I became so focused on school and found it difficult to find a good group of friends that I liked spending time with. The last few weeks of my university studies made being connected even more difficult, we have a small group that meets “every” week, but even that has dwindled from being so busy. I’ve been so discouraged that I can’t set aside a half an hour a day to study the Bible or do a devotional, but I’ve come to realize that a daily half-focused time in prayer is way less important than one or two times per week of fully devoting myself and meditating.

Actually looking into my heart and listening to a few Risen Motherhood podcasts made me realize that all my other relationships and heart issues are a direct reflection of my empty relationship and pursuit of God. It’s not that I don’t love God or desire a relationship, I’ve just put it on the back burner because I’ve put a higher importance on everything else. I believe in spiritual warfare, and have this sense that I’ve been attacked. School, something that is a good thing, became the cause of high amounts of stress for me. This stressed my relationship with my husband and gave me a short temper with Jasper and not being able to get things done around the house.  All of this stress has taken a heavy toll on my body. I think most women can relate to holding stress in their muscles, particularly their backs. I started having severe back spasms, feeling tired almost always on top of constant headaches, poor appetite (both nonexistent as well as an overactive appetite).

While acknowledging my triggers for stress I am also trying to find better ways to cope as well as preventative measures to take. I’m hoping to better my diet and make healthier choices. We do eat pretty healthy, but I’d like to be more conscious of my food intake. Gut health is the jumping off point for so many other things, from mental health to overall wellness. My acupuncturist also suggested that I eat more fermented foods or drink kombucha to aid my gut in wellness. In addition to food choices, I also use essential oils daily. I use products for cleaning that I either make myself or buy that are clean and free from harmful chemicals. I’m in the process of cleaning out my beauty products from toxic materials to pure ones that actually help my body. I’m looking forward to promoting the health of myself and my family in any way that I can, and using essential oils has been the easiest part so far. If you’re interested in learning how you can incorporate essential oils into your own life you can email me or find me on instagram. 

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I’m not expecting change overnight because I have acknowledged the issues. But it is making me conscious of what I want to do to better myself. I’m really looking forward to getting back into the women’s study I’ve done a few times and being part of a community of women that encourage, challenge, and support me to grow in my relationship with God.

It’s been a long time coming

I’ve been incessantly checking my student account and email to hear from the admin about graduation. I guess because I had so much trouble with transferring, not just from one school to another, but also from a school on a semester system to one on a quarter system, that I have become worried that my college career would once again be elongated.  

The past five years have been anything but easy, making me want to quit at several times. Ended friendships, heart break, the death of my dearest friend, financial burdens, and the birth of our son have complicated this area of my life in so many ways. But I wouldn’t take it back for anything.

Within the past five years I have grown into a person that doesn’t take shit from anyone. That doesn’t mean that I don’t get hurt or emotional, because sometimes I do. I speak my mind and I speak the truth. I cherish friendships that are deep and meaningful (although there are few) and I have learned that it’s okay to focus on myself sometimes. One of the most amazing women that I have ever met was my co-teacher from when I was at Montessori. She and I had similar personalities; she encouraged me to be who I really was, she hugged me when I needed it, and encouraged me to take care of myself in order to take care of our students. Going into motherhood I have kept this close, and I still struggle with it. I doubt myself as a wife and if I’m being good to Jasper or doing enough for him. I get frustrated when I can’t get things done that I have on my to-do list. I’ve been overly tired and worn thin. It’s been pointed out to me several times that I can’t do everthing at once. But I sure as hell try.

It’s been a long time coming. This afternoon I checked my student account for the third time since this morning. I’ve officially been awarded my Bachelor of Arts. An overwhelming sense of accomplishment acme over me as it finally hit me that I’m finally done with my undergrad career, and even after everything that’s happened I’ll be graduating Magna Cum Laude. I’m proud of myself for how hard I worked and that I was persistent in wanting to graduate. 

Even more so than before, and even though it’s only been a week since I turned in my last paper, everyone wants to know what I plan to do now that I’m graduated. I think it’s expected that if you graduate from college you pursue a career. But I already have one and I’ve had that same job for over a year. I’m at home with our baby. I’m not quite sure why it’s not okay to go to college just because you like learning. I never intended to go into a real career after college anyways, I wanted to do freelance art. And you know what? That’s what I’m going to do.

Workshop Updates

Wow! I haven’t blogged since July! If you follow me on social media, you’ll probably put two and two together that I’ve been so busy with Jasper and school that I haven’t really had much time to do anything else. I’m literally in my last 8 days of school, trying to write 2 giant papers. Typical me, I like to be stressed when I’m writing big papers like this because it makes me focus and kick some ass to say the least. Really, I write best under pressure. Sure, it makes me a little crazy and I question my methodology, but it’s what I’ve been doing my entire college career. This is my sixth (?) year in school, I almost dropped out my sophomore year because it was by far the hardest season of my life, and I took a quarter off to be with Jasper, but I AM GRADUATING. EWU only has one commencement ceremony for some reason...so I technically won’t walk until spring, but who cares, I’m graduated. Dear Lord, that feels great to say. I’m a BA with an AA and a BA😎 

A little while ago I taught my FIRST intro to watercolor class. I was nervous I was just going to babble on and on and that I wouldn’t be able to constructively teach the skills that I know. But, I’m happy to report that the feedback I received was great! It was so encouraging to hear that my students learned so much and looked forward to taking another class. So I’m thrilled to say: There’s more on the books! 

I’ve planned out the next six months for classes. I’ll be teaching one a month starting January and maybe some pop-up’s in between, as well as hosting an open studio time at Madelia immediately following my workshops. The open studio times will be so you can come down to the shop and work on your own project, get away from your kids and craft, or get some guidance on something that you may be working on. The other ladies of Madelia will also be teaching their own classes as well. Next week, our schedule for the next six months will be posted online. I’ve jump started mine, so if you’d like to register for those click here. I’ve decided to host a variety of skill workshops including making watercolor wreaths, watercolor illustrations, and continuing my intro class. You can also check out the Madelia Makers’ Market here.

Natural Home, Happy Home
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I have always preferred to use holistic or naturopathic remedies before resorting to prescriptions-I even avoid taking Tylenol or Ibuprofen if I just have a headache. I knew that once we had littles running around I wanted to use safer cleaning products as well as avoid unnecessary medications.  

A few months back I reached out to a woman within my Instagram community about using essential oils. I had used a diffuser for quite a while, but never thought to use oils as remedies for ailments or illnesses or overall wellness. I want to point out that essential oils are not labeled as something to use to cure illnesses, as most other natural approaches are not- they have not been evaluated by the FDA. I am, however, one to believe that diet and herbal approaches can be effective in many ways. 

I have just recently began this oily journey, so I have decided to share a few of my favorites with y'all: 

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CITRUS:

My favorite citrus oils are Orange, Lemon, and Tangerine. I have used Orange and Lemon quite a bit for both cleaning and cooking. I will share a few of my favorite recipes in a later post.   I have yet to use Tangerine often, but I have made a "refresher" using it with baking soda. I took a small mason jar and poked a few holes in the lid, mixed in some essential oils with baking soda and let it sit for a few hours. I will sprinkle it on our mattress every couple of weeks then vacuum it up, as well as use it as a scrub when I clean the sink after doing dishes. 

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BUG REPELLENT:

Earlier this Spring we had some nasty mosquitoes! We've also had a couple black fly bites, even on little Jasper. While I will use regular bug spray if it's around, I don't want to be spraying it on Jasper! I ordered up some Citronella and got to concocting! In a spray bottle, I mixed about 20 drops of Citronella, 15 drops of Lavender, and 2 drops of Rosemary. Rosemary has a very strong smell, so I use it sparingly. I filled the bottle with water and so far have not had an issue with bug bites.

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A GREAT COMBO: 

I LOVE cloves. I think it's because it reminds me of winter time, which is the best. Anyway, I like to make oatmeal for breakfast (when I remember, HELLO mom brain!), my favorite recipe is old fashioned oats with chocolate chips, a few drops of Orange and only ONE drop of Clove. This blend is also a great one to diffuse. 

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THIEVES: 

This oil blend is one of my favorites by far. I use it in my diffuser to make my house smell fresh and clean, as well as use it as part of my daily beauty routine. It is worth mentioning that Thieves is considered a "hot" oil, meaning, it has a warming sensation when applied topically. I only use 1-2 drops on my face, making sure to keep it away from my eyes. After a moment, I apply 2 drops of Lavender to cool off the sensation. Thieves is also a powerful cleaner and can be added to a load of laundry or dishes. I have also tried the YL Thieves Toothpaste and really liked it.

 

Overall, I have had nothing but a great experience with essential oils and the community I have found within it. Personally, I use Young Living; it is important to use 100% pure essential oils, no matter where you choose to get them from.  If you want to learn more about using essential oils or would like to begin using them, feel free to contact me-while I am still learning myself, I am happy to help!

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Brown Wedding

As many of you know from little updates now and again, I have been working on a dear friends wedding invitation suite. I was so excited when Sara asked me to design them! Her and her fiancé, Connor, will be getting married in southern Idaho at Tamarack Resort outside of McCall, it is quite a beautiful place. They will be saying "I do" in a sweet little chapel on the mountain, which is quite iconic, so I wanted to be sure to highlight that in some part of the suite.

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Navy blue and bright pink are the main colors of the wedding with bright floral accents. It has been so fun going alongside Sara in the design process of both aspects of the wedding décor as well as the invitations. We found a great deal on super cute table runners and used a floral wrapping paper to line envelopes. Lettering and addressing the envelopes was also so therapeutic for me in the midst of a million homework assignments. 

I've designed a few other invitations in the past, but never a whole suite! Making a map was so fun, as I really enjoy watercolors. Seeing these bad boys printed got me all excited to continue this kind of work in the future. 

If you or someone you know is looking for invitation design or envelope addressing, please contact me, I look forward to it!

life update

Holy smokes! My little boy is already six months old, how did the time go by so fast?? If you follow me on instagram you might have noticed that I am way better about updating things on there than I am on here. Most of my instagram is filled with Jasper anyway... The little man rolls like a champion and spins around in circles to move. He's quite the giggler nowadays too, fills my heart up every time he laughs. He's trying to pop out a tooth, he's chewing on anything and everything. We've also started giving him some purées usually once a day, so bring on the stinky diapers. 

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I've been insanely busy with school since the beginning of last month, and on top of that I have a morning women's group on Tuesday's and we hold another small group in our home on Tuesday evenings, so you could say I'm a little busy. I've been trying to keep up on homework and laundry, if I don't get to mop my floors at least once a week I go crazy. If you have been to our house since we had Jasper you might have noticed that there is baby stuff pretty much everywhere. Clothes, diapers (clean ones!), binkies, toys, etc. It's not necessarily that our house is messy, it's just a little cluttered. In efforts to battle against the clutter, today I cleaned out Jaspers room (that he never sleeps in btw...), packed away tiny little 0-3 month size clothes <insert crying mom face here>, moved one of the ottoman's to his room and started to clean off my desk. While it isn't all the way cleaned up yet, I already feel so much better-cleaning and rearranging always settles my mind. Plus++, I got to mop today too, I have Thieves goin' in my diffuser and my house smells a m a z i n g. I'm one happy momma.

Now that the house is partially cleaned and my brain is at ease I can finish one last homework assignment and I'm done for the weekend! Tomorrow is mother's day so I actually want to be able to enjoy my FIRST mother's day with the rest of my family. On Thursday I turned in my application for graduation, it was one of the most nerve-wracking things I've had to do in a while. I only have to take 4 more classes and I am finished!!! GO ME! It's been a long and hard road to get to this point, but by the grace of God I'm almost there.