Sometimes in the busy and the hard days that life seems to throw at us, it is easy to get discouraged and to forget about the beautiful, simple things. These pictures are from an evening last week when we all experienced the simple joy of looking for wild strawberries. I think the pictures speak for themselves. I needed to look at them tonight.
One of my favorite materials to decorate with is burlap, I just like the rough, earthy look of it. I have been hauling around some old sacks that the previous owners of our house in BC had left behind and had decided that I was finally going to cut one up only to discover that I am not sure which box they are still packed away in. My heart was kind of set on making up my word in burlap on canvas for the Advent season so I went and bought some burlap (actually it really is jute which is a tighter weave) and have been waiting for a few minutes to put it together. I am pretty pleased with how it turned out as well as how very easy and quick it was to do!
- Burlap or Jute (finer weave) or whatever other material you would like.
- Letters (you can free hand or print some off like I did)
- Mod Podge or a much less expensive DIY Decoupage that I found HERE(Gotta love Pinterest!
- Canvas Frames (I used 8X10 dollar store cheapos)
- Paint Brush or Foam
- Trace or draw letters onto Burlap.
- Cut letters out while enlisting any little ones that you may have to spread decoupage on the canvas…it’s kind of like painting.
- Position letters on the canvas and pat into place.
- Spread more decoupage over the letters and canvas. Be generous, it will dry clear and you want to make sure that it sticks. (I added a wee bit of diamond dust for a little sparkle after the girls were finished.)
- Allow to dry and you are ready to decorate!
The canvas frames were the most expensive component at 1.25 each and so I spent between 5-6 dollars total. We spent about 20 minutes working on it together.
I then did some quick decorating and attempted to take some artsy pictures…Dan said that I did pretty well:).
My sweet girls are peacefully sleeping after a day of high needs and Dan is off to a rare guys board games night. In the quiet, my thoughts are roving back over the past year. I realized a few random things while my thoughts flitted about; here are a few. I have made many new friends this year, we changed houses three times, this is the first December since 2006 that I am neither pregnant or have a new baby and the first time that I am okay with that.
Every year, I like to take the last few days to ponder the over past year and then I like to look forward to new one and dream a little of what it will hold. This year I approach the coming year with both trepidation and hopeful expectation. Trepidation because I look back over the pain filled times and dread what more could come. Hopeful expectation because I can look back at the journey and see how I have been changed and that I have never been alone. Oh those months where the only thing that I felt kept me going were my two wee girls who needed their mama. How is it possible that there could be so much hurt and yet still joy refused to leave? When we came back to this little town, we hardly knew what to expect and for a short time I wasn’t sure that we would leave in one piece. But slowly, we began to find our way again. We reached out for each other and clung to the One who could heal. We were quietly loved by those who knew best and by others who loved without questions. Shortly after our arrival here, Dan shared a quote with me and it know sits on my fridge and is often present in my mind. In my drafts, I actually have an unshared post that I wrote when he first read it to me. The last lines are these; “Woundedness just leads to more woundedness. Brokenness leads to healing.” These words are the anthem of my year, I was a wounded woman and only when I learned to be broken did healing begin. I always picture a wild animal that has been hurt, they will lash out at anything in sight and basically go crazy when wounded. Or a one of my fragile teacups, broken in pieces, just lying there until I piece and glue it back together. This year has changed me. I am not strong and I don’t wish to be. I can forgive and be forgiven; I have asked forgiveness more this year than in all other 26. I have learned to lean on Dan and to stand on my own. My voice has become gentler, my words sweeter and I hope they are a reflection of my heart. I have made poor choices and good ones, both having lasting effects. I have learned to both to watch my words carefully and to speak freely.
After I had a cesarean with Cecily, I was told that it would take some time to heal; that the surface would heal quickly while the inner muscles and layers would take a long time. I was also told that some nerve damage would likely never be reversed. I think that this describes the past year and really much of life. On the outside, it is nearly impossible not to look whole and happy especially when one has been incredibly blessed as I have. And yet, that inner stuff where only those closest can see still burns and aches; it still affects and colors everything. And some things are really never quite the same. Some healing comes slowly and , like with the cesarean, there are setbacks and recovery comes slowly.
And so I admit, the pessimist in me fears the months ahead, this year 2011. But the broken and healing me is excited and hopeful to see and to welcome this new year! As we went through the advent season, the words Hope and Joy continued to ring through my heart and so holding tightly to them, come 2011!
O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
There have been many gloomy clouds in this past year and entire months that have been covered by darker shadows than I had ever imagined. And many times when I felt that joy and rejoicing might never come my way again. There will be more of those times with out a doubt, but last night as I watched the glowing candle of Joy reflect in the shining eyes of my daughter while we sang the above words, I knew that Joy has not left us. As we move through this week of advent that is distinctly painful and gloriously beautiful at the same time, there is a chorus of Rejoice, Rejoice rising.