Tuesday, January 31, 2012

love and socks

One pair of socks on the other side of the bed this morning.  His, the keeper of my heart. The one who wakes up three hours before the rest of us and eats breakfast in the a quiet house and dresses for work in the dark.

Once I read a story about a couple on the verge of martial ruin.  I can’t tell you where I read it, maybe you can tell me.  In the counselor’s office, she unleashed years of bottled up frustration because every single day she had to pick up his $($&# socks and if he just respected her, he would pick up his own dirty socks. So the years went by and she felt unappreciated and the resentment burrowed deep down and rotted away at precious things.  Then something else happened, but I forget, maybe he almost died, maybe they just came to a great understanding and healing, I can’t recall.  All I know is that after this dramatic turning point in their marriage, everyday when she picked up his socks, she no longer muttered hostility under her breath, but she thanked God that he was there to leave his dirty socks on the floor.

It was a moving, life-changing story, but I only remember the sock.  The socks, perhaps that is the whole point?  How the small things are the big things, when it comes to love and marriage, And by love and marriage, I mean all of life too.

At the same time every afternoon, the key goes in and the door rattles.  Two little creatures practically jump out of their skin.  He barely has one second to take off his coat and set his things down, before they are in his arms. Then for as long as possible, there they stay.  Daddy is a commodity worth more than gold around here.

I fill the French press with steaming water and watch the dark grounds dance and soak and become one. A few minutes later, I pour two mugs and bring one to him where he is the bottom layer of the pile. 

Next to the yellow chair, his socks and shoes are cast off on the floor. 

Linking up with Just Write

Monday, January 30, 2012


A few weeks ago, we were driving home and the sky was painted teal, peach, and purple.  Everything in sight was alive with passion.  Days later we were smothered by a blanket of grey, the world felt hushed and slow. Every night, the world’s largest canvas is adorned with radiant hues, because God is an artist.

Sunrises and sunsets will happen without our acknowledgement and we don’t have to notice, but if you are searching for beauty in the world, twice a day, you know where to look.

I decided that I wanted to record the colors of the sunset every night. I’m not always in a prime photo location, but I stop what I am doing and look out the window.  I watch the first signs streak across the blue and notice how the colors dazzle until the light meets the horizon..  Then, I enter the date and colors into a note on my phone.

For a week now, I've been observing this practice. I suppose it is less about the recording of the colors and more about the noticing.  Too many stunners have passed without me stopping to say, hey as usual, great sunset tonight, God.   In reality, days will be missed, but no worries, another one is coming soon, another chance to marvel, to pause, to see, to be thankful, and to remember.

In the summer, I made an Index card calendar/journal.  At night I write down one thing that happened on that day. (Find in here).  Often, I write, spent the day at home with the kids, but  there was the time Hudson helped me unload the dishwasher {on Saturday} or when my baby girl ate an olive and loved it. It’s just life, normal and silly, but everyday life remembered is never ordinary.  I keep it near my bed and usually jot down one sentence before going to sleep or right away the next morning.  And ten years from now, I’ll remember where we spent Valentines day, because, do you ever remember that?

The thing is this, the act of remembering, it’s an opportunity for gratitude, to notice the blessings or challenges of this life.  It’s a brief pause to find perspective, to savor a moment, to collect joy.

I wonder, if you were to document one thing daily, what would it be? How would you do it?  A journal? an e-mail to yourself? a blog post? a photo?  If you are inspired to start collecting these tiny little pieces of wonder, I’d love to hear about it.

  • January 26- soft blue, purple, purple grey, and pink
  • January 27- blue-grey, pink, cream
  • January 28- pink and grey

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Story Collector: Hardly cheerful, but heavy and true.

On a Wednesday when the sky was heavy with the grey of winter, masking the sun and the sky in a monotone blanket of haze, I found myself at a small square table.   It was tall and the bar below was perfect for locking in my boots.  The coffee shop was full of chatter, alive with people fleeing from the cold, dismal weather; seeking haven in the cozy, lodge like cafĂ© and warmth in the caffeinated beverages.

A grand wooden beam sectioned me off on one side, creating the perfect spot to enjoy my black thai latte and read. Often,  I found myself so lost in these pages that all other noise evaporated, but pauses and lingering sips brought perfect opportunities for watching and listening of which I am frequently guilty.

Once we were having dinner with friends and we (the wives) confessed our love of watching and knowing everything that happened outside our windows.  Nosey, they called it.  We’re writers, we said, we’re looking for the stories. Stories are happening everywhere.

Coffee shops are full of people with stories.

A few tables over, a man and a woman, middle-aged, successful looking sat with a comfortable discomfort.  A date perhaps, a meeting of old acquaintances, I’m not sure.  No one reached across the table to touch hands.  There was little laughter. She had perfect posture and long, well groomed, black hair with a luxurious collared coat that reached her ankles.  I imagine she used to be a dancer in her youth.  Perfectly polished fingers wrapped around her small skinny latte.  Much less suave, but not disheveled, the man in a leather jacket and sweater sipped his coffee, black.  His face showed signs of many days spent in the sun. His smile never reached his eyes.

Her face was hard to see for the wooden beam and her voice soft, but his was deeper and stronger, and I heard…

A sigh, heavy with baggage, weary with a dash of lingering anger,

“I mean, she’s the mother of my children.”

And he went on to say how the summers were divided and the conversations about the kids and how they parented after everything ended.  It was an exhausting few paragraphs and his regard for her was somewhere between his greatest foe and someone he wanted to respect.  His tone was matter of fact, but emotion betrayed itself. 

Then the lady in black shared her tale, one of tolerating each other in public, but little more.

Heavy wafted in the air, buzzing with the sound of the steaming milk.

I couldn’t forget the sigh that preceded, she’s the mother of my children.  It felt fragmented and out of place, as if it has been one of many items in a long list, but now the last standing ruins.

No longer the girl of his dreams, his best friend, his wife, the love of his life… all these causing her to be the mother of his children.  Just the mother of his children, was a tune that faired better with the accompaniment of love and struggled when solo. 

In my journal I wrote, my darling, let us protect our love, for I never want to be just the mother of your children. I always want to be everything else too.

And then I went home to the man I love and found him sandwiched between two beautiful children.

Stories are happening everywhere.


(I do not intend to be insensitive to anyone in writing this, that is not my wish. I am merely collecting stories of humanity and life, as I notice them around me.  Some stories are happier than others, but all are worthy of being told.)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

She would have painted.

I was talking to my mom one Saturday as she played on the floor with my kids.  I told her of how I had learned so much this past year about making my own needs and interests a priority and how I’m certain that being an artist makes me a better mom.  I asked,

Is there something that you would have done more for yourself when you were raising us?

Her answer took me by surprise.

Painting. I would have painted more.

I remember three paintings that floated around our home, mainly one of the sea, driftwood scattered with gulls on the shore.    It’s a beautiful piece of art, the way she captured depth, dimension, and light. I want to be in that place every day of my life.  Her love of  driftwood was one we all knew, anytime we traveled to the beach, she would search for it, I remember her always trying to find a way to bring home these massively large pieces, we often suggested leaving one of our siblings behind to make space.

I thought about her answer  and  I only remember one time in the eighteen years of my childhood that I saw her sit down in front of a canvas and this latched tin of crinkled oils.  I was a senior in high school and she had set up the supplies for my little brother, she was painting next to him.  I remember a sky washed in the palest pink and the water was the softest blue, it was a foggy.

At first, my stance was disappointment in lost opportunities.  I wanted to feel sad for her, for not making time to paint, in the midst of raising five children and helping run a business.  I wanted to feel disappointment at the years that she missed out on doing one of the things she loved, while she was doing so much for the ones she loved. 

I gazed out upon the world of light and dark, the pure, white snow made radiant by the shadowy brown of the tree, where approximately ten regenerate leaves have not surrendered. Tiny branches shivered in the bitter cold wind.  Surfaces dusted with the latest snowflakes.  And that is what I was watching, when my whole tone changed.

Because on this particular day, the one time I saw my mother sit down to paint, I walked in the room and I looked at the table covered in crinkled tubes of burnt sienna and titanium white and wooden brushes. I looked at her and said, I want to paint. 

And friends, that was the day that I fell in love.

Without this day, would I be an artist now?  It’s impossible to say, but thankfully, this is not a story about missed opportunity, it is not a tragedy. 

And for all the days that she didn’t paint, she can do that now.  And because of the one day that she did, I will too.



dear readers, tell me one of your stories.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Everyday love


We’re growing this business slowly. One design at a time. The whole reason we started was because we wanted to give each other good cards, we’d look through dozens at the store and leave empty handed.  Why did I want some silly, flowery nonsense that I would never even say, how does that say  I love you?

Because, I love you is when…

you are drinking your morning coffee and you look over and smile.

or when sleep deprivation is ruler of your home, but you know that you get to spend the day with your favorite person.

or when it’s absolutely horrid outside and there’s nowhere else you’d rather be.

or when your wedding anniversary is approaching and you simply say, remember when.

And there are so many more little occasions, the everyday kind that we want to document and turn into a card, because love is everyday, and at the breakfast table, and simple and sweet and playful and fun.

And that is what we celebrate.

So, that’s why we started Furthermore Creative and we hope you find something that makes you smile.  We also hope you might want to tell someone about our cards, because word of mouth is the best way businesses grow. And if you do, thank you for supporting our dream.  It means so much.

Monday, January 23, 2012



Fluffy little snow flakes are burrowing into the nooks and crannies of the bare trees.Tea on a winter day

Tiny bubbles are gathering on the rim of my mug, discussing Emerson and heroes.

The snow plow has been up and down the road at least four times.

I’m still thinking about the ending of this fascinating book.

Someone has been singing Happy Birthday to his sister all day, getting ready for her special day.

And I’m here with my favorite little creatures and quite certain that Downton Abbey episodes are far too short and spread out for the good of mankind.  Is it too much to ask that I just want Matthew and Mary to stop being so stubborn and confess their love for each other?  That it all.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

tea + crafts


There’s a negative sign in front of the temperature today, thankfully, I have nowhere else to be.  Like most days, I am perfectly fine with that, imagine having somewhere else that I had to be. We just turned on Ratatouille and the kids are eating their respective snacks out of cups.  The baby girl likes to pour her bunnies out and then put them back in one by one, just like everything else.  She already helps clean up the toys, unlike the other child who is carelessly eating cheerios, while half of them miss his mouth and land on the floor, totally unaware. Don’t worry, they are polar opposites and everyday we see it more. 

She picked out her own outfit today, as we stood in front of her closet, she reached for the dress with blue, purple, and yellow flowers. She reached for it yesterday too, so obviously, she’s trying to tell me something.  Earlier she fell over and bumped her head, brother ran over and said, “okay baby, fall down on the floor?”  She responded, muah, with a kiss.

He learned how to play his harmonica last night and now he runs around dipping at the knees, wearing a silly grin, playing a tune that would make Bob Dylan proud.

I’m drinking tea, because my throat requested it and getting things ready for that birthday party we are planning  with fabric covered jars and paper hearts. {find my pinterest inspiration board}

The end.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A birthday quilt


She’s nearly one, that girl of ours. And so her birthday was decidedly the perfect time to venture into the new territory of quilting. It’s a slippery slope, isn’t it?  While I was surrounded with measurements and fabrics strips and tags, all I could think was, I want to quilt everything. 

The front is entirely from fabric  I already had {minus the pink back}.  My thought was if it didn’t turn out, no real loss, just practice, and I’d pick buy more and make a new one.  Except the thing is, I love every combination.  I love how the strips from past projects come together in celebration of her first year.


My most favorite part is above on the left, the strips ended up being too short and I added the red polka dots to the end, and like magic, it was perfect.  The Traveler quilt pattern is from Little Things to Sew, from Oliver +s, and my project for the sew along this month.


In other news: Something to read.  Something to bake.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

found: encouragement

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;  if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;  if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Romans 12:6-8


Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully, administering God’s grace in its various forms.

1 Peter 4:10

Probably, just maybe that “whatever gift he has received,”  includes:

  • how you generously make a meal for a family
  • how you pour hours of your time into a handmade anything
  • the cheer  you put into the perfect gift wrap
  • the handwritten notes you sent to friends
  • the patience and love you use in raising your children
  • the kind words shared over coffee
  • the way you pick up your husband’s socks from his side of the bed every morning
  • the way your fingers dance across the keyboard as you write
  • bearing your soul on canvas
  • doing your part to keep an office running smoothly
  • the attention you put into planning a weekly menu
  • the long hours you work to support your family
  • a smile offered to a stranger
  • the way you seem to understand numbers unlike anyone else
  • your passion for health and fitness
  • the warmth that people feel when you are near
  • the way you serve, defend, and protect our country
  • the hours you spend caring for the sick
  • how you lead a team of people
  • your ability to fix just about anything
  • the passion that shines within you for living life
  • the childcare you provide for children who are not your own
  • the way you lead a classroom
  • the mountains of laundry you fold
  • the endless wiping of noses
  • Every item on  your to do list

What I’m trying to say, whatever your day holds, whatever gift you have received,

it could be just the grace someone needs today.

Monday, January 16, 2012

From the pages || Art for all

Elephant Tea Jungle Girl Nursery Art Print

{stunning print from lindsayart}

Art is not something done for another or to another.  Art is everybody participating, that is when ritual is real, when whole community participates.  No one can pray vicariously.  No one can sing or chant or dance in our place.  We are all meant to participate because each of us must find the “center,” the eye of God, wherein the true peace flows.  We are all meant to tap into the creative energy of the Holy One, the Artist of all Artists and the Source without a Source.

-Excerpt from Creativity, Matthew Fox.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

the year of the encourager

I’m excited seeing many people choosing a word for the year or rather a word is choosing them.  A declaration of intention for the next 365 days which will translate into shaping the ones to follow as well.  And for me, what I keep coming back to over and over again is one idea.  It’s more than a simple word. It’s a way of life with endless possibilities.


The other day, a friend asked, if you could do one thing for the rest of your life {and get paid} for that, what would it be?  Without hesitation, I knew, make art and encourage others in their own creative journeys.  It’s two things, but only one really, because as you respond to the stirrings of creativity within you, something pours out. Creativity is the gift that keeps on giving, and there is no tolerance for hoarding.  Why do you think we are so excited to share what we make with others?  For affirmation, yes, but also for encouragement, to say, if I can do it, so can you.

And you can.

So, we take our word and as Mandy says, you seek out that word, always on the look out, looking for secret messages, for opportunities, you embark on a mission to {fill in the blank}.

Last night, I did something that has always intrigued and terrified me.  And this morning, I woke up  feeling braver than yesterday. Never again will I wonder, what if, could I?  Because, I did it and I love it.


However, that’s a different story, because when I sat in the chair as the stylist chiseled away inches and inches of my hair, more inches than ever, we talked.  It turns out that she has a giant book of poetry that she has neglected for years and she’s always loved drawing, but hasn’t done it in so long.  And it’s strange how I didn’t think much of this conversation, I suppose, because talking about art and writing is like breathing to me, but I mostly noticed how she confidently shared her creative interests, instead of denying their existence or her ability to be such.  It wasn’t even me who realized what had happened, until Matt mentioned, an opportunity to encourage.

I’m glad I sat in her chair.


“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

–Howard Thurman

So, if you could do thing for the rest of your life {and get paid} to do so, what would it be?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

January Shop Update- New Art

Just stopping in to share some new art in the shop.  Original paintings and some prints too.


Hope you’re having a creative week.

Monday, January 9, 2012

New art + Until then...

Unplugging from social media for a few weeks.  Be back in February.

Still participating in the LTTS project for the month!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

on peace and knowing

In my arms, no space between us, her eyes fall slowly and the rest of her joins in slumber.  The little boy on the couch, going on hour number three.  No playing or running or chasing after sister.  Sure signs of a sick child.

The world is small today, it exists only in these walls. And thoughts that dare to enter the stream and make splashes are hushed by a force of peace.  Speaking of these walls, we’re moving in a few months.  To create a home in another set of walls, which could be absolutely anywhere. Down the street, other side of town, four states away, or even where the roaring ocean meets the shore.  That’s all I know, a move is coming and that’s enough to begin a new year, with the promise of change.  Because change is like a sweet summer breeze to me, in the way it washes over you and fills you with delight and life.

We’ll know the right place, I’m sure. And when that happens there will be things to do and they will get done.

But, right in this moment or moments, for some last longer than others.  I only hear,

be all here and nowhere else.

be all here and nowhere else, it’s freeing and full of questions, but mostly the first.

and more than anything it’s exciting, because we’re waiting for message and we wouldn’t want to miss it.  This part of our story, the next turn of events, another clue into tomorrow, and promise for today.

So, that’s where I’ll be until… then.

Linking up with Just Write.