A.musing.mama! 4.5

Taking your kids out to walk in public... I've heard it compared to 'herding cats'... yeah, that.

Usually our kids are pretty civil about going to the Mall or places like that, but you're always secretly fearing that this time will be that time when the mall security escort your wild ones out.

Just walking together as a cohesive unit down the sidewalk is a victory for me.

Sorry again for the delay in this A.musing.mama series.
I hope to get back to sketching these weekly, (although I won't use this marker pen again... ugh)!  I also have another surprise around the corner for you with this series too!

Happy weekend'ing friends,
Mel ;o)



little fire.

The irony is not lost on me, friends.
That the more I try to teach my children.. the more I am learning myself.

Lately, it's about the power of our words.
I'll relay our little scenario for you:  the daughter comes home from school, saying she's been inviting one friend - but not that other one - to her birthday.  Saying she's done "eenie, meanie, miny-mo..." to choose who can come.  My eyes turn to dinner plates as I envision how painful this situation may have been to the girl 'left out'.  (All the while, I remember using this exact same threat as my own verbal arsenal when I was her age).

I take her aside one afternoon, and talk to her about the power of our words (James 3:5/6).
The poison or pleasantness of our tongues.
Do we want to hurt others, or help them with our speech.

She goes back to colouring,
I go back to contemplating:
Our tongues are small fires.

Do I raise people up, or raze people down with my words?

Does this fire bring warmth or does it burn?

Does it illuminate the darkness, or sting with it's smoke?

Be careful little fire.



In print! The making of our book:

 So excited!!
Here's where my creative energies have been focused for the past while, friends.
I've been illustrating the story my husband wrote to propose to me with!

13 watercolour illustrations.
Adding the text he had written years ago.
Formatting the book and ordering from an online photo book company (Picaboo).

It arrived so quickly!
Finally, a late anniversary gift for my husband, and a delightful storybook to now read to the three bunnies in our nest.

Here's a couple sneak peeks:
That sweet man nervously read me this story almost 7 years ago, over a plate of sushi.
I didn't even clue in until the final paragraph that he was using the story of two bunnies who fell in love in the woods to propose to me.  It's a tear jerker!

So, next time you come over for tea, I'll read it to you.

*P.S: the illustration on the back cover is the exact depiction of our wedding cake too.

Now I've got the bug to want to team up with him and make children's books! 

Mel ;o)


7th 'heavens dew'.

If anyone needs a reminder of how fast the days keep moving.
Our little Talia - 'heavens dew' - is 7 months now!

She's all sweetness in the day, and all sass at night.

Enjoy your sunny day friends,
Mel ;o)


same theme. different books:

Lets be honest, I would not make a very good book reviewer.
I'm the kind of person who picks up a book and thinks "this is GOLD!  I need to tell everyone to read this book!".  Then I pick up the next book and think: "wait, now this is really GOLD!".

So, yeah, while I still try to be a discerning reader... I'm pretty easy to win over if the subject is right.  Lately, (as you may remember from my last post on books worth reading)... my focus is still on parenting, and growing in God's grace.

For those of you who may be in the same boat as me, seeking to raise your kids to delight in the God of grace (not seeking to grow up little legalists who think they're good in their own rule keeping) may I recommend "GIVE THEM GRACE" by Elyse Fitzpatrick.
This book has challenged and inspired my parenting approach.
It has helped me see my own soul mirrored in my children.
It convicted me about how to show the 'prodigal' loving heart of the Father to my children... when I normally would have held on to my anger/frustration/resentment over their defiant moments.
It really opened my eyes to how I could turn small moments into deeper teachable moments about the goodness of God and the brokenness of our own hearts.  How to be humble and honest with my kids... to show them that Mommies need grace too.  A lot of intriguing conversations have happened with our oldest daughter (almost 5yrs) since I've read this book.
Another gold book of encouragement for you mamas: "TREASURING CHRIST WHEN YOUR HANDS ARE FULL" by Gloria Furman.  She writes in a candid, honest and profound way that sees Christ in every crazy, exhausting, mess of daily motherhood.  Check it out.

And, because I'm a slow learner... a lot of the other books on my nightstand are still hollering that same theme: grace, grace, grace! at me.
I just read Tullian's "ONE WAY LOVE" for more on that topic.
While my husband and I are also hoping to host a small group book study of "THE DISCIPLINE OF GRACE" by Jerry Bridges.

Yep, it's a lot of the same theme really.
I need to constantly have my focus clarified.
Because my heart constantly wants to make it all about my 'performance' and my own efforts to 'win' the love of God.  In fact, most of our world is based on that paradigm of cause and effect.  What others might call 'karma'.  We try to apply that to God when we think our efforts at being 'good' are what caused Him to save us.  Or, if we truly believe that He saves us through Christ's perfection alone.. we then start to think that it's now up to us to keep ourselves 'good enough' by our own strength.  Every day I need grace.
Every day I need the gospel to reorient my thinking.
The crossroads of my brokenness and His beauty intersecting.
My sin and His salvation exchanging.

I could read a million more books on this divine theme!

What's on your nightstand lately?
I'd love to hear your book recommendations as well.

Mel ;o)


confessions (of an artist/mama)...

I used to define myself as an artist.
Then I had kids.

So, 'Mama-stay-at-home-artist-on-the-side'... was a bit of a mouthful.
I soon found that both these passions were rather all-consuming feeling.  I felt torn between both worlds that I wanted to play in... all the while resenting the other voices calling for my attention.

Maybe you know this feeling?
Maybe you've discovered, as I have, that these kids are the masterpieces requiring my attention.
Canvas, colours and creating can wait.  These growing creations cannot.  I will not have my children look back on their lives and wish their mama was more present to play than practising her paint strokes.

But, for now, I take any creative outlet as a perkBecause I know I still need the outlet.  I feel my blood pressure drop when I create.  It's good for the kids to see mama still doing her passions too... but even better, alongside them!
That means, when the kids are painting... I love to sit and paint with them.
When the crayons are smudging, my fingers are in it too.

Then, during naps or bedtime.... I sneak a few more moments to paint.
How do you find your outlets for creativity?

Post Script:  My apologies for not having the COMICS here lately... a few projects of late are channelling all my extra time (eager to show in the future!).

Creatively yours,
Mel ;o) 


A letter to my 'young mama' self:

Some of you may remember that post where I wrote a letter to my 'sixteen year old self'...yes?
Well, today I wanted to write a letter to myself as a new mom... because it's also a lot of things I want to say to all young/new mamas out there.
So here it is:

Dear mama Mel,

Congratulations on just making it through the most intense, horrific, wild and wonderful event of your life - birthing that stubborn little girl into this world!  I am so proud of you, and amazed at your strength to just do what you did!  (However, you really should have just told hubby Ben to 'stay up at your head'... sooo, give him time to come around from the post-traumatic shock).

There's just a few things I want to tell you, but I know you won't hear me.
Yeah, that's your first issue - listen to those who love you.
I know you feel like you've read all the books, and know all the strategies to enact on this new child.  I know you feel super sensitive to anyone telling you how to 'do your new job'.  But, remember that those who love you, and are offering advice, are doing so because they... wait for it... LOVE you.  They aren't being super-judgey-pants and trying to point the finger.  Their suggestions aren't saying 'hey, you clearly suck at this gig'.. they're saying 'hey, I've walked this wild road.. can I help you watch for the potholes?'.  So yeah, turn down the defensive, and tune in to all the sage help from mamas who have gone before you.

Next, savour these moments.
I know.. you want to slap me for saying that.  When the baby just won't settle... the screaming through the nights seem endless... and the window seems like the appropriate place to throw your darling child through... you just want to be DONE.  Savour this?
Just know it's a moment.  It feels like eternity... but you'll turn around and the child will be rushing out the door to school.  The nights will be quiet... you'll stare at the ceiling and long for just one more night of that rhythmic two-step with the warmth of their weight against your chest.

Lastly, this new chapter of your life is ushering you into a massive identity overhaul.
It seems as though the labels are all laying on the table before you, waiting to see which one will stick.  Will you define yourself as the 'hippy-all-natural-crunchy' mama?  Will you be the productive, nothing stops me from keeping the house clean, mama?  Do you co-sleep? Do you breastfeed or do formula?  Check, check, check.  These boxes start to feel stifling.
It seems like your previous identity is being burned up on this altar.
Because, yes, this is sacrificial living at it's truest form.
Giving all you having to this tiny being who can give nothing back.
Your wardrobe, your schedule, your free time, your social calendar, your diet... everything becomes focused on nurturing this child.
There will be moments you resent them for this reality.
You'll grow weary of constantly having to think about someone else before yourself.
 The craving for 'me-time' will feel like that dangling carrot... that insatiable longing to just dive headlong back in on yourself will taunt you.

Trust me when I say this:
Do not resent the gift of selflessness this child forces upon you.
Keep yourself on this altar.
They are God's fingers at work in you.
They are burning away your pride, your self-righteous reliance, your petty pursuits.
Hide your identity in Christ alone.
 Your life will become sweet incense.

Oh, one more last thing... I'm not going to tell you how many kids you end up having, but they are a treasure.  Just know, the best present you can give them is your presence.  You can't afford all the latest child gadgets, newest outfits, and wild vacations...  they don't care.
Because, you know what?  Our soon-to-come son just woke up from his nap crying.
You know what I did?
I held him.
Rocked him back and forth.
Whispered: "It's ok, mama's here".
He snuggled in and stopped crying.

Mama's here.
The two most powerful words you have to give.

Mel ;o)