Tag Archives: personal space

Black and White

December was my final month on Facebookand for weeks a “Black and White Challenge” floated around with specific rules for posting and tagging.

I am not one to appreciate or engage in social media posting and tagging games, but alas, I was finally tagged by a friend. Spending way too much mental energy deciding what to do (and hence confirming a decision I had already subconsciously made), I decided to play along with the picture part, but not the tagging.

Each day I took a random, real photo. No explanation, no people, according to the rules. The pictures explain themselves.

Here are the seven black and white photos taken from a life that is not so black and white.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

If you are on Facebook, did you take the challenge? How do you feel about posting and tagging games? Which of my pictures resonates the most with you? Do share! I am curious.

Friendship Friday ~ Introvert’s Weekend Away

The first weekend of November found me at a lake house with my friend Angela for what has become a fall ritual ~ Introvert’s Weekend Away.

It is a great space, wherever we land, of reading, writing, thinking, processing, and just being. Sometimes we talk. Sometimes we are quiet. We do things together, mostly taking walks and eating meals. We do things apart, like all of the other stuff.

There is music. We talked about  five songs.

My space at the table looked like this for most of the weekend.

It was lovely to be able to leave works in progress and come back to them.

Last year I was working on work for module 2 of the certificate program and had a strict agenda of reading and writing to complete. This year it was fun to just play with and in the space.

The misty day could not keep me from swinging to the music in my ear buds, soaring high into the air. Little did I know I was creating a safe space for my soul. There was solitude and beauty and much-needed calm before the storm that was brewing.


Opening Up

This isn’t about opening up my heart and pouring out deep feelings. It’s about opening up my space and rearranging.

Sometimes I get stuck in a physical or emotional place where I feel there are no options. No choices. It’s like that in many areas of life right now and feels suffocating. It’s a backed into a corner being poked at with sticks feeling. Not a favorite.

I began to feel that way about my room. My space. My corner. It seemed there was only one way for it to be. I had tried many others in the past and always came back to this.

Pinterest Corner

It’s a good way. I love it this way. It is my own cozy corner.

However, it began to feel closed in and cluttered, and, more often than not, the bench became a catch-all for all manner of clothing and such. I was starting to feel backed in.

The carpet needed a good vacuuming, and when I am in this place of emotional turmoil, I like what I can clean and control. I began pulling furniture aside.

The space opened up. I saw possibility and potential.

Calling Coco to come help with the carpet, we pulled and slid and vacuumed and shoved and rearranged.

In the end there was this.

open space

And this.


I love the new open space. I love what it says to me about possibility and change in a small, simple way on the outside, when inside my head is crammed and cluttered and stuck.

Redemption comes in strange places, small spaces. ~ Sara Groves

Like Sheep in a Pen

Some day, O Israel, I will gather you;
I will gather the remnant who are left.
I will bring you together again like sheep in a pen
Like a flock in its pasture.
Yes, your land will again be filled with noisy crowds.
Micah 2:12

The sheep pen is one of my favorite Christmas decorations, and this year it held a place of honor among my favorite things.

Steve got this for me over ten years ago at a local Christmas and collectible store that, at the time, was going out of business.

There are 2 sheep, a ram, a lamb, a goat, and two fence pieces that latch together to create a pen. I like to leave it open so that you can peek in at the animals inside. And maybe so that the animals don’t feel trapped and penned in. Exit strategies and ways of escape are important to me.

Little Mae latches it shut so that none of them will get out every time she passes by and notices it open. I have given up leaving it open as it is for the picture. Looking now from my vantage point in the corner, I see that it’s latched tightly shut.  She appreciates them being cozy and safe.

sheep pen

This Christmas I have felt the gathering like sheep in a pen. Not only are my children home, but all of my siblings and their spouses and children are home, as well.

It makes for some pretty noisy crowds.

I struggle with noisy crowds. I always have, and as 2014 comes to a close with all that I have chosen to embrace, one of those things is my introverted self. I hope to process that further in a future post.

This season, I am grateful for increasing self-awareness and for a husband who gets me well enough to drive me home when I have had enough of the sheep in the pen before the tipping point sends me into a bad place.

I am still learning to embrace who I am, who God created me to be, and the beauty within my broken. I am also learning to embrace the beauty within the parts that are NOT broken but just uniquely me.

I am grateful for a husband who opens the pen and drives me home to the comfort of my quiet, away from the noisy crowds.

So It Was

The first decoration to grace my tree was not even mine. A snowman belonging to Little Mae appeared at the top.

Here, Mommy. You can use this for your angel.

And so it was.

And so the tree stayed, and stayed, and stayed this way.


Until an eleven-year-old bundle of crazy-making boy nonchalantly entered the room, announcing that I could have this star that he made as a decoration for my tree.

I don’t really need to hang it on the living room tree.

And so it was.

And so it remained, and remained, and remained for more days.


Until two boxes of candy canes were purchased to be hung by the kids on the family tree (2 boxes, 12 per box, divided by 4 kids equals 6 per kid to hang). Two canes mysteriously appeared on my tree, flanking the star.

One for mommy and one for daddy.

And so it was. Such generosity.

And so it remained for time and time and half a time until I finally got up the gumption to just open my ornament box and begin hanging things.

The moment didn’t have to be perfect.

The decorating happened four days later than the very latest I was hoping for, because I do that to myself. Put on this immense pressure to. . .decorate a plastic tree? Really to just do whatever it is I think needs to be done in whatever context I happen to be living.

my tree 2014

The ornaments hanging are mostly sheep, but there are others belonging to Steve and to both of us that also grace the tree.

I have a lot of sheep.

Many moons ago, Steve started a tradition of giving me some sort of a sheep ornament each year. Add to that ornaments made or given by friends and children, and I have quite an eclectic collection.

Such a story.

Always a story. Never enough time for all of the telling. Thanks for reading what there is.

More to come. . .maybe. (There! Now I can take the pressure off.)

Fall Felt Far-Off

Fall has been here for over a week, but somehow October makes it real.

This month, all of those things that felt so far away will happen. Whatever those are in my life and yours.

Posting about the foul stench in my home, piqued the curiosity of some who commented and asked to see certain things or called or sent texts, so I thought I would share random fall thoughts and images over the next few days.

Today is chippooish. Yes that is a word in my house, coined by my favorite chippoo.

On a woodland walk a week or two ago, she spotted, what she thought was a wooden squirrel decoy. We crept up on it, only to find that it was real.


The tail hanging down was so odd, as it sat there waiting for us to pass. In her words, freaky. Christmas Vacation, anyone? SQUIRREL!!!!


That weekend, she made her own squirrel of pipe cleaners to grace the dining room mantle, along with acorns collected here and there. It’s all a part of the bigger picture of fall decor, but I will save that part.


My chippooish child loves all things nature.

fall blessings

To end this morning’s ramblings, is the Fall Blessings hanging, made years ago. It’s a picture holder with cut-out letters stuffed into it instead of pictures. It is on the second landing as you go up the stairs in our big old house.

If you look closely, you can see one of my bigs when she was little in one of my favorite pictures.

So on this first day of October, Friends, I wish for you blessings as we look ahead to what this month will hold.

Small Spaces

Redemption comes in strange places, small spaces, calling out the best of who we are.
And I want to add to the beauty . . .
Sara Groves

There’s a small space on my bathroom sink corner. Yes. I have my own bathroom sink. It is a small space in this big house that is all mine, and that I try not to take it for granted.

Unfortunately, I take many gifts in my life for granted. Like the “bonus” master bathroom that Steve had put in for us when we did a necessary house remodel several years ago. The contractor suggested a double sink. I had not considered one. I’m so glad he suggested it!

It’s in small spaces like this, in the midst of the large chaotic ones, that I enjoy adding to the beauty.

It’s adding daisies and lavender from the yard to an empty Trader Joe’s sea salt jar. It makes me smile. So does the tiny succulent.

It’s not saying that my life is perfect today and all of my issues have been resolved. It’s not even saying that the rest of the bathroom is clean!

It’s continuing to fight forward and find small graces in small spaces.

It’s where redemption comes.

Mama’s Workbasket

It sits in the corner of my favorite place, collecting all that needs attention.

laptop for blogging, books for reading, journals for writing, papers for filing, scraps for art journaling, letters for addressing and mailing

I am always working on it, and it is always full.

Pinterest Corner

I smile at how it is different from other Mamas’ Workbaskets collecting all of their projects.

yarn for knitting, blocks for quilting, clothing for mending, needles for stitching, photos for scrapbooking, crafts for making, toys for sorting, papers for grading…

It’s okay to be different and to have a different kind of work in my basket.

I remember the wisdom from today’s teabag…be yourself.

I’m trying. My workbasket holds much of what makes me…me. It contains projects and work that I value and enjoy (mostly) when I find time and space to tackle them!

How about you? What’s in YOUR workbasket, Mama?

Glimpsing Brilliant Beauty

It’s part of the community experience, I guess. Beauty glimpsed from my bedroom window each late October/early November marking another change of the seasons.

It comes when I am not watching for it.

Sitting in my cozy corner, writing in a journal, or these days typing on a laptop, a brilliant burning glow catches my eye, and there it is. The leaves of Melody and Tina’s tree have changed, inviting me to contemplate the passing of another fall.

It happens in late autumn, when I almost panic wondering if I’ve mindlessly missed the perfect color-change moment.

It’s taken several years for me to embrace the constancy of this change. The rhythm that I can count on of feeling whatever it is I need to feel about fall. There is much inside yet to be felt about this season that I call my favorite. Literally and figuratively.

It reminds me that there is still much to process, but in the midst of the process, I can stop and enjoy the moment of brilliant beauty bursting through the window just for me.

I am grateful for this glimpse of brilliant goodness. Thank you for sharing it with me, Melody and Tina!

Coffee Corner

Favorite Place

It’s my favorite place, my Pinterest corner. The place where, my eldest points out, I can take a picture and make it look like life is perfect.

Coffee with my love. Drinking from our fall mugs. Knowing that whatever this year brings, we will face it together, like we have for the past 21.

Pinterest Corner

It seems I am not the only one who finds refuge and creative energy here.

Where is your favorite place for creating heart space?