Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Lasts

I was dragging my feet to the end of the school year this year. I'm talking heels dug in. Knuckles white from holding on to the last few weeks of school, not wanting to let them out of my grasp. 

I just wasn't ready for it to end!!

Because this is the year, my oldest, my first born, my Miss Sofia graduated!!



The Husband and I are so stinkin' proud of her.



I just can't believe that she and her friends are all grown up and ready to head off to college! WHAT??




This was it. This was the last day of high school. The LAST!!

There have been so many lasts.

This is the last first day of school photo I will ever take of all four of these kiddos together.




The last time Miss Sofia and Miss Emma will be at the same school together. 



Sofia's last prom.



Was this the last time she'll ever ask me to do her hair for an event? They've been having me do their hair for a lot of years now. 



When was the last time she let me put her hair in pig tails?



And when was the last time the kiddos played Legos on the porch??



Or one of the girls wanted to hold my hand, or climb up onto my lap???



Gulp!

I find myself thinking about these "lasts" quite a lot lately and my eyes well up with tears. 

It all seemed to go by so fast. 

And no matter how hard I tried to hold on, time marched forward - stupid time!

And here we are. Our oldest has graduated and she's ready to head for college in the fall.



I'm crazy excited for her. I'm bursting with pride for all she has accomplished! And I'm working on being okay with the lasts and celebrating all of her new firsts. 

At least, I intend to work on being okay. 

Mostly. 

Maybe tomorrow. 

Excuse me. I need a tissue!

Christine

Monday, November 16, 2015

November

The last remnants of summer
Burn gently away



A mild breeze descends on trees
And helps them to sway



It's time once again
To enjoy the last of the sun



And ready ourselves 
For the winter to come



But until that time comes
We have a blessing in disguise



Leaves turn reddish in color
The sun in splendor sets, and in glory does rise



Autumn in it's beauty
It's nature's middle way



Contrasting the abundance of summer
And a cold winter's day 



— unknown

November in glorious splendor. What a wonder to behold!


Christine

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Few Changes

You may have noticed, I've made a few changes.

Unexpected Daisies has a new look. Right on the heels of the new look I introduced in May. Weird, right?

Well, here's the deal. In the spring I got up the courage to approach the owner, her name is Lacy, of a great little shop called Eye Candy REfind and ask her if she'd be interested in selling some of my handcrafted items. 

She said yes. - SQUEAL

Along with handmade items, I also began to sell vintage items in her shop, as well as opening my own online vintage store. That led to creating a look for Unexpected Daisies that would reflect the feel of what I was doing.

While it was a lot of fun being part of Eye Candy REfind, I began to realize that my passion was really in the handcrafting! I love me some vintage items to be sure! But what I really wanted to do was make things by hand. And I really had a strong desire to manage my own online store.  

I gave Lacy a big thank you for all of her support and the opportunity and I set my sights on an etsy store where I could sell my handmade goods as well as a new "look" to go with this new direction! Whoop Whoop!!

I hope you like the new look as much as I do! The Husband, designer extraordinaire, created it for me and I love it!!

Currently in the store you will find a selection of decorative pillows. 


Pillows made from old feed sacks
Pillows from vintage wool camp blankets
Okay, so I haven't completely given up vintage! You will find that most of the items in the Unexpected Daisies etsy store are made from a combination of new and repurposed, often vintage, fabrics.

Even the mittens! I love me some cozy mittens!



All of my mittens are made from repurposed, felted wool sweaters and lined with new soft fleece.



Perfect for cold winters!

The tea towels are embellished with designs made from repurposed dress shirts.



And even these zipper pouches, which will be in the store soon, are made with a combination of new and repurposed material.



I love being able to take something old, something that's being discarded, and give it new purpose!

Please go check out my etsy store shopunexpecteddaisies.com, and get yourself a new pair of cozy mittens! Winter's coming! They also make an excellent Christmas gift! And watch for the fun new items to come!

I'm so excited about this new direction! It took some twists and turns to get here, but I believe I have found the path I'm supposed to be on.

Christine

Monday, November 9, 2015

Where is God's Love

With all that's happened in the last several years, the Family has had few opportunities and even less ability to get away for some rest and relaxation. 

Several weeks ago we took full advantage of an extended weekend, packed up the car, and headed to Grand Marais Minnesota for a much needed getaway.



It was so nice to leave our cares behind for a little while. There have been so many "cares."



We enjoyed some of the usual things, hiking in the crisp fall air.





Beautiful scenery.



Some silliness. One of my favorite things.



Breathtaking sunsets and sunrises!






Walks along the shore collecting rocks.



Crazy, I know. But we could spend hours looking at rocks!

Skipping.

Stacking.



Tossing.

Collecting. 



Who knew rocks could be so interesting??

A good portion of our time can easily be spent searching for heart shaped rocks. I have no idea why this started, but whoop there it is.

In years past we've found some pretty good ones. 

We had less luck this trip. This little rock was the best we could find.



I may have been, maybe just a little, lamenting this lack of good heart shaped rocks when I found this little wonder.



I nearly passed it up as it was not what I wanted. Not what I had been searching for. 

I wanted a good heart shaped rock, not a rock with a heart shaped drip of water on it. 

Yet, something pulled me back.

I decided to just take a quick photo of it. Then I thought that, while it wasn't what I'd been searching for, it was indeed a heart shape and worth sharing with the Family before that precious little drop of water dried up.

I scooped up that stone and showed the family. They thought it was pretty cool!

Silly thing was, and I like me some silly things, I couldn't put it down. I tucked it into my pocket. I knew the heart shaped drop of water would dry up and disappear. I decided I would toss it back on the ground once it did.

But it never did.



To my great delight and surprise that little heart on that tiny rock never disappeared after the rock was dry.

It remains even now. I keep it in a dish with other rocks we've collected over the years.

We often have expectations about how life should be. Life often misses the mark. It can be so easy to decide that hard experiences in life mean a lack of love on God's part. That God is not coming through for us. 

If people we love get sick, or die, we wonder how a loving God would allow such a thing.

If a job is lost we wonder how a loving God could allow such hardship.

If disaster strikes, or people are unkind, or when unthinkable things happen it can be so easy to wonder, maybe even demand to know, HOW COULD A LOVING GOD!?!

But God has not promised us ease in this life.

"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." John 16:33

Our loving God promises to give us peace when we keep our focus on Him and trust Him. (Isaiah 26:3)

Our loving God promises to heal the brokenhearted. (Psalm 147:3)

God promises us He will work things together for our good when He calls us to a purpose. (Romans 8:28) Please note that this verse does not promise all things will feel good! Also note that I have not been above praying that God would revise this verse to say all things will feel good!

God has promised His love to us in so many ways, the greatest of which...

But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners Christ died for us! Romans 5:8

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life! For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:16-17



This little stone was not what I was looking for. It was not what I expected. It was not what I wanted to find. But it was good! It's become a gentle reminder to me to stop looking for God's love to meet my expectations. 

My circumstances are not the measure of God's love for me. 

What God does, the fulfilling of the promises He has made, that is the measure of His love!

My expectation that He do what He never promised to do is not a lack of love on God's part.

God's love is sacrificial! It is full of grace and mercy! His love is sometimes surprising! We will see it in wonderful and unexpected ways if we are willing to give up our expectation of how we think it should look. 

Without a doubt, God's greatest gift of love is the eternal Happily Ever After for those who choose Him! 

Amen and Amen!

Christine


Friday, November 6, 2015

Walking on Eggshells

You often feel overwhelmed or nervous when you are going to be with the person/persons. In fact you run down a list of things not to say or do when you are with them. You tell yourself that maybe if you are more patient, if you keep everything light, if you are more loving it will be fine. 

Maybe this time you won't leave in tears, or in anger that you didn't stand up for yourself and you allowed yourself to be treated that way yet again. But, you know, if you had stood up for yourself, if you had said what should have been said, had you set the boundary, you would have been told you were wrong. Clearly there would not have been a problem if you were more loving.

You become accustomed to walking on eggshells to prevent a frightening, angry outburst or the punishment of not being spoken to because you upset them. Because clearly if there is an outburst you are to blame. You must not be loving.

You wrestle with being labeled too sensitive, or unable to take a joke when deeply hurtful, cutting remarks are made. Clearly you misunderstood! Clearly you are the problem. Never mind that the joke was at your expense and left you embarrassed or that it cut like a knife. You need to learn how to take a joke.

You begin to be painfully aware that this relationship is not mutually caring. It does not feel safe. There are lies and deceit. There is no respect. At least it's not given, it is however expected! You are often belittled and left with anxiety, fear, shame, anger, and sometimes despair.  

You have tried to learn the careful dance of keeping peace, not pushing buttons, knowing your place, and hiding the fact that you are the walking wounded.


  
Sadly, you never seem to be able to learn the steps of this dance well enough.

You are emotionally bleeding out.

You feel confused. You have a sense that this is all wrong! Yet the person/persons you love, you trust... Well, they say you are to blame.

Maybe they're right.

How could you think such negative things about them?? They must be right! You are not loving!

Maybe, if you try to speak to them about the problem. Just approach the issue carefully. Oh the anger you are met with. You best apologize, and quick! The fear that they will evict you from their lives if you make them angry is so great! 

Just keep smiling. Just keep loving! Love better!! Figure out how to dance this dance well so they won't be angry. Clearly you must have done things wrong for them to be so hurtful, so angry. They say it's your fault after all.

And the wound grows deeper with every harmful interaction. You look fine on the outside, but you can't stop the emotional bleeding on the inside. 

You are weary and worn, a dry dusty land.

This is a very small glimpse into the experience of a person caught in an emotionally destructive relationship. A very small glimpse into my experience.



This is what we do not talk about, this deep pain and turmoil caused by a destructive relationship.

How could we?

How do you tell someone that you are in deep distress when you've been convinced it is your own fault? That somehow you have brought this upon yourself.

And, to be honest, when a person who is in an emotionally destructive relationship tries to talk to someone who has never experienced an emotionally destructive relationship the responses are often, without intent, very damaging.

People can't see your wounds. There are no cuts. There are no bruises. You look good! So they will say things like - "that's just how families are" - "I'm sure they didn't mean anything by it." These statements are probably true for healthy relationships. For destructive relationships - they are completely false! They leave a person feeling like the lies - it's my fault - I'm too sensitive - I'm just not loving enough - are true.

How do you explain to a friend who has never experienced a destructive relationship that a comment from a destructive person isn't just a comment? That it had a pointed meaning. That you better understand the meaning and act accordingly. This my friends is part of the dance of the emotionally destructive relationship.

People tend say things like "forgive and forget. Reconcile." These things are good and possible in relationships where there is mutual respect and love and each person is willing and able to take responsibility for their actions. They are not realistic, and are painful to hear for someone in an unhealthy relationship with a person they cannot trust, they may be fearful of, or in a relationship that does not feel emotionally safe. In a relationship that demands forgiveness yet refuses repentance or resolution to a problem reconciliation is not possible. 



The pattern of the destructive relationship I was in began to break when the Husband, my hero, was bold, he stood up and said, "No more! This must change or the relationship must end!"

If only it was that easy. 

Destructive people do not just let go. Nor do we feel we have the right, or that it's right to end relationships.

They do not want the relationship to change and be healthier. Often they are not able or willing to see that their behaviors are harmful.

The hurtful behavior toward me became worse. 

Others were drawn in with false information, and took sides. 

I received some very hurtful letters from people I love who chose to believe whatever was being said about me. 

I often struggle today with wondering who, in my circle of relationships, has heard and believed false information about me.

These broken, hurt places are the things we are ashamed to talk about. 



There are no words to express how difficult it is to tell you about this deep pain in my life. It will make some people very angry at me. How dare I? 

I dare because I realize that I am not alone. 

Some of you know this pain all too well. I am so sorry you do dear one. I know that you too are ashamed to talk about it. Please know that you are not the alone!

"Please remember that being in a relationship with you is not a person's right. It is a sacred privilege! It should be treated as such."

It took me a great deal of time to believe that statement which I loosely quote from the book The Emotionally Destructive Relationship by Leslie Vernick. This book has been a significant help to me as I heal and accept the fact that it was not because I wasn't loving enough, or because I was too sensitive, or because of any of the other lies I believed that the relationship I was in was broken.

Some of you will not understand the experience I've shared. I hope, however, that you will have a greater awareness if a friend tells you about an experience, from another relationship, that feels painful to them. That you might take a moment to consider there is something deeper your friend is trying to tell you. That some gentle questions and a listening ear could go a long way to allowing a person in deep pain share and find some support and help. 

These things are not easy for us to talk about. We gently test the waters and will quickly stuff it all away if we feel it is not safe to share. 

I had to separate myself from the harmful relationship I was in. I can only say this was best and appropriate for me. I cannot say that it is necessary or best for anyone else's relationship. It is a decision each person has to make for themselves.

C.S. Lewis wrote, "Love is more stern and splendid than kindness." I do believe that the most loving thing we can do is hold people accountable for their actions. We can say, "No More!" We can pray that their eyes will be opened to their hurtful actions and that they will seek to change. We can release them and ourselves through forgiveness and allow God to heal our wounds. We can choose to no longer be quiet! We can help and support those who are hurting!

Christine



Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Bane of Fall

Fall is upon us! 

It is joy to my soul!

The bright colored leaves! So beautiful!



I wish this season lasted longer.

It's the perfect time of year to get photos of the girls.





They are getting so grown up. Miss Emma is a freshman and Miss Sofia is a senior preparing for college! YIKES!! Where did the time go?? -sigh

Anyway...

The crunch of dried leaves under foot when I go for a walk! Does anyone else think that is the best sound EVER?? 



It makes me giddy!

And the crisp cool weather! 

Time for hot cider and sweaters and bonfires and cozy mittens...



...which, by the way, you can purchase in my new etsy shop. They're handmade by me out of felted wool sweaters and cozy fleece. You can just click on the shop button to take a look. I add new ones regularly. Just sayin'. You know, in case you're in the market for mittens and need some new ones for yourself, or as a gift. Hope that didn't seem pushy, but this mama's got a girl heading to college before too long and college ain't cheap! 

Eh hem. As I was saying...

Fall sunsets are spectacular!



Oooooh Aaaahhhh

What's not to love about fall.

Well, I'm gonna tell you!

This glorious riot of pink, 






which is so spectacular in the springtime becomes the bane of our existence in the fall. 

This season has been the worst!

Those gorgeous blossoms become these crabapples.



Because of these crabapples we cannot enjoy our back patio from the end of August until the end of October.



They cover everything!

They pelt you on the head as they fall from the tree!



They squish underfoot when you walk in the yard.

They are a NUISANCE!!



The Husband gathered seven -SEVEN!- wheelbarrows full of crab apples this year.


UGH!!!



Double UGH!!

Every fall we discuss removing this tree.

Every spring it does this!



Awwww

It's so beautiful!  

We tell ourselves that it really does offer nice shade in the summer. That it's not so bad.

And we keep it.

Then, in the fall, it betrays us!

We're back to this! - SNORT



It's a vicious cycle! -BAH

I think I just need to put on my cozy mittens and go for a walk and crunch some leaves!

Happy Fall!

Christine