Friday, May 6, 2016

Motherhood: a lesson in humiliation and grace

Mother's Day; a day when we celebrate mothers and motherhood.  I have to admit, I don't really feel like celebrating on Mother's Day.  Mostly I just want to hide and forget for a moment that I am a mom.  Mostly, I just don't want to face the fact that I am making a mess of this mom thing.  There is no reason to celebrate me as a mom, at least in my mind.  In fact, I am afraid most of the time that I am pretty much messing up my sons and at the end of my life, everyone will say that I was such a miserable mom.

I remember as a young naive little girl, wanting nothing more that to be a mom, like my mom.  She seemed to be perfect, do pretty much just the right thing.  She was kind, cooked my dad and me great food, laughed with me, hung out with me, was someone I could talk to about most things, and we just really had fun together.  I wanted to be like her, have kids who thought of me that way.  It was all I wanted.  I had dreams and expectations of being the fun mom, the entertaining mom, the mom whose kids wanted to talk to her, the mom whose kids appreciated her,  the mom who made cool cakes and snacks and food, the mom who eagerly invited their kids' friends over, the mom who did cool crafts with her kids, the mom who the other kids thought was cool and automatically wanted to come to our house to play, the mom who had the house ship shape and tidy, the mom who loved her husband well in the midst of being this SuperMom, and the mom who easily made friends with the other kids' moms and hung out with them while our kids played.  I think you probably can relate.   I honestly don't know where all those expectations came from, except the phony plastic images that are in parenting magazines or just the general lies our culture feeds us.

Then I became a mom to two precious sons; foreign creatures who didn't really fit into my mold of what I had planned to parent so I could be that SuperMom listed above.  And that is when the humiliation started.  For all the moments when I feel like I have hit maybe a smidgen of what I wanted to be as a mom, there are many more that have brought me low and shown me that I am such a failure.  Failure at that false idea of what being a mom really is.  Cause what I designed as motherhood is not what God designed for motherhood.  And then as I have learned a little more of what Christian writers say is a good mom, I am pretty much a failure at that too.  I am not the patient, abiding, gracious mom they all talk about either.  And you know what, even when I am down on my knees in prayer for my sons, or myself as their mom, I am still failing at this mom thing.

It isn't just the role of mom I am incompetent at, it is also being a wife, really just being a godly woman.  And that is the most humiliating thing to realize.  I am just a mess.  A big sinful mess.  And guess what, that is what God has been trying to tell me all along.  It's the biggest thing I need to realize, and it's taken marriage and motherhood and just years of trying to live up to crazy expectations and being "good" to bring me low and to the point that I really know that and accept it.  I am a big hot crazy mess.  However, God doesn't want to leave me in that small defeated lump of failure.   God wants me to learn a lesson, and he has been using relationships to do it.

 I think that any of the things God wants us to learn, he choses to reveal in the bounds of relationships, because ultimately they are lessons that apply to the relationship He has designed to have with us. That brings me to the point of what I want to say.  Motherhood, wifehood, womanhood are tools God uses to teach us, refine us, and sanctify us.  I think motherhood is a tool God has used to humiliate me into seeing my great need for Him.  I want to be the perfect mom, perfect wife, but God just wants me to be his daughter of grace.  I can't rest in His grace, partake of His grace, accept His grace if I am so busy being sufficient on my own, being "perfect", "good",  and basically self-righteous, so he gave me children and a husband to humble me.

I am a mess.  A real sinful mess.  I am incapable of loving anyone in my family with true kindness, love, patience, mercy, grace, steadfastness, humility, or gentleness apart from Christ.  I just don't have any of those qualities in me apart from Him.  When I try to muster up those things, I fail miserably.  When I try to appear all those things to a watching world, I am just putting on a mask.  I just am not those things.  The more I try to cover them up, the more I hide the grace of God to myself and to others.  And isn't that what we are to be proclaiming: the good news of God's grace.  Not just for initial salvation, but our sanctification, the day to day hope we cling to that what God has started in us he will bring to completion.

My hope in all this messiness of motherhood, of relationships is that  I serve and have been redeemed by a Savior who is all those things that I cannot be.  Jesus is loving, kind, faithful, steadfast, humble, gentle, and a redeemer of all things that have been ruined by sin.  I have learned through my 15 year journey that I cannot keep going on this journey without hope: without clinging to him to redeem me, my mistakes, my children, my relationships, etc..  My hope in all of this is that He is faithful to redeem us and  to make us like himself.  He is faithful to write all of our stories, He is faithful in the plans he has for us.  He doesn't make mistakes, but makes beauty from our mistakes.  He uses our sin to show us His character and great love for us.  I am pretty sure I will always be a mess, but I am a redeemed mess.  My hope in this mothering thing is that Jesus is my redeemer.  My hope in my marriage is that Jesus is my redeemer. My hope in life is that Jesus is my redeemer.  He is sufficient.  His grace is sufficient.  So I will boast of my weakness and mess so that the power, grace, and glory of Jesus may be seen not just to a watching world, but to me.  I so desperately need it.  Need to rest in it.   Need to boldly proclaim it so we can all stop hiding the truth from each other and ourselves.

While I understand a lot of these things more, and God is still revealing truth to me that I drink in, I am not perfect in living them out.  I have to daily cling to Jesus and preach the gospel to myself daily.  It is a discipline and it isn't easy or pretty some days, but I know that I don't want to be a super mom, or a super woman, I just want to be a daughter of God, and I want God to be magnified in me.  To do that, I must be humble.  So God, please keep using my children and relationships to keep me there.

I came across a couple articles/blog posts from Ann Voskamp's site that beautifully state what I am trying to say.  Links are here and here.  Happy Mother's Day to all the mom's out there struggling to be perfect and doubting their success in this thing called motherhood.  I wish you peace as you rest in the grace of our God, and hope as you allow God to redeem you and humiliate you with his grace.  Humiliation is a good thing.  It is where we meet God and our savior Jesus at the cross and surrender to Him.  If motherhood brings us to that place, it was all worth it in the end.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Let Them Eat Cake! Just Desserts!

I know, I know, lots of exclamation points in this post title, but I am so excited to have this new Just Desserts stamp set in my stash.  I might just sell off all my other birthday and food stamps cause this one is just over the top perfect.  I received this in the mail on Monday, and I just can't stop stamping with it.  Here are a few things I have created.  Most of the ideas started with a design team member's card, while others, I morphed a few other card making designers and sketches to make them.

Lizzie Jones is the designer for this stamps set, and I feel like she made it just for me.  I have begun to sell my cake creations, and this set allows me to make coordinating gift tags to go with them.  I am so happy!  These three are for my Easter cake orders: Carrot cake, lemon cream cake, and cookies and cream cake.  Fabulous.

These two cards follow design elements  modeled after Inge Groot's cards, where she uses all kinds of tilted layers.  

These two are using a Mojo Monday sketch for this week.  Gonna enter them into their link up. I dug out some very very old Papertrey Ink patterned papers for those two.  They are perfect though.  Next time I might emboss the darker panels with a large dot embossing folder, just for some added texture and interest.  

These two sets are CASed designs from the Papertrey Ink design team and their cards using this set.  Super fun and cute.  This stamp set is so easy to use with fabulous results every time.  Love it. 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Some cards I have been working on.

Hello.  I have been absent for awhile here on the blog.  I wanted to share some cards I have been making lately.  Trying to beef up my birthday and get well card stashes.  I gave away/sold most of my cards this past fall, so I need to get my card boxes stocked.  I need to send more cards this year too.  So many goals, so little time.  Trying to use older or neglected sets as well as some new ones that need to get inky.  I have been having fun and am pleased with the results.  

MIM#242 Sponged Stamping

This week's Make It Monday Papertrey Ink challenge was doing sponged stamping.  I made two cards that are basically the same, one in pinks and one in blues and greens.  You can tell the pink one is the first one I did, cause it has some serious imperfections in the color gradients, but the blue and green one turned out much better.  I used mostly all PTI ink colors and PTI Birthday Wishes stamp set.   I may step the cards up a bit and add some vellum clouds and some candy dots to accent the elements a bit.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Stamp sets and dies for sale: lots of PTI

I need to find a home for these gently used or almost new stamps in my collection. They do not come with index labels or cases. They will be sent on a plastic sheet in a thin PTI box. Stamps come from a smoke free and pet free home.  
You can email me at if you are interested in any of these stamps or dies.
Price for sets is 10% off prices shown. Price includes shipping. I would prefer a PTI gift certificate.  

Year of Flowers Collection (mini sized of all the flowers for the year): $24

Year of Flowers: Poinsettias $15 and dies for $10

Year of Flowers: Carnations $15
Spiral Bouquet $18


Pond Life and Pond Life Additions $18

Birthday Basics $12

Piece of Cake $18

Round and Round images only $14

Simple Alphabet $11

Ambassador Monogram $11

Button Boutique $24
Button Up Stamp set $15
Buttoned Up Die collection #1 $5

Teacher’s Apple $24
Teacher Tickets $15
Ticket Border Die $8.00

Simple Stationary $24
Background Basics Diagonals $24 and additions $5
Live Love Life $15

Sentiment Sets:

Framed Out #12 $5 matching die $3.00
Take Note $24
Calendar Basics $24
Handwritten Notes $20
Everyday Photo Finishers $15
Holiday Photo Finishers $20 (excludes the circle stamp)
Photo Finishers dies $22
Kid Kudos and additions $24 and $8

Spooky Sweets 2 $24

Vintage Ornaments: $22
Vintage Ornaments Additions: $13
Vintage Ornaments dies: $8

Wonderful Words Holiday $13 and dies $8

Countdown to Christmas and Additions: $22 and $13 or $30 for both

Framed Out #9 $5 matching die $3.00

Love Lives Here: Christmas $23 and dies $15
Holiday Button Bits $23 and dies $9
Holiday Wishes $10

My Punny Valentine and Year Round Puns $20
Tiny Treats Valentine $18
Tag It’s #11 (Valentine’s Day) $5
To You From Me: $13

Dies and Impression Plates 

Parisian Lace Doily Die $22
Cover Plate Hexagons $16 matching stamps $5
Cover Plate Triangles $16 matchin stamps Tiny Triangles $5
Cover Plate Harlequin $16 matching stamps $5
Diagonal Stripes Impression plate $16
Background Basics Diamonds Impression plate $16
Background Basics In Bloom Impression plate $16

Felt for sale:  $1.00 each for smaller sheets   $2.00 for large sheet  Shipping calculated separately and added to your total for felt.
pink( 2 large sheet), buttercup yellow (1 large piece), mustard yellow(3), scarlet jewel/burgundy (3), teal (2), aqua blue (2), chartreuse green (2), olive/avocado green (1).

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Papertrey Ink Anniversary Challenge Days 9 and 10

I doubled up on the last two days of the PTI Anniversary Celebration challenges and made one card for them both.  I used the color catcher thing to get my color combo of winter wisteria, new leaf and ripe avocado.  Not my comfort zone at all.  And then I used my initials for the alphabet element challenge.  My initials are MAS, so I had to incorporate a border, stitching, and combine two stamp sets.  I used Wood backgrounds and pretty peonies.  I used border dies and strips of card stock to make a banner, and I used a paper piercer and thread and needle for my stitched border at the top.  Whew!  It was a pretty quick card made at 8:45 pm to try to get these last two challenges in.  I am kind of proud of myself for being able to complete quite a few of them.

Can't wait to see the winners tomorrow.  I hope and pray my name makes it in there somewhere.  After 9 years of entering pretty much every contest every time they are offered on release week, I sure would like to finally win one.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Papertrey Ink 9th Anniversary Celebration: Paper Doll/Fashion Inspiration

For the second day of the Papertrey Ink Celebration we were challenged to find a fashion inspiration photo and use it to make a card.  Here is a photo from the newest Boden catalog.  Love their colors and prints.  I love the yellow and blue combo that is showing up this season.  I used Lemon tart and Marina Mist papers and inks, and a hint of Fine Linen polka dot print.  Painted Blooms is the stamp set I used and Bowl of Sunshine sentiment.