Chickens & Flowers Therapy

This little "peony" fun happened a couple months ago and I'm ready to share it with you all! My peonies were all in full bloom and it was going to rain the next day. I decided to harvest them all and take some pictures with my chickens and one of my favorite repurposed quilts.

At the beginning of 2017 I found myself completely needing to re-group as I had lost my joy and peace. I am pleased to say that, very slowly, I am regaining health in many areas of my life (part of my story of Healing is HERE)

This hard Season may not be because you are doing something wrong. Maybe its because you are doing something very very right.

~Whitney Capps

You are Enough.

Not because you did

or said

or thought

or bought

or became

or created

something special.

But because

You always were.

(from a Greeting Card my Mom sent me)

Trying to take a picture via a tripod and timer and chickens and a kitty is no small feat! The above photo gives you a clue to the "crazy" fun I had!

Part of the plan for this year is to always create with the primary motivation being love...I have found this to be a discipline that truly is good for my soul.  If I find myself trying to impress, trying to fill an Instagram square or trying to make money ...I find these motivations rob me of JOY.

It is usually very exciting to share my creativity with "the world" via online or social media but at times I had found myself doing so for the wrong reasons...This year I am checking my thoughts and taking them "captive." Sorting them all out and filing them.

The real deal is that my creativity is only seen by a small group of people. Should I compare myself to the wildly popular bloggers and artists who receive thousands of likes and comments every day?  Should I try to be someone else to get more LIKES? NO!

So, I will go on creating...

Being Who I AM

Sharing my creativity

out of Love

checking my motives

and being truly Grateful for the time, energy and spark of inspiration that makes my beating heart come alive

 

Through all the world there goes one long cry from the heart of the artist: Give me a chance to do my best.

Babette's Feast

An artist is never poor.

Babette Hersant

English Garden TEA

Hello Friends, This year my creativity has changed, moved forward, and part of that change is only blogging when I FEEL the love to do so. This TEA back in May was for the ladies in my family (who could attend). I'd like to think I could host such a Tea twice a year but it does take a lot of energy and I really hope my energy improves so I can continue this lovely tradition. I expected several ladies who had food sensitivities and so I worked hard to accommodate. My daughter helped me! The vision was a "Garden" Tea but it was raining buckets that morning and a bit cold (later during tea time we ventured out of doors when the sun came out!) I made white bunting (as shown, blurry, in the photo below) and the original inspiration for the white bunting was the popular British series, Downton Abbey. I used a tripod and timer to get the image below (after many tries this was the best one!) The evening before I foraged some lovely spring blooms on a country drive... We made a Rhubarb Tart with almond filling and a Coconut Rum cake...the vintage tablecloth was my original inspiration...I found it months before in an Antique shop on clearance for super cheap and instantly I "saw" an English Garden Tea in my head! Yes, that lady with the "wild" look in her eye is me! ha! So glad I asked everyone to please dress up and wear a hat 🙂 (I also had extra hats on hand that I picked up at the thrift store!) Hope you enjoyed this post... P.S. I wanted to let you know that I'm holding back a lot of my "year of REAL picnics" pictures until the year is over and then I'll string them all together!

Healing of a Sensitive Creative Soul

{FROM MY JOURNAL}

"Have we given up on God?

Is it too hard to trust Him with our lives? Have we seen too much suffering and heartache in our life and others?

Have we stopped listening all together? We have constant entertainment available - does it bring us hope and peace?

Making space for God and all good things takes a desire to want more - a recognition of emptiness  -

Eyes and senses open to truly see truth..."

I decided to go to counseling for high anxiety after some life stress (financial, death, identity). I ended up realizing I needed an entire cleansing: body, heart, mind and soul. It is still happening. But I wanted to share about the Peace that God has given me.

In counseling, I was reminded of my sensitive nature, my "burden bearing" nature and my empathy for others. I had been blocking a lot of negative thoughts and had not worked through them. I think this resulted in the numbing of positive emotions as well.

I realized that I had felt a strong sense of "powerlessness" for many years and often took on other's feelings of powerlessness. I realized that my primary motivation to make money from my creativity was not what God wanted for me.

My life has slowed WAY down and I spend and hour or two with my Bible and journal each day. I spend time walking, sitting with my chickens and doing nothing. Sometimes it feels tedious. Sometimes I have mental or emotional breakthroughs and the peace and shelter that I feel is all worth it. (I have come a long way in a few months!)

Other activities that have helped in this Season of healing; increased nutrition and working on my health issues. (I enjoy a large green smoothie every day and take many nutritional supplements including probiotics). Listening to music; mostly Hillsong on YouTube (via my phone). Watching my absolute favorite series; Road to Avonlea. Essential oils to improve mood; Lavender and Bergamot. Reading books that enhance my understanding and well-being: Why Does God Allow Pain and Suffering by  Harold E. Eberle . This is Your Brain on Joy by Earl Henslin. Tracks by Robyn Davidson. I have cut back on social obligations. and I continue my year of picnics.

I remind myself of truth; my burden is to be light and I am to be FULLY ALIVE.

I have wanted to prove to others that a "sensitive creative" could make a living. I have wanted to give hope to other "sensitive creatives" that they could be a "success." BUT instead, God has clearly shown me that I must do what He wants each day and He will take care of the rest. He will provide. I must not be afraid.

I needed to let go of the pressure to have a clear purpose. I wanted my purpose and my life to have a title and be bold. and written in the sky...

God seemed to be giving me only two jobs for this Season:

1)Enjoy Life/Beauty

2)Spend time with Him

God wants me to be "WHO I AM" (who He made me to be).

Instead of comparing myself to others, I'm to be the best me!

It's very easy for me to look at Instagram or Blogs or even great To-Do lists for Instagrammers or Bloggers and feel completely overwhelmed. I think back on the last three years of many photoshoots and much work and I wish I could go back to that but too many things propel me forward. I am more compelled to live a simpler life at home. All that advice for Bloggers I'm sure I tried at least once in the past 7 years but none of it felt right. Even now, sharing such vulnerable things from my heart is tedious and painful.

God seems to want more for me, more joy, more peace. This is what moves me forward. He wants me to understand. He wants me to effortlessly be "Who I Am."

(from my Bible, in the margin near Romans 4)

Out of the hopelessness of death You bring new life.

Out of the prison of sin You bring redemption.

Out of the weakness of human flesh You bring victory.

All by Grace. All by Faith.

And that is all You are looking for from us - faith.

Not great accomplishments, not self-righteousness - not pedigree but simple faith that brings you glory.

Faith that perseveres in spite of adversity, faith no larger than a mustard seed. For faith is the seed that grows into a tree of righteousness, and the fruit of righteousness is peace with you.

I had wanted to show "fruit" of all my work. I was kind of obsessed with working hard and wondering where my "fruit" was? When I stumbled on this verse, I knew it was meant for me...God wanted me to have peace.

Isaiah 32:17 - The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever.

God had finally given me "fruit." - PEACE

peace that what I love to do was given to me by Him

peace that He has a plan and has blessed my work even when I don't see it

peace in accepting that by faith God will take care of my needs when I surrender my life to Him and seek Him first.

My life work includes being who I am and

taking refuge, daily, in God's word and listening to God's love that gives life to my dreams and leads me beside quiet waters. Realizing that my weaknesses partner with God's strong power and my strengths, given to me directly by my Father, are to give me Life and light up my eyes with Joy and Hope.

BE WHO YOU ARE 2017 {FROM MY JOURNAL}

"Homemaker, Caring for others, Chicken owner, Garden tender, Decorator, Quilt maker, Photographer, Nature walker, Book reader...

It's not really about me." God shines bright through us when we are FULLY ALIVE.

Lord, help me to discern goodness and righteousness and to point it out and celebrate it!

Seek to see the Good. If I am looking for Bad, I will find it.

Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. Genesis 2:1

The goal is to find joy and trust and freedom no matter our circumstances. - I'm on my way.

Psalm 77: 12, 13

I will meditate on all your works and consider ALL your mighty deeds. Your ways O God are holy. What god is so great as our God?

Trust in His deliverance. Seek to Understand.

I want to thank my counselor for pointing out helpful truths and good books to read all the while pointing to God as my Healer. I also want to thank my daughter and my husband for taking my picture and for stopping for fields of wildflowers on our recent road trip to the Oregon Coast.


My ONE precious life

Dear You and Me,  (written a couple months ago; images from the month of May 2017)

It is on my heart to say,

"Take it easy. It is ALL going to be okay."

It's okay to let those things go. It's okay to let most of it go.

Why, oh why, do we keep wanting "perfect" ~ when there is no such thing?

Why do we long deeply for what we can't have? Then, when we get it, we move on to wanting something else ever so much.

Why do movies and novels move our souls to cherish dreaming and a false reality?

It is because of heaven. Eternity. God does not want us to forget that this is not our real home.

Why do we long for more? Why is the longing so deep within our souls?

Why does nothing really fill it up? What can fill our deepest parts?

What helps heal our broken hearts?

How do I keep a balance in my soul of believing in a perfect Heaven AND seeing beauty in the mess here on this earth?

I want the ache in my heart, in my soul to be soothed, to be healed. I want the broken cracks to be fixed and repurposed into something pretty.

I search for soul soothing daily. Without thinking about it. Without realizing my own thoughts. Without realizing I am pursuing the wrong antidote. The wrong medicine for my broken heart.

I've tried cleaning, decorating, retail therapy, even creative to-do lists, even something all to myself.

Almost by accident I have experienced truer forms of therapy for my soul. Breathing in the silence. Walking in the field. Petting the horses, observing the newborn calf, touching the smallest of Spring blooms about to burst, soaking up the softness of a warm cat in my lap, laughing over crazy nothings with my teenagers, looking at my husband with contentedness, letting inspiration guide my day to be creative for no purpose but to enjoy.

~Why, oh why, do I still then think that if my house was perfectly clean and decorated that I would be happy? ~That if I had my own published book(s) sitting on my coffee table, they would make me happy. ~That when I finally get chickens, I will be happy. ~That when my husband cleans up his shop and wood, I would be happy. ~That when the yard gets cleaned up, I will be happy. ~That when all the bills are paid, I will be happy.

"The time to be happy is now."

Certainly, there could be some happiness, when any of these things happen, but to expect that someday things will finally be set to right, I'll finally "get it together," and "get all my ducks (or chicks) in a row." Why do I keep on believing that someday....everything will be perfect?

Because God gave you and I a soul that beats for beauty and for heaven.

Ah-ha! Finally, the truth can set me free! My expectations are not SO far off...someday, everything will be perfect!!! In heaven!

But, what to do in this mess and brokenness on this earth???

Seek for beauty that fills my Soul. Be Creative without regard to achievement or performance. Be creative no matter the outcome.

"An artist is out of love with the ordinary. She has a hunger for eternity." (adapted quote from Mary Oliver)

As I reflect on my last couple weeks, I am down to "low" in my Soul - tank. I've made choices too many days that have left me wanting, grasping for more. I want more days that lift my spirit and soothe my broken heart. And now that I have clues as to what those activities are, how am I going to spend my one precious life? what am I going to fill up my soul with?

Part 2:

That obsession for perfection can be a sickness that goes on and on if not treated properly.

The truth is our first medicine. No matter how much we keep on believing that perfection will make us happy, it is simply not true here on this earth. The truth exposes the lies we tell ourselves. We compare ourselves and our homes to images and think that we don't measure up. We think ALL those other people have got things under control...after too much time on Pinterest, we might look around at our mess and decide it don't make us happy.

After spending several years practicing styling and photography, let me tell you that the images I take may be very beautiful but my home and life is messier than EVER because it takes so much time to style and photograph. However, a part of my creative side came alive when I started doing styling and photography. It opened my heart and soul to joy and emotion I had stuffed down.

As I'm sitting at the dining table writing this piece, I look around to messes EVERYWHERE. Spring to-do lists, recipes, books, piles of slip covers clean and ready to go back on, etc. Why don't I take pictures of the messes to show you on this blog? Well.....hmmmm. Let's just say I prefer to show you "Sunday Best." I prefer to share my "reaching toward heaven" moments. My reality doesn't seem as pretty.

The stress of this last Season nearly did me in but I plodded on. I painted my kitchen cabinets every day; the painting strokes were soothing and rhythmic as my Father in-law died and my husband looked completely helpless. When I was too tired to be this creative, I journaled and listened to soothing music. When my thoughts became sad and negative, I texted myself lovely thoughts.

Because I get to choose what I do everyday. Because I know what helps me I will choose soul restoring activities. Because I will give myself a break. Because I remember how quickly a downward spiral can happen.

I am still struggling to help soothe my anxiety, insomnia and obsessions...I struggle with my to-do lists. Most of them include worthwhile chores and projects that I tell myself will make me happy. I have a strong suspicion that I am filling my days with too much "busy" work and not enough soul filling activities. Since I am in charge of my life, how am I going to change? Wouldn't I rather have peace, joy and a simple life rather than striving toward a "perfect" home?

Dear you and me,

What makes you smile? What makes you laugh? What makes you content? Write them down and post them on your walls. That will be our to-do list. That will be our life.

our

ONE

Precious

Life.

Bye for Now,

Melanie

Psalm 91...

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty....

P.s. Coming Soon; the Healing of a Sensitive Soul! and finally a Huge Breakthrough; PEACE!