How do you measure success?

How do you measure success? What defines success for you?

I've been chasing a dream.  A dream of me being successful in many aspects of my life.  In a job that has been my career all my life in the environment.  As a wife.  A mother.  A friend.  A sister.  A daughter.  A seamstress.  A designer.  An artist.  A writer.  An active community volunteer.

My husband asks me frequently.  When will you know you've been successful?  I thought I had clear milestones that as I reached them I'd know.  But as in life, things change.  Your pathway to get where you are headed is full of curves and steep hills to climb.

Nothing comes without sacrifice and hard work. You don't get anywhere by sitting back and taking the easy way out.

I have always known that come one day I will not be judged for how many students I have helped along the way or how well I stitched up an idea or how good dinner was that evening.  Every day is a success and I don't have to have it all in order to define success for me.  Or so I keep telling myself.  It's already been achieved.  I am loved for being just as good as I am today and no more.  By my family, friends and most importantly, by the God that created me to be me.  And I wonder if I needed to go through all those steep hills and curves to come to that conclusion.  Because I sure haven't felt that way or had that truth before.

For today, what is important for me?   I love working on the sewing patterns.  I love making one of kind items where I just randomly throw things together.  I love to sew for my family and friends and even for me.  I love to sew for others too who I don't know via my etsy shop.  I love working on projects for magazines and sharing ideas.  I love what I do at my university job and working with students. There is joy in all of those things.  I love to read.  Hike.  Try new recipes.  Spend time with friends.  Go to the pool in the summer.  Watch movies.  Blog hop.

Success for me is defined each day that I feel like I gave my best and I don't regret at the end of the day that I could have done more.  Good enough is going to be good enough.  My dreams have already gone way beyond what I ever imagined and each day that I try to push myself and keep reaching is a success.  Every day.  Success.  Achieved.  {but that should give some explanation why I decided to shut down custom orders for a bit on my etsy shop - taking a few irons out of the fire}

It's like worrying that the house isn't all clean for company and then you just let that go, relax, and just enjoy your company because life isn't about the stuff it's about the relationships.  My "business plan" is that messy house so I'm just letting go and doing what I can and finding I can relax and enjoy all the company without going crazy about how dusty the blinds are.  Make sense?  You know this is temporary, right?  Because being uber busy is hard for me to NOT do.  Please feel free to frequently remind me of this post.

I have met so many wonderfully amazing women via this crafting online community.  Talented, and kind, and supportive, and encouraging, insightful, and smart.  You ARE all hugely successful!  Speaking of success....

I want to introduce you to one of my very successful blog friends who is a super duper editor. Sarah is one of the testers for my sewing patterns and has a terrific eye for finding all of my errors!

I'm mom to three little bundles of energy, 2, 4 and 5. Long, long ago I taught math and worked in the engineering world, but now I am fortunate to stay at home with my little ones. I have loved fabric and sewing as long as I can remember and first learned how to quilt right along with my mother in high school. About four years ago I learned about the world of digital scrapbooking and quickly jumped into designing products for sale. I spend that precious and rare free time making digital scrapbook kits, sewing or baking.

Sarah also has a new fabric collection available on Spoonflower...Count on me. Check out her lovely creations!

Successful in so many ways.  Thank you Sarah so sincerely for all of your help, you are amazing.

What successes did you have today?   Leave a comment, share your blog link, share your successes.

I want to be young forever

I had the strangest feeling the other night.  While watching "The Apprentice" no less.  Sharon Osbourne said something about getting old like her and it hit me, as she sat next to Maria what's-her-name who is like 20 something, that Sharon was indeed, kind of old.  And I'm older than Maria what's-her-name which means I MUST BE KIND OF OLD.  Say what?! Like a bolt of electricity, I seriously got this weird feeling through my body.  Thinking about getting old.  Not being in the bunch that is pregnant and having babies now that my baby is 2.  Thinking about getting older where you can't drive anymore.  And you repeat stories over and over.  And finally, knowing that your body is wearing out or that you are terminal with an illness and you are just living it one day at a time knowing full well, your life is over.

It's depressing.  I mean, I believe in heaven.  I believe in eternal life.  But part of me, well, I still find myself being scared.  What does eternal life really mean?  Does it mean I will get to watch my kids ride their bikes on our driveway and giggle?  Can I still put on pretty skirts and put a flower in my hair that makes me feel good?  Can I sip a Starbucks while sitting on my front porch swing and listen to the birds?  Or snuggle up next to my husband on a cool night?  Forever?  Can I do all of those things, forever?

Friends of ours, that are nearing 80++ and then some, have had some health issues as of late.  The husband has terminal cancer.  The wife seems to be slipping into some dementia and has multiple health problems.  Her only son, (from her first marriage - they have no children together, the husband has no children) has tongue cancer.  The gardener (aka my husband) has visited with the husband almost every day for years now as the husband frequently visits the park and his wife usually sends home a pie a week for our family.  The gardener is doing his best to help care for him and take care of things he needs to get done with their house and all the things the wife can't do.  We now visit him over in the nursing facility where he is at because his wife is afraid to have him at home, feels unprepared to care for his growing needs.  It's sad.  It's scary to watch someone in the final moments of life.  One of the peas said in a whisper when we were there last night, "can I ask Bob if I can give him a hug?".  The gardener said, I think he'd like that.  Go ahead.  And so she asked, "can I give you a hug Bob".  He said of course and they both got tears in their eyes.  One of them 9 years old, the other almost 90.  I know there's a heaven but the real human part of me can't help but to still be frightened about the end.

I don't want to be separated from my children, ever.  I don't want to be separated from my husband, ever.  I don't ever want my parents to not be a phone call away.  I still need them.  I love my life here on earth.  Is that selfish?  Selfish to love this life so much that the thought of eternal life in heaven seems so...unknown, uncertain, so out of my control.

I hope heaven is just like my backyard on a perfect sunny day.  Kids playing and giggling, good food on the grill, and we fall into bed at night with the windows open, a light breeze blowing, and everything is perfect.  That's my idea of heaven.



Cure for the winter blues

Truth be told, Little Sprout is weaning from breastfeeding.

I'm one of those "green" momma's that believes that nursing her really helps to boost her immune system and has gotten her through our awful cold and flu season.  The babe has only had 2 nasty little colds to speak of.  Even with her sisters having had strep throat again and again, and whooping cough.  Sprout has stayed really quite healthy.  I had the same experience with my twins who I nursed until 20 months. They also stayed really healthy when they were so little.  Once they are bigger, bring on the germs.  I always thought the bigger they are the better they can handle being sick as opposed to when they are so tiny.

And so we've held on and kept at it as long as we could to give Little Sprout all the good stuff she needed to stay healthy.  And now we are winding down.  Which I believe has my hormones in a bit of an uproar.

Hence why my posts have been a bit "crazy" lately.  I call it the "winter blues" or "postpartum" um, 22 months later but whatever.  I'm trying to work through it and being honest about feeling "blue" I think is perfectly ok.

I didn't even know what it was as we started to wean down to one feeding in January.  Why was I feeling so tired?  Depressed?  Weepy?  Turns out that postpartum depression does occur when you are weaning from breastfeeding.  Who knew?  Now I know it's not in my head and I'm not crazy.  Or weak.

For some reason, as women, we have to be it all, not be weak, go, go, go, be all things to all people, never complain, never sit down, never stop and smile through it all and keep our kids and husbands happy.  I admitted to my husband the other day as I was crying while ironing that I was in fact, probably a bit depressed and hormonal.  To which he snickered and said some typical man kind of response.  I think it was like, "No kidding?  That's a surprise" or something like that.  He's seen me cry on my way to work, cry when I get home, cry while I'm reading blogs, cry while I'm cooking dinner...and when I can't quite put a finger one why the heck I'm crying...well, this is why I've adopted the mantra lately, "hormones suck".

I have nothing to cry about.  So, I've decided to slow down a bit to enjoy my family more and more.  Sleep more.  Make sure I get my vitamins.  Eat better.  Enjoy every moment more.  I think it will help me get past this shift.  It's weird to feel generally happy yet depressed at the same time.  To feel happy yet cry for no reason.  Have you experienced this?  If so, it's ok.  Make sure there are no little ears around and say it with me.  "Hormones suck".

I have so much to look forward to.

Like what you ask?

Well...I have two new patterns I'm working on that I hope to have done before April.  The Madison bag and an apron.

On the blog this month I'll be recapping a how to on our Jr. Ranger party, a tutorial for a really basic and simple softie, and I'll share my valentines storage box instructions.

I have two magazine articles I'm working on for submission.

I have a fun set of Jr. bridesmaid dresses to make for a wedding in New Orleans.

My birthday is...this month! (on the 24th actually!)  I have a really cool giveaway I'll be doing (Something fun from Patty Young for your iphone! and something from me)

LOST is in it's final season and I'm totally loving it.  Seriously.  LOVE.

Spring break is coming up this month and we are going swimming with the two peas and sprout.

And my Pocket Full of Posies projects series is currently being featured in Sew Hip magazine...I'm in the current March/April issue - issue 14. In the next two issues 15 and 16, you'll find an apron pattern and a wristlet pattern.  All based on the pocket from the apron - same pattern, 3 very different projects.  Here's a sneak peek at the flower banner from the current issue.

Thanks for sticking with me.  I think it's really important to support one another.  I think many of us have experienced this at one point or another in our lives and it's always so hard to admit.  But, me saying it out loud to my friends, my family, here on the blog - has helped me to see it and focus on making it better rather than to continue to let it suck me down a black hole.

And mostly, I write this blog and print the posts out for my girls to read someday.  I never want them to think they have to be perfect.  I want them to always know it's ok to be less than perfect, to admit it, and to ask for help and support.

This week - my focus was on Sprout.  Here's what made me smile...

This is MY cure for the winter blues.  Simple pleasures not lost in the clutter.  Hope you are well...see you soon!



Matthew 11:28-29 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (thank you for the reminder Beki)

Do I have to?

I think I do. I have to say, sorry.

Sorry for complaining so much lately.  What the heck is wrong with me?

When I read back over some of my posts lately I thought, geez, what a jerk.  What a stupid jerk.  What am I complaining about?

My children are healthy.  I'm doing well.  I haven't had any heart issues or been in the hospital for 15 months now.  My husband gets better and better everyday.  Even after a very hard road we've had.  Our families are healthy.  Life is good.  Ya know, I'm really blessed.  I KNOW that...

But I wasted a lot of breath and space whining about being tired and having too much to do.

The truth is, nobody said life was easy.  God has a plan for me.  And what would I learn or where would I be if there were no struggles in getting there, wherever "there" is?

There are tiny little joys in each and every day - bits of heaven all the time.  But if I keep whining so much - I'm going to miss them.

I always thought I was the kind of Mom that could do it all.  I just can't so I'm going to let the stupid stuff go and let the good stuff in more often.  More hugs.  More kisses.  More messes.  More of taking in the moments before they are gone.

Sounds so cliché, doesn't it?  And I'm pretty sure I've said it before.  At least twice.  Probably more.

But it's true.  I'm not getting any younger.  Neither are my kids.  Life is short.  I don't want to miss a single day God has prepared for me.  I have to live more deliberately than that - I need to, I deserve to, I was made to...

I was thinking about that when I left my art class tonight.  My sister was 15 when she died.  I was a year older than little Sprout is now when she passed.  She never got to do any of the things I'm so privileged to do.  So how can I complain?  Just stupid.  Stupid.  Stupid.  Stupid.

This blog is more than just a crafty how to kind of a place.  It's my space.  A place for me be me.  Take it or leave it.

Now excuse me, I have some quality snow time to spend with my family out back on our sledding hill.  The Two Peas can't get enough of it and you can't hardly get them to come in.  Little Sprout can't stop saying "wheeeee!" and "no" for snow.  It's up to her waist...around 45" they said we've had so way to spend February. And we have an entire weekend of celebrations planned.  I'm the mother of soon to be 9 year old identical twin girls.  Couldn't be anything better.  I'm lucky blessed enough to have them all - I'll try better not to forget that and how special my job of "Mom" really is.