A Life Stirred

Embracing a New Hobby

Last week, I decided I was going to make a quilt.  Scratch that.  I decided I was going to make two quilts.

Never mind that I have zero quilt-making experience.  And never mind that I have next-to-zero sewing experience.  Those are just details.  Minor details.

Oh, and never mind that this stage of life is probably not the ideal time to be picking up new hobbies.  Details, right?

So, there’s no going back now.  I own a sewing machine.

Would it be weird to give this beauty a name?  I feel like we’re going to be friends.

Would it be weird to give this beauty a name? I feel like we’re going to be friends.

I made bunting.  Because why not?

t’s not the best picture, I know. Trust me. It’s cute. And perfectly sewed...mostly.

t’s not the best picture, I know. Trust me. It’s cute. And perfectly sewed…mostly.

Next up, I’m going to make a baby doll quilt.  Because if I’m gonna make a real-life size quilt (or two), I should probably try a little version first.

I agonized over fabric.  And then eventually just said, “It’s for a doll!  She won’t care.”

I agonized over fabric. And then eventually just said, “It’s for a doll! She won’t care.”

But here’s what I’m finding tricky in all this.  (And no, it’s not the actual quilting part.  Though I’m sure it will be.)

There’s a part of my brain that tells me I have to be the best at something in order to count it as a hobby.  It’s yet another way my competition and comparison issues rear their ugly heads.

So, I hesitate to even talk about this new hobby of mine.  Because I’m not the best.  I’m not experienced.  Surely my excitement isn’t real or worth sharing.

Yet, that’s not true.  Well, it’s true.  But it’s not truth.  (Confused yet?)

I’m not the best.  I’m not that experienced.

BUT my excitement is real.  And it is worth sharing!

The Nester (a crafty, home-decorate-y blogger) frequently says that “it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.”  (Also, apparently, that’s the name of her book.)  The idea is that our desire for perfection can hold us back from the joy of creating.

In my case, it’s my desire to be the best (or at least really, really good).  That desire holds me back from enjoying what I enjoy.  It holds me back from being me.  It holds me back from embracing who God made me to be.

God has given me all kinds of talents and interests and gifts.  I don’t have to be the best at those things to have value.  My identity is not found in how well I perform.  I don’t know about you, but I need that truth to seek deep into my heart.

So taking up quilting is a way to practice this truth.  I may not be the world’s best quilter.  But I can still quilt.  (Theoretically, I mean…as I haven’t actually done anything yet.)  I can still try new hobbies.  I can even be so bold as to say, “I like this!”  without any disclaimers or false humility.

Is this struggle unique to me?  Are there hobbies or interests you would pursue, if you could let go of a need to be perfect or the best?

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That Sneaky Part of My Heart

It seems that in every playdate I’ve had lately, the same topic keeps coming up–school.  Apparently, once your child hits 3, it’s time to have an educational plan in place.

She knows 3/26 letters, so we're thinking Harvard next fall.

She knows 3/26 letters, so we’re thinking Harvard next fall.

Really, though, this is a natural progression in mom-conversations.  It’s totally normal to think ahead.  I mean, really, Pre-K is only 16 months away.  [Anyone else have heart palpitations at that thought?]

Anyway, Jo is 3.  And suddenly, there is all this pressure to have a school plan and to be involved in a variety of activities (for the college applications, obviously)!

I think this kind pressure was always there.  It’s just changing as our kids’ skills are changing.  This new pressure fells weightier.

Is Jo going to be in dance?  You can start at three, you know?

Does she do swim lessons?  It’s great to start young.

Did you hear about the preschool at the high school?  You have to enroll early.  There’s a wait list.

Here’s the crazy thing, though.  For the most part, I am completely satisfied with the parenting choices we’ve made.

And yet…

And yet, there’s this sneaky part of my heart that starts to get stressed out and starts to question if I’m doing the right things.

So, of course, I’ve been thinking about where this sneaky pressure comes from.

And surprisingly, it has some very familiar roots.

Comparison.  Identity.  Insecurity.

[Goodness, Lord, really?  Why do I always struggle with the exact. same. issue over and over?  Can’t I have something new?!  Just for variety?]

This sneaky part of my heart reveals quite a bit.  I have a propensity towards insecurity in my parenting choices.  I’ve placed some of my identity in my children’s ability to be successful and excellent and advanced (because it makes me look good).  I measure my kids against other kids so I can prove (to myself and others) that I’m a better mom.

Yeah, that’s not cool.  Thankfully, God can (and will!) change my heart, and He can help me gain freedom.

As a mom and friend, I long to be quietly confident in the choices I make for my family.  I want to share what we do, when others want to hear it.  I want to eliminate competition from my conversations.  I want to support my friends in their choices.  I want to decrease comparison and increase encouragement.

So, do you have a sneaky part of your heart?  (Please tell me I’m not alone.)  When does it sneak up on you?  What have you done to eliminate it?

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Ten on Ten: The Unconventional Edition

Let’s just be honest.  I forgot it was the tenth.  Motherhood does lots of weird things to a person…not the least of which is that I hardly ever write the date anymore.  I mean, I’m vaguely aware that it’s April…and I think it’s Friday (although I’ve been thinking that since Wednesday).

So, please sit back and enjoy “Ten on Ten”…or as I’d like to call it this month, “A Handful of Pictures on an Undetermined Day.”

It’s April…so they say.  April here isn’t really a spring month.  It’s more of a snow-melting, mud-everywhere kind of month.

And sometimes there are ice storms.

And sometimes there are ice storms.

Sidenote:  So, I’ve been thinking about our long winters.  It’s easy to get discouraged and frustrated by winter in March and April.  Especially as pictures of other people enjoying actual-Spring start cropping up on Facebook, Instagram, and blogs.  But isn’t that just a comparison issue?  I don’t live in an area of the country that has grass by Easter.  I shouldn’t really expect it.  And yet, as I start to see everyone else enjoying warm weather and flowers, I get a little jealous.  Comparison really *is* the thief of joy!  I’ve gotta stop doing that…

Anyway, moving on…Once I realized that today was the tenth, I thought I should at least take a few pictures to document the day.  So we did lunchtime selfies!
My sweet Bear-Bear.

My sweet Bear-Bear.

Oh, JoJo, you are a joy!

Oh, JoJo, you are a joy!

We are adorable, and we know it.

We are adorable, and we know it.

Right now, there is a naptime miracle happening upstairs!  Both girls are napping!!  At the same time!!  Clearly, that is worth lots and lots of somewhat blurry pictures, right?

A three-year-old napping.  It's as elusive as Bigfoot.

A three-year-old napping. It’s as elusive as Bigfoot.

Not as elusive, but worth a picture.

Not as elusive, but worth a picture.

I will leave you with that.  Hope you have a great April 10, 2015.  (I know the date now…aren’t you proud?)

ten on ten button

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