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beyoutiful

“She was beautiful, but not like those girls in the magazines.  She was beautiful, for the way she thought.  She was beautiful, for that sparkle in her eyes when she talked about something she loved.  She was beautiful, for her ability to make other people smile even if she was sad.  No, she wasn’t beautiful for something as temporary as her looks.  She was beautiful, deep down to her soul.”

-F. Scott Fitzgerald

SewingkitI’ve been working (or should I say, “rockin’?”) my mama muscles pretty hard over the past month or so.  Attending back to school nights, taking my boy and girl to multiple doctors’ check-ups before and after school, taming my girl’s after school meltdowns over homework, troubleshooting my boy’s renewed obsessive compulsive want/need to go to the bathroom at least 3-4 times every waking hour, and wondering how it can be 9 o’clock in the morning one moment and 4 o’clock in the afternoon in just the blink of an eye.  Throw a week of house renovations into the mix and you have one tired mama.  Don’t get me wrong, I am super pleased with the facelift our house received with its new Hardiplank siding and cheery red front door; however, when you dash for the bathroom on the side of the house where you think you’re safe from public viewing only to hear someone calling your name (Senorita?) from the front door, it certainly does not make your home a haven amidst the hammering and Mexican music.TodayIknowanxietyThat said, renovations are now complete and I am still breathing.  I think my mama muscles may have a chance to relax for a little while, at least.  I have learned that life is just like this sometimes.  The crazy intense marathons balanced with a brief victory before the next marathon begins.  And while I try my best to refuel during the calm times, I am also learning how to nurture my spirit even when I think I don’t have the time.  Several weeks ago, I joined a group of beautiful women across the country for an online course offered through the Brave Girls Club called Soul Comfort.  Here, we are learning ways to comfort our souls on a regular basis through art journaling from a variety of prompts and stitching inspirational words and images on small pieces of fabric, soul patches!  I have to admit, I felt a little overwhelmed, at first, trying to gather all my supplies and have it fit inside one portable tote bag, but once I did my gathering, I realized this comfort bag is going to be my ticket to sanity during the weeks such as the one from which I recently emerged.  I have toted my bag with me to Starbucks in between errands, to the basement during family movie time, and to the couch alongside my husband while he watches the football game.  Because everything is all in this one bag, I don’t have to think about what I need.  All I have to do is open a journal or thread a needle.  I am learning that 15-20 minutes of soul comfort can go a long ways, especially when I am unable to fit-in large blocks of art time with messy supplies.latte&successentriesFor an “all or nothing” type girl like me, accepting that a little bit of comfort each day is better than none at all is one step towards living a more balanced life.  As we enter the holiday months ahead, I am challenging myself to validate and practice my soul comfort, even when I feel I don’t have the time.  How about you?  How do you bring comfort to your soul?

spiralshells

A perfectly whole sand dollar.  A starfish with all five points intact.  A conch shell with its outer shell still visible.  These treasures from the sea are layered carefully in an old Mason jar and out on a shelf for all to admire.  Like showing-off prizes for plucking out perfection amongst the sea of broken and weather worn bits of shell and rock recklessly scattered amidst the shoreline.  I race to scoop-up  the  perfect before the waves take it from my reach.

I think of the beautiful women who I have come to know throughout my life.  Before I really knew them,  knew their insides, I remember feeling so inadequate as I placed them up on the shelf in my mind where all the perfect people stood.  And then, over time,  these ladies  bravely shared their own stories and their hearts with me.   Divorce.  Depression.  Childhood Abuse.  Job loss. Children with special needs.  Chronic illness.   Broken dreams.   Waves that have whipped their souls around and left them lying out on the sandy shore for all to see.  While some might still seek to hide behind perfection, others choose to celebrate the perfectly imperfect people they have become.  Strong.  Resilient.  Compassionate.  Real.  Imperfect women who are trying their best at this thing called life.

I walk along the same shoreline where I scooped up bits of perfection and I see with the eyes of a middle-aged woman.  A woman who has learned that God can use her own brokenness to sculpt her heart into a thing of  imperfect beauty.  The spiral exposed with the wearing away of the outer shell.  It’s curves are truly exquisite.  Those broken clam shells that I used to dismiss for their ragged edges?  They are angel wings.

Angelwing

finalsoulmusic

I create to share the music within my soul.

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