It’s beginning to look a lot like…

Dare I say it? Christmas.

Christmas music has been playing in our local stores since November first. Yesterday the decorations were already up at the grocery store strip mall. That’s a little too soon, even for this elf.

I LOVE Christmas and everything that goes with it. I love shopping and wrapping and secrets and sparkly things and Christmas plays and lights… I really should have been an elf.  I was 10 years old when my (very mean) best friend insisted Santa wasn’t real. I still don’t believe her.

That’s me on the right, listening intently to what my future boss had to say.

Barb&Deb2
Every Christmas Eve we’d pile into the car to go pick our Christmas tree. We’d drink hot chocolate while Daddy brought the tree into the house and set it in its stand. We’d make a big production of giving it lots of water, hang our stockings from the mantel and go to bed. I couldn’t sleep wondering if every noise I heard might be Santa on the roof. It’s a wonder I survived the anticipation at all.

Our first house in New Jersey was a wee little two-bedroom rancher. You could see the entire living room from our bedroom door. On Christmas morning my sister and I would fling open that door and freeze in absolute wonder. The bare tree we left in the stand was now fully decorated and lit, the only glow in the room, surrounded by presents. Pure magic!

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Our magical tree, 1968.

I was eight when we moved across town. Our new house had two stories and the impact of seeing that sight as we flew down the stairs on Christmas morning was a new brand of magic that didn’t disappoint.

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Christmas 1972: I’m the elf on the left. 

Two years later we moved to Florida, and the tradition changed in a lot of ways, but Mom’s knack for the magical smoothed it over.

Then I grew up and learned a few things. Like Christmas trees are free on Christmas Eve. And Mom and Dad had to wait until we were sleeping to begin decorating the tree, so they got maybe 30 minutes of sleep Christmas Eve. And it looks like a lot more presents when the room is only 8 feet wide. And the tree looks much bigger when you put it on the coffee table and you’re only four feet tall.
Knowing the secrets behind the magic makes it even stronger, because it was made with love.

The best part of being a grown-up is that I get to make the magic now. After all, I did inherit Mom’s elf gene.

Scared is the New Brave

When I began this blog, my goal was simple – to create fearlessly. I figured if I was struggling with it someone else out there probably was, too. That goal remains in the back of my mind as I continue to fight the perfection monster and reclaim the child-like joy of creating. Fear has no place in creativity. We are made in the image of the Master Creator and He only asks us to show up. How’s that for no pressure? Show up and be who you are.  Too often I allow fear to keep me from awesome things. I listen to what-ifs and turn back to “safe.” Safe is boring. Safe doesn’t reach our goals. Safe doesn’t spark life, it hastens death.

This arrived in my in box. Not only do I love its message, it’s my colors, and I thought it would look fabulous here.  It’s big enough to print out and hang on your wall as a healthy reminder. Credit Lisa Jo Baker.

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Making an Art Quilt

I finally finished the quilt commissioned by a friend.  She had seen several art quilts and fell in love, then completely trusted me to just come up with something. I said yes, having no earthly idea what I was going to do. I broke through a lot of different fears during the process, and the quilt evolved and changed – just like I was evolving and changing artistically. I am amazed at the final product and humbled at the way God works through my hands and pops ideas into my head from nowhere.

It’s titled “Foundations”. The words at the roots represent a firm family foundation: faith, honor, integrity, trust, hope, passion, purpose. The flowers (children) springing up are the result of those roots, their ancestors (in the leaves) serving as a protective covering in the branches above.

Words stamped into the “ground.
Children grow under a cover of love.
Ancestors watch from among the leaves.