Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Love and thankfulness

L ike a faithful pup, you offer me a cozy space and a listening ear, and a willingness to be there when I need you the most. In my efforts to shut the door on fretfulness and anxieties, you welcome my (sometimes) rambling thoughts, and are patient with me as we mull over life's most thought-provoking complexities. You welcome me, and allow me to speak my truth, and for that I am supremely grateful.

As trouble and hardship and disappointments roll over us, as accolades and congratulations and a job well done cheer us on, and as friends high-five us, may we hold tight to peace.

Old chapters end, and new ones begin. What seemed impossible may now seem probable. We embrace giving thanks in the small things.

Let patience be our new companion while we struggle with the traffic jam that bring us back to the place we find restoration and acceptance. Feel a release as we watch them make choices seven steps away from crazy and realize there’s nothing we can do. Remember love, receive joy, relish miracles, and be stubborn in the important things.

Have a wonderful week, friends!

x, Val

PS. My new chapter is starting now. I am over the moon happy, and beyond thankful with the miracles that have recently happened in my life. Thank you, universe!

* ramblings inspired by sweet Emily over at Chatting At The Sky

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Just seeking answers is all...

Lately, I've been involved with a bit of name calling, but it hasn't bothered me. No, I'm actually ok with it. In fact, the name calling has been directed towards me, and I've rather enjoyed it. In the last week alone, I've been called the following:
  • bear
  • a fighter
  • epic
  • (someone with) spidey-sense
  • awesome
  • and, one woman who works in a doctors office asked me if I am a Nurse!
You may or may not know that I have been involved in the fight of my life for the past nearly 17 years. I got pregnant with my first son, and went into preterm labor with him at week 21. At week 21, day 2, my Ob/Gyn and Perinatologist stood at the foot of my bed, and told me they couldn't stop my labor, and I should just go home. I would deliver a stillborn baby, and then I could just start over again. Well, two weeks later still in the hospital, heavily medicated, find me still pregnant. Fast forward to 15 weeks later, and, though I am still medicated, I am also still pregnant. The day they turn off my medication is the day my labor resumes. Drew is born 12 hours later at day 1 of week 36. He is a true gift, and amazingly healthy, he is my miracle.

This last month has been a whirlwind of questions answered, "i"s dotted, and "t"s crossed. We have finally learned that Drew is having microscopic brain seizures, has ADHD, and can be treated for this with medication. We have also learned that the therapy I received while in preterm labor is supposed to be used for no longer than 72 hours, and I was on it for 6 straight WEEKS. I wouldn't have gotten to this place, this island of learning located deep in my heart, without doing some leaning, and some trusting...

Even though I don't want my son to have anything wrong with him, I am so, so thankful to finally have answers. I am thankful that he can finally receive the help he so desperately needs. I am so, SO happy that HE now understands what is going on inside his brain, and will be able to look at life through new glasses, so to speak. My prayers have been answered big time, and in that, I am grateful, and a bit speechless.

You see, I struggle with running my life through discipline, and perfection. Loosening my grip on the powerful control hold wrought by (ahem) me is difficult, and sobering. Though I have always known about letting God be in charge of my life, I keep trying to put my own spin on things. My old patterns beg me to cling to them, and I talk back. At first, gradually. But as I am witness to the letting go, and letting God be in charge, I am finding that my surefire grip on things wasn't really taking me where I need to go. 

In the trusting, I am finding truth. 
In the letting go, I am being led down the right path. 
In the release, I am finding the answers.

Once, that was terrifying. Now, it brings me great comfort. Now, that gives me a foothold on which to start anew. Now, I have a solid place on which I can lean.

And, in all of that, a true blessing for my son. I couldn't ask for more. I am humbled beyond words.

x, Val

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Sketch magic

I am standing in the store, and here I am again... in front of the sketch books. Now really... I have enough. I do not need another sketch book, I have sketch books I haven't even sketched in yet. I have diaries and plain paper sketch books. Ones with covers I can paint, and ones that are too cute that I-don't-dare-touch-them for fear of diminishing them in some ridiculous way. Walk -a w a y- from the sketch books, I say to myself sternly, as I gently place this adorable one in my shopping basket. Oh well, just one more surely won't hurt, right??

I love the sketch, the simplicity of pencil on paper. The magic of the mark. Transforming of the book with a mark I make, and with my mark, I make it mine. I love that my sketch can be bold and colorful, or it can be a line that only my trained eye can see. The sketch and I are one.

If the book is deemed cute, or it's paper is modest but of good quality, then it passes my test. If the paper can be easily torn out with that small vertical perforation, then it is good! Most likely, it will be coming home with me. Sometimes it has lovely inside art, or, like the one above, it's cute cover causes me to open it up, and I find irresistible-ness inside. I am weak with resistance. I have them big, and I have them small. They are tucked into the pocket of my handbag. They are thin and they are thick. Would you look at THAT ONE! Home it comes.

The mark is simple, and it can become complex and extremely cute once I pair it with some wool fluff and my delicate barbed needles. The needles work the wool into the sweater, and turn my simple sketch into something worth loving. 

... with all my heart. I love the sketch, the wool, the life they take on. And it all begins with one simple mark, on a piece of paper. Um, out of a cute book.

So, yes, I will keep sketching. And I will probably have a dozen sketchbooks on the shelf waiting patiently for a magic line or two. 

What about you? What can't you resist? I know there must be something!

x, Val 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


I don't really like that word "aftermath" because it implies something like a Holocaust, or a tornado, or a thing that is big and horrible, and somehow you survived. Perhaps I need to take myself just a little more seriously BEFORE the event so the after part isn't such a big, freaking deal. Ugh... note to self, Val.

I won't say I didn't enjoy the Renegade LA show, but I will say it was a TON of work. I am used to attending shows close to home, AND I admit, I am a natural control freak. Close to home means I have something to hold in my back pocket like a security blanket.... Home. hOmE... H O M E. 

I liked meeting new people and the exposure LA brought me. It was all very good. I made some great new friends, had a few fantastic offers, an invitation to debut my Robot Friendlys in the Stuffed magazine (one of my favs!), and more. I know I will continue to venture out past my beloved Home, just have to go into it knowing exactly what to expect next time...

I loved seeing friends who cannot always come so far south to see me in my hometown. Here is gorgeous Mira with her friend. And who can resist a pirate face painted boy, Really?!!!

Finally, I cannot resist taking pictures of things people bring INTO my booth. This woman let me photograph her darling motif on her shirt. Now, really, how cute is THAT?!

Thanks to all who came out for the Renegade LA show. It was fun, it was HOT, it was an adventure and it was a thrill to be involved. I loved every moment!

x, Val