The last couple of months, I've faced challenges I never thought I'd be up against and experienced a wide range of emotions. Stress really gets a mind thinking, doesn't it? I've thought a lot about and reflect on who I am. I've done all sorts of different things throughout my life...traveled, explored, volunteered, tried, read about, participated in, etc. Some things I participated in because I wanted to, some because I thought I should, sometimes I felt obligated and some I just went with the flow.
My interests have always been....well....quirky compared to my peers. I'm thankful during my elementary, middle and high school years I had peers who embraced me even if they weren't into the stuff I was interested in. I was the kid who got a sewing machine and a serger for my sweet 16 and 18th birthdays (perfect gifts still in use from my dad!). I made a bunch of friends their prom dresses and graduation dresses. Many of my high school friends still have the quilts I made them. The home ec. teacher used to let me stay after school in her room to stitch while I was waiting for whatever extracurricular I had signed up for at the time. For all that, I was thankful.
Going to college, I was scared I wouldn't fit in. I had a really rough first semester figuring out my place and making friends. I had left all my sewing at home, for fear I'd be the odd one. I cried alligator tears when I told my dad I didn't want to go back at Christmas time. I did go back and I brought my sewing and could finally unwind. What do you know, I made some great friends....who loved my quirkiness. And each semester was better than the rest. I ended up having a blast during those college days.
And then onto grad school. I brought all my sewing, my recipes and my crafts. I decided that I was going to do what I wanted and what I loved. That was when I started my plight to self sufficiency.
Just the other day, I was talking with a friend about obligations. You know the kind...the kind when someone signs you or your group up and then pressures you into following through. Or the kind that you'll either make yourself feel or someone else will make you feel awful if you pass. This sort of stuff used to always bother me and I was definitely the habitual 'yes' attendee. I've come a long way from those days of guilt. I say no to a lot. We stay home more often than many. "Not this time." "I'm going to decline." I tell you, what an empowering power to exercise...the strength of that word 'no' can be so freeing.
My little family had a family meeting a bit ago. We decided to define our family. We decided that our little Lipsky family are three things: We have faith. We choose to be together. We want to always be kind. Faith, kindness, togetherness. There's lots of good things to do in the area we live in...but if it doesn't fit our vision of living our faith, being kind to others and being together, we pass. It's been such a helpful tool in steering our activities according to who we want to be.
It's funny. 35 year old or 35 years young (however you look at it), I've learned so much and still have so much more to learn. As I grow and learn, I'm without doubt going to try to keep being me. And who am I exactly? Still figuring that out. So far, I've got: I'm a lover of Christ, mother and wife. There's so much need out there, I want to keep expanding my giving. I love children, animals and being home. I love handmade, homemade, homegrown and hand milked. I love wool blankets, fancy transferware, comfortable skirts and vintage aprons. I love line dried clothes, a warm fire, a beautifully set table and fresh flowers. I love walks in the field, dirt beneath my fingernails and picking hay from my hair. I love the perfect cup of coffee, melty chocolaty baked goods paired with cold milk, taking a frame worthy picture and stitching in natural light. I love my support network, taking care of my family and I love hearing my littles call me "Mama".
In reflecting about all things happy, I randomly decided to funnel my happy energy into stitches...for me this time. It's been years since I've made something for myself....I just might do so more often.