Wednesday, December 14, 2016

All About Those...Shoes

There comes a certain point in every girls life when her feet just, stop growing. This must have happened for me around the 6th or 7th grade or so, coincidentally, I've been wearing a size 6.5 or 7 shoe and ring size ever since!
And, I love this size I've been gifted with. It's a thrill every time I (or my mom) go shoe shopping- almost all the displayed items fit me perfectly so I rarely have to dig through boxes underneath looking for my size. Mom can be shopping 100 miles away and text me a few pairs that I don't even need to try on to know, Yes, I want them!  When I worked at Famous Footwear, I almost always wore slip ons in case I "needed" to try on a few pairs while tidying up the store :-0
My feet have been good to me- only for a few months during Rainiers incubation did they swell to grotesque-for-me proportions, leaving me with the fear of shoe replacement shopping. I managed to turn that fear into joy at having to replace the 70+ pairs I owned at the time; reward for a baby delivered lol. But, lucky for Ray I quickly returned to normalcy and it's only through an act of extreme will power that I've been wittling down my "collection."
Enter the children's feet... and the fact that, because they are still growing, we get to go shoe shopping! I can hardly believe it when we leave without a pair for mom... I take mine home in photo form, now. This way, I have all the joy of the purchase without it affecting my small wallet, and none of the, I don't know where I thought I'd wear THOSE, guilt.
Hi, my name is Anna, and

That's right, guilt over the dust film that forms on the tops of my heels. Guilt that the riding boots don't go riding. Guilt that I've never worn my boots with the fur out clubbin' (ok, that's a lie, but it was like, 5 years after the song was a hit). Guilt that the one pair of boots that actually cost more than $30 get worn?! I know, it's an Anna thing. A shoe lover, that's me!

Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE smartphone

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Sparks of Faith

Well, I had high hopes for Waypoint Church's Sparkle event yesterday and it did not dissapoint :-) Besides the glitter on every table, there were the brilliant smiles of my fellow MOPS friends to buoy my holiday fervor. Reminiscing over setting up my grandmother Ruth 's nativity set brought about both tears and laughter- what ever happened to all our baby Jesus'?!
Hearing my tablemates reflections on the Reason for the Season, and our speaker's shared gratitude for the lessons Jesus shared with his followers... well, I suppose it was fitting that Rainie and I were then invited by three seperate families to stroll through the Living Nativity put on by Discovery Baptist of Gig Harbor, where my sweet friend Adria and family showed us a glimpse of life in Bethlehem that first Christmas evening. 

Lo and behold, there lay an actual baby in the manger, quietly allowing a small nation of children to visit with their own coos and gasps of awe. I remember when I first realized Jesus was a real person...what a wonderful overlap of memories our oldest daughter and I were able to share with our framily (friends that are family) this evening ♡

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Art deco

Every year I strive to create decorative spots of Christmas magic about our home which reflect our current life style and location, etc. This year, I've tried to banish red in general and focused on rustic bronzed metals, unfinished wood, and feathers. One of my favorite little spots features a quartet of polar bears who seem to point toward the glittering star mounted high on the mantel mirror across the, "Do you see what I see?"
We have antique wooden duck decoys all over the house throughout the year.  I have been repeatedly told they are a sign of a well decorated home set for the holidays as well. A little mini garland around their neck is sure a cute way to dress them up!
Living in the Pacific Northwest, we have an abundance of verdant green to gaze upon all year long as well, so I only put a bit of faux garland about and we decided as a family to forgo a live or cut evergreen tree this year. We have often had a tree decorated outside, and we still do, but it's on the front porch!
Our main living space's window looks into the back yard, so often times I'll just take a break out front and gaze on the twinkling lights reflecting off a few (red!) ornaments also hanging out there. There is also a sort of sea star sitting on top of a small weeping willow out there, next to a metal sculpture of a sting ray I had made years ago. Nautical goes a long way at the Bradshaws :-) You should see the carved driftwood dolphin mounted near the ceiling with his Santa hat on!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Moms Are Awesome

I've come to realize over the course of this year, how important regular interjections of scripture are for my life. I prefer to have them come to me as opposed to seeking them... and for me, the best place to give up my woes and receive the Word is in church. Thank goodness my local MOPS group meets at a very close to my home church; I can usually attend the once-a-month meetings. In fact, there are times when I know, I need to be there.
Being a mom can involve a lot of hard work. Gratifying of course, but still. For someone like me who is for the most part quite selfish, all this giving of myself without expectation of return can at times be trying. Enter my fellow moms who are experiencing the very same trials. Blessings from Heaven, these acquaintances who have become friends help me to cherish these times instead of constantly counting down "how much longer till they move out?"
So, meetings usually go something like this:
One of my favorite smiling faced friends
with one of my favorite craft projects  <3
Kids and I arrive ten minutes after the official start time of 9:30. My seat is always saved, and I sometimes drop a dish off at the overflowing brunch potluck table and then escort my children downstairs to spend time with devoted childcare volunteers. Back up I go to fill my plate with yummies and then make my way smiling and helloing to the table I've been assigned to.
There are prizes for getting pregnant, having babies, being born yourself, and speakers galore to gain wisdom and insight from. There are hilarious stories shared, as well as grief stricken implorations to enjoy every day as if it were your last one to love with.
Amongst my table mates there are also discussion questions that allow us to share as much or as little as we're comfortable with. I usually can't keep my mouth shut or my tears from flowing, and there are listening ears and tissues at the ready too. Finally, after all the plates are collected and we're feeling quite giddy with the atmosphere of love that has been built up by an hour of celebrating life's realities- or maybe it's just a sugar high- we break for CRAFTS!
Can you guess this is always an exciting moment for me :-)
I usually try to leave a few moments before closing to avoid the rush of collecting the kiddo's and then it's home for lunch and reflection on all the values I recognize as being part of the joy of living. It's truly awesome, how many times I get just what I need from that Monday morning to carry me through to the next month's get together.
Sometimes I need the comfort of being part of a larger crowd of like-minded individuals to feel like, all this- the ups, the downs, the joy and sadness, the waiting and the wishing it was overs, the being afraid, the knowing how well I'm doing- all this is so worth being a part of. Who could ask for anything more?