Why Do We Try So Hard? {Of Pruning Shears and a Severed Pinky}

It’s Friday. A stranger is coming over to pick something up that has been mistakenly shipped to our house. And I am concerned about what he might report to the former owner of our house… Weeds by the garage. Shocking.

Does it really matter? I hear in my head. Do you have to do this now?

Yes. I am determined. So the kids play, and I haul out my gardening gloves and small hand-held pruning shears to cut down the tall grass – instead of bothering with the weed wacker.

I turn my back. One second. Two seconds. Three seconds. Four seconds. Five seconds.

Taylor is yelling “My finger! My finger!” I run.

The shears are stuck shut. Blood everywhere. Her pinky is cut through.


I’m sitting on the porch. The neighbor heard me screaming and ran over. She had the common sense to ask about a towel which I’m now holding tightly around Taylor’s tiny 2-year-old finger. For a split second I had realized she would have to dash through my disheveled house. Breakfast dishes still out, toys strewn all over. So much for keeping up appearances. Like that matters now.

She helped me call 911, then whisked Morgan and Levi away with her daycare kids. I call Steve.

“Hey, what’s up?”

“Steve.” He can hear the panic in my voice. “Taylor cut her finger…”

“Ok… how bad is it? Is it bleeding pretty badly?…”

“No. Steve. She cut it through the bone. It’s only hanging on by a little bit. I called an ambulance.”


Taylor is a rock. When I keep saying “I’m sorry, I’m sorry…” she puts her head on my chest and says “Iss ok, Mommy. Iss ok.”

It seems the IV is worse than severing her pinky… It’s so hard to watch her go through this.

The surgery takes an hour. Her finger pinks up when they reattach it. The surgeon is hopeful. We are so so grateful.


I just wonder. If I hadn’t been so concerned with what someone I didn’t even know thought – would our reality be different right now? I dare say probably.

I’ll be honest – I spend most of my life worrying about what other people think. It’s exhausting. And it’s getting costly.

I try so hard to keep up appearances.

Most days I just don’t have the energy for make up. But you better believe I have it on if I’m going to see anyone.

When I got pregnant with our fourth child it mattered to me what people thought. It mattered to me whether people were shocked that all our children were so close together. I knew that specific people made judgments, and that bothered me. Don’t you know what causes that? was the joke.

When we lived in an apartment I didn’t want to have anyone over lest they think our house too small. When we bought a house I was worried people would think it was too big.

Is my hair too frizzy? Can they see the grey? Do they remember I wore the same outfit last Sunday? Are they mad I made that mistake? Does she not like me? What if they saw my house this way? Everyone must think I’m an awful mom.

This is what the Bible calls fear of man.

The fear of man lays a snare,
but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.
Proverbs 29:25

I’m just done. I am so tired. It is a drain on the soul to constantly work to please everyone – to make everyone think I have it all together. Because I don’t. I’m just as jacked up as anyone else.

My hair is turning grey. I’m not designer anything. I’m just normal. I’ve got clover growing in the side garden and my kid got a hold of my gardening shears and cut the tip of her pinky off.  I am not super mom. A lot of the time I’m not even a fun mom – I’m just trying to get through the day and keep the toilets from turning green. And right now I’m wiping the tears and snot from my face with my own shirt. I don’t have pictures for this post – I’m sure you’re grateful for that right now.

If you still want to be friends – snot and all – great. But at the end of the day it just matters what Jesus thinks, and if I did what he wanted me to today. That is all that matters.

So if you’re ready to be done with this whole comparing, judging, pleasing, trying-to-be-perfect-so-everyone-likes-you thing, then lets do it together. I don’t want to miss my calling because I cared more about what people thought of me than I did about obeying what God was asking me.

And I’d like to avoid further injuries, if possible.


I leave you with this video. It made me cry. Not that most anything wouldn’t make me cry right now.

The Artist’s Way – Week 3 Check-in!

Phew… Week 3…

I was going pretty strong weeks 1 and 2, but I have to say this week I did not do morning pages yesterday or today… and no artist date. <hanging head in shame> … Ok, not shame, because that was part of what our reading was about.

However, I did appreciate the tasks I did – some of which were from last week. One of them involved writing down 5 things I loved eating as a kid, and then actually getting one of them.

Mine was pretzels and frosting. I distinctly remember one Wednesday night at Awana Bible club at church (I was a “Spark” level at the time), our leader breaking out a bag of salted pretzel rods and a can of vanilla frosting. I thought it was the best thing I had ever eaten. So I made a trip to the store and got some pretzel rods… I do like the taste of canned frosting at times, but I can’t get over the list of ingredients, when it really just takes butter, sugar, milk and vanilla to make frosting. So I made my own. My kids loved this snack too – complete with multi-colored sprinkles. Sorry, no picture – I took one with my mind, so you’ll just have to imagine it…

In other news… I’ve seen a definite pattern in my morning pages. I write “I should” and “I need to” A LOT. I got kind of upset in one of my entries because I realized how much I feel the need to please people. I feel like I have to explain everything to everyone so no one thinks ill of me. It’s exhausting. That’s all I’ll say right now – I’ll write more once I process this some more.

* * *

To close the weekend… Here’s a look at what we did today! Thanks to Steve for taking all these pictures! My husband is one talented dude :)

The Artist's Way Week 3 Check-In - Ordinary|Awesome Blog

We went to the National Cherry Festival air show, which included demonstrations by the helicopters of the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, three WWII P-51 mustangs, an F-22 Raptor and finally, the Blue Angels – Navy flight demonstration team.

The Artist's Way Week 3 Check-In - Ordinary|Awesome Blog

Does anyone else find this funny? :

The Artist's Way Week 3 Check-In - Ordinary|Awesome Blog

Frighteningly close:

The Artist's Way Week 3 Check-In - Ordinary|Awesome Blog

The Artist's Way Week 3 Check-In - Ordinary|Awesome Blog

How was your week 3? (Or your weekend, if you aren’t doing The Artist’s Way!)

The Artist’s Way – Week 2 Check-in!

Was Week 2 a struggle for anyone else? Maybe it was just because of all the goings-on in our household right now…

My family was in town for the first time in 4 years! We were all together under one roof! It was great to have them with us.

The Artist's Way - Week 2 with Ordinary|Awesome blog

{Picture courtesy of Katharine G. Smith Photography}

We had a lot of catching up to do, lots of food to eat, movies to watch… It was sad to see them go yesterday, and my sister today. The time never seems long enough, I think…

I had my artist date today. I wasn’t sure what to do… So I ended up driving to a local nursery/landscaping company to check out their plants and shrubs.

The Artist's Way - Week 2 with Ordinary|Awesome blog

It was lovely being outside and brushing up on the names of things… Sedum, vibernum, weigela…

The Artist's Way - Week 2 with Ordinary|Awesome blog

I had the place all to myself and the gentleman working was happy to answer my questions, but gave me plenty of room to poke around.

The Artist's Way - Week 2 with Ordinary|Awesome blog

I ended up choosing this pink coneflower – I’ve always loved coneflowers. And this one’s name was Pow Wow – I just couldn’t resist!

The Artist's Way - Week 2 with Ordinary|Awesome blog

I still had plenty of time, and wanted to spend some time reading… So I ended up taking a road I’ve never taken (yes, it felt adventurous. Ha!)

So, this might sound nerdy, but I really like our health food store, and most of the time I’m rushing in and out for something in particular and I have the kids with me. So I wanted to walk around and see if I could find anything new and interesting.

I never realized the huge selection of spices they have – now I know where to go to find some of the more exotic spices I need… Northern Michigan grocery stores don’t have a great selection, I’m afraid… (see my curry post!) So there I was sniffing spices I’d never smelled…

The Artist's Way - Week 2 with Ordinary|Awesome blog

Hey – I was experiencing and sensing. I was obeying Julia Cameron’s instructions. :)

Then I took my Kombucha and pepitas outside to read my book for a little bit…

The Artist's Way - Week 2 with Ordinary|Awesome blog

I rarely get to read more than a page or two at a time, so this was awesome!!

The Artist's Way - Week 2 with Ordinary|Awesome blog

I’m reading The Sweet By and By by Todd Johnson. This book. I will be so sad when it’s over. Here’s the amazon.com description:

Meet five North Carolina women who are about to change the way you think about friendship. For Rhonda, a gritty, fun-loving hairdresser in tight jeans, the sights and smells of Ridgecrest Nursing Center are depressing. But before she can change her mind about working there, two residents glue themselves to her: Margaret, droll and whip-smart, with a will of iron that never fails her even when her body does, and Bernice, an avid country music fan who is rarely lucid. Together with Lorraine, their church-going, God-questioning nurse, and her daughter, April, bright and ambitious, they lock arms in courage and humor for a journey that speaks to us all—of how we live and die, of how we love and forgive.

Read it. You’ll love it. Then we can talk about how much we all love it. <sigh>

As for my morning pages – there was one day – Friday, when I only got one page written before I had to get ready and dash out the door for a meeting… Other than that – going strong!

Tasks, on the other hand… need to do some more.

I hear week 3 might bring out some angst, so take care of yourself! Get plenty of sleep and quiet reflection time if you can.

How about you? Can’t wait to hear how your Artist’s Way journey is going!


The Artist’s Way – Week 1 Check-In

It’s time for the week 1 Artist’s Way check-in!

Here are Julia Cameron’s questions from the book:

1. How many days this week did you do your morning pages? Seven out of seven, we always hope. How was the experience for you?

Me: 6 days (this morning did not work out – we were up all night with a crying puppy… ahem.) The experience was interesting – I went back and forth between having a lot to say and having nothing to say.

2. Did you do your artist date this week? Yes of course, we always hope. And yet artist dates can be remarkably difficult to allow yourself. What did you do? How did it feel?

Me: Yes, I did! Friday morning I went to a French cafe and enjoyed breakfast all by myself!

First I ordered this:

Week 1 Check in for The Artist's Way on Ordinary|Awesome!

Then I wrote my morning pages and looked at this:

Week 1 Check in for The Artist's Way on Ordinary|Awesome!

It’s a map of my favorite city in the world… Paris. I tried to figure out which bridge Steve proposed to me on… I think it was the Pont d’Iena.

Then my omelette paysanne came (potatoes, ham, gruyere….):

Week 1 Check in for The Artist's Way on Ordinary|Awesome!

And I people watched and decided I wanted to do a little drawing:

Week 1 Check in for The Artist's Way on Ordinary|Awesome!

I ate slowly and tried to be unhurried…

3. Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant for your recovery Describe them.

Me: I think working with the “blurps” was pretty significant – I realized I was believing things that weren’t true:

“No one cares what you write”

“You’re not as good a write as ___________”

Here are some quotes that struck a chord with me:

“No high jumping, please! Mistakes are necessary! Stumbles are normal. These are baby steps. Progress not perfection, is what we should be asking of ourselves. [...] There will be many times when we won’t look good – to ourselves or anyone else. We need to stop demanding that we do. It is impossible to get better and look good at the same time.”

“When I make this point in teaching, I am met by instant, defensive hostility: ‘But do you know how old I will be by the time I learn to really play the piano/act/paint/write a decent play?’
Yes… the same age you will be if you don’t.
So let’s start.” (p. 30 The Artist’s Way, 1992 ed.)

I’m excited to hear how everyone has done in the first week! Let me know in the comments!

On to week 2!

The Artist’s Way with Ordinary|Awesome Blog Starts Today!

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The Artist's Way with Ordinary|Awesome Blog Starts Today! (6/15/14) Join us? :)

Oh my. If I change that title to “The Artist’s Way with O|A Starts Today!” I’ve got a very annoying ryhme on my hands.

Fortunately, I caught that. Ahem.

Well… Here we go! This is going to be a wild ride, I’m sure!

Today is the first day of The Artist’s Way… I’m not sure what to call it – club? group? read-along? But club sounds too exclusive, and group sounds too impersonal. We’re doing more than reading a book so maybe we’ll call this a circle as Julia Cameron suggests in the back of the book. Our Artist’s Way circle on O|A.

Sounds good.

Well, now that we have that settled…

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How To Discover or Recover Your Creativity In 12 Weeks

ow To Discover or Recover Your Creativity In 12 Weeks- ordinaryawesomeblog.wordpress.com

As we get older we tend to express our creativity less and less. We tend to laugh less, color with crayons less, pretend less, play less and overall take less risks. We dream less.

I don’t think this is the way God intends for us to live. God is the ultimate creative being! He made the world, the universe and everything in it! And we are created in His image! So something in us will always have a desire to create – whether that’s painting a piece of art, sewing a dress, programming a computer application, cooking a meal, writing a blog post, building a blanket fort or coloring with chalk on the sidewalk. Personally, I’m ready to recover my creativity.

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3 Summer (Or Anytime) Bible Study Resources I Love

3 Summer (Or Anytime) Bible Study Resources I Love - ordinaryawesomeblog.wordpress.com

I don’t know about yours, but our “official” Bible study for women at our church takes a break for the summer. Which is fine because everyone’s schedule is different, people are out of town, and it’s hard to have a consistent group week in and week out during the summer.

Very often, however, this has translated, for me, in taking the summer off from Bible study entirely. But if the Word of God is essential for life and godliness, then I don’t want to fast from it for 3 months.

So if, like me, you’re looking for ways to study the Bible this summer, here are a few great resources to do that!

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Surrender to Dream

If you want to seriously have your world rocked, you need to read Restless by Jennie Allen. I started reading it in March, after IF: Gathering.

I read that if I want God to use me – if I want to dream and not just dream my dreams and ask God to approve them, but dream within the framework of God’s will and for the benefit of his people – then I need to surrender.

That is, bring Him my white canvases, and say,

“Here, you take these, and paint on them what you will, how you will, when you will.”

Surrender to Dream - if I want to dream and not just dream my dreams and ask God to approve them, but dream within the framework of God's will and for the benefit of his people - then I need to surrender. That is, bring Him my white canvases, and say, "Here, you take these, and paint on them what you will how you will, when you will." - Ordinary|Awesome blog

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{Winners Announced!} Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine

:: This giveaway is now closed ::

The randomly selected winners are:

Debbie and Michelle! Congratulations!

You will be contact shortly with your e-books!

Thanks for entering, everyone!  If you’d still like to get a great deal on the book, here is the link to the Kindle version for $2.99 through tomorrow!

Have a great weekend!

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -

I started reading Crystal Paine’s blog MoneySavingMom.com (MSM) in January (because my word for the year is Discipline, and that seemed to fit…) Then I subscribed to receive her e-book 4 Weeks to an Organized Home (because who doesn’t want that??)

Crystal’s book Say Goodbye to Survival Mode: 9 Simple Strategies to Stress Less, Sleep More, and Restore Your Passion for Life came out at the end of January. I already knew, based on her writing on MSM that she means business when it comes to goal-setting, intentionality and stick-to-it-iveness. Never mind saving money and getting out of debt. AND she’s gracious and encouraging. I promptly put it on my Amazon wishlist because um, yes – I’m in survival mode and I want to get out and I’d like more of each of those things, thank you.

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30-Minute Coconut Curry {with Chicken, Chickpeas and Kale}

A week ago I was going to delve into one of the recipes I’ve pinned but have never actually made (ahem – are you a pin-horder too??) – Green Chickpea and Coconut Curry with Swiss Chard from Crepes of Wrath (her blog is beautiful, by the way, and love her pictures of Thailand in this curry post.) Makes me want to go somewhere.

Anyway, we’re not talking about traveling; we’re talking about curry.

Warm coconut curry over rice… I don’t even have the words… Comfort food at its best.

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