Women and the Need to Create (and Snap synopsis!)

A couple weeks ago I flew to Utah to attend Snap Conference: a get-together for creative bloggers and entrepreneurs.  It was SO much fun learning from and mingling with other impressive makers.  I got to meet several of my sewing blogger heroes and connect with people I’ve watched online for years.  And if a weekend full of education, parties, food and friends wasn’t enough, I was also BY MYSELF.  As in, no little people who needed me.  It was a glorious break.

Plus, check out all the swag I brought home!

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**Yes, that IS a real Instax camera…there was an amazing party hosted by Fuji and Heidi Swapp with legit awesome free stuff!

Seeing hundreds of talented women in one place (most of them mothers) got me thinking about creativity and motherhood, specifically, and why it seems that so many young moms feel the need to make stuff.  Stay-at-home moms with artistic side businesses seem a dime a dozen these days, be it a hustle making hair bows, taking orders baking cakes or helping friends with interior design.  What is it about women in general that makes us want to be so darn creative?

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The basic biological function of mothers is to conceive, grow, bear and nurture other human beings…even biologically we are CREATORS!  The essence of motherhood is within us all, even those without children.  It is the need we feel to empathize, comfort, care for and otherwise lift others up (also that biological urge to cry uncontrollably at Hallmark commercials). I believe that the very essence of creation stems from love; when we expend time and energy in creative efforts, we’re simply sharing love.  (I talk more about how moms need to create in this post.)

This past year and a half of growing the Whisk ‘Em blog and starting my pattern design business has been so fulfilling.  I wake up every morning and go to bed each night with fresh ideas for blog posts, sewing projects and new patterns swirling inside my head.  I spend all my free time either in front of my computer, sewing machine or behind the camera, often staying up half the night to finish a project that has me gripped in its clutches.  The question is…why has this creative vein recently manifested itself now that I homeschool 7 small children and barely have time to pee??

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**Baby Mimi turned 1 just a few days after I got home.  Crying all the tears about this one!  (Those sweet decorations behind me are more free stuff from My Mind’s Eye, the cutest paper store!)

Here’s the thing: I rather think that the inspiration for making beautiful things is always hanging out there, patiently waiting for us to find it.  Only once we begin to pay it any attention does our propensity for creativity sprout and grow.

This idea of creativity being almost a real, living entity is explored in Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book “Big Magic”.  It is a fascinating look at how and why we create, and the best ways to invite inspiration into our lives.  I tend to take a pretty spiritual approach to creativity; if we feel inspired to exercise, make music, paint, decorate, entertain, educate or some other avenue of improving our lives, I believe we’re being inspired by God!

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One of my favorite points that Gilbert makes in Big Magic is that creativity is both frivolous and indispensable.  In other words – no one dies if we’re not creative; it’s not essential to basic survival.  But, it IS important. If we have access to the internet to read this, then we likely have the time and resources to create, simply for pleasure’s sake.

Even my ancestors, who fought hard to stay alive while settling the western U.S. 200 years ago, still made time for beauty.  They passed on heirloom china, embroidered dish towels, built beautiful churches and otherwise used their talents to send beauty out into the world.

No matter how stressed, busy or overworked we are, there are always creative opportunities to be found.  In fact, perhaps it’s in the midst of this chaos when creativity is the most essential!

 

When Mom’s Afraid

Vivian-hospital-sleeping2If you follow me on Instagram, then you already know that our sweet 4-year-old Vivian was in the hospital recently for a febrile seizure.  While she’s home now and doing great, I’ve been surprised how few moms have heard of, or know how to react to these seizures.  I hope putting our story out there might help another mom or dad know what to do if it ever happens to their child (excuse all the grainy phone pictures!).

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 

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I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas jam packed with family, traditions, cozy pjs and hopefully an excited child (or 7) since they make Christmas so much more fun!  I’ve been dying to show you all our family pictures we took on Thanksgiving and now that our Christmas cards are out, here they are!  

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Marilyn’s Birth Story

 

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My chubby baby Marilyn turns 5 MONTHS tomorrow and in order to keep myself from totally melting down into a puddle of hormonal-overweight-newish-mom-tears, I figure it’s time to post about her birth story.

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Baptism, Blessing and Birthdays

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Trials and the Strength to Endure

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the hard stuff that we all go through: the emotional and physical and mental struggles that are just part of life. I guess pushing out a baby will do that to a girl.

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Keeping It Real

 

You know how everyone’s always saying that nobody’s genuine on the internet anymore?  Well, I’ve got genuine right here for you.

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This is what crazy looks like, people.

I have been completely, frantically and exhaustingly (that’s a word) overwhelmed.  Apparently homeschooling 6 small children, trying to finish a huge creative project, keeping a house clean, children fed, church obligations covered and a husband happy, all while carrying your 7th child is enough to do that to you.

Strange.

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#fail

 

I just LOVE failing at things.  It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

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Windy day at the top of a mountain picture = hair fail.

Bahaha!  I’m so funny.  Let’s be real.  Failure sucks stinks (edited for the children).

 I hate, hate, HATE to fail. It makes me feel…um, like a failure.

However, lucky (unlucky??) for me, I have this passion and excitement for life that usually outweigh my fear of failure.  I try new stuff ALL the time and the thought of failure usually only creeps in after I’m committed and it’s too late.  Um, whoops.

I‘ve been thinking a lot about failure lately and wanted to share my favorite teenage failure-turned-success stories.  (I had a lot more time for trying new stuff and a lot less pride back then 🙂

On my 16th birthday, I tried out for cheerleading and made an utter and complete idiot of myself.  It was painful (I don’t mean figuratively…I fell on my head repeatedly while attempting back handsprings).  But did I let that stop me?? No sirree.  I simply moved across the country and tried out again.
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 *Well, I wasn’t an immediate success, of course.  The coach actually told me that I was pretty awful and wouldn’t be performing at competitions but she needed an extra body for basketball games and I ‘d have to do. 

 I worked really hard that year, made some great friendships and DID end up in stunts at competitions.  I got to be pretty dang good and even began to love my teenage body because it was strong enough to help me hoist other cheerleaders above my head and catch them all by myself.  (Also a precursor to those years of chiropractic care.  Hey, no pain, no gain, right?!)

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One of our picturesque shots of Hawaii from last summer. A beach always seems so peaceful to me…but then I think about some of the difficult beach sports Hawaii’s known for, like surfing or boarding. How many failures does a person have to endure before he becomes a success at something like THAT?

My other experience happened when I was only months into a new high school and I decided to try student council so I could meet new people.  I signed up to run for (what I thought was) junior class vice president but mistakenly signed up to run for student BODY vice president (as in, over the whole school).  A much bigger deal and something that a sophomore had never attempted before.  By the time I realized my mistake, I was too afraid (read: embarrassed) to back out. 

I jumped in with both feet and ended up running against only one other girl.  I was so afraid of failing that I campaigned like a crazy person.  And I won.  That next year was amazing; I had a so much fun, worked with the school’s adult leadership and made lifetime friends. 

In the end, the fear of failure is just that: fearIt’s not real.  It’s something imaginary that we allow to invade our dreams and keep us from the things we want.

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USS Missouri: fear of failure has to be something very real for members of the military. But it’s not only their pride at stake…usually many, many lives depend on their courage.

As an adult, my propensity to try new things has been lacking lately and I can’t really figure out why.  As adults we like to think that we should have already defined ourselves into a little corner and we therefore can’t succeed at new things.  How many times have you heard an adult say, “Oh, I’m not creative.” or “Nah, I don’t do sports.” Kids would never admit defeat like that, especially before they’d even tried!

We adults also have this terrible thing called pride.  What if someone notices that I screwed up?  What if someone judges me?  What if, what if, what if…??  I’ve realized that I like to fill my home and life full of examples of where I have succeeded to help me remember that I’m never done defining myself.  Isn’t it fun to surprise people?!

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USS Arizona Memorial

I recently decided something.  Any chance I get to feel fear or rejection (plus the accompanying embarrassment), I’m gonna take it.  It’s all just a potential for growth, anyway.  If it’s been a while since you’ve tried something new, maybe it’s time to take a stretch.  What’s the worse that could happen?  You could fail??  Sure, but you could also succeed.

Besides, how boring would we be without failures to laugh about??

Out with the old

 

It’s a new year!!  Welcome to 2015, ya’ll!

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The start of a new year is always so bittersweet for me.  I love the anticipation of new experiences and change is like, my everything.  But at the same time I feel nostalgia for a year already gone.  Did I enjoy it enough?  Did I pay enough attention to the little milestones in my and my kids’ lives that we will never pass through again?  I’m often tempted to give in to my sentimental side and start a bawl-fest over all the little endings that happen regularly in my mom-life.

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I wanted to share all of our family pictures from this Fall, as a fond farewell to 2014.  And also, kind of like saying, “we successfully dressed and photographed 6 small children last year…BRING it, 2015!!”  But then again, that may be tempting fate 😉

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As much as I loathe endings to great things, there really is something special about beginnings, amiright?  New books, new houses, new babies, new clothes, new city or country, new friendships…the possibilities of what the new things in our life will bring is so exciting!

Of course, not all new things are good or exciting.  Certainly none of us wants to experience the loss of a thing or person we love.  Even some of the new things listed above can be heartbreaking under some circumstances such as divorce, job loss or death.

I guess all that means is that we look forward to the good things with joy and gratitude and pray that we’ll have the strength to endure the bad.  So much of what is good can come from those unanticipated “bad” surprises!

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I also almost forgot to share my favorite Christmas video, “He is the Gift”, on the blog!  Click here to see it or watch below.

This is my reminder that whatever goals or resolutions or buzz words I may have planned for this next year, becoming more like Christ should be at the center of everything I do.

Happy new beginnings!!

Pictures by Red Poppy Photo

 

Meltdowns and the Meaning of Christmas

 

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The last couple years the hubs has been out of town for most of the month of December.  Thanks to kindly Mr. Amazon and his free 2-day shipping, being a single mom at Christmastime hasn’t created too much of a problem.

Except, of course, for the stress.  Luke left this week for his second trip of the month and everything was going well the first day, until about bedtime (sound familiar??).  I was trying to get my littlest ones to bed and my big boys kept running upstairs.  I yelled one too many times, they yelled back and then, out of nowhere I found myself sobbing in their room, telling them how hard it is being a single parent, even part-time.

Whoa…don’t even know where that came from.  Get a grip, crazy lady.

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It must have made an impact though, since when I calmed down enough to come back a little while later, Liam was still visibly upset.  I suggested that we needed to make some changes around the house in regards to our relationships and I asked each boy what they thought needed to change.  Toby said something about Mom being nicer (haha!  typical) but Liam just sobbed, “No one needs to make any changes…just ME!  It’s all my fault!”

Wow.  It broke my heart to hear my sweet boy blame himself for my shortcomings.  He even added that this wasn’t shaping up to be a very good Christmas.  Luckily, it humbled me enough to have a heart to heart with him.

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We talked about the reason for celebrating Christ’s birth and how Christmas isn’t simply a chance to remember the day Jesus was born but to celebrate His entire life, especially His sacrifice for us.  We discussed how Christ sacrificed for our sins, but just as importantly, He also paid for our small, daily mistakes.   Jesus made it possible for us to overcome any action, big or small that separates us from God, including when we lose control, yell or treat others unkindly.  Christmastime is a chance for us to remember that because of Him, we have reason to hope to improve every single day and reason to experience JOY.

I’m thankful that my little boy reminded me of this, the greatest truth in the history of the world.

“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”  Isaiah 53:5

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Merry last-week-before-Christmas!!