Thursday, May 20, 2010

Linnea a thank you giveaway

this sweet little flower needs a home.

Linnea is made from soft cotton peach knit and is stuffed with sparkling-clean wool...seriously, the cleanest wool i've ever seen. she has sky blue eyes and amazing hair. there are actually 6 types of yarn in there: wool, natural lopi, hand dyed teal 2-ply from local sheep (they're so cute), hand dyed lavender lopi, mohair, and a wonderful yarn handspun from a batt by ArtemisArtemis on Etsy. lucky me...i got to do the hand dying and handspinning!

to make Linnea your own, leave me a message telling me your favorite flower and why you love it (either here or on the Imogen's Garden fanpage on Facebook). mine is a calla lily...they're just so elegant!! but a gardenia is a close second...gotta love that scent!

next Wednesday, May 26, 2010, at noon EDT, i'll use the random number generator to choose Linnea's new home. you can only enter once...your first comment will be the number assigned to you. no restrictions, so come play!

p.s. she'll have shoes...don't fret...i'm just out of shoe elastic this morning. :)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

heh...i'm smarter than i thought!

so, i confess, i used to read O Magazine with the best of them. the pearls of wisdom i could glean from people like Martha Beck are just indispensable. but, in the last few years, i've had less and less time for reading, so i allowed my subscription to lapse in favor of spending my reading time with novels or storybooks.

one of the best books i've read in years is Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love. the power and thrill of starting over (okay, not as drastically as the author did) was invigorating. the idea of tending to all the basic parts of me: body, soul, heart and claiming my life as my owning the real me...was, and still is, intoxicating. Gilbert assured me that i can be who i am and be really, really happy...but i have to know me to accomplish that. (haven't read the book? go get it. get it NOW)

anyway, yesterday i wrote a post about our tendency as women (moms especially) to beat ourselves up over things we can't control and over some insane desire to be someone we aren't. apparently i hit a nerve with you, dear ones. i've had more comments and emails over this post than any other i've ever written.

one of you sent a letter asking if i read last month's issue of O. well, no, i haven't. but i followed the link that was sent to me, and i found an article by my dear Elizabeth Gilbert that addresses the very same issue.

i'm smarter than i thought!

here is a link to her's a variation of yesterday's theme. go read it!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

say it isn't so

i've had some disturbing conversations with my mom-friends lately. some i've known for forever; some have only recently made their ways into my world; a couple i know only in scraps of conversation as we wait for our children at Scouts, church, or the bus stop. all of them have gifted me with their honesty, with their openness, with their wit, and all of them suffer from the very same problem...a chronic feeling of being *lesser*, of lacking some elusive magical quality that other women seem to though being able to do more, know more, be more would make their lives perfect, their children happy, their marriages work.

lemme tell you. it ain't so.

my neighbor is a mother of two ages 5 & 7. she works 40hrs a week at her day job in another town. then she comes home to prepare three different dinners for her family, help with homework, administer baths, read bedtime stories, tuck babes into beds, then she works on her home business until all accounts are settled. by this time, her husband has come home, so she squeaks in a few minutes of catching up with him. after the rushed *quality* time, she passes out in her bed for a couple of hours (assuming no one needs a 3am glass of water), and wakes up to do it all over again.

on weekends, she plans family outings to amusement parks, to the beach, to workshops where her kids can learn skills with hand tools or art supplies. they regularly make it to church. and her children's birthday parties are extravagant...not to mention the holiday parties she throws for nearly EVERY holiday...or the numerous times she's made sure her neighbors have hot meals, carpools, adult conversation, or just the right eyeshadow for a swanky night out.

yesterday, she confessed that one of her children needs some dental work, that surely if she had taken more time to help the child with teethbrushing, prepared different meals, been home wouldn't have happened. mom-guilt.

a mom i met at the bus stop thinks if she had stayed with her emotionally abusive husband, her daughter would still have a dad. as though a whole, stable, loving mother isn't enough.

another woman is feeling profoundly guilty because her children are *speech-delayed*. nevermind that it's because they are raised in a bi-lingual household and if you factor that in, they are WAY ahead of the language curve.

still another friend is beating herself up because her child has inherited a genetic disorder that will prevent him from living a completely independent adult life.

yet another is twisted up because her child has developed severe gastric problems(not me, i swear!). this mom is torturing herself with the idea that if she had: slept more, eaten different things, not eaten that, weighed less, walked more, rested more during pregnancy...maybe this wouldn't be happening.

i have a girlfriend who was in a horrific car accident 3 years ago. as a result, she is wheelchair bound and is in the throws of a marital break-down. she's currently living as a single mother of a (almost) 3 yr old and a (nearly)5 yr old. she's working in the Church ministering to youth, raising her children without raising her hand, remembering birthdays, and doling out love and acceptance to everyone she meets. she's a shining example of the can-do human spirit, but last week, she actually said to me, "gosh, Anna, i don't know how you do it!"


is it just me, or do you see how completely crazy this is?

i can't speak for my parents' generation, but i am surrounded by women who compare themselves to each other and always find themselves lacking.

and it's horrible to watch. and i am just as guilty.


who says we have to do everything, do it perfectly, do it now?

here's the message i want to give you today:
you are good. you are good enough. you are perfect. you are loved.
you, my friends, were created to live this life and live it well...and you are doing it (see? you're still're doing it!!)
God did not create us to do it all by ourselves(trust me on this one...God is not sadistic, does not delight in cruelty). we are here together...doing it together. and where my gifts end, yours are just beginning...and vice versa.

here's what i want you to promise me today:
today, just today(baby steps, people), do not compare yourself to anyone else. do not believe that you could have controlled something that you could have no control over, do not think about all the things you should be/could be doing as you read a book to your toddler for the 1000th time or as you drive your teen to the movie theater.
and once you begin to feel empowered just a little and safe in your own skin, share this message with someone else. i know you know someone who should hear it.

now, pardon me, i have to return some eyeshadow to my kick-ass neighbor.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

one amazing week

first, and most importantly, news about Helen:
we visited her gastroenterologist yesterday. he presented his findings as a *good news/bad news* situation...personally, i think it to be a *great news/not-so-good news* situation. the bad news is they still have not found a diagnosis...the great news is all the super-scary, pathological types of things have been ruled out. no cystic fibrosis, no crohn's disease, no celiacs disease, no muscular dystrophy, no rare form of diabetes, nor any of the other half-dozen things that would either end her life by age 20 or cause debilitating pain for the rest of her days. and that my friends is a *Glory-Halleluja!!*
the possibilities we are left with are mostly chronic (meaning she may have to live with them controlled by diet and/or medications for forever) and annoying, but having seen what could be, i am profoundly grateful...and Helen in her too-old-for-her-age wisdom is grateful, too.
we have several tests still on the horizon, but for now we are evaluating a completely dairy-free diet (if any of you have fantastic references or recipes...please share!). and if i come across anything fabulous to eat, i'll be sure to let you know about it.

the second bit of news: last Thursday night, Helen was feeling well enough to roughhouse with her little sister...that was the good news. the less than stellar news is that in the midst of this fun, Clara broke her arm. i probably don't need to express to you just how unimpressed a 3 year old is by an aching arm immobilized in a sling. but Clara's a trooper...she finally realized that the only time her arm hurts is when it's out of the sling, and she's been much better about keeping it in.

we had several adventures over the last week: we went to Colonial Williamsburg, caught the ice cream man, and took several family walks; but most notably, we traveled to Amelia, Virginia, on Saturday to try our hands at mining. we had an amazing time...learned all sorts of things about geology in the area and came home with a 5 gallon bucket of rocks and semi-precious stones to polish and play with.

i'll leave you with some photos of our adventure...may your week be just as amazing (minus all the trips to the doctor!)