NashVegas Craft Fair

Saturday was the much anticipated craft fair. It wasn’t what I would call a smashing success. But I’m still glad I did it. Really really glad I did it.

Dave made my booth and a little matching table from a bunch of old pallets he got FOR FREE. I got so many compliments on this thing. It was definitely the most unique booth. I was proud of it. He disassembled and reassembled the booth on Saturday morning before the fair. Earbuds in place, obviously.

And I snapped this picture below while thinking of my oldest little sister, whom we call Bean. She says that I’m all rainbows and unicorns and buttons, or maybe it’s glitter and sprinkles and butterflies… something like that. I’ve obviously shielded her well from my dark side. Actually I told her something about myself once that is kind of weird that I don’t tell a lot of people, (don’t worry – it’s not a juicy detail. Just something semi-private) and I asked her if that freaked her out and she said, “Nope. It just makes you more sparkly.” For some reason I took that as a giant compliment, even if it wasn’t meant to be one, and I teared up and I wanted to hug her – but she was all the way in Missouri. So, to make a short story unnecessarily long, when a butterfly landed on my table full of cutesy crafts, I thought she would appreciate it. Also, I miss her. BEAN, I MISS YOU.
This was Saturday around 12:30.

Things got a little wet for a bit. But luckily, my artwork can hold its own against the elements and nothing was ruined. The sun came back out with a vengeance and dried up my little booth nicely and promptly fried the dickens out of me. Notice the giant white pole to the right of the booth. That was to be my shade. It didn’t work. Maybe you noticed.



There’s a painting I just 1/2 finished (meaning, it could be considered finished by some people and if I weren’t so persnickety I might also call it finished) that’s a simple textured green background with white letters. It says, “be kind. it matters.” It’s a reminder to myself that even when I’m a total grumpus and I’m having a really super terrible day, it’s crucial to be kind to the people around me. The people I love and know very well and the people I don’t know very well and only love out of principle. Because you’re supposed to love everyone, right? And there are a lot of people that I really really love. Out of principle. And I’ve been thinking about kindness a lot lately.

This weekend, my youngest sister, my mom, and two friends came into town to visit. One evening we walked them around downtown to see some of the Honky Tonks and bright lights and cheap souvenirs. We walked through “Printer’s Alley” on the way to the car, which is sort of a shady place in Nashville. Shady as in nude karaoke, so you know… seriously shady. A very stumbling homeless man holding a bottle of mouth wash (that wasn’t filled with mouth wash) came over to my husband and mumbled something inaudible. Dave leaned in, the man repeated himself, “will you shake my hand?” Dave said, “yeah, of course.” Shook his hand and stood and talked for a moment. Dave mostly saying, “I’m sorry? I didn’t understand that.” And things of that nature. For some reason, with all these thoughts on kindness floating around in my head lately, standing there watching Dave politely talking and shaking hands with a man who was so entirely sloppy drunk and incomprehensible and shouting profanities, I got choked up. Now, that’s obviously a testament to how irrational I am… that a homeless man yelling curses outside of a nude karaoke bar was a sweet emotional moment for me, but it’s also a great example of the kind of man I’m married to. That he stands there shaking hands for a few minutes and trying to talk with said homeless man.

But, that’s not entirely what this blog post is about. This is really about a very sweet couple that will remain nameless for the purpose of this little space. These are people who have only spent a tiny bit of time with us. Hardly know me, I feel. Great people, as far as I know. Really great.

And for some reason, I keep trying to give excuses for their kindness. Because if they did know me better, perhaps they wouldn’t be so kind… and maybe it’s easier for them to be generous because they don’t know first hand how I think or act or feel. How I can get so judgmental, or how I can be selfish and materialistic, or the way I forget about being kind sometimes when the people I’m not nice to desperately need me to be nice. Maybe if they knew those things about me, they wouldn’t have given us the gift they did. They wouldn’t have cared so much that they went out of their way to be good people to us. Because if they were so so kind and generous to the person they think I am, I ought to try to be that person, right?

And thinking about all of that gets to this place that feels a lot like grace, and a lot like mercy, and a lot like Christ. I am not who I want to be and I’m not perfect. Not even remotely close. But there is kindness out there waiting for me regardless of the mess I am. So thank you so very much, friends. Thank you for being generous and altruistic and for giving me a snapshot of grace in a moment that surely needed it.

What Emotion is This?

There was a point yesterday in which Dave and I became very delirious and slap happy. It happened after he did some editing on the computer, after we got in the truck to go car shopping, after he realized his brakes were out, and even after he tried to fix them and found out he couldn’t. It was after we decided car shopping was out of the question, after we hitched a ride to the repair shop and returned home, after the phone call from the repair shop telling us it was going to be $700, and after the begging and pleading with the car shop to lower the price as much as possible (down to $500.) It was after all that.

We sat in the living room. Numb. Not upset. Not stressed. Just… nothing. We were completely void of emotion.

And then, out of our numbness, we became ridiculous. We started laughing at everything that happened, cracking dumb jokes, making mental lists of the things in our house we could sell (half-joking, half-seriously,) and realizing that it was all out of our control. We weren’t worried or concerned – we were in good moods.

Sometimes it takes an unexpected $300 bill, a wreck, a $500 car repair, a $350 car wrecking and storage bill, getting a car loan for the first time, pressure from work to buy a car so my schedule is back to normal, an upcoming art show for which I am unprepared, working 15 hour days- all within the same week- to make us realize it’s all out of our control. How nice it feels to not be in control.

I Can Do This, I Can Do This…

It is TWO DAYS until the NashVegas Craft Fair and my living room is a disaster. I have piles of unfinished journals, finished journals, paintings, unfinished paintings, windows, shadow boxes, messes, paper scraps, ribbon, and the list goes on. I am very thankful that I have a mom and a sister coming into town this weekend and they are both people that will love me just the same if my house is filled with piles. Don’t believe me when I say piles?

Girl means piles.

It looks like Hobby Lobby was taking a walk into the woods and decided to leave a trail of art supplies through my living room so she could find her way back to Franklin without getting lost in Antioch with no cell phone reception or flashlight after dark.

I have too many checklists running right now. Things I want to bring, things I still need to make, artwork I want to display, etc. My booth has not been built, but Mr. Hagen is working on that so I don’t have to think about it. Mr. Hagen is also trying to switch shifts at work so he can help me set up my booth and drive me to the craft fair because I am still without car. And he needs to switch because, think about it, he is SCHEDULED TO WORK on Saturday. When I need his arm muscles and math skills (counting change is not really “my thing”) and moral support.

So let’s recap. Messes, lots of “unfinished” things, no car, no booth, no certainty on whether or not I have Dave’s assistance on Saturday, no idea what I’m going to wear yet (which is normally what I obsess over before this kind of stuff), and the blatant fact that it’s really my own doing and really my own habitual procrastination at fault. I actually wasn’t even stressed until I started writing this blog post. Please excuse me while I find a paper bag.

Birthday Girl

Yesterday was my birthday. The evening was spent with my wonderful husband, a sampling of my sweet friends, some delicious sushi, and frozen yogurt. It was a great evening.

1. This is not a good picture. 2. This is not a good picture of any of the people IN the picture. 3. Do you see how beardy this husband has become?! (He’s the one on the right, in case you don’t recognize him under all of that hair.)

Feels Like Home

If you’re here for Pin it Forward, welcome welcome! Pull up a seat and stay awhile! My name is steph. I’m just learning to call myself an artist and this little blog is where I pretend to also be a writer.

If you’re a regular here and you have no idea what Pin it Forward is, let me do a quick explanation. Bloggers like to be friends with other bloggers, and this a way we can do that. Victoria of sfgirlbybay and some kind folks from Pinterest got together and decided that a bunch of bloggers should create a chain that gives a little glimpse into what home means for a big bunch of bloggers. One person passes the pinning torch to the next, and there it goes, on down the line. It’s pretty cool. Now it’s my turn to talk about what home means to me.

Home is very much a figurative thing for me; in fact, home has to mean something a little different. And I don’t mind that one bit. This crazy thing happened to my family when I was in the 7th grade which sort of forced us out of our home with little notice. I affectionately call it “the homeless year, ” a title my parents are not so affectionate towards I’m sure. But when my brother and two younger sisters and I sit around and talk about the memories we have from that time, it’s all happiness and hilarity from cabin balconies. We had plenty of places to stay: grandma’s farm, the aforementioned cabin by the lake, a couple of houses that friends were trying to sell, and so on. It was more of an adventure than a misfortune. So the idea of home means lots of things to me besides houses.

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I run the risk of sounding like a crazy hippie here, and I know that, and I’ve come to terms with it.  Music is home.  I’m accustomed to guitars and amps and cords and CD’s filling up the house.  I rather enjoy it sometimes.  I am the only person in my family that doesn’t play a musical instrument.  My dad is a musical genius, in my opinion, my mom play the piano beautifully, my two little sisters are amazing singers, play guitar and/or piano, and my brother sings  and plays guitar.  My husband is an audio engineer (records music), plays several instruments, even proposed to me by writing a song, and we live in Nashville.  Which is nicknamed “Music City.”  So, forgive me if I sound like a hippie when I say music is home.  But it so is.

True True 3 (“““““` (“““““` 1 6103620 4229100 True 0 (“““““` (“““““` 3 287 288 289 <![endif]–>Thanks to Nicole from Three by Sea for passing the torch to me, and tomorrow, go visit the really pretty Mae Photo + Design blog for her idea of home.

My Papa

Father’s Day was yesterday and that means Father’s Day is on the blog roll for today. If you know my dad, you know that he’s awesome. If you don’t know my dad, you totally should.

When my dad left the staff at my home church in Missouri, something really cool happened. There was a big party for him on his last Sunday. They had Nascar cupcakes and loud music. It was super awkward for him, because he is in no way a limelight type of guy. He’d rather sit in a canoe on the lake for hours all by himself. But what went down that Sunday will always be one of the coolest days of my life, I believe. An hour or so into the party, people started lining up, unplanned, to talk to my dad and the rest of the family. They began telling us stories about how awesome he was basically. Stories about how he was strong in a situation that needed strength, stories about how he said just the right thing when something needed to be said, stories about a funny situation, stories about a child he helped turned into an adult, stories about the music he played at church that brought them to a place they desperately needed to be. My dad is cool – and other people know it. I was in tears most of the morning as other people were. It was such a moment of clarification for me. As an adult you learn to appreciate things about your parents that you can’t when you’re younger. I learned so much about my dad. He is the man that other men should aspire to be. He’s kind, he’s giving, he’s gracious to no end, he is smart and talented, he is the dad that all other dads should be measured by. I mean that.

I know this makes you uncomfortable because you don’t believe most of this stuff. But that’s just one more thing about you that’s awesome. You have taught me humility in a way that I can’t learn from the rest of the world. I’ve said before that one reason I can trust in a God that is Abba and loving and just and strong is because I have a dad who is the human version of that. Thank you for being a leader to our family. Thank you for riding shopping carts through the parking lot and making cow noises when we drive past a farm. Thank you for not caring about “stuff” and teaching your kids that stuff is nothing compared to the love of a family. Thanks for teaching me how to spit sunflower seeds and showing me how to take off a rabbit’s pajamas. Thank you for listening to and giving your lunch to that kid in my 5th grade class that didn’t have a lunch during the field trip to the Renaissance Festival. Thank you for being a dad that we never once had to question. And never once had to make excuses for. You said something to me on my way out the door to a party in high school. “Remember whose you are.” I know that you didn’t mean you – you meant Christ. But remembering that I’m your daughter is pretty great too.
I love you so very much,