Blissdom 2012 I'm a New

I really don't want to write this post for so many reasons.  The biggest reason being if I am writing this, then it is over.  It probably means I am a little depressed.  The last three months have been spent preparing for this trip.  It is the highlight of my year - and it is only February.  I am sad.  My four days of fellowship, encouragement, transparency, parties, little men picking up my plate, free mochas, amazing workshops, captivating speakers, wonderful roomie, remembering to shower, actually wearing makeup, dressing like an adult, and learning like I was in college again are all over.  

Or did I leave Blissdom with a beginning?  I think I just might have!  Thru a group of amazing sisters I found a new belief in myself.  The artistic voice I have inside of me is important - a gift from God, and needs to be shared.  I once again found the strength to believe that despite the pitfalls, life is beautiful still. Everywhere I looked - I found inspiration.  Inspiration not by accident.  Imagine being surrounded by 699 women (a shout out to a couple of men) who believe in you with absolutely no prejudices?

Author Jon Acuff - Quitters

That is my Blissdom. It was awesome, wonderful, super, encouraging, supportive, open, allowable, revealing, insightful, educational, hugging, peaceful, crazy, and a gift.  

Picture blissdom conference

I will share the details soon there is just too much swimming around to pin it down.  Just know that I didn't just have a good time, I found a bit of a calling.  There are still some details to work out of that calling but that will happen on its' own.  For now I blog to encourage you just as I was blessed to be encouraged this past weekend.  Some gifts are meant to be shared.  


Moses and Billy Idol

Average Family @church
Moses is a given in any children’s church curriculum.  Why wouldn’t he be?  He is great.  His story is amazing!  But Billy Idol?  Billy Idol is generally not a part of traditional church curriculum.  Especially at a Southern Baptist Church. That is unless one of my little ones is in class.  Yes folks you read that right, Michael and I are training are children to love Jesus via 80’s rock n roll.

              Source: projekt-klangwelt.com via Klangwelt on Pinterest
It began at the Friday night school dance.  W decided it would be a good idea to dress like a rockstar, thus was born the 6 year old version of Billy Idol.  This “Billy” had blue jeans, a red bandana around his head, and a sleeveless cut off flannel shirt in a lumber jack type plaid pattern.  Sounds
more like a version of Larry the Cable Guy if you ask me.  Instead of Billy Idol, it would be more on key to call this one “Billy Jo.”  But redneck or not, my son proudly came in 5th in the costume competition at that night!  He was living the dream.  He would continue to hold onto that dream well into Sunday morning.

That is when he decided it would be beneficial to introduce his church friends to the likes of his new rockstar status.  No, he did not sing “White Wedding” or make perverse dance moves.  He waited during the Moses lesson for a quite moment to blurt out, “does everyone know who Billy Idol is?”.  If you blurt out anything to a group of kindergarteners, of course they want to know.  And if you are a 6 year old who friends want to know about something you seem to know about - you are suddenly a celebrity.  This is the perfect storm for a kid like W.  
So, next time your child’s Sunday School teacher says, “You won’t believe what your child did in class today.”  Don’t ask.  Just hang up the phone. They will ultimately understand. 

This is more of a club than a post.  A place where you know you can be excepted - even on Sundays.  As much as we try to get to church with everything in place, it just doesn’t happen as we planned -- never.  So come along with the Cloudt’s as we candidly share our not so perfect Sundays.


Come to Blissdom with me!

Seriously, you already are................if it wasn't for a great community I wouldn't be going.  You all have stepped in a crazy way and I am forever thankful for each of you!

-Thank you to One 2 one network for giving me tickets!  You guys rock!
-thank you to the person who put the envelope in our mailbox, you know who you are.
- thank you to the friends who let me obnoxiously borrow clothes
- thank you to the friend of Etsy who ordered scarfs
- thank you to my friend's mothers who ordered items from my facebook page
- thank you to those who have called me for baby gifts 
- thank you to the fellow crazy ladies who meet in the Kroger parking lot to exchange goods
- thank you to the friends who have offered to watch my kids
- thank you to my husband's employer who gave him two days to work at home
- thank you to my in laws who are coming to help with the kids even though......well
- thank you for the texts, calls, emails, comments - each is so important to me

Now do I think going to a blogging conference is the most important thing in the world?  No!  This conference is an opportunity to fine tune a voice that is dying to explode.  A voice that I hope will reach others.  A voice that I hope will encourage others.  A voice that I hope will minister to others.  A voice to relate with.  You see I only getting in the car and going.  In the end, I hope that this blog turns into something much bigger than anything I could ever do.  

I am super excited!  Really excited!  Not to mention that I am almost on the brink of insanity with nerves.  But knowing that you all are coming with me is helping calm that craziness.  

Thank you my friends!


I am woman hear me meow

I have been given the amazing opportunity to go to my first blogging conference this year, well this week, no really in three days!

Blissdom is a chance for this blog to go places no other (well maybe some) blogs have gone before.  For four days, I will join a mind blowing group of 698 woman and 2 men for learning, connecting, fun, music, and fellowship.  Something that sound great for any mom of 4.  Four days - kid free.  Four days - hubby free (love you snuckems).  Four days - peeing puppy free.  Four days - stress of moving free.  Four days in a new city = rock on.

But I have seemed to replace that pre-bliss with, well -- ugh.  I worry that I won't connect with some people.  I have fear that I will look like a fool in the sessions (I'm so green that green is laughing at me).  I doubt my choice of wardrobe.  After all, I hardly leave the house.  In the past week, I have eaten enough Girl Scout Cookies to support the entire troop.  I am not nervous, I went way over nervous a while ago.

Source: svpply.com via Lauren on Pinterest

Those who know me will think I am lying.  I am the person bold enough to walk across the room to shake hands.  It is the same person who has given countless speeches in front of hundreds of people.  This gal has also been known to take on men much larger in the name of what's right.  And forget it if someone does wrong to my kids -- that is pretty easy for me.  I can roar like a lion when I want.  I am hard, I am confident, I am a jokester, I am a mom of four -- can't I pretty much accomplish anything?

But for some reason, I write this post in a quiet meow.  Not sure of where my place is.  I have taken a gift and turned it into my own little world of insanity.

See, right now I am a big fish in my own little pond.  On Thursday, I will be a very very little fish in an ocean.  So somewhere in the next three days, I need to find my scuba gear of strength.  Because now it is time to sink or swim.  I choose swim.

What will you choose today?


Intentionally your Valentine

 Intentional Tuesdays Valentines Edition

Sometimes my big boy has a hard time explaining just how he is feeling.  Mostly life is stressful to this little guy for reasons I can’t explain.  Sensory issues tend to seize his day, but when this guy breaks through, he does it in a big meaningful way.
What I thought was just an avoidance of homework the other day, became one of the sweetest Valentines I have ever received.  

It took him about twenty minutes of hiding in the basement before he was done.  He took the initiative to get out the supplies, he had his own plan, and he executed it perfectly. 

There was hot glue, safety pins, staples galore.  A little bit of stuffing and a bit of felt.  Finished all off with a zebra jersey heart.  It is double sided and perfect for pins.  Every time I sew, I will be reminded of what I am SEW FOUR.  


if the day were a series of tweets

I am new to Twitter.  I have no idea what I am doing on Twitter.  At this point, I am convinced that Twitter is out to get me.  It is like a giant vortex of daily details into the lives of people I have yet to meet. Kind of similar to a reality show without the videos to go with it.

But today was seriously interesting.  Heck, everyday is interesting.  I thought, just for a moment, what if I was one of those people who tweeted every minute?  What would my day look like......Here is an insight to the insanity I deal with everyday.  Seinfeld style.

#ymca -why is the guy next to me still running while farting?

why do some women at the #ymca think it is cool not to wear a bra?

Dear lady honking her horn at me to run across the parking lot so she can have my spot #seriously?

sugar in my Mcd's coffee again #argh!

just got my toe nearly run over by a lady in a go around at #target

same lady told me I needed to put some lipstick on at #target

no one is feeling the love in the Valentine's aisle at #target - very much the opposite

#Redbox broken at #Kroger means I won't return the movies until my kids are in #college

finding surprise roses at the house #cliche yet melts my heart!

calling a friend who is wanting to go into labor to remind her she isn't in labor yet - #cruel

got a valentine from my 8 year old - #sweetness

going again to another #kroger to find another #redbox broken in the insane men traffic at the floral department - urgh!

watching the puppy pee on the floor yet again #fustrating

telling my 10 year old not to pick her nose, only to get the reply - "Why its' my nose?" #gross

Writing this post and realizing it is bedtime for the munchkins #priceless.

In the details.

I haven't "worked" in 10 years!  I left my bureaucratic job for motherhood a year before my little Russian baby came home.  At the time, I was itching to leave.  To say I hated my job would be an understatement.  To say I hate to work would be wrong.  

Since that time, I haven't punched a time clock but I certainly haven't taken off.  The year before we had children I spent countless hours sewing.  All to raise the ridiculous amount of money we needed to bring our baby home.  I have taken time out to minister to others.  Something I would never call work but rather a blessing.  There have been years that I have worked for minimum wage in the church nursery to make it all work out.  I have been known to sell anything that isn't breathing on Ebay to keep clothes on the kids.  Right now, I sew.  I sew everyday.  For you all I sew.  For my kids, I sew.  Because I am blessed, I sew.  

And even though I tend to make up the difference at the times we need it, this year has been the tightest it has ever been.  There have been occasional conversations about me finding "a real job".  I just really feel a strong conviction to be here when my kids are.  It is my calling to be available.  

But the other night, I fell to the lies and began to look.   A depressing look.  What does a mom of 4 with a college degree in International Politics do after 10 years of being out of the loop?  I looked, and looked, and looked.  After a few minutes.  I realized in the "real world" of "real jobs" I qualify to be a lunch room monitor.  Now, I love our lunch room monitor -- she is great!  She is important.  But when you have a little one to put in daycare, being a lunch room monitor equals out to pay about 1.50 a hour.  

So I began to cry.  I believed I had no value.  Well, no value to help our family.  At the same time I began to bang my head against the MAC, the email chime went off.  I had just sold one of my sales items on Etsy.  

So in my dismay, there he was - holding 12.00 out to me.  To remind me that I do have value and he does provide.  It just may be in his way, at his time......not mine.


not your average Italian

I'm not Italian.  Not one little bit.  But I did grow up in New York.  If you grew up in the New York you can claim to be Italian.  Not really, but you can sure love their food!  Seriously, love Italian food!  I miss that food so much-- especially the pastries!

When I was a kid, I always looked forward to my birthday every year -- really just for the cake.  You know cake from a "real" bakery.  The kind of bakery that was completely stark white inside.  There were some mean old ladies who stood behind a counter that reached their noses.  As they barked at you, your eyes couldn't help but take in the homemade deliciousness behind them.  Leaving the real bakery meant you carried out a plain white box tied with red and white bakers twine.  This is where my birthday cake came from.  My cannolli filled, freshly made birthday cake.  Life was good to be a kid with a birthday, living in New York.

And while I have seen tons of wantabes in the south, I have N.E.V.E.R. had a real cannolli here.  But now, south of the south (in sunny south Florida) is a real Italian bakery.  One with white boxes, red string, and cannollis!  That is why I was crazy excited for my mom's most recent visit.  She was driving up this time and next to her in a cooler would be boxes of cannollis, rainbow cookies, and napoleans!  About 100,000 calories riding shotgun in the Honda on their way to me.

Needless to say, I have had the best week ever.  I can still taste the sweet riccotta filing even though it took me all of two minutes to polish everything off.


Setting A Record Straight

Meaningful Monday - a sometimes crooked walk. 

I am blessed!  For the last 12 months, my family has been surrounded by a faithful community who has called, written, texted, and emailed encouragement almost on a daily basis.  The outpouring of love has been overwhelming and undeserving.   It is one strong backbone of what has carried Michael and I thru the last many months.  The last many months, we never hope to never experience again.  

But a few conversations in the last many weeks have burdened me to set a record straight. Some wonderful friends have commented on "how strong my faith is." Now don't get me wrong, I love my God - he is awesome. But I am not happy about this.  Nope, not one bit.  Not right now at least.  Who would WANT to see their husband think he is defeated?  Who would WANT to worry in the wee hours of the morning about what is going to happen next?  Who would WANT their faith in people destroyed?  Who would WANT upheave their kids?  Really, I don't WANT any of it!  Do you know anyone I can give it to? Frankly -- I am sick of it.

But as ugly as it is, or can get, I know that God has a plan for my family and he is sticking to it.  So at this point I may be upset but I have two options.  I can either kick and scream and make it as miserable as I can. Or I can go with it, and ride it out, looking for the SONshine the whole time.  I choose the latter for now.  

                                                                 Source: brabournefarm.blogspot.com via Pamela on Pinterest

That is where the faith lands my friends.  I don't have faith in the perfect house.  I don't have faith that all people will treat my family the right way.  I don't have faith in my husband's new job.  I don't have faith in those things, because they are temporary. I have faith that I have a father who knows best -- even when I don't agree with him.  

So, the cover of my book may be very pretty to look at but the story underneath resembles a bit of a tornado at the moment. That is just part of it, a chapter that is.   There will be chapters of sunshine and roses. But in the meantime, the ground needs to be tilled, mud thrown, and hard work put in for those roses to grow.  


                                                                   Source: everydaypeoplecartoons.com via Jennifer on Pinterest


My Blog - what?

Before I went to Blissdom, I thought I would have all this creative energy and time to get my vision for my blog firmly grounded.   I know that I want to create a community.  A real community.  This should be a place to celebrate each other but it should also be a place to lift each other high during the lows.  It is important that readers know that they are not judged because the author is human too.  Life is exciting.  I want this blog community to be exciting too.  

                                                                           Source: abbysharp.tumblr.com via Gina on Pinterest

So Blissdom is three weeks away. And while I have some ideas on where I want to be as a blogger, I just can not seem to get it together.  Life has taken control in a time where I need to be able to dream.  The once creative necessity has been replaced by fear and doubt.  I have no idea what the future holds for my family, let alone how can I worry about this fairy tale career I have made up for myself?
But today I realized, that things may not be going my way but they will pass.  And out of this storm will be something beautiful; a rainbow of sorts.  A promise that his works are intentional.  A promise to stop and listen to what I need to learn.  A promise of things yet to come.  A promise to make the most of my gifts.  A promise of continual support.  A promise to you -- that I am getting it together.  For this blog is so much more important that a housewife vent.  It is a safe place.  A safe place for what I hope will be many, soon.
Blissdom is still three weeks away and I can not promise that I will have my ideas solidly  rooted before I head the car north.  But perhaps, that I why God made sure I would get to Nashville?  
While it seems to be a down week at the Sew Four palace the Lord showed up and gave me a place to start.  Four words to start with.............( I would love to hear what they mean to you!)

Welcome to Sew Four my friends, come see what this blog is so for