Open.

I still wonder what I’m going to be when I grow up, what is going to define me? Of course, once I sit with this question and unpack it I realize that there is never one destination. I’m never going to arrive at just one thing and say, YES, this is it! I’m an astronaut!

I think this idea of moving and changing and being open to the change is especially true for moms. Moms, I have so much empathy for us. We get pregnant, some of us working for years at being so, we go through the battle of labor, we claw through the monotony and utter exhaustion of toddlerhood, we arrive at elementary school and meet new mommy friends. We then realize we have a bit more time to ourselves. Some of us go back to work. Others volunteer like they are on a mission to Mars. We all continue to pour our hearts and attention into our family. We start to think about our kids getting into college. We remember our husbands are still walking in the door after dinner and lying next to us in bed when we are too tired to have a conversation. Who is that man over there? And during all this time, we have been growing older and moving on this electric, horizontal tram like in an airport. Where are we going? No one spot. Many of us gave up careers and forget the dusty resume. What are we today?

I have thought these things, shouted these things in retaliation to my husband and his thriving career and keep coming back to sitting and just being. Reminds me of my favorite Cat Stevens song that I used to listen to on repeat my senior year in college.

“Oh I’m on my way, I know I am
Somewhere not so far from here
All I know is all I feel right now
I feel the power growing in my hair. 

Oh life is like a maze of doors 
And they all open from the side you’re on” 

-Cat Stevens

I try to meditate every day. I pray and the answer I keep getting is just be. What does that even look like? I think it’s getting comfortable with not having a definition or an answer to “What do you do?” I think, for me, it’s being open. OPEN. Ahhhh, no really. I’ve been more open the more my body and mind have aged and I feel strongly that this is also what is meant to happen. I am open to sitting down and doing a puzzle in a quiet room. I am open to doing a girls’ weekend or having a hard conversation. I am open to traveling and being in a larger-sized jean. I am open to politics and injustice and new recipes and fostering cats and drinking aloe juice and not pestering my body with meat. And painting.

Cat fostering definitely is happening.

(Sailor is a refugee from PR and is currently available for adoption. Email me if interested cbensten@gmail.com I have 4 others as well that can be found on the Homeward Trails website.)

I always told myself that when I really made it in the world I’d shop at Whole Foods and I’d take a watercolor class. A few years ago, I did it. Crazy. I then started an oil painting class and what makes this a huge feat for me is that I was always told I was not a painter. I could be an artist and appreciate art, but the painters were another, more elete group of people that I would never belong. Psht!

Open.

I love my painting classes. My teacher tells me I’m really good at skies. I want to paint one of everything I see and have a whole room of blank canvas. I opened myself up to selling a few months and ago and now my sheep painting is in someone’s home! What?!

Yes, I know this is a cow and not a sheep. “Curious Cow” is available for sale.

Open.

Recently, I was asked to teach a Mommy & Me class at my art studio. Uh. Me? Ok. Moving through this new experience and being open to it makes me feel….like a grown up. The idea that I can say and do what I really, really like to do is real freedom. I’m in this lane for now and next year I may move to another lane, but I feel like more of myself all the time.

View my class and profile at https://arthouseseven.com/
I’m teaching Art Together Thursdays at 10. Just look for my name. xo

Summer-Activity Caddy

I found the cutest, shabbiest tool box at Luckett’s Spring Market this year. It is wonderfully chippy with lots of little nooks and crannies on the interior. I have had it sitting on my kitchen table, filling it with fruit for the kids to grab. Of course, now that it’s the dog days of summer we need a bit more than fruit to get through!

I decided to fill it with activities that they can grab when I hear the dreaded phrase, “I’m bored.” As a introvered person that is never bored you can imagine how much I hate this phrase. There is always something creative one can get into.

I filled the caddy mostly with items that I already owned so I really did not spend any money. Some of the items I added were games, books, cross stitch kits, knitting needles and yarn, colored pencils, notebooks and a few little green faux plants to make it pretty.

My Fiona Tate happens to be the best knitter in the house. We love these balls of yarn that include about five colors. She’s taught everyone in the house how to knit.

I also love these Exercise Dice to keep kids entertained, exercising and hopefully tired 🙂

We love a good joke book over here and I recently purchased a few family devotional books to discuss over dinner.

The kids also have the option of writing everyone little notes with these sweet notecards that I purchased at The Urban Farmhouse.

I imagine I’m going to have to add and edit a few items as kids get, ahem, bored.

Adoptable Kitties

Hi, My long, lost loves! How is everyone? So I’m still moving around furniture, going to barn sales as well as trying my hand at watercolors and oil painting, raising humans and….saving lives. Cat lives. If you’ve followed me for a while you know that my pets always find a way into my photos and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I started working at local shelters socializing and caring for cats and walking dogs. This Spring I started the foster process after wearing DH down!

Ivy, Clover and Holly (from left)

It has been such a special experience and one that I will not stop doing for the rest of life. I’m primarily working with Homeward Trails, which is such a special organization. They seek out animals in need all over the county and outside of the US. They will take in as many cats and dogs as possible from shelters that cannot care for them. I’ve even received a request from a coordinator to grab a flashlight and head over to the 7-11 because someone spotted a mama and her babies hiding amongst the trashcans.

Since Spring is kitty season, we took in a mama and her three babies. It has been an unbelievable experience watching Mama nurse her 1 lb babies and care for them and keep them alive. We almost lost Clover to pneumonia early on.

Holly (Girl), Clover (Boy) and Ivy (Boy) are all available for adoption RIGHT NOW.

Holly
Clover
Ivy

As a girl that loves God, I know that offering empathy is, well, pretty much everything. I am trying to teach my kids this concept more than anything else. Right now my family is not able to travel to Kenya or build homes in Honduras, but we can offer shelter to the littlest of creatures.

Ivy, Holly, Clover (from bottom)
Clover
Mama, Clover and Ivy
Ivy

I love this process so much that we also are fostering Lulabelle. A sweet five year old that has been living in and out of homes and is slow to trust. Sweet Lulu. Greta discovered recently that she loves the piano. If we play the piano, she comes running and rubbing. It’s quite amazing. Lulu is also available for adoption.

Lulabelle

If you have space in your home and heart for any of these babies, please email me. I pray for the perfect homes for these Loves. cbensten@blueeggbrownnest.com