It’s Ok To Feel Sad

It's ok to feel sad www.christasterken.com

Today was the last day of school at our house.

The shelves were emptied and dusted. Desktops were tidied.

It's ok to feel sad www.christasterken.com

The pens were put back in the cups.

I even emptied the pencil sharpener.

It's ok to feel sad www.christasterken.com

Over the past month, I’ve been slowly going through the books and shelves. Eliminating all of the curriculum and extras that would no longer be needed. Boxes are full of sale items, ready to be moved out.
There have been a lot of lasts lately. I’m uncharacteristically, seriously, way early prepared for the fall— our last year. With my last child. I just wanted to make sure I had a plan. A good one.

This week I ordered curriculum. Another last.

It made me feel a bit sad.

It's ok to feel sad www.christasterken.com

It is sort of hard to explain to people, feeling sad. We are too quick to rush in and comfort each other. Filling the void with words and promises of encouragement. (you can tweet that)

I started thinking that is is OK to be sad a bit, and just own it. Reflect on it.

quote- okay to be sad www.christasterken.com

After educating these girls for so many years…after so very many “firsts”…this season of life just naturally holds “lasts”.

It isn’t the sort of lingering pain that prevents function. It doesn’t mean I don’t delight in the hope of my girls future. Or that I refuse to cherish their adulthood.

I’ve just had the deepest pleasure of holding them close for their childhoods. And now, it is time to see the fruit of the efforts. That is a good thing.

It is in these seasons that God often has special lessons for us. Things we might miss otherwise.

My aunt gave me jars a few years ago filled with glass pebbles. One for each month, for each year, for each girl, until they left for college (or their own homes). Every month the pile grew smaller.

It's ok to feel sad www.christasterken.com

It was a reminder to live in the moment. To not miss the time in front of us. A wonderful gift.

I recounted the pebbles today as I cleaned off my desk. An accurate count was necessary.

A feeble attempt was made to explain bittersweet to my teen.

Being sad does NOT mean a lack of joy about the future. It simply means a true appreciation for what you have. Have had. And a reluctance to say goodbye.

And for a mother’s arms, bittersweet just is part of the journey. Of course, a young person can’t yet understand that sort of thing.

So own the sadness when it comes. Recognize what it is about. Change what you can and ride out the rest.

These lasts? They are simply the first steps of the new pathways to a lifetime of NEW firsts.

That is exciting.

What do you think? Does it seem ok to thoughtfully just stay with the emotions? Or, do you think we should muscle through them?

***There is a huge difference between feeling sad and clinical depression. Take care to know the signs and get help if you need it, please

Did You Know You Are Already Creative?

Would you consider yourself artistic?

Statistically, there is a good chance you said no. Studies show that a staggering amount of people would never classify themselves as having a creative spirit.

I don’t need a study to know you might feel that way. I hear it all the time. It saddens me how often people look at something I’ve created, and respond negatively. Not about my art, but about their own talent.

you are creative www.christasterken.com #youarecreative

I don’t have a creative bone in my body. Oh, that is nice for you but I’m just not creative. I could never do something like that. I wish I was creative too.

Here is the thing, I don’t believe you. Not one teensy bit. And you shouldn’t believe that either. Please, stop telling yourself you are not creative. It simply isn’t true.

YOU ARE CREATIVE.

It is a misunderstanding of what the word creative means. [Read more…]

Establish The Work Of My Hands

10

I’ve felt a little out of sorts lately.

Not in a bad way. Just different. The roles in life I’ve held for many years are changing. Who I am, really, is changing.

There is a sense of momentum.

You know how when pieces of a dream come to you, and it sparks a recognition? The whole dream isn’t there, just the outer edges. That is sort of how my future is presenting itself to me.

The dreams are sort of like the clouds as they shift shapes. [Read more…]

What Forrest Gump Had Right

Remember when Forrest Gump told us that life was like a box of chocolates? I think he was on to something.

What Forrest Gump Had Right www.christasterken.com

I am that person who gets a box of chocolate and wants to pierce the bottom of each one, testing to see if the flavor is a favorite. Or, one that I don’t want to eat.

My life is a beautiful ornate box, delicate details carved into the case. Filled with the sweetest treats.

Like every variety box, there does remain a few pieces that I would rather toss out.

There have been times where forced a bite into a piece that about gagged me. No time to carefully test it, I had to bite right in. [Read more…]

DIY {Image Transfer Onto Canvas}

DIY Image transfer onto canvas #imagetransfer #DIY #tutorial www.christasterken.com

Image Transfer  Gallery Wall

The internet is full of ideas showcasing the hot trend of Image Transferring. It involves simple ways of using favorite photos and transferring the scene onto various surfaces. Wood, fabric, and even furniture make interesting mediums to showcase pictures.

While many methods involve a bit of elbow grease, this one is perfect for any DIY’ers. It is the easiest way I’ve found to create small image projects. To create a gallery wall, I chose family photos that represent our history. Wanting my children to see the people we tell stories about, I chose a variety and made them black and white for a cohesive look. [Read more…]

When The Kids Grow Up And These Arms Are Empty, Who Will Fill My Lap?

Parenting  www.christasterken.com

Who will fill my empty lap?

Around 5 years ago I became acutely aware of how fast childhood was going for my girls. I sensed the days of my lap having children in it were passing, almost imperceptibly.

The heartache I knew would follow those days stalked me. [Read more…]

Work Ethic And My Dad’s Hat

Dad's hat

I love to see my dad wearing this old, broken  work hat.

It reminds me of who he is, and who he taught me to be. [Read more…]

Bible Journaling: Using Transparent Text Overlays

bible journaling tutorial www.christasterken.com

You know how sometimes you see something…and there is an immediate sensation of recognition?

Of finding exactly what you were looking for, even if you didn’t know you needed it? That is how I felt the first time I was introduced to the concept of Bible journaling. I came across this post by Shanna Noel.

For a easily distracted sort, like myself, this was a perfect blend of creativity and faith. I’ve been doing this for less than a year, but get such joy from it, it’ll be a long time pursuit. Most entries are fairly simple as I learn new techniques.

A friend shared a song with me, and the lyrics hit me in a deep place. A special piece of art by Maxfield Parrish has been my “soul” expression for decades. They were a perfect combination.

I was inspired to do a detailed entry using transparencies with text overlays. I love the way the song lyrics were less dramatic than the lines chosen to be accents, blown up on the center of the picture underneath.

bible journaling tutorial  www.christasterken.com

Don’t be afraid to experiment!  The looser you approach this, the more fun you’ll have. Mistakes can be made into something new. Beginning is the hardest part. This layout was much easier than you might think. I broke it down into many steps JUST to show you specific details in case this is new to you. The whole layout came together very quickly.

How might you imagine using this technique?

Here is a detailed step-by-step tutorial, to help you create a similar style in your own journaling Bible.

[Read more…]

How to love your spouse, when they have nothing left to give

how to love spouse www.christasterken.com

Sometimes loving our spouse takes great effort.

My husband had struggled in a difficult time for several years. Not that he hadn’t found joy in his home life, but his career has held  profound personal disappointment.

A hard place to be in.

On one hand, humble gratitude to have a job when so many don’t. There is no job security in his world, so he doesn’t take this lightly.

On the other hand, much of his perceived self-value comes from the work of his hands.

And that work has been life stealing instead of satisfaction giving. [Read more…]

Things Not To Say (when my mom gets cancer)

Things not to say when someone gets cancer www.chrisasterken.com

Today is a big day.

I want to share with you the story of when my mom got cancer. And what is was like for someone who loved her…

I couldn’t be more honored to share this as a guest post today on The Wounded Dove. My sweet friend Charity invited me to contribute there, and if you haven’t read her stuff, she is worth the time investment.

If you wouldn’t mind clicking here to come read the story, we’d love to have you join us on her site.

See you there hopefully, and I’d be grateful if you left a comment to help me thank her for the belief she felt in sharing this story.

P.S. Here is a link to one of my favorite post of hers. The transparency in her work is a beautiful thing indeed ♥