magic: to not just survive

its not every day i read a blog and it changes my life immediately. you may have noticed over there-------> my new "i read nienie" button. this is the blog of stephanie nielson. she is a 28 year old married, jesus-loving, mother of 4 kids under 7 (no multiples). her blog has been going for at least 4 years now.


tuesday morning i was at work and feeling so dang blue. 'adrift' is the perfect word for it. i felt i wasnt living out any purpose. i was looking at my single friends' pictures of them traveling all over the world with limited responsibilities and having all kinds of adventures while i sit at home breastfeeding watching 4 tivo'ed episodes of king of the hill in a row. i thought, 'oh great, i am already starting to resent becoming mom. way to go keight, you made it about 4 months.' but i realized that wasnt my place in life that had me down, it was what i was making of it. i gladly traded the fancy free newlywed life for a family with kids, and i know that was the right thing to do. no amount of freedom, or travels, or adventures can ever replace or top the magic that comes with having a adorable snuggley child and a wonderful husband. what i was glum about was that i had made that trade but wasnt living up to my part of it. the colorful wonderland of motherhood i have always wanted looks more like an east german minimum-security prison cell right now...100% by my own doing because i havent been after the magic like i should be.

so i told jesse about this and he said he felt the same. we kind of slipped into this pattern of just surviving each day. and we, by no means, have the kind of baby or situation that its is sometimes necessary to simply survive. i told him i had found this blog that very day and that it was this amazing gorgeous mom who is so clever and literally MAKES this wonderful life for her family with her hands and her creativity and how in love she is with her handsome husband and never gripes about him or her crazy family like a lot of bloggy moms tend to. they have end of season parties, and back to school feasts complete with crowns and fashion shows and they just live this life that jumps out of the screen at you and slaps you in your lazy ass face...in a sweet way. she is one of those people that convince you that they somehow get 30 hour days instead of 24 like the rest of us. her house is not grand my any means, but it is just so alive with the life they have made. i was jealous and pouty about how i am not crafty or artistic like her and that they must be rich and its just no fair because i'll never be like that. i was probably such pleasure to be around. (and it probably had something to do with getting my first post-judah period the next day)
jesse looked at the blog and told me they probably arent rich, and she doesnt have more time than the rest of us. he said they probably just dont watch 3-4 hours of TV a day like we do. he told me that time is the most precious resource we have, and we havent been using it like our hearts want us to. so i started to come around and think, hey thats true, maybe i can be more like her. and its not really nienie i am trying to be like; its a fuller version of myself i am needing to be more like. my real god-given, life-inspired self; k8 to the max (scary). just put down the remote and back away slowly. turns out, i havent f-ed up judah for life with my bland tv-watching, couch-sitting ways for the last 3 months. theres hope!

but there is something crazy about stephanie's life now. a little over a year ago she and her husband were flying in a small private plane (she had given him lessons for his bday) and it crashed. her husband escaped before the plane went up in flames but he went back in and saved her. he was burnt over i believe about 20% of his body from going back for her and she over 80%. she was in a coma for months. her youngest son (2 years i think) didnt recognize her when she woke up and would call her sister who had been caring for him 'mom' instead. she has an entirely new face and body. slowly over this last year she has begun recovering, blogging again and discovering who this new version of stephanie is. shes alot like the old one. magical and talented and quirky and colorful and in love with her husband more now than ever. it was so freaking inspiring to see that even with 100% justifiable excuses to give up and 'check out' of life or at least coast for awhile that she has come back and is keeping the magic alive for her and her family while she wrestles with recovery and acceptance of this new, less shiny, yet still perfect life.

i bought this super cool vera bradley journal back at the start of august because i loved the idea of all the tiny little patterns from 20 years in one big colorful quilty place. but for a month i hadnt had any ideas of what to put in it. i dont journal at all (i blog, hello?) and my grocery lists just didnt seem important and beautiful enough. somehow opening up this adorable little book to find lists of onions, hemorrhoid cream (thanks judah, ily), and dog food just wasnt gonna cut it. so jesse had the great idea of making it our "magic book." so now we put all of our hopes and visions of the family life we dream of and picture for ourselves in it and try to make them happen TODAY. i have straight stolen several of nienie's ideas and added some of our own. i am no way creative enough right now to come up with the projects that she invents, but i can sure as hell copy the ones that fit us until i can! here are a few little ideas we like for our magical life:

-make annual silhouettes of the family and frame them
-go junking and to farmers markets
-celebrate unusual holidays (seasons, jewish holidays, flag day!)
-be outside more
-build a pimp tree house
-gather inspirational photos for our dream house to motivate us to save up for it
we have always known that there are grand, beautiful, wonderful, mysterious and oh so magical stories written on our hearts by god. this is the reason that we love harry potter and narnia and star wars so much because they reignite that wonder in us. now its our time to get out there write our own chapters. we arent having a major family remodel or a life intervention here, we are just talking about making a few different 15 minute decisions every day that will add up to way more than anything tivo has to offer.

here is a bible verse we wrote on the first page of our magic book: "It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings." search we shall. giddy up.

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  1. Get it girl! And you are creative I remember all the paintings you used to do. I am so proud of you and am inspired by you!!!

  2. My dear Keight--my eyes are filled with 'mist' as I read these amazing and wonderful words...I so love the YOU that's inside you, and am so excited about you letting YOU out! (The outside's a real looker too!) I'm thrilled with the way you think things out, and come to grand conclusions, and go for the gold. I don't believe you'll ever regret giving up TV land for magical reality, and I'm so thrilled to be a part of the magic you will create. I love you dear 'daughter'.
    Your 'other' mom

  3. Judah and Jesse are lucky to have you!
    I think this is oh-so-wonderful!

    Wish I were there to go "junking" with you! :)

    love you.

  4. You just inspired me! My world just turned upside down... and I want to find some magic too!!! I love you so much and I'm so proud for the life you have!

  5. I barely know you Keight and I love you :) Thanks for this post! I saw it at work the other day but didn't have time to do anything more than glance at pictures but I made a mental note to come back this morning when I had time to read it in it's entirety. Can't wait til Chris wakes up to share this with him :) XO-Hill