liluga - love isn't love until given away

"Loving God means doing what he tells us to do, and really, that isn't hard at all." 1 John 5:3 NLT

Friday, September 9, 2016

Giving My Love Away

Sometimes we give a lot of ourselves away to please others. Especially as a mother, and even as a wife. Last week my husband, daughter, youngest son and I took a road trip to New Jersey. Driving to New Jersey wasn't originally in my plans, in fact, I really didn't want to go.  Early in July, I started researching taking a road trip to the Smoky Mountains. In my mind, we'd drive down, spend a couple nights at a quaint hotel with a pool, hike through the mountains, enjoy a few meals out, and basically relax a little. My kind of fun.

Shortly after I started my research, my husband, Ismael, and I got an invitation to a wedding in New Jersey. Ismael attends the Spanish ministry at our church and the wedding was for the pastor's daughter. I don't know that we would have made the trip for the wedding alone, however, when my daughter Mary, who is 20 and has always wanted to go to New York City, saw the invite, she got excited and said that we should go to NYC also. My husband wanted to go the wedding and Mary wanted to go to New York. They ganged up on me and the Smoky Mountains got voted down, much to my dismay.

I then began the process of researching hotels and mapping out our trip and found that I wasn't having any fun doing so. It's hard to be excited when planning a vacation that isn't on your dream radar and I got a little frustrated. Ismael and Mary didn't lend a hand in the planning, at all. I got to the point where I said "I'm tired, you guys do the planning!" Of course, if I didn't do the planning, we would never have gone. So I went ahead and took care of everything, except what to do in Manhattan once we were there (that I did delegate to Mary).  

The road trip turned out fine. The first day we stopped and stayed the night in a hotel in Clarion, Pennsylvania. All four of us had fun swimming in the indoor pool and taking relaxing showers. We dined at the local Applebees and settled into our hotel beds for a good night's sleep. We hit a little turbulence the next morning when we tried to wake Mary and Caleb up early so we could get some breakfast and get back on the road. The waitress at the hotel incorrectly told us that our meal was only 1/2 off, not free (I booked the "free breakfast" package), and I got a little grumpy. It did get straightened out and we silently ate our "free" breakfast. After a couple hours on the road, and after Mary and Caleb slept some more, all was good. That evening Ismael and I attended the wedding and the kids stayed behind with the television and their electronic devices. No worries.

The next morning, we slept in. I wasn't going to wake them an earlier than necessary. There was a NJ Transit bus right by our hotel which took us to Times Square in about 15 minutes. Once we walked out the doors of the bus terminal in Manhattan,  we were overwhelmed. It was crazy crowded. Now, as I mentioned earlier, I left the NYC planning to Mary. She hadn't done any planning at home, so I told her to figure it out the evening before while Ismael and I were at the wedding. She did her college homework instead. So, here we were, standing in the middle of Times Square, and not a plan for the day. So we walked and GPS'd places we wanted to see. We made it up to Central Park and back, and after about 4-1/2 hours, Ismael and Caleb were ready to call it a day. I think Mary and I could've gone on, but I didn't want to separate from them. We headed back to the bus terminal, waited 45 minutes for a bus and were safely deposited back at our hotel. Mary did get a good shot of the city from the bus window (pardon Caleb's nose):

That evening, Ismael and I went to a Tapas restaurant in New Jersey that is owned by a guy that Ismael had gone through veterinary school with in Mexico City. The kids had stayed the evening in the hotel again because they did not want to come with. For an hour and a half, we relaxed, ate some excellent food and chatted with Ismael's friend. We did get lost on the way back to the hotel when the GPS on my phone freaked out.  The next morning we awoke, somewhat early, and headed back home. Thankfully, the return trip was smooth and pleasant, well, as pleasant as a 15 hour drive across five states can be.

I felt bad after that, as if we traveled all that way to see so little. We spent a lot of time in the car. We did ordinary things like go to a wedding and eat out at a restaurant. We cruised around Manhattan and commented how we liked Chicago better. We drove through the Lincoln Tunnel, or should I say, we drove on a bus through the Lincoln Tunnel. I don't know if I could have driven it myself. And then we came home.

It comes down to this, we try so hard to please the ones we love, and sometimes we feel like we come up short. I only hope my children remember the good.  We were adventurous, we had fun, we saw the Big Apple, we walked through Central Park, we sat down at a TGI Fridays restaurant in Manhattan, looked at the highly inflated prices and walked out, we took a lot of pictures, had a few laughs and made some memories. 

 "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters."  
1 John 3:16

Thursday, August 18, 2016

What I Do Best

When I started this blog, I admit, I was hoping for fame and fortune. Truth, I would of taken just the fortune.

But what has happened along the way is, I realized fame and fortune take a lot of time to achieve!  Over the years, I've also learned many things about myself. To name a few, I do not like spending a lot of time on the computer, I need my eight hours of sleep each night, I love being in the kitchen and providing my family with healthy meals, and most important, I want to be fully there for my children.

But mostly, what I've found out about myself along the way is, I like the small and personal. I don't like social media. Keeping up with a blog overwhelms me. I'd rather write a card to just one person than to write for the masses. I like giving away lilugas.  Just don't ask me to make 100 of them and try to sell them on Etsy. Not gonna happen.

When I make a liluga, I enjoy the process of picking out the wool and the matching fabric. I take my time stitching the eyes, mouth and "L" on their behind. I like to give them names that have a special meaning to them (I always think of them as little guys, even though many of them are made with floral fabrics). I like listening for God to tell me who I should give one to, and I love hearing how they brightened someone's day.

I have come to a place of peace, and am o.k. with creating my lilugas and writing posts on my blog at a slow and relaxed pace. My goal is no longer fame and fortune, but to share my art and my words with a hurting world, one person at a time. I like that God has given me this talent that allows me to bless others in a small way. I think He knows that anything more than that would be too much for me!

While God calls many to write to the masses, and many do it very well, I know he does not call everyone. I personally do not have to do the "big thing". That takes the pressure off and I can flourish in the path He has set out for me. And as long as I do His work, I trust that He will always provide all that I need.

I am going to continue reaching out, one person at a time. To simply encourage them, love them and let them know they are cared for - personally.

Friday, July 1, 2016

To protect someone from something bad is a good thing. I do everything I can to protect my children from things that can harm them. I also do my best to protect myself from things that I think can harm me. However, is there a chance that we can protect ourselves from the good things God has to offer us?

In protecting myself from hurt, judgment, ridicule and many other imagined things, I believe I am also protecting myself from love, close friendships, happiness and more.  If I have a fear of writing this post, publishing it, and making myself vulnerable to others, then I will never do it. Not writing it keeps me protected, but it also keeps me lonely, un-encouraged and possible unloved.

However, writing this post, whether it be good or bad, is an exercise in letting go of this protective heart of mine. As I let down my shield, I allow God's people, who are good, to enter into my life. And this, I believe, is where true blessings can happen, not just to me, but to all of us.

A happy and blessed 4th of July to everyone!

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Friday, January 22, 2016

Taking Flight

Meet trixie, stella and Gwyn. Last August, these three brave birds flew all the way to California. I can tell you, they were a little afraid. They had never flown before, in fact, they never left my sewing room before. But I made them go. I knew they couldn't move on to greater things without taking flight.

They safely landed in Laguna Hills at the offices of Stampington and Company. There they auditioned to be featured in an upcoming issue of Stuffed Magazine.  Although I wasn't able to be there with them, I knew they would do a great job, and I am proud to say they were chosen to be published in the Spring 2016 issue (Available Feb. 1st). Way to go girls!

"But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Giving Love Away

The little guy above found a new home today and the little gal below was given away a few months ago.  In my sewing room I have a shelf full of lilugas awaiting their assignments to go and give some love away. Where they will go, nobody knows. Not even me.

As they wait for their assignments to go to their new homes, the lilugas are getting are getting a little antsy. They're tired of sitting on a shelf and want to be giving some love away. They stare at me with pleading eyes everyday. Oh my.

I know I have lots of love to give to others, yet I tend to put that love on a shelf as go about my busy days. Shelving my love means that I am missing opportunities to love and encourage others. Of course, I do eventually get around to giving the lilugas away. It's just not as often as I would like to. Thankfully the little guys constantly remind me.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Leaving the Nest

Kate and Bob on the roof, awaiting takeoff to new adventures.

Last Sunday, my oldest child, Max, flew out of the nest. He flew all the way to Oregon.

This mother's heart of mine wasn't quite prepared for how emotional it would be to have him leave home. Especially so far away (why couldn't he just move to Chicago?).  It has been hard this week but I am sure it will get easier as time goes on. Despite my crying and missing him, I am excited for Max and his new adventures (and even a little bit jealous).

As for me, all my new adventures are taking place in my sewing room. I have designed a new liluga. Simple, little and sweet. Quick and easy to make so I can give more away. Aren't they cute?

I also made some more birds, like Kate and Bob. Not sure where they'll land, but they are ready to go. Reminds me of life. I'm always on the go, but not always so sure of where I'll land. 

The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.

    I will advise you and watch over you.
Psalm 32:8 NLT

Sunday, January 4, 2015

A Word of the Year Do-Over

It is now January 4th and I still have not chosen my word for 2015. Is there a time limit on choosing? Who sets the rules? No and me.

The week before Christmas, I prayed for the Lord to reveal a word to me. The next morning, I received a Christmas gift from a friend. It was a plate that had the word "SHINE" written on it. I had just used that word in a sentence the day before, so I thought, "There's my answer! Shine it is."

To "shine" means "to glow forth or glow with light; shed or cast light, and to be bright with reflected light; to glisten; to sparkle" (from A year to shine for Jesus. Sounds fun and sparkly. But I'm not sure.

Shortly after Christmas I was writing in my prayer journal and writing what I felt God was speaking to me. As I was listening I saw a giraffe and some sheep. I felt God told me I was like a sheep, and I shouldn't try and be like a giraffe. Sheep follow their shepherd. They don't try and figure it out all on their own; they are incapable of doing so. They are simple.  

I thought "simple" would be a great word. A reminder to only look towards my shepherd and not to listen to any other voices. I looked up the meaning of the word; "easy to understand; not elaborate or artificial; plain; not ornate or luxurious; unadorned; unaffected; unassuming; modest; and not complicated"( All good things. But I'm not sure.

Last fall I had made a small flock of birds to sell for a fundraiser to help support a friend who was in need. They all sold, but nobody picked this guy and he was left on my shelf, all alone, for a couple of months. There was just something about him that didn't look right.
Then, the other day, a friend asked if I had any of my birds left for sale. I only had this same guy, but I didn't think he looked good enough to sell.  I took a long look at him and decided he needed a do-over. So I gave him a beak-job. Much better, don't you think?
Sometimes we have to go back and correct things before we can move forward. I feel like my word from last year, "overcome", still needs to be tweaked and worked with.  I still have much to overcome, and by the grace of God, I will. I believe "overcome" will be my word again in 2015. 

However, since I am making the rules, I am asking "shine" and "simple" to join me as I "overcome" this year. I bet we'll make a great team.

"And those who are wise—the people of God—shall shine as brightly as the sun’s brilliance, and those who turn many to righteousness will glitter like stars forever".  Daniel 12:3 (The Living Bible)

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