Wednesday, May 30, 2012

a notable exception - a wildfire

this weekend was to be nothing but relaxation and revival
well there was definitely a lot of that
with one notable exception
a wildfire

one whose flames licked at the edges of our quiet cul-de-sac
threatening our families' homes
i was not there
i was not there to witness it
but oh the images in my mind were vivid enough
i was not there to help
i was not there to comfort
i was not there

it was the end of the first day of a fabulous workshop {that i will be posting about soon}
my thoughts were on heading toward the beach and maybe catching a movie
the first call was made to me by mike in a rather casual voice
'there's a fire on the hill'
i wasn't quite entertained by his idea of going to video it

what followed was nothing short of the scene in a movie in which you find yourself yelling at the screen telling the girl what to do, because she's incapable of making any decisions on her own

phone calls and texts from family, dear friends, and neighbors
telling us they could see the fire
asking if we were ok
offering help
showing up at my house to race my children to safety
asking me forcefully what they should throw into my van
what should they save...?
what items would i want to preserve if our entire house went up in flames?
i could hear the urgency in their voices, the chaos behind them

i was absolutely paralyzed, completely incapable of thinking on my own
{begin screen screaming...}
the only things i could think of were my computer, my hard drives, and my photos
thankfully i knew where all those were
but could my lips articulate how to find them in my house?
not without much stuttering, repetition of ineffectual words like 'um' and 'uh', and flailing of my arms

what else, they asked
i could not think, my body was shaking, my teeth were chattering, it was too much
to my rescue came two girls, two strangers, guardian angels really, that i had met that day at the workshop
they stayed by my side, thinking for me, and yelling out ideas
important documents
blessing and wedding dresses
wedding album

i could not believe this was happening
i needed to be home, but i was too far away, there was nothing i could do in time
i wondered why i was here
i had felt such a divine thread in me coming to the workshop that i had a hard time understanding why Heavenly Father would want me to be here when my home was yards away from becoming ash
mike continued to reassure me that everything was going to fine, not to come home, there was no need.
he began telling me a silly story about the kids responding to mike's request for them to grab what was important and leave, by grabbing their gatorades and treats they had just bought at the store.  i have to admit that i was annoyed at first that he would 'waste' precious time by telling me about my children's juvenile thoughts on what defined 'important', but as i began to laugh an amazing thing happened:
i began to calm down
mike's humor had disengaged my frantic behavior and i began to feel capable of handling this
i later thanked my Heavenly Father for blessing me with a man who is just perfect for me
a man that knows exactly what i need and what i needed at that moment

i got off the phone reassured that if those remaining at the workshop would offer a prayer on our behalf, that i could make it home alone
{as the girls had offered to drive me}
april offered a heartfelt prayer on behalf of my family and i felt the peace i needed and the lessening of the wobbling of my legs
it is a beautiful thing what prayer can do to unite near strangers

i received updates from mike and my mom and leslie as i drove home
the peace remained with me
and 15 minutes before i arrived home, the fire was contained and had not reached closer than 50 yards to our home, 50 yards is way too close for my comfort but i'll take it

as i pulled up to the house and saw the charred hill i was overcome with emotion and my legs began to give out, my body began to shake, and my teeth began to chatter once again
i opened my front door to the solid smell of fire hitting me in the face
and to two of my boys running down the stairs calling out to me and engulfing me in hugs,
oh i needed that
oh how grateful i was for those who came to our aid
oh how grateful for that front door and for those gripping arms of my children
mike was calm as if nothing had happened
the yin to my yang

several times i went outside before bed to see flashlights of those heroic firemen casing the hill for hotspots and doing whatever firemen do that i am so grateful for
i went to sleep listening to their saws and knowing they were keeping watch
those who know me, know that i do not cook, bake, wok, etc and i have never wanted to bake cookies before, ever, but those firemen need some cookies to say the least

in the morning i walked down the stairs and noticed the ash on the floor for the first time

i strolled around my cul-de-sac and surveyed the damage
oh how close it came
it was a sobering sight
even the animals felt it
i heard coyotes howling, birds screeching, and saw lots of displaced wildlife at the edge of our street

although both mike and my mom were insistent that i return to my workshop that day,
i found myself wanting to wait until all my children had awoken so that i could hold them a little before i left
i lingered and got ready at a leisurely pace
i had been emotionally and physically affected by being separated from them during such a traumatic event
however, i was grateful that i was able to return to the workshop and found the art to be quite therapeutic
i can't wait to share what i have experienced

one thing that i have learned from this particular experience is that i need to be better prepared for an emergency
friends, what would you save from your home? please share.  i would love to hear.
do you have a list of those items and where they are located?
is your list somewhere others could get at if you were not there?
do you have friends and neighbors to call on that would race to your side?
my challenge to myself and to you is to compile this information
for 'if ye are prepared ye shall not fear'  {Doctrine and Covenants 38:30}

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Even in the little things--- a creative escape made possible

i am packing my bag
and getting ready to go...
i am off for a much needed two day creativity boost
i will be attending the Prospector Artisan Workshops
participating in 4 incredible classes
screen printing
pop art 
letter press

4 things i would LOVE to learn, and arts that aren't just the run of the mill crafts, 
these are unique and fabulous

i know... pinch me, its really happening
my attendance came about in a most divine and unexpected way
it is due to the kindness of 3 women {Janine, Katy, and April} and my willing husband that i will be there

it has been a reaffirmation that God loves me, He knows me, and He provides tender mercies along life's journey
if you read my recent post 'in pieces', you may agree that some creative 'me' time will be a blessed boost to my spirits
that's not to say that i don't feel a wee bit guilty for leaving my 4 children in the hands of my amazing husband for two days
but i cannot deny God's hand in how this all came about
He knows me, Briana, His daughter
and loves me enough to inspire women to give and write on my behalf
so that i could give this creative spirit a renewal of sorts
through such a small means as this
He cares about all the little things in our life that much
because they matter to us

"Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee"

"God does notice us, and he watches over us.  But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs."

i am so grateful for how this has all transpired
and plan on enjoying every moment of it
can't wait to share what i've learned when i return

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

'Gateway to Summer' door banner diy tutorial

summer is approaching once again...
i for one, am not quite ready
but that doesn't mean that i'm not going to welcome it when it arrives.
last year we marked the beginning of summer in just the right fashion
with celebration through color and energy
you might recall these images of elated faces and blurry bodies
darting past checkered flags and through multi-colored ribbons
ringing in the days of sprinkler and pool fun

as i was finally unpacking a few more boxes from the garage
i came across the letters S U M M E R from last year's door banner
Owen also saw them and became animated in explaining to me the manner in which he would be running through them this year
so it was official
i needed to create a new one

as i received so much great feedback from last year
i decided to create a diy tutorial for you to make your own
'GATEWAY TO SUMMER' door banner


a rainbow of colors of ribbon - i used floral acetate ribbon for outside durability
oilcloth - 12 x 12 cardstock paper would probably work too
jute or other twine
popsicle sticks
tape - i used masking
2 nails

lets get going:


measure your doorway - width and length
clear a large portion of the floor to work on

cut a generous amount of jute for the top of the banner using your width measurement as a guide
measure any color ribbon the length of your doorway {i started with red},
don't cut it...tie the ribbon in a knot around one end of your jute piece
and then finish off the piece of ribbon by cutting it once it measures the length of the doorway again
voila your first section of ribbon!
repeat this 'measure...knot...measure...cut' pattern so that you have a total of 3 knotted ribbons for each color {a total of 6 ribbon strands per color}

wherever you want the letters to fit in on your banner, leave an opening approx 12" wide
do this without kiddies running around or it may become a tangled ribbon mess:)


cut the letters S U M M E R out of oilcloth or cardstock
mine are the height of 11"
i free-handed my letters but you could use a bold font like this to create templates
cut two generous pieces of jute the length of the doorway
lay out all your letters upside on the floor inside the opening between the ribbons you designated for them
i gave myself about a foot between the top and where i wanted my letters to start
tie your two pieces of 'length' jute to the top 'width' jute piece approx 8" apart
lay them down the sides of all the letters, stapling in numerous places in a X pattern
i taped popsicle sticks onto the backs of the portions of the letters that were not attached to the jute and may become floppy when hung


get your trusty ladder and recruit a helper if possible
{i managed to do this on my own, but it was just short of a trip to the Urgent Care:)}
hammer a nail into each side of the top of your doorway
tie each end of your banner to the nail and

your kids' own 
GaTEwAy to SuMmER
now throw in some signs of congratulations in the yard,
some checkered flags with crete paper marking the finish line
and you've got yourself the perfect way to say goodbye to school and hello to summer.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

to my mother

happy mother's day to the woman who shaped my life
as i wonder if any of the little, ordinary things that i do as a mother each and every day carry weight or make a difference,
i think about how i feel towards you and what you have done for me
remembering that the relationship that you and i have
is what i pray my relationship with each of my children will become
yes, oh yes mom little things do matter.

for those times you
made me rad culottes and button down jumpers
detangled the rats nest that was my long hair every morning while i cried
took me to piano lessons and waited
stayed up late helping me build a castle and other school projects
made and saran wrapped my dinner to enjoy after late practices and meetings
took me school shopping 45 minutes away to the nearest major store
choreographed my drill team routine
wrote me encouraging notes and letters
stayed up until i got home from my dates and dances
mothered my friends who weren't as lucky as i
taught me that i can do hard things
danced with Daddy in the living room
encouraged me to pray and listen for answers

for all these things and a million more
i love you mom
you are what i want to be when i grow up

Sunday, May 06, 2012

In pieces

Felicity broke my vintage double strand pearl necklace a few days ago
one that made me feel like audrey hepburn whenever i wore it
a classically beautiful piece of jewelry that i could see myself wearing until all my skin was wrinkly and my hair was pristine white

i have been finding pearls here and there around the house
in Felicity's purse
under my bed
in her hand
on the tile

this morning as i found a new collection of lost pearls
i felt as if my necklace's demise were a microcosm to how i am feeling about my life today
a beautifully strung strand of pearls of varying diameters stretched and scattered
things that were once in line have slipped away from my reach
some seem lost forever
a healthy husband
a healthy father
employment for our family {that uninvited guest just keeps refusing to leave}

these were some of the central pearls, great in diameter
with their disappearance
also left pieces of

how i pray that i may find all of these pieces again

i hold in my hand the central pearl, the pearl with the greatest weight
i am gripping it tightly, holding onto it, feeling of its smooth mass in my hand

i know that my necklace will never look the same again
but i pray that the new necklace that the Master is creating will be more beautiful than the first
and that i will see it as so
even with all its chips and stains
that my
will grow in weight and size

that only His hands can put my pieces back together
that i must be diligent in seeking for them
and then lay them at his feet
for He can create something far more beautiful than i can imagine
and then when i wear it, i will feel not just like a movie star, but a queen


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