February 11, 2014

My Everyday Featuring ... Bethany Douglass

[#1] Share with us a snippet of your story. 
I’ve recently been reading Madeleine L’Engle’s Circle of Quiet wherein she defines humility as “throwing oneself away in complete concentration on something or someone else.” Perhaps this is the best statement to sum up the process of motherhood for me, the regular putting aside of self to concentrate on people and matters beyond me right now. Sometimes this outward concentration has been easy, intuitive even, while other times it requires me to be more intentional in action and attitude. Like every parent, I am reminded of the brevity of these years. I remember: they are a gift. And this lesson, this snippet of my story, I never stop learning. Life is a gift. 

Like so many people’s stories, my own cycles through themes of tremendous loss, pain, doubt, and fear. They are a part of my humanity. However, there is a greater theme in my life, one that overshadows the latter, a theme of immeasurable love, of grace, and redemption. Motherhood has been a part of that journey, a place where I’ve learned to release fears, to persevere through doubts, to recognize my own shortcomings and need, to give grace. A place where I’ve received love for no other reason except being. This too is a part of my redemption, my understanding of love.

[#2] What is your favorite part of the day with your little one[s]?
This has evolved through the years. When my children were younger and I wasn’t sleeping through the night, they often would wake before me and my husband in the mornings. They would slip into our beds and snuggle with us. This is the way we would wake up as a family, with regular snuggle mornings. I will always treasure those moments. Now, as they’ve grown older, it’s harder for all six of us to snuggle in any one place together without ending up with an unwanted limb in the face or gut. But we still have read-a-loud time, although this also has evolved. Sometimes it happens in the day around the table and sometimes squished together on the couch or bed. I still cherish a quiet activity together--possibly because quiet activity is rare in our house.

[#3] Name Three Instagram MOMS who inspire you.
Only three! This may be the hardest question since there are so many! Several of the inspiring mothers I’ve met through IG have already been featured here, and since this is about community and inspiration through the app, I’ll share moms I’ve met through IG who haven’t yet been mentioned (that I know of):

@ponymaude: I love the creative yet authentic way she captures the everyday-ness of her family. As a fellow home-educator, I value how education/learning infuses her home (and travel) life, reminding me how much learning happens outside of books. 

@crannyandme: Living in the PNW, I am of course smitten with the scenery of Sarah Kate’s images. But I really adore her heart for her family and nature and Jesus. 

@graybenko: Gray’s images are stunning, but I especially love that they remind me as a parent to laugh, not to take life too seriously. I always need that reminder.

@jesszwo: I love the creative and loving spirit shared through Jess's pictures. I'm always encouraged by her (and her husband's) ability to balance her own work and homeschool their four children.

[#4] What challenges have you faced in balancing motherhood and your passion for creativity?
Having young children naturally restrains the amount of “free time” I have for personal projects and writing. But there’s also something about those sharp parameters that cultivate creativity, like the cook with limited ingredients. It’s easy for me to romanticize/idealize all of the wonderful work I could create with my time if I had more of it (which again directs me back to question 1), but the reality is: that is not my reality. We have made choices for our family (namely having four children and homeschooling) that precludes me right now from an abundance of personal time and projects. I know this won’t always be the case. So my battle is to be present and enjoy now, to recognize my limitations and work within them, to always give thanks.

[#5] What is a family tradition that you love sharing with your kids?
The family meal. With young children, our mealtime is hardly every quiet or clean or reverential in any manner. But this loudness and messiness is a part of our life right now. The family meal (usually our dinners or weekend breakfasts) is a time for us to share a communal experience, to eat quality food together, to reflect and share part of our day together, to give thanks together.

[#6] If you could give us a peek inside your home - what image would you share and why?
This picture says so much about our home: dress up and PJs, rich learning alongside graffiti art, organized chaos, littles wanting to be bigs, everyday nothings that might just mean everything.

[#7] Share a photo you wouldn't typically post on Instagram but depicts real life happenings.

Be sure and follow @cloisteredaway on Instagram! You can also keep up with the series by following @kelliandvanessa or #myeverydaymoms