StudioJewel - Journey of a Jeweler


  • Savor. Release. When it is time to send your baby to college.
    One last evening together before he leaves for school. Shopping. Dinner.
    I wanted to remember every little thing.  
    His laugh. The sparkle in his eyes. The crazy freaky sounds he makes. His smile. Everything. 
    Not because he will be gone so long or because I won't see him often...but because I know he will change. I know he is stepping into his freedom. His adulthood. The next phase of his life.
    Of course he will still need me...for this...for that. And he may even text me about avocados...


    But the boy we are sending out will be forever changed. 
    Becoming a man.
    Capable.
    Independent.
    And although I'm excited for what lies ahead...
    I want to imprint the NOW. Savor it for me.

    This motherhood thing is strange, really. Think on it.
    You spend years  planning for a family. Having babies. Changing diapers. Wiping tears. 
    And suddenly...as if overnight...they aren't your "small people" anymore. And we are supposed to release. Let go. Untie. Send off. It's the natural progression. But you don't think about THAT when tiny infant fingers lace around yours. When small feverish heads lay on your chest. When hungry cries wake you from your weary sleep. When you are picking up mess after mess. You don't. Yet the moment arrives. Sneaks up on you. 
    It is my now.

    So in this moment I'm treasuring my baby. Savoring. Then slowly releasing my grasp....and letting go.

    I love you Noah.
    Remember Who you belong to.

    And don't forget...I'm just a text away. And ones like this...well, the melt my heart...

    thoughtfully,
    lisa


  • Homeschool. Public School. Parenting. Empty Nest. Silent Mornings. Peace.
    I sit on the quiet porch. The stillness is wonderful. It is chilly this morning so I gather the fabric of my fleecy robe and pull it high up on my neck, then bury my face in the soft folds. Breathe in. Breathe out. The steam from my breath fogs my glasses. I smell the pumpkin spice lotion on my hands and it reminds me of fall?even though it's barely mid August.
    Usually I loathe the cold. But not this morning. Maybe it's because I know it will be 75 degrees this afternoon. I think it's because the cold is invigorating, preparing me for the day ahead.
    Day. Alone. No kids. Quiet.

    It still seems new to me, even after two years. I still have a few pangs of guilt. I miss them when they go to school. Could I have kept homeschooling? Should I have left their education in the hands of strangers? Did I give up on them?
    No. 
    I even shake my head as I type that. Not that anyone can see, mostly showing the resolute in my gut. It was the right thing to do. They were ready. I was ready.

    Summer was chaotic and frazzled. The lack of schedule and routine was unnerving. I crave order. How did we manage when everyone was home all day long? Then I remember the excel spreadsheets, the tight schedules. We all knew where we belonged and when and everything flowed. Seamless. Smooth.

    The wind rips through the porch and I gather my robe even tighter around me. I see the swirls of steam dance through the air as they leave my mug of black coffee. The birds feed just a few steps from me. My mellow dogs sit at my feet and watch them. They don't even growl?somehow they know the birds are part of our NEW morning routine. Our new solitude. Peace. 

    Earlier. I tucked stools back under the counter. Placed the toaster where it belongs. Cleaned up crumbs and dollops of strawberry jam. Flipped light switches to off and picked damp towels off the floor. Mom duty.  Even as I sit on my porch I see a chair askew from dinner last night, a swirl of water on the table from someones glass that never got wiped up. Signs of kids and teens and life.

    What will I do when they are gone? I complain about it now, but will I miss it then? People say that I will. People say that it's hard. 

    Peace. Order. Be still.

    Noah prepares to leave for college in a couple weeks. I am not sad. I do not dread the day. It excites me?for him. This is what we worked for. This is what we prepared him to do. All those years of handwriting, and Greek root words and endless reading. I know my son. I've spent countless hours investing in his education for this moment. To send him off. He's ready. We made a man. A young man who is ready to head into the world. In his wake he will leave chairs out, damp crumpled towels and water ringlets. Minor. Mom duty.
    That's my job.

    I sip the black steaming liquid and smile. So peaceful. So still.
    I love these moments. I didn't have them when I was homeschooling. I also didn't miss them since I didn't know they existed. They are my morning gift. Seven hours stretch in front of me. Seven hours of productive time in the studio. My day work. But they will come home. Noisy. Loud. Smelling of sweat and institution. They will pull out the stools and leave dishes on the counter. Backpacks and flip-flops and discarded sweaters will scatter my floor. Chaos. Breathe.

    I am no longer responsible for their learning. There is a huge sense of relief in that. I check papers. Do math problems (the ones I can still solve). Sign forms. They have good study habits. They do their homework. They take it seriously. They are excellent students. Is that from the years of home education? Maybe. Yes! I'll take credit for that one. I poured my heart and soul and mind into my small people.

    Evening chaos. Such a stark contrast to this quiet morning peacefulness. But for now? This morning is a gift. A treasure. It grounds me and I love it.

    But I will also love when they come home. And when the man child is no longer here to empty my refrigerator and overload my washing machine e leaving dumbbells and barbells all over my basement?I'll miss it. I'll miss him.

    But for THIS year we still have three girls. Three headstrong, independent, brilliant little women. Different personalities. Different talents. Different goals. They are exhausting and wonderful.
    Breathe.
    This job of parenting is so much more than you could ever prepare for. The diapers. The bottles. The "no's". It seems exhausting then. It IS exhausting. But somewhere along the way they develop into real people. With thoughts and ideas and personalities. We GET to be a part of that. Parenting. An amazing privilege.

    My fingers grow numb from typing in the cold. I hadn't even noticed how cold I was as I rushed through these words?smiling. The ramblings of my head. Spewing forth out my hands onto the keyboard in these peaceful moments. 

    Be encouraged Mama. Daddy. Your work is so meaningful. Whether you spend every waking hour with your creations or just a few. You have power. To love. To mold. To teach. You are shaping the future. Be brave.


    But for now. Sit back. Enjoy a moment of quiet. Enjoy your coffee. You're going to need it.

    xoxooxoxoox
    lisa


  • Why I love my FitBit Flex. An honest review.
    Fitness is just part of who I am. I love it. I never dread it. I never feel like I have to. I hate to miss it. I know that makes me strange and somewhat odd?I'm okay with that! Although, I DO think I have become a bit more crazy nutty focused since I hit my 40's. A bit of fear. A bit of "oh no everything is changing". A bit of "I need to stay on top of this". I even recently became a BeachBody coach?but that's for another day :) I told you I was "focused"!

    I have wanted craved desired hoped for one of these little trackers for some time. But admittedly, they are expensive. Pretty much a splurge item. When it came up on QVC as Today's Special Value with a flex pay option - yes I pay attention to QVC, don't judge - I snatched one up. Then I waited. Like 3 months waited. But since she has arrived (of course she's a she, duh!) we have been inseparable.



    Why I love it.
    • It's not ugly. It could be skinnier. It could be cooler. I could design something more me to slip it into. But?in the meantime, other than sometimes feeling like I'm under house arrest, it somewhat blends. Add bangles and no one will even notice. Really. They don't.
    • It works. It tracks my steps. It tracks my mileage during exercise. It tracks my fitness level. It even tracks my sleep. Now THAT was eye opening. No pun intended. But I am NOT a good sleeper.
    • It's motivating. I want her to call me an "overachiever". I have to reach my step goal of 10,000 steps a day. I want to see my fitness level high. She's like a having a personal trainer, without having to go to the gym and feeling like an idiot.
    • It's easy to use. Basically it was a plug and play. Pretty much a no brainer. It charges via USB - and I've only had to charge mine twice. Once every 5-6 days. And the little tracking device USB plugs right into your computer. It tracks on your desktop/laptop and through an app on your phone.
    • It has a built in alarm. Set the alarm for whatever time. Tell it what days you want it to go off. And your wrist buzzes. No more annoying, stupid alarm clock! And trust me?you WILL feel it, and it will wake you up. It keeps buzzing on your wrist until you tap tap tap. Just don't lay back down.
    • You get badges. It's like stickers when you're little. Except I still like stickers?which is probably why I like badges. Badges like "overachiever", or "25 miles", or "15,000 steps". Badges are FUN!

    What I don't like.
    • I hate wearing jewelry. Yup, my secret is out. And I never wear ANY at home. So this is a stretch for me to wear something 24/7. Not to mention the wearing to bed thing. Also, something to get used to. However, if you don't want to track your sleep?don't wear it. Problem solved.
    • I can't work in it. Every time I hammer it goes into sleep mode. They really should have had that in the warning label. Something like "detrimental to working goldsmiths". But whatever.
    • It buzzes when you reach your goal. This shouldn't be a problem. But it scares me EVERY time.
    • It's hard to hit 10,000 steps a day! That's a wimpy "I don't like", but it is!
    • I have a tough time putting the little FitBit component back into the wrist thingy. I'm sure this is just a me problem. But it takes me about 5 minutes. I think I'll put a sharpie dot on it to make it easier on moi!

    this was an "overachiever" day. she actually sends me an email and gives me a badge!
    I don't wear it in the shower even though it says water resistant.
    I do take my phone to log exercise when I'm on a walk.
    You just have to get used to the lights and buttons and what they mean. It's so not complicated!

    FitBit flex runs about $99.00 and you can get them pretty much anywhere. If you use my Amazon link button, they give me pennies and dimes. I like that.

    Needless to say, if you are into fitness or you are looking for some accountability. Put this on your want list. Maybe by the time you get one I'll have designed something fabulous and amazing to wear it with!

    The FitBit flex is truly one of my favorite things. No one told me to say that. I bought my own. And I have nothing to give away. This is just me?telling  you?about something I think is pretty sweet.

    xooxoxoxo
    lisa


  • Depression. Mental Health. The fear.
    Depression. Mental Health. Today's buzzwords. Often misused. Frequently misunderstood. Ignored. Mocked. Brushed aside.

    Yet today, because of the sad loss of Robin Williams, those words are plastered every where. Once again for a short time people will talk about depression. Get on the band wagon for mental health awareness. Advocate for it. And the outspoken will be heard.

    But what about her? Or him? What about the ones without a public voice? What about the ones whose cries will never be heard? The ones whose inner turmoil is so great they often can barely breathe. The ones who don't have an advocate. Who don't know where to turn?how to get help. The ones that feel as if there is no one. The ones being swallowed up. What about them?

    What about me?

    I laughed to myself last week as I picked up my medication. My antidepressants. My protection drugs. Three dollars and fifty cents. $3.50. Life saving. Life changing. Three hundred and fifty pennies. Yet, it is infinitely more important than the quad grande americano I purchase after I leave the pharmacy. But really. $3.50. Is it really medicine? Is someone playing a trick on me. This tiny little fraction of a cent pill that controls the wild dark beast of depression that lurks inside. Seems "crazy".
    Yet each day?at 9am?for the last two years my phone reminds me to "take my medicine". I dare not forget. I've been there?I don't want to go back. Ever. But what if?
    If someone like Robin Williams?someone with every avenue of help available to him. With no worries of expense. With rehab and counseling at the ready. If someone like him can be swallowed by the beast of depression. Defenseless. Helpless. Incapable of fighting. If him?what about me?or him?or her?

    So today I find myself stuck in my head. Thoughts spinning. Heart racing. I panic?human. Then I don't?faith. Maybe this is why I continue to tattoo myself with messages of hope?reassurance?guidance. Verses that point out my path, seeking God's direction. Maybe.

    I know me. I won't publicly cry out for help or seek attention for myself when I'm sinking. I look up. I trust my faith. My relationship. My God.
    But what about the others? What about Robin?

    Living with mental illness is a dance. A lifelong dance. I will forever be peeking around corners of my mind. Because the beast lurks in dark corners. Ready to pounce. Seeking weakness. Exhaustion. Disappointment. Fear. It feeds on those emotions.

    I am not given cause to write this because Robin Williams was my favorite actor. I loved him as many loved him. The very thought of him causes me to smile. It is the tragic fact that he was overcome by the darkness. He could no longer fight. The pit swallowed him up and he gave in to the sinking. He wasn't weak. The siren of depression is so strong. He wasn't incapable?but the weight of the world is just too much to bear on your own. I know this. And my heart hurts. For the ones he left behind.

    Again. I'm terrified.

    Earlier this month a dear friend lost her father in a similar inner turmoil. A man I remember for his smile?his wit?his compassion. A man who would speak about art and his whole being came alive. But when pain is too much. When life seems too hard. The voices?.

    I can generally feel the icy fingers of depression when they begin to emerge. First they grab your hand. They comfort you as you feel sorry for yourself. But somewhere the deception creeps in. The cold fingers tighten their grasp, they fog your vision, the cloud your thoughts. They no longer grab your hand, but clasp your throat, press against your chest, cover your eyes. 

    Evil. A beast. Uncontrollable.

    Depression is real. Mental illness is not our fault.

    In light of the loss of a brilliant, funny, joyful human being I shudder with fear. Then I look at my tattoos?
    Who do I belong to?
    Who holds my hand in the darkest pit?
    Who directs MY paths?
    Grounded. Stable. Strong. Not. My. Own.
    And for now?I wander in the kitchen and pull out my tiny-fraction-of-a-cent-pill. Lift. Drink. Swallow. My routine. I am okay. Protected. Today.


  • Smokey Roasted Chicken Tacos with Spicy Goat Cheese Queso from How Sweet it Is
    I'll admit it. I love food. Good food. Delicious full of mouth watering flavor food. And I love to be in the kitchen. Therefore I cook. None of this is rocket science right? I also use online recipe sites to research fun things to make?as well as the reviews?always read the reviews! But?I only subscribe to a few cooking blogs. Not everyone resonates with me. Except Jessica.

    When I first read How Sweet It Is?I thought?this girl and I?we could totally be BFF's. Okay, I probably could just be her big sister?yes, her much older sister?but regardless there's a connection. For me. Not her. She doesn't know I exist. Anyway?digressing. I love the way Jessica writes. It's my style. Conversational. Fun. Quirky. But her recipes? Amazing. Her photography? Perfect. She even has a cookbook coming out in September called Seriously Delish - preorder it?I did!
      
    And this meal? Well, just trust me and go get the ingredients and make it. Like tonight. I mean I didn't even have time to take a photo of my own. Meal devoured. Man happy. Small people happy. Mama happy. See how that works? Man child came home from work yesterday and inhaled three more tacos just for lunch! We will have food again when he leaves for college?right?
    photo from HowSweetEats.com

    Click here to go to Jessica's site for the recipe - her photos are amazing and her recipe is printable. Lazy blogging today. Lisa wins. 

    My tips?

    • Jessica recommends using chicken thighs. Do it. She's right. They were perfect.
    • I made the chicken the night before. Smokey flavor enhanced. #winning.
    • I laid off on the jalepenos a little bit. We like spice?well some of us do?some of THEM do not. I was nice. 
    • Don't skip the goat cheese because it seems different. I LOVE goat cheese and it adds such a unique flavor! You MUST try it if it's new to you. Delish!
    I did pair the tacos with Mexican Sour Cream Rice from allrecipes.com - I changed it up a little to make it more Lehmann friendly. No green chiles. Out of cilantro. But again. This recipe? Total win.

    So you're welcome. I just planned one of your meals for the week. And this one will totally be created often in my house!

    Go to Jessica's site. Add it as a favorite. Subscribe. All those good things. You won't be disappointed. Pinky swear.

    xooxoxooxo,
    lisa