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Victories, Defeats & Christmas in April


I’ll start off with the victories.  I made it through the first block (4 weeks) of P90x.  I can already see and feel improvements in my fitness and have lost some pounds and inches.  I’m going for walks with my family and teaching my six year old how to play tennis. I’m finding some balance, so everything isn’t about blogging, antiques, home projects, writing and photography.  It’s been great and is a real victory.

Now for the defeats.  More active time means more time away from the computer, e-mail and the blog.  That means I’ve been dropping the ball on some things and getting overwhelmed with everything I have to accomplish over the next few weeks.  It means my inbox is out of control, my wood floors are a little fuzzy and the Legos don’t get picked up at the end of the day.

Tonight, I visualized a gymnast on a balance beam.  Sometimes, everything’s perfectly balanced and they land like a rock, sure-footed, after a stunt.  Sometimes, they bobble, need to make adjustments, recover.  Sometimes they fall.  Balance takes skill, practice, focus and even the very best need to make adjustments and have to dust themselves off when they lose it.

So, I’m still figuring out how to balance everything.  I don’t have it all together or all figured out and I know I never will.  I’ll just keep adjusting, keep trying, keep practicing…


As I shared yesterday, I’m taking a break from Lucketts preparations for a few days to finish up some freelance articles.  They are for Thanksgiving and Christmas, which is a little strange in April, but I’m getting used to it.  Here are some peeks of the shoots…

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I’ve had pumpkins chilling in my basement since November!  Thanks so much to my in-laws and Dionne for the magnolia leaves and Kristen for the pumpkins.


The winner of the bel monili giveaway is…

Staci Torgerson.  Congrats!

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  1. Tana Conley says:

    That does seem a little weird to be working on holiday things at this time of year when the snow is just fading and the flowers are beginning to bloom! However, I do love the pumpkins, magnolia leaves and the pine cones! Very, very classy!

  2. That Kristen, she is amazing! Love the pumpkins, I never thought I putting them in the fridge for later photo shoots! Those things last forever!

  3. Sue Pagels says:

    I really really really just adore Eulalie that I see in the background. I just drool over her every time I se her. I can’t imagine how beautiful she is as an original oil – I can’t afford to even have her giclee print but in my mind, I envision her hanging on my stair landing quite often!!!

    • I have a suggestion on Eulalie. Go to They sell any and every photo, painting, sketching etc. you have your choice of all sizes, framed, canvas, wood print etc. Sales days are great! I believe u can just buy the print also. They offer giclee, reprints, copies etc. I’ve bought many posters, some photos… Great little secret of my DIY projects. And you can have any size, frame, I framed etc. they even have vintage wood pics, old signs etc. black and whites, color. THOUSANDS Of options. Go, you’ll see. You’ll be amazed!

  4. Karen says:

    Maybe it is time to hire a housekeeper and/or assistant? I will be praying for you as Luckett’s continues to draw closer! :-)

  5. emails, blog stuff, etc…. as important as it may seem, it can always wait. your boys will be little only once and teaching your son to play tennis and taking family walks and being remembered by your sons as an awesome mother, well that is worth so much more than being remembered as an awesome blogger and diy-er in my book any day.

  6. Yay! So glad you found a use for the magnolia leaves . . . stunning as usual. :)

  7. Don’t worry about the Legos not getting picked up…just don’t step on one! Although I’ve seen some great carrying/storage bags for Legoes that are just big circles (like 4 foot diameter) with a drawstring around the circumference. They can open totally flat for playing, but then zip right up for cleanup and storage. Would be a cinch to make out of a drop cloth!

    Doesn’t help with the dust bunnies, though. My 5-year-old loves to Swiffer our hard wood, maybe your boys would be enthusiastic helpers if it meant more tennis or walks with Mom.

    Best wishes to you as you continue this path of balance in all areas of your life. Thank you for sharing it all with us, it truly gets me thinking and making changes in my own life.

  8. Can’t wait for the apple topiary tutorial on HGTV! I love it!

  9. Glad you’re on the pathway to finding balance in your life. In my estimation, that is the secret of not only a successful life, but a happy one too. :) Try and not stress out about everything you have to do…it’ll get done in the end. All of your readers know what a fighter you are! Like my Mom used to say (and still does!), God always gives us enough time in each day to do His will. Sometimes that may look like painting furniture, and sometimes it may look like letting the legos stay on the floor so you can hang out with your family. Everything has a place & time.


  10. I’ve always struggled to find a balance and I always will :-). I like Gail’s comment, she (or her mom) is right!

  11. Love your photos Marian and it’s so hard when we love to do it all!!!

  12. Kristen says:

    Gail’s comment is spot-on! These times when our kids are young won’t be around forever and since this is the first spring since 2006 that I’m not going crazy getting ready for shows, I’ve been feeling like a “normal” person:). For years I couldn’t wait to have some time when the kids were all in school to work on things and even though I’m still not there, I’m embracing every second with my youngest before she’s off to school. We play soccer and softball for hours in the yard now instead of me painting and it just feels right so I’m going with it. I’m sure your son will remember you teaching him tennis for years to come vs what you painted, blogged, etc.

    The pumpkins (and everything) look fantastic! I had no idea you still had them or that they would keep so long! They sure have some mileage on them now :) . I used a bunch of magnolia leaves last year, but threw them out after Christmas…wish I would have kept them now.

  13. That apple bouquet is lovely! They all are. Happy for your victories, friend. You are just beautiful and awesome. We know it. Your kids know it. Your husband knows it. Let the little things like Legos on the floor and a little dust go. (Yeah, that’s the pot calling the kettle black!) Your little ones will remember an amazing, creative, hard-working mother who loved them so much and taught them to play tennis and all of those other things. They won’t remember the dust. Loved your gymnast analogy…SO true.

  14. MARY EGUIA says:

    Just remember this is your life.You move toward your goals,dreams and the life you want. Do not feel the need to explain yourself to all of us. We just enjoy what you do. Thank you for your blog.Have a wonderful day Marion.

  15. Thank you, Marian, for another inspirational and uplifting post. I love how real you are with your readers! Finding balance is a daily struggle for me. Between working full time, daydreaming of all the things I would rather be doing while I multitask, trying to tackle chores and “projects” while the clock ticks away at night, squeezing in some moderate exercise AND trying to fit in the family and friends piece….I am left wishing there were more time in each day. It’s refreshing to know that even Miss Mustard Seed is learning to find balance. I will just keep practicing and stay patient along the way! Have a great day! Love the snapshots of your upcoming DIY’s….can’t wait to see them featured on HGTV :)

  16. Sarah says:

    As a mother of five, including two Lego loving boys, I have found a great solution to picking up all those tiny pieces! A new plastic dustpan dedicated as a “Lego Scooper” makes quick work out of cleaning up. Just a couple quick “shovelfuls” and all the Legos are scooped right up!

  17. Sometimes (often) life gets in the way of our passions. But with a bit of reflection life is what it is all about! Take a deep breath and Carry On. I’m finally a retired empty nester and there are still not enough hours in the day. Love your blog.

  18. Ahhh yes, the elusive balance. We’ll you’ve taken a huge step already. You stopped long enough to allow yourself to bring the need for more balance into full awareness, and that was a big part of the whole thing. And now you’ve progressed to acting on it in a very real way, you’re putting the energy out there…. That’s so great, just keep going!


  19. I tred to comment before… anyway I hope this isn’t a double… Just to say I loved your styling and your holiday ideas … even if they are in April… That is magazines for you… :) xv

  20. Chrissy McElveen says:

    I guess this is a situation all of us women mom creative overachiever types struggle with. I’m glad to see you putting more time into you and your family. I always wondered how in the world you were able to do so much. Balance is key and so very hard. Especially when we just want to do so much. God Bless!

  21. Wow, those pumpkins are gorgeous! We don’t get ’em like that in So. Florida even in the fall. I once read a book on balance that I found freeing. Rather than a teeter totter where everything is perfectly balanced in mid air, the author suggested balance in seasons…a season of heavy work or ministry followed by a season of time pursuing quiet interests, nurturing oneself & being alone with God. It helps me during one of the seasons to remember to balance it out in time with the other.

  22. Laurie V says:

    You are so creative and inspiring! It sounds like you could use a cleaning person. I am a teacher and when I got married last year (2 months shy of my 40th b-day…God does give us exceedingly and abundantly more than we ask for…but I digress) my husband saw how stressed out I got about keeping the house clean. He suggested a cleaning lady and it is HEAVEN!!!!!! It felt extravagant at first, but now when I come home from teaching I just do a happy dance over my clean house.

  23. MMS,

    God first, then health, family & business. Perhaps a temporary helper to get you through Lucketts and then time to reflect, kids grow up soooo fast, don’t let anything be a regret where they are concerned, you will still have plenty of time when they grow older to pursue those things you can’t get to now, and we will always be here waiting! and your talent will never leave you.

  24. I love that apple centerpiece!
    Maybe I’ll try to do something similar for our first Christmas in our new house. By that time, Lord willing, all the painting and furnishing will be done. Right now, I am too preoccupied with painting (bathroom is on the “to do list” for tomorrow) and getting back into the swing of my day job and custom orders in my Etsy shop to be able to think about anything else. The balance piece in your post really strikes a chord with me today.

  25. Oh I feel for you. I am in the same boat of sorts. I just moved into a new retail shop and am sharing the space with another business. I had so much on my plate already and I have been feeling quite overwhelmed. Between working on my website/blog, dealing with custom work, the shop and making new products for it, dealing with housework, kids and a husband AND I am knee deep in my master bedroom renovation, somedays I feel like I can’t catch my breath. Every day is GO,GO,GO til I collapse into bed.
    I have been praying for some kind of balance in my life too. Sometimes I think you just have to force yourself to put down the paint brush or the computer and go smell the roses. There will ALWAYS be work for us working Moms out there. We all need to learn to take a breather for a few minutes before we get burned out.
    Good Luck!

  26. Balance: it’s something we all strive to achieve.

  27. Thanks for sharing your “failures!” So many times I read blogs like yours and think, “how does she have time to do all those fun things and still keep her family/house running? Maybe I can do that too.”Nope! Blogs, Facebook, and social media make it so easy for us to envy other people’s accomplishments or make our lives look rosier than they are. It’s good to be real and see that the people we admire don’t always have it “together.” Thanks!

  28. As always, I LLLLOOOOVVVEEEE your stuff on the table – oh, my! That is EXACTLY up this lady’s alley!

    Bless you!

  29. peggy huff says:

    I grew up in a funeral home…when I get overwhelmed by the “have to’s” I picture myself
    ‘laid out’ in the funeral parlor. What do I have to do now? NOTHING!

    At the end of our lives, just as at the the end of each day, it is all about RELATIONSHIPS!
    How much of my day was focused on JESUS? How much was about my family, friends,
    work? That is how I check my balance.

    I love you. I love your heart. I love how you love your men. I love the talents you generously share. I love how you promote folks you meet along your life’s path. I love your book. I love

  30. Nancy says:

    I was wondering where you got pumpkins in April. Didn’t know they could keep that long. Take time for your family. Everything else will still be here when you are done!

  31. Remember, perfection is boring! The important thing is that you are intentional about your time….and I don’t think anyone ever died thinking, gee I wish I had spent more time on the computer!

  32. Everyone’s comments are spot on, you can only do so much, and get only so much done in a day. It will eventually all get done, and in the end no one really cares about fuzzy floors! My little boys are 3 and 1, and I have to try so hard to not get upset when I haven’t gotten around to picking up everything, the dishes, estimates have to be done first before those things. Otherwise so won’t have a future job, and my bills can’t get paid. Funny writing it makes sense, just easier said then done.

    I love the photos and truly amazed you had pumpkins in april!! I can’t believe they lasted frozen that long, wow!

  33. Laura says:

    Don’t sweat the small stuff Marian. Hug your boys, take care of yourself and do the things you enjoy doing- when it all comes down to it in the end, no one ever regrets dirty floors.

  34. Marian … looks like you are taking steps in the right direction. Congratulations and wishing you the best.
    Audrey Z. @ Timeless Treasures

  35. Marion says:

    Cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
    For babies grow up
    We’ve learned to our sorrow.
    So, quiet down cobwebs
    And dust go to sleep,
    I’m rocking my baby
    And babies don’t keep.

  36. Haha! I was going to ask how did you get pumpkins this time of year. Well now I know! In case I ever want pumpkins in April or May or?
    Best wishes with getting the projects finished.
    How’s your little tennis player doing? They catch on fast. Yes?

  37. Ms.Mustard Seed, This is a blog to let all of us women who connect with you at all times come to a conclusion: YOUR ONLY HUMAN like the rest of us and GOD has blessed you with your faith, health and family first before your talents soared so high.. Whatever you decide to do is a choice that only you can make. I strongly suggest that you ask GOD for guidance, patience and strength. I think you will figure it out regardless who likes it or not! I am in awe of your talent you have been blessed with. I think that sharing all of this is like a mission for you and you have been greatly blessed with compassion for others an understanding husband and patient children, helpful in-laws,parents and friends. Keep up all you do and just do as you feel, the rest will follow as it should. Don’t worry about anything, God is in control and HE will take care of your decisions:)
    Blessings, prayers and thanks!!

  38. I forgot to tell you and the others something—I have spent 41 years cleaning the dirt from my floors and house and when I die what do you think happens???? YEP! My husband will watch the dirt get thrown back on me!!! I rest my case:) I still clean on a daily basis but if I don’t get it all done I still have my house and my family still lives in it with me!
    Hugs and stress less!!

  39. As though you haven’t already gotten enough advice for one day…I love the idea of give the kids the Swifter and mop to help out. It could be fun…eh? No? Anyway, you can’t do it all yourself and we all have to pick our battles. Legos are surely not the end of the world, but your boys could and probably do, usually put these away themselves. You’re on the right path. Keep focusing on the wins!
    Counselor #452

  40. Beth Morrow says:

    I’m 62 years old, have raised 5 fantastic, God fearing, contributing to society children and have 10 awesome, lovedmorethanlife grandchildren and I am STILL working on that balancing thing. Life goes by quickly…always choose the eternal things to invest your time on…you wont regret it!

  41. Hello Marian! I always visit and enjoy your blog – most of the time in silence may be because of my poor English…haha- and I understand and agree with you. It’s very difficult for us to find the balance between work, children, housekeeping, blog, gym… We want to do everything and there are not enough hours in a day. But I think all these aspects of life are important and no one replaces the others, so that is the challenge, trying to find time for everything.
    I leave you the link to a post I wrote some months ago about this…goal? challenge?

    Congratulations for your blog, I love it!
    Besos from Argentina! Silvina

  42. The balancing act is SO HARD with young children! My husband and I have worked commission sales for over 30 some good years, some bad years! Our children and home are the MOST important. You can get overwhelmed with all the “things to do”. I’ve found at 60, that it’s getting harder to do the fun things because I have so many un-fun things that have to get done. I’ve learned my mind CAN be tricked, though. I plan the night before what things must be accomplished the next day, then reward myself with something “I” want to do. It’s worked so far this year! I’m slowly decluttering my house and getting rid of some crafty things that I never was interested in anyway. I’m volunterring at our Church for more activities that I feel are long-term worthwhile. I’ve found an old saying that “It’s more important to do the right things, than to do things right”.

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