I am currently working on my coaching handbook for my coaching clients and the first section is on creativity. Creativity has so much to offer our life, but I think we have made our definition of creativity too narrow.
What comes to mind when I say creativity?
Someone who is an artist or a musician?
Maybe an architect or designer?
What if I told you, you are creative!
What if I told you that creativity is a core part of who you are!
In TN right now, the Fall leaves have been absolutely amazing. Being in nature is a beautiful link to creativity. A time to just sit, take it in, and enjoy. We were created with beauty and creativity all around us. We were created with creativity within us. But as with who we are, our creativity will be just as unique as we are unique. We can't look to others' creativity as a benchmark for our own. We can, however, look to others as we try on different types of creativity, and as we discover the different creativity practices that are most life giving to us, that align the best with our uniqueness. But we will eventually need to chart our own course, to fail, and to keep pursuing. Because, yes, you are wildly unique. And wildly creative! (even if you can't see it yet, it is in there. Just keep pressing in and getting curious.) That is one of my favorite parts of life, the trying on, getting curious, pursuing, enjoying. Little by little, moment by moment.
A great way to tune into your creativity is to bring an awareness to the little things you do every day that are creative. Have you created a beautiful home? Are you creative with your hair and makeup? Are you creative when you teach your kids? Are you creative in the kitchen when you make dinner? Are you creative when you manage your schedule?
Once you see the ways you are already creating, what is it about that particular area that you enjoy creating? I love creating a lovely home because a peaceful/minimal home environment brings peace to my soul and I love my space to be beautiful, light, and represent me.
I am starting to be more creative with my makeup and clothes (something I haven't done since I was a teen). This has been so much fun and has allowed me to get in touch with a side of me that has been dormant. One of my core values is adventure, so changing things up, trying new creative outlets, is key for me to feel fulfilled. In small ways my home, clothes, and home-school day all allow me a way to express this. Do you create to bring beauty? To add adventure? To bring peace? These are all expressions of our heart.
I love brain storming lists, so now would be a great time to make a list of everything and anything that comes to mind when I say you + creativity. Don't hold back anything. I was intrigued to find out when I made my list that being in a garage band made the list. Not sure if that will happen, but my next step was to get back in piano lessons. So yes, nothing is too crazy, or too off the beaten path to make it on your list. ;)
This blog was born out of a desire to create. To work towards something. Something that pulls me out of my comfort zone and causes me to work my creative muscles.
It doesn't always feel creative. Sometimes it just feels like work. But this is how it is with all things, whether the blog, cooking, or having fun with my clothes. But the process moves me closer to where I want to be with creativity, closer to the life that is in my heart to live.
So today, even though I don't feel any creative juices flowing through me, I am going to lean in and get curious.
How do you add creativity to your life? I'd love to keep the conversation going. Feel free to leave a comment or let me know what resonated with you most on Instagram.
We recently celebrated our 15 year anniversary!! Woohoo! I have learned so much about myself, relationships, and marriage during that time. The other side of my story involves growing up in a broken home and entering marriage not trusting men in general. I lived my early years of marriage with a fear of being abandoned; me not being good enough or having a husband that just couldn't hack it any more. I viewed life from a lens that said I can't be my authentic self - with all of my strengths and flaws, but that I always had to showcase my strengths. I always needed a gold star. Ok, I still like my gold stars of affirmation, but that's a story for another post. The pain was real and I felt hopelessly flawed, but what I have learned is that we are all hopelessly flawed and that is part of the beautiful bond of marriage. No matter how you look at it… Marriage is beautiful and it is hard.
Marriage requires work, commitment, and grace.
Reminiscing over our last 15years brought me to the simple things we did that I feel had the most beneficial impact on our marriage.
Communication - we have all heard the importance of communication, but unless this was modeled for you there can be quite a learning curve when learning to communicate effectively and with love. Early in our marriage I was not a great communicator, I struggled to express what I was feeling effectively and this often led to hurtful words and hurt feelings. But over time, I have learned how to express what I am feeling in a non-accusatory way. Brene Brown describes this process beautifully in Rising Strong when she talks about how to frame a conversation, especially the hard ones, by saying" the story I am telling myself is…" This has been such a valuable tool. Try it. The story I am telling myself is…
Along with communication we are often told that there are some things we should keep to ourselves, or some things we should only tell our girls friends, but my husband is the one I share nearly everything with. My struggles, hopes, dreams, fears, and celebrations. I have found that having this deep level of communication and conversation has strengthened our marriage so much. This is where I have learned that although advice from others is great, you still have to figure out what works for your marriage!
My husband was raised to fight to the end, and we both valued the instruction from the Bible to not let the sun go down on your anger. But, we learned early on that this does not work so well for me. Sometimes, really most of the time, I just need to go to bed and get some sleep. That is usually enough for me to be able to think clearly and oftentimes just laugh and move on in the morning. I find myself asking the next morning, why was it such a big deal anyway? I think this verse is applied in our marriage by not holding grudges or glossing over things, but always being willing to dig deep. And of course, always after a good night's sleep. :)
You are each beautifully designed, with different lenses through which you view life and respond to life. Each of your personalities, upbringings, strengths and weaknesses play a significant part in your marriage. So decide what those non-negotiables in your marriage are and then get curious about how you each respond and operate. You have a lifetime to learn about each other. :)
Date night/date weekends are so important. We are slightly crazy about our date nights. They happen weekly, almost without fail. My hubs actually was the one to push for this when the kids were little. I hated setting up babysitters (yay for texting) and when we had nursing babies, they came with us. I find that date night is not only a way for us to connect as a couple but it also reminds me of who I am as a woman. Date nights also give me the mental space to process more clearly. If things aren't running smoothly in our homeschool/day routine, date nights usually brings the clarity and space I need to receive answers. So often just stepping out of the home and sharing with my hubs brings the solution on its own. Date weekends are even better. Truly a time to refresh our marriage as well as my soul. When our kids were little we were usually only gone for one night and as they got older we are gradually able to be gone for a longer period of time. (I say, were able to be gone, that is referring to my mommy anxiety and the level of my comfort with different amounts of time.) Even if it is just a day trip, date weekends/days are a beautiful and meaningful way to connect with your spouse.
Every couple has a hot spot, sex, money, in-laws, etc.. At different seasons there may be more than one or it may change. Knowing what your trigger points are in relation to the issue that you struggle with most is very helpful. Expressing these trigger points with your spouse in a non-confrontational way is vital to a healthy relationship. We all have junk, it's how we hold onto it and how we allow it to enter into our relationships that can make or break any relationship.
Always be willing to grow, to change. Have fun together. Explore. Adventure together. Anything worthwhile is worth fighting for and investing a significant amount of time and energy into.
I love rest time.
The kids and I have rest time from 1-3 almost every day and have since my kids were babies. When they were little this was their naptime. Now that they are no longer nappers, they have plenty of ways to spend rest time in their rooms: they can listen to audio books, they can rest, they can read, they can play Legos, dolls, color, etc.. My two older girls (ages 10 &11) have a bit more freedom since they are more independent. They can play outside for part of their rest time or bake, but I still like them to have at least 30 min. of downtime in their room.
A pause in our day is essential.
The space that afternoon rest time provides renews and refreshes us in preparation for the rest of the day. But when I initiated rest time back when my oldest dropped her nap, I did it for the sake of survival.
Four kids in five years: need I say more? And as an introvert, I need plenty of downtime. Add homeschooling all four children, and rest during the day is a must.
Rest time creates room in my children's lives for creative play, quiet, rest, reading - which are all beautiful things. Rest time allows me to rest too, but I also have used it to read, to make phone calls, to exercise, to blog, or to do anything else I want to get done.
Having a blog and personal growth goals plus being a wife and mom has meant that my "rest time" has become more task-driven than soul replenishing.
During rest time today, I plugged away at emails and my to-do list, but my gut reminded me: I need some soul care. I was in go mode and out of balance. We have had a lovely but busy week. I know tomorrow is going to be a busy day and that we won't get much rest.
So, instead of plugging through these tasks, I paused. I asked myself what would feed my soul.
I decided to browse Etsy for world or US maps to hang on our walls. I want fairly large, cute, canvas maps for push pins I'll use to document where we have traveled. I turned on some fun music and searched. Such a small change of course ended up feeling like a retreat.
I still am experimenting and am curious to learn the things that truly feed my soul. I have always thought that awareness of what feeds my soul should be intuitive. But, it isn't and I haven't always listened to my intuition. It takes some time and practice to tune in to it. :) I am learning that soul care activities are usually pretty simple actions that are far more rewarding than demanding.
Today's self-care - my quest for maps - led to my dreaming of traveling as the kids get older. While I looked at maps, I also looked up travel quotes, and got excited about what the next season of life holds and inspired to prepare for it now.
What triggers do you notice when you go into "task" mode? What are your favorite self-care activities? I would love to hear from you in the comments.
Hey, I'm Julie. I love books, coffee shops, traveling, and exploring. Homeschooling Mama to 4, wife of 15 years. Enjoying the journey and learning to add a bit more of summer into my everyday life.