creative habit · etsy shop · Jewelry

Doing the Work

I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately. Not a sad funk or a discouraged funk or it’s-rained-for-three-weeks-and-I-just-need-some-sunshine funk. I’ve been in a busy funk. Which might be a weird thing to say, because when you’re busy, you’re usually moving and active and getting things done and in sort of the opposite of a funk.

I haven’t felt inspired. Inspired to make things or start projects or even write in my journal. I haven’t felt like I had anything to tell. And I haven’t really had space to tell it if I did. It’s been days and days of drop offs and pick ups and baseball and karate and Target and grocery shopping and taking this here and picking that up there. Most days are go-go-go until I crash at the end of the day.

But then I read a couple of things that made a difference.

The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst came on the hold shelf for me at the library. The subtitle is “Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands” – sound familiar? I am not even halfway through it, but I’m loving this book and making so many notes in my journal from what I’m reading. Here’s one:

“The decisions we make dictate the schedules we keep. The schedules we keep determine the lives we live. The lives we live determine how we spend our souls.”

If I just keep going with the errands and the to-dos and the trying to get ahead, I will never find time to do what I love and what my soul needs – making things, writing, and connecting with my people.

Then, as I was reading Shauna Niequist’s Savor devotional on April 25:

“Get up. Create like you’re training for a marathon, methodically, day by day.”

And this:

“Discipline is not antithetical to creativity; it’s vital to it.”

Discipline! Not waiting around for inspiration. Not getting my other tasks done in order to find time to create. Make time to create and DO IT.

So that Tuesday morning, the day of the week where I have the biggest chunk of time to get things done, instead of tackling my to-do list and running here and there trying to squeeze in more productivity, I blocked off my calendar for “create”. I started Pandora, sat down at my workspace, and made stuff for two hours.

rainbow earrings

It was awesome. I made some pretty things, I got lots of new ideas, and I felt the funk begin to slide away. Instead of waiting to be inspired to get to work, I got to work and was inspired.

The thing is, this isn’t a new revelation for me. I KNOW this, really. (I did a whole 31 Days Series on it a few years ago.) But when life gets busy (or even just funk-y), I can’t figure out why I’m not doing the things I want to do. I lose focus. I get sidetracked. I forget.

So I made a tiny little life hack: I added “Create” to the calendar on my phone and I set it to repeat. So I will have a reminder that pops up to spend some DISCIPLINED time doing the work I want to do. And I will schedule the other life stuff at other times. Even if it’s just 15 minutes, or even if I have to move it to a different time slot, it’s the beginning of a practice that will help me remember to do things that feed my soul.

And my hope is that by feeding my soul, I will be keeping the funk away, too.

new earring photos

PS – I’ve added the earrings I made last Tuesday to my shop. Click here to see them in all their rainbow-color-ordered glory!

creative habit · five things · Food · Home

Five Things

Hello! Happy Friday!

Not to sound like a broken record, but guess what – illness struck Casa de Beautiful once again. Woohoo! Forget that it’s April, forget that it’s 80 degrees and sunny and we’re wearing shorts and sandals. Bring on the stuffy noses and coughs! (I was thinking maybe it was just allergies – I’ve been struggling for weeks – so I sent BG to school, and she kept telling her teachers, “My mom says I have allergies.” Imagine my surprise when both kiddos woke the next morning with full-blown colds. Whoops!) So on Wednesday, everyone stayed home, got lots of rest, watched movies, slurped soup, and relaxed. It was pretty lovely, and then everyone was ready to go back to school on Thursday. Now we’re cruising into the weekend, ready for some fun! Here are a few things on my mind this week:

rita ortloff

1.Abstract Paintings. So, confession. We’ve lived in our house for almost 3 years, and only BB and BG have any sort of art on their walls. The rest of the house remains bare.  SHAME! I want to start a BIG art project that allows all of us to collaborate – something fun with lots of color. I love this piece by Rita Ortloff – check out her story here and here. (Also loving this piece by Kristy Gammill and this project by Kimberly Duran.)

Only practicing

2. This quote. I found it via A Cup of Jo  (check out the entire post – great inspiring words here), and when I read it, I stopped in my tracks. This is exactly what my brain would have wanted to say here if I were as eloquent as Dani Shapiro. (The quote is from a book, Still Writing. I’m waiting for a copy from the library.)

3. Running. First of all, I am NOT a runner. There was a brief period of my life when I ran (brief as in a few months). And I LIKED it. I liked how calm I was after a run, I liked how strong my body felt, I liked being outside alone in the quiet of the early morning. I even ran a 5K. (Husband likes to tell the story of how, just before the finish line, I turned to him and said, “I’m going to finish! I’m really going to finish!”) But then I stopped. I got a cold and stopped and never started again. Recently, though, I’ve been having warm thoughts about running again. And then I read this article. I’m not making any promises, but I think it might be time to give it another try. Maybe.

cookies 4 3

4. These cookies. Ever since my little ER visit last week, my sweet tooth is back. I cut added sugar from my diet years ago, and I haven’t really missed dessert much. This week, I did. (I’m blaming the antibiotics.) So I went in search of some “paleo-ish” (read: minimal sugar) recipes to help. First, I made these. They were good, but they prompted Husband to say, “Can’t you just add sugar to stuff? These taste so HEALTHY.” (I liked them, and the kids did, too, although maybe more as a “snack” than a “treat”.) Then I made these “milkshakes”. BB and BG are big fans of PB Chocolate Love at Jamba Juice, so I was hoping this would come close. It was pretty good – Husband liked it (“But couldn’t we just add milk? And maybe some chocolate chips?”). Finally, two nights ago, I tried these. OH. MY. GOSH. The BEST gluten-free cookie I’ve had, hands down. I gave Husband a couple to try. His reaction? “Amazing! This is it. This is THE recipe. What’s in them?” Yea! We considered eating the whole pan while the kids slumbered away, but we resisted and saved some for them to try the next day. (I substituted butter for coconut oil, but I’m sure they are amazing either way.)

5. Made me laugh really hard. While Husband attempted to sleep beside me. If laughing is like jogging for your insides, my insides ran a marathon.

What are you up to this weekend? I’m planning a walk with a friend early Saturday morning before we rent a U-Haul to go pick up a chicken coop. That’s right! We aren’t homesteading yet, but the day is coming. A friend is generously giving us their coop, and Husband has cleared out the space in the back yard. I guess it’s time to start researching. Cluck cluck! Hope you have a fun weekend! Thanks for reading.

creative habit · Jewelry · one little word · Thrifts

One Little Word 2015: An Update

red necklace silver chain

I’m reading a book that I’m having a hard time putting down.

Actually I’m reading two books I can’t put down because, a few months ago, I developed a habit of reading a non-fiction book during the day and a fiction book at bedtime. I didn’t create this system – I’ve heard about it lots of places – but I have found it to be a great practice. I use my more awake and alert hours to read books for knowledge, and I use the quieter evening hours for books that help me wind down, relax, escape.

99U Make Your Mark

While my fiction book is by my bed, my non-fiction book is always in my bag. I read it at the gym, I read it during naptime, I read it during spare minutes I find during the day.

I took it to the park over the weekend to read while my kids played. (Moms of young kids, take heart. Your day is coming. I remember taking my kids to the park just a few years ago and seeing a mom sitting on a bench reading US Weekly, and even though I’m more of a House Beautiful girl myself, I was overwhelmed with envy. But here I am, a blink of an eye later, being that mom. There is hope!)

As I was taking turns reading and watching BB and BG play, another parent, noticing my book, struck up a conversation, asking if I was thinking of starting a business. My response? “Uh, yeah, maybe.”

etsy

The truth is, I HAVE a business. It’s tiny, it’s not profitable by any stretch of the imagination, and I’ve been treating it very much like a hobby. But making jewelry is a business I have, and it’s one I hope to grow.

I find tremendous joy in making jewelry. I love making new things from old things. I love imagining what these items were before and what they could be with a little attention and creativity.

And at the center of that is my true passion – finding beauty in the possibilities.

I believe that all of us – ALL OF US – have beauty. We all have been created with possibilities – we have skills and talents and passions that have been given to us to share with the world because they are good and they are helpful and they serve a purpose. They serve other people. They somehow weave together to help us love other people, and to love them well.

And while I’m flipping and flopping along on this journey of discovering what exactly I’m made to do and who exactly I am supposed to be, when I dig deep inside, I see that there is a theme.

That I am a glass half-full kind of gal who sees possibility in things that others look beyond. That there is beauty to be found in unexpected places. That there is potential in a discarded necklace, a donated dress, a free chair on the side of the road.

And there is beauty and possibility in us, too. Something greater than the sum of our parts. A spark, a light, a special something that only we – YOU – have that is meant to be shared with the world.

I believe we are all called to do extraordinary things, even in our ordinary lives.

Lately, I’ve been filling my life with lots of ordinary things – some of them necessary, lots of them good, and some, to be honest, a complete waste of time.

So, as I’ve been reading my book this week, a couple of words keep appearing – simplify and refine.

Funny how these things come back to you.

I see that there are many good things to choose from in my life.

I’m trying to dig through all the things I “love” to find what is real and true and abiding.

I am still refining. And I think I will continue to refine for the duration of my days.

And for today, refining looks like doing what I really love to do, so I’m making a necklace.

thrifted necklace

I’m collecting loose pieces from old, broken, discarded things and using them to create new, beautiful objects.

red wooden bead necklace