For Us Moms Who Long To Create

I’m often asked how I do it — how I can be a mom to six and still make time for creative endeavors like art and writing, while also running a business. The shortest answer is this: I didn’t for many years. It looked different in various seasons, and most importantly — I have lots of help (more on that another time!)

We moms tend to think that it’s all or nothing; that we must either throw ourselves into mothering or fully into career, a creative pursuit, or business. We sometimes think that making time for one assumes the demise of the other, but that’s simply not true. 

I spent the first 12 years of motherhood learning how to be a wife and mom. The days were full and nights were short as one or two were always in diapers for the last 14.5 years. I had to learn to rest, again and again. The Lord used motherhood to sanctify me and continues to do so. There was little room for art, but I snuck it in to nap times, evenings, and weekends.

I don’t think I understood it then like I do now, but somehow: We get to reflect our Maker’s artistry, we just have to change the means in which we do so in various seasons. Whether it’s with a sewing machine or supper ingredients, we can use what time and resources we have to do the most with our giftings. It just may not look the way we expect it to. 

I’m honored that part of my story is told by the authors of Life Creative: Inspiration For Today’s Renaissance Mom, Wendy Speake and Kelli Stuart. Life Creative, which releases today, is a book in celebration of motherhood woven together with creativity. Wendy and Kelli know what it is to long to create as moms, and they share encouragement for us to do so in various seasons of our lives. It’s a book to inspire women to embrace both by God’s grace and for His glory, because motherhood and creativity are certainly not exclusive of one another.

Are you a Renaissance mom? Are you a creative, desiring to see how God will use your giftings alongside your calling of motherhood? I pray you’ll be encouraged to be equally bold and patient, content yet curious. Our gracious God made you uniquely you…and He’s writing a beautiful story through your giftings, friend.

Because of grace,

 

Capturing Photos For Business and the Everyday

We hear the encouragement often to “be present” or “be in the moment” and clearly, this digital age has got us all distracted from what’s alive and real, right before us. But as a mama, I long to capture these everyday moments that I have with my boys: the messes we make (and sometimes bemoan) but later wish we had captured in a photo or a picnic at the park; these boys are growing like weeds, and I don’t want to miss a thing.

But sometimes I’m worn out and distracted, and I teeter between freedom and guilt in capturing my everyday life. I love when I catch a candid photo, a moment that truly captures these ordinary but special days, as they truly are. Photos tell a story that our hearts want to remember long after the immediate memory fades.I want to tell the story the Lord has given me, but sometimes the photos don’t reflect that story and I get frustrated. Do you get that way? 

Capturing everyday moments with our families, whether with a DSLR (a “real” camera, i.e. the Nikon D750 I use) or phone, is easier when the tools and logistics are more natural than forced. My friend, Ashley Campbell of Under the Sycamore really embodies this. She truly inspires me to find the #extraordinaryinmyordinary through creatively seeing and capturing my everyday. 

I love that Ashley encourages all of us non-professional photographers to use the tools we have to creatively tell our stories…and to find freedom in it. With the accessibility of excellent cameras in our back pockets these days, we really have every reason to document and capture our point of view.

Ashley recently interviewed me for one of her SnapShop courses, “iPhone & Business.” I don’t have fancy camera crews or professional photographers for my business; I’m simply armed with my iPhone. If you’ve ever wondered about how I shoot my product photos, the interview tells all. 

We’re all trying to live out our callings. We’re all trying to bring praise to what He’s done in our lives by telling our stories. I’m growing in this myself, day by day, and I hope you will too. Let’s not be all or nothing people with photography and capturing our everyday. These are blessed and worthy moments and endeavors we are living, whether in home and business. Let’s find freedom and growth in learning to see better, and capturing what we see with more wonder. I’m grateful that we don’t have to be fancy or amazing to do so.


SnapShop classes for both DSLR and iPhone are available through Ashley’s membership site + community, where you can learn and grow at your own pace.  For $5 per month, you get access to all past lessons, with new content added each month. There is a $50 sign up fee (so worth it – the DSLR class alone used to be $250) but I’ve got a discount for you!

$10 off with code: GraceLaced

(code expires 9/16/16)

Learn more and join SnapShop here.


Pressing in and pressing on together,

 

*Some links in this post are affiliate links. Please see my disclosure in sidebar for more info.

8 Years of Blogging and Why We Get Writer’s Block

I catch myself sometimes still referring to what I do as “blogging.” And sadly, I’ve been so absent around here — this place where I’ve poured my heart out through parenting in weakness, transitions in ministry, celebrating my husband, and honesty about family relationships. One year, I posted a blog post every day for a year. It seems like a lifetime ago.

I’ve just entered my 9th year here since the first post on GraceLaced (I didn’t even remember my blogiversary this year!), and so much has changed. We’ve added more boys to our family, we started a school, we’ve said goodbye to a church plant, I’ve learned to cook, the world of Instagram arrived, we endured a DIY kitchen remodel, I started speaking at conferences, launched GraceLaced Shoppe, moved to a new house, and have now hired a team with the massive growth of the business. You, my dear readers, have grown up with me in so many ways.

All this has amounted to a very full life, one I’m so grateful for. I’ve had to learn and relearn how to really rest in the midst of the busy and wild pursuits the Lord’s placed on our hearts. And in the midst of all this…I’ve grown in having a stronger voice…and yet, at the same time, less ability to use it at times.

Here are just 3 reasons why I’ve had writer’s block in this season:

1) You can’t do it all. When I added my paintbrushes, my tools of language shifted in a way. Not permanently or even for the better. It just has, for this season. Running a thriving business with my art has definitely cut into my time to write. There are only 24 hours of the day. How we choose to use them often reveals what we feel we can’t live without. Sometimes the mediums we use to express ourselves change from season to season…I’m learning not to be surprised when I can’t use every medium, all the time.

2) Some say: IG (and social media apps) ate the blog. I love Instagram and find my groove there. But with all the daily practice, I now think in shorter sentences, I read shorter thoughts, and my attention is captured more quickly by the accessibility of relationships formed in the ever-changing world of micro-blogging that is Instagram. It still works for me…but I think we’ve lost something. 

3) And, perhaps this is the most poignant for me in my current season, and relates to the former: 

A full plate often robs me of the appetite for reading, learning, and meditation on those very thoughts and morsels of truth that makes for good writing…well thought out words…intentional storytelling. 

There’s very little to flesh out at length when what you take in is only skin deep. There’s so much vying for our attention that we skim read, catch headlines, and entertain ourselves by simply scrolling. But those are only temporary boosts of information…like a cup of coffee that gives a surge of energy and alertness to what’s around. But there’s no shortcuts in the art of chewing, lingering, processing, rejecting, and receiving what’s worthy of reading. There’s simply no Cliff Notes to soulful thinking and richly digested content. 

There is no creative freedom or flowing of the pen when the soul suffocates in the tyranny of busyness. 

So to all my fellow bloggers, writers, thinkers, and creatives who wonder what’s happened to their voice, their storytelling, their ability to think a thought worth wrapping 350 words around: 

Perhaps you have little to say because you’ve no space to think. Perhaps you have no space to think because you’re too busy digesting before you’ve tasted and savored. A lack of expression in writing has less to do with how many tools we have and more with how long we sit at the table….to dine. 

And so I leave you with the familiar words of our friend, Jack:

It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

— C.S. Lewis

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Rather than reading to stay up on the latest…rather than posting to satisfy a schedule…rather than creating to simply be heard…

…I’m convicted and committed to SAVORING MORE and letting what is written here overflow from a life well-watered and well-fed. I’m overcoming writer’s block with a greater appetite.

I’d love for you to join me.

 

Because of grace,

I’m so honored that you are here. If you enjoy this blog and would like new posts to come directly to your inbox, I invite you to subscribe to GraceLaced by email.

 

Capturing and Remembering The Ordinary {Liz Anne Photography Lifestyle Session}

I recently had the pleasure of meeting, Beth Wells, the talented New Mexico based photographer behind Liz Anne Photography. I’ve long admired her work with weddings and engagement sessions, and find both her business feed and personal Instagram feed to be simply breathtaking.

I was thrilled when she offered to come to my house to photograph my family…as we are…in our own element. I love this concept.

It is no secret that I’m a bit of a recovering perfectionist. I’ve let expectations and “not quite good enough” rob me of many an opportunity, with the promise of what could or should be:

I’m not at my ideal weight. The house isn’t how I want it yet. The kids should be older. My hair hasn’t grown out yet.

If we’re looking for them, there are so many reasons to put off unique experiences and opportunities, and so many excuses to not get in front of the camera with our kids, just as we are, right now. 

We brushed our hair and got dressed, but otherwise, Beth came over on a normal morning at breakfast time. Troy made breakfast, the boys drew and colored at the island, Liam made me coffee, and I did a little painting. I wish she could have been with us all day. After seeing these sweet photos, I can think of a million other ordinary moments I now want captured: Moments I take for granted, everyday routines that I will miss someday.

Someday…the eight of us will not try to remember a perfect version of ourselves, but how we really were, in all our awkward, chaotic glory. I think I will treasure these lifestyle photos (and all the everyday pics I snap, though less lovely) perhaps more so than the perfectly styled photos we can never seem to quite achieve or live up to. 

The present is fleeting, friends. I’m grateful for the privilege of capturing the moments we so often overlook…to treasure for a lifetime.


Visit Liz Anne Photography gallery to view more of our session or to contact Beth for your own session. 

Liz Anne Photography will travel and is offering $50 off a Lifestyle Session! (Mention “GraceLaced” when you book your session!)


Wherever You’re At in Motherhood {+New Mother’s Day Releases}

UPDATED 4/20/15:

In effort to encourage you to get all your orders in in time for Mother’s Day arrival, we are running a sweet sale through Friday. 

15% off everything in GraceLaced Shoppe with code: MOTHERSDAY

Plus, every order of prints automatically receives a FREE gift of a single 5×7 of one of the Floral Fruit of the Spirit prints (I have a stash of 5×7 FFOTS “seconds” with hardly noticeable blemishes, perfect for a freebie!)


Though I’ve now been through several seasons of motherhood, I still wouldn’t consider myself a seasoned mother.

Motherhood is the most amazing journey we never quite arrive at perfecting. I dare say, despite how it feels to all of us who long to excel in a task and conquer it, we simply weren’t meant to master motherhood. The hard work of parenting is really no one’s forte, strong suit, or natural gifting.

Parenting is the hardest job I never knew I wanted. And yet, if motherhood and homemaking wasn’t so unnatural to me, would i have known how faithful my Savior is in changing hearts and making the impossible possible? Would I have given him praise for the sweetness that raising boys has been to me? It’s mercy that God made mothering more challenging than I would have liked. 

And so, with Mother’s Day around the corner, I’m releasing 3 new prints today in honor of three seasons of motherhood:

…At the beginning (where you were)…

 

…In the trenches (where you are)…

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….And celebrating God’s faithfulness through it’s many season (where you are going)…

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My prayer is that each of these prints will serve to remind you and those you love, of the high calling of motherhood. I long to see us press in to Jesus when we struggle to press on. Two of these reminders have been made into my first ever journals in GraceLaced Shoppe! I hope you love them as much as I do. 

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And…due to popular request, I’ve redesigned and relaunched the Floral Fruit of the Spirit 5×7 sets…Enjoy!

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Sale and free gift ends on Friday, April 24th at 11:59pm MT.

 

 

Be blessed, friends. Our savior is so faithful in this, and every season of motherhood.

Because of grace,

I’m so honored that you are here. If you enjoy this blog and would like new posts to come directly to your inbox, I invite you to subscribe to GraceLaced by email.

Celebrating My One Year Shopiversary!

Today I am celebrating what the Lord has done in and through the shoppe at GraceLaced this past year. Undoubtedly, I am blown away by the 1300+ orders we’ve shipped out from my home in the last 365 days. I marvel at the emails you all send me about how my artwork has touched your lives. I’m beyond humbled by your sweet support of my expression through words and brush. I’m truly honored.

But that’s not what amazes me most.

I marvel most that God always does what he chooses. He gives and takes away. He causes the sun to rise and set each day, year after year, whether we praise him for it or not. Whether we like his timing or not. Whether we agree with his plan or don’t. The roughly 15 years I did very little with my love for art didn’t feel like the fulfillment of dreams..in fact, if felt as if those dreams died. And yet, despite how it feels, I’m convinced there is nothing we would really want in our own timing instead of the Father’s. 

When God owns it all, and does what he will with our talents, giftings, we get HIS best, not our own best effort. My own effort can only go so far, and I won’t ever win by might. But God: He does exceedingly abundantly more than we ask or imagine. Why do we fear? Why do not surrender?

I wrote these words last year:  “It’s no longer about dreaming big dreams and forging ahead until I can’t go further, but waiting for his sweet voice to affirm and draw while I respond with open hands.” Open hands was my aim then, and what it continues to be. It’s all for you, Lord.

Thank you for your support and encouragement here.

To celebrate, I’m doing a huge giveaway that will take care of your Christmas shopping and hopefully bless one of you who’s been wanting to get your hands on some of my prints…

1) Win 20 8×10 prints from the shoppe! 

(a $320 value)

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….also, a sweet deal TODAY only….

***THIS DEAL IS NOW EXPIRED***

2) Every order placed today (11-20-14) in the shoppe, on Shopiversary day, will include a free 8×10 of “Room At The Table.”

Enjoy! And again…I’m honored to share this little corner of the internet with you!

Because of grace,

I’m so honored that you are here. If you enjoy this blog and would like new posts to come directly to your inbox, I invite you to subscribe to GraceLaced by email.

Introducing a Lovishly + GraceLaced Collaboration

A sweet reader took the time to write me and tell me one time that she purchased my Floral Fruit of the Spirit print set so that she could give one to each individual ladies in her Bible Study group. Her desire was to let each one know how she had seen a fruit of the Spirit grow and blossom in her life. Though that had not been my original intent in producing the print set, I could not have thought of a more inspired way to use them for God’s glory.

A sweet reader took the time to write me and tell me one time that she purchased my Floral Fruit of the Spirit print set so that she could give one to each individual ladies in her Bible Study group. Her desire was to let each one know how she had seen a fruit of the Spirit grow and blossom in her life. Though that had not been my original intent in producing the print set, I could not have thought of a more inspired way to use them for God’s glory.

I’ve recently partnered with my dear friend Sherry, who started a handmade shop called Lovishly, to bring these Floral Fruit of the Spirit paintings to a new form. She and her daughters create charming and unique necklaces that are both lovely and encouraging in message. Lovishly gives back 15% off their profits to non-profit organizations that are making a difference for those in need. I’m so thrilled to announce that you can now purchase handmade necklaces from Lovishly, featuring my artwork! 

For a limited time, Lovishly is offering 9 sets of coordinating 5×7 prints and necklaces, each featuring one of the Floral Fruit of the Spirit original painting and hand lettering. 

As with all of Lovishly’s products, your purchase will give to bless others. For more details on current non-profits benefiting from Lovishly’s mission, please visit their website! 

And, to celebrate

Lovishly and I are each doing an Instagram giveaway (later today!) of two necklaces + print sets (one for you and one for a friend!) over at our Instagram feeds: Lovishly IG and GraceLaced IG!!!

All you have to do is follow both accounts and tag a friend or loved one who you’d gift a set to, and what Fruit of the Spirit you appreciate in her. Winners will be drawn tomorrow morning (9/18/04).

Plus, 10% off ALL order through Friday 9/19/04, use code: GRACE

Head over to my Instagram to get started! 

These would make such lovely Christmas gifts, so stock up now, as quantities are limited!

Blessings to you, friends. I’m so honored that the good news of the Gospel and the beauty of a life transformed by the Spirit of God, can be proclaimed in creative and lovely ways through the offering of handiwork from two very normal, everyday moms who seek to make much of an extraordinary God! (Would you believe that when Sherry and I get together with our families, we have 15 children in tow?!! Our God is so good. We are so grateful to proclaim Him!)

Visit Lovishly, Lovishly Instagram, and GraceLaced Instagram.