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,

 

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Creating In A Comparing World

How do you find your voice when there are so many available to listen to?

How do you express something others may have already expressed, but better?

How do you do something with what you are good at without being distracted by what you’re not?

How do you thrive being uniquely you in a world that rewards popular opinion?

 

How do you create in a comparing world?

 

I’m an artist, a writer, and a creative sort of gal, but truthfully, left to my own devices, I’m a self-critiquing, comparison addict. Left to my own nature, I’d be miserably unhappy in this world of pretty pictures, perfect lifestyles, and unending talent. I’d stop creating for all that I can’t do, not what I can. I’d stop writing for how far someone else’s words reach beyond my own. I’d simply stifle all that I’ve been given on account of comparison.

The common denominator to all of us who express ourselves creatively with any medium– through words, paint, fabric, or ingredients in the kitchen– is that we all begin by admiring another’s work, by being captured by the beauty of another creation, by tasting another’s ingenious pairing of simple elements.

We are all imitators. In fact, we were created to be so– to be image bearers of the Master Artist, God alone. 

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

-Ephesians 5:1-2

We were created to be set apart, to be imitators of a holy God, to live out love, to give ourselves sacrificially, and to serve others with the fragrance of Christ. We are to be captured by the artistry and majesty of Christ.

And, a life that is consumed with reflecting a beautiful Creator cannot also be absorbed with broadcasting self. When we consider our lives for God’s glory, it’s difficult to compare ourselves to others for the acquiring of our own.

You see, all comparison to others is ultimately about self and pride. It is about us wanting to build a tower to the skies and be like God. It is to be as knowledgeable as the Almighty with a bite from forbidden fruit. It is to want what others have because we cannot truly believe that God can create a more wonderful life for us than the one we are grappling to get for ourselves.

It doesn’t matter how talented we are or how good we have it; there’s always someone better if that’s where we are fixing our eyes. (My friend, Joy, is setting her gaze on Christ daily this month…join her!)

I may never paint like others I’ve admired, write like those who’ve won acclaim, but I have the promise of being made like Christ…of being transformed day by day:

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.

-1 John 3:2

When we are grateful and blessed by each other’s becoming more like Christ, there’s no room to compare how much we are becoming like one another

Friends, let us fix our eyes on Jesus, and not on one another. Let’s start creating with the gifts he’s given us, and stop measuring ourselves against what he’s given another.  Let’s be led by gratitude and not by comparison. Imagine what a creative world this would be if we did just that.

Because of Grace,

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Tulips for Morocco + When You’re Blessed To Be A Blessing {Drawing Close, Day 15}

Tulips For Morocco
Tulips For Morocco

A few more layers, and the painting is finally where I think I want it. I could keep tweaking forever, but I need to be done, and simply let it be. I’m thankful for the opportunity to use my gifts to glorify Jesus, to bless others, and to further the kingdom, as this one will be auctioned off in a few weeks in support of loving the people of North Africa. (Can I just tell you how much lovelier this one is in person, than it is in this photo?)

Lord willing, I will be relaunching this blog with a new design, including a shop with this and other prints available for purchase…in time for Christmas. I’m super excited. This has been a LONG time coming, and I have hoped and desired to work professionally as an artist and writer for many many years. But truly…if the Lord is willing…and my excitement is tempered with the heart lesson I’ve learned again and again through the years:

God’s timing is perfect.
There is a season for everything.
Be present in the season he has for you right where you are.
He gives and takes away.
Blessed Is the Name of the Lord.
He blesses that we may be a blessing.
Nothing is wasted, even when it feels like it.
His callings are his enablings.

You see, there was a time when these truths sometimes felt true…and often did not. There was a time when I didn’t know my own voice, in words or in artistic expression. There was a time when I was just too bound by fear, and not nearly confident enough in God’s sovereignty.

And, on the other side of all the doubts, I now know…that it’s all his. The words, the art, the kids, the house, the ministry, the idea of who I am. IT’S ALL FOR HIM.

I only create because his mercy found me to make much of Him.

I’m drawing close today, Day 15, to passing on the blessing…

Drawing Close {31 Days of sketching and noting grace through drawing.}
Drawing Close {31 Days of sketching and noting grace through drawing.}

Join me everyday this month for the Drawing Close series.

Day 1: Drawing Close Intro Day 2: A Portrait Day 3: Parts of A Whole Day 4: Be Strong and Courageous Day 5: A World Where There Are Octobers {My Birthday} Day 6: Keep Moving Forward Day 7: Bearing Fruit Day 8: Capturing Life In Motion Day 9: Real (Uncomfortable) Hospitality Day 10: In Process, In Progress Day 11: Beginnings Day 12: Underpinnings Day 13: Rest In Him Day 14: The Mercy of Layers Day 15: Tulips For North Africa Day 16: Day 17: Day 18: Day 19: Day 20: Day 21: Day 22: Day 23: Day 24: Day 25: Day 26: Day 27: Day 28: Day 29: Day 30: Day 31

Drawing Close {31 Days of sketching and noting grace through drawing.}

IMG_3053

Sometimes you become a mom, and a decade goes by of changing diapers and teaching hearts…and something that you once loved–a simple pleasure you knew you were created for– falls by the wayside and becomes a luxury you just can’t afford. For me, that something is drawing. I draw word pictures and do creative things in my home, but I rarely pick up a pen, pencil, or a paintbrush. I never doodle, I don’t sketch, and I can’t seem to find time or the mental capacity to just let my eyes tell my hand what to express.

Drawing and creating art isn’t just about jotting something down or making something pretty…it’s connecting the dots, encircling what’s precious…it’s honing a craft…it’s drawing close to who Christ made me to be.

So, join me here every day in October (today’s Day 1!), as I draw my way through 31 Days of Drawing Close to my heart and voice as an artist.

Here’s a little secret: I think of myself as a quitter. I’m scared to death of setting goals, of taking a plunge. Will you come by and cheer me on? And…perhaps you, too, will be a little inspired to see your world through a timid pencil, pen, or brush, and rediscover a language you haven’t spoken in awhile either.

GraceLaced 31 Days Series: Drawing Close
GraceLaced 31 Days Series: Drawing Close

Sweet Baby H {A Photo Shoot}

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I have GREAT respect for baby photographers. No, not babies who take pics, you silly! 🙂 I mean, photographers who can magically produce peaceful, still, precious images of tiny newborn subjects…subjects who cry, wiggle, leak, and are completely unpredictable! I tried my hand at photographing our dear friends’ baby girl last week…I have much to learn as a photographer, but I’m honored to have captured some images of this sweet family.

Finally Mini-Fig-ing

The boys and I have finally gotten around to making our own set of salt dough mini-figs. Squishing salt dough between your fingers is quite an affordable alternative to therapy. 🙂 Seriously…it is fun for all, moms included. The best part? It requires almost zero artistic ability…unless you are attempting to dress an entire army of salt dough mini-figs in camo. But who would attempt that?!?

Whether you’d like to try these salt dough creations or you simply want icy casualties floating in your lemonade, you can purchase your mini-fig ice molds here.

If you didn’t catch Ashley Ann’s fantastic tutorial the first time around, be sure to check it out here.

Happy squishing!

Color Week: White/Grey/Black and An Introduction

Before we were 7…

Prefers jazz and Chopin…

Closeness…

Daily bread…

And, my favorite white/grey/black subject…introducing the newest member of our family:

Pepper, our 6 week old miniature schnauzer…

…because everyone with an infant and a potty-training toddler needs to have a new puppy…naturally!