"Every time I think I have it all figured out and I have a routine that works and keeps everyone happy, something changes and I have to start over again. Those first few days of a change (like two naps a day turning into one because my daughter is growing up) are terrible and I whine and complain like nobody's business. But then I learn to adapt and things get better. I think the hardest part for me is realizing that this is all a cycle and I have to roll with it. I need to remember that I've been through it before and what didn't kill me made me stronger. Being a mom of a small child is only a short amount of time when you look at the big picture. I have to make sacrifices. I can't do everything I want to do. But I know there will be years in the future (I plan on living to 102) when I will have more time. I'll only have this time with my daughter once. So I have to do a good job for her sake."
~Brenda Ponnay, freelance graphic designer, illustrator, and painter (aka Secret Agent Josephine)
The Studio Mothers listing of e-courses &
|Read past issues of the Creative Times||
Hello, creative mamas!
This morning I went blueberry picking with a dear friend and a few of our children. A heavy, overcast sky loomed overhead, but the rain held off and allowed us more than an hour's worth of PYO fun. My friend and I would have kept going for hours more, but the kids started getting antsy and our buckets got awfully heavy.
A morning like this one was a gift of many sorts: time outside; beautiful, diffuse light; the rhythmic pleasure berry-picking; happy children tumbling around the orchard; the easy conversation of two good friends; nearly seven pounds of blueberry bounty for each family. As the summer passes its halfway point, I am grateful for this day, grateful for blueberry-stained fingers, grateful for friendship.
On Sunday my friend and I will gather up the kids and our blueberries in her kitchen and she'll teach me how to make and can blueberry jam. I've long been wanting to know how to put up fruits and vegetables, so this will be a treat. Assuming, of course, that my family and I haven't polished off all seven pounds of berries by then.
From my creative home to yours,
If there's a quick-fix antidote to feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or off center, it is surely the practice of gratitude.
Feeling grateful requires a return to presence, awareness, and an expansive heart. Filling up on gratitude is incompatible with feelings of irritation. When we connect with what we appreciate in our daily lives, we are both humbled and empowered. As Arianna Huffington observed: "When we recognize the sacred in the mundane, we allow gratitude to enter our lives. Gratitude has always been for me one of the most powerful and least practiced emotions. Living in a state of gratitude is living in a state of grace."
We know in our hearts that this is true, and yet it's so easy to drift away from the simple magic of practicing gratitude. One way to incorporate gratitude into daily life is the wonderful practice of keeping a gratitude journal: taking a few moments each evening to make note of the day's beauty. This can be as simple as a numbered list of half-a dozen words, or a full-on journal entry.
If you have a smartphone, you might want to browse in the app store for one of the many excellent gratitude apps. "Gratitude Journal" for the iPhone is one of my favorites; you can even choose a photo to highlight each day.
Another option it to take some time each morning to focus on what you're grateful for. You might even consider incorporating gratitude into intention journaling. A mindful expression of gratitude is a wonderful companion to planning the logistic elements of what needs to be accomplished in the coming day. You may find that this practice is as energizing as that extra cup of coffee, but without the jitters. Try it and see what you think!
"Music and art both spring from a grateful heart."
~Katie Wood McCloy
"The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude." ~Friedrich Nietzsche
What works for you? Share your experience.
Ready, Set, Go!
The five-minute sprint is a journal technique that helps you write even when you don't feel you have the time. The deal you make with yourself is that you will only write for five minutes. That's right, only five minutes. So open your journal, start the time and write without stopping for five minutes. See what appears in your journal. You may be surprised how much you learn about yourself in just 300 seconds!
Ready, set, GO!
Reprinted from the International Association for Journal Writing (www.IAJW.org) by permission.
Out and About
Eric Maisel, prolific writer and creativity coach extraordinaire, has launched a new creativity resource with his wife, Ann Maisel.
This new venture is the World Salon, an interactive resource for creatives around the globe. I'm thrilled to have the inaugural column in the Coach's Corner!
The World Salon provides many ways for creatives to contribute, so if the opportunity strikes your fancy, check it out.
Healthy-esque Blueberry Muffins
It's blueberry season in much of the United States! Whether you're able to enjoy a pick-your-own excursion or you pick up a pint at your local farmers' market, here's a very tasty way to enjoy your blueberries while having fun with the kids ~ who of course, invariably love to bake.
This flexible recipe is a healthier take on traditional muffins and may easily be modified to accomodate dietary needs or allergies.
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup oat bran
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup blueberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 large banana, mashed
1 cup milk or soymilk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 12 cup muffin pan, or line with paper muffin cups.
- In a large bowl, stir together the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, sugar, oat bran, rolled oats, wheat germ, flaxseed meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gently stir in the blueberries and walnuts.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the mashed banana, milk, egg, oil, and vanilla.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix just until blended. Spoon into muffin cups, filling all the way to the top.
- Bake for 15 to 18 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly touched. Cool and enjoy!
Life Assessment Tool Update
I'm catching up with another queue of Life Assessment Tool responses. If you're still waiting for yours, thanks for being patient!
As of early August, the Life Assessment will no longer be provided free. I've struggled with this decision, because I believe in the value of the Assessment and my personal responses to each one ~ and would like to be able to offer this to everyone without charge ~ but I am no longer able to maintain this offering as a free service. Note that anyone who already completed their Assessment will still receive their personal response gratis.
If you haven't yet taken my online Life Assessment Tool specifically for creative mothers, you can do so here.