I just experienced a rare phenomenon in my creative life - my ever dreaming, full of ideas, always trying to prioritize which idea to focus on life.
This serendipitous clarity approached me at the entrance of the Santa Fe Design Center, a rustic furniture and design store located in - you guessed it -Santa Fe, New Mexico. This classy and eclectic store is housed in the former Santa Fe Motor Company building, a refurbished warehouse characterized by the original criss-crossing steel beams and large central skylight-filled atrium.
I felt a spark of intrigue as I made my way through the design center and into the open central space with a variety of creative studios, stores, offices, and restaurants surrounding the perimeter of both the lower and upper level. As I surveyed this space, I couldn't help but pull out my phone to snap every cool angle I could find. I was, after all, trying to finish a photography challenge with 30 unique prompts during our week-long visit to Santa Fe and I still had a few prompts to complete.
About 5 pictures into my warehouse photoshoot Prompt #19 - Something You Want struck me with conviction! I want to design and repurpose a space like this where creative moms can come to discover and develop their creative gifts and refuel in the process. I want to design a Creative Habitat with separate creative spaces for moms and their kids.
Think collaborative, feminine think tank meets multigenerational play space!
This is something I want for every creative mom - especially the moms who don't think they are creative - because ladies, each and every one of you is creative and gifted! I want to design a space where you can unwrap those creative gifts on a regular basis while knowing your kids also have a safe space to play, imagine, and create!
I want to create a safe space where moms support one another and don't compare themselves to anyone else, but rather, celebrate each other's gifts.
Finally, I want to make this Creative Habitat a 501c3 non-profit so the proceeds are reinvested in moms. Refueling moms. Inspiring moms.
I want to invest in a space where you feel invested in, Creative Mama!
I believe, with all my heart, no investment yields higher returns than an inspired mom because inspired moms lead to inspired families...lead to inspired communities...lead to an inspired world!
Heck, I think it's safe to say, if you have read this far someone in your life has affirmed your creative gifts. I would not be surprised if that someone was an inspired mom, perhaps your inspired mom. I can definitely attest to my inspired mom's influence on my creative pursuits and continued motivation to keep writing, dancing, and dreaming.
Whew! I'm getting PUMPED...and a little off track.
Where was I?
Oh Yes! Back to the photography challenge prompt:
#19 - Something You Want
I want creative time and space for moms and their kids under the same roof but in different spaces so moms can focus on their creativity knowing their kids creativity is also being stimulated.
And just like that...after years of wondering, pondering, and imagining...
I was prompted...and boom...Clarity!
I want to design a Creative Habitat where moms can invest in their creative gifts and workout their creative muscles on a weekly basis - similar to a gym workout but for the right hemisphere! I want to create a space where moms can develop creative habits to refuel in daily living!
Good news is, I'm equipped with an interior design degree and a clear vision - now it's time to find some collaborators...
Now it's time to get to work!
What about you Creative Mama? How would you respond if prompted to answer "Something You Want?" Don't hold back!
You can find the rest of my Santa Fe photos and associated photography prompts (30 in total) on the Creative Habitat Instagram page HERE.
This photography challenge reminded me of the creative insights gained from a simple prompt. Therefore, in an effort to maintain creative habits myself, I will be following weekly creative prompts and I invite you to join me. I will post weekly creative prompts HERE.
P.S.S.S (This is the last one - promise!)
I've had an idea for a collaborative creative space simmering in my mind for years. I've posted a few pictures of one of my undergrad interior design projects HERE. I designed a Cultural Arts Center with shared space for visual arts, culinary arts and performing arts. Imagine a space like this filled with creative moms! Now THAT is something I want!
I'll keep you posted as this dream takes flight - in some ways it already has!
Introducing Stephanie Marsh - Creative Habitat's First Official Guest Post Contributer!
For those of you who watch Grey’s Anatomy, you know what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the joy. Anything you do, you should always find the joy in it. Whether it’s saving someone’s life, or in my case, sketching. Hey, they both have joy!
A few months ago, I scheduled a coaching session with Rebecca to discover my creative habit. It was something I can’t even believe I ever stopped doing. My creative habit was drawing in my sketch pad - just for a few hours a week. Even though I was taking care of myself, she shared carving out creative time and space in daily living was a specific form of self-care - an opportunity to express my creative gifts freely.
Thinking of "creative time" seemed to spark something in me - a memory of when I used to sketch regularly.
Where I lost it...
When I was younger, I used to love drawing. I did it every day. It was my chill out activity. I especially loved sketching cartoons. Disney cartoons are some of my favorite but Looney Toons are fun too, and of course, who can forget the Smurfs. I don’t mean the new Smurfs...I’m talking original 1980’s Smurfs! I don’t know when it happened exactly, but for some reason I went to college and just kind of stopped doing it. My notebooks gathered dust. They were replaced by study sessions and college festivities. Then I joined the work force and that certainly didn’t help things. I was by no means unhappy in life. But somehow this simple activity just seemed to disappear from me. Every now and again I would draw something for the kids to color. But not like before. Besides, I was doing it for them not for myself.
Fast forward to today. Here is what reestablishing my creative habit of sketching has done for me!
Now, at 33 (I’m not old), I have started to feel like a little kid again! After our coaching session, Rebecca recommended I take one morning or evening a week to draw during a meal since this was the time I had more flexibility than other parts of my busy day. Well, once I recommitted to my creative habit of sketching, it basically turned into a nightly practice. And every day I find myself seeing a cartoon or remembering something and going OOOOHHH! I’m gonna draw that tonight!
After a couple weeks, I finally started showing my husband my drawings. At first he didn’t even believe that I had done them. This simple creative habit has not only helped me find a little bit of joy but I’ve even started to remember what it felt like to be 18 and drawing doodles of Marvin the Martian! It reminds me of what it was like back when everything seemed fresh and new.
Committing to my creative habit of sketching also helped shift my mindset...
I work in web design and have an appreciation for art and design, but the idea that my little doodles could put me in the same category as an art form seemed foreign to me - but that even got me thinking. Why am I not an artist? I draw, I write, I design, I make things pretty, I cook. Is that not an artist? Tapping into my creative gift of sketching not only helped me rediscover joy, but also helped me see myself as the creative woman I am!
EG Management Consultant
Here are a few more of Stephanie's sketches. Enjoy!
She certainly did!
Are you interested in contributing a guest post like Stephanie?
Please see Guest Post Contributer - SUBMISSION FORM
Looking forward to hearing from you and
As always, wishing you creative and refueling days ahead!
As a busy mom, you know the value of time.
As a busy, creative mom, you know the value of coming up with many ideas.
As a busy, creative mom and limited human being, you know the value of implementing systems to manage life's demands while also developing your creative endeavors.
For those of you who use social media regularly, or like me, are learning to use it more regularly to share your creative ideas, you know how much time, energy, and effort it takes to post a picture, quote, blog post, etc. to various social media accounts. Being the big picture planner that I am, little details like posting 10 different types of content to 5 different social media platforms slows me down and often, keeps me from posting content I want to share because I don't have the time or patience...that is, until I discovered Viraltag.
Viraltag is an all-in-one marketing platform. You can use Viraltag to find quality visual content to share, improve your own photos and create original graphics, and then schedule your posts on various social media platforms including Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter to name a few. Viraltag makes it simple to schedule something you would like to share from various sources including articles you find on the internet, Pinterest posts, Instagram photos, etc. The Viraltag link automatically directs traffic to the original source. See example below:
Once you have decided on the content you want to share, you can make any edits you need to the caption, then select the social media accounts you would like to post it to and the time you would like it to be posted. I have found scheduling social media content in advance to be a huge advantage of using Viraltag! Viraltag gives you several options for finding your own content to share including RSS feeds from your favorite blogs or websites with content your audience will value. A feed of the most recent photos and visuals will automatically appear in your Viraltag dashboard and you can schedule posts directly from there. See example below:
Another awesome feature of Viraltag is the Viraltag Browser Extension which allows you to schedule content from anywhere on the web. Just like using the Pinterest "Pin It" button, the Viraltag button allows you to bring up all the photos on any web page and simply click to schedule one or multiple photos to your social networks. You can even use this button to schedule your repins. See example below:
Finally, if you are a blogger using Viraltag, you have the option of getting 60% off your yearly subscription if you write a Viraltag review like I am doing here! I also like how Viraltag partners with their users by allowing them to make commission through anyone who subscribes to Viraltag using their affiliate link. Viraltag users like me typically see four times the amount of engagement on content shared through Viraltag in addition to increasing followers by 25% every month for each social account connected with Viraltag. You can track this growth using the seamless analytic tool. See example below:
Bottomline, you are a busy mom, as am I.
After a busy season adjusting to my new life after a cross country move with two kiddos (both on the move since my 7 month old daughter stared crawling this week!), you may wonder how I plan to feasibly share all the resources I want to share with you via social media while keeping up with 2 little ones...Viraltag!
It's the only "viral" thing I actually enjoy. If your kids are in daycare for any portion of the week, you know what I mean. Don't worry though, Viraltag is only contagious in the best sense possible. It helps you spread your message with those you come in contact with and makes it easy for them to share your message with their friends, etc. So if you have something to share and want it to go viral...Viraltag is your "one-stop go-to" for all things social media content scheduling and posting! Hopefully, I have convinced you to sign up for your own Viraltag account! If so, you can Subscribe to Viraltag HERE!
As always, wishing you creative and refueling days ahead!
Dear Fellow Creative Mama,
I may know you well or you may be discovering Creative Habitat for the first time. Either way, welcome!
Welcome to what I hope will be a new start.
Having recently completed a cross country move with a preschooler, infant and two large dogs (all in the same car mind you), I am experiencing a torrent of changes and the many new starts that abound in this season of transition. From the rolling waves of San Diego to the rolling corn fields of Des Moines, our family is learning how to embrace new starts each day.
In an effort to get acquainted with our new neighborhood and city, I have decided to start a weekly habit of trail running. This habit is intended to get a much needed breather from all the unpacking (both physical and emotional) while also exploring different trails in Des Moines.
During my runs, I plan to listen to acclaimed dancer, Twyla Tharp's audio book, The Creative Habit. I first read this influential book 2 years ago, before starting this blog as a new mom. Now, I am a mom of 2 and thus practically twice as busy, yet better equipped with creative habits to refuel daily. This is, after all, the reason I started Creative Habitat with the goal of providing resources to help fellow busy moms develop creative habits to refuel in daily living.
Anyway, back to my new habit and key takeaway from my first run including Twyla's wise words,
"I can't say enough about the connection between body and mind. When you stimulate your body your brain comes alive in ways you can't simulate in a sedentary position."
As a dance lover (I spent many of my days in the dance studio growing up) I appreciate how she calls out the important connection between mind, body, movement and the creative process. Looking back, many of my most creative ideas have come as a result of movement. From dancing with my son in the kitchen to playing with him at the park to walking with a friend - when I move, I am moved to create!
If daily movement helps to stimulate creativity on a small scale, then I have to believe a cross country move will reignite my creative core. Trusting the most creative days are ahead here in the Midwest, yet will always cherish the time I was blessed with in San Diego, the birthplace of this Creative Habitat vision.
I couldn't think of any better way to commemorate my first Creative Habitat than to dance in it.
This dance is the result of a little creative movement and a lot of inspiration!
I must preface, this dance was a very personal project allowing me to say goodbye and let go of a place very near and dear to me so I can start my time in Iowa with an open mind and open heart. I chose the song "Testify" by Needtobreathe because San Diego is where I learned to testify of God's goodness through writing, dancing, and creating without fear. In short, San Diego is where I learned how to let go and get lost in the beauty of creation!
Stay tuned for more details about this move and the creative movement I hope will follow. Until then, wishing you creative and refueling days ahead.
I attended my cousin's graduation at San Diego State University yesterday and was amazed by the creative hat decor! Lights, glitter, rhinestones...you name it! These graduation hats were decked out. I was grateful for this playful display of self expression and entertainment while waiting for my cousin's name to be called. After taking in this sea of creativity, I shifted my focus to the bleachers where I caught a glimpse of many other impressive hats. Inconspicuous as they were, I was equally amazed.
I am referring to the many hats worn by the proud mamas I was surrounded by. Undoubtedly, these women have served as loving caregivers, playdate organizers, potty trainers, party planners, nurses, disciplinarians, teachers, cooks, cleaners, project managers, chauffeurs, and life coaches to name a few. They have given countless hours and days, months and years to the art of mothering hoping this day would come, though I'm sure, realizing it came faster than anticipated.
As I watched these moms cheer on their graduates, I felt their pride, sacrifice, and devotion, knowing each cheer was simply an outward expression of a habit they have been practicing for years...cheering on their kids through the ups and downs of life - and frequently reaching for their party hat!
So there I was at a college graduation with my toddler and baby realizing the brevity of it all, knowing my potty training cheers will swiftly turn into first day of kindergarten cheers, sports cheers, driving for the first time cheers, and hopefully, high school and college graduation cheers - all while wearing the many hats motherhood requires. I just hope I'll make a creative habit of decorating a few of those hats!
This Mother's Day, my hat is off to all the moms wearing all the hats. Cheers to you and your creative gifts! A special thank you to my husband for my Mother's Day gift of creative time to write this post which I dedicate to my mom who daily inspires and encourages me to continue creating with joy. Here's to decorating our many hats together mom!
I took the picture above at a hat shop in Seaport Village in downtown San Diego yesterday and thought it was the perfect Creative Habitat to include with this post!
Happy All Things Day! - 4/13
Anytime I see 4:13 on the clock or calendar, it is a subtle reminder to stop, take a deep breath, and trust (no matter the circumstances) ALL THINGS are possible through Christ who gives us strength (Philippians 4:13).
Over the past few years, I have adopted All Things Day as a personal day of reflection and thanksgiving, a tradition I hope to pass to my kids as a conscious reminder that all things are possible when we tap into our Creator! Big things, little things, ALL THINGS!
This year, I find myself trusting for the little things equally as much as the big ones. As I prepare for our cross-country move next month (something I would consider a big thing), I realize my great need for God's grace in the messy, unexpected, day-to-day little things that can feel big in the moment.
I would be kidding you and myself if I said All Things Day 2017 has started with calm reflection and thanksgiving as intended. Let's just say, this day has been thoroughly doused in spit up and oatmeal and "all things" messy. Messy house, messy hair, messy plans, and as of half an hour ago, messy comforter.
The picture above is a glimpse of my everyday, real-REAL life as Campbells would say (love those commercials by the way). Notice the half full cup of oatmeal...an attempt at breakfast while nursing my daughter. Notice the crumpled spit up cloth used to wipe up the other half...a reminder two hands are a luxury affording many less spills in a previous life. Notice the grey leggings I ditched my jeans for just minutes prior...because even though I can finally button them again does not mean they fit! Notice the boxes at the base of the bed serving as a constant reminder of the big move to come, but most importantly, notice those little purple legs, reminding me all things, big and little, are possible with God's help including carving out time to write this post!
So grateful for this pocket of peace to reflect and be thankful! Wishing you creative and refueling days ahead in all things!
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13
Hello creative mamas, I'm back! Not that I left...unless you consider Newborn Land an actual place. If so, I now have two proverbial stamps in my passport. While I am a bit more prepared this time around, mothering a toddler and newborn is a trip to say the least. Though I am starting to return to some aspects of my "before" state, I will forever be shaped by the "after."
After changing two sets of diapers...
After attempting to potty train and sleep train simultaneously...
After starting to do something before being beckoned to do something else...
After returning to what I started, stopping and restarting (fill in the blank) at least 3 more times...
After giving myself grace for all my half-completed attempts...
After hours...way after hours...early morning hours...followed by a full day and more after hours.
I'm living (and loving) in the aftermath of life. I'm finding 1 toddler + 1 newborn = too many diapers, loads of laundry and dishes to count and countless moments of "Awe." Awe in amazement I have been blessed with these two sweet kiddos. Awe, as in, "Aww man, my toddler just peed on the floor again." And then there is the occasional sleep deprived lapse in judgement, "This is Awful" quickly followed by my true mother's heart, "This is Awesome!"
I have included photos of my daughter this morning before and after church. I think these two images capture the essence of where I find myself these days, in between awesomely adorable and awfully messy moments. Somehow, all the moments mesh into a cute chaos I have come to love.
Before having kids, I did not realize the capacity our hearts have for love. Sure, I feel deeply loved by my family and have loved deeply in return, but motherhood takes that deep love and roots it to the core of one's entire being. If I have learned anything in my almost two and a half years of motherhood, it is that nothing is stronger than a mother's heart. This is why I am dedicated to investing in and refueling my own mother's heart through my creative gift of writing and hope to encourage you to invest in your creative gifts as well. I have learned plugging into one's creativity amidst the busyness of life not only refuels mother's themselves but everyone they impact! No matter what season of motherhood you find yourself in, may you find creative ways to refuel and stay inspired amidst all the "Before and After" moments of parenting.
Wishing you creative and refueling days ahead!
If you are interested in sharing your own "Before and After" motherhood stories, please consider contributing a guest post to the Creative Habitat community! We'd love to hear from you❤️️
I have a precious baby GIRL resting on me as I write!!! Our gift from heaven made her debut on 1/7/17 and I am still in a state of elation and amazement after finally getting to meet this little lady who has been growing with me over the past 9 months!
A week ago I still didn't know if this babe was a he or a she, and I must admit this surprise was great motivation to stay focused in the final stage of delivery after many hours of labor and weeks of intense anticipation. Honestly, the two weeks leading up to her birthday were harder than the actual labor and delivery. Thinking you may go into labor any second for days on end does a number on one's mind and body.
Speaking of number, how cool is a 1/7/17 birthday?! While the wait felt like forever, I am grateful she took her time and am encouraged by her "late" arrival. She was due on 1/6, but I think she knew 1/7/17 was going to be a really amazing birthday, not only because it is the only day of the year she could have been born where the numbers create a perfect pattern (one, seven, one, seven), but also because I think intuitively she knew what the number 7 signifies:
Physical and Spiritual Completeness
Upon further research, I learned the number 7 is tied biblically to God's creation 735 times in scripture including the most obvious example of the world being created in 7 days as well as God designating the 7th day (Sabbath) as a day of rest to enjoy His creation!
Taking time to rest and enjoy the process of creating to refuel in daily living are two key lessons God has been teaching me during my pregnancy with this sweet girl, and low and behold her birthday signifies the very lessons I have been learning and documenting through this blog.
Praising God for the blessing of this beautiful creation resting in my arms now!
So apparently the Germans have a specific term for the final days of pregnancy...it's called "Zwischen" which translates to "between" in english. I learned this interesting fact from an article I currently have saved on my phone browser along with 9 other articles - most related to the final days of pregnancy and what to expect during the onset of labor. It might be helpful context to share I had a planned c-section with my son due to a condition called placenta previa, thus, this is my first time preparing for actual labor.
I have no doubt Google analytics has pegged me as a pregnant woman on the verge of popping given my search history. In fact, next time I meet someone new and want to get to know them, I'll skip the small talk and just ask if we can exchange phones for a minute. One glance at their open browser tab(s) will likely provide much insight on their current life goals and priorities, albeit quite intrusive, an efficient way to learn a lot in little time.
Just check out your open browser tabs. Do they not shed light on what matters to you most in life right now? Mine certainly read me like an open book. Here's proof:
Tab 1) 10 Symptoms and Signs Labor is Near
Tab 2) Did Stripping the Membranes Help Induce Labor
Tab 3) The Last Days of Pregnancy - A Place of In Between
Tab 4) Red Rasberry Leaf Tea = Contractions
Tab 5) Wikipedia - Ben-Hur a Tale of Christ
Tab 6) A Long, Cold Road to Bethlehem
Tab 7) Natural Ways to Bring on Labor
Tab 8) Extreme Fatigue in Late Pregnancy
Tab 9) Preparing Your Child For a New Sibling
Tab 10) Leftover Hambone Soup Recipe
Without ever meeting me, someone could easily assume I am a very pregnant woman with a planning personality and interest in biblical history. I can't help but chuckle at Tabs 2, 4 and 7 as they blatantly point to my desire to control the timing of a very uncontrollable situation! For the sake of time and continuity, I will digress from expanding on all my open tabs, but do want to highlight Tab 3 where I first learned about zwischen. According to the author, who is a trained midwife and doula,
"The last days of pregnancy are a distinct place, time, event, stage. It is a time of in between. Neither here nor there. Your old self and your new self, balanced on the edge of a pregnancy. One foot in your old world, one foot in a new world."
She goes on to say,
"These last days of pregnancy are a distinct biologic and psychological event, essential to the birth of mother."
The birth of a mother.
I'm captivated by this concept.
How many of us recognize the birth of a mother as well as the birth of her child? This article has definitely given me a new perspective on the dichotomous nature of birth since two lives are forever shaped by this event. I can certainly attest to this new birth in my own experience becoming a mom. The "me" before entering motherhood is distinct from the mom"me" I am becoming.
Becoming is the key word here.
I have mom"me" milestones just like my son has growth and development milestones. Right now I am working on the potty training milestone and just like babies and toddlers, I have regressed in my progress at times. As I approach my current pregnancy milestone of zwischen and prepare to welcome this baby, I am also preparing for the birth of my new self with an expanded heart for two. Bring on the birth of this baby and the rebirth of this mama!
As the new year draws near, I can't help but reflect on the creative habits I have adopted to refuel and live in the many precious moments that made up 2016. I can honestly say this year has been transformational as I have allowed myself to unplug from time commitments that were no longer in alignment with my new life as a mom and mompreneur. While it was not always easy confronting my limitations and necessity to prioritize and say "no" to many things I once said "yes" to, I have been blessed with the opportunity to plug into my sources of inspiration and creative gifts as a result.
While I have held on to many idealistic (and often unrealistic) expectations for myself over the years, I have finally learned the freeing power of simply letting go and enjoying the moment. The moment, I have found, is where true life is experienced. While I have been tempted to live in the past or plan far in advance...I have learned now is a gift to cherish, especially in my daily interactions with my little guy who is growing faster than I can keep up!
Just think of all you have overcome to get to your now. This is what I remind myself of when I start to become too preoccupied with what I could have done or what I should be doing. Instead, I have started to ask myself, "What has blessed me to get to this point and what blessings are in front of me?"
It's such a mindset shift for a reflector/planner personality like mine, but oh, such a gift when embraced in the moment! Now, don't get me wrong...I still reflect and plan. The shift for me is no longer dwelling in my past/future but rather setting aside reflecting and planning time so I can be present in the here and now as often as possible. After all, we are not guaranteed tomorrow, thus why not own our now! Perhaps this is the reason these two words share the same letters!
In fact, I am owning my now as I write this blog while getting a pedicure. Color choice: "Let Your Love Shine." Coincidence, I think not!
May you own your now and let your love shine in the new year ahead!