“Becca, you are 8 months pregnant and have a two year old, how productive do you expect yourself to be?” asked my realist husband in response to my idealist request to retreat to my son’s room (one of my Creative Habitats) for some refueling time to develop Creative Habitat this weekend. While I was a bit perturbed by his blatant assumption that my body “full with child” was not just as capable of having a mind “full with ideas” as my pre-preggo self, I simply thanked him for focusing on quality father-son time for a few hours so I could focus on my pregnant thoughts and thoughts of being pregnant.
Regarding my pregnant thoughts…well, as far as I’m concerned, my mind has always been “pregnant” with a new idea or concept. I was constantly participating in some make-believe game when I was younger and have continued the habit of playing make-believe in my adult years. Now, I try to focus on making myself believe life is not as serious as I often make it out to be while reminding myself each day holds an element of wonder and surprise. Each step in the development of Creative Habitat is the perpetuation of this playful mindset. When I am able to retreat to my Creative Habitat to blog, develop a new training tool, or connect with another creative mom, my heart is full! I then tap into this full heart to serve my family, friends, and clients with even greater tenacity.
As for my thoughts on being pregnant, well, let me just start by saying I am so excited to welcome this new baby into our family. He/she has been kicking even now as I type and reminding me of the miracle of life and what a blessing it is to be a woman bringing life into the world. That being said, I am not naïve to the fact my life will be changing greatly with the birth of another child who will rely solely on me for nourishment and care over the next few months. I must admit I have been on autopilot with all of my other life responsibilities and am finally starting to realize how soon this change is approaching thanks to my husband's timely reminder.
Indeed, I am 8 months pregnant. Indeed, I am preparing to enter a new season of motherhood with two little ones including sleepless nights (yet endless cuddles). Indeed, I am excited to see my son bond with his sibling and hold them both in my arms knowing they are God’s ultimate creative gift to our family. Indeed, I am rejoicing over our upcoming arrival, yet, I must admit I am wondering how I am going to sustain the development of Creative Habitat while simply trying to sustain basic life needs for a newborn and active toddler. This is not to mention making a concerted effort to maintain enough energy for coherent conversation with my husband on what is likely to be very little sleep for both of us. The good news is, each time I start to wonder how I will manage it all, I am reminded God has gone before me and will give me what I need as He has every step of the way.
So in response to my husband’s comment and reality check earlier this evening, I do not expect extreme productivity from myself during this season, but I do expect extreme inspiration. While I am 8 months pregnant, I am also 31 years inspired. This means I have 31 years of make-believe experience to make myself believe anything is possible including continuing to carve out creative time and space to refuel and develop Creative Habitat (even after the baby arrives). I know from experience, this healthy balance will help me avoid burnout so I can continue serving those I love more fully.
I’m sure there will be days in the upcoming months where I will be exhausted beyond belief, but that’s why I am committed to maintaining the creative habits I have developed during my first two years of motherhood. I have learned the importance of retreating to my Creative Habitat to stay refueled even amidst the busiest of seasons including my husband’s intense medical residency years where I have felt like a single mother much of the time given his grueling schedule and long hours. As we prepare for his final few months of residency and upcoming cross-county move, I am amazed how God has carried us through the many life changes we have encountered over the course of his medical training years and know the upcoming changes will be equally covered in abundant grace! After all, anything is possible with a little imagination and a lot of prayer, both creative habits I intend on focusing on as I continue to grow as a mother of 2 and develop the Creative Habitat vision I have been blessed to share.
Stay tuned! There are many more Creative Habitat resources to come in 2017 for all my fellow busy moms who are seeking creative time and space to refuel in daily living. Looking forward to sharing all that I have been working on behind the scenes over the past couple months. In the meantime, check out the Creative Habitat Facebook Page for daily resources to help you develop refueling creative habits starting this week!
Wishing You Creative and Refueling Days Ahead!
The media is full of women archetypes and stereotypes. While some women esteem to reflect a certain image, others avoid the same image all together. Either way, we have been filled with messages about what "success" and "failure" look like as a woman at any age and in any role depending on our values and beliefs. Teenagers, twenty-somethings, wives and moms at all life stages may have very different life priorities and values but most share the constant barrage of expectations placed on us by either society or ourselves.
I can personally attest to the expectations and pitfalls I have encountered along my own journey in womanhood. The constant lie that "I'm not enough" or maybe even "just a little too much" have paced through my mind one too many times.
I've had ENOUGH.
Today, I choose to believe I AM ENOUGH...not in the world's eyes...never have been, never will be...but in God's eyes. I am, after all, the woman He created me to be. Aways a work in progress, no doubt, but unlike all of the archetypes and stereotypes this world tries to fashion for women to fit into, I am uniquely crafted, uniquely broken, and uniquely restored. We all are.
This is the birthday insight I have gained today.
I was blessed with the gift of time alone with my Creator this morning to celebrate 31 years of life. What started off as a normal morning of routine to-dos and daily goals turned into a spontaneous trip to the Ocean Beach Pier Cafe where I was greeted by a quaint dining room slightly swaying with the ocean's rhythm.
As I ordered my two scrambled eggs sprinkled with cheese (delivered on a piece of wax paper, mind you) I sensed an indescribable novelty as I sat in "my pocket of peace" embraced by the rolling swells of ocean surrounding me. In the distance, I watched as the waves traveled from directly under the pier I was sitting on toward Sunset Cliffs where they crashed with sudden resolve before returning back to the ocean.
When the early morning clouds began to break, I moved to an outdoor table to take in the view with more clarity (compared to looking through the cafe window glazed with a fresh layer of ocean mist). I sat in awe as I watched wave after wave respect the Creator's boundary once it hit the shoreline. God used this scene to remind me of His omnipotence and my reliance on Him.
He not only cares enough to hold the ocean back but also cares enough to "sit" with us and spur us forward in his abundant love and grace. This is the ENOUGH I choose to live in, embracing His limitless love instead of grasping for the world's limited attempts to define us.
Proverbs 31, describes a woman who is clothed with strength and dignity and speaks with wisdom. I suppose if there is any woman I want to emulate in my 31st year, it is her. Otherwise, I choose to let go of the other archetypes and stereotypes that try to define what "enough" looks like, because these versions of "enough" all have limits while God's "enough" is limitless and tapping into the limitless is a creative habit worth pursuing!
In light of the pending presidential election results, I felt inspired to write today. Soon the confetti will fall and the music will play to ring in the much anticipated inauguration of our nation's next leader. Inevitably, some will be pleased while others will be dismayed by the result. Either way, one candidate will be elected while the other will likely feel neglected by voters as they prepare to concede.
Concession is never fun and yet a necessary part of life. The recent election coverage has reminded me we all have a daily choice to elect which emotion will govern our decisions. We can elect fear or we can elect faith. Either way, choosing one means conceding the other. There is no bipartisan agreement between these two parties. One will win, one will lose.
So which candidate will win, not only in our presidential race, but in our hearts? Will our internal ballot be filled with fear or faith? I can assure you, from experience, your creative gifts will always campaign for faith because faith is being sure of what we hope for. Faith requires moving forward with confidence even when we don't know exactly what the next step holds.
November 8th may be our nation's official Election Day, but make no mistake, every day is election day in the process of stepping into our gifts and using them to serve others. No matter what the presidential results are tomorrow, we each have the power to choose whether to move forward in fear or in faith today and every day hereafter.
More resources found on the Creative Habitat Facebook Page
Blog Photo Credit:
As we near the end of September and prepare to embrace the "Fallidays," as I like to refer to the upcoming months, I can't help but reflect on this past season of transition and change.
The last three months have looked very different in our home with my recent decision to leave my previous career role to focus on our family and developing Creative Habitat. Ever since getting married to my, then, medical student husband who is now in his last year of residency, I have worked outside the home to help support our family during his medical training years. The years prior, I was busy living out my college years working toward a double major and myriad of internships and campus involvements.
Now, my days revolve around an almost 2 year old boy who blesses and challenges me daily. For the first time in years, I have no set schedule which also blesses and challenges me on a daily basis. I am slowly learning how to let go of knowing the plan and instead allowing moments to unfold before me. Our spontaneous trip to the dog beach this week (shown above) is a perfect example!
This change of pace has been restoring in many ways and a needed time of rest and rejuvenation from all of the balls I was juggling. As I've been looking into articles about mindfulness, rest, and well-being this year while developing Creative Habitat, I learned something very interesting about the history of "rest" in Jewish culture.
In biblical times, Jewish farmers were expected to work their land for 6 years and let it lay fallow every 7th year to allow for restoration of the soil and also as a dicipline to trust God's provision for them during this season of rest, called a Shemitah or Sabbath year. After 7 Shemitah cycles (every 49 years), the year following the last Shemitah in the cycle (the 50th year) is considered a year of Jubilee.
A Jubilee was intended to serve as a year of freedom and mercy where debts were forgiven, slaves returned to their families, and land was returned to the original owner. Based on historical records, we have been in a Jubilee year (September 2015 - September 2016). Pope Francis has announced this season as the Year of Mercy (December 8, 2015 - November 20, 2016). Ironically, November 20 is my son's birthday, but that's beside the point!
I have been fascinated as I have read more about the significance of the Shemitah and Jubilee years and their global impact both historically and in current events. I am convinced now, more than ever, that we were designed not only for work, but also for rest.
Rest is so counterintuitive to our "Go, go, go" culture, yet so important for the serenity of our souls which fuels our creativity. After all, a soul at rest is free to create when it is not burdened by burn out. I can personally attest to this truth in my own creative process.
Ladies, as we near the end of this Jubilee year, I hope we can carry on the creative habit of rest and restoration into the weeks, months, and years that follow. Allowing ourselves rest may be one of the most significant creative habits we can establish to fuel our creativity and live abundantly in our creative gifts. Like many changes in life, this change will surely be a challenge, but oh, SUCH a BLESSING!
Wishing you creative and restful days ahead.
Rain drops and a muggy hotel room were not on the agenda for the start of our vacation this week and yet we found ourselves doing our best to keep an antsy toddler entertained in a confined space when the rain decided to put a damper on our plans yesterday.
We were relieved to wake up to sunshine this morning and I was also relieved my camera captured this playful moment of my son dancing in the sunlight considering my SD card malfunctioned and corrupted all of my stored photos yesterday as well. Sadly none of them were backed up.
To say yesterday was frustrating would be an understatement but today was a chance to begin again.
"Always we begin again."
This famous quote by Saint Benedict has played over and over in my mind after hearing it at a women's retreat I attended at my church a few weekends ago. This statement is so simple and yet so profound. The word always is what gets me. When you really stop to consider that we always have the opportunity to begin again, it is incredibly freeing.
No matter what frustrating situation we may find ourselves in, we always have a choice to start a new, begin again, and trust the best is yet to come.
Ladies, perhaps you had a frustrating day yourself. Perhaps life rained on your plans and now you are faced with the choice to sit in your frustration or let it go and dance in the sunlight. I hope you will allow yourself the freedom to begin again because this is the first step in any creative act and key in developing creative habits to refuel in daily living.
So next time life gets frustrating and you want to throw up your hands, I hope you are reminded as I have been today,
"Always we begin again."
ALWAYS in ALL WAYS!
Wishing you new beginnings and creative days ahead!
Freedom. What a gift. What a sacrifice. We are free because many gave all to defend the freedom we celebrate on this Independence Day. As I reflect on the significance of 4th of July, I can't help but wonder how many Americans truly live with the conviction our forefathers intended for America, "Home of the free and land of the brave."
We live in the land of opportunity, yet many Americans are trapped in depression, addiction, and isolation, serving as a constant reminder we must continue to defend the freedom we value by making a conscious choice to embrace and appreciate the freedoms we so often take for granted.
Freedom of speech. Freedom to worship. Freedom to vote. Freedom to pursue life, liberty, and justice. This is truly profound when you consider the many other countries where many only dream of freedom yet we have the freedom to dream.
As a seasoned dreamer, I feel so blessed to live in a country where I can dare to dream and dare to be different and make a difference. It is my hope, Creative Habitat will make a difference by encouraging women in their freedom and call to create.
After several months of feeling called to focus more attention on my son, our family and the development of Creative Habitat, I finally put in my notice at my professional job (July 1st was my last day in the office). This was a big decision for me because I have worked since I was 16 years old. Professional development has always been a freedom I have valued.
I am pleased to share the new freedom I have experienced in stepping away from my job to step into my calling. I know this was a "freedom decision" because it required sacrifice...sacrificing the known for the unknown, and yet, the unknown is where I feel called to explore!
I look forward to dedicating myself more fully to embracing the freedom to develop the creative gifts I've been blessed with including my son (as shown in the photo above), his sibling on the way (Spoiler Alert: I just finished my first trimester with #2), and developing Creative Habitat resources to encourage my fellow creative mamas to embrace their creative gifts as well!
This Independence Day, I am daring to live and dream more fully. Will you, Creative Mama, dare to live and dream more fully with me? This is afterall, home of the free and land of the brave. Let's be brave and claim the creative gifts we've been given to use and serve with greater intention!
Through every great struggle is a need for innovation. Joy Mangano
Joy Mangano was once a busy single mom of 3 working hard to keep a roof over her kids heads. Now she is a leading business woman with a net worth of over $50 million.
Coined the "Mother of Invention," this once tired and busy mom decided to carve out time to discover and develop her creative gift of innovation. Her launching product, the Miracle Mop was just the first of over 100 patents she would later develp and sell at a groundbreaking rate.
For anyone who has seen the recent blockbuster film based on her life, you know her success required overcoming obstacles and taking big risks...big risks that she believed in!
I don't know which part of Joy's story inspires me more, her perseverance to keep pushing forward when even those closest to her were skeptics or her audacity to dream (an do) BIG when it would have been so easy to maintain the status quo. At 34, she broke the mold by doing what so many adults are too afraid to do. She reinvented herself!
She returned to the passion of her youth (making things) and combined her experience as an adult to creatively overcome daily struggles other adult women face, but with a youthful fearlessness. She dared to try something new, even when her circumstances were overwhelming. She made time to create!
"Through every great stuggle is a need for innovation," Joy shared candidly in a recent interview (as shown HERE. Her great struggle was mopping and she developed an innovative solution and helped many other women in the process. Her story has inspired me to continue to develop an innovative solution to my greatest struggle and hopefully, help other busy moms with similiar struggles in the process.
Full disclosure, my great struggle is battling burn out. As a mom of a toddler, wife of a busy medical resident, employee in a fast-paced job, and overall millennial do-all-be-all mindset (which I battle daily), I MUST be intentional about how I spend time or else the world in all its enticing messages can consume the precious energy I MUST conserve.
Creative Habitat is my innovative solution to conserve energy and refuel amidst the busyness of daily living. I have found carving out creative time to write, dance or develop other creative gifts not only refuels my spirit, but allows me to better serve my son, husband, and friends. I guess you could say Creative Habitat is my "Miracle Mop" for cleaning up the hectic mess that can ensue in this 21st century life.
If you are a creative mom who has been putting off developing your creative gifts, l hope Joy's story inspires you to carve out some creative time in the near future. I can personally attest to the benefits of doing so. Who knows, perhaps you have the next "Miracle Mop" hidden within.
Little did I know the day I first became aware this life of mine was growing with a little life to share.
That time would shape us both with each new passing day and teach us how to view life in a new and special way.
Little did I know my heart could love so much as I held you in my arms and knew you at first touch. Sweetly breaking me of previously held fears, smiling down on you while holding back joy-filled tears.
Little did I know our days and nights would merge turning sleeping into waking with both starting to converge. Not knowing how I'd make it from day to night to day, yet, somehow through the exhaustion we always found our way.
Little did I know how that gummy grin could tease and how those pretzeled little legs could bring me to me knees. Praising God above for my precious gift while strapping on my baby carrier and giving you a lift.
Little did I know how many supplies you would require to keep you fed and dry which became my main desire. Through it all I learned a helpful hint or two about how to improvise and still take care of you.
Little did I know how my plans would change on a dime when you needed a diaper change or decided it was nap time. With your help I've learned how to relax and chill...and always be prepared for the next spill!
So on this Mother's Day, I just want to share all the many ways you've taught me how to care. Nose to nose and cheek to cheek, I cherish you from week to week. And this I know is true as I watch you grow...before I met you, little did I know.
Imagine standing alone amidst the ancient marble walls of a church that has been standing alone on a florentine hill for over 1000 years. Now imagine visiting this church many times before with constant tourist chatter and photo flashes in the background. Surely one cannot find complete solitude in such a publicly known space...or so I thought.
I get goosebumps even now as I reflect on the moment God carved out time and space to meet alone with me in San Miniato church while studying abroad in Florence, Italy 8 years ago.
I was on my daily run and decided to challenge myself by running up the stairs leading to the San Miniato church entrance. I could feel the weight of gravity pushing down on me as I pushed forward towards "The gates of heaven" as inscribed on the front of the church. Little did I know, I would actually get a taste of heaven that day.
I knew something was different the moment I felt the heavy, oversized church door close behind me. The cold, dark marble interior was surprisingly inviting. Silence was my partner as I quietly progressed toward the back of the church before climbing another set of stairs towards a clerestory window beaming a sharp ray of light through the darkness.
As I reached the light, I stood reverently basking in its warmth, yet unsure of how to fully embrace the moment. Suddenly, without hesitation, I was brought to my knees. I kneeled in awe as the light penetrated my spirit and left me in a state of complete peace. I met my Creator that day and I will never forget the peace I experienced in my solitude.
I was reminded of this miraculous experience when my son rummaged through my drawer and pulled out a plastic bag with a San Miniato church pamphlet and candle inside as shown above. At first I thought nothing of it and took the bag from him to put it somewhere high, somewhere unreachable.
Tonight while cleaning up, I found that unreachable bag and it reminded me of the day God reached out to me, an unreachable person at times, and literally shed light in my darkness. This memory filled me with hope knowing God carves precious time to be with us if we carve out precious time to be with him.
I hope you are able to carve out your own San Miniato moment this week. The world needs your light.
Savor now. Now is your time. Now is when your creative gifts can influence those around you. Here is a truly inspirational story about a woman who learned how to savor the moment amidst true adversity and used her creative gift of writing to encourage others to SAVOR.
Let's carry her message forward by savoring the gift of now.