Have you ever wished you could replicate a movie or TV show set to escape real life for a while? I have often pictured myself walking the whimsical streets of Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls complete with twinkle lights and quirky characters around each corner. I have been a long time fan of the show. The witty banter and playful storyline paired with a candor-filled cast is a welcome escape for me. What I love most about Gilmore Girls is the close friendship shared between Lorelai and Rory which reminds me of the close friendship between my mom and I (Like Rory, I am my mom's only child). After following Lorelai and Rory's journey from the pilot season highlighting their relationship during Rory's early high school days through the final season where Rory graduates from college, it is clear Lorelai's support is the one constant throughout Rory's changing life seasons.
Like Lorelai, my mom has been a constant support throughout my growing years. After my parent's divorce, we embraced our new normal as the Barton Babes (Barton was my maiden name), a term I fondly coined in relation to the similiar relationship we shared with the Gilmore Girl duo I had come to love and respect. Ironically, Rory's character was only one year ahead of me in school while the show was being filmed which made the show all the more relatable. While my mom was not 16 when I was born like Lorelai's character, her youthful spirit was equally as vibrant, creating a special friendship and bond I will always cherish.
Now, as the years have passed and I am a mom myself, I find our friendship has become deeper and more meaningful now that I can better understand her mother's heart. She inspires me on many levels and I am thrilled to share she has decided to join me in support of the Creative Habitat vision. Starting in 2017, my mom and I will be joining creative forces and working together to support mothers of all ages and stages in the discovery and development of their creative gifts. I can't imagine a better partner as she brings years of motherly wisdom and experience. She recently retired from a 30+ year career as a principal and teacher in elementary education and has decades of refueling creative habits to share, not to mention a joyful spirit which is contagious!
If I can equate our partnership to a storyline in Gilmore Girls, Creative Habitat is our "Dragonfly Inn" and my mom is my "Sookie!" Anyone who has seen the recent Netflix Gilmore Girls revival knows the Dragonfly Inn just isn't the same without Sookie! She is the "icing on the cake" so to speak (for those who haven't seen the show, Sookie is a culinary wiz and pastry chef, hence my cake reference). It is with great thanksgiving and anticipation I welcome my "Sookie" to the Creative Habitat team!
Finally, for those who have seen the Gilmore Girls revival, you are likley aware of the much anticipated "last 4 words." Well mom, here are my last 4 words for you:
Let's ice this cake!
“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!
Ladies, it is time to get vulnerable...more vulnerable than I would like, however I have learned vulnerability is a MUST in any authentic creative process. First, here is a brief recap for those who are just reading this blog for the first time.
Like you, I am a busy mom trying to navigate the fast-paced swirl of modern day living with grace and ingenuity. This blog is my documentation of that navigation process. I post insights from my own journey in carving out creative time and space to refuel (and avoid burnout) so I can continue to pour into those I love more fully. I also share creative habits I am learning to practice to maintain work/life balance.
Finally, I post resources to help other busy moms discover their creative gifts and develop creative habits to refuel in daily living. Each blog post represents my creative habit of writing because writing refuels me and refueling through creativity is core to the Creative Habitat mission.
Now confession time. Despite my efforts to carve out creative time and space over the past few weeks, I have felt an inner sense of conflict. Current events (both national and international) as well as recent personal events have reminded me of the battle we all wage both internally and externally to claim joy amidst turmoil. With the weight of the world resting on our shoulders and tyranny of the urgent constantly vying for our energy, carving out time to create (just for the joy of it) can feel frivolous. The battle is real, and yet so is the need.
As I've contemplated my own experience with this battle, I've come to the conclusion, it is worth the fight. It is the creative act, after all, that brings light and beauty to a hurting world. Our creative gifts not only bless and refuel us as the creator, but have the potential to bless and refuel many who are on the receiving end.
Dear friends, I know the battle is real because I experience it daily, but please be reminded no matter how many internal or external issues you may be facing, your creative gifts are equally real. The world needs your light, so shine on!
Wishing you creative and refueling days ahead.
Check out the Creative Habitat Facebook Page where I will be posting weekly resources starting Monday, October 24th including:
*Blog photo from wallpapersus.com*
I miss hearing cheers in our living room now that the Rio Olympics have ended. I can only imagine how the athletes must feel after years of training for two weeks of glory that are now history. Fortunatley for athletes like Kerri Walsh, many are returning to spend quality time with their families after intense months away training.
Kerri is not only a decorated Olympian in beach volleyball but also a mother of 3! In fact, she was pregnant with baby #3 during the last summer Olympics in London where she won her third gold medal while starting her first trimester! Having just gone through a first trimester, I am amazed at her stamina and agility amidst so many changes happening in her body. Her example of grit is nothing less than bump, set, striking!
So striking in fact, I had to research Kerri further which lead me to "A Day in the Life" clip where Kerri discusses balancing her career and family goals (check it out in the Mompreneurs in the Media section of this site - under Resources).
What strikes me most about Kerri is her ability to weigh decisions based on what is best for her family including making the committment to pursue her gift in volleyball so she can stay inspired.
"Any time away from my family needs to be something that betters me and betters my life for my family." - Kerri Walsh
This single quote shows she knows her values and refuses to settle for anything less than best for her dreams and her family. She understands the sacrifices and the reward of pursuing her gifts. Fortunatley she has not let the sacrifices hold her back and has reaped both personal and professional rewards as a result of her diligent dedication to her sport.
Like any mom, I'm sure there are days where she wonders how she will juggle her training schedule while keeping up with 3 kids. Yet somehow, like any mom, she makes it happen day after day because she has established a routine and her routine includes carving out time to develop her gift so she can continue to be bump, set, striking!
Ladies, we may not be Olympians like Kerri, but we are all invited to play in the game of life. We have 3 choices. We can continue rushing busily through our days and miss the opportunity completely, sit on the sidelines and wish we were gifted enough to play, or recognize our gifts and carve out time to develop these gifts so when it's time to play, we can bring our "A" game!
Choose option 3 and the next cheers you hear in your living room may just be from your family because let's face it, when you develop your gifts, everybody wins!
If you want help carving out time to discover and develop your gifts, DOWNLOAD a FREE:
"Mom's Guide to Developing Creative Habits"
"Mompreneurs Guide to Uplevel Success"
Blog photo from fiercelyfitenterprises.com
In an effort to create space for new creative habits to take root as I embrace this new chapter of full time motherhood and mompreneurship, my son and I escaped to Colorado Springs (where I grew up) for a two week quest in creative problem solving. We are starting Week 2 of this very important time of reprieve and regrouping before returning to San Diego where our "New Chapter" officially begins.
Points of exploration on this quest include:
1) Praying for energy to match a toddler's energy on a daily basis.
2) Planning a new weekly schedule that will meet the development needs of my son and allow me to carve out time to pursue my own creative habits.
3) Strategizing a way to "batch" weekly responsibilities (cooking, cleaning, etc.) so we can make the most of our quality time.
Most importantly, this time is dedicated to embracing courage in the quest for creative time and space, knowing life will always swirl with the to-do's of today and unknown priorities of tomorrow. To live fully, I must learn how to embrace the delicate balance of letting go and holding on...letting go of my desire to control and holding on to my desire to create. Both require intention and courage from which I believe true creative genius stems.
Elizabeth Gilbert, authour of popular novel, Eat, Pray, Love, recently published a book called, Big Magic where she discusses the creative genius hidden within each of us if we have the courage to live beyond fear. Given creativity is the pursuit and exploration of the unknown, one must overcome the implicit fear associated with such a daring act...to create original work with confidence!
Big Magic is the novel I felt lead to read during this two week hiatus in Colorado. Ironically when I found it during a recent Barnes and Noble date with my son, he grabbed my hand and walked me directly to the Dr. Seuss section. There before us were many examples of one man's creative genius on display. Surely it took courage to write each of those colorful, silly books! Surely Dr. Seuss overcame some level of fear to dare to write books with made up words when he originally intended to get his Ph.D in English Literature. Imagine if he had not chosen to live creatively beyond fear?
I have only just begun reading Big Magic, but it's no surprise the first chapter is titled, "Courage" because courage is the first step in any creative endeavor. The author recounts a profound quote by the late poet and English Professor, Jack Gilbert, who once asked one of his students, "Do you have the courage to bring forth this work? The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say "Yes" (Gilbert, Big Magic, pg.7).
This is a question we all must ask ourselves when we are on the brink of uncovering our Creative Genius. Fortunatley, creative geniuses like Dr. Seuss answered, "Yes!"
Wishing you courage in your creative quest as I embrace courage in mine, admitting each Creative Habitat blog post is just that, a courageous step towards creative living without fear!
Check Out Elizabeth Gilbert's "Your Elusive Creative Genius" TED Talk on the Creative Habitat Creative Leaders link found HERE.
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.
Check out my first Creative Habitat interview with Owner and Artistic Director of Bowen-Hays School of the Arts as she describes her creative habitat and habits that fuel her creativity.
Interview can be seen HERE
WARNING: You may be inspired!!!
A safe space is something to be cherished and protected. Whether it is physical space, emotional space or creative space...a safe space allows for ultimate growth. A habitat provides the ideal conditions to ensure that growth is sustained.
I was reminded of the sustaining value of habitats this weekend after taking my son to the San Diego Zoo and running in Mission Trails, a protected wildlife reserve near my house. Both had many signs posted to remind passerbys to respect and protect the natural habitats and their inhabitants.
This got me thinking, why don't creative women have similar signs to remind others we need protected time and space to grow and nurture the creative visions within? Why do we let the busyness of 21st century living intrude on our creative habitat so often? Perhaps I'm speaking solely for myself but something tells me many women can relate.
Women, by nature are caregivers, or as some refer to us as caretakers, yet few women take more than they give. This caring nature is our beauty within outwardly manifesting itself through an encouraging word, a hug, or a sippy cup given at just the right time...you get the picture. I'm constantly amazed by women's ability to care so deeply for so many.
I love being a caregiver. It's what I was designed to do, yet I have also come to realize I can cannot continue to pour into others if I am running on empty myself. In order to sustain our caregiving nature, I believe we must protect the creative gifts we've been given so we can continue to give the best of us, not what is left of us.
Just as natural habitats require sustained protection, so too do creative habitats. If we want to develop our creative gifts in a protected space, we must first set boundaries and invite others to partner in our effort to respect and protect our creative time and space.
This shared respect and understanding may be all the sign we need!
Are you in need of protected time and space to develop your creative gifts? If so, who do you need to inform about your creative habitat and protecting the key inhabitant, you!
Thank you to all who have supported me in this Creative Habitat journey so far. For those who are new to Creative Habitat, you are joining my creative process at the perfect time because I'm getting ready to invest in this passion project like never before.
I've spent the last year praying, dreaming, designing and prototyping. I've filled 3 journals with ideas and refined those ideas based on feedback I've received and now it's time to unveil the vision within (designed with the following purpose, mission, and values in mind).
Helping busy moms develop creative habits to refuel in daily living.
Inspiring creative confidence and encouraging women to develop creative habits in support of work/life balance.
Health and Well-being
If you are a busy woman seeking greater work/life balance and time to refuel and develop your creative gifts, stay tuned!
More resources to come!!!
I value your input and would love your feedback as I put the final touches on the Creative Habitat coaching program I have been developing.
Please take 3 minutes to complete the survey below so I know how to best support you.
Women's Creative Time Survey