All We Need Is Time and Grace

time, grace, art, art journal, perfectionism, therapy, creative

Many of us have said things like, “I’d create it if I had the time and space.”  I’ve found over the last few weeks that time and space are not what’s needed to create.  It’s time and grace.

When there’s something nagging at you, a dream or a desire, sometimes it’s hard to give it an honest look.

Seriously.

Whose got time for fanciful dreams of peace and fulfillment when there’s work to be done and things to take care of?  We often cast it off before we’ve even given it a thorough examination.  It’s so unrealistic.  Why bother?

It’s a wall we all face.  Over and over again.  It’s a wall that creatives are intimately familiar with because we spend so much time bouncing up against it.  We just can’t help it.  We’re drawn to using our creative talents to make a better and brighter space around us but then we get knocked back with a hard dose of reality.  There are more important things than making art.

It takes up too much time.  It doesn’t pay the bills.  You don’t have enough training.  No one would understand it.  You’re a nobody.  No one would ever buy it.  It’s probably not that good anyway.

But it makes you feel so good inside. Like you’ve finally found a slide of chocolate pudding that never ends. (Awesome visual. You’re welcome.)

Except, it does end because you talk yourself out of it time and time again.

Recently, I’ve started looking at art as a practice of self-love. Therapy, really.  It’s grace that I’ve started to offer myself.  It’s an opportunity to be free, to stop judging, and just feel.  To be me.  Authentic and pure.

I don’t consider myself an artist as far as canvas and paint, but I am creative and a dabbler in many arts.  I’ve decided to give myself permission to be unrealistic for a time and practice art.  Because it’s nourishment for my heart and soul.  And it’s a reprieve for my mind.

I’ve started art journaling and I invite you to join me in the process.  I created a 30 Day Art Journaling Challenge.  It’s a daily practice that only takes a few minutes each day.  It can be as simple or involved as you want to allow. Think of it as an open door. A breath of fresh air. An invitation to be real, unfiltered, and whole.

You’ll be surprised how much making art a daily practice can change your outlook and feelings about your life.  Suddenly, you see things in a new light.  Your perspective broadens.  Your heart grows bigger.

Growth and learning are natural products when you give yourself the grace and time to just do what you love. You allow yourself to be imperfect.  You accept your art for what it is.  You connect with your heart.

You don’t have to be great.  You don’t need a lot of time and space.  You just have to be you. And be okay with that.

So, no matter what your dream or passion is, give it time and grace.  Make it a daily practice of self-love and nurturing. Release the potential that you’ve been ignoring.  Go make some art.


If you’re interested in joining me in the 30 Days Art Journal Challenge, please connect with me on Facebook or Instagram and share your art with me!  Just use the hashtag #30DayArtJournal!  And leave a comment below telling me what dreams you’ve been putting on hold because you haven’t allowed yourself the time and grace to do it.  

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All You Ever Wanted – Words of Wisdom

have it all, busy, crazy, life, creative, time,

have it all, busy, crazy, life, creative, time,

A Praise for the Creatively Wrecked

You are a genius.

You, who write in 3 journals at once.

You have a journal for ideas, one for notes, and one to document your life.

Your most excellent, extraordinary, ordinary, hectic, busy, boring life.

You write articles and clean toilets.

You create beauties from scraps of yarn and fold laundry like a pro.

You create lesson plans and school your children at your dining table,

While cooking dinner, making jam, and playing phone counselor.

You shun hairspray and adorn extremely sensible shoes.

Or, more often, no shoes.

Shoes mean going out. There’s no time for that.

You have guest posts to write, photos to edit, and crafts to sell.

Your website needs updating, you missed the webinar, you have 200 unread emails.

You have self-imposed adult homework to do.

You love it. You know you do.

You creative genius, you.

You’re creating flyers, advertising seminars, and designing sales funnels.

There’s that agricultural fair to go to, the reenactment to see, and exhibit at the Capitol.

You have choir practice, church service, and Sunday naps.

The wisdom of the world sits on your bookshelf.  You must find time to read just one more.

You’re a wiz with a hot glue gun and make all your gifts by hand.

You make your bread from scratch and raise chickens.

You wonder why you can’t fit in that drawing class or keep the kitchen table cleaned off.

The days fly by and you wonder how you could waste so much time.

After all, the bed still isn’t made and you barely got a shower today.

That e-course you were going to write is still only an idea in the back of your mind,

And a few notes in your idea journal.

The dishes are done, the floor is swept, the menu planned.

Groceries, banking, and errands on Friday.

You have appointments and volunteer work this week.

You read about minimalism and dream of empty rooms.

So you box up some excess, but let it set in your living room.

You creative genius, you.  Life is so dull.

Why can’t you keep up? Move forward? Reach the dream?

How could you get so little done in a day?

You should exercise more.  Call home. Send out thank-you cards.

Your to-do list only gets longer as the back-log gets bigger.

Simplify. Say no.  Clear your plate.

Say no to what?

The kids? The housework? Helping? Reading? Creating?

You wanted it all. You got it. It’s all good. Keep it.

Don’t call yourself lazy one more time.

You’re creative.  And we love you for it.

You have creative, mommy, homeschooling, housewife superpowers.

You creative genius, you.

You may feel like you never get anything done.  You may only see the opportunity cost when you spend your time.  If you spend your time housekeeping, you could have been creating something.  When you spend your time creating, you should have been doing housekeeping.

You do.  That’s all.  And that’s a lot.

Be so thankful that you have so much to be thankful for.

I’d rather be creatively wrecked than bored.

What do you spend your days doing?  Do you feel like you should always be spending your time doing something else?  Leave your comment here.

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Schedule Some Awesome In Your Day

time management, schedule, discipline, yoga, multi-task, mono-task, work, focus

time management, schedule, discipline, yoga, multi-task, mono-task, work, focusTime is something that no one has enough of.  I’ve found myself, daily, lamenting the lack of time to get everything done on my  to-do list.  Between family, work, projects, school, events, and household chores, it seems I just get further behind.

People have many modes of operation when it comes to using there time.  Here are just a few variations I’ve witnessed recently.

Squirrels – There are some people who are busy all the time.  It seems like they run in circles, always in a rush and never really getting anywhere.

Loafers – There are others who focus on the wrong things and the important items get left undone.  Those unfinished tasks build up into catastrophe.  Read this article on putting the big rocks first.

Sergeants – Then there are some highly efficient people who get stuff done.  No frills.  No excuses.  No sense waiting around when it can be done now.

Creatives – Finally, there are highly motivated people who write out the most sophisticated schedules in elegant planners and then spend all there time creating little beauties, dreaming grand schemes, and admiring the works of others.

Oh, boy. 

Confession: I totally binge crocheted for at least 3-4 hours a day for the last 3 days.  My blog post was late today.  The things I wanted to do last Monday, haven’t been done yet. I have some super cute dolls to list in my Etsy store.

It doesn’t take a genius to see it’s not a time management thing.  Time doesn’t have to be managed.  You can’t tell the clock when it can strike the hours.  You can’t hold off 3 o’clock just because you’re not done with 2 o’clock yet.  Time ticks along without any help.  Just like always.

You don’t manage your time.  You manage yourself.  Ouch.

It’s not easy.  Let me just say that first.  I like to relax.  I don’t like to be rushed.  I want the events of my day to be evenly spaced out.  I also need my days to be balanced between stress and social interaction vs. quiet and solo projects.  My introvert battery has to stay charged. 

Keeping that balance is where it gets tricky.

So to help me and to help you, I’ve found some ideas to try.

1. Mono-task.
I learned this from yoga practice.  Focus on one thing at a time.  Start it, complete it.  Then move on.  Yoga does a lot with balance.  You have to stay focused or else you fall over. You breathe easy and deep and keep your mind focused on maintaining your balance.

Multi-tasking only keeps you from doing your best work because you can’t devote all of your mind and efforts to one thing.  Mono-tasking will get the job done, and get it done in a timely manner.  Big projects don’t have to be completed all at once, but block off time to work on it.  Then focus on that one project for that specific block of time.

2. Use a simple to-do list.
Grand schedules and beautiful planners only make you feel like a failure when you can’t keep up.  I just started using an app called Todoist to keep track of my tasks.  I’ve only scratched the surface of what it can do, but my favorite thing is that it’s so easy to move your tasks from day to day.  I can move things that just didn’t get done today to tomorrow or another day in the week.  It stays on my list and doesn’t get forgotten.

3. Breathe easy.
Being in a rush is the quickest way to get behind.  Whatever you are currently working on, let yourself focus on just that.  The rest of the things will still be there when you’re done with your project.  There’s no use wasting worry or anxiety on it when that emotional steam could be fueling your best work that very moment.

4. Create a space.
Yoga happens on the mat.  Most yogis will tell you that the hardest thing about yoga is getting on the mat.  It’s getting yourself to the place where the work can take place.  That’s called discipline.  Yes, I said the nasty D-word. Unrolling that mat gets your mind prepared to focus and body ready to work.

Having a space to do the work you need to do will help you mentally prepare to get stuff done.  It doesn’t have to be an office downtown or even a spare room in your house.  It could be a comfy corner of the couch or a nook with your tools in it.  Just have a space where you can work.

So, I’m obviously no guru.  I’m trying to get myself in shape and my life in order just like you.  Feel free to share with me some “time-management” ideas or personal disciplines you use to keep up with life here in the comments.

If you want to get some more tips and inspiration in your inbox then join my email list!  I look forward to writing to my email friends every month.

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When You Put the Big Rocks First

time, priorities, important, fun, entertainment, prioritize

time, priorities, important, fun, entertainment, prioritizeLast Sunday, my son led a an object lesson demonstration for his Sunday school group.  The illustration showed the importance of putting God first in our lives and, also, what happens when we get our priorities out of order.  I thought it was a great point that could be beneficial for everyone to put into practice.

The demonstration went something like this:

  • A clear glass vase represents our lives.
  • Several big rocks represent the most important things in our lives.  Like prayer, Bible reading, daily devotions, and faithfulness to church.
  • The smaller rocks represent other important things like family, work, school, chores and working in the church.
  • The sand represents the fun and entertaining things in life.  Like hanging out with friends, reading, vacations, games, play dates, social media and whatever else you find entertaining.

When the sand (entertainment) was poured into the vase first and the small rocks were added next, there was not enough room for all the big rocks to fit in.  Some of the big rocks had to be left out.

When the order was reversed and the big rocks were added first, then the small rocks, it was interesting to see that every last bit of sand also fit in the vase.  It filtered in and around everything else and nothing at all was left out.

When we get our priorities in the correct order, we get to have a walk with God, do fulfilling work, and enjoy all the fun things in life.

The illustration was great for a Sunday school object lesson.  And it fit right in with the story of Mary and Martha.  However, it’s not an original idea.

Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, demonstrated this same lesson in regards to time management.  Truthfully, it applies to every area of our lives, not just our Christian walk.  When you broaden or narrow the scope, the lesson of Big Rocks First still applies.


In life, our relationships are the big rocks.  They are the what we should be putting our main focus on.  Everything else we do in life will always come back to the people we do it for, rely on, and get our support from.  We want to make sure we are putting our relationships with our spouse, children, friends, and God before things like work, social clubs, school and business.  These are important and even urgent responsibilities, however, they mean nothing if our relationships suffer.

In our business, the content we are creating, the value we offer and our customers needs are the big rocks.  Before we spend time on marketing, advertising, and building a social media platform, we need to have a foundation of those big rocks.  Customers coming into your store or traffic coming to your blog don’t mean anything if you don’t have something there of value to offer them.  They won’t stay long and your efforts will be wasted.

When you get your priorities out of order and start with the sand or even the smaller rocks, it doesn’t make the big rocks go away.  They are still there, begging for your time.  It causes mental clutter and feelings of guilt for leaving something important undone.

Big rocks are used to build strong foundations.  You can’t build a business without a product, you can’t have a quality marriage without communication, and you can’t have a walk with God without prayer.  Those are all part of the foundation of the life you are trying to build.  Without a strong foundation, all the important and entertaining things you do will erode.  You will be left with a life of dissatisfaction and regret.

When you start to prioritize your life or your day, always remember Big Rocks First.  Because when you get the big things out of the way, the other stuff will just fall into place.  You’ll get to enjoy the fun things in life, be fulfilled, and have a clear conscience.

 

What are the Big Rocks your are needing to put first right now?  How can you make changes in your current schedule to make sure a strong foundation is built?  Share your comments here.

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4 Principles to Win with Money and Life

money, finance, win, principles, focus, time, hard work, persistence

money, finance, win, principles, focus, time, hard work, persistenceHave you ever wanted something big for your life?  You could see the finished product in your mind.  But you just didn’t know how to get there.  Maybe you want to lose weight.  Maybe you want to be wealthy.  Maybe you want to start a business.

It’s fun to imagine a dream as reality.  But it’s only fun until you realize it’s not going to fall into your lap.  Any gain that’s worthwhile is going to take a lot of effort to achieve.

I want to share with you some principles that will help you reach your goals.  They will work as soon as you start working.

4 Principles to Winning with Money

1. Focus

In other words: a budget.  A budget for me was the hardest part.  The word itself was scary.  It was restrictive and complicated.The numbers weren’t the problem for me.  It was the human aspect.  Somehow, what was written down on that piece of paper had to be translated into human action.  And not just myself.  My husband and my children all have to fit into this budget.

What about the unknown?  Something always pops up out of nowhere and demands money.  How do you plan for that?  Since going through Financial Peace University, we’ve learned how to have an emergency fund and have a budget.

The budget isn’t complicated.  You can get a budget form to walk through here.  And it’s not restrictive, because we have control over it.  If we find that we’re being squeezed a little too tight in some categories, we change it.  It gives us a sense of power with our money and keeps us focused on the daily interactions with our money.

2. Persistence

This means doing a budget every month.  It means that every two weeks, on payday, I go to the bank, take out cash and stuff my envelope system.  It means that we put money in savings out of every paycheck.  It means we track every dollar.  We watch our debt decrease and our savings increase. We don’t take a break from the budget.  It’s our game plan.

3. Hard Work

The hardest part in winning with money is saying, “No.”  It’s saying no to our wants while we get out of debt.  It’s saying no to going out to restaurants.  We say no to vacation if it’s not in the budget.  It’s saying no to buying food when the grocery budget is used up.  That’s hard work.  That takes effort to make due with what you have and finding creative ways to get by.  If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.  Instead, most of America is overspent and in debt.

4. Time

This is the hardest principle to deal with.  Time is going by at a single rate of speed.  You can’t speed it up or slow it down.  You never get more of it and you can’t rewind.

Anything worth doing is going to take time.  It takes time to lose weight and it takes time to save money.  The only variable in the equation is the amount of effort you put into that time.

Are you using your time wisely?  Are you being efficient with the time you have?  Are you giving it your all?  You have to be intentional with your time.  Because time is passing by.  It doesn’t stop.


The truth is that the pounds to lose or money to save isn’t what’s so daunting.  It’s the amount of effort you’re willing to put into it.

It’s a common dream to be wealthy, skinny, or be your own boss.   So, why aren’t more people fulfilling their dreams?  Because it takes time, hard work, persistence, and focus.

That’s right.  It all comes back to you.

Don’t lose another minute.  Put  your plan in place, commit to it, and roll up your sleeves.  Someday, you’ll look back and know it was worth it.

What are you going to do to win in life?  What worthwhile goal are you striving for?  Share your answer in the comments.

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