Category Archives: Creativity

What is On the Walls of Your Home?

I’m becoming more intentional about what goes on the walls of our home. Of all the sensory receptors in the body, 70% are in the eyes. Fascinating, no? We see a lot of images everyday, and what we see stays with us.

We didn’t have a lot of extra for decorating when I was a kid, but my mother made a real effort to put up interesting art. I remember eating breakfast as a little girl and staring up at a poster of the urinary system 🙂 My mom put up anatomy posters, Monet, ancestors, and framed Minerva Tiechert. I am so appreciative of that now.

What’s on our walls? Here are a few amateur shots from around the house:

 Flowers painted by great grandmother, Alice Fogg Family photos Love is spoken in our home at all times, day and night. there is never any fighting 🙂 This Christ print is by Greg Olson, one of my favorite painters. We received this for our wedding (almost 20 years ago!) We see it every time we enter or leave the house, and every time we enter the living room. Poor Jesus has been through a lot in our house. The glass was shattered after Nelson kicked a soccer ball into it, the frame cracked after a dry winter, it’s been tipped over by careless dusters, and often gets covered in black soot from the fire. Nevertheless, after replacements and loving care, the print is going strong.This hard-workin’ laundry mama reminds me how I adore washing and folding multiple loads of laundry a day. She and I always have a smile on our face while performing this service for our family (just ask the kids! 🙂 )

I like to use inspiring pages from a youth Christian magazine, The New Era (’cause Cosmo hasn’t really led us toward the light). Love, love, love their monthly message. I tape these up onto the bathroom mirror. We ponder goodness while brushing teeth.

But besides this, and my children’s artwork, I’ve been longing for meaningful art  to ponder and get lost in.

This past summer, when my heart was heavy, I gravitated toward paintings of strong women.

When I saw this, I HAD TO HAVE it:

She Will Find What is Lost by Brian Kershisnik now hangs in our living room. What has she lost? A person? Hope? Faith? She’s lost something that has impacted her happiness. But all is not lost. Heavenly angels surround her, strengthening and reminding her that she is not alone. I think the beauty is not that she has lost something, but that “she will find what is lost.” Read more HERE, by artist.

She Became Herself With Tears by Caitlin Connolly. Cope says this is a depressing piece, but oh, I love it so much. The colors, the title, everything. I stalked artist Caitlin Connolly on instagram for a full month, waiting for a holiday sale, snagging print #2 of a limited edition of 30. It really felt like the first significant piece of artwork on our wall.

Mothers Teaching by Caitlin Connolly. I love this one, too, which now hangs in my bedroom. I want so many of her prints, but must exercise restraint. Her paintings of strong women really speak to me.

Artists I’m really loving right now…(I even know some of them!)

Molly and Corbett Leith, David FlemingJen Fleming, Brian Andreas, Ruth Chou Simons, and James Christensen (just to name a few – there are so many!)

Good artwork, especially original, isn’t easy. But is shouldn’t be, right? The time it takes to find the right mat and frame and hanger easily overwhelms me. And if you want someone else to frame it, well that’s time and effort and money, too.

But. I’m upping my game, vowing to do better. Art is an important investment for a family and home. It makes homes more interesting, less stale, more beautiful. It’s a conversation starter, it supports our artists, and makes our hearts pitter patter with happiness over that special, unique, carefully chosen piece.

As the chaos of the world swirls around us, I’ve felt a greater need to make home a refuge – and you certainly don’t need great artwork on the walls to do that – but I do want us to be surrounded by beauty and color and inspired artists who seem to have an eye and heart and paintbrush turned toward heaven. Bring the heaven in.

Read this: 13 Reasons Why Original Art In the Home is As Important As a Bed! 

“Do a visual tour of your home with spiritual eyes. Is there love? Is your family room a place to gather as a family? Regardless of circumstances, home should be where family wants to be.” -nestingwithgrace

What’s on your walls? Any favorite artists?


everything starts messy

Spring was so slow to get here that when it finally came, we clapped and did cartwheels.

Oh, we were happy for days with sunshine and warmer temperatures.

And then my nemesis – the black fly – came out in full force. Tried to wreck spring.

Swatting flies, I caught sight of the yard. Spirits plunged. There was just So Much Work.

I suddenly felt depressed. I couldn’t do it all. I just wanted to hibernate another winter.DSC_0637Every garden bed was covered with winter yuck, dead leaves and sticks. Weeds were threatening to take over the home land.

DSC_0715And though I knew the blueberry bushes wouldn’t always look like sticks, all I could see were weeds and…sticks.

garden And the garden. Why are we supposed to grow food when it’s so hard?

seedsWeeks earlier I was ecstatic about the seed packets received in the mail!

DSC_0720And now weeds dare to grow.

Instantly, I felt guilty. Me, who just weeks earlier was wishing for spring.

plantsInside, plants are bursting, so excited to go outside and put down roots in soil.

DSC_0134I have to take deep breaths often. Everything starts messy.

DSC_0140Actually, it’s messy for awhile.

DSC_0709Everything starts small. Even though, inside, things are happening. Changing.

Babies, families, habits, novels, dreams, exercise goals, eating regimes, household management…everything starts messy. And is really hard.

DSC_0703It just so happens, I started reading a book called, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. Pressfield talks Resistance. Resistance is your adversary. It’s all the doubts, fears, you can’t do it, it’s too hard moments.

Resistance is not your friend. It keeps you from doing what God put you on the earth to do.

I may or may not have been put on earth to be a farmer, but it was the next right thing. Because I want vegetables this summer.

So I made myself go outside with a bucket full of seeds. And I planted something.

And it’s still messy.

chickensAnd if you’ve ever had chickens, you know how full of poop life can be.

But did you also know, that chicken poo is such a fantastic fertilizer that they sell it in 25 lb. bags? Mmm hmmm.

Perhaps a little mess is how the best things grow.

DSC_0699When the seeds were finally in, I fainted from exhaustion. Or maybe it was all the black flies sucking my blood. Either way, I was down for the count. Down on the grass. And I saw these small, white flowers. Hundreds and hundreds of beautiful white petals. They only bloom for about a week. And then they are gone. Easy to miss unless you’re knocked over on a field of weeds.

DSC_0647And years ago, I couldn’t get asparagus to grow. Mad, I gave up. But something must have been done right because Gregor told me to go look on the other side of the hill. There, on a neglected patch of grass was hundreds and hundreds of asparagus.

Take that, Resistance! (Want to come over for lunch?)

DSC_0773The darlings don’t know this thing called resistance yet…they think the dandelion weeds are gorgeous flowers. Gifts for their mother.


I’m going to call them my beautiful bouquet of resistance.

And isn’t it the truth that these children I get the great privilege of raising are also my biggest messers…which makes me ponder why we think that everything in life has to be so perfect, orderly, and tied up with a bow?

I’m going to stop making my bed!

DSC_0398These eggs from the most messy creature on the planet lays a perfect food every single day! Believe me, they don’t come out looking so pristine. I won’t tell you what analogy my son likened that too this morning, but you know…ow. wow.

Everything starts messy.

Especially the things worth anything.

The time is now. Get your hands dirty. Get messy. Make mistakes. Start again. Grow 🙂





Ghandi Was Quiet; And Books You Must Read

Wild:  From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, is a 2012 memoir by Cheryl Strayed, a girl who had never been hiking.  Yet she decides she needs to do something really hard.  I like that. Strayed (a name she gave herself) cluelessly tackles one of the hardest hiking trails in America.  I enjoyed this honest memoir, though I wonder why so many of us need to find our way in the world by first losing ourselves to drugs, alcohol and meaningless sex.  On that happy note, Cheryl does indeed find her purpose – and it all happens on the big and beautiful Pacific Crest Trail.  Now I want to go there.  What would I discover?

I have a knee-jerk GIVE ME THAT BOOK response whenever I see a new Jodi Picoult novel.  I ended up skimming most of this, and I can’t explain exactly why.  My friend, Lindsey, really liked it.  It’s well-written and has the classic Picoult twist at the end, but I feel like I’ve read so many Picoult books that the writing and characters are something I’ve read before.  

This book only fueled my long-held fascination with Charles and Anne Lindbergh. I.Loved.Loved.Loved.this book!  It’s historical fiction, but felt so true and real, that I wondered if it was actually nonfiction. Written from the perspective of shy Anne, Melanie Benjamin’s writing is riveting, making me wonder what she made up and what is actually true.  I must now plunge into every Lindbergh book written, including Charles Lindbergh’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel, and Anne’s beautiful book, Gifts of the Sea.   

I love Glennon Melton’s writing; she’s hilarious and honest and did I say funny?  This book felt a little hastily written, and much of it is already on her blog, but I still enjoyed it, especially because I am nosy and wanted to find out what The News actually was.  Are you confused?  It’s a long story.

Quiet. A highlight of my reading life.  If you’re a quiet, more reserved sort of person, this book will validate you!  I learned SO much about myself, our society, and why we think we need to be so darn LOUD all the time.

I actually took notes and made photocopies of pages I liked.  Do you wonder if you are an introvert or extrovert?  

Extroverts are the people who will add life to your dinner party and laugh generously at your jokes.  They tend to be assertive, dominant, and in great need of company.  Extroverts think out loud and on their feet; they prefer talking to listening, rarely find themselves at a lost for words, and occasionally blurt out things they never meant to say.  They’re comfortable with conflict, but not with solitude.

Introverts, in contrast, may have strong social skills and enjoy parties and business meetings, but after a while wish they were home in their pajamas.  They prefer to devote their social energies to close friends, colleagues, and family.  They listen more than they talk, think before they speak, and often feel as if they express themselves better in writing than in conversation.  Thy tend to dislike conflict.  Many have a horror of small talk, but enjoy deep discussions.

Yea, that pretty much describes my personality.  And about half of the world’s population.

What is incredibly fascinating to me, is the history of our need for loud. Let’s start with Dale Carnegie.  Carnegie was a very quiet, reserved farm boy, but longed to improve his speaking skills.  He set up shop teaching a public speaking class and was an overnight sensation, going on to found the Dale Carnegie Institute.  

Carnegie is the story of the Extrovert “ideal…changing forever who we are and whom we admire, how we act at job interviews and what we look for in an employed, how we court our mates and raise our children…

America had shifted from what the influential historian Warren Susman called a Culture of Character to a Culture of Personality...”

Our society used to emphasize these ideals:  citizenship, duty, work, golden deeds, honor, reputation, morals, manners, integrity.

Now we emphasize:  Magnetic, outgoing, charming, popular, likable, success, assertive, loud, bold, celebrities.

Cain’s brilliant book emphasizes our need for the quiet, introverted individual, and begins the very first chapter with a little-known woman named Rosa Parks.  Perhaps you’ve heard of her?  Parks made a difference by saying one word that was the right word:  No.  But she only became famous because she stood next to Martin Luther King, Jr.  And it was his persuasive speech and her moral stance that made the pair so powerful.

Moses’ true personality was humble and meek.  In the book of Exodus, he was given Aaron to speak for him.  “We don’t ask why God chose as his prophet a stutterer with a public speaking phobia.  But we should…its stories suggest…the medium is not always the message…people followed Moses because his words were thoughtful, not because he spoke them well.”

Cain blows a lot of myths out of the water, siting famous studies and books like THE TALENT CODE.  The “best” of anything always, always has serious solitude for long periods of intense concentration.

Hate sitting around a conference table throwing out ideas?  Me too.  It’s not as valuable or productive as we think.

Some introverts:  Rosa Parks, Dr. Seuss, Kafka, Gandhi, Stephen Wozniak (the first PC).

Okay, I’ll stop there.  Read the book.  Fascinating!

 I picked this book up off the floor when I was babysitting last weekend, and pretty much neglected the kids for the rest of the day 🙂  

The pain in her hand was sharper.  It throbbed like a wolf with its paw in a trap.  She wished she had a wolf’s courage and could bite off her hand at the wrist, separating herself from the pain. 

A dark, engaging middle grade read.

 I did not read THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL, but I watched it on a VHS cassette.  It’s been years, and still I swoon.  They seek him here, they seek him there, they seek him everywhere…is he in heaven or is he in hell?  That damned elusive, pimpernel.

Fabulous, romantic, hilarious, suspenseful.  You must get the Jane Seymour version.  MUST.

While I was reading the other day, the screen fell out and the wind swept in and tried to carry me out

I did not want to resist, and so I didn’t.  It carried me up into the blue spring sky, flinging me this way and that, high up in the puffy clouds

And just like that, the wind shifted, and flung me back inside where I was once again with my books.  I am still waiting for the wind to come back.

Looking for more book recommendations?  HERE is my last book post, and some great comments from readers, with more recommendations that I’m still waiting to get my hands on. 
Have anything else for me?  Do tell, I love your suggestions!