Reviving Motherhood

Learning on the Journey


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Mama Self Care: Creatively Feeding our Souls

I find that so often mamas neglect the special gifts and passions God has given them, the things that make them uniquely THEM.   God has made us body, soul, and spirit, and He wants us to take care of all of those parts of ourselves.   These creative things sometimes seem so unimportant in light of the urgencies of daily life with little kids.  But I’ve noticed—when we don’t cultivate those special creative gifts He’s given us, we kind of wither inside.

That’s not to say that we should express creativity at the cost of our families, but there are ways to flourish in the small moments!

I believe as people made in the image of God, we are all creative in some area.  For me it is writing, making things, and maybe art?  (Something new I am exploring.)  For you, it might be cooking, event planning, decorating, organizing, serving others, or any number of other things.  Don’t get bogged down in what you can’t do.  Just do what you can.  Find simple expressions of your passions.  At risk of sounding like I have this all figured out, because I so do not!—here are a few ways I am incorporating soul-nourishing passions into daily life.

Write for just 15 minutes before the kids get up.  It’s not much.  One mom I read recently said, “I don’t have the luxury of writer’s block.”  Seriously, that is so true.  I hammer something out and it may or may not be good.  But at least I am writing!

Very, very simple craft projects.  I have a super simple brainless knitted dish cloth pattern that I have done while I school the kids or sit in a waiting room.  It would be nice to make a sweater or a pair of socks, but sister, that ain’t happening right now!  Sometimes I sew pillow covers.  Straight lines that take about 5 minutes.  That kind of thing.

A little art here and there.  I nature journal with the kids.  I stapled together a few pieces of paper for a mini sketch book and put it in my purse.  Experts say “Are you sketching every day?”  Well, no.  That would be nice.  Maybe one day.  But just because I am not sketching EVERY DAY, I am not going to let that discourage me from sketching AT ALL.  And every now and then, I just push aside the mess on the table and pull out my watercolors.  Now that is fun!

Maybe you take one photo a day, plan a simple tea for a friend, or paint one wall of one room. Maybe you just organize one drawer.

These are ways to slip a little creativity, a little passion, into our daily lives.  It may not be the perfect ideal we have in our heads, but those tiny moments can make such a difference in how we feel emotionally.

So: How are you going to incorporate a simple bit of creativity into your life today?

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Art for People Who Aren’t Artistic (or Moms Can Find Latent Creativity Too!)


A little ramble about a many-years-long journey to discover creativity…Maybe it will encourage you, too, friends?

I never, ever imagined myself painting!

For years and years I said, “I am not creative.”  “I’m not artistic.”

My house wasn’t decorated, all my crafts were copies, and I hadn’t made art since I was a kid.

I started to see myself as a bit creative as I copied crafts I saw other people do, and then started to come up with a few little ideas of my own for simple crafts or easy decorating.

Finally I determined that as people made in the image of a creative God, we are all creative.  Maybe it’s not art, maybe it’s friendship or math or cooking or gardening or computers.  Maybe your creativity is wholly untapped.  But I’m pretty sure that it’s there.

Recently I started to sketch a bit with the little ones.  I have kept a very sporadic nature journal in the past, which I enjoyed, but I didn’t feel like I could actually sketch.

Still…I remembered something I read in a how-to-draw book once…Anyone can increase their skill level starting where they are.  If you haven’t drawn since you were 10 years old, then expect to draw like a 10 year old!

I realized that at heart I really am an artist.

At heart.

Not that I could actually draw or paint or anything, but I do appreciate beauty and wouldn’t it be nice if I actually could, because I’m an artist, you know, at heart.

And then I got the itch to buy some watercolor paints.  I don’t know why.  I don’t know why watercolors.    I have never painted that I recall.

I read an old children’s book we had called How to Paint with Watercolors.  I watched one YouTube video on watercolor painting.

I used the Hobby Lobby gift card I got for Christmas and bought paints, brushes, and paper.

Then when the kids were painting, I sat down with my favorite bird calendar and I painted a Savannah Sparrow.

And it actually looked like a bird.  It even looked kind of like the picture I was copying.

So I think that with practice and study, I might actually learn how to paint!

This is not something I anticipated or ever dreamed I could do.  I just had to try.  I had to stop comparing myself to “real” artists or “really” talented people, and plunge in.  It’s very imperfect; there are a zillion things that I think could be better, but I am trying not to focus too much on those.

A few writers have inspired me and given me courage.  One is Clarice at Storybook Woods.  I love that Clarice is so comfortable with herself, even though what she does is different from the mainstream.  I love that she does things (like sketching) alongside her daughters, and that even though she is dyslexic, she is also brave and homeschooled her children and also wrote a book!

Another is the Nester.  I love her tagline: “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.”  She says it about your house.  I think the same applies to art.

So anyway, here is what I have learned through all this.  If I can find untapped creativity, so can you.  Keep trying until you discover what it is you like to do.  It won’t look like anyone else’s.  That is why it’s creativity.  There is no one right way.  Sometimes, in the middle of dirty diapers and piles of dishes and laundry, we moms just need to stop and let our creativity flow.

Finally?  Here’s a little extra inspiration via Pinterest.

Is there something you have always wanted to do but never thought you could?  Go for it!  If you enjoy it, practice until you feel comfortable!  Release the creativity God has given you!  You can do it!


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What to Do When You Are Bored (To the Younger Ladies…But Ideas for Everyone!)


OK, ladies, I’m not trying to be mean here but it just is amazing to me when people complain about being bored.  We live in such an interesting world and there is no way on earth I can possibly do all the wonderful things I would like to do.  So here is a list of possible things to do when you are bored, just for inspiration.  This is especially for those of you who aren’t married, and even for you who don’t yet have children.  Don’t waste this time in your life!  Use it for God!

  • Volunteer at a church.  Call your church office.  They probably have plenty of volunteer opportunities.
  • Volunteer at a charity.
  • Learn a second language.
  • Learn to cook.
  • Learn a craft, such as sewing, jewelry making, or painting.
  • (There are so many free online resources for learning things like these!)
  • Spend time with a housebound person.  They become very lonely.
  • Visit a nursing home.  Nursing homes can be intimidating, but they can be black holes of loneliness for the elderly.  Ask the staff to connect you with someone who has no visits from family or friends.  There are plenty of them.  Elderly people can tell fascinating stories and are often full of wisdom.  Sometimes their minds or ability to communicate are gone and there is no reward except for knowing that you have loved them and provided companionship.
  • Adopt an elderly person who is not necessarily housebound.  Rake their leaves, change light bulbs, and do other tasks they are no longer able to do for themselves.
  • Get a job. If you have a job, get a second job.  Save your money or give it to a worthy cause.
  • Go on a short term mission trip.
  • Enroll in college, trade school, or seminary/Bible school.
  • Spend time with God.  Don’t underestimate the opportunity you have at this stage of your life to spend uninterrupted time with Jesus!  It will lay the foundation for the rest of your life.
  • Volunteer to babysit for your pastor’s family or another young couple who may not be able to hire a sitter regularly.  Don’t be offended if they don’t take you up on your offer, they will appreciate your heart all the same.
  • Offer to help an overwhelmed young mom (or even one that doesn’t seem overwhelmed—heh!).  Maybe she needs someone to give her a hand with organizing, cleaning, or running errands.
  • Write encouraging notes to those who might need them.
  • Pray.
  • Grow a garden, even a collection of potted plants.
  • Travel.
  • Read biographies of great Christians and world-changers.  These can be lifechanging!
  • Keep a journal.
  • Try your hand at writing fiction or poetry.
  • Seek out a mentor, an older Christian woman you admire.  Ask her to meet with you for discipleship, or just to be available to answer questions and chat.

Basically, it boils down to two things.  Love Jesus.  Seek to become all that He wants you to be.  And love people.  Pour yourself into them.  You can’t lose!  And you won’t be bored either!


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Social Media, Behave! and Make an Easy Advent Calendar

On day 1 of her “Social Media, Behave!” series, Laura talks about pitfalls of social media (trying to achieve fame or other wrong motives), and what each of us might expect from social media.   On day 2, she explores our “online presence,” our avatar, or how we portray ourselves online.  Additionally, she encourages us to write a one-sentence purpose statement.  Here’s what I came up with for me:

I exist online to share the love and grace of Christ with others; to learn from other, especially older, women; and to share what I learn in order to encourage others in their journeys of faith, womanhood, and mothering.

**********

Bonus!  Here is something little that I learned online–not from an older woman, and not something profound!  The kids wanted to do some kind of advent calendar or Christmas countdown but I struggled to find ideas that didn’t take too much time.  Either they were too arty and hard to make, or they involved activities that we may or may not have time to do during the month of December.  (Watching a Christmas movie, for example, is great, but how do I know if it will be convenient to do that on December 9?  Seriously!)

Finally I ran across a super fast idea–fast to make, and easy to do.  I don’t remember where I saw it, but I modified it to fit my needs.

I cut 25 rectangular pieces of paper.  Folded them in half like a card.  The kids stamped a snowflake on the front of each one and I numbered them from 1 to 25.

We are all about fostering communication and conversation at our house, so instead of an activity,  I wrote a question inside each one.  “What is your favorite Christmas memory?”  “What do you think it would have been like to be a shepherd on the first Christmas?”  “What is something we could do for someone else this Christmas?”  “Do you know of any Christmas traditions from other countries?”  “Ask mom/dad to tell you a Christmas story from when they were little.”

And then I hung them up with clothespins like the picture above.

How easy is that?  You even have time to do it before December 1!