Welcome to Coffee Pines & Designs a blog created by an interior designer, a person working on self love, an artist and a foodie. My name is Kirsten and all of those people are me. Far more importantly, I am a wife and mother of two daughters. I am blessed to have those titles, but upon moving to Northern Minnesota in 2011 I lost a little bit of myself. This is my outlet to regain my creative spirit and share my passions. Thank you for coming along with me on this journey!
One of them is to be 10 lbs lighter.
One of them is to be a healthy eater.
For as long as I can remember I could eat what I wanted to and stay the weight I wanted to. I was highly active in dance through my freshman year of college. I then sought out running and bought memberships to gyms. I love to workout. Til this day I would call it a passion. However. More often than before I fall out of sync. More often than before it’s not a high intensity workout. I try though. I keep trying. That is important.
The scale is not budging. Monday morning as I couldn’t sleep I pondered what to do. What do I have to do to make the scale budge? I googled options and I joined Weight Watchers.
Once I returned home from a work trip I was all in. I have to be. Why am I doing this? Why am I not accepting the scale’s numbers? I know I can be healthier. I know I can be stronger. I know this will help me feel emotionally better. I know this will set an example. I am needing accountability. I am needing a system. Here is to accomplishing a goal.
Tomorrow is May Day, May 1st. We are almost half way through the year already! The post I wrote last would give an in-cling on how my goals went for April. Best to reflect nonetheless! Life ebbs and it flows.
Uninvited by Lisa TerKeurst was a book that sat on my shelf for well over a year. It amazes me when that happens. The old saying is “don’t just a book by it’s cover”. Well, I do when it comes to books. Good book design speaks my love language. At the end of March this girl needed a fictional book bad, but Uninvited was such a natural book to pick up. It had an energy force that drew me to pick it up rather than an “easy” read. Consider this my book review. The following are my top take always:
1. “Not in my presence will you talk about yourself in this way” (page 6). Talk to yourself as if you were talking to a loved one. Be gentle with the words you speak to yourself.
2. “When a man is physically present but emotionally absent, a girl’s heart can feel quite hollow and helpless” (page 14). Life between men and women is not easy. There are ups and there are downs. I have seen this in my past. I have seen this affect my friends. Prayers that love languages are strongly spoken between you and your significant other.
3. It is not easy to see God’s good design in the world with all of the “decay and corruption” (page 20). Difficult things surround us daily. It is hard for me to believe in Him some days, but too many miraculous things have been witnessed for me to not believe in a higher power.
4. “Live loved” (page 3). One of my favorite quotes and on page 46 she reminds us that it is a choice to live that way. A choice we get to make each day.
5. “I crave for life to make sense. I cringe when it doesn’t” (page 52). Thankful I am not the only one that struggles with this. Shout out to the Type A people out there. Hello to the INFJ personalities!
6. “Humility can’t be bought at a bargain price. It’s the long working of grace upon grace within the hurts of our hearts” (page 85). A co-worker reminded me long ago that positive changes take time. I think of this often. There are no quick fixes out there. Make a plan, stick with it, and if you fall off of the bike, get back on!
7. “Acceptance is like an antibiotic that prevents past rejections from turning into present-day infections” (page 95). An analogy without a lot of truth.
8. “It’s good to ask the ‘what’ questions but less helpful to ask the ‘why’ questions” (page 135).
9. “Lord, give them enough hurts to keep them human and enough failures to keep their hands clenched tightly in Yours” (page 142).
10. “Messy realities in the midst of the miracles” (page 161).
The sketchbook did not even get cracked open this month. However, The House that Pinterest Built by Diane Keaton sent inspiration to me. I can’t tell you how much I wanted to binge in Pinterest land after I ready this book. The coffee book was impressive. Diane Keaton built her home after images she found on Pinterest. I literally wanted to dive into the book and live in the spaces she “pinned”
Part of a weekend was spent going through all of my Elle Decor, Architectures Digest, Dwell and House Beautiful magazines. I followed Diane’s footsteps and ripped out designs that spoke to me. Bookshelves, swinging interior chairs, black painted walls, colors upon colors of paint, black and white spaces. I taped them into an all black sketchbook. Essentially, my own The House that Pinterest Built book was created. It was a Marie Kondo type of thing to do. I kept what I needed to keep and threw away stacks of magazines. Clear the clutter.
The temperatures rose and running outside was a new high. Temperatures dwindled and the high went away. Spring, please come back. I have lost the desire to workout indoors. I need the sunlight. I need the warm weather. I have become a hibernating bear after fighting it all winter long.
I avoided the challenge this month like someone trying to avoid cake on their first day of dieting. Jen Hatmaker and her family quit Media for a month. I know I could. It would be hard. She quit it at a magnitude that I can’t even try. She quit TV, Music, Social Media. I could go without TV. I could go without Social Media but not Music. I often think of forgoing Facebook. It is not a social platform I check out each day. When I do though, I realize I miss out on seeing friend’s life happenings. It is a part of our world. It can consume us, like so many things in life. For now, I will stay with Facebook. I will stay with Instagram. It is a way of connecting. It is a way of finding inspiration. I will say though, that reading Uninvited helped me pick prayer/medication each morning over checking Instagram. It is helping me pick reflection at the end of the day over social media. It is a work in progress. Life is a work in progress.
Today is April 27th. Like other months, where has April gone? There were goals laid out, by myself, in January. The past 3 months I have met the goals, some barely, but they were met. This month? Not so much. As I sit here and reflect I know the month is not over. I know there are a few days left ahead, but what I would need to cram into those few days makes my stomach do summersaults. Those summersaults started this morning at 5:23 AM. It is Saturday people! Deep breaths came. Sleep did not. I tried. It still did not happen. Up I went. Paper and pen in had to lay out what I could accomplish today. The plan needed to incorporate things that would settle the stomach, the soul and the mind.
Sometimes goals can not be made. Sometimes, many times, my to do list is far too long to meet in the deadline created in my head. Deep breaths again. Do you notice a trend? What would make me feel well?
Rearrange the living room.
Tidy up the house.
Clean up my office at work.
Do something special with the kids as another work trip soon approaches.
The living room was rearranged, and then again, and then moved back to the way it was. Think Diane Keaton and Mandy Moore in “Because I Said So” when they try too rearrange Mandy’s living room. That is a “problem” with being an interior designer. Once the room is laid out perfectly, there is no sense in rearranging it. Sure, I wouldn’t mind a couple of new pieces, but the layout makes perfect sense. Mission accomplished!
Tidy up the house. It is a constant work in progress. The kids were not having it this morning and this momma was not in the mood to fight them. We will try again tomorrow.
A quick trip to Target and off to my office we went. They were so patient and kind as they watched a movie and colored while I tackled the never ending piles on my desk and floor. I got a few odd looks last week as people passed by my office and I was on the floor working. There were too many piles on my desk for me to properly work. *sigh* I think I can finally go in on Monday and feel 50% more refreshed. Another win!
Tonight we will attend a dance showcase. The girls and I are super pumped to enjoy this evening with some friends. The last few weeks have been stressful for the three of us. At any given time one child is feeling out of sorts. Change of seasons? Growing pains? Internal stresses? Finding themselves? As a mom I try to read their emotions, I try to calm them, and I try to give them room to manage through these thing on their own. It can be difficult. I read a quote recently, and please forgive me as I can not give proper credit to who wrote it, but it talked about how being worse than a helicopter parent is a lawn mower parent. A parent who mows a path for their kids. I would guess it was either Brene Brown, Jen Hatmaker or Lisa TerKeurst as those are the authors of the latest 3 books I have indulged in. The goal for this momma is for them to work through some of these things on their own. Give them space.
As they rest, yes, my kids still take the occasional nap, I will peel myself away from this desk and pick away at a few other things. One thing at a time. The to do list can always be re-written!
Where did March go? Things felt so well managed the first part of the month and then wham, it was over! The girls are outside running around in the rain and snow (rain from the sky, snow all over the yard yet). Oh, how I long for warmer temperatures. Hello, we live in Minnesota, so one should not be expecting warm temperatures and flowers blooming yet. So Minnesotan of me to discuss the weather *sigh*
How about those goals?
Big Magic took me (mostly) by surprise. There was one or two small sections where I wanted to throw the book out of boredom, but the rest of it spoke to my heart 100%. It made me laugh, smile and cry.
The goal was to read one additional book. Rachel Hollis’ 2nd book, Girl, Stop Apologizing came out and showed up in my mailbox. I wanted to pick it up and start reading right away, but the fact that I had not finished reading Dare to Lead by Brene Brown was hanging over my head. *guilt, go away* I gently put Mrs. Hollis back, and picked up Mrs. Brown. One of the best personal development books I have yet to read. It was heavier compared to some, but in a heartwarming way. A way that wanted me to take it slow. The reflection process is a gentle one too. Her words are causing me to evaluate myself as a leader at work and in a personal sense with my family.
I tell you though, this girl needs a fictional book, like ASAP, like stat.
Page 4 of 4 this month was forced and unpleasantly weak. The beginning of the month presented 3 drawings that were fun and relaxed. My Daemon of Creativity (read Big Magic) was fun to sketch out and dream about. I continue to see her floating around my brain when I need a pick me up.
Well, I did it! I moved 5 days out of each week. The documentation provides me with warm fuzzies. Like a completed checklist, seeing the fact that I moved my body 5 days each week beyond running around my home or work like a chicken with it’s head cut off is a healthy accomplishment. A work trip to NYC provided me with opportunities to workout in the hotel gym. There is something about working out in a gym that brings on a sense of competitiveness. Not against the others in the gym, which was pretty scarce, but against the machine. The days were jam packed with work related business so it was the machine and me for 30 minutes. HIIT running and ramped up speeds that I can not push myself to do on the open dirt roads in Minnesota.
No comparing here. Jen Hatmaker disposed of A LOT of things during her month titled Possessions. Me, not so much, a box (largish, kind of, maybe?) sits on my floor with items to be donated. Could I find more? Probably. Listen, during the month February we disposed many garbage bags filled with clothes and toys. If I took any more of my kids’ toys they would still have plenty, but, I would be called out on the fact that I “cleaned house”. We have stuff, do not get me wrong, we could get rid of things that hold little value to our hearts and souls, but we do not have an extreme abundance of things. I think Marie Kondo will have to visit my house during a less chaotic month. One of the biggest take always I read in 7 was a quote Jen Hatmaker included on page 86 “Obedience isn’t a lack of fear. It’s just doing it scared”.
I pray that April Showers bring us some Flowers. Happy April everyone!
Here I will list the books that I read in 2019. Most of them I will provide a link to my book review. Beware, if you read the review, it may give away what happens in the book. Read with caution *smile*
Three Wishes, Liane Moriarty
Coffee Pines & Designs Book Review Here
Still Alice, Lisa Genova
Coffee Pines & Designs book review here
Of Mess and Moxie, Jen Hatmaker
Coffee Pines & Designs has many posts referencing this book.
Friendly Deceit, L.V. Hope
Coffee Pines & Designs book review here
The Fringe Hours, Jessica N. Turner
Coffee Pines & Designs book review here
Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert
Coffee Pines & Designs book reviews:
Dare to Lead by Brene Brown
Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst
The House Pinterest Built by Diane Keaton
Big Magic: Trust: Stubborn Gladness
Is it possible to quote a whole section? If I could, it would be Stubborn Gladness. I will quote the following from page 218:
I have chosen to believe that a desire to be creative was encoded into my DNA for reasons I will never know, and that creativity will not go away from me unless I forcibly kick it away, or poison it dead. Every molecule of my being has always pointed me toward this line of work.
It is like Elizabeth took the words right out of my mouth…well…she said it much better. I could fight creativity, I could choose to not make time for it, but then I would become the unsettled person I was a couple of years ago. I welcome the challenges that creativity brings to my mind, my soul and my heart. I trust it in it.
Being courageously creative is 2nd nature to me. It’s in my blood. It’s in my heart. It helps me maintain a healthy mind set. I wrote in the post Big Magic and Permission briefly about how a stint of 5(ish) years of keeping creative tendencies- or passions- at bay was unhealthy for me. Being a new mommy is overwhelming. A new baby is a part of your life and requires so much attention. It is extremely difficult to understand that it is ok to take time to do what gives you a sense of relief and normalcy. Over the past year and a half I gave myself permission to take some of that time back. It helps that both of my littles are creative little beings too. Art projects and reading are their two favorite things to do. We can do those things together.
2019 was quickly approaching and goals were set to remain persistent. Persistent to read and challenge my creative mindset, persistent to pick up my pencils and paint brushes, and persistent to write words freely from my thoughts. Persistent is practically my middle name, almost as much as being creative flows through my veins. There is always room for improvement in anything that comes my way. Perfection is not a word in my dictionary, but persistent is.
Go get them. Run after those dreams and keep at it!
We have the permission to be creative. “Our creativity is a wild and unexpected bonus from the universe. It’s as if all our gods and angels gathered together and said, ‘It’s tough down there as a human being, we know. Here- have some delights’.” (Page 128) This was the best quote Elizabeth Gilbert had in the section titled Permission in Big Magic. How refreshing is this? We have something to look forward to while we wait for our time in Heaven.
The United States offers us the permission to be creative. There are countries where being creative is frowned upon or even against the law. How sad; I would feel robbed if I was not given the time to be creative. Not only do I live in a country that I can imagine, draw, write, paint and etc. I got to grow up in a household where being creative was welcomed. It brings upon an abundance of emotions to have creativity be accepted.
Being a part of creative energy makes me a more prayerful, grateful, loving, caring and positive force. Now that my kids have gotten older I have allowed the act of being creative to creep back into my weekly, and even daily, routines. For reasons I am uncertain of, I pushed it away while they were smaller because feelings of guilt were heavy upon my heart, mind and soul. Those years brought me down. If any words of wisdom can be shared…don’t fight the feelings. We all deserve creative outlets.
In the section of Big Magic, Enchantment, Elizabeth Gilbert speaks about people’s Daemon of Creativity. Page 67 describes a Daemon of Creativity as being “nicely taken care of by some external divine creative spirit guide”. How lovely does that sound? We have an inner source that lives behind the scenes of our lives and pushes us to our creative ideas.
What does your Daemon of Creativity look like?
I envision mine to be me but with the details that I do not have in my reality. For instance, my hair can not be long. Believe me, I have tried. My daemon probably has hair the color of peacock feathers. Perhaps, she even has peacock feathers instead of human hair. Sprigs of glittery silver highlights (more glitter less grey) throughout. Blue eyes the color of the Caribbean Sea. Soft and accepting of every person she comes in contact with.
She wears feminine materials that allow her to move quickly with my ideas. The materials flow so slightly for when she takes a moment to dance in the moonlight. No shoes are needed in my creative outlet even when she is wandering through the woods with me.
One staple this Creative Spirit of Mine has is headphones with music touching everything she does. She creates soundtracks day after day. Some get placed in my Spotify playlists and some float away.
I don’t know what to expect in the future sections of Big Magic, but this section had me in tears. I don’t know what the tears meant. Were they happy tears? Magic tears? Scared tears? Scared tears that my creative dreams might be swept up by someone else right before my eyes if I didn’t act on them quick enough? She said on page 58 “I believe that inspiration will always try its best to wrk with you- but if you are not ready or available, it may indeed choose to leave you and to search for a different human collaborator”. There are so many dreams in my head, in my heart and in my soul. Can I just be paid to act on my dreams? One of the last paragraphs written in the Enchantment section said “All I know for certain is that this is how I want to spend my life- collaborating to the best of my ability with forces of inspiration that I can neither see, nor prove, nor command, nor understand” (page 78). I have to trust in God, in my Daemon of Creativity (really, I need to name her) and time. That alone is scary, yet reassuring.
Creative was recently listed as one of my top 5 values. It was the first word that tugged at my heart and I didn’t have to think twice about putting it on my list.
Being creative takes courage. Prior to starting the Big Magic book this month I added “being courageously creative” under the title Coffee Pines & Designs. A tag line if you will. It seems to be a theme of my life lately. Being creative brings happiness. It brings fulfillment. It is not easy though. Writing words for people to read. Releasing thoughts and opinions into the world for people to view. Sketching and drawing after years of being removed from any art medium (minus Crayola crayons and children’s coloring books) takes time and practice.
My kiddos are at an age where they look at their mom and do as she does. Being creative forces me to leap into the clouds. Being creative makes me follow my dreams. They see me struggling with the oil pastels. They see me struggle with finding the perfect words. They learn that I can work through the struggles to find the missing stroke of color or the meshing of words to paint the picture in my head. They get to see the successful outcomes of time dedicated to one’s passions.