Big Magic and Persistence

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!

Big Magic and Permission

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.

Big Magic and Enchantment

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.

Big Magic and Courage

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.

Luke Perry

Luke Perry passed away today. It seems odd to not write a post about him. Besides Zach from Saved by the Bell and Joey from NKOTB, Dylan and Brandon were my introduction to 90’s heart throbs. I remember visiting my cousins house while they were watching 90210 on their TV. Due to age I probably missed the first season or two, but it quickly became a show that I set the VCR recorder for if I wasn’t home. Brandon Walsh was the one that made me blush, he was, after all the good boy. I was the good girl so why wouldn’t I be drawn to the good boy? Little did I know, the good girl could desire the bad boy. This scenario became fairly standard in many of the romance novels read over the years. Dylan McKay, you ended up being the favorite.

Last week I heard they were planning on a reboot of sorts for 90210. This time to include the original lineup of characters. Luke Perry was tied up due to other obligations is what the radio said so he wouldn’t be joining the project . Today I received the text from my sister saying he died. Maybe it’s because Dylan and 90210 was the beginning of an era for me. Maybe it was because Luke was 52 years old- too young to have a heart attack, too young to die, and how the heck is he 52 when I am still 23? Oh! What? I am not? Ok. I guess time is not standing still. I am not certain the reasons of this post. Maybe it brings back memories of a really good tv show. Maybe it brings back memories of being a teenager and feeling “free”. Maybe it is a realization that things can happen just like that. Rest In Peace Luke Perry. You made an impact on many.

2019 Book List

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

February 2019 Goals

New Year’s resolutions are difficult. Keeping them past January 31st is even harder. The goals set up for February were almost attained. There are not feelings of failure, but if Jon Acuff’s suggestion of cutting goals in half were followed, the goals would have been met and then some.

Once again, the goals were broken down into four areas; Reading, Art, Move and the 7 Challenge by Jen Hatmaker.

Reading

The Fringe Hours by Jessica N. Turner was completed and the full book review is found here.

Along with The Fringe Hours I was going to read Dare to Lead by Brene Brown. This is where I “faltered” and took on too much. I did read a second book this month, Friendly Deceit, but I only finished 1/3 of Dare to Lead. I am determined to finish this book though, prior to picking up another “second book”. From what I can tell, Brene Brown speaks my love language. She keeps me engaged, she is funny and she is darn inspiring! More to come on my thoughts of her book.

Art

It was difficult to finish four pages in my sketchbook last month. Four were finished this month but I eased up on the pressure some. For a couple of pages I just let loose and played with medium I had not touched in awhile. One of my close friends, Amanda, had a birthday mid month. She and I had the pleasure of visiting Vegas in college as we won a lighting design competition. Vegas is not a place I desire to return, but we sure had fun. I took a photo of her and me and put a slight spin on it. Creating an image of her and I revisiting that special city with the way we look now put a smile on my face.

Move

Oh goodness, the goal was met this month. No specific workout program was followed, but each week 5 days of workouts occurred. This ranged from running, Tracy Anderson Method, PIIT28 to yoga. Some days it’s really hard. While at my in-laws early on in the month I stepped on a scale. I have not stepped on a scale for a very very long time. 6 plus months ago at least as I was trying to operate on the “feeling” of how do I feel in my clothes? Now, flabby feelings were happening, even with the dedicated workouts so maybe the numbers should not have thrown me off of my rocker. I thought, when I get home I will try “my scale”. Same numbers *sad face*. The numbers were higher than they had ever been while not being pregnant or “recovering” from post pregnancy. Ugh. Cry. Sigh. Ok, back to the scale for regular check ins. Dedication and accountability are being prayed upon.

7 Challenge

February’s 7 Challenge was over clothes. There were two days this month that I was home with the kiddos as they didn’t have school. We took those times to go through our closets and dispose of things that no longer fit or no longer had places in our hearts. Bless Jen Hatmaker as she took 7 pieces of clothing and only wore those pieces. There are probably too many clothes in my closet still. I can not help that I feel attachment to the board shorts I wore in Maui almost 15 years ago. Do I wear them much? No. Do I still fit in them? Yes. Will I wear them? Maybe. They make me happy when I look at them. So, on the shelf they still sit. What kind of thoughts did I have when going through my closet? I need to stick to buying really good basics as they do last, I wear them most often and they make me feel good. I need to think long and hard when I go through the Target clothing aisles. They market their clothes well and they last a short while, but it is best if I stick to buying better quality. *sigh* Sorry Target! Thank goodness the girls are old enough to give me opinions. Going forward as we get hand me downs, we will go through them right away and only keep what they plan to wear. There is no need to hold onto things that they will never wear. Shout out to a couple of friends, Abby and Heather, you are awesome for passing a long your cute clothes. They save us a lot of money! It felt great to donate garbage bags of clothes.

Here is to another month of loving life, doing what makes you happy and feeling accomplished.

The Fringe Hours: Book Review

My friend, Melissa, tried to introduce me to The Fringe Hours by Jessica N. Turner a couple 2-3 years ago. She sent me a copy of My Fringe Hours, a workbook of sorts, that accompanies The Fringe Hours. Melissa is an extremely smart person and knows me very well. I should have been more diligent about diving into the information she sent me at that time. Lord knows I needed. Sometimes it takes a little while longer to get to the point where we are accepting of what needs to be done.

As I read through The Fringe Hours this month it confirmed what I have been working on for the past year. What a relief! It highlights the fact that one should read this book if they are trying to find themselves again *smile, sigh*

Jessica breaks The Fringe Hours into four parts: Explore, Discover, Maximize and Live Well. Below will list out the top five take aways from each section.

Explore: Self-care and Pursue Balance

1. “If you could choose one word to describe your daily life, what would it be” page 23? In the margins the words chaotic, unsettled and unplanned while planned are written. Some work needs to be done on my part yet *smile*

Balance in ones life is ever changing. That is the part that is hard to accept. When one finds balance a celebration can be had and then the expectation needs to be set that it will be short lived, not a pessimistic view, but realistic. Life will be easier once that realization is had.

2. On page 30 she says “just because they are good things doesn’t mean that they are good for you, for right now (or even ever).” Learn to say no to things that do not matter or fit into the season one is in. These words were read the same day I sat in a class and learned about non profit organizations in our community. All I wanted to do was help more, after all, I am an enneagram 2 . Wait a minute Kirsten, you have a hard time meeting the volunteer requirements for the kids’ school, how are you going to volunteer more? Listen, take in the opportunities that may work for the future seasons that bring more available time.

3. ”As women we need to be kinder to our selves” page 44. House chores can wait as we take the time to work out or read a book. It is ok to not have a perfect home if that is not important to you. Maybe cleaning and organizing are your passions, if that is the case, have at it! I, on the other hand, will have dust forming on the top of our ceiling fans and loads of laundry washed- just not folded and put away *smile*.

4. Page 48 says “we were not created to be everything fo everyone”. Or, as it says on the cover of Issue No. 10 of the Magnolia Journal “the world needs who you were made to be”.

5. Trade comparison for celebration (or inspiration) page 68. So many people get sucked into comparing themselves to people they follow on social media platforms. If comparing yourself to other people’s accomplishments (or staged) photos leaves you feeling bad about yourself or guilty, maybe it is time to disconnect or unfollow those people. It is possible to find inspiration from the people you follow on Facebook or Instagram. If negative thoughts and energy are flowing in and out of you as you scroll, if you are not celebrating with those people, it is time to disconnect or click unfollow.

Discover: What Your Self-Care Means

1. So many books I have read talks about what makes you happy today probably made you happy when you were a kid. For example reading books, doing art and dancing still fills my heart. If you feel lost in what makes you happy start with what made you happy as a child. Jessica quotes Brene Brown on page 79, “tell the story of who you are with your whole heart”.

2. ”One doesn’t have to do it all” page 90. This is an important point Jessica makes as it was already mentioned above. We can try to do it all, we might get close to doing it all, but depending on what your description of “all” is, that is a big expectation to meet. Prioritization, perspective and proportion are important factors to keep in mind.

3. Page 105 talks about “not letting fear get in the way”. We may not feel successful at the things that bring us joy. That shouldn’t stop us from doing them. Who knows, maybe we will improve if we keep practicing! The point? Do what makes you happy.

4. Find the fringe hours (pockets of time) to do the things that make you smile. Flip through a magazine while you blow dry our hair, keep notecards/envelopes in your purse to send a little note as you wait for a meeting to begin or for your kids to come out of school, pull out a book while you wait in line at Target (our Target is super busy), take a lunch break (guilty here of not taking a lunch break more than 2 times a week, if that), leave that load of laundry to watch a show with your hubby.

5. Health needs to be put as a priority. How can we do the things we love to do if we are unhealthy in mind, body and spirit?

Maximize: The Time That We Have

1. Learn to say no to the things that do not put meaning into your life. Jessica has a “creative list” of how to say no on page 145. “I am thankful you asked me, but my schedule won’t allow for it” and “That is more than I an do right now, but here is what I could commit to…” were two of my favorite suggestions. In fact, I was added to an email list for work. I was getting 3-5 emails from this new person each day. This may seem like a minimal amount, but when I can get 50 emails in one day it was stressing me out to see those additional ones. I kindly emailed the sender and explained that as much as I wanted to be up to date with her organization, it was causing me to feel a bit stressed with the additional information. I asked her to remove my name until my work life settled down some *ha ha*. She responded kindly and understood the request.

2. Healthy boundaries have to be recognized and set. This may need to occur at home, with family/friends and at work. It is hard to say yes all of the time and then have to say no. Maybe it gets easier?

3. Realistic expectations of myself and what time I have to complete tasks needs to be worked on. This was mentioned on a recent blog post of mine where goals need to be set but then cut in half. For example at work I may need to start blocking time throughout my day to be at my desk to follow up and organize my thoughts after meetings. I tend to bounce from one meeting to the next with no time in between to reflect and prioritize what needs to happen.

4. Jessica is one of the first people who I have heard say that multitasking can be ok. Like she says, it has to be the right mix of items for the individual. Talking on the phone while putting laundry away is ok. Folding laundry while watching a movie is ok. Writing an email when you are on an important phone call? Probably not ok.

5. Asking for help is a must. Perhaps it is a cleaning person, a babysitter or a food service. Those options don’t particularly work with our lifestyle and budget, but one thing I can improve with is delegating to my kids. Last week was a great week. They did a very nice job with cleaning up one item before taking out another. Now, this wasn’t 100% of the time, but it was far better than any week previous. Our “art station” in the kitchen (5 drawers and then some of paper, color books, markers, pens etc) is always a complete mess that takes up 1/4 of the floor and 1/2 of the kitchen table at all times was cleaned up for the whole week. *sigh, there is hope*

Live Well: With Yourself and in Community

1. ”One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood” Jessica quoted Lucius Annaeus Seneca on page 211.

2. Make time to surround yourself with people that enjoy the same things as you. Take inspiration and encouragement from these meetings.

3. Have a regular check in with the following questions from page 223:

-What you hope to do with time for yourself- what are you passionate about? What does your body need?

-How you plan to make it happen- a certain day? Time?

-What areas you need help in- figuring out child care, identify passions, being consistent?

4. Find time for rest. What does rest look for each of us? It is going to be different from all. Earlier this month I read Friendly Deceit , a book that didn’t take any energy from my brain, it forced me to rest, read and enjoy. Yesterday I binged on 4 episodes of Dawson’s Creek after we hosted a birthday party, cleaned up after the party and exercised. Walking outside with my headphones on is not a physical rest, but it does help clear my head and get fresh air. To me, this is a form of rest (snow go away, I want to enjoy this form of rest more).

5. Choose Joy, celebrate victories, give thanks and be you.

If you are at a point in your life when you need to add in your passions but feel like there is not enough time, please read this book!

Enjoy!

Friendly Deceit: Book Review

If 50 Shades of Grey and Love Jones were to have a baby, Friendly Deceit would be their love child. This novel by L.V. Hope would not be a normal pick for me, however, the author is married to my husband’s cousin, I felt the desire to support her and read it. Friendly Deceit combines the rough sexiness of the 50 Shades trilogy with the poetic romance of Love Jones.

What L.V. Hope excels in is describing things in heightened detail. She brings Journey, Seth and Cheyenne to life, as if you were sitting across Atticus watching their interaction over a glass of wine. The setting of Minneapolis, Minnesota is described in such a detail that it draws my heart to want to experience it more, and, in a way I have never done so before. This Romantic Thriller will draw you in and make you wonder what will happen next. This is book one of her series and I look forward to the next layer of Friendly Deceit.

The 50 Shades Trilogy and Love Jones both provide excellent soundtracks to their books/movies. Perhaps, the soundtracks for 50 Shades are better than the acting in the movies, sorry Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan. As I was reading Friendly Deceit I was taking screen shots of the songs and artists L.V. Hope brought into the novel to help set the mood. Little did I know she provided a complete playlist at the end of the book. If I could go back, I would download the playlist and have it playing in the background as I dove into the character’s story. L.V. Hope, well done on the song selections!

*Please note, if 50 Shades of Grey was “too sexy” for you this may not be the book for you.

Work Out Music To My Ears

Coming home tonight I found myself easily agitated. Maybe it was having missed Monday at work (putting me behind), or having been at work since 6:30 AM (trying to play catch up), or coming up on a full moon or maybe, just maybe, it was our 6 year old going on a complete emotional rollercoaster the minute I walked in the door (again, I question the full moon). Dinner made it better, bed was calling my name, yet a workout loomed in the back of my brain.

Kids to bed. Check.

Workout pants on. Check.

Head phones plugged in. Check.

Spotify on shuffle. Check.

Music makes it all better.

Dancing makes it all better.

Of course I bypassed some songs that floated through the playlist, but some made me smile, move and sweat.

Have you heard Judah & The Lion’s Folk-Hop Sound? It is the perfect blend of my past love of hip hop and my current love of folk. If you see me leave the school parking lot this week bumping some base you can be guaranteed it is this song! Who knew the banjo could be paired with such sweet base?

The randomness of MC Lyte made me laugh. Bradley Cooper rips on the guitar in Out of Time. This simply made me smile, the movie left me feeling like I had been at a concert, this song brings me back to the theater.

Damien Rice is a definite softer tune, but a more recent love thanks to So You Think You Can Dance. Darius danced to it with Sieve Taylor this last season. I could watch this dance on repeat all day long. The choreography is simply beautiful, sad and powerful. It just may leave you feeling a bit angry. Dance is such a strong art. This song can’t simply be passed by if it comes on.

Leon Bridges is sugar to my ears and my soul. My Shot, oh my goodness, can I see Hamilton yet? Really, my NYC trip is soon approaching and may have to fork over the bucks to see it. Regrets may be bad if I don’t.