Wife, Mother… Artist

I realize that title is probably making you think of paints and canvases and a huge mess, like you remember from art class when you were a kid. And while that is usually the first thing that comes to mind when the word ‘art’ is mentioned, this post is not necessarily about finger-painting or making clay sculptures with your kids.

Lately, I’ve come across various articles and blog posts dealing with the idea of creating beauty in our lives. And I’ve realized that no matter who you are, where you live, or what your circumstances are, everyone has the ability to create beauty and be an artist.

After all, that’s what an artist is: someone who creates beauty. And there are myriads of ways of being an artist.

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As mothers, we have more opportunities to be artists than most people. Creating beauty not only enriches our own experience, but also the lives of everyone around us. Simple things we can do every day have the power of changing the way our families see life and the world around them.

Picking a bouquet of wildflowers and arranging them in a pretty vase can add instant colour and life to a home and make everyone who walks by smile inside without even realizing it.

Lighting a scented candle, or playing beautiful music throughout your day can drastically change the level of palpable joy and comfort your family experiences in your home.

And there are more radical ways of creating beauty in your lives. Laughter, or just a simple smile, can turn someone’s day around. Sharing a good story, baking cookies, taking a long walk on a warm evening, singing a song, holding your child’s hand, opening a window, planting a garden… all of these are simple things, but when shared with those you love, they can change the way your family will remember the past.

And by giving them, and yourself, beautiful memories, you are also creating beauty in the future, not just the present. Motherhood is an amazing thing, isn’t it?

And the easiest way to create beauty? Just. slow. down.

Look around and let the beauty you see everywhere around you enter your heart, not just your eyes.

Just slowing down can give you instant beauty and joy.

By continually finding new ways to add joy to the lives of everyone we love, and in seeing the joy in their eyes, we find joy ourselves in the knowledge that we helped them see a little more beauty in life.

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Making Our Values Real – Part Three

Image courtesy of healingdream / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of healingdream / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here

In discovering our primary value/priority for our lives, we must realize that we can set all the goals we want but they are futile without this:

Life is NOW.

Not in a week, a month, a year… Our lives are happening NOW, as we speak.

We can set a goal to lose 20 pounds by June, or plan a schedule to ease us into eating healthier (less starch this week, more water next week, etc.), or decide that we will create a more peaceful home next month, or start making our home more fun-filled once our youngest turns 3, or whatever….

But what we need to realize is that our life doesn’t start in June or next month or when the youngest is 3.

Our lives are happening NOW.

So, instead of making plans, goals, decisions for the future, make them for now.

Decide TODAY that you will eat healthier TODAY. Light a candle or get rid of junk to make your home more peaceful TODAY. Play a game with your children and laugh together TODAY.

Make it happen… TODAY.

How we spend our moments is how we spend our lives.

– Paul Brandt

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I hope you enjoyed this mini-series about building our lives around our most valued qualities. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think. Would you like to see more series like this? Any requests or ideas for future topics?

If you’re new… head here to read about the purpose behind this blog (and perhaps a little bit of encouragement?)

Making Our Values Real – Part Two

(Continued from last week’s post…)

Now that we’ve discovered what our most desired characteristic for our home is, what do we do about it, what do we do WITH it?

We tailor our lives around THAT quality.

Last week I mentioned that mine is peace.

So how do I create that peace in our home? How do I make our lives more peaceful?

It’s all in the little decisions we make from day to day.

What can I do to make our home more peaceful?

Well, in a physical aspect, many things, actually: I can declutter, play soft music, decorate in a cozy style that says “come on in and relax” to anyone who happens to enter our door, cook good meals that the entire family can enjoy together, keep our home relatively tidy (the decluttering would help with this, minimizing stuff to clean up in the first place), keep our home free from expensive breakables so our children can play and live freely without any stuffiness… and the list goes on and on.

Now this may sound complicated. It’s not.

We just have to decide to do it.

You don’t have to take a course or buy a product.

You just have to change your mind.

-Steven Pressfield
 

But it goes further than creating a peaceful, comfortable home physically. What about our actual lives, our daily activities, the over-all flow of our days?

We put our purpose first.

For me: Peace comes first.

After that, it’s all in the application…

If I plan a playdate on Monday, coffee with my mother-in-law Tuesday, a doctor’s appointment Wednesday and so on… will our lives be peaceful? No, we will be constantly leaving the house, rushing here and there, and still trying to live normal, peacful lives at home, cook meals, make sure we’re home on time for the kids’ naps, etc. The stress would ruin all the good that might come from all these appointments. If I spread them out and, say, only plan something for 2 or 3 days per week, our lives will run smoother and be quieter, hence more peaceful.

Will me cleaning the entire house from top to bottom in a week cultivate peace? No, so I don’t do it in a week. Rather, I spread my deep cleaning out over the entire year so that I NEVER have to do any spring/fall cleaning that would take away from our peaceful home, even if only for a week.

Will rushing off to town for a last minute lunch ingredient cultivate peace? No, I would have to wake the baby from her nap, race to town and back and then frantically throw a meal together probably over the noise of a crying child (or two). NOT worth it… I’ll substitute with another ingredient I already have.

You get the picture.

But, this is me. I tend to like staying at home and taking life slowly. Obviously, not everyone is like me, so you may find comfort in having a busy, full schedule. Nothing at all wrong with that – every woman and family has different characteristics and values.

So, that quality that you deeply desire for your family, that characteristic that you want your lives built around?

Make sure that always comes first.

Find something you’re passionate about and stay tremendously interested in it.
-Julia Child
 

(Find Part 3 here)

If you’re new… head here to read about the purpose behind this blog (and perhaps a little bit of encouragement?)

This Moment

There are many, many times in life where we just want to cash out and give up for a while, aren’t there? You know what I mean, those times when we are stretched to the limit and don’t have the energy or patience to take it any longer. When all we want is to just be alone with a good book and a cup of coffee for 8 hours straight.

But as mothers, we don’t have that option. In fact, very few people in this world do. There is very little we can change about our issues and challenges in moments like this, but one thing we CAN change is our attitude.

We can accept our challenges and meet them head on with joy. We can look towards the finish line and ask ourselves how THIS MOMENT can be used to shape our children into the adults we want them to be someday. We can take a deep breath, smile (even if we feel like crying), and get back in the game.

We have choices in life. Why choose to be miserable?

Jamie at Steady Mom wrote the following a while ago:

It’s all we have, no matter where we go.

It may be thrilling, painful, boring, or lovely.

We want to run from it at times, when it means:

– discipline issues

– messes to clean up

– work to be done.

But in embracing it, we find our greatest freedom.

Life without worry, without overanalyzing the future or past.

This moment is perfect.

Let’s enter it and enjoy.