where creativity and practicality collide

don’t quit your daydream

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I am a “creative type” in a role of practicalities, or so it seems. The at-hand tasks of what we will eat and wear are my mission and while I love to embrace the slow life, sometimes I get bogged down by the never-ending tasks. I don’t want to worry about vaccinations and dentist appointments, I want to dream up projects and sketch them in my Big Book. I don’t want to wash the dishes again, I want to strum my ukulele. I don’t want to put away the laundry, I want to frolic through a meadow with daisies in my hair singing “The Hills are Aliiiiive”. I’m just kidding about that one. Most of my creative ventures don’t involve me leaving the couch.

As a creative type, I spent a good portion of my life thinking I was hopelessly disorganized. I took a personality test in early adulthood, the result being “disorganized dreamer” (INFP). It seemed quite accurate at the time- I was always losing important papers and forgetting deadlines, and my room was a mess. However, when I became a mom and home-maker I quickly realized that a little bit of order was in order. Being organized has been my constant study and now I’m obsessed. I LOVE order. I love minimalistic, uncluttered spaces (not my own space, of course). My whole self breathes a sigh of relief in the absence of mess.

Daily, I do battle against my own bad habits and the wake of three chaos-makers (aka my children) and little by little I have been learning new tricks and habits to maintain a sense of order. Now I am proud to classify myself as an organized person, relatively speaking. Not perfect, not tidy, but on the right trajectory.

Learning to be more organized is one of the many gifts motherhood has given to me.

But what about the creative side of me? What of my inner Molly Maker? She is a messy creature; her stuff is everywhere. Shall I push her aside in the name of a peaceful, well-run house?  Shall I wait for a more opportune time, when the kids are older and more self-sufficient?

May it never be.  Motherhood needs lots of creativity and creativity is an important part of my self-care. To break from utilitarianism and celebrate beauty, or even to make the useful beautiful, is a joy-giving, life-breathing endeavor that I will always try to integrate into my ordinary life.

More on that later…

Thanks for reading!

life inspired: we were here

we walked these streets like kings

For round three of “what inspired me lately” I bring you the song We Were Here. We Were Here is by a Swiss pop duo called Boy and I can’t tell you anything else about them because I haven’t made it past this song yet.

I heard this song on the radio recently and have had it on repeat ever since (ok, not literally :p but I have listened to it lots of times). It totally captured me, although maybe for different reasons than the artist intended. Or maybe not, who knows. In the song, the speaker describes how her presence, her roots in a city change the landscape in a way that lasted far beyond her stay. I don’t know the artist’s motivation behind the lyrics but for me it resonates with my current mandate to rise to the challenge of urban living.

I love that it’s a song about the city- it’s not about frolicking through the fields, exploring the woods, or planting crops. The language is distinctly urban and it has become my Vancouver Song.

Lyrics:

We walked these streets like kings, our faces in the wind

and everywhere we were, we made the city sing

we sang “forever young”, we had our fingers crossed

and when the city sleeps, it dreams of us

yeah, it still does

oh, love, it changes shapes, it glows in many shades

we won’t be gone as long as our echoes resonate

we need no photographs; the past’s not only past

i find us everywhere and that’s how the magic lasts

cause everywhere we’ve been, we have been leaving traces

and they won’t ever disappear

we were here, we were here, we were really here

and the rains get rough but time can’t wash us off

we won’t ever disappear

we were here, we were here, we were really here

it’s only little things; footmarks and fingerprints, a treasure hunt through town

it’s full of evidence, our monuments are all around

everything’s on the move; the paint is wet, all colours new

but if you look carefully, you’ll see us shining through

 

As a young renting family, the question of how to put down roots comes up a LOT in conversations with our friends who, like us, #donthaveamillion. So many have made community here and would like to stay but can’t quite envision growing their family in a basement suite. It might work right now, but what about in a year from now? Five years? Ten years? The picket fence ideal is diminishing and a long hard look at our priorities is in order. In a time of rising rents and reno-victions, can we really make this work?

For me and mine, our living situation is quite stable but we still feel the vacuum sucking our peers away and there are lots of unknowns in our future. What we DO know is that where God has placed us, He has prepared good works for us. We may never own a piece of Vancouver real-estate but the whole city is our oyster. We won’t hold back from investing in a place that may or may not pay financial returns in the form of an appreciating land asset. Whatever lies in the future, wherever we end up, we can always look back on these days and say that we were really here.

I know the connection between this song and those thoughts might seem like a stretch but in the muddy puddle of my inner workings, the Vancouver Question is something I carry pretty close to the surface. It doesn’t take much more than a pebble or a song on the radio to bring it all forth.

I also think this song might be about when we visit a restaurant as a family. Because everywhere we’ve been, we’ve been leaving traces…

 

life inspired: the secret garden

“when you see a bit of earth you want,” he said with something like a smile, “take it, child, and make it come alive”

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A week or so ago I mentioned that I want to start posting about things that have inspired me lately. When I look around me (in real life or on the internet) I am often overwhelmed by things that are difficult and messy; sometimes a look at something lovely is just what the doctor ordered.

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So for my second batch of creative inspiration, I bring you “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson.

If you’re feeling nostalgic or looking for some loveliness to herald in the spring, I recommend revisiting this childhood gem (or consider reading it for the first time). It is sweet and pleasant and the perfect inspiration if you’re looking to tackle a daunting project. As you follow young Mary Lennox’s journey of bringing a neglected, nearly-dead garden back to life you might find yourself longing for your own patch of chaos to bring into order which, if you have little kids, probably won’t be too hard to find :).

life inspired: the sea in between

“When you have kids there’s this natural concern…this is going to change everything. How are we going to do what we’ve been doing? But you can do just about anything you did with kids that you did without. It’s just a lot more work.” 

Josh Garrels

I know I’m not the only person out there looking to integrate a bit more creativity into the ordinary; in light of that, I’d like to start sharing things that I’ve read or seen that have inspired me lately.

The Sea Between is a documentary about how musician Josh Garrels and his family, along with arts collective/ production house Mason Jar were all invited by the Johnson family to spend a week at their house on Mayne Island where they could enjoy the beautiful surroundings and “let art get made” despite none of them having met before.

I love this sort of “art just because” project. It’s not about making heaps of money or achieving a certain level of fame, it’s just because. I first saw this film when they screened it at Josh Garrels’ concert a couple years ago and I was quite excited to be able to watch it again when they recently posted it on youtube.

There is much to stretch out those creative mind muscles in this film: sentiments about the creative process, ambition, classical vs. personal expression, the shifting music industry, integrating creativity in family life (see above one of my favorite quotes on parenting found at the beginning of this film), and expressing faith in art. And if all that doesn’t inspire you, then I’m sure the music and beautiful scenery will. Enjoy!