- Why, hello there creative ones and dear makers of the world. This one’s for you. Though I strongly feel that the title of “maker” applies to all of us unique beings of the world, I also happen to believe such a calling weighs more heavily for some. For a whole host of reasons I have been recently exploring the area of creating and making and how that relates to the subject of fear. Yes, fear. That horrible, no good, rotten, and altogether dangerous thing that prevents us from living life the way we truly desire to live it. Fear drowns us. It silences us. It lies to us. It makes us doubt and makes us grow weary without concern for our wellbeing. And since honesty is important to me here, I’ll share with you that fear has gotten the better of me far too many times to count in the past few months. It has welled up in places I never expected it would have the fuel to grow, and sometimes it makes its home in very place I retreat to within myself when I want to make something or get creative. But you know? I really am tired of giving fear a voice in my life, like really, really tired of it, so I’ve been doing things to help me get back on track with what matters. There are meditations, spiritual practices, and even simple, wholesome exercises I’ve been doing each day in place of spending time fighting off fear. I am sharing this here because it’s been one of the most rejuvenating endeavors and worthwhile pursuits I can say I’ve taken part in recently. I have thrown it into the bucket of “self-care” and am happy to take time to engage this way each day. One of the practices I’ve been doing is listening to others who can empathize with this utterly human struggle and have chosen to put the work in to rise above and not give it credit. It’s my one thing right now. Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic podcast called Magic Lessons is one of the tools in my toolbox I pull out when I could use some encouraging on this subject. I don’t know where you are personally in narrative of your creative life, but if fear has hold of any part of it, you may consider giving her podcast a listen. It’s speaks beautiful truths and is the fresh breath of air I need most days. And let me leave one of my very favorite quotes from Liz’s book Big Magic right here for you to mull over and work through in addition to the podcast. She is a bright light to our creative community and if you’ve not read her book, order it right now.
“Let me list for you some of the many ways in which you might be afraid to live a more creative life: You’re afraid you have no talent. You’re afraid you’ll be rejected or criticized or ridiculed or misunderstood or—worst of all—ignored. You’re afraid there’s no market for your creativity, and therefore no point in pursuing it. You’re afraid somebody else already did it better. You’re afraid everybody else already did it better. You’re afraid somebody will steal your ideas, so it’s safer to keep them hidden forever in the dark. You’re afraid you won’t be taken seriously. You’re afraid your work isn’t politically, emotionally, or artistically important enough to change anyone’s life. You’re afraid your dreams are embarrassing. You’re afraid that someday you’ll look back on your creative endeavors as having been a giant waste of time, effort, and money. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of discipline. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of work space, or financial freedom, or empty hours in which to focus on invention or exploration. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of training or degree. You’re afraid you’re too fat. (I don’t know what this has to do with creativity, exactly, but experience has taught me that most of us are afraid we’re too fat, so let’s just put that on the anxiety list, for good measure.) You’re afraid of being exposed as a hack, or a fool, or a dilettante, or a narcissist. You’re afraid of upsetting your family with what you may reveal. You’re afraid of what your peers and coworkers will say if you express your personal truth aloud. You’re afraid of unleashing your innermost demons, and you really don’t want to encounter your innermost demons. You’re afraid your best work is behind you. You’re afraid you never had any best work to begin with. You’re afraid you neglected your creativity for so long that now you can never get it back. You’re afraid you’re too old to start. You’re afraid you’re too young to start. You’re afraid because something went well in your life once, so obviously nothing can ever go well again. You’re afraid because nothing has ever gone well in your life, so why bother trying? You’re afraid of being a one-hit wonder. You’re afraid of being a no-hit wonder” – Liz Gilbert from Big Magic
- I started with something a little heavy, so here’s something lighter. Have you heard of The Innocence Mission? Their music is hauntingly beautiful. I have been listening to them almost every day whether I am doing dishes at the sink or on the way to pick up Stell from school. This song in particular makes the hairs on my arm stand straight up and it makes me think about all the beauty God has created. Surrounding myself with art like this makes me feel so hopeful and completely alive. What music makes you feel this way? What art makes you feel this kind of warmth?
- The boys and I have been needle and wet felting in school for the past two weeks and it has been such a joy to learn alongside them. For obvious reasons, Alfie is more of an observer/saboteur than his big brother, but still, it’s been really lovely to engage in handwork with them. I am going to be sharing some examples (of our very amateur work!) here this season but in the meantime here is a good resource to help give you a better understanding of this kind of art. A Child’s Dream is a beautiful site selling Waldorf art and curriculum-based items and I’ve just ordered a few sewing kits to do with the kids this winter. Theodore is really in to dinosaurs so I got that one for his stocking and then a Piglet for Stella to go along with some of her other farm creatures.
- Now that the boys are officially sharing a room we are going to paint it! Originally Stella and Alfie shared for a long time because they are both heavy sleepers, but now we’ve gotten into a comfortable groove where the boys both fall asleep together (praise the Lord) as Theo is no longer as prone to waking to the slightest squeak or creak. Andrew and I both really love muted green/grays and are learning towards these color pallets and will probably paint over winter break. What do you think? Here’s the first one and the second one we really like.
- Needing a good soup recipe? Here is some meal inspiration for you! Tuscan Kale Soup is a favorite this season. I made a big batch last night and you can bet your bum we’re gonna have it for lunch all week because I love leftovers. My mother in law Carol introduced this simple recipe to me a long time ago and it could not be easier to make.
- To prepare, brown seasoned one pound of ground pork in large pot or dutch oven. We like the kind with lots of herbs and fennel that our local market makes. Next, add one chopped yellow onion and 5 chopped carrots. Soften those with the pork and then add two small cloves of minced garlic. Let the garlic sweat and then add two bay leaves. Pour in two 64 oz. of any kind of broth, chicken is our go-to. Peel and chop five medium-sized potatoes and throw them on it. Next up, chop and toss in one big bundle of kale. It will seem like a lot but trust me, it will shrink down. I usually end up putting white beans, chickpeas, or lentils in at this point depending on what we have on hand, but you don’t have to. You’ll want to let the potatoes cook through so cover your pot and let it simmer for an hour so so. Serve with lots of pecorino cheese and warm, crusty, buttered bread.
- Have you heard of Tasha Tudor? I was browsing Pinterest one evening and came across the sweetest Christmas cards. By the way, we haven’t ordered ours yet this year and I sort of don’t want to. I know it takes more time and intentionality, but honestly ‘d much rather buy a nice bundle of cards and write some notes to our close friends and family rather than send out a hundred pre-made computerized ones to people we never see or speak with. Is the bad? Christmas cards are sort of weird to me. Back to Tasha. Look at these cards. Isn’t her artwork so sweet and nostalgic? As I began to delve more and more into her watercolors and artwork, I started learning more about the wonderful person she was. A few nights ago reserved a few books about her at our library and am eager to get my hands on them this week, specifically her family cookbook. She reminds me so much of my great-grandma Mable who lived in Minnesota who was as hardworking and resourceful as they come. Because Tasha was such a d0-it-yourself kind of gal, I find myself very drawn to the way she chose to live her life.
So much to think on! So much to ponder. I hope you enjoyed this round of Show & Tell and have the a beautiful start to you week. x Amanda