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Welcome to my blog! I write, and take photos, and use Photoshop every day. I love learning and surprises and my sweet family and being a transplanted southerner.

Bags and Crocs and Creativity and Confessions

Happy, Happy Mother’s Day! I called my mama, and we laughed and chatted, and I got to tell her that I love her and she means the world to me. It was awesome. I got breakfast in bed, and a sweet Rowen voice saying, “Happy Mudders Day, Mama!” Yeah. That’s the good stuff.

Laptop Bag! 

So a few hundred people helped me decide what laptop bag to get. Thank you for clicking on the little poll. It was great fun! :D

The winner is:

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Click for Larger

And I must say, good choice. :D I’ll be ordering that this week.

Caving In

Alright. It’s confession time. I’ve been kind of anti-Croc for some time now. I just think that unless I’m going somewhere that I know there’ll be a lot of water, I have a hard time wearing shoes that you can only shuffle in. And they bring up this little hidden desire in me to wear sweatpants to the grocery store. Not gonna go there. So no Crocs for me.

But then we moved to North Carolina.

There’s a beach here.

It’s hot here.

We play in the water in the backyard almost every day, and it’s only May.

We decided we needed some good water shoes for the kids. Then I discovered that Crocs makes a teeny shoe sized just for Elliott, and a hot pink mary jane for Rowen. I decided that maybe I could meet them halfway - I won’t wear them myself, but maybe in a teeny size they’d be cute. So I bought them. I caved. But heck, anything is better in miniature, right?

And they are.

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Slipping those four cute shoes onto four cute feet was sufficient to make even me a Croc-lover. I have to giggle into my hands every time I see Elliott in his new little orange shoes:

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Yeah. They don’t match the shirt he’s wearing. And he doesn’t have any shorts on. But it was a photographic emergency, you see… and they were about to go test out their new shoes in the backyard sprinkler anyway. ;)

And Rowen. Ah. Here’s my beautiful girl in her (surprisingly non-shuffly, and in fact, pretty darned adorable) shoes: 

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I actually had a lot of trouble finding the pink mary janes. Apparently I’m not the only one trying out the Crocs experiment on her child this summer. Finally found them at Surf and Dirt.com, ordered, and they were here the very next day. Awesome. 

But I’m still not getting any for myself. ;) I will not feel guilty about it either!

A Cool Exercise: Flickr

I spent some time the other night, just wandering around at Flickr. Jumping from pool to pool. Just appreciating all of the art that is there.  I recommend starting here for a cool exploration. Some of these photos literally took  my breath away. I piled a bunch into my favorites  (it’s small yet, I just started), and just absorbed the stunning beauty - of the world, of the human face, of a photograph perfectly captured and perfectly edited. It’s amazing and inspiring to be in the presence of photographic greatness.

And speaking of  being inspired, I came across a great article the other day:

5 Ways to Enhance Your Creativity

Darren Rowse offers 5 suggestions for enhancing creativity. At the top of his list? Stimulating your mind. Giving yourself the gift of new things to experience will enhance your creativity. Perhaps heading over to Flickr will do the trick. :D  

The other 4 are:

  • Give yourself space - take a mental or physical breather
  • Mix up your environment - if you have a chance, go somewhere else
  • Be a people person -  find a crowd of creative people that make you think
  • Record your ideas - I like Darren’s suggestion to take a little time at the end of each day to record all the ideas that get randomly written down through the day. To gather them. This blog is partly that. But I can be better at this.

My friend Leslie and I were talking last week about creativity. Whether it’s innate or learned. I hear all the time from people that don’t feel like they are creative, or creative enough to [insert thing here]. I think everyone has some level of creativity in them. Some ability and even need to make things.  There are the geniuses of the world, who no matter WHAT they try, they seem to excel at it after they learn the forms of whatever art they pick up. But I think the rest of us stand a fighting chance at making decent stuff to be proud of, if we give ourselves permission to create things. To try and fail, and try again. If the song in your soul gets sung by cooking, then cook! If it is sung with paper and pictures and Photoshop, then scrapbook! I do know that everyone has a story to tell, and everyone has the need to tell it in some way.

Here’s a quote from an amazing book called The Creative License by Danny Gregory:

The ability and the need to be creative are hard-wired into all of us. It’s a basic urge, an irrepressible impulse… . Creativity doesn’t mean just making things up out of thin air. It means seeing and feeling the world so vividly that you can put together connections and patterns that help to explain reality. It means you see the beauty in the world rather than trying to hide from it…

This  day is full of extraordinary things that you are missing. Wonderful sights, like the sun on your counterpane, the hairs on your cat’s tail, the cracks in the paint on your radiator, the leaves piling up against the curb. Wonderful smells, wonderful sounds. Wonderful people. Wonderful opportunities. Today is wonderful. But perhaps you have lost your sense of wonder.

And this:

But I still have more work to do, more windows in my soul to wash, more music to hear, more hands to shake, more drawings to make.

Just substitute drawings with whatever it is your heart is calling you to do.

Proof that Thinking about Stuff Helps. 

So why am I going on about this? Well, I love good inspiring quotes, first off. I love the idea that if I could just wash a few more windows in my soul, I could see the world and my life more clearly. And I love thinking about things that are inspiring, because it just plain makes me feel better and more creative.

I was in a bigtime rut this week. Too many deadlines. Too much rushing. Too little enjoyment, and too much whatnot. By Thursday night I was a sobbing mess. I was feeling uncreative, disconnected from things that are important to me, feeling that feeling I dreaded most - that I had wasted this time. Time is the one thing, so precious, that we can never get back, and sometimes that weighs on me. It makes me anxious that I haven’t used mine well enough.  Maybe it is my schedule. Maybe it’s the lack of sleep, and the constant need to innovate. The very little room for mistakes or missteps, but still making them. Who knows. But there it all was in a pile (of whatnot?), and me in the middle of it.

I talked to Jared about how stressed I was, how I felt like I was the juggler with way too many things in the air at once, and was starting to feel them falling all around me.  He offered to do whatever it took to help, and he was deadly serious. Now that is love. That made me feel better. And I called my dad on Friday, who has always been the sounding board of my life. I actually called him about the recipe for his rotini/apple/cheese salad, but it became a turning point in my week. My dad gets it in a way that so few other people do. He has an enormous intellect and an incredible humility, and is usually head-and-shoulders above the fog and the fray and seeing ahead a bit into the distance. And the difference this makes is that I am always hopeful when I’m talking to my dad. He is awesome. And he also gives very, very good advice.

Like this: He was telling me that at the university he works for, they are starting a project planning process, so that they can best use the resources they have. They get together and hold each project proposal up to the mission statement, and ask themselves, Would this project fulfil our mission? If no, then they say no (this is a big deal to people like me, who have trouble with this little two-letter word), and in this way they can know that they are doing the best possible things.

What a lesson. If only I could get good at doing this. I could keep things aligned and balanced, and maybe come less often to the place of complete meltdown. But that’s what living is, isn’t it? Deciding what is best, and then having the courage to do it and to say no to other things. The beauty of talking to my dad is that he gets me thinking about solutions. Thinking about my personal mission is SO much better and easier for me than navel-staring and complaining (and let’s not forget about the sobbing). I’m surrounded by people who keep me buoyant, and put me back in touch with my “stop whining [and sobbing, and for heaven’s sake, put some clothes on and stop sitting in the middle of the room in your underwear] and do something to fix it” side. Everyone needs someone who helps them do that.

So I have several days worth of email to catch up on, while I was in my little tailspin. Sorry about that. I will get back to you. :) 

Well, my goodness! Laptop bags and Crocs and creativity and confessions. Enough for a Sunday evening, no? :)

So tell me, what makes you feel energized and worthy and creative? What inspiring thing have you read or seen or heard lately? How do you clean the windows in your soul? And most importantly, how many pairs of Crocs are in your family?

Purging, and Q+A Tuesday.

Photoshop Friday! 2007 #18 Journaling Card with a Digital Brush