First of all, HAPPY FALL YA'LL! And nothing says "fall" quite like the simmering goodness of a crockpot! Today's installment of Interview with a Renaissance Mom is a cozy, autumn chat with lifestyle blogger, adoption advocate, and recipe book author, Shay Shull. Her latest book, "Simmers," is packed with recipes even the kids will love! You'll adore this conversation, so let's dive in. If only we could have it face-to-face along with a generous serving of Shay's Apple Bread Pudding!Read More
I've been eagerly awaiting the next installment in our on-going series, Interview with a Renaissance Mom where we get to cozy up with a cup of something yummy and get to know another creative mama who is balancing home and family and art. Today, I am overjoyed to introduce you to KariAnne Wood of Thistlewood Farm — I know you'll be blessed by the beauty she brings to the online conversation with her incredible decorating skills and wonderful story-telling.Read More
When I wrote LIFE CREATIVE: INSPIRATION FOR TODAY'S RENAISSANCE MOM, with my dear friend Kelli Stuart, we set out to encourage creative women who feel they've lost themselves in this busy season of motherhood - painters and poets, writers and sculptures, actors, home decorators, seamstress' and business owners, graphic designers, singers and bakers...
Sweet friends, I know how deeply discouraging it can be to find yourself in the dark ages of motherhood - having lost touch with all the things you used to enjoy doing - all the things you used to enjoy about yourself!
When moms lose themselves to motherhood, they tend to lose their tempers too.
Like they have to fight to be heard.
But I hear you.
When the dream come true of motherhood intersects all the other dreams in a woman's life, it's common to feel lost for a season. But you're not lost - and neither are your gifts.
God did a wonderful job when He created you in his delightfully creative image... and then gave you children. Though there is much sacrifice in this season, He is still the God who made you cleaver and creative, and cast those dreams into your heart.
Think of each talent as a seed lying dormant beneath the earth. When springtime comes again, and it will come, and the sun warms the soil of your life, tender shoots will appear once more.
A reawakening - A rebirth - A renaissance.
Until that time, it is our hope that you discover ways to fit pieces of your creative life into the everyday, ordinary moments of motherhood. The birthday parties you throw, the forts you make, the nursery you decorate, the bedtime stories you tell, the lullabies you sing, the camera you carry in the diaper bag, the family suppers that you prepare, the cakes you bake, the preserves you can… all of these are opportunities for you to create and express love one mothering moment at a time!
As you express your love in creative ways, you are expressing yourself creatively!
Embrace that, embrace them, embrace yourself, sweet mom.
As I said before, there is much sacrificial love in this season, but that doesn't mean you have to lose yourself entirely.
In Life Creative we tell the stories of 20 women who are using their gifts in various ways in their homes, their cue-de-sac communities, their local church, and even online in this digital age - confined yet unhindered.
Ask For Help
One piece of advice that I feel is most helpful, advice I return to each time I begin to lose myself again, is this:
Share your feelings and ask for help. Whether you seek your husband's help, your mother's help, or that of a friend, reach out and simply say, "Remember how I used to love doing this unique thing? Remember how I used to serve in the church with this gift of mine? Remember how I dreamed of doing this or that before kids?... Would you help me figure out ways to fit a little bit of that inspired dreaming back into my life again?"
We call these people our Lifeguards. Friends and family who stand watch on the shoreline of our lives as we dip our toes into creative waters once more. They cheer us on, but they also stand guard and call us back to shore if the tide threatens to pull us a bit to far from home.
As I mentioned, it's each to lose our temper when we feel we've lost ourself. But your husband didn't marry you to take yourself away. He married you be cause he loves you. He's on your team, whether you feel like it or not. Find a moment when you aren't exasperated and feeling like a victim. Plan a date and come to him with love, then ask him for his help.
Ladies, you are so good at helping your little ones discover their creative design. You sign them up for classes and let them experiment with their fearfully and wonderfully made life. While you can't run off to do the same with the same carefree exuberance, you can continue to pursue your life in Christ in creative ways with the help of loved ones.
Today, make a plan, reach out, ask for help.
How did God make you and what did He make you for? For motherhood? Yes! But what else? What other seeds are lying dormant, eager for the Son to shine His Light upon in the days and years to come.
For a Renaissance, a reawakening, is coming.
For more encouragement, grab a copy of Life Creative: Inspiration for Today's Renaissance Mom
(affiliate link included)
Welcome back to our series: Interview with a Renaissance Mom. Today we're featuring one of the mom-artists who helped start it all. Back when the book, Life Creative Inspiration for Today's Renaissance Mom was just a dream, I reached out to artist Ruth Simons and asked for her thoughts on motherhood and creativity. This is what she wrote: "Never has there been a time like this for creative and artistic women to embrace the high calling of motherhood and the unique giftings God has given to each of us. There is indeed a movement-- a renaissance -- of the creative woman, the creative mom. I'm grateful that Wendy and Kelli have chosen to encourage this generation of women, right now, to embrace their God-given creativity to the glory of God, and to steward it well. This book is right on time."
And so it is with great joy that I introduce you to the art of Renaissance Mom, Ruth Simons.
Please introduce yourself to us by sharing who you are, where you live, and a bit about your kids.
I'm Ruth Chou Simons. I'm married to Troy and we live in Albuquerque, NM with our six boys, ranging from age 3 to 14. I am the founder of GraceLaced, a blog I began almost 10 years ago that expanded into an online shoppe featuring my artwork. I share daily from Instagram and am looking forward to the release of my first published book this Fall.
At Life Creative we believe that art morphs as a woman transitions from season to season. This is especially true of creative personalities. What did your creativity look like as a child, throughout school, or into your early adult years before motherhood? And what form does it take today?
I always loved art, drawing, painting, and pretty much every form of creative arts. But being raised in a Chinese home and community, studying art seemed not acceptable if I was an over-achieving straight A student. I began college at UC Berkeley while still in high school, and prepared for a major in Biochemistry. Despite being on track to succeed in culturally approved ways, I soon realized how much I truly loved art and writing, and I ended up graduating with a fine arts degree instead.
Ironically, I set aside my art degree for over a decade when we started a family. I served alongside my husband as he pastored and headmastered, but I never stopped creating...with food, with fabric, with crayons, and even with paint when naps were in session. I never could've imagined that God would ultimately use my talents and desires in this way (business, book-writing, speaking) many years later. I am grateful for this path where He has showed himself faithful instead myself capable.
In the busyness of motherhood it can be hard to find the place and the space to fit your passions within the practical places of family life. Where and when have you carved out the time to create in your busy days?
Even though it is now my job to create, I still have to find time to create for the joy of it, and not simply to fulfill deadlines. Sometimes that looks like a Saturday alone while the boys and their dad hike or do yardwork, but most of the time creating happens in the middle of all the family activities, and next to my kids. I've been known to paint in the living room while the rest of the family is watching a movie together.
I believe that God purposed our creativity to be one of the vehicles through which we can respond to the Great Commission call on our lives. How has God given you opportunity to share His love with others through your creative gifts?
I planned to be a missionary. I planned on my graduate work at seminary taking me overseas for the rest of my life. But, the Lord chose instead to use my words and my art to first minister the gospel to my kids --my most important mission field-- and then online, through the platform that GraceLaced has become. I really had to decide what I was online for, and how I was willing to share, sell, and spread the word on my art and the words that accompany it. For me, it became a decision to adorn the gospel...share the truth of our hope in Christ...through social media, writing, and each print that ships out from GraceLaced Shoppe.
[Tweet "I had to decide what I was online for. For me, it became a decision to adorn the gospel..."]
We spend our days caring for “our most beautiful creations” but there are other creations we long to pen, sing, paint, stitch and bake. It’s hard to embrace any other dream during this dream-come-true season of mothering. Share one of your dreams with our readers?
I dream of having a physical place/space that would bring together my business, art studio, heart for hospitality, and love for gathering women. I don't know if that looks like a conference, weekend workshop, or a boutique for the business, but I know that the Lord never wastes anything He gives us, so I look forward to seeing how He will use all that He's placed on my heart and in my hands.
Would you share with us one of your “creative crushes” – another creative mom who inspires you and why.
I'd have to admit that Joanna Gaines inspires me. I'm of course inspired by her creative entrepreneur journey, but I'm mostly inspired by how she involves her children and is unwavering about who she is and what she stands for.
If you had one piece of advice to leave us with, concerning this awkward dance between faith, family and the flourishing arts, what would it be?
Think process before product, always. Get caught up in the living out of the art in your personal, unseen life first, and all that you hope to produce flows so much more easily from that. Nothing depresses my creativity more than trying to perform my way into a creative existence. God is the original artist and creator; when we live in Him, we reflect His artistry and creativity so much more naturally.
[Tweet "Think process before product. Get caught up in the living out of the art in your personal, unseen life first..."]
Ladies, today is the launch of Ruth Simons' brand new Be Still Series, a small collection to encourage us to wait on the Lord and trust Him through seasons when He blesses...and when He takes away. This series reminds us to rest in His sovereignty as we pray and await Him to redeem all things and make all things new. We pray these new prints, canvases, journals, and notecard sets will bring assurance and peace as we remember that God is STILL on the throne. Use Coupon Code BESTILL for 15% off your GraceLaced order today!
Check out all of the be still prints (some were featured in this post) over at the GraceLaced Shoppe:
Thank you, Ruth!
Watching you blend your palette is always fun. However, hearing how you blend the art of home and the art of motherhood amidst canvases and paint brushes is most inspiring of all.
Ladies, if you have enjoyed this interview, check out our conversation with Renaissance Mom Mellissa Fischer, who listed Ruth as her "Creative Crush." And don't forget to grab a copy of Life Creative: Inspiration for Today's Renaissance Mom for yourself, or the creative mom in your life. (It would make a fabulous Valentine's gift alongside one of Ruth's beautiful prints!)
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