INTERVIEW WITH A RENAISSANCE MOM — SHAY SHULL

INTERVIEW WITH A RENAISSANCE MOM — SHAY SHULL

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!

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INTERVIEW WITH A RENAISSANCE MOM — KARIANNE WOOD

INTERVIEW WITH A RENAISSANCE MOM — KARIANNE WOOD

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.

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Interview with a Renaissance Mom - Ruth Simons

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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.

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photo credit: Elizabeth Wells Photography

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.

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ruth7

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.

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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.

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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..."]

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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.

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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..."]

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ruth6

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:

Shoppe: gracelaced.com/storeInstagram.com/gracelacedFacebook.com/gracelaced

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!)

Sign up to receive future interviews with creative moms directly to your email.

Interview with a Renaissance Mom - Stacey Thacker

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interview banner

Welcome back to our (hopefully) inspiring new series, Interview with a Renaissance Mom! Today's featured artist has found the key to her Great Commission Call from the comfort and confinement of her own cozy home! Author Stacey Thacker shares with us how her words have wings to go beyond the practical places of this parenting season.

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Stacey_716-0 (1) (1)

Please introduce yourself.

Hello friends! I’m Stacey Thacker. My husband Mike and I have been married for 22 years and for the last 14 or so we have lived in Central Florida. We have four girls ages (almost 7, 10, 13, and almost 17).  We also have a crazy dog, but that's another story. I grew up in a small town in Southern Indiana and graduated from Indiana University.

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 before children, and what shape does it take today?

I’ve always loved music and starting singing in church at a young age. Throughout the years, I played in the band and sang in various school choirs. Today, I’m blessed to have the opportunity to lead worship at my church on a regular basis. This is one of my sweetest gifts.

Words have also been a large part of my life. I always wrote letters and kept a diary as a girl. This somehow got buried in the baby raising years. My husband was smart enough to know I needed a place to work out my words and encouraged me to start a blog about seven years ago. As my words found a rhythm of their own, God began to open doors for me to put them on paper once again. This time, his plan involved books. I’m still in awe at being an author. Honestly, I didn’t see it coming at this point in my life.

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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?

Writing happens in the nooks and crannies of my life. Sometimes that involves a quick trip to Panera on a Saturday or hiding in my bedroom while the kids play together and hopefully do the dishes. I grab time when I can and of course when I’m under a deadline, I’m more aware of the value of those precious times when I can pour out my heart on the page.

Music was something I also had to step away from for a couple of years and I can tell you I sorely missed it. But a few years ago, God brought it back around in a way that fit into my schedule as a mom. I attend weekly rehearsals for the most part and lead worship about once every six weeks. My husband is key in helping to make that possible when I need to be at an early sound check on Sunday Morning.

I believe that God purposed our creativity to be one of the vehicles through which we 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? In your home… your local community… and even out into the world.

Throughout the years, I’ve had the chance to lead small groups and travel the world to tell others about Christ. I have a heart for women to be in the Word. Yet, as a mom my time is not always my own. There have been seasons where I’ve simply needed to be home. As a writer, however, my words can go anywhere. They can stretch to the far corners of the globe while I stay home in my pajamas fixing breakfast for my kids. I can’t always go speak or be part of global mission trips. But my words—they can fly.

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stacey_thackeramazingJesusFOA.001

We spend our days caring for “our 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?

You know, it sounds a bit hokey I’m sure, but I think I’m living it right now. I said it before, I’m the one most in awe that God has made me an author. My dreams involve projects that bring women together around a table with the Word of God between them. I also might have a song or two hiding in my heart. Perhaps He has something for me along those lines as well.

Would you share with us one of your “creative crushes” – another creative mom who inspires you and why.

I love watching women who have a passion to encourage and build up other women. A couple of years ago I had the chance to meet with Lysa Terkeurst and her Compel writing team and talk about writing words that matter. I learned so much during our time together. I came away with a deep respect for her passion to help women in ministry thrive. I pray I’m able to do that for other women as well.

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staceybooksigning

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?

God has a way of working it out. He has a plan, simply trust him. Also, bring your family with you. Be honest with them and say, “Hey, mom has this opportunity and I want you to be part of it. I can’t do it without you.” Talk through your stories with them, ask them for their opinion on your latest creation, and if you are baking something wonderful in the kitchen, make sure they get a portion of it as well. It doesn’t always have to be one or the other. Once when I was worried about the writing and taking time away for that, my husband encouraged me with this: “Just think about what it will mean to the girls for their mom to be an author.” I realized that pursuing my dream would encourage them to do the same with dreams of their own.

Where can we find more of your work and connect with you online?

You can find me at staceythacker.com, on Instagram and Twitter @staceythacker, and Facebook @officialStaceyThacker. and my new book, Fresh Out of Amazing: Opening Your Heart to God’s Unexpected Invitation is now available!

Thank you so much, Stacey, for inviting us into the Renaissance story of your own Life Creative.

To find out more about Stacey's experience as a Christian author, smack-dab in this intense season of mothering her girls, hop on over to her blog to read today's post!

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FOA book banner bigger story.001

We hope these interviews inspire you to celebrate your own

Life Creative.

Order a copy of Life Creative: Inspiration for Today's Renaissance Mom today and join our Renaissance Faire! As a special incentive, purchase Life Creative by the end of September and receive our free downloadable resource, "Five Stepss to Turn Your Creative Hobby into a Thriving Business."Confirm purchase and receive your free gift today!

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