"Every artist dips his brush into his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures."
~ Henry Ward Beecher
:: white majestic mountains against a bright blue sky.
:: our amazement and delight for this not-so-little boy cooking up his first batch of perfectly baked chocolate chip cookies.
:: how fun it was to watch the Great British Baking Show (Netflix) with my family. (Thinking Isaac caught the baking bug here.) Can't wait for another season.
:: how wonderful it is that both of these married couples have landed dream internships this week.. The relief that Jane and Preston won't have to leave the state and the excitement that G & G will be able to return to their beloved Finland. So proud and so happy for each of these kids.
:: loving the flow of my days. Having the time and freedom to do those things that fill me with joy, peace, and purpose.
:: to be a part of a wonderful community of inspiring and amazing artists.
:: so blessed to feel (and trust) this man's genuine friendship and support. Touched enough for tears when he quietly pulled me aside Sunday to gift me a beautiful new sketchbook and a set of drawing pencils, a heart-felt card full of kindness and encouragement. My heart is full.
Waking up to a couple inches of new fallen snow....
It always feels so magical.
Sipping a mug of milky peppermint tea...
Sweet pleasure comes when I enfold my hands around this warmth.
Lighting a candle to cozy up my workspace...
This flickering golden light comforts me..
Listening to the gentle background sound of Bach preludes...
I'm not so lonely.
Writing this weekly handritten letter to my son, these cards to brighten someone's day...
This new Friday morning practice is bringing me joy.
Thinking why not pick up a bright bouquet of flowers to go with the note...
My neighbor's morning sickness eased, I hope.
Drizzling a bit of sweet golden honey on my lunchtime toast...
Such a treat, this Christmas gift from my dear friend's very own beehive.
Making time this afternoon for some sketching...
Looser lines help make a looser me.
Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius.
~ Pietro Aretino
One of the things I'm wanting to committ to weekly this winter is writing handwritten letters (desiring to revive the lost art) and sending some of my photo cards to people who I want to thank, those who may need a bright lift to their day, a special way to keep in touch with those I care about. So excited to use my beautiful new fountain pens. (I think I'm becoming a pen snob!)
Winter, especially January has typically been the most difficult time of year for me: the letdown after the excitement of the holiday season with nothing really to look forward to, the dark short days and bitter cold, the dreaded "inversion" and poor air quality settling in our valley that never seems to end-- all these aspects of the season seem to negatively effect me.
For the last few years, my attitude about winter has been changing. I'm slowly learning to embrace and look for the joys that come with this time of year. This year, I'm actually looking forward to this time of hibernation and creativity. A special season of the year where I can slow down and follow the natural world's lead. Allowing myself to physically and emotionally rest, renew, and draw inward. Deeply intrigued with the Danish concept of "Hygge"-- an intentional way of life meant to celebrate winter's coziness, connection, and contentment. A state of mind that I desire, too, but need to deliberately create.
I took some time last week to visualize and write down some of the ways I want to embrace this season.
A big part of my winter will be given to creating. This slower time of year is a perfect time for all kinds of projects and creative pursuits. I was happy to have recently found the delightful Welshman Michael Nobbs and his wonderful website Sustainable Creativity. So many simple ideas to live a creative life (the man knits and crochets!), as well as enjoying listening to some of his very gentle and encouraging One Thing Today podcasts (his deep British accent so lovely to listen to.) He encourages creative folks to brainstorm a big list of all the possible projects that sound interesting-- putting priority on 4 or 5 that spark joy, or "put a tingle to your tummy". Then, every day giving focused attention on one of these creative pursuits. Organizing my horrid hall closet this week counts as creativity in my book!
His favorite tool in the creative process is a simple kitchen timer. Setting a time for 20 minutes (it could be more or less given the day and energy of a person) gives a "creative container of time" to one's day... small, but consistent daily prioritized effort and devotion to creativity really does add up to a great body of work to be proud of. I know this is true in my own creative life.
My art is a joy and a priority to me this winter. Through enrollment in my online art courses of Sketchook Skool and Unearth Gather Create (as well as being part of some terrific Facebook communities where we share our work and encourage each other) I have committed to keeping a daily illustrated journal of my world and every day life. I am learning to not only draw and paint, but growing in my ability to see the world around me. My understanding about myself and self-confidence is deepening and these are gifts, too.
So there you have it. My winter wellness plan. Here's to surrendering to slow, to rest, to creativity, to cozy. As I settle in and embrace this winter, I send my best wishes and sincere desires for a beautiful and peaceful season to you, as well.
Thanks so much for stopping by.
All of these words reflect the thoughts and feelings I tend to experience with the coming of a new year. I love to make plans. I love to envision the qualities, the characteristics, the life I want to live. I've set my fair share of lofty resolutions and goal-setting over the years, but often find myself overwhelmed, falling short, and falling off the gung-ho bandwagon.
The practice of weekly and daily planning has been key to creating and recording the life I desire. Through this process, I try to find a purpose to my days, my weeks, my life. I try to implement daily habits that will get me there. I carefully choose what priorities I want to give my attention, time, and heart to. I make daily choices to guide my path.
Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I flounder. What I do know is this: that when I live in a state of gratitude and mindfulness-- savoring each precious moment of my life-- I am happy. Happy, too, when I make my own joy and well-being the foundation of it all.
This year, I thought I'd try something new. Something I've seen floating around the blog-sphere, but never tried out for myself. Instead of a list of goals, I'd pick one word. Yes, one word to capture the essence of what I want for this year of 2016.
After mulling it over in my mind, it finally came to me. The word TRUST. It felt so right, so true.
Being instead of striving.
This simple word contains all that I want and all that I need. It will become the focus for my year. The foundation or skeleton on which everything I most desire will be built.
And in the end, I believe that as I hold onto trust, the desires, the dreams, the goals, and ambitions of my life will take care of themselves.
Trust that everything is working for my best good.
Trust that everything will be okay.
Trust in my own divinity and eternal nature.
Trust that I am good enough and worthy enough.
Trust in my abilities and talents. That they are sufficient and good and will continue to grow and flourish.
Trust that I don't have to be perfect.
Trust that I can be me.
Trust that I can live my own truth.
Trust that I am loved and cherished.
Trust in the goodness of this world, in the goodness in people, in the goodness in men.
Trust that it's okay to ask for help.
Trust that it's okay for me to communicate and express my thoughts, my feelings, my needs, my longings, my heart.
Trust that the way will be shown to me, that doors will open to lead me to inspiration and resources, and that the right people will show up for me in the right time.
Trust that it's okay not to know all the answers.
Trust that truth and the way will be shown to me and that I will feel it and recognize it.
Trust that I can let go of my attachments and my fears.
Trust in the ebbs and flows, the rhythms and the changes, the cycles of life, relationships, and nature.
Hi, I'm Emily!
I welcome and thank you for visiting. Through this blog, I invite you, friends or strangers, to come and abide with me as I open my heart and home to you in understanding, honesty, discovery, and reflection. It is my hope that you will join me in my quest for a simple, joyful, meaningful life.