The life of full-time motherhood is a lot of work. I’ve blogged about my thoughts on intersecting creativity with motherhood before, but it’s definitely something I’m fine tuning my perspective of every single day. My friend Mandy has inspired me that I don’t have to put my inner artist on the shelf while I meet the demands of parenting – I can put on my artist’s glasses and see everything as an opportunity to create art with my life.
She’s written a free e-book about her life as a Messy Canvas and being an artist. It’s awesome. I encourage everyone, whether you think you are an artist or not, to read this book. Here are a few of my favorite excerpts:
I believe we are made in the image of a creative God. I believe His creativity is alive in us, and we are to express it in very unique and real ways. I believe art is a part of everyday life. It is what we do with our lives. It is our very life itself. We are given our own canvas to do with as we see fit.
You, too, are a Messy Canvas, just as beautiful, just as imperfect, and you, too, have buried dreams, larger than life fears, and an artistic, expressive voice dying to be heard.
We have the opportunity to not only create beauty, but to also invite others into it. That is the heartbeat of an artist. We follow the call of beauty, we give meaning to the world around us, we rescue from the mundane routines of daily life, and we bridge the gap to make a connection with our Creator. We look for ways to bring redemption to lost causes, to save hearts from growing cold by the inevitable moments of suffering, to dawn with great light on the things everyone around us has given up on. We arouse desire. We cause hearts to stir.
In the book she quotes Thich Nhat Hanh who says, “Everything we do is an act of poetry or a painting if we do it with mindfulness. Growing lettuce is poetry. Walking to the supermarket can be a painting. When we do not trouble ourselves about whether or not something is a work of art, if we just act in each moment with composure and mindfulness, each minute of our life is a work of art. Even when we are not painting or writing, we are still creating.” I love that.
There is a tree in my parents backyard that is being taken over by vines. I couldn’t help but think of the reference in her book that says, “if you’re going to thrive as an artist, you’re going to need to extend grace and love towards yourself and clip some vines.” I know that is true with me. I can’t expect perfection from myself – I can’t expect to always have a clean house or a perfect appearance or perfect kids. To me this phrase also means clipping away the excuses. I don’t have enough time or energy, I don’t want to make a mess only to have to clean it up later. To quote her again, “The only way to create a beautiful piece of art with your life is to allow mess.” Now, I can look at my messy living room and see it as a work of art, a mixed media collage of beauty that has been haphazardly created by my busy toddler. I can enjoy a warm day outside with my children as they discover the world around them, and that is us creating art with our life.
Please read this e-book. And if you do, let me know in the comments what your favorite part is!
Download the FREE e-Book:
Messy Canvas: You Are an Artist. What Will You Create?