My favorite articles

On the Limitations of Self Care

Self-care has to be rooted in self-preservation, not just mimosas and spa days– LIZZO

‘Self-care’ is not enough to fix how much moms are burnt out – DIANA SPALDING

Practicing Self Care Won’t Keep Moms From Burning Out, So Stop Telling Them It Will – ANNAMARIE HOULIS

Forget self-care — what mothers really need is community care – DEBRA Lynn b. hook

On Leisure Gender Imbalance

A woman’s greatest enemy? A lack of time to herself – BRIGID SCHULTE

On Mental Load

Women Aren’t Nags—We’re Just Fed Up– gemma hartley

On Working Moms

Why the U.S. Has Long Resisted Universal Child Care [Americans still aren’t in agreement that mothers should work at all. ]

How can working moms feel good about claiming leisure time for themselves when they are battling a society that tells them they are neglecting their kids at all?

Creating Your Life

My favorite interviews

Michael Meade was interviewed by Chase Jarvis and he had this to say about creative “genius” and how to identify your own creative gifts:

“Genius is discovered during adversity. Carl Jung said ‘genius hides behind the wound.’ There is an old saying that ‘During adversity genius is revealed. During comfort it is concealed.’ So a person can go to any time they were in big trouble and start to examine how did they survive. Whatever way they survived, there’s some genius in that method.”

Michael Meade

I love this because it shows us how creativity isn’t just a “nice to have” thing that we do in our spare time because it’s fun. Often it’s what saves us from very difficult times in life.

Crafting / Scrapbooking / Stampin’ Up!

Creature Comforts

Stampin' Up! Scrapbook Page

As the weather turns cold in the Pacific Northwest, I am missing the summer time but embracing the coziness of the autumn weather. On this Sunday morning, I woke up before the rest of the house and settled in for some of my creature comforts – a cup of tea, a warm fire in the fireplace, the stillness of the house before anyone else is awake, and some crafting.

Since the theme of our blog hop this month is “creature comforts”, I thought I would scrapbook a photo of this little guy.

This page was inspired by slide deck in the Creative Calling class I attended, taught by Chase Jarvis. I took some Basic Gray cardstock and used a brayer to paint some white craft ink on the paper. I layered a bit of Daffodil Yellow paper behind the photo, and a heart from the Modern Heart stamp set using the white craft ink.

Stampin' Up! Scrapbook Page

I don’t make as much time for scrapbooking as I did years ago, but even doing just one scrapbook page is enough for me to feel like I’ve accomplished something. I love keeping things simple and using the 6×8 scrapbook size makes it easy to finish a page before the kids wake up!

Check out the rest of the blog hop team’s take on “creature comforts” this month:

Anna Pickering

Gemma Pidcock

Elizabeth Richards (you are here)

Jennyfer Schütz

Leonie Stuart

Creating Your Life

Book Review – Creative Calling

Creative Calling: Establish a Daily Practice, Infuse Your World with Meaning, and Succeed in Work + Life

Creative Calling: Establish a Daily Practice, Infuse Your World with Meaning, and Succeed in Work + Life by Chase Jarvis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“A good life is designed. Created. And this book is about living a better life through creativity.”
– Chase Jarvis

Even since I went back to work after being a stay at home mom and I started struggling with making time for my creative interests, I have been searching for a book that both inspires me to pursue my creativity AND has practical and realistic advice for how to do it. THIS is that book.

Creative Calling not only inspires the reader to pursue their life’s calling, it actually provides valuable tactical principles that are applicable to everyone who wants to create a better life, no matter who they are and what challenges are holding them back.

What is creativity? According to Chase Jarvis, it’s not just art in the traditional sense. Creativity is combining things in a new way and putting these ideas out into the world. Creativity is not just photography and pottery; it’s problem solving, starting a business, social activism, and building a family. Everyone is born creative, and everyone has the opportunity to exercise their creativity in their day to day lives.

Our ability to choose to exercise our innate creativity is a theme woven throughout Creative Calling. Our agency – our ability to make decisions to help us along our creative path – is a key concept that we are encouraged to put into practice in small ways every day. It’s through the use of agency in building small daily creative habits that over time, leads us to living our authentic and most creative lives.

This book encourages us to Start Now. Do not wait until the “right time” to start on creating your best life. Chase walks you through how to make small steps along your creative path, no matter what season of life you are in and how messy it is. There truly will be no “right time” to start, so just start now. Even if it’s just starting a habit of 5 minutes a day on the creative pursuit that brings you joy. “The more creative you are day to day, the better you’ll become at building the life you want.”

“Do what you can with what you have today” is a big theme throughout Creative Calling.
Don’t have a lot of free time to spend on a creative hobby? That’s ok. Friends and family not yet supportive of your creative path? That’s ok. Don’t have the best equipment for your podcast? That’s ok. We are encouraged over and over again to just start with what you have. Chase walks you through tactical ideas for setting up systems that will help you as you pursue your creative path; ideas that can serve as inspiration for anyone, no matter how many constraints you think you are operating with.

Creative Calling manages to provide both wholehearted inspiration AND very practical guidance that that anyone can put to use. If you have been struggling on your creative path but want to pursue a better life, this book is absolutely for you.

View all my reviews

Creating Your Life

Talk to Your Mommy Guilt

Have you ever thought about the purpose of your brain?

Your brain has evolved to keep you alive; to help you survive.

It was not designed to help you be happy. This means that when you start to try to do something new and creative, your brain interprets this as a threat to stability and safety, and tries to stop you.

As Mel Robbins explains:

“The fact about human beings is that we are not designed to do things that are uncomfortable or scary or difficult.

Our brains are designed to protect us from those things, because our brains are trying to keep us alive. Your brain is wired to stop you at all cost from doing anything that might hurt you.

In order to change, in order to build a business, in order to be the best parent, in order to be the best spouse–to do all those things that you know you want to do with your life–you are going to have to do things that are difficult, uncertain, or scary.”

Mommy guilt and shame is the result of your brain and it’s purpose – to keep you and your offspring alive, not happy. Anything you try to do that is new, different, interesting or courageous will result in fear, and for many moms, mommy guilt.

Fear, self-doubt and mommy guilt is just your ancient brain trying to stop you from doing things that are important for living your creative life.

I like the way that Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love talks about dealing with her fear.

“That’s why if you try to sit down and write a poem, it literally feels like you’re going to die,” Gilbert said. “Your fear only has one job and that is: No, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, death, murder, mayhem, back it up, shut down, stay on the couch, be safe, don’t die. And so the relationship that I’ve established over the years is just a very loving conversation with that—a very maternal way that I speak to that, because I know that it’s just not that smart. I just talk to it like it’s my dumb cousin who played hockey and just isn’t that bright, and I’m like, ‘I know. I know it’s scary, but you know what? Mommy’s got this.’

“As soon as I say, ‘It’s okay for you to be here, and you can stay with me and we’re going to do this together,’ it just relaxes and it goes to sleep like a toddler in a car-seat,” she said.

In the same way that many people have learned to deal with fear and self-doubt by accepting that they never truly disappear, it’s helpful to understand that mommy guilt may never go away entirely either. We can accept that mommy guilt may reappear when our brain is trying to stop us from doing things that are creative and new, and that’s ok. Just keep pursuing your creative calling anyways!

Creating Your Life

What If?

There is no life I know
To compare with pure imagination
Living there, you’ll be free
If you truly wish to be
– Willy Wonka

My 6 year old loves the show “Wild Kratts”. Apparently the brothers that host this animal show had a show back in the 90’s but I missed seeing these guys in their younger years. Now, as middle aged hosts, they start out the show in live action and then transition into a cartoon fantasy format for the remainder of the show. To transition from real life to fantasy, they loudly proclaim to the young viewer:


Those two words are the keys to our imagination.

Motherhood is breeding ground for a scarcity mindset. We start out our parenting journey with deprivation. We are thrust into a world of sleep deprivation and around the clock hyper-responsiveness to a helpless baby who needs an adult. For many reasons, this sleep deprivation and responsiveness falls to mothers in the early months, and often transitions into permanent inequality in the home when it comes to child care and housework. Housing costs and child care costs and death and divorce and all the things that add up to the extreme messiness of life ends up convincing us that we can never have what we want; that there will never be enough money, time or energy to live our good lives.

But what if it didn’t have to be this way?

What if not only could we climb our way out of being overwhelmed, but we could actually live our good lives now? Not when we have a nanny and housekeeper, not when we have our bills paid off, not when we have total equality in the house, not when we have a the perfect supportive village around us, not when the floors are mopped, but NOW?

Creating Your Life

A few tips for life as a busy mom

5 second rule.  This is from Mel Robbins who has a ton of videos on youtube.  Idea is that the moment you think of a goal or something you want to/need to do, your brain will start to talk you out of doing it.  You have 5 seconds before your brain starts trying to talk you out of doing what you need to do.  So the moment you think of what you need to do, you say “5-4-3-2-1” then do it before your brain talks you out of it.  She has really good talks about how no one is ever motivated to do the crap that they don’t want to do; you have to find other systems to get you to do this stuff.  She also talks about the power of starting your day in the right way.

Wake up when the alarm goes off.  Hitting the snooze button repeatedly is counterproductive and starts the day off on a downward spiral because 1) quality of sleep while the alarm is repeatedly going off over and over again is poor and 2) its demoralizing to think “I’ll get up in 10 minutes” and then just hit the snooze button over and over again.  It’s like starting the day off by failing at your very first goal.  If your first goal of the day is to get up when the alarm goes off, sticking to that goal starts your day off with a feeling of success.  There are lots of ways to help get up with the alarm goes off (Mel Robbins 5 second rule; placing the alarm far enough away from where you sleep that you can’t mindlessly hit the snooze button while laying in bed.) 

Make your bed.  Doesn’t need to be perfect, just something that looks somewhat decent.  Starts  your day off with accomplishing another goal, and helps your room look good all day.  Also provides a nice looking spot to turn to at the end of the day. 

Time alone in the morning – try getting up 30 minutes before everyone else gets up (if not 30 min, try even 15 minutes.  Or try longer. Whatever you want to try.)  Have some quiet time alone doing whatever you want – journal, drink a cup of coffee, read, listen to a podcast, clean, make a list of your daily or weekly goals, use the time to take small actions on goals etc.  Try it for a few weeks and see if this works for you.  If you try it and it doesn’t work for you, try this same idea but at night after the kids are asleep. 

Don’t feel guilty.  Feeling any guilt for being a working mother is bullshit, plain and simple.   Being a working mom shows your kids how to be a mom who can support herself and her family and this is a crucial thing for your kids to learn. 

Be very, very selective in what things you say Yes to, and don’t feel guilt for the things you say No to. Think about what sorts of things in your life you could maybe take off your plate, even if it takes time to get it off your plate.  For example, if you are stressed and overwhelmed, don’t get a big pet like a dog, and don’t feel guilty for telling your kids no.  For me this means never volunteering in my kids class at school, just as an example.

Writing down goals – often there is something powerful about physically writing down your goals and actual paper journals or day planners (even if just a basic 50 cent notebook) can help.  Write down your goals, break them down into smaller action items.  Also, physically writing down and doing a brain dump of every task that you have on your plate can be a helpful exercise to declutter your mind.

Time blocking. Work on one thing at a time.   If you have a day job, don’t try to work on your side job at the same time that you are at work (with the exception of lunch and other breaks at work – these blocks of time can be useful for working on other projects.) 


Getting Stuff Done

“Only the disciplined are truly free. The undisciplined are slaves to moods, appetites and passions.”

“The successful person has formed the habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do. Successful people don’t like doing them either, necessarily. But their dislike is subordinated by the strength of their purpose.”

Stephen R. Covey

When reading current personal and business success books or watching videos of speakers, I often think that almost every “new” idea was covered in some way by the late Stephen Covey.

Mel Robbins is an amazing modern author and speaker who has popularized the idea of the 5 Second rule, aka “5-4-3-2-1”. This came out of her writing and speaking about the idea that “motivation is garbage”. That if you wait until you “feel” like doing that thing that you know you NEED to do to be successful…

“You are never going to feel like it.”

Mel Robbins

If you have an impulse to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill the idea.

Mel Robbins

Every day there are things that we KNOW we need to get done, but just aren’t motivated to do them. We don’t FEEL like doing them. So they sit undone, and we don’t move forward.

We need to stop waiting until we are motivated to do these things. The motivation will never come.

“We have an idea and instead of saying it, we stop and we hesitate. Just in that micro moment, it sends a stress signal that wakes your brain up,” Robbins said.

When it comes to reaching for your dreams, your brain is not your friend. Your brain evolved to keep you safe – which was great thousands of years ago, but now it just serves to prevent you from trying new things.

“If you have an impulse to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill the idea.”

Mel Robbins

“You can truly trace every single problem or complaint in your life to silence and hesitation. Those are decisions.”

This is where her 5 second rule comes into play. When you know you need to do something, count down – 54321- and do it.

Cards / Crafting / Creating Your Life / Stampin’ Up! / Uncategorized

Sneak Peek

PDX Paperie

PDX Paperie

I love all the new ink colors from Stampin’ Up!, but these two – Pretty Peacock and Rococo Rose are my favorite. I used them this morning in the hour before my kids woke up to finish a thank you card, using a mix of current stamps and a flower from a set from the upcoming catalog. One of my goals this year is to send more thank you cards, and not just the perfunctory “thank you for the birthday gift” type. Expressing gratitude can be so much more.

Journalist A.J. Jacobs recently wrote ‘Thanks a Thousand: A Gratitude Journey’, a book about his quest to thank everyone involved in the process that led to his morning cup of coffee. This resulted in A.J. traveling the world, thanking a thousand people, all of whom played a part in that cup of coffee! In his description of the idea of the book, he said that now that his quest was completed,

“I’ve been pestering my friends to go on these Trails of Gratitude themselves.

It doesn’t have to be coffee. It could be anything: a light bulb, a pair of socks, your toothpaste. And you don’t have to spend six months travelling around the world. It could just be a small gesture, like looking a cashier in the eye.

Or sending a note to the designer of a logo you love.

Mostly, it’s a mindset. It’s about refusing to take things for granted.”

A different approach to expressing gratitude is explained by Seth Godin. In an interview with Tim Ferriss, Seth ended the discussion by with the advice “Send someone a thank-you note tomorrow.” This apparently resulted in many listeners sending him a thank you note (myself included) which he later explained was not his point at all. In this interview, Seth elaborates that he said “send someone a thank-you note, because it is really uncomfortable. It leads to a connection that opens a door that most people are afraid to walk through…if you write to your peer, if you write to your sister who you have never once said thank-you to, that is hard. That is scary. That is what I am looking for. Juiciness.”

Whichever approach you take – sending someone a quick thank you note because you appreciate the small contribution they have made to your life, or expressing gratitude to someone in a way that requires great vulnerability and courage, there is no better time to start than now.

One thing I am grateful for is the community of crafters who provide me with support and inspiration, including my partners on this blog hop. Check out how they are using the new colors in Stampin’ Up!

Anna Pickering

Jenny Schütz

Leonie Stuart

And thank YOU for checking out our blog hop!