I have to confess that I was a little too grouchy yesterday to write any kind of a blog post that would’ve been even marginally inspirational or interesting to read. So, I saved you from that and left my writing for this morning when I had a fresh perspective! And, I was having such a great morning that it got me in the perfect mood to share my favorites from December and January. Those two ended up getting lumped together because of the holidays, so here you go…
I went to Whitefish, Montana to tour the HGTV dream home in early December and it was such an enriching trip. I didn’t know anyone attending the event, so it pulled me out of my typical sphere of home decor bloggers. I got to hang out with an awesome group of creative, business-savvy women and it was a blast. The location wasn’t too shabby, either. You can read more about that trip HERE.
The Man Who Invented Christmas
If you missed this movie (available on Amazon Prime) this past Christmas season, you really need to put it on the list to watch when the holidays roll around again. I loved it as a Christmas movie, but even more so, I loved it as a creative. They cover all sorts of themes like the pressure to follow success with more success, how distractions and your own story can add to or take away from the creative process, and how some of the best ideas are the simplest and filled with hope. We even watched it with our boys (10 & 12) and they enjoyed it.
The other bit of TV I’m going to suggest is The Mill. I’m always looking for new period dramas to watch and I stumbled across this one just in time to ask for it for Christmas. It isn’t available in digital format (at least at the time of this blog post), so I had to order the discs off of Amazon, but they were wonderful. If you liked North & South (with Richard Armitage), you’ll probably like this, too. (Oh, and check your local library to see if they have it or will order it for you. When I shared it on Instagram a couple of people said they were able to get it at their library.)
I really, really enjoyed being home and taking time off for Christmas. The break was much needed and our entire family enjoyed slowing down.
One of my favorite Christmas presents was a new Fitbit. My complaint with previous models was the rubbery, sporty, modern-looking bands. I just didn’t like the way it looked. I love that there are so many band options available now and the FitBit can look more like a traditional watch. I got the Fitbit Charge 2 + Heartrate and THIS genuine leather band.
Making Color Charts
I took some time over the Christmas break to make color charts for my all of the colors on my regular oil painting palette. The process was so beneficial to learn my colors and what they can do (I learned that my Phthalo Green behaves more like a blue) and I also enjoyed putting on my music and playing with my colors. I feel like the excercise will improve my color mixing and my finished works.
Emily Jeffords Goal Setting Workbook
I follow Emily Jeffords on Instagram, because she’s a talented artist, but also an encourager to other creative entrepreneurs. I printed up and worked through her Goal Setting Workbook and it was a valuable exercise that forced me to take the time to think about why I do what I do as well as what direction I want to go. You can get a free printable copy HERE.
I’ll do a full post on this for those who are interested, but I am working on Calligraphy, specifically Copperplate calligraphy. I’ve been reading some books, taking classes on SkillShare, and working through some of the free content on The Postman’s Knock. (Thanks for that suggestion!) I love the idea of not just appreciating the handwriting on old letters and documents, but learning how to do it myself. So, I’m doing it and I can already see improvement in my the use of the nib and in the letter shapes and connections.
Yes, I realize that sounds dorky.
In addition to setting some Social Media boundaries, I’ve been reading a devotional on contentment to focus my mind and heart on embracing contentment, not as a consolation prize for happiness, but as an important component of happiness. This book talks all about that in easy-to-digest, 2-3 page devotions. You can find the book HERE.
I can’t tell you how awesome it feels to be working through my home and organizing spaces that I haven’t tackled since we first moved in. It feels like finally, 1 1/2 years after we moved in, that I’m now really getting settled. Some of that comes with paint and home improvement projects, but to me, feeling settled means that there is a proper place for everything and everything is in that place. I still have several rooms and closets and drawers to work on, but it’s getting there!
Accidental Creative Podcast
I started listening to this podcast in December and it is my go-to now. First of all, the host, Todd Henry, really knows his stuff and offers a perspective that’s different than one I would get from listening to a podcast by someone who is closer to my creative entrepreneurial peer. So, I like that I’m getting a fresh take on creative business. His podcasts are short and manageable to fit in regularly (10-15 minutes) and they are always packed with practical tips and to-dos. And, best of all, he’s not pushing you to do more, be more, and make more money. His slogan is, “Develop practices that will make you prolific, brilliant, and healthy.”
Sign me up for that!
Death without a Funeral
And lastly, I wanted to share this Jason Gray song. I started purposefully listening to his music a few days before we went to his concert and I immediately loved this song. He wrote it specifically about his divorce. While I haven’t experienced divorce as a child or a spouse, I have experienced loss without death. When my son was diagnosed with T1D, I remember how comforting it was when one reader told me it was okay to mourn for his loss. I hadn’t even realized that she was right…I needed permission to mourn. He wasn’t terminal. He wasn’t going to be in-and-out of hospitals for the rest of his life. There was a lot he could do and only a little that he couldn’t. But, he experienced a loss and we all went through that and continue to with every high and low and insulin pump change and fight with the insurance company and tears when he can’t try a soda being offered to him.
Anyway, if you’ve experienced a divorce or some other loss, I think you’ll love this song, too…
What were your favorites from December and/or January?