Tag Archives: create

God The Creator series on Genesis 1

Created Like Him to Create

God is the ultimate Creator. That’s amazing itself, but what’s also amazing is that He created us in His likeness to create, too.

What can that look like?

Join me at Do Not Depart today to look at God the Creator and how every action we take is a creation, and can be a creation of love. Be sure to also check out the rest of our God The Creator posts all month long where we’re looking at Genesis 1 thorough Genesis 2:3 together.

God The Creator series on Genesis 1

Life Creative by Wendy Speake and Kelli Stuart

Living a Creative Life {Book Review – Life Creative by Wendy Speake and Kelli Stuart)

Life Creative by Wendy Speake and Kelli Stuart

About the book (from the publisher):

Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom by Wendy Speake and Kelli Stuart (Kregel Publications, 2016)

What was God thinking when He created you creative and then gave you children?

Creative moms often feel as though they must lay their passions down. But God had something special in mind for the creative woman during this intense season of mothering.
In this Pinterest age of handcrafted children’s parties, Instagram photos of beautifully decorated homes, and blogs filled with poetry and prose, it is clear that we are in the midst of a brand new artistic renaissance. Not one born in Italian cathedrals or Harlem jazz clubs, but rather in kitchens, nurseries, and living rooms around the world. Mothers, working in the cracks and crevices of each hectic day, are adorning the world with their gifts, and they’re showing all of us the beauty of this Life Creative.

In this book, you’ll learn:
—Why the world needs your art
—How this Life Creative begins at home
—When art can turn a profit
—Your part in this modern day Renaissance

Life Creative paints the stories of moms, just like you, who are fitting their inspired lives into the everyday, ordinary places of motherhood. Women like home decorator Melissa Michaels and jewelry designer Lisa Leonard, author Angie Smith, recording artist Ellie Holcomb, and many more.

My thoughts:

This book begins with a solid case supporting how God is the first Creator, and He created each of us to create in unique ways, too. The authors continually reiterate that every mother is a creative in her own God-given way, be it writing, crafting, baking, leading, etc. Each chapter contains personal anecdotes as well as stories of other mom creatives, and the chapters progress from acknowledging our creative nature to balancing momhood and creative work and even to what happens if that gift eventually supports your family financially. The authors are very conversational in tone and ready to affirm and encourage every reader.

I enjoyed most of what I read, though I actually found myself not fully agreeing with some of the statements and sentiments the authors share. For example, many of the ideas and suggestions seem to suggest that the mother reading will have a disposable income (to be able to drop kids off at daycare, for example) or time when kids are in public school. This, of course, isn’t the case for all families, so this may feel alienating for some readers. (But the authors do share many examples and often say it’ll look different for different moms.)

Another example, on page 32, they say: “And I’m not saying I don’t want them. I simply want me, too.” And (I think) I see what they’re saying here. We are all our individual selves before we become moms. But, I think I view it a touch differently. The change also becomes part of me. I will never not be a mom now, no matter what the future holds. And “mom” (along with “wife”) are my most favorite titles. I can’t separate being a mom from any of the rest of me now. I am Mom. But I am also a creative. I am also a writer. I am also a wonderer. These things are all as much a part of me as before. So “me” is still here while I am “Mom” because they aren’t exclusive of each other. But, just as I can’t ignore the Mom part, I also can’t ignore the creative part. It’s all part of who I am. I don’t want to separate any of those parts (though that doesn’t mean I don’t need a break from one or another part at times!); I want to grow into these parts together more fully. This does mean life looks different than pre-kids and will continue to look different as we all grow. (And I totally agree with the messy part!)

This said, every time I found a statement I possibly disagreed with, I had these kinds of reflective questions and conversations in my head. And, to me, that’s a sign of time well spent. This book allowed me to reflect on me and what that means as I try to live my life as God created me.

This book weaves creative life with living for God, a creative Himself. The stories shared about other creative moms (many whom are well-known in the Christian blogging world) are certainly inspiring. The tone of this book is graceful and welcoming. I imagine it will encourage and inspire most of its readers, as the subtitle suggests.

What encourages you as a mom to embrace your creative traits?

For more about this book and its authors, please visit the Litfuse page on this book. And enter the giveaway via clicking here or the image below! (Giveaway open through October 27th.)


Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book via Litfuse. This is an honest review, and all opinions expressed are my own.

I am an affiliate for Amazon Associates. If you click on an Amazon link and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

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10 Picture Books that Inspire Creativity {undergodsmightyhand.com}

10 Picture Books that Inspire Creativity

I’m not even sure how many times I’ve saved a picture book from the library to show my husband when he returned home. Then to show my parents. Then to share online. And of course to re-read multiple times with my kids.

Picture books are an art form. And they’re not just for children.

The best picture books are enjoyed by both children and adults. Better yet, the best picture books inspire both children and adults. To grow. To change. To love. To laugh. To create.

Today, I’ll share just a few picture books that inspire creativity in both my children and myself.

10 Picture Books that Inspire Creativity {undergodsmightyhand.com}

10 Picture Books that Inspire Creativity

Ish by Peter Reynolds (Candlewick, 2004). This is by far one of my favorite picture books. I can’t not be inspired when I reread this one. My kids love the colors and the crafts that can spawn from this book.

Ish by Peter Reynolds

A Dance Like Starlight by Kristy Dempsey, Illustrated by Floyd Cooper (Philomel, 2014). So far, I’ve teared up every time I’ve read this one. A beautifully told story, this book allows every reader to envision his/her own dreams as possibilities.

A Dance like Starlight by Kristy Dempsey

Froodle by Antoinette Portis (Roaring Book Press, 2014). This quirky book exemplifies perseverance against initial criticism to one’s creative choices in a fun, silly, magnificent way using birds’ vocalizations.

Froodle by Antoinette Portis

Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman, Illustrated by Dan Yaccarino (Knopf, 2012). Okay, so sometimes I just look for a reason to include one of Ame Dyckman’s books, but Boy +Bot fits this list, too. Boy and Bot both use creativity to help each other in this adorable friendship story.

Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman

When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop by Laban Carrick Hill, Illustrated by Theodore Taylor (Roaring Book Press, 2013). This creative nonfiction book highlights the birth of hip hop, a genre full of creativity. I love reading “origin” stories because of the inspiration pouring out.

When the Beat was Born by Laban Carrick Hill

Rain! by Linda Ashman, Illustrated by Christian Robinson (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2013). This cute book boasts a low word count, but is not sparse on effect. Readers see creativity in perspective and outlook through two drastically different charcters.

Rain by Linda Ashman

Not A Box by Antoinette Portis (HarperCollins, 2006). This author (as evidenced by listing two of her books here) excels at inspiring ways to think “out-of-the-box.” (Ha ha. I know I’m not the only one to have made that joke here.) My kids loved flipping through this one again and again.

Not a Box by Antoinette Portis

Little Oink by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Illustrated by Jen Corace (Chronicle, 2009). Along with Little Pea and Little Hoot, this series of books causes readers to creativity think away from stereotypes and initial judgments.

Little Oink by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

On a Beam of Light by Jennifer Berne, Illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky (Chronicle, 2013). I doubt anyone can say Einstein wasn’t creative. This picture book offers a biography of Einstein’s unique ways of thinking, learning, exploring, and solving problems.

On a Beam of Light by Jennifer Berne

Journey by Aaron Becker (Candlewick, 2013). Journey is a wordless picture book. By that fact alone, it has to be creative. And this one is. An awesome story about using creativity throughout your moments.

Journey by Aaron Becker

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” – Maya Angelou

What are your family’s favorite creativity-inspiring picture books?

This post is also linked up with Homeschool Creation’s Preschool and Kindergarten CornerTuesday TotsToddler and Preschool Moms Pinning Party, the Weekly Kids Co-opShow and Share SaturdayFree Homeschool Deals’ Ultimate Pinterest Party, and Link & Learn.

The Weekly Kids Co-Op

I Can Teach My Child's Show and Share Saturday link-up

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A review of Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Staffford

Creating and Opening Opportunities {Book Review – Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford}

Every time I’ve read a blog post from Hands Free Mama, tears have pooled in my eyes. Seriously. I can’t remember a time when I haven’t begun to cry.

As soon as I saw I had the chance to review Rachel Macy Stafford’s new book, Hands Free Mama (Zondervan, 2014), I knew I wouldn’t pass up that opportunity.A review of Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Staffford

Rachel is a storyteller. Her writing pulls you in to every story she tells and helps you look for the same situation in your life and look for the same lessons and opportunities she is.

That’s the other part of her writing: you don’t feel excluded at all. Rachel needs renewal in her hands-free journey just like the rest of us do.

Hands free sounds like what it is – a journey to keep our hands available to help, hold, love, and be present in the gift of now. And our eyes open to all these grace-given opportunities.

Rachel writes specifically to mothers, but I think any parent should read this. And even any spouse or anyone who has someone they love so drastically and don’t want to miss precious time together. Though Rachel’s stories center on parenting, anyone can learn from living with open eyes and intentional focus on creating love and channeling our energies to what’s really valuable (not “things”).

The back copy explains the essence of the book (as it should):

“[Hands free] doesn’t mean giving up all technology forever. It doesn’t mean forgoing our jobs and responsibilities. What it does mean is…living a present, authentic, and intentional life despite a world full of distractions.”

This book is not unrealistic, but instead focuses on putting distractions and the urgent (but not important) in their proper place rather than letting them control us. This book also expands on what’s on her blog. She talked more about personal forgiveness to be able to see now more than I thought she would – and I needed that.

“Letting go of past mistakes is an integral part of the Hands Free journey because it allows the gifts of the present day to become more apparent.” – p. 172

Some of what I learned in this book:

  • “Someday” is a dangerous word, especially when talking about what matters.
  • I’ve been very intentional about being present for my children, and that focus continues to increase. Partially because of my son’s many special needs, my children are a constant reminder that they are gifts and any time we have together is a blessing. But I can always grow, and I always need renewal. I’m thankful they serve as such strong, beautiful, amazing reminders.
  • It’s easy to not be as intentional about time with my husband, especially when we’re exhausted at the end of the day. But I loved him first, and I’ll love him after the kids are grown. Intentional time with him matters, too. (I knew this, but I needed the reminder.)
  • Sometimes I get stuck on my own lack of personal progress. But, as Rachel reminds, small everyday choices impact your path to a hands free life and increase progress.

Rachel shares her setbacks and her successes in beautiful, heart-connecting ways.

“The truth hurts, but the truth heals – and brings me closer to the person I aspire to be.” – p. 38

A main message: Rachel recommends accepting time as a gift and treating it as such with loving purpose rather than fighting it or lamenting it. I highly recommend this read.

“Time does not wait. Therefore, I chose to stop wasting time.” – p. 143

How do you keep your mind on time with your kids as a blessing?

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. I was not compensated in any other way.

"A more intentional life purposely slows down enough to enjoy the very process of living more intentionally." - Tsh Oxenreider, Notes from a Blue Bike

On How I Have Time {And You Do, Too}

I’m making a new, concerted effort to stop saying the phrase, “I didn’t have time.”

Because the truth is: I have as much time as we all do within a complete day. 24 hours. That’s how much time you have. That’s how much time I have.

So, I can’t say that I don’t have time when I have what you do today, too.

The honest statement to use in a majority of cases is, “I did not make time for that today.”

I choose (decided with my husband) to fill my days with my children, being available for my son’s multiple therapies, going to the library, planning meals for the week, reading out loud to the kids, doing preschool at home, and more.

If I didn’t load the dishwasher one day, it’s because I chose to do something else with my time that day.

If I work on a special writing project instead of watching television one evening, it’s because I chose to write with my time that day.

If I listened to my children when they talk to me, and I said “yes” to a request for reading a book for the fifth time in a row or to pull out craft supplies (hooray!), it’s because I chose to focus my time on them instead of my to-do list (or other distraction) that day.

Note: I do believe “I didn’t have time” can be a valid statement in some circumstances. If you had planned to return that work call one afternoon but couldn’t because you had to rush your child to an emergency doctor visit, you obviously didn’t have time even if all intentions were to accomplish that work call. The thoughts I’m expressing here are more for how we choose to use our time intentionally, which, for most of us, will comprise the majority of our minutes.

"A more intentional life purposely slows down enough to enjoy the very process of living more intentionally." - Tsh Oxenreider, Notes from a Blue Bike

I’ve been thinking about this idea this week for two main reasons: I’m in a season of “survival” – swamped, juggling many obligations, and still not where we want/need to be in a couple of areas in our family life (financial and sleep, primarily). And, I just finished reading Tsh Oxenreider’s new book, Notes from a Blue Bike.

Part-memoir and part an offering of ideas, Tsh tells many of her family’s stories in Notes from a Blue Bike. If you’ve visited her widely-read blog, The Art of Simple (formerly Simple Mom), you know her family lived internationally for years, still keeps travel a priority, and focuses on living intentionally and simply. This book expresses much of what she’s learned in the past nearly 15 years of an adulthood pursuing meaningful use of the time we’re gifted.Notes from a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider {a review at undergodsmightyhand.com}

I’ve loved Tsh’s writing for a long time. It’s powerful and relatable, but also simple and uncluttered. The way Tsh writes this book, we journey with her in both moments of her travels and in her thought processes. We arrive at revelations and new perspectives along with her. The book is divided into main areas her family focuses on for intentional living: food, travel, education, work, and entertainment. She relates stories, asks questions, and discusses her family’s conclusions (as well as ideas from other families, too) in each section.

This book, through a variety of topics, discusses possible answers to the questions, “Do the choices I make line up with how I really want to live?” (p. xxii) and “Can we live effectively in the US without productivity as our primary goal?” (p. 23, and also, whoa) and what intentional living really looks like when you act on it.

“…each of us is uniquely gifted to go out into the world and do things that matter.” – p. 88, Notes from a Blue Bike

I can barely pick a “favorite” section in this book because all the sections either reaffirmed decision I (and my husband) have already made for our family or helped me think about how to be more intentional – without feeling stressed and hurried. This book provides additional motivation to take each moment and each action of the gift we’ve been given (time) and use it to the best of my ability. That’s what I want to remember and hold on to.

“Making your days, choices, and relationships count toward something ultimately doesn’t matter if you don’t know what that something is.” – p. 197, Notes from a Blue Bike

The book doesn’t have to-do lists to check off or a 7-step process to follow (which practical me loves), but I’m still thinking days later about many of the thoughts Tsh shares, what I believe, and how it all impacts our family’s life. That’s the sign of a 5-star book for me.

“A more intentional life purposely slows down enough to enjoy the very process of living more intentionally.” – p. 206, Notes from a Blue Bike

Click here if you’d like to learn more about the book, watch the video trailer, or purchase a copy.

How do you remain focused on living your moments intentionally?

Notes from a Blue Bike blog tour

Disclosure: I was a part of the launch team for this book and received a free electronic copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. I was not compensated in any other way.