Tap Your Creative Flow


Art is a journey. I truly believe anyone can be an artist. Not everyone chooses to be, and thats ok. But art is such a wonderful way to open up your mind and express yourself in a new way.

If you are interested in exploring what you can do in art, you need to understand something first. Creativity is something you need to nurture. Creativity requires time. Above all else it needs your time and focus, it needs a chance to ignite and take off. My longest creative black hole was from 2010 to 2016. It wasn’t because I suddenly lost the ability to think creatively… in was simply because I didn’t access that part of my brain and heart. Instead, I was prioritizing my brand new relationship and then children.



“Creativity requires time. Above all else it needs your time and focus, it needs a chance to ignite and take off.”

People think of creativity as a rare ability, but every human on earth has the capability to be creative. Its how we are so inventive, its how we solve problems, its where ideas come from. Art is communication as much as it is expression. We tell stories, we capture a moment, we give others a different point of view, we utilize satire and humor. People connect with art because its not just about you as the artist, its about how other people can relate to what they see or hear coming from you.

The Skill

Maybe you want to be an artist, or maybe not even so ambitious, maybe you simply have something you want to express. Many people are put off by their lack of technical skill. Let me tell you something… technical skill is learnable, it just takes practice. Like anything else, it takes lots and lots of practice.

Even if you never become an expert, I’ve seen many pieces of artwork that are more rudimentary but still communicate strong messages and move me to pieces. It’s not about your technical skill, its about your ability to communicate, your willingness to take whats inside you and put it out.

Then theres the reality that even if you are technically proficient, you will still put out bad art (yes there is such thing).

In my personal art journey, I might get an idea… its usually the more ambitious and poorly planned ideas that result in “bad art.” I get tired, I get lazy, I get uninspired. If you’ve squeezed the motivation out of an art piece, its ok to start over, or maybe even ditch it all together.

“It’s not about your technical skill, its about your ability to communicate, your willingness to take whats inside you and put it out.”

If you want to get technically good at creating art, you CAN learn. Take classes, watch youtube videos and keep practicing.

The Struggle is Real

My most recent pattern started out with a very ambitious idea. The concept itself wasn’t terrible, and the original sketch was a good plan… but my experience in arranging textures and shapes aesthetically is still limited when it comes to more complex patterns. So far, my patterns have all been fairly straight forward and all the shapes maintain a distance from each other.

So, for the Spoonflower challenge involving the Tortoise and the Hare, this was my original sketch:Untitled_Artwork

I wanted to create a scene, add humor, and involve many different pieces. Well, when you work with patterns, this gets a little crazy if you don’t simplify, simplify, simplify (not my strong-point). Using procreate, I got started, spent way too much time on the first few motifs which almost immediately burned me out for the rest.

Untitled_Artwork 2

At first, it felt like everything was turning out great and I was fairly satisfied with what I had. Then I realized I had 3 more fairies to draw and another turtle and two rabbits. I’m listing off everything I felt I had to do, but the quantity was not the issue. The piece was losing inspiration. I find myself overwhelmed with a piece of artwork and “how much more I have to do” when I am no longer inspired by it.

Now, this happens, especially with larger, more detailed pieces. This also is not the same as a creative block. Losing your inspiration kills your motivation altogether. Creative block is when you simply feel stuck and feel like theres a wall between you and that rich creative flow. Losing inspiration is closer to the feeling you have when you don’t want to go to work anymore.

There are a few ways to handle this, and it takes some self-assessment.

  1. Put the piece of artwork down for a week. Come back to it with a fresh mind.
  2. Power through it, look at the plan you had laid out and rely on your technical skill (at whatever level) over the inspiration you relied on before. This is common if art is your job or if you have a deadline. Sometimes you have to be tough with yourself and just do the work at hand.
  3. Drop the piece all together. Consider it a flop, move on, sometimes what you thought would inspire you didn’t actually follow through.
  4. Start over. You can also start over whenever. Maybe you really liked the idea you had but didn’t feel like the execution went very smoothly, come back to it later. If you are still working on a deadline, just start over right away. Sometimes loosening up with a more ambitious piece opens up a creative flow for a better and simpler piece.

With my piece, each of the next motifs I did had less and less quality to them. Then when I plugged the images into Illustrator to work out a pattern, it looked even worse. Here was the final scene from my workings:


Untitled_Artwork 3

My decision was to power through, I would make it work, edit the motifs I needed to edit to make it look how I wanted. For me, I work on a deadline and need to push past the lack of inspiration.


But when it came to the actual pattern, it left me hugely unsatisfied. It wasn’t working, plain and simple. So, I decided to start over.

The steps I took were drastic. I kept the themes I wanted only in semblance. Still, all that wrestling I did over the older pattern had loosened me up and the new design came easily to me. Below is the time-lapse just to show how straightforward the ideas were after the hours put into the first pattern.

This sketch took me maybe an hour, maybe less.

Untitled_Artwork 8

All this to say, the difference between the two patterns is stark. Artist or no artist, drawing and creative expression take time, practice and nurturing.

View full pattern in my portfolio.

The Process

I’ve mentioned a few times now that creativity takes nurturing. I know people who think that they don’t have a creative bone in their bodies. However, I don’t know how strongly I believe that. Let’s talk about the process of accessing your creative flow.


Your goal when you are in the pre-discovery stage is to find your inspiration. Get the juices going. Find what inspires you. It could be literally anything. Looking at other art, or photography, going on a walk or a hike, spending time with your family, a quiet day in a coffee shop, listening to music or listening to a podcast, even watching a movie! Find what inspires YOU. When something hits you, an image or a feeling or even sometimes its as vague as a thought, that is your inspiration.

Sometimes inspiration takes a little more work. Very similar to a brainstorm, start thinking of ideas and see where they take you. Maybe do some sketches. Maybe you like dragons? Draw some dragons, maybe you don’t feel skilled enough to draw dragons, draw their wings. Dragons like to fly, maybe you want to visualize flight in some wind lines or clouds, or maybe you want to draw the mountains said dragon is flying through. You need to kick your imagination into gear, give it ideas, feed it random things and see what gets it going.

Play movies in your head, make up situations, fantasize.


Once you have that inspiration, work on it. Doodle some ideas out. Expand on your inspiration. Maybe you need to write actual words down, or maybe you need to simply create a sketch and layout the plan.

Think of this like a warm up, similar to warming up before a run. If you are drawing figures, get someone to model for you and just sketch some images out. This helps your brain connect with proportions and how to follow certain curves. You find yourself struggling less and less the more time you spend drawing.

Spend time thinking about whatever it was that inspired you. Get lost in thinking about it. If it was a feeling, let yourself keep feeling it. If it was an image, play that image over and over, add to it, get lost in it.


Execution is how you actually create your piece. Execution can often times not go the way you want it to. Here’s one of the most challenging parts, but you can make it fun if you teach yourself to let go of perfection… let the art go where it wants to go. Sometimes (not always), you might really like what comes out. You drew that dragon but it looked more like a Godzilla than a dragon, try going with it, keep drawing around it.

You could also start over and simply improve on your ability to draw what you were aiming for to begin with.

Still, sometimes, regardless of all our efforts or even our relaxation, our execution flops. Think back to my example with my pattern that just didn’t turn out. At this point, go back to the options I gave you. In my case, I started over and achieved what I felt was a much stronger and clearer piece.


Completion is the satisfaction. Its stepping back from a finished piece of art and feeling that sense of pride and self-worth at what you just created. This is very personal. Someone else might look at your piece and not give you the hopeful response you had pictured in your mind of being impressed and supportive. Ignore that. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. There are so many reasons someone might not respond the way you might hope to your work of art. It might not be their taste, they might just not like the content or even care for art at all. Maybe your talent has room to grow and they don’t know how to appreciate you at the level you are at. Thats ok!

Now, if you are anything like me, not being able to finish a piece and find that feeling of satisfaction is very frustrating. Often times, the pieces I pass off as failed, I will actually save and come back to in hopes of improving it upon a second work through. In the case of this Tortoise and the Hare pattern, I had to finish my original one as soon as I could. Mainly, I had an idea of how I wanted to do it and needed to carry it out.


It’s definitely still not 100% and definitely not a quality pattern, but its done. I am happy with it being done as is.

Nurture that Creative Flow

If you don’t spend time inspiring yourself, your mind won’t bother. When your focus is your work or your family and you don’t stop to let your mind wander, your creative flow gets blocked up. Thats how I felt for years, but we were in family survival mode. I didn’t have the energy to give myself time to just let my mind go to the wonderful places it does when I want to be inspired.

Even if you don’t have a goal to be an artist, draw every day. A little sketch, an idea, a person you saw on the street that made you think, doodle those things down. Or maybe all your doing is a doodle, little squiggles and shapes… you should see some of the people I follow on Instagram for whom, thats how it all started. You never know what you are going to tap into.

Lastly, draw what you love. Let your creativity be an expression of your heart.

Tips for Getting your creative juices flowing:

  • Find what inspires you
  • read a poem
  • read a book
  • look at other art (Instagram is a great place)
  • go on a walk
  • go on a hike
  • go to the zoo or aquarium
  • watch a movie
  • go sit in a coffee shop
  • just sit and daydream

If you found this blog post useful or interesting at all, I would loooove to hear from you in the comments! If you are an artist and your process is different, share with me! How do you tap into your creative flow? If there’s something else you want to hear about, again, let me know in the comments!

Following me on Instagram or subscribing to this blog are great ways to keep up with my work! F O L L O W

My work can be found on the following three platforms:


Busy Mom, Happy Mom


Note: While I write about motherhood, I do so because I myself am a mom. I do realize that there are dads out there who are involved in their families lives and play an active role and who might relate to some of these topics. My intention is not to exclude them, but simply to speak from my personal experience, which involves giving birth and being a mom. However, my topics are not mother-exclusive. So, if that’s you (you’re a dad), and you relate to what I am talking about, I am so glad! This blog is also for you!

The idea of motherhood has changed so much over the years. Gone are the days of simplicity, where our main concerns were the need to feed, clothe and protect our children. We don’t live in a place where we gather firewood, water and our main concern is cooking food for the day. We have iPhones, social media, kids programs, school, jobs, careers to pursue, or maybe entrepreneurial pursuits. There’s also meal planning and budgeting, play dates and anything else you can think of. We can fill our time so easily, we can pack it full, and we are good at it. Being busy is something we love.

For many families in the world today, both parents need to work. For some, even if mom’s don’t need to, they want to. They then choose to, either for the extra income or because they like to, or maybe they are even pursuing a career. Whichever story is dependant on the person, and either story is great. However, one thing I’ve learned as a personal lesson, is that in these early years, motherhood and being busy is not ideal.

Many women I know, including myself, love having a packed schedule. We love having things to do, organizations or events to be a part of. We want to be involved. For some of us, being home with the kids is not enough and we have to do more. Sometimes we forget how to say no when our schedules get too full. While, at the same time, we lack the community to make up for it. Our lives are separated into yours and mine.

Many of us are doing this whole motherhood thing mostly alone.

Even out in public, it’s hard to find anywhere where mom’s look out for each other. We are more likely to be scrutinized than supported.

In my life, since I’ve had my oldest, the challenges have been many and varying. However, many of you know how one of my main obstacles, has been how busy I’ve been. Sometimes I take on too much.

With motherhood comes a whole lot of stress all on its own, apart from filling your time. That stress ranges from the day to day dealings of having children, to worrying about a whole lot of things that haven’t even happened. Everyone manages the stress differently, but make no mistake that it’s there. The more that I personally have on my plate, the worst that stress is, and the more it affects my parenting.

How do you define motherhood? The dictionary says its “a state of being.” That makes sense, but what does that include? A mother is a chef, maid, chauffeur, cheerleader, mediator, referee, grocery shopper, budget runner, encourager, teacher, creative instructor, director, captain, stylist,and so many more things.

Being a mother is really and truly enough. Running a household and raising children in our world is no joke. It’s privatized, its your job, and you will never do it right. We as moms, as parents, are doing a lot already!

Everyone has a certain level of capacity, and I love challenging myself. However, I’ve had to learn that its important to remember that there is a fine line between stretching your capacity, and overwhelming it. It’s so important to know where your limits are, and to know that those limits are ok. (I talk more about some thoughts on capacity in Try Living Life in My Shoes).

How Much is Too Much?

When you are trying to decide how much to take on, knowing your season can play a big part. Are you filled up and ready to pour into other people? Or do you need to take a season of rest? Are you being stretched or do you feel thinned out? Are there external circumstances that are affecting you emotionally, physically, mentally?

If you are doing more… school, a job, any other commitment. Just make sure to ask yourself, what’s the goal? Is there an end destination?

For our family, work was necessary to make ends meet and school has the purpose of a degree for a better career, better financial security and better future for our kids. Involving myself in either avenue is not 100% want as much as it is necessity. There is a price to pay and for me, that price is always reflected in my parenting.

That being said, the reason so many of us mom’s are in the workforce to begin with is also because we have dreams and aspirations. Just because we are moms doesn’t mean we don’t want to do as much as we can for our families or as much as we can to contribute to society. Even if that means going beyond raising good kids… and thats ok!

Embracing Your Pursuit While Remembering the Journey

We live in a world that allows us to explore our creativity and have that be successful. That’s opened the door to many jobs we can do from home, etsy shops, design blogs, freelancing. It’s easier for many of us mothers to juggle both aspirations and parenting closer together.

There’s nothing wrong with goals. There’s nothing wrong with the company you want to build, or the administrative position you want to fight for. There’s nothing wrong with reaching high and dreaming big.

Just remember that the journey is just as important as the end goal.

There’s nothing wrong with being busy, or with having a full life. Just make sure you are learning how to add purpose to every piece of involvement. Know yourself and your own capacity, learn how and when to say no. Learn how to table a project until later.

Each of us have different strengths, and our destiny is to use those strengths to the best of our ability. For myself, motherhood is one of those strengths. So, I value being a “good” mom who loves her kids and my priorities line up with what that looks like for me.

For me, that means making sure to listen to my kids. My challenge is to learn how to discern when their cries for attention go beyond moments where they need to learn to entertain themselves. Then, how to actually take the time when they really need some one on one momma time. It’s learning to fail an assignment from time to time at school. It’s learning how to turn off my brain, whose wheels are always turning; put the weight of the worlds problems down and look into the bright innocent eyes of my kids and just be involved… just play with them. They are the journey.

I can create an empire… but if I get to the end and realize I’ve missed out on my own kids, it won’t have been worth it.

My Experience

I recently wrote a blog while I was in the thick of one of the hardest and busiest times in my life. You Got This is all about being in that busy and overwhelming season, and some things I learned about how I got through it. One thing I tried to emphasize, is that those times are meant to be a season and no more. No one is meant to be overwhelmed.

I’ve recently quit my job since writing that post. We finally got to a point where it wasn’t 100% necessary for me to work away from home. Let me tell you, I am absolutely relieved. Raising kids and a job was hard enough on its own. It was doable, but hard. As soon as I added school to the mix, it became chaos. It felt like we had to bunker down before the start of every semester. We would physically and emotionally prepare ourselves for a 12-week mental push. Although we got through it, we are not left unscathed.

One day, our family might face another season similar to that again. If that day comes, I’ll reread my own blog and try to get through it just like I did all of these last two years. Still, for now, I finally feel alive again for the first time in two years. This whole month of January has felt like a recovery month. It was honestly almost immediate, and you could tell the kids sensed it after my last day… mom was back.

I’m capable of a lot, and while I was in a place where I had more help, I did great. Even with that massive workload. However, seasons change. My encouragement to you is to give yourself a break. You don’t have to do it all, at least not all the time.

Tips for the Journey

Busy seasons will come and go. As we learn our limitations, as we learn to grow our no’s and as we grow our own capacities, I have three parts to keep in mind as you face it all…

  • One, remember to have purpose. Don’t be busy just for the sake of being busy, have a goal. Either for yourself, your kids, your family or for society.
  • Two, remember to be present. Busyness can steal so much from our day to day and from our experiences and memories. Remember to take the time to see your kids, see your spouse, see the issues of the world around you. Don’t get swept away in deadlines, schedules and to-do lists. Sometimes, they can wait. Go make some memories.
  • Last one is to remember to be patient. Goals don’t have to be achieved today. Take a solid step, and then let tomorrow come. Be patient with yourself if you burn out. Be patient with your kids the days they don’t understand. Be patient with your schedule, its ok if there are gaps. It’s ok if you have time to take a walk, take that walk.

In the end, our kids will grow up, and we will have more free time. As I’m sure you are told every day as a mother, you will miss these days. In the end, all we will have left is our memories, and I am happy that we are making good ones. So, while you might be a busy mom (or dad), make sure you are a happy, balanced, and fulfilled mom (or dad); who has purpose, and who is present and patient.

Glance Back to 2016


A brand new year.

What will it bring? What are you expecting?

There’s been a lot of media attention on the negative effects of 2016. Let me say first of all that I get it. Twenty-sixteen, the year of exposure, the year where fear came in ugly faced and raging. It took a great big ax and just starts tearing up the place. The mob took over the internet (and that’s on both sides of any issue)… and all our hope and vision for a free world in the future seemed to fade into a political take over of blindness and demagoguery.

2016 was loud. SO many opinions, so many voices, so many people shouting at each other across computer screens. If you stuck me at the front and center of a speed metal concert, I would still hear the ruckus of 2016 clamoring through. If I had to pick one word to describe the last 12 months, it would be “controversy.” Loud-mouthed, opinionated, inconsiderate, ignorant controversy. Even as it came to it’s end, people wouldn’t let it go quietly, but all their anger and frustration and refusal to shift in their positions or views was now directed at the year itself.

The flowers that grew amongst the vast desolation that is the world were trampled on. Giant boots, in anguish stomped them into the muddy earth. Any progress in sustainability fogged out by the smoke of fear and disillusion. The work of the white helmets blown to bits like the members themselves as they face the most real of dangers for the small chance to save lives of people who later might die anyway.

No, Trump won the presidency and suddenly the fight for what is good and right died with the loss of the liberal left in American politics. So, what are we really fighting for?

All these issues, terrorism, war, global tragedies, they have been around and will continue to be around for many years to come. For some reason though, this year has been the year that every news station and celebrity has decided to dramatize.

For our family, this was a great year. Despite our challenges and our mistakes. This was Sonya’s first year of life, it was also the year we made many breakthroughs as a family.

Not that losing Alan Rickman and Carrie Fischer didn’t just break my heart, or that all the controversies of 2016 didn’t just drag my heart around like a rag doll. Or that Aleppo and all the Syrian children that fill my Instagram feed didn’t wreck my heart on a daily basis. Or that our president elect isn’t a wild card whose impact on our country is so up high in the air its frankly a little terrifying. Or that the election itself revealed sides of people and friends I didn’t know existed.

No, to me, what upsets me most about 2016 is the incredible influence of the media, and the willingness of the people to flock to whatever opinion fits their views the most. The media has always been around. They have been distributing propaganda, and ignorant belief systems that proliferate through the endless network of the web since the beginning. The media has always had its hand firmly set on bending our culture and thinking. But there was something about this year that just made it seem that much stronger. The one-sidedness, the articles that cater to previously held opinions. The exposure of peoples’ ignorance and lack of willingness to listen to each other. The fact that Huffington Post writes headlines like “F- you 2016” and all my liberal friends just fall in line with the rhetoric (that’s not a blow at Huffpo, which I read regularly). I don’t think I ever remember finishing a year off with so much negativity.

The fact alone that one of the most popular words that stem from 2016 is “post-truth” is enough to make me shake my head and wonder what happened. An idea that truth is now irrelevant and even our language is evolving to reflect just how true that sentiment has become for our country is unsettling.

I live in the very liberal city of Seattle. While I highly value my geographic position in the world, I grieve it as well. Seattle has given me a critical mind and an open heart. Still, there are downsides. While Seattle gives me a deeper understanding of the liberal left and their ideologies and belief systems (because I am absolutely immersed in them), it shields me from the realities faced by so many conservatives who make up much of the rest of the country. These conservatives often tend to be poor working families in small towns. I find myself trapped in so many ways, right in the middle. Seattle is a bubble, and while it is where I feel most at home, I also never feel completely at home.

Here, people might consider me conservative, while when I travel to the east of Washington State, I am the liberal crazy from the city. I would like to think that I simply do my best to understand both sides. My theory is that because I don’t 100% agree with either side, that I am considered to be from either opposing side. THAT is the problem. We live in a country where our beliefs should be just that, OURS. We have a right to them. I am allowed to disagree with you and still work with you, have coffee with you, take a walk on the beach with you. I don’t have to be a bigot because if I don’t agree with the left, and I don’t have to be a liberal nut because I don’t agree with the right. With either party, however, I am afraid to open my mouth.

We have bigger problems than the state of 2016, and the turning of the new year won’t change those problems. They still exist and we need to face them. ISIS has been a known enemy since 2014. I’ll never forget that year, the Seahawks won the Super Bowl, Seattle was on the biggest high as a city and just weeks later terrorism showed us a new face and changed the world as we knew it. Racism has existed in our country since, guess what, the beginning. Zika is an evil, absolutely evil virus, but is everyone forgetting Ebola? Sickness, war, division, politics, hate, fear, these are prevalent issues in our world. If we define each year by the existence of these things, every year since the beginning of time have been doozies.

My point with all of this is that life is full of evil, our choice every day is as an individual, and it is how to respond to said evil. It is not wrong to despair, it is not wrong to feel pain, but find the light. Do you want to be the flower, blossoming in the unlikeliest of places despite the desolation, or would you rather be the angry boot that will let no light into our world of darkness.

This is a new year. If the world were to set it’s own New Years resolutions, what would they be? What’s gonna change? What isn’t going to change? What do we want to change? Do we all want the same things to change? What are people going to be saying at the end of 2017? Who is going to take responsibility with what’s wrong with the world?

There were some resolutions I thought of that I wouldn’t mind if the world would set for itself. They are my vision of what I wish our country and our world would look like. The work is done by us, as individuals. We must do what we can to shine through the darkness that fights to swallow each day.

     I see a country where every individual would take responsibility for their own lives. That they would learn how to have a more outward focus. Part of that being learning how to listen more, hear another persons story, consider another persons point of view.

     I see a country where organizations sell products that they are proud of and can stand by. That business values shift towards sustainability and quality. An impossible thought for so many reasons, but it only takes one or two people of impact and influence to really make a difference. And even that culture can start with us. If we actually made an effort in shopping smart and researching products, business owners would be forced to provide the products we demand in the way that we demand them. Just look at McDonald’s.

     I see a world where Christians realize that this world and this country isn’t ours. We don’t even belong here.

     I see a world where Christians stop trying to influence politics to fit their politics and learn to love the way Jesus loved.

     I see a country where both sides LGBTQ and straight come to understand each other and can accept each other’s different views without playing the victim or turning the other party into the enemy. We live in a country that is meant to allow us to co-exist even though our theologies might differ.

     I see a country where when people read an article on the internet, they critically evaluate the opinions of said article. A world where people check sources and become their own system of checks and balances. Stop giving power to demagogues and rabble-rousers.

     I see a country where people stop playing watchdog and start being a community again.

     I see a country that fights for what’s good and right, but in that onward spirit, doesn’t roll over the unheard and the forgotten.

     I see a country that learns how to forgive and doesn’t throw judgment like accusatory stones. Just because we are typing words and not throwing physical rocks does not mean we aren’t stoning people in our modern world.

Add what you will to that list, let it be light-driven and uplifting. Let it be a goal, a vision we can strive toward together in order to achieve a better world. I could list so many things, medicine companies to get their priorities straight, sugar companies to be held accountable for the lies they’ve fed the country right into the death of thousands. Racism to be stamped out, equal pay for men and women, livable wages, an end to companies unethical use of lobbyists, abolition of unethical conditions for contracts (let us back into court against big companies).

We will have to start to consider the consequences of our complacency. So, when you think about 2016 and the endless complaints and negativity starts to overwhelm your brain, start to think about what you can do to change what we will be saying about 2017.

I have some really simple points for where to start:

      1. Smile: I see these social media videos that point out the fallacy of expecting a woman in particular to smile. I understand it combats the expectation put on women to look beautiful all the time. Still, men and women alike can really change the atmosphere of their day and the attitude of their own heart by simply putting a smile on their face. Don’t underestimate the extent the impact of your smile might have in one day alone.
      2. Listen: Never will I forget the awkward moment my senior year of high school where my home room teacher really got weird to get a point across. She told us she was going to explain to us how to find the best people, and how to know when we’ve found them. We sat in a circle and one thing at a time, she had us sit, touch our knees to each other’s, fold our hands and lean in… only in the last moment of silence where we anticipated our next bit of instruction did she reveal that lo and behold, the person who listens is to be valued the most. That event has stuck with me since that day, and it rings so true. If we can learn that when we discuss things, how to truly hear and consider what the other person is saying instead of just waiting to say our bit, maybe we wouldn’t be in half the trouble we are in.

        Why do that? Have you ever misunderstood someone? What generally happens? They say something to you, you hear it through your filter (your experiences, your feelings, your world view) and you come up with your own interpretation of their words. Once you realize there is a misunderstanding you probably realize that what they said didn’t fit into anything in your filter that you threw their words through. Listening involves putting our filter aside and trying to learn what other peoples filters are. What is their life experience and what are their world views, and how would that define what they are actually trying to say?
      3. Discuss: Explore other thinking, and other ideas. Try to wrap your mind around the concept that there are people in the world who actually think different from you. Very different. The patriotism of North Americans doesn’t make any logical sense to my British friends. Other countries consider us loud, entitled and rude. Why is that? Talk to someone, learn how they live and what they value. Talk about race and politics. Gauge everything but have an open heart and an open mind.
      4. Get Involved: A simple google search can show you local charities or political movements that you can get involved in. “Political Movement” has such an intense ring to it, but it could be something as large as getting involved with movements like Standing Rock, or as little as signing a petition or writing a letter to your senator. Never before have we had the tools that we have today to make our voices heard.

Do some research, where is there a need in your neighborhood? Are there lots of young moms that could use some baby supplies? Is someone down on their luck and need some groceries? Volunteer, start a non-profit, donate money, just don’t do nothing.

Complacency will kill us.

So come on 2017, its going to be a good year. The year will probably still end with terrorist attacks, tragedies, big money continuing to take from little money, but if we can say we did our best personally in our own lives, maybe we won’t feel the need to rage against a collection of 365 days as the source of all our problems.

How to Get Involved:

If you are looking for ways to get involved in the current events happening with president Trump, I have just a few links you might find useful. Even if you are a republican, please don’t blind yourself to thinking that every thing president Trump does will be good for our country. Do the research, understand the issues and raise your voice. If you have ways to contribute, please contact me so I can add them to the list.

  1. Indivisible Guide: A fairly comprehensive and informative document shared with me by a friend. This document is specifically against Trumps agenda but has really great steps for how to impact the local people in charge.
  2. Petition.Whitehouse.Gov: There are endless amounts of petitions this site. However there are quite a few very important ones.
  3. Contacting Our Legislators (Washington State): This is a direct method to actually calling legislators and making our voices heard.
    – Introduce yourself
    – What issues do you want to address? Why are they important to you?
    – Ask what their stance is
    – Ask them to stand up for your issue
    – Make sure to be supportive of them, thank them, be polite, they are the ones doing the hard work after all.
    Some more tips for contacting legislators can be found here.

You got this.


“I don’t know how you do it.” I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people say that to me. I get it. I work, I go to school and I raise two children under the age of four. It seems so overwhelming and someone who isn’t doing everything I’m doing might struggle to picture themselves doing so much. Let me let you all in on a little secret…

It is overwhelming.

Many days the anxiety makes my brain feel like it’s splitting in two. At the beginning, two years ago when I first started bringing school into the chaos of working while raising children, I had set a goal. We were required to take a readiness course that had us map out our success to online college. My goal was to spend 100% of my time with my oldest, actually with him, focused. Then spend 100% of the time I spent on homework, on homework. When I shared this with my academic coach, she expressed very thinly veiled doubt. You know, for a while, it wasn’t actually that hard. I am capable of quite a lot and I’ve always loved challenging myself.

However, it didn’t last for forever.

It depends on the season, the schedule and the amount of help that I get, how hard it hits me. This year has been the hardest. This time last year, I was [very] pregnant and raising a two year old, working, and doing finals. At the beginning of the year, I did a quarter of school with a brand new baby. Now I have two little people who need me. I divide my time in the morning between them and homework (so no 100% committed to each happening there), then I head to work, not long after daddy gets home, until the evening. My homework is now done in the late hours of the night and I drag myself out of bed every morning at 5am when Sonya wakes up for her first feeding.

How do I do it? A whole lot of “carry on, carry on.” This is life, and I’m reaching for goals. Not for myself but for my kids and their future. There are days where I break down; I cry about how unfair it all is. Then I pick up the pieces and keep going. No one told me life would be easy, in-fact, my parents told me my whole life that it would be hard.

Now life isn’t meant to be like this for forever. It comes in seasons. For our family, facing what we do, we look at it as temporary. It won’t last forever and this hard work has a goal, that goal is to not be in this season for forever.

That being said its not impossible, even during a time like this, and there are ways to help you on your way. If your season is in any way similar to mine, or maybe even if you just have a really full plate, here are ten points I came up with that have helped me.

1. Have a support system.

My main source of strength is my husband. He is my cheerleader, my supporter. He does chores, encourages me, watches the kids, takes initiative wherever he needs to. I would hands down, not be able to do any of this without him.

2. Motivate yourself.

Motivation is surprisingly easy for myself. Between how much my brain loves learning and the fact that I’m doing this for my kids, I find moving forward not something I necessarily have to think about. However, you might need to find what motivates you and work on keeping that within focus.

3. Discipline.

It’s an idea that basically goes without saying when it comes to facing adversity in life. But if you don’t have it, you can get it. Discipline takes practice and sacrifice. Start with something simple and learn how to build discipline. Pick something you want to do everyday and start figuring out how to rewire your brain to get yourself to do it everyday, “practice makes perfect.”
I started out with waking up in the morning. My friends over the years who have spent the night with me, have told me that I am like bread in a toaster when I get up in the morning. One minute, I’m laying there, the next, I am straight up! That is because I have taught my brain how to wake up, and when I’m up, I’m up! (Another good one is making the bed).

4. Time management.

This is another skill I have built over time. If you struggle with it, a good planner is your best friend. You have a lot more time in a day than you might think and if you learn to utilize it correctly, you can get the most out of it.

5. Have a vision.

You need to see the end. Visualize it, remind yourself that this isn’t going to last for forever. Make sure you have a goal in mind, somewhere you are going to get to.

6. Swallow your pride

and ask for help. The first year, I had a lot more help and it made a big difference in what I was able to accomplish. I am someone who loathes asking for help. It makes me feel incapable. However, being in a season where I don’t have the same help I had before, I have definitely learned to ask. The more help you have, the more you can do and the better parent you can be afterwards. Don’t underestimate what burning out will do to your parenting.

7. Don’t allow self pity.

Its pretty tempting to feel bad for yourself, and you are justified in wanting to. I mean, you are giving up all of your time, that includes whatever you enjoy doing, taking care of yourself, spending time with friends, all your energy, brain power, etc. But negativity never helps a situation. If you need a good cry, you deserve one. Just don’t mistake finding an outlet for emotions as the same thing as getting into the habit of complaining or self-pity.

8. Learn self-care.

Learn to have an awareness of your current state of mind. A little healthy emotional intelligence can go a long way. When you feel self-pity welling up, recognize that as a need for self-care. Instead of finding someone to complain to, find something to relieve your stress. Get someone to watch the kids and go on a date. Skip homework for a night and watch a good movie. Grab your partner and just have a good cry. Take a nice hot bath. Listen to music. Some of these things seem so simple, but if you are in a season like mine, you probably haven’t done any of these things in months.

9. Ignore the world.

It’s incredible how many voices I have to tune out or filter as I hear their words being spoken to me. And it could be anything, from disapproval, to someone judging you for whatever reason. I’ve even had to endure being reprimanded when I took a spare two hours to watch a movie as my down time. Tune it out. Do what you need to do for you. Find supporters, people who believe in you and know how to push you forward.

10. Remember that you are amazing.

What you are doing is incredible. You are raising the future, providing for them and investing into their future by investing into yours. Well done, I see you!

This is reality for us. It might be hard, it might not be life as planned, but its beautiful, and its temporary. No one is meant to live like this long-term. For me, I love my kids and I love my family, I wouldn’t trade them for the world. As hard as it all is, its worth it. If you are here too, let me just tell you, you got this.

Try Living Life in My Shoes


The other day, I was thinking about a story Bobbie Houston once told us about her and her daughter. It brought forward some thoughts that I put before you very humbly knowing that I am a new mom, and new at life really… Learning and growing constantly… These are just some very honest thoughts I had following this story:

I can’t remember the specifics but life at Hillsong is very full. Especially if you are a person in leadership, your list of responsibilities and expectations is long. One day, Bobbies daughter (Laura) was talking to Bobbie about it, Laura has a little girl. She was talking about all those responsibilities and what it’s like to do them with a little girl… She asked her mom “It’s hard isn’t it mom? I mean it’s a lot!” (something around those lines). Bobbie told us that she had to stop herself from saying, “No!!” She then explained to us that for her, doing ministry for so many years and having raised a family, she now does it without thinking. Bobbie had to stop herself and remember that she’s gone through more growth and her capacity has been stretched so much more than Laura’s. She had to remember that her daughter was facing a different season, a newer season. So, with that realization, she instead replied, “Yea, yea I reckon it is hard!”

I loved that story, and it’s obviously stuck with me… Now for two reasons…

My first reason is that I am now a new mom and something I learned very quickly after having Jacen is that (intentionally or not), there is a HUGE compare game that happens behind the scenes of us [as moms] and our children. From comparing our children’s development, to comparing the difficulty of raising them to comparing what we do and accomplish each day. As a new mom, the one you face the most is the difficulty comparison because you only have one kid. I find people asking me “Is this your first? Oh! Well, enjoy it because thats the easiest one!” Sometimes I find myself feeling pressured or even guilty, “gosh, I have no right to even think it’s hard raising my kid, she has to deal with 3 kids!” Every moment where I’ve felt helpless and out of my depth then feels pointless in comparison. Remembering Bobbies story has helped so much in realizing…. You know what? It’s not necessarily easier, their capacity is simply stronger and larger than mine because they’ve raised their first kid already. I might not be taking care of 3 kids, but I’m taking care of one more person than I’m used to… And that person is dependent on me in every way which makes it a whole new sort of life change to get used to. If I struggle to get places on time, it does not make me a pathetic comparison to someone with 5 kids who gets everywhere early… Because I’m still learning, and for me it is still a challenge. My capacity is growing. One day I will look back at raising one kid as easy too.

A friend of mine has two kids, and I’m sure aspects of raising her baby are easier to her since she has done it before, but having two kids raises a whole new set of challenges. Her capacity is being stretched. 

What people don’t realize when they make comments like “try it with 3 kids,” is that it actually belittles and devalues someone else’s season. How sad that is because instead, we could be drawing so much wisdom from someone with 3 on how to get through our season of 1 or 2! [I’m talking about his from the perspective of mothers and as a mother, but this applies to so many areas of life]. The “try living life in my shoes” statement, however put, you are not only lowering the value of someone else’s experience but you are competing from a negative stand point, for a negative position. I’m sure you’ve heard it like this before too “Gosh, that was a hard situation I faced the other day!” — “You think that was hard? You should have seen me facing x, y, and z”.

Why do we do that? Compete for the hardest situation in life? Why do we need to make others feel that one life is harder than another? Or on the other end, why do we need to feel like our life is inferior because the other persons life is harder… And because we feel that way, we are apologetic for thinking that whatever we might be facing is hard at all. Why not, instead, when someone expresses a struggle, try encouraging them and uplifting them. Maybe even provide some tools for them to get through it. It takes effort and a change of perspective to change the way we respond to people. I’ve had my fair share of thoughtless, selfish responses. But there is an entire culture built around trying to be the one to face the worst in life (at least in conversation) to what end? “Congratulations, you are the most miserable of all of us?” No, thank you. I prefer to live a happy life, striving to be better, stronger and more capable.

Thats the second reason that I love Bobbies story; because it reminds me that my capacity will grow. One day I will be able to raise kids, run a family, work in ministry, maintain a social life, pour into people etc. without even batting an eye-lash. Or at least I can strive for excellence in those areas and know that there will be growth. It reminds me that I’m young, learning, new to this and all that is ok. The best part is that I have room to grow, the best part is that there is so much capacity to stretch and fill yet! Who knows what the result will be when I’m a wizened old women with life experience who’s done the journey and can now pass it onto the next generation.

There are so many groups of people I hope to reach out to with this blog. The moms who are new and just learning like me, be encouraged that whether your learning how to live with just one new baby or two, or even three… That’s your season! Gods entrusted you with it. He knows what your capable of and won’t push you past your limits. Live your season fully and well, without pressure that you aren’t as good as the mom who seems to have so much more on her plate. Once you have two kids, you probably will think that having one kid is so much easier, and it probably is… so do enjoy having your one baby! And grow as much as you can to prepare for the adventure that awaits you with the next one!

The moms who have lived longer, do more, have more kids… Pass on your wisdom to us new girls! Remember your first baby and all your old challenges! They might seem so easy to you now but some of us are still paddling just to keep our heads above water! That’s why I love MOPS so much, it’s a gold mine of wisdom from moms who know what they’re doing while still being a place that recognizes we all face challenges and we are here to do them together.

To all of us, our capacity always has room to grow, to be stretched, to be challenged. Embrace the challenges knowing that you will come out stronger than you were. You will look back and think “wow, if I had to do that again, it would be easy now.” Some of us might think another persons challenges look easy, but you have difficulties in your life that might seem easy to them as well. And then along the way, be encouraging with your words… be aware when someone expresses a struggle, don’t one-up them with something you’re going through We are on this journey of life together, we ought to learn from each other, encourage each other, bring out the best of each other and help each other along. Lets be life-givers, not show-stealers.

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up” 1 Thessalonians 4:11 [ESV]

“Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God’s favor) to those who hear it. Ephesians 4:29 [AMP]

Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out. Colossians 4:6 [MSG]