The Chaos (and love) of a Creative Mind

pexels-photo.jpgMost of you who read this blog and this post, know me personally. They know that I write. That I am a face painter. That I am creative. I love that God created me to be creative. It took me years–even into my late 30s–to accept and love who I am. I spent a good deal of my life fighting myself, belittling myself, looking down at not being put together, instead of enjoying a bit of creative chaos.

Here are some things I’ve noticed and accepted about being creative, chaotic, and maybe a little ADD.

  • My mind doesn’t shut down easily. I stay up late because it continues to tick through tons of things.
  •  I don’t “see” things. I could walk by weeds in my flower bed for weeks. It’s not that I’m lazy so much as I just don’t pay attention to them.
  • I need to be creative or I become depressed. If that means putting a craft before mopping the floor, I will do it to protect my sanity.
  • Organization can be hard.
  • Procrastination comes easy.
  • Too much detailed information makes me shut down. If someone is giving me too many details, I will find myself thinking about what to do later.
  • I will forget things if I don’t write it down because my mind becomes cluttered quickly.
  • I get bored with monotonous tasks… such as housework. Doing repetitious things makes me want to pull out my hair.
  • My mind often flips from one thing to another like a button on a remote control. It can also drift into itself and my imagination.
  • I can get disappointed in things because my creativity always imagines things happening bigger than life… in detail.
  • I am passionate about the things I believe in.
  • I MUST create. It is not an option.

When I am painting faces at an event, I often hear mothers talking. I hear things such as:

“Wish I could paint like that.”

“I don’t have a creative bone in my body.”

“I could never do that.”

And in their voices, I hear the sadness of them not being able to do it like me. My response is something along the line of “I bet you are pretty organized.” And many times, they nod their head.

Listen to me on this one. IT IS OKAY NOT TO BE LIKE THE OTHER MOMS. You are you, and God created you to be exactly like you, differences and all. Wouldn’t life be boring if we were all the same? It’s okay to be one way or the other… or even a mix of both.

In the past, I envied the moms who looked like their homes never had clutter and even resented them and their annoying perfection. But God didn’t create me like that. He created me to imagine, create, to dream. And if you looked at my office right now, you’d see a pile of metal stamping supplies. And in my dining room, I still have my face painting kit sitting there, not yet put away because my closet where it goes needs to be gutted and reorganized. (It is on my to-do list). My computer home screen is covered in files and images, which is why I have my own computer because it would drive Pete (my husband) bonkers to try and share with me.

My house gets cleaned…eventually.

My dishes get washed (but maybe not right away).

And things are never, ever, completely organized. I am usually chasing one hair-brained idea or another that gets in the way.

And I’ve learned to accept that it is okay to put things aside once in a while and feed my creativity–you need to. And my home doesn’t have to be perfect to have a happy family.

I recently had a mom (one of those put-together, “perfect” moms) tell me that I could pray to be domestic and organized in reply to me saying that, “I’m not very domestic.” I think that those who are put together think that being put together is the “right” way. In the past, I would have beaten myself up and compared myself to her, begging God to change me. Now, I smile knowing better.

Don’t get me wrong… I like having my house picked up. I still strive for it, but I won’t punish myself for not being there. But to do anything domestic, I have to have a list to keep my chaotic mind on those tasks. (And somedays, I actually DO follow the list). I like my home clutter free, but I will NOT consider myself a mom failure if it isn’t. Those kinds of things come harder to me, and that’s okay. I embrace my creativity.

It’s learning to work with what God gave me, and accept that I’m not like the “perfect” mom… who, by the way, isn’t a perfect mom. There is no such thing. And despite my undomestic imperfections, we are raising some pretty awesome kids.

 

 

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A Door Closes

pexels-photo-277559.jpegA few weeks ago, I came across the picture of an 11-year-old Bulgarian orphan, one that caught my attention. I see children needing families all the time because of the facebook groups that I am on. But for some reason, this boy caught my eye.

I inquired to the agency that had him and got his information. In the past, I wouldn’t have even considered adopting a child that old. However, recently, we fostered a boy the same age. And in our home, that age seemed to work really well. And I had to wonder if the whole foster experience was preparing us for this young man.

There were several reasons this was a good idea. For one, it would be someone Lukas could relate to later in life, another Bulgarian sibling he could connect to. The age of the child also worked well for Adam. He actually liked our foster child; young children tend to exasperate him and annoy him. Kira was open to the idea. Lauren wasn’t as convinced, but she wasn’t fighting me on it too much. Even Pete didn’t throw away the idea when I brought it to him. However, an international adoption costs in the realm of 30 thousand dollars, which is money we don’t have. So we knew, if God wanted us to do this, it was going to be a big step of faith. We’d have to know that God would provide the money, somehow. I also know, from experience how HARD adoption is. So taking this path was one we would go into eyes wide open to the disruption. It would be hard for the whole family.

And this was what I posted about the other day on Facebook, about wanting very vivid answers from God for such a huge decision. It felt right in many ways, but the fear of the “what ifs” were there.

What if he disrupted our family?

What if he abused our younger son?

What if it was chaos in our home?.

What if we couldn’t raise the money?

What if he was our son and God planted him for me to find?

Lots of questions in such a life-altering decision.

The other day, the agency told me that another family had stepped up and the door was closed. It made me both sad and relieved for an answer. For a short time, I really did think that he was placed in my path to be a part of our family. But now I know he is with someone else.

So now I am left to the why. Why did God place him in front of me? Was it just a test, to see if we would trust him with such a large amount of money? Is he prepping the idea of adding another child? I don’t know why. I just know that God always knows and we just need to be willing to take that step if he so calls.

Metal Stamping Fail

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Fidget Spinner added to photo by my son, Lukas, because he thought it should be included.

A week or so ago I was thinking about ways one can fundraise (that is another blog post in itself), and a fellow adoptive parent talked about how she had made hand-stamped jewelry to raise money for their adoption. She had sold a couple hundred for $15 or more a piece. Cool! I thought. She even showed me some lovely pictures of her projects, and of course, being crafty, I thought, “I can do that!”

And so I tried to set up an Etsy shop in anticipation of the projects I would make and sell. With my overactive imagination, I could see the money rolling in. Except to set up the shop, you actually have to have things ready to sell. Go figure, eh? So I had to stop my set up and actually make some stuff.

So with a Hobby Lobby gift card in hand (Thanks, MOM), I bought an alphabet, lower case, and a few things that I would need to get started. Then I went online and got some metal rounds to create all of my profitable pieces. I went home, with the few metal pieces that I had already purchased at Hobby Lobby, and got to work… sort of.

In my first go, I tried to make a mother’s necklace with my kids names on it. Well… The Kira was uneven, Lauren looked quite nice, and then Adam ended up Abam. At that point, I had given up on that one and just started using it for practice.

Then I realized that I really did need the uppercase letters, so another trip back to Hobby Lobby, and I now have a full alphabet, which of course, would make my pieces much better. I also picked up some square blanks to practice on as well.

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So with the square packet of blanks, I thought I’d give it another go. I figured it would be easier than the round. I chose the famous Harry Potter quote: I solemnly swear I am up to no good. Except the first one, I got all the way up to the “to” before I grabbed a Q instead of an O. I finished it, pretty grumpy at my mistake, and tried it again.

 

Three more tries and I got something… sort of. If you don’t count the uneven spacing and crooked letters. Honestly, this is much harder than it looks. And the phrase from Harry Potter started perfectly describing my skills at metal stamping, especially the part that said “no good”.

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Again, fidget spinner added by my son.

And my crafty side, that feels like I can just fix it a little, doesn’t get to fix a little in metal stamping.

I got my new circle blanks in the mail (and I”m feeling pretty grumpy about the process so far). I decided to just type HOPE in the middle of the blank.Besides, I could use some hope at that moment.

HOPE can’t be that bad to stamp, right?

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Except when you start off uncentered. With a few frustrated embellishments to add for dramatic effect, I made something that a 5-year-old would be quite proud of.

And my Etsy shop? Still empty right now. Maybe after spending a small fortune, and a lot of ruined blanks, I will be able to sell something to make back the money I’ve invested in my new frustration.

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A Blog Reborn

I’m not sure why I’m resurrecting this blog again. When I pulled it up, I noticed it had been almost two years since I started, and wrote, on its cyber pages. I’m not convinced that blogs are even all that popular anymore. I’m not even sure it is a platform for an audience. Yet I find myself here nonetheless. And, in the past, I really didn’t even like blogging. But my mind is full (as it was a few, short years ago, considering the title of my blog) as it is now. So now I find myself at the library where I am supposed to be working on my 3rd fantasy novel, and instead, writing my internal thoughts.

Part of the reason I am revisiting this again might be inspired by the blog of my pastors’ wife. Her blog, Holding the Plum Line, has some really inspiring insights from a young, Christian, mom. You can check it out and support her if you’d like.

Over the next several days, I may do some writing on the thoughts cluttered in my mind, mostly concerning birth, adoption, foster care, fundraising, disorganization, the church, faith, and crafting. Quite a variety, eh?

Well, it only dips into the mind of a busy, right-brained mother of a college student, two highschoolers, and a preschooler. My mind is almost as cluttered as my home.

So if you’d like to hear my thoughts, feel free to follow and subscribe. Now… I should probably get back to work on my book.

Writing Critique Groups: The Iron Pen

Last night I went to my writing group. It consists of my longtime writing friends Joan Mauch and Wayne Sapp. We’ve been meeting for once a month for YEARS now. And although we’ve had several other people visit for a short time, they end of leaving. The three of us have continued on.

If you are a writer and you aren’t involved in a writing group, I highly recommend it. Writing is a lonely hobby. You sit on a computer stuck in your own head for hours at a time. Without the support of other writing friends, it is easy to give up on dreams–writing has very few rewards. And with a long standing group likes ours, we’ve all been able to grow at similar speeds.

When we first started, Joan and I met at another writing group. We noticed that we were taking the craft of writing much more seriously than others there. So we broke off with a couple of others and started The Iron Pen. Wayne joined us later and was a great addition to our group.

Years went by. Some moved away. Others got illnesses that caused them to not be able to write anymore. However, our goal was to finally get published.

I queried agents and after much searching got one. She subbed to many big houses, including Baen, Tor, etc. After failing at the fantasy houses, she suggested we shop my book as a Young Adult. So we changed the ages and shopped it again. We got a bite at Little Brown. The editor had me do a rewrite and then he ended up rejecting me in the end. It was devastating to get so close to having your dreams fall. Without my writing friends to pull me back up, I might have given up at that point.

I started a few new projects, but never gave up hope on that first book. Without an agent anymore, I started subbing to houses directly. That is when I got picked up by a small press.

Joan and Wayne were also picked up by a different small press during that time. And we all felt pretty accomplished to be 3 published writers in our group. But we are on another journey now, having realized that traditional publication isn’t always the stars and rainbows that we thought.

So now, I’ve gotten my rights back on my book and I’m pursuing self-publishing. There is a lot to figure out doing it on your own. Joan is also giving self-publishing a try so once again, our writing friendship is really helpful to bounce ideas and research off each other. It’s great to take this journey with her. (So if you are interested in a good mystery/suspense, talk a look at her new book.)

We were talking last night about how nice it is to feel comfortable ripping each other’s writing apart. We swap and critique pages each month. When you trust your writing partners, you also respect and depend on their advice. And we know each other enough to take our constructive criticisms. Which might be why when a new face shows up, they might get a little intimated. We really don’t hold out anything.

I also have a few online critique partners. They have also been great support over the years. Although I have only met the one once, I also feel very close to them. (One is self-published and the other, traditionally).

So yeah, this post is a bunch of reflective drabbles. But I’ll use it to promote my friends’ writing. I’ll include their names and links to their books.  Check out their books and buy a few if you can.

Iron Pen Writers

Joan Mauch, Mystery/Suspense

Wayne Sapp, Suspense

  • Link to his book: HERE

 

Online Writing Partners

Michelle Gregory, Fantasy

Michelle McLean, Romance (Also published as Kira Archer)

 

Why am I Blogging?

For several years I was a part of a group writing blog. When we first started up the blog, it was just an extension of our critique group. We had fun and we started doing mystery agent contests and gaining followers. We were interacting with agents and feeling very professional. It was an exciting time to be a blogger.

We each had an assigned day of the week. And frankly, sometimes it felt like pulling out my eyeballs to come up with helpful material on writing. And as the years went on, our members stopped posting, and a few of us, the stubborn ones, kept the group afloat.

We added members. It helped because we only had to post once every other week. Fourteen members was a lot easier than 7. But even then, after time, people stopped posting. At times if felt like a huge tandem bicycle with only 1 or 2 people pulling the rest a long.

And the drama… oh my the drama. Me and another member butted heads on how things should be done. In the end, my life became too crazy. We recently adopted a little boy from Bulgaria, so real life took priority over a blog I hated.

And with much rejoicing, I quit.

So now, here I am again, starting a new blog. Part of the reason, I think, is because my mind seems to be full of so many things. I am a mom of many hats and my mind is always turning, always creating.

This won’t be a writing blog, although I WILL have lots of writing things on here. It will be a blog of randomness. A blog of my own whims. It will be a blog where I talk about adoption and autism and face painting, and probably some controversial beliefs that I have. And also, it will include my new venture from going from traditionally published to self-published. Oh boy. There is a lot more to it than I’d originally thought… but that can be a topic for another post.

Will people actually visit this and read this blog? I really have no clue. But for now, in the wee hours that I have time to myself with a very active–and frequently naughty toddler–I will post things from time to time.

No set schedules.

No set themes.

And I won’t care if anyone else follows, for now it will be for me.