Wandering down the abandoned prairie road brought her peace.
It was the kind of trail she imagined once held horses and buggies and later old jalopies. The one where the cool summer breeze rustled through trees and down shady lanes full of dandelions and wild flowers. If she silenced her heart enough, she could still hear the clip clop of the horse hooves and the giggles of young children running free in the warm summer sun. Melancholy. Nostalgic. There’s no other way to put it. She was longing for a simpler time.
The days were long and worry-filled, she thought, as she journeyed down the back road. She had been out for a drive just prior and had seen the trail from the highway. Throwing caution to the wind, she stopped to explore—her curiosity always got the best of her. She had that way about her.
The earth felt solid beneath her feet. Sometimes you just need that—to feel something stronger than your body and your spirit, especially when they’re broken. The realness, the constancy of the ground, and the consistency of something between your fingers. To smell the grass and flowers. To hear the birds and the buzzing of the bees. There’s security in the constant turning of the seasons. There’s peace in the beauty God made by His voice.
If only we could hide on the back road. Instead we go, we stay awhile, and we heal. We hope, do we ever hope. We ask—for more, for something to make sense, for love. Sure we break but we mend on that back road. We welcome in the Divine and let Him heal us. Then we bring that peace back to the chaos within ourselves and the world. We go back. We always go back.
So here’s to you finding your adventure today. Discover your own back road and come back with more peace for you and for us. Take it all in and live again,
Pop open the bubbly and say cheers to a Happy New Year! 🍾
🍾 Moving on to the new is easy. It seems to be human nature to toss out anything that isn’t shiny anymore, and obviously 2020 NEVER was. But before we totally kick this year to the curb, let’s take a moment, shall we, to just thank God for all we discovered, simplified, and learned this past year! I’ve learned what’s important and what’s really not. I’ve learned to take care of myself or I won’t be around for anything or anyone. I learned to be more grateful on the daily and to believe in all God has put inside me. I’ve learned so much, I think more than any amazingly wonderful year could have taught me—how about you?
🍾 So with eyes set on 2021, let’s set our visions out before us so we can run with all God has for us. You know those dreams deep down in your heart? The ones that scare you and make you think there’s no way they’re possible. Ya those. God put them there. Let’s get them out and RUN with them shall we?!
How to Make a Vision Board
🍾 I have a secret plan to rule the world. Mwahahaha… Ok, maybe not THE world, but MY world! Goal setting is the Little Black Dress we all need, and Vision Boards are one way to visually lay out these goals and dreams for the year by using a collage of words and images. My goal with the vision board is to not only get all my hopes down for the new year but to also utilize it as a sort of roadmap to success, especially on those days that I need a reminder as to why I even started and where I’m trying to go. So let’s do this!
Goal setting is the Little Black Dress we all need, and Vision Boards are one way to visually lay out these goals and dreams for the year by using a collage of words and images.
🍾 This afternoon, I lovingly forced my family to get their computers and glue sticks and scissors out as well and we all hunkered down for an hour of visioneering. Ok, so I live in reality and my son only handled it for 20 minutes (yay I’ll take it) and my husband had to ditch out for work (says he’ll do it later) but we did get a bit of it done already and we still have a few hours left in the year! I might even take tomorrow as an off-work day and it get it all finished up and ready to go.
“Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it.”
🍾 The Word says to “record the vision and make it plain” so that ” the one who reads it may run with it“. Talk about a step by step way to a. know where you’re going, b. why you’re going there in the first place, c. in a simple way, and d. so the reader can run with it. I absolutely love this scripture and the practicality of much of the Bible such as this scripture and the Book of Proverbs (check it out!). Make plans with God and then set your boots to the ground to complete them. BOOM.
🍾 I’ve always been a dreamer. And I’ve also been a goal setter in the past. But most of my goals were so hard to reach, without the necessary steps to get there, that I lost hope and fell of the wagon quickly! I think that’s why New Year’s resolutions usually fail so miserably. Most of us have great intentions but it’s just the way to get to where we want to go is missing something.
🍾 I think I figured it out. A wise business mentor told me, focus your goals on process not unrealistic end goals. This will help you achieve them by focusing on the steps to get to where you want to go! So let’s do this baby!
Where Do I Start, Girlfriend?
Write down a list of your goals and dreams. Pray and see what God is saying to you about your life and your upcoming year. Plan with Him and listen to what He’s put inside your heart (you know—those things you’ve always wanted to do, that make you excited to even think about, and that scare the pants right off you!). Jot them down!
Your Vision Board could include the following areas:
Whatever else you can think of…
2. Get yourself the following supplies:
a large piece of white paper or poster board
if you don’t want to use paper, go digital! Get on Canva (a FREE app) and find a photo template you love!
a glass of wine or cup of tea
some good tunage for a fun time! It’s New Year’s Eve!!
3. Now have fun! Write down your areas of focus with markers or print them off of Pinterest or an editing program (Pinterest has FREE download links that have super nice and swirly text for topic headings). Get some old magazines and cut out photo’s of your goals OR if you can’t find any (and your local corner store isn’t selling them anymore due to COVID) then print off photos from your computer and cut them out! The best part about this is literally the cutting and pasting. Takes me wayyyyy back to Kindergarten in a good way!
4. Take a photo of your finished product and send it to me! I’d seriously love to see them and make of post of them but ok, if not, just find a great place in your home to post it up so you can look at it daily and remember where you’re going!
SPECIAL NOTE FOLKS – plans change. Plans CAN change. And that’s ok! As we’ve seen with 2020, things don’t always go according to plan. God’s plans are higher and greater and sometimes we can’t always see them (kind of like a forest for the trees scenario). All you can do is plan your best, set your goals high with achievable steps, dream big with God and GO! If things change you can reset your vision as the year progresses. In fact, you should! Add photos. Glue on top of others. Don’t stress! If something unexpected comes up, learn to adapt and change course keeping as much as you can and adding or subtracting what need be! I know since I’m now having unexpected surgery at the end of January, I am having to realign my goals to much smaller ones for the first half of the year (like just surviving and resting lots so I heal up well). Roll with the punches and rock this year my friend! You’ve got this!
🍾 It’s really that easy! I’m looking forward to getting my Vision Board completed and up on my wall in my home office. Those days where I feel like “I can’t do this” or “what was I thinking” or “squirrel” (you know what I’m saying, right?), I’m going to have this Vision Board to remind me, and to get me re-motivated, inspired, and back on track!
🍾 Have you ever made a Vision Board before? Are you going to make one tonight? Let me know below, I’d love to hear from you! Post one goal you have for 2021!
❅ I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite things as my 1st Annual ‘Peachy Gift Guide for Women’! Everything on the list is definitely under $80 CDN (and most way under that). I also seriously love each item and use each one, or I’m about to purchase one for myself!
❅ I hope we all know the drill right now. Try to shop small and local as much as possible because most businesses are really struggling right now. If the company that makes the item seems to be larger, you can still support a local store that carries it.
Now let’s get some amazing finds for our friends—
Trumpet + Tassel – this local, small and woman-owned Canadian business makes handmade tassel jewelry for big causes. And I own it! Made in small-town Manitoba, Canada and operating from Etsy online, this jewelry is both super pretty and totally affordable to purchase. PLUS 10% currently goes to help The Canadian Cancer Society, a cause we can all get behind (gifting that gives back is the way to go whenever possible). There’s only 4 of these star and semi-circle tassel earrings available so snap them up quick! Buy all 4 for different outfits! A beautiful and thoughtful gift for the friend that loves accessories, and for every woman in your life this Christmas. $18.75 CDN. How to purchase: Trumpet + Tassel
Limelife by Alcon – this Perfect Lip Gloss. Based on the packaging alone, this makes an amazing gift for that peachy woman in your life. Seriously, how gorgeous is this? This non-stick formula can be used on its own or on top of your favorite Perfect Lipstick or Enduring Lip Color to add shine and the appearance of healthier, more voluminous lips. This one is in the colour ‘Peace’. Love it! I’ll be selling this stuff soon so you can buy from me then but in the meantime, go support my girl’s small business with your purchase.She’s a retired military veteran and a gem! This company also gives back (of course it does or would I even get involved?). An awesome stocking stuff idea for your daughters and mom friends. $24 CDN. How to purchase right now: Limelife by Alcon – Beauty is Fearless
Hosanna Revival – I found this small business on Instagram a few months ago and I adore their Bibles! This Provence theme caught my eye in their new ‘Winter 2020 Collection’. That lavender! Plus it has extra wide margins for journaling (which is something I want to get into) and it’s in my favourite ESV version. Small and woman-owned, the heart behind this business is so sweet. In 2015 while studying in Spain, the founder Katie had the idea to re-bind and paint her bilingual Bible. It was plain black — she wanted her Bible to be beautiful and personal, reflecting the way the words on the inside made her feel. As a business now, they’re convinced that a beautiful Bible can revive the heart of a believer gone astray by motivating them and reminding them of the truth beyond the cover. On my Christmas list! Put it on yours for your Christian bestie and that artistic Jesus lover! $79 CDN. How to purchase: Hosanna Revival
Carhartt -these toques are a must-have and this colour is so gorgeous! I have to find it for my toque collection! Look stylish and stay warm this winter with this on-trend brand. For every cold woman you know. $22 CDN. How to purchase: You can buy them at your local mall’s Boathouse store! This store has so many other great gift finds, I highly suggest it: Boathouse (they are also currently open for essential purchases in Brandon, MB at the Shoppers Mall so if you’re from the area, go support them!). If you don’t have a Boathouse, another Canadian store option: Western-Canadian-owned Peavey Mart.
Tiber River – I recently bought one of these candles in ‘Bourbon Pumpkin Smash’ and oh my gosh it’s to die for! This one smells amazing (it’s not one of those cheap and stinky smelling candles), and it has the crackling wood wick. Triple win! This company is Canadian and women-owned plus it’s based right here in Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada. They also have so much more than candles and everything is made from naturally derived ingredients! I’m supporting my good friend Barbara Shram from Warman, Saskatchewan with this one. Buy from her and you won’t regret it — she is one of the sweetest people I know. Great for that person that needs to relax. $34 CDN. How you can purchase: Tiber River – Barbara Shram
S’well – A Certified B Corp company. These water bottles are stainless steel and keep your water cold for so long! I love all of the designs! This one in particular is gorgeous and the wide traveler top is so handy as well. Many small and local shops carry their brand so you can choose one close to you and order away! I found a Coles store in our local mall that sells them and you can get curbside delivery right now. You can also order them online if need be. Perfect for your healthy workout friend! $45 CDN. How you can purchase: Canadian Coles/Indigo
❅ Which items are you going to get for a friend or yourself? Let me know in the comments! I’m looking forward to hearing from you! Happy Christmas shopping!
◾ So you know where I’m coming from then. You’ve stared down that blinking cursor yourself, or maybe it was a blank canvas or graphics app or songwriting sheet. Whatever it was,
the mojo just wasn’t there.
You weren’t on the upswing of a creative cycle.
The juices were not flowing.
◾ And oh, how we want those creative juices to flow! There’s nothing like the feeling of creating something from nothing, of moving to the rhythm of God’s heartbeat. Becoming one with the Creator Himself, and bringing His beautiful ideas to the earth is the honour of a son, of a daughter, of a creator.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
◾ And to be honest, some of our livelihoods depend on it.
Yet, here we are.
And probably eating.
◾ Well, I’ve got a couple of helpful little hints for you – a couple of easy and practical things I do when the going gets tough and nothing is coming out of the ol’ braino. Here’s to hoping these ideas help you out in a pinch and give you your creative flow back when you need it:
1. Stop trying and go take a nap. For real. Just walk away! The best ideas I’ve ever had have come just as I’m drifting off to sleep or in a dream! Even if that doesn’t happen for you, the best thing you can do when nothing is flowing is to take a break, get some rest, and reapproach your project with a fresh mind and attitude. Just think about it. The best way to quiet a stinky attitude is to put it down for a nap, just like a little kid! Sometimes I’ve had to walk away from a project for a few days, go to something new, and come back to it. Other times it’s a quick nap or an overnight sleep. On your way to your bed, ask God for grace, refreshing, and new creative ideas. Remember, His mercies are new every morning!
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
2. Go for a walk in nature. Get physical. Being creative is very cerebral. Unless you are dancing up a storm, you are more than likely huddled over a computer on a hard chair trying to consistently press out fresh and amazing content of some sort. It can be difficult. I’ve found that one of the best refreshers for new ideas is movement. Better yet, movement in nature where you can smell and see creativity all around you. Breathing in fresh air, moving the body around, and seeing new sites, is both invigorating and inspiring. Getting outdoors and walking might just trigger that idea you’ve been looking for better than anything else could! The worst thing that could happen is you’re going to get some exercise and fresh air – not a bad deal in my opinion! My go-to’s are taking forest-filled hikes, walking near water, and strolling to beautiful worship or classical music (get a Spotify account on your phone and hook it up to some headphones). There’s no better place to get creative flow happening then being immersed in God’s own creative expression. Have fun and breathe!
3. Read a fiction novel. Drink in the words of literary giants. Let the written vision of a classic novel take you away to another time and place. Imagine the colours and people of faraway lands. Go somewhere new, somewhere fresh, somewhere alive in your mind. Consider another perspective. Another viewpoint. I personally love historical fiction. Anything good in this genre puts me in such a thoughtful mood, triggering my mind to start imagining again. Once the mind is unlocked to start envisioning the surroundings of the story, the characters, and the plotline, the mind is just that. Unlocked. Flow begets flow.
4. Do a different type of creative endeavor. If you’re trying to write, bake. If you’re trying to draw, sing. When I can’t get anything very productive done on a project, my favorite thing to do is to doodle. I have these amazing Pigma Micron drawing pens and a pad of watercolor paper (although any paper and pen will do), and I just draw lines and circles with no rhyme or reason to them. It is so freeing! It’s like un-constipating the bung-up zone, if you know what I mean. It’s a great unblocking exercise and frankly, I just do it because I enjoy it and it helps with stress. If I’m stuck on a writing project I will also either worship/sing, play an instrument, make jewelry, bake, or puzzle (I’m currently going through a puzzle a week here just to let you know how it’s really going). Other ideas are knitting, planting, dancing, painting, hand-making, clay work, or journaling. There are so many amazing creative things to do that are easy, fun, affordable, and possible in quarantine. The easier the better and make sure it’s not anything like what you are feeling blocked on. Also, don’t turn this other creative endeavor into a project too and then get bunged up on that! Just let your mind wander and be free! Be a kid and have FUN!
“And, now that you don’t have to be perfect you can be good.”
5. Check out what others are making. Peruse social media and the internet for inspiration. Instagram, art websites, virtual museums, armchair travel, Pinterest, poetry circles, are all great in moderate doses… get inspired! While COVID-19 continues to clobber us, now is the perfect time to travel over to Amsterdam to the Van Gogh Museum or to the Louvre in Paris for examples, all possible if you have access to the internet. Instagram is a personal favorite of mine. I’ve been so inspired by many artists, makers, and women entrepreneurs online. That being said the key here is moderation. By that I mean, don’t spend hours and hours scrolling only to get more depressed and blocked. Another issue to be wary of is comparison. Finding inspiration in other’s work is for, just that, inspiration. Don’t use it as a means to say that your work is crumby and you’ll never be as good as ‘so-and-so’. If that’s something you easily slip into, don’t even go there. Stick to virtual museums and galleries, or skip out on this one.
Have you ever read Steal Like an Artist? I read it ages ago but I remember it has some great freeing ideas on utilizing what others have created to inspire your own:
One last thing.
◾ This is technically number 6 on the list but then I’d have to change the name of this blog post and I don’t want to. Just let me sneak it in here —try a new brain-boosting creativity app such as the Brainsparker app (not sponsored). I just downloaded it on my phone for FREE and it seems to have some fantastic features on it. For example, one of the Brainsparker cards says: “What does this spark?” “Step into someone else’s shoes.”
Have you used it?
◾ What are your tried and true ways to kickstart creativity? Did you give one of mine a try? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you! And show me what you created while you’re at it!
“Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.”
✈ When I was little, I was a daydreamer. I used to think contrails in the sky were God zipping by to say “hi”. A check in of sorts. A trip of love to make sure we were all okay. We could sure use that today.
✈ Being little brought a freedom of mind that I can only remember in a glimpse. Like seeing the slight outline of a figure walking through a deep dark fog. Now my mind seems so cluttered. A soupy mess of thoughts, and worries, and constrictions that only seem to grow with age. Clearing the fog is a much more trying task than in yesteryears. It used to be so easy.
✈ Sitting here at my dining room table, keyboard against fingertips, I close my eyes and I’m transported right back to that moment. The brain fog seems to lift easier now. Maybe my mind just needed a warm up, like an old hand-cranked jalopy (the thing about hand-cranks is that it takes a certain amount of physical effort to turn them; you need both strength and skill). To be honest, the last few months have nearly wiped that out of me, but I guess strength can be mustered and skill still remains. Peacefulness settles on me now.
✈ I could write a thousand books of poems that give homage to the beauty of a Saskatchewan childhood. There’s really nothing like a warm summer day on the prairies. To be carefree again like a 70’s-born girl in pig-tails, skipping her way to the corner-store with change in hand. There wasn’t much to think about other than what kind of candy you could get with a quarter or two. Would the day end in a neighborhood game of hide-and-seek or maybe kick-the-can before settling down to sleep with skin still warm from the sun?
“The past beats inside me like a second heart.” ― John Banville, The Sea
✈ Where were you born? How has it shaped who you are today? Are those memories engrained in your mind as years try to blot out the past? Is there one in particular that brings you peace in this crazy time? What do you see, smell, and and even taste as you go back in time? As you remember, be prepared for the difficulty, for the tears, for the joy, and for the longing, and that’s all right.
✈ I encourage you to write your memories down. Share them. Speak them out. Pass them down to your children, or relatives, or a friend. Write a poem, write a book, paint them out so others can enjoy them. Whatever you do, don’t let them die. If they touched your life and helped make you who you are, they may also touch another. The beauty of a moment can change the days of the future.
“Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.” ― L.M. Montgomery, The Story Girl
∘ I started Trumpet + Tassel, a handmade social enterprise, back in 2017 with a dreamy end-time goal to sell my wares on a beach in Hawaii. No lies. But you’re Canadian, aren’t you? Minor detail. ⎆ I remember going to Hawaii years ago after ministering at a large conference in Saskatchewan. I could not wait to get on that plane with my family even though I’d always hated flying. Are you kidding me? The thinker, the stresser, the imaginatively-morbid stuck on a flying bullet over a large body of shark-infested water for 9 hours? Sounds awesome. But I could cope if it meant ending up on a beach in the sun for a few days. If I recall correctly, I’m pretty sure I madly flipped magazine pages without actually reading anything for the entire trip.
“Where’s the drugs? Knock me out. Wake me up when we get there.”
∘ While on Oahu, we found a maker’s market with amazing handmade goods from the island. Perusing around, I found a fantastic little booth with the funkiest beach-inspired boho jewelry and clothing. Not only did I want to buy it all, I wanted to make it all. Oh how my imagination took flight! I could easily envision myself sitting there, in the sun, selling such items that I had lovingly made, in the sun, as I took people’s money and made a peaceful and creative living, in the sun. Well, that was the dream anyway, realistic or not. Yet here I am. In my big white house in the middle of Canada, staring out my window at the snowy frontier while COVID-19 ravages the nations.
“It’s time to move on”, I think to myself.
∘ Tag line ⎆ Tiny Tassels for Big Causes. What a joy it’s been to help trumpet and support many world-changing non-profits with my tassel jewelry and decor these past few years. Really. I couldn’t imagine doing anything, especially a business, that didn’t help someone somewhere. Some of the organizations we have helped are:
⎆ Light A Candle Project (Burn 24-7 Iraq) – N. Iraq ⎆ Canadian Mental Health Association – Canada ⎆ Adoption Options – Manitoba ⎆ Tutapona – N. Iraq + Africa ⎆ Crisis Text Line/Kids Help Phone – Manitoba ⎆ Humboldt Broncos – Saskatchewan ⎆ Samaritan House Food Bank + Homeless Shelter – Manitoba ⎆ Massey Manor Fire Fundraiser – Manitoba ⎆ Child and Adolescent Treatment Center (CATC) – Manitoba ⎆ Kaio International Development Solutions (K.I.D.S.) – SK/India ⎆ True North Aid – Northern Canada ⎆ Light a Candle Global – India Child Sponsorship ⎆ Canadian Cancer Society – Canada
“Don’t close your business Mommy,” says my son, “it’s special to you.”
∘ The reality is, this business has been a therapy of sorts. Hours spent alone in my little studio – a quiet space, a creative place. There’s something about using your hands to make something new – a void filled in space and time, creating something out of nothing. Yet, here I am. Hosting a closing out sale of sorts. Tons of things selling now. Of course. Isn’t that the way – as soon as you purpose to move on success seems to come again. Maybe if that would have happened over these past few months I wouldn’t be closing my doors. Then a pandemic hit. It’s hard to say what would have been.
“Big sale, no whammy,” I write hesitantly.
∘ My goal was always to support my ministry while helping support others with a heart for good. Let’s face it though, less sales and big discounts mean less ways to help anyone really. When it comes right down to it, the biggest thing I will miss is the actual hand-making. I’m not sure if that’s something I will ever give up. It will likely just transfer into something else. I mean look. I’ve picked up the pen again. Maybe reviving my paint brushes will come next. More songs. Or another handmade item will be born. Being open to the creative hand of God and His will for one’s life is the greatest adventure ever. Create with Him and you will never run dry.
“There’s something new coming in my life,” I say in hope.
“My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” – Ps. 121:2
“See, the Lord has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold and silver and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, for work in every skilled craft.” – Exodus 35:30-33
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.” – Ps. 28:7