I rarely have time to make art. Not the painting or drawing type; my art is in my words. At least I try to write here at least once a month, though I have so many ideas and stories I wish to share with you everyday and not enough time to let my fingers type them all out.
Last month, my mom, brother and brother-in-law were here for a quick visit. It was short and so sweet. We spent some time here cooking (my mom was cooking a storm everyday); then, it was off to the coast in the town of Antibes. There we walked around, had coffees, went to the Picasso museum and a few outdoor markets. It was divine. To be surrounded by people and art and eating out again with others. I felt so alive.
I got to show my brother-in-law Steven the English bookstore. As the name describes, it’s a bookstore with English books. I stumbled upon an author and book I had heard vaguely about: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I picked it up and actually finished reading it in 2 days. I haven’t read a book in its entirety in sooooo long. It felt so good and the ideas in that book inspired me in a way I really needed. I really believe that books find us when we need them most and when we are meant to find them.
That book and the podcast Homemaker Chic as well as other books which have found their way to me have inspired me to make my life art. Simply in the way I care for my children, my husband, my chickens, my home, my plants, my garden; in the food I make.
I try to make my art here, at least once a month because, eventhough I don’t have much time to indulge in writing, I feel it so crucial to my well-being. Since my family was here, I missed Anthéor’s 4th month post and then it took me nearly 2 weeks to collect enough eggs from my chickens and to find just the right afternoon with both bairns asleep to dye these eggs from natural materials for the 5th month photoshoot. And then, to plan for the right moment to take these photos also took time. But, that hour or so of time playing in the kitchen with nettle leaves, curcuma, hibiscus, beet juice, coffee, seeing how the eggs changed colors, it felt so exciting to me. I love that stuff. I love co-creating with nature. It gives me such pleasure and joy. I am always astounded by what we can create together.
Instead of posting right after I took the photos, life swept me up again and I was extremely busy in the garden, a happy busy but I barely had time for anything else, so Anthéor’s 5th blog post was on hold. And now, my Father has been with us which has been so fun and we’ve been wildcrafting together, collecting nettles and elderflowers which are at the glorious height of their bloom. I want to make sirop de sureau this year with the elderflowers. I missed the last two years having been pregnant, but it was nice to harvest with my Dad, Roua and Anthéor. I'm going to make my syrup after I post this!
Of course, I’ll post this now and in 2 days Anthéor will be 6 months old! But well, better late than never, and you know what, the value is all in the process of creating something, rather than the actual product. I could have given up on this little egg dyeing project and came up with a million excuses about not having enough time, but I choose to keep making art and creating even as a mother, even as a beekeeper’s wife, even as a homemaker. I am all those things, yes, but I am also a creator. So, I must keep on creating, keep the creating fire burning.
What if we made each moment in our lives artful? I may not be able to capture each moment on camera or in a savvy instagram post, but those things are less and less important to me. These days, I’m all about just being present and really taking in the moment, just enjoying it for what it is.
My art is not just confined to a word document. It can be made in all the ways I create my life and in the type of life I want to create, one brimming with beauty and abundance.
It takes honesty, time, observation, patience, compassion, forgiveness, hard work...to create art, to create that artful life we wish to lead. As humans we are creative creatures, it’s in our nature to make things. But, as Elizabeth Gilbert reminds us in her book, it also takes light-heartedness and not being so serious about it all. It’s all important and it’s all not so important at the same time. It’s also good to just be a good enough Mom and not a super Mom. This concept is liberating.
Since finishing this book, I’m looking through life with a new mindset. Somehow this book and the podcast and my garden and spring weather has filled me with new energy and positive spirits. There is so much to do. We are here for a short time.
This new lens of just getting up and showing up everyday with the right intentions in my heart and doing my best, not only surrendering to the triumphs and woes of Motherhood and Homemaking but embracing it and learning and growing along the way with my children and the garden. What a gift.
How liberating it is to accept good enough. At least I vacuumed and mopped the floors and maybe I missed a few corners or didn’t get through the whole house or only started folding half the laundry because something else came up, but at least we start something, try something and keep showing up to the work. I’ve been doing little bit of cleaning each day, practicing cultivating those good habits of wiping down tables after each meal etc. those little things that add up throughout the day. And when they are done, I feel so much better, the house feels better, everyone is in a better mood and I can be a good example for Roua and Anthéor.
I used to be an all or nothing kind of girl. I’ll do it perfectly right or not at all. I’ll clean every corner of the house or not at all. I know better now. I’ll do what I can based on how I feel and how the family feels. Perfect is not the place we grow in. Doing and making messes and being curious and playing and having fun...making mistakes, being imperfect...that’s where we grow in. My curious daughter teaches me this everyday. She shows up to life everyday, curious, undaunted, playful and observant with a joyful heart. I want to have fun like her. I want to have fun with her and Anthéor and Jorris. We get to lead life on such a beautiful canvas, near nature, with some land to tend to and chickens and bees to care for, a place to call home and friends hang out with sometimes. So why not use every ounce of energy to create something beautiful.
I want to make something as mundane as hanging laundry to dry and folding it an art. I want to create amazing food from nature with my family and friends and for my family and friends. I want to have fun doing it.
This new thinking has given me courage when I need it most. With Jorris working a lot now that the new bee season well underway, I am managing the fort and kiddos solo often. And, taking care of a toddler and infant all day and night is hard work. But I love it even so. Even though it breaks my back and every corner of my body is aching some days, even though I cry and laugh and yell and say sorry and do it all again the next day, those pockets of beauty and moments of simple pleasure make it so worth it. And for those pockets of anguish and despair that can roll through like a tropical rainstorm, well, they are worth it for that bright sunshine and blue sky afterwards.
I hope you’re feeling the positive energy of Spring too and that it inspires you to create something fun and beautiful.