A Pep Talk For The Creatively Dormant [and how to wake up through The Year of Creativity from Coffee + Crumbs]

You say you’re not creative. Maybe you pride yourself on being practical. Your baby registry consisted of diapers and wipes, with a few “cute” items thrown in to appease others wanting to buy fun gifts. Or you spend your days giving sales pitches, solving math equations, or reading toddler books. And although your day-to-day tasks in business, academia, parenthood, or whatever else truly do require endless amounts of creative thinking, creativity feels light years away. 

Let me tell you this. You are creative. Everyone is creative. As Picasso said, “All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” Some of us grew up and put pragmatism on a pedestal, allowing it to hover over creativity like a disgruntled and antagonistic boss. Is there beauty that’s worthwhile if it exists apart from usefulness? 

We weren't created to sit and twiddle our thumbs until a practical task came along. Creating was part of the task. Yes, being creative can also be useful – like building structures to live in or cooking food required for daily sustenance. But I truly believe that God did not give us the minds we have just to do that which our culture deems as useful. 

Some of us have pushed creativity aside because of a shameful experience in our past when we tried to be creative, or because we’ve simply lost our way, our childishness, our free spirit, our ability to let go of inhibition and self-criticism. We’ve listened to the siren song of perfectionism, doubt has sunk into our minds, and we question whether the act of creating, or, more accurately, what we create, has value at all.

In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown writes, “There’s no such thing as creative people and non-creative people. There are only people who use their creativity and people who don’t. Unused creativity doesn’t just disappear. It lives within us until it’s expressed, neglected to death, or suffocated by resentment and fear.”

We may hear shame and doubt yell in our ear nearly every time we sit down to create. But if we learn to muffle those voices, those inner critics and the haunting lure of perfectionism pulling us away from our work, I believe we will hear the true and trustworthy voices of beauty, awe, wonder, delight, empathy, and refreshment we never realized we silenced in the first place. 

Beauty, just as we see in creation, is a gift. And the ability to pursue beauty through creative work? That is a privilege not to be taken lightly. You are creative. You have work to do and beauty to show the world, in whatever medium you may choose. Your creative work may look different a year from now. You may feel like what you create isn’t any good, and those voices of shame and doubt may start to speak loudly again. But you mustn’t let them. The act of creating, regardless of the tangible outcome, can influence you, and even those around you, in profound ways. 

So put your hands to work. Grab your pen and paper, your paintbrush, your chef’s knife, your guitar, your clay, your hammer and nails. And start creating something


Want to create this year, but not really sure how to get started? Join The Year of Creativity with Coffee + Crumbs, a 12-month journey to help women pursue creativity alongside motherhood. (January’s course material will remain available, so you don’t have to worry about starting partway through the year.) 

Each month includes lessons, creative exercise, digital gifts, artist interviews, and writing prompts. There is also a ton of community support through our Year Of Creativity Facebook group, so you can ask questions, share thoughts, and glean inspiration from others along the way. 

Click here to sign up, and use the coupon code SARAH15 at checkout for 15% off the registration fee! 


Pomegranate, Cider + Lemon Mocktail

Pomegranate, Cider + Lemon Mocktail

Well, shortly following my announcement over a week ago on Instagram that "I was back!", the kiddos and I went down for the count for another week. After a nasty stomach flu (which I won't go into too much detail about), a trip to urgent care, more bananas, applesauce, and toast than I care to ever see again for a while, and being quarantined for what felt like months, we are back to normal. All that to say...now I need a drink. 

But pregnancy with Baby #3 means it's a season of mocktails for me - which, to be honest, hasn't been all that bad. I've craved sparkling cider the last couple weeks, and there's something special about making a fun drink in a fancy glass...even if it lacks your favorite spirit. 

This mocktail is a combination of sparkling cider, pomegranate juice, and freshly squeezed lemon juice. I prefer it on the tart side, but if you like your drinks sweeter, add a splash more cider. It's garnished with a sprig of rosemary, but to get more herb flavor, try muddling a few rosemary leaves in the cocktail shaker before adding the pomegranate and lemon juices. (And of course, if you're not avoiding alcohol feel free to add a shot or two of vodka.)

Cheers!

Pomegranate, Cider + Lemon Mocktail
Pomegranate, Cider + Lemon Mocktail
Pomegranate, Cider + Lemon Mocktail

Pomegranate, Cider + Lemon Mocktail
Yields 1 drink

1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 ounce 100% pomegranate juice
3-5 ounces sparkling apple cider
Sprig of fresh rosemary
Ice

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add the lemon and pomegranate juices. Shake vigorously for about 15 seconds. 

Strain into a cocktail glass and top with sparkling cider to taste. Garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary. 

Notes: Want more rosemary flavor? Muddle a few fresh rosemary leaves in the cocktail shaker before adding the lemon and pomegranate juices. 

To serve a crowd, just add 1 part lemon juice, 1 part pomegranate juice, and 3-5 parts sparkling cider to a pitcher with ice. Stir gently, and serve with rosemary sprigs.


Orange + Spice Pancakes with Bourbon Buttered Syrup

Orange + Spice Pancakes with Bourbon Buttered Syrup

I have all these romantic, fond memories of Christmases when I was a kid. We’d drive about an hour away to a tree farm to chop down the “tallest of allest” we could find, then spend half the afternoon struggling to get it inside the house. My dad would carefully string the lights, determined to fix any tiny broken bulbs and bring 10-year-old strands back to life. We’d unwrap cheesy handmade ornaments (which I can’t believe my mom agreed to save) as we listened to anything from Bing Crosby to Handel’s Messiah.

On Christmas Eve, I’d gently shake the boxes under the tree, trying to choose the one gift I was allowed to open that night. The next morning, I’d run to the family room and stand in awe of the overflowing stockings and sea of boxes waiting to be unwrapped, counting down the seconds until I was allowed to wake everyone else up. Eventually, with plates of scrambled eggs and Mom’s homemade Swedish Tea Ring in hand, we’d begin the rounds of gift opening.

Over the years, the magic of the season has waxed and waned. Some years, the snow falls at the perfect moment on Christmas Eve while I’m sitting in front of the fire drinking eggnog, and it’s like I’ve stepped into a Norman Rockwell painting. Other years, it’s anything but magic. Christmas Day is spent unexpectedly in a hospital waiting room, or the grief of an absent loved one is tangibly felt. Sometimes, the monotony of everyday living takes over – kids still get cranky on holidays, the flu sweeps through the family, the house needs to get cleaned, and any attempts to savor the season seem futile.

Keep reading and get the recipe at Coffee + Crumbs!

Orange + Spice Pancakes with Bourbon Buttered Syrup
Orange + Spice Pancakes with Bourbon Buttered Syrup
Orange + Spice Pancakes with Bourbon Buttered Syrup
Orange + Spice Pancakes with Bourbon Buttered Syrup

Full post and recipe instructions can be found at Coffee + Crumbs!


DIY Whipped Body Butter [with Apricot Oil + Mango Butter]

DIY Whipped Body Butter [with Apricot Oil + Mango Butter]

We've had a handful of painfully cold days around here lately. I don't mind winter entirely. I love having a white Christmas, running around in the snow with my kids, and generally avoiding the feeling of overheating. But sometimes, the cold and wind hit so hard it actually hurts. That, I mind. Not to mention the super dry air that can leave my knuckles cracked and skin itchy. Not fun. (I'm guessing you Florida and other warm-weather readers are thankful you don't live here right now!)

DIY Whipped Body Butter [with Apricot Oil + Mango Butter]
DIY Whipped Body Butter [with Apricot Oil + Mango Butter]

A couple years ago for my baby shower, my sister made small jars of whipped body butter for party favors, which considering it was the middle of January, was the perfect gift. Body butter goes on a thicker than many lotions, so you don't need to use very much at a time. Homemade versions also don't have harmful additives that many store bought ones have, assuming you're starting with quality ingredients. 

DIY Whipped Body Butter [with Apricot Oil + Mango Butter]

I have a small jar of whipped body butter that I currently keep in my car. It seems like when I put my hands on the steering wheel, I suddenly notice how dry and cracked my hands are, and I love having moisturizer easily accessible. I also use the recipe below as a belly balm during pregnancy (SURPRISE, I'm pregnant again!), and put it on my kids as needed. And I know there are only a few days until Christmas, but you can whip up a batch if you need a last minute gift or stocking stuffer! (Many Better Shea Butter products are Prime eligible on Amazon, so you can get them quickly!)

DIY Body Butter

This recipe uses organic mango butter and organic apricot oil from Better Shea Butter. Mango butter is nourishing and slightly lighter than shea butter. Apricot oil also feels light on your skin and gets quickly absorbed, so you don't have the greasy feeling some other oils have. Apricot oil is also safe for all skin types, including infants!

I adapted my recipe from Wellness Mama, so if you're looking to change up my version to use shea buttercocoa butter, or other oils you may have on hand, make sure to check out this link


DIY Whipped Body Butter
Yields enough to fill about a 16 ounce jar (once whipped)
Adapted from Wellness Mama

4 ounces (by weight) coconut oil
4 ounces (by weight) mango butter
2 ounces (by weight) apricot oil
20 drops therapeutic grade essential oil (I used Young Living's Gentle Baby blend)

Melt the coconut oil, mango butter, and apricot oil in a double boiler over medium heat, stirring constantly. When everything is melted and combined, remove from heat. Allow to cool for about 15-20 minutes, and then stir in the essential oil. 

Put the mixture in the refrigerator and cool to a soft stage, about 1 hour. Then, using a hand mixer, whip everything together until light and fluffy. It'll take about 8-10 minutes of whipping. 

Transfer the body butter to the containers of your choice. Return the body butter to the fridge to set completely, about another half hour. You can store the body butter at room temperature, if your house is cooler than 75 degrees. However, if your home is warmer than that, store in the refrigerator. 

Note: When using this body butter, a little goes a LONG way. Start by rubbing just a tiny amount into your skin, and add more if needed. 


Mango butter and apricot oil for this post were provided by Better Shea Butter. All opinions are 100% my own.