Marking time

This week marks 3 months since my perfect baby boy stopped living. 

He was stillborn on his due date. 

As his life began about this time last year and we now face our first Christmas without our son I wanted to share a piece of our story. While there are so many things I could and will say (more than I have thus far on social media) I want to open his story here by sharing our art.

As the time drew near and I waited to meet my son, I began marking time by creating new art. It was more emotional and layered than anything I'd created before. It was meant to be personal; a visual exploration of ideas and emotions after the intensity of writing and editing a book in just 20 weeks while pregnant and working and parenting and house renovating. Yet now, in his absence, I'd like to share.

I've made 9 pieces available in the shop for only 23 days. The first 6 pieces were created in the last month of Oscar's life. The last 3 pieces have been created since his death. 

If you'd like to know my Oscar a little better or mark time along your own journey I'm sharing this for you. 

I will continue to mark time and I'm inviting you to join me.

Oscar.

 
The Relentless Creative marking time
 

Keep your home in shape with this 1 simple trick

Rearrange details as you see them stop working.

Keep your home in shape with this 1 simple trick

That's the trick.

Be it furniture arrangements, closet organization or a shelf to display small treasures each can serve a purpose today and later become outdated. When creating a spacious home, "outdated" isn't about style or fashion; it simply means this detail or arrangement is no longer serving it's purpose or those who live there. 

This little trick allows for life seasons, struggles and joys to each be fully supported in the home. And being a successful support system is really the underlying role of the home. The home has the ability to protect our dreams, strengthen our stories and deepen our closest relationships. Allowing the details within the home to change and grow so they continue to meet your deeper goals is one way to create a spacious home.

9 ways to spaciously transition into Autumn

Get the 9 steps to intentionally create a spacious Autumn

Each season brings its share of delightful activities and Autumn is no different. The cooling weather, focus on family and coming holidays make it a special time of year. However, those same realities can also make it a stressful season. With just a bit of planning you can create space + time to thrive this season.  

Here are 9 simple and practical ways to transition into Autumn gracefully while still building a spacious life: 

 

1. Celebrate little moments for the rest of the summer. One of the easiest ways to welcome any change and still feel spacious is to enjoy the present season. This allows you to fully embrace the new without harboring regret about the past. How can you fully enjoy your last weeks of summer? 

2. Consider how you want to feel this fall. Do you want to feel productive, energetic, creative, successful, powerful, protected, restful, scholarly, thoughtful or nurturing? Plan for it now. What needs to happen in advance for these feelings to be your reality come fall? Will you need to rearrange some details in your home or something in your schedule? 

3. Set your fall goals in advance. When you set goals in advance it opens up space + time to simply take action at the right time. With the hard work of making decisions and creating a plan behind you you're able to jump right into action. So, what is your goal looking forward? For example, if you hope to start or finish a particular creative project lay out the details now including important dates or deadlines, locations where the work will happen, necessary tools or materials and allowances in your timeframe for life to get in the way. Then you can go back to tip #1 knowing you're ready to spring into action when the time comes.

4. Begin gathering inspiration. The time for being inspired is before crunch time. Do you plan on hosting a fall dinner party, celebration, or holiday? Find and organize your inspiration and preliminary plans at least a month in advance. This gives you time to gather needed supplies and to either simplify or embellish your initial vision based on your current reality. 

5. Put seasonal activities on the calendar. Are you just hoping you remember to decorate pumpkins on time or visit a pumpkin patch or corn maze on the best weekend? Waiting until the last minute to consider these trivial details only makes them more stressful and less fun. Go ahead and put those things on your calendar right now.

6. Allow time to transition. Autumn has a tendency to naturally slow the pace of life. Even if this is a welcome change for you it may take time to enjoy it. Just as you can create space + time in the home to transition well throughout the day so you can create space + time in the schedule to transition into a new season. Whenever your "back to fall" week lands on the calendar, simply schedule a handful of special outings, treats or time to decorate. Five minutes a day, spent intentionally transitioning from one season to another, increases a sense of control and therefore lowers stress. Time to transition is really just taking the time to actively participate.

7. Design the details. The blankets and hot cuppa and focus on conversation and time to linger and details you create within the home all play a part in hosting the season. In fact, every detail you design aids how you want to feel (tip #2) and your your goals (tip #3.) In addition to actively designing details you also passively design the details when you allow for time to experience the moment. Allowing for 3 minutes just to play in the leaves can feel as spacious as 2 hours chatting with friends over coffee. Small moments hold heaps of possibility when you're building spacious days. 

8. Get creative. Every transition can benefit from a creative outlet and this is especially true in fall as your life starts moving indoors more. Give yourself permission to use some of your time and resources for a creative project.  Short creative projects could replace trips to the river or swimming pool while tackling a 3 month creative project could replace summer's lost sense of adventure. In addition, intentionally creating also helps you with tip #7. 

9. Let go of the expectations. Is life different this year? Are you feeling less enthusiastic about all the trivial details of the season? Good news -- this years Autumn doesn't have to be as all out as last year or match your neighbors enthusiasm. Give yourself permission to enjoy only the details of the season that contribute to your goals, support your relationships and benefit the spacious life you are building. 

 

 
9 ways to spaciously transition into autumn.png
 

A home is not a home unless. . .

A home is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body.
— Benjamin Franklin

I love this quote as it succinctly describes the inherent possibilities of the home. 

The home can fuel or dull our passions. It can further or squelch our dreams. It can build or destroy our relationships. It can give us worthy thoughts to ponder or steal our energy. The home can protect our stories. And the home must contain food and fire for the mind or we will seek it elsewhere. 

You can begin cultivating this vibrant life in your home by listening to each family member's needs and then using your space to actively support them. Creativity, conversation, health, knowledge and longings of the heart all deserve space in a home that is a home.

 
a home
 

On writing

Should I admit that I’m scared?

I can see this book being real in my mind’s eye but putting in the work to make it real is hard at almost every turn. And yet.

I believe in you the relentless creative. I believe you need to see your strengths in black and white and talk about your struggles with honesty. I believe that though life gets hard there is still work to be done. I believe that this book (and others) are part of my own story. I believe that knowing you’re not alone is powerful and that knowing when to move and in which direction is empowering. And empowering people to do the work they were meant to do is one of my favorite things.

So I keep writing. 

Gifting Spaciousness

Ms. Taylor had our family over for dinner on a regular basis. There would be garden veggies and fresh bread and a homemade cake drizzled in chocolate sauce. After dinner my brother and I would go watch the black and white TV while the adults sat around the table and talked. Life was sweet and slow at Ms. Taylor's house. 

So, when an ice storm knocked our power out and we went to live at Ms. Taylor's house it was a treat. A whole week of homemade bread couldn't be bad. As I sat at the kitchen table and looked out at her garden waiting for spring I began to draw. Past the garden and across the field was a house. I had plenty of time so I decided to do it justice.

Some time later I visited my grandmother. Since time moved slowly at her house (just like at Ms. Taylor's) and since Ms. Taylor had been impressed with the house I drew at her kitchen table I thought maybe my grandmother would be impressed. I used my key ingredient again -- a ruler -- and I recreated the house behind Ms. Taylor's house from memory. I don't remember my grandmother being full of praise but I do remember her suggestion. "Well Jillian, maybe you should be an architect."

There were other times in my childhood when people suggested the path of architecture but my grandmother's suggestion stood out. Because she created space for the dream.

Spacious living always includes at least one person who supports you. 

This month, while we are surrounded by expressions of love, what better gift than to lavish space to dream and grow on someone you care about?

Here are a 3 tangible, spacious gift ideas:

  • you could provide the time and/ or materials for them to pursue a hobby. Offers for babysitting or gift cards are excellent choices here. 
  • a class or training that teaches skills relevant to their dream. Online, in person, or via books -- training is spacious.
  • a listening ear when inspiration strikes. The least expensive and most demanding gift is your time. A supportive ear is invaluable to any dreamer.

Essentially, anytime you show someone that you believe in them you give a spacious gift. 

give spacious gifts