Whew! It’s good to be back.

From an elevation of 596 ft. to 10 ft., 2980 miles from the PacNW to southern Georgia, I am learning about my new home state. It has always been a belief of mine that I could “have it all” as the saying goes. However, I have learned that it doesn’t necessarily mean having it all at once. For me, I’m good with my top 3 (family, career & spirit) shifting order as the need arises. I account for each in their own way but one usually wins out for a stretch. This past summer and early fall, it was family. My design / teaching / art making business took a back seat as we made a move across the country.

It’s all good now. Team Baker has settled into school, sports, jobs, life. Once that happened I began to nourish my depleted spirit. I treated myself to a couple of art related eCourses; played with new markers and water soluble pastels; walked; practiced yoga; met my neighbors and allowed myself to process this massive change. Going from Kansas to Seattle to Georgia within 4 years is a lot. As I continue to process my new situation, I am listening and following my intuition; taking time to breathe; and reconnecting to me.

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As 2016, comes to a close, I am reminded of all for which I am grateful. Even the stressful times have lessons to be learned. I’m doing my best to forgive myself for what I feel I did not do well this past year (I am a recovering perfectionist so this is really hard). My successes are celebrated. I am looking ahead and planning for 2017. I’m excited for what the new year will bring. What is front and center in my mind’s eye is the eCourse that I have been talking about for a couple of years now. It feels like the timing is right. The information is flowing through me. I have been writing and am getting ready to shoot my videos and record the audio. Stay tuned to learn how you can take part. Until next time.

Light, love & blessings!

Julie

Spring is coming!

Bring on the sunshine, flowers, new growth and new beginnings. I am ready. Lots of change in the air. I enjoy that type of energy but I can also feel overwhelmed. My wise friend Maria, tells me to “trust and surrender.” I’m trying. Really I am. But there are those “special” days. You know what I mean. That’s when I turn to creativity.

I paint, sing, go outside, hangout with my family, make time for myself, focus on my breath or practice yoga. If you are in search of a creative outlet to help you navigate the spring energy, I have some ideas.

If you are within driving distance, join me for the “Live Your Words” book class. We will make an accordion book focused on what you want to bring into your life; healthy eating, art, exercise, gardening, chickens, yes chickens. This will be a visual representation of your focus or goals.

For all creative souls who are looking for a spark, tune in to the Creatively Onward YouTube channel and participate in the Monday Missions. Enjoy quick, weekly, creativity challenges. Take 5 minutes or 5 hours, whatever meets your schedule.

One more opportunity to play, join me in the Journey Within class where I am a guest teacher this May. I have been busy getting my segment together. Producing the video is giving me anxiety. But that is my perfectionist streak and inner critic creeping in where they do not belong! I’m learning and growing through the process and will have something for you all to see. I promise!

Until next time…

The Labor of Art Making.

birthing artOnce upon a time, I taught prenatal yoga classes. At some point during our journey together one of my students would ask about contractions during labor. I would explain that in my experience, it felt like a blood pressure cuff was being tightened around my belly from the inside out and every instinct was telling me to curl up and hold my breath. What I learned is the trick to coping is to do the opposite. Take a deep breath, think about opening, think about being one step closer to meeting my little creation and let go of the fear and discomfort.

This applies to the creative process too. Staring at a blank canvas or white paper can cause my throat to close; my shoulders to lift and round forward; my palms to sweat. Sometimes my chest feels tight.

Knowing that I want to create something but not sure what I want to make or knowing what I want to make but being afraid I can’t do it is paralyzing. Ugh! It’s just like labor. Then I remember what I need to do. I focus on my breathing and give in to the process. I’ve learned that I have to start somewhere. The more I resist and tighten the worse it is. So I breathe, I put some type of mark on my page, then another and another until whatever I am birthing that day presents itself.

It is messy? Sometimes. It is scary? Sometimes. Is the result worth it? Usually. I either make something I truly think is fantastic or I learn things that will help me do “better” next time. I wouldn’t have it another way.

How do you get through the fear stage? I’d enjoy hearing.

Restore

Several years ago, I engaged in a decadent 5 day yoga teacher training. Thanks to Renee DeTar, a small studio owner in Wichita, Kansas and Judith Hanson Lasater’s Relax and Renew training. Five days of blankets, bolsters, blocks and eye pillows to support my body in luxurious yoga poses. Five days of focusing on my breathing. Five days of friends and five days of being, Julie. It was refreshing. At that time, I had a 21-month-old and a 3-month-old. I was bone tired and attempting to carve out an identity for myself. I loved being a mother but I missed being “me.”

Flash forward, today I have a 17-year-old, a 15-year-old and a 12-year-old. As each child becomes more of who they are meant to be, so do I. It is a process, a pact we made long ago. Someday they will be prepared to separate and move fully into their own lives. For this reason, I take the time to nurture myself along the way. I paint, sing, dance, write, think, move, laugh or just breathe. You see, in that teacher training long ago, something stuck. Judith offered a way of practicing restorative yoga that worked for me, a busy mom. It goes like this. Daily, practice one restorative pose for 20 minutes. Weekly, practice a short series of restorative poses for 60 minutes. Yearly, practice 60 minutes of restorative poses each day for 7 days. Judith shared that the week between Christmas and New Year’s was a wonderful time for 7 days of restorative yoga. Genius!

Now I will share with you that I do not always stick to this schedule but I do my best. I’ve applied this concept to other practices too. For instance, I am nurturing the habit of 20 minutes of creative time daily. Once a week, I go for a painting class. I have not had a full week of creating for 60 minutes daily but I will eventually (a week long retreat, is on my list). If I make it 3 to 4 days, it’s a success. Start small. Set up for success. Cheer when it works out. Reboot when it crashes. As the saying goes, “tomorrow is a new day.”

When you are making your resolutions and grand plans for 2016 make space for the “you” that boldly burst into this world to draw breath. Then ask, “What is it that I must boldly draw in right now?”

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I Challenge You! It’s Blog Hop Time!

Yes, it is game on! I am challenging Kiala Givehand creator the The Journey Within: A Year of Handmade Art Journals to play along with this week’s Monday Mission on my YouTube Channel.

Take a peek at the Creatively Onward YouTube channel to see what I mean. Feel free to join in the fun! To see who is next on the Blog Hop click here!

Blog hop, teaching gig, 2016 will be awesome!

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Oh my goodness this is exciting and scary all at the same time! I am thrilled to announce that I will be a guest teacher in The Journey Within: A Year of Handmade Art Journals with book maker, Kiala Givehand and 16 other artists. The class begins January 1st and goes the entire year (I’m feeling a New Year’s resolution idea here). Each month, Kiala will teach you how to make your own handmade art journal, give you prompts, tips and techniques for filling the pages, and bring in guest artists to share their ideas.

To kick off this fantastic course, Kiala has created a December book and asked each guest artist to give her a challenge to complete this month. All these challenges are set up to create an opportunity to “Blog Hop.” You can “hop” from blog to blog as the challenges take place. Play along if you choose. CLICK HERE for the blog hop schedule.

My challenge will appear on December 7th. Check back to see what I’ve suggested.

If you decide to play along, leave a comment with a link to your blog or to the page you completed so I can see your unique interpretation.

Each artist gets credit when someone from their world chooses to take the class so please CLICK HERE to learn more about the class or to register.

If your New Year’s resolution involves having your most creative year yet or you are vowing to learn something new each month, what are you waiting for, click that link and join me.

Until next time!

 

 

Announcing Creatively Onward’s YouTube debut!

Announcing the official launch of Creatively Onward’s YouTube Channel. We have now gone LIVE! This is both thrilling and terrifying! I am putting myself out there in a big way with the intention of creating a positive, empowering, inspiring and creative community with whom to share and grow.

One year ago this month, I stumbled upon Jennifer Lee’s Right Brained Business Plan Product Development online course. My experience with online courses had left me feeling isolated and frustrated. I felt I was missing something by not being in a classroom hearing the dialogue. This class was different. This community of creatives is wise, inclusive, knowledgeable and fun. Learning was presented in an interactive way that inspired me to rise to the challenge of being in business. Creatively Onward was born.

I began with a glimmer of an idea, a rough concept for a deck with creativity prompts and a personal Facebook page that I barely knew how to work. After one quick year, Creatively Onward has a website, Instagram, Twitter, a business Facebook and YouTube. All set up by me through trial, error (lots of error) and some guidance from my teenagers. It’s not perfect but it’s done and it’s mine. Yowza! This is another step in the preparation for online class offerings, as well as, potential workshop events that combine my mad yoga skills with my love of creativity. It has been a year filled with many growth opportunities. As 2015 winds down I am feeling grateful for growth, new friendship, possibilities and creative connection.

Planning is already underway for 2016. There are rumblings of exciting opportunities emerging. I say, “bring it on.” Hope you will join me for the adventure! Sign up for the newsletter and subscribe to my channel.

Click the link below to view my premiere video and feel free to share it. Go Creatively Onward!

Creatively Onward YouTube

Open For Business!

Creative self-care, anyone?  Join me Wednesday, September 30th to create a “Live Your Words” accordion book. This class marks the commencement of my foray into business in the Pacific NW. Bring a friend and come ready for fun, fellowship and creative play!

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