Inspiration

Yes & yes by Christina Rosalie

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California Wilds
California Wilds
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Photo: Erika Senft Miller
Photo: Erika Senft Miller

There aren't words really, not yet. Except that I went, and found myself a part of a tribe of the most creative people among the familiar landscape of my childhood for a handful of days. I can back brimming. I came back on the 100th day of my circle project. I came back filled. Heart-felt. Held. Discovered. Seen. Inspired.

Since then I've been nonstop making. A notebook already full. The next book taking shape now fast, and certainly. Big canvases edging into sight... and I'm taking every moment I can to create.


A few things I've been up to lately by Christina Rosalie

Giraffe - Christina RosalieHello friends! I've been so busy lately I haven't had nearly as much time as I would like to stop in here and share stories.

Here are a few things I've been up to lately:

:: Writing on Medium
:: Creating a new series of art pieces (this giraffe is one, in progress)
:: Planning a studio sale for the end of March (sign up if you'd like to get first dibs.)
:: Working on a few very cool client projects. I especially loved helping to launch this shop into the world.
:: Reading the Little House series out loud to Bean (and feeling very glad I'm not that kind of pioneer.)
:: Watching Sprout become an amazing artist.
:: Reading this book, and this one.
:: Listening to new music on Beats.
:: Writing every morning in a notebook (I've loved responding to these prompts though I haven't had time to share much here.)
:: Doing a 20 minute vinyasa routine every morning
:: Drinking tea (instead of coffee), skipping alcohol, going to bed earlier, and taking a zillion supplements... and feeling like my adrenals are saying thank you. {Hello energy! How I've missed you}
:: Walking out onto the icy lake with the boys (it still feels bizarre and precarious, but I love all the wide expanses.)
:: Making big plans.
:: Really hankering for spring (and we have many inches of snow in the forecast this week!)
What you've been up to this March? Crazy how time is whirling by these days.

Stuff I've learned while starting out, carrying on, or attempting something great: by Christina Rosalie

               photo (59){Not Really A Paragraph 17/30} :: Repeat this mantra: There is enough. Enough resources. Enough people. Enough audience share. Enough.
:: Ask: how can I help?
:: Join forces. Take people to coffee. Listen.
:: Listen some more.
:: You'll make mistakes. Many of them. Admit them, apologize and then move on.
:: Move on for real. Don't let emotional stuff become an energy drain.
:: Know what it is you're actually offering, or doing. Why does it matter?
:: Know who cares about what you're offering. Who does it matter to?
:: Treat people like people, not like numbers or features that increase klout.
:: Spend some time considering what it's like to be inside your audience' head. What motivates them?
:: Reward loyalty and awesomeness in kind, with real things like handwritten notes, surprise discounts, chocolate.
:: Get over this fact right now: there will be competitors, haters, and jealous fools. Consider them a sign that you've arrived.
:: Be humble. Ask for help. Admit that you don't know.
:: Be generous. Share what you do know. Share your process. Share your best tips, tricks, insights and understanding. It will make you richer, not poorer.

Just this: by Christina Rosalie

fieldAndSky“The Summer Day”
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is. I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass, how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields, which is what I have been doing all day. Tell me, what else should I have done? Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?   — Mary Oliver

Off on an adventure + some inspiration for the weekend: by Christina Rosalie

Possibility is just here  T and I are off on another adventure this weekend. Actually, T has been away all week on a business trip, and I'm slipping off to join him in New Orleans--a city neither of us has ever been to. There will be a pool, and a verandah (I've always loved that word) and enough shrimp and grits and jazz to fill both belly and soul. I'm so excited.

While I'm away, here's a little inspiration for your weekend:

With the weather suddenly growing cold, I want to make these Instant Wristies. Plus, if you don't know Maya's beautiful little corner of the blogosphere, spend some time there. It's lovely.   This project is brilliant. I can't wait to get my copy.   These thought-provoking questions about motherhood and art.   This series of mama and baby (self) portraits by the incredibly talented photographer Nirrimi.   This post from my blog archives: "On Motherhood and Messes, Creative Process and Apple Pie"   And this post from Marthe: "Scenes From a Life: When Nothing Is Certain, Everything Is Possible"   Also, this is so smart and silly, I actually want one.

xoxo, Christina

PS: I'll be posting heaps of photos on Instagram.

Inspiration for your weekend: by Christina Rosalie

{Printable Download}

Because showing up matters. I think it matters more most days than having a good idea. Everyone has good ideas. It's how you show up for them, daily, that makes them into something real and tangible and great. And showing up doesn't mean doing something epic. It means doing something small, daily.

It's the ritual, the repetition, the cultivation of habit that ends up propelling you forward. It's the fact that eventually, if you show up every day for ten minutes and just stare at your computer screen or your blank canvas or your notebook or whatever it is, you'll eventually start to create. And the momentum of that daily act of showing up will become a cumulative creative force.

It's hard though, to do this. There are plenty of days when admittedly, I make every excuse in the book about why I don't have enough time, energy, clarity, focus, whatever...to wake up, to show up, to be intentional with my time--particularly when my days are scheduled to the brim, and leisure time is scarce. But that's the point: to spend those five minutes even when those ten minutes seem insignificant.

10 minutes focusing on a singular goal. 10 minutes writing flash fiction. 10 minutes doing sun salutes. 10 minutes meditating. 10 minutes journaling. 10 minutes making art. 10 minutes behind your camera lens. 10 minutes _____________. How will you show up for minutes today?

Life As It's Happening: by Christina Rosalie

You can hear it: the way summer is ending. The crickets know. And also, the air is cooler at night, and we close the windows part-way now, and I wear soft t-shirts to bed and wake, my hair mussed, my head full of dreams.

September is soon, and when the weekends come, we try to soak up all the goodness that's left of summer. Late bedtimes + ice cream. White wine after dinner. Lots of music on the player. Dresses, still, almost every day.

A few things from around the Web that I've been enjoying:

I AM EVERYDAY. THE ROAD IS HOME THE SLOW WEB

Happy weekend!

Target practice: A reminder by Christina Rosalie

It's like throwing darts. The best part is letting the dart fly: a quick flick of the wrist, and then that satisfying thud of it finding its target. The part that is less thrilling is pulling the darts back out of the board and wait to throw them again.

Yet this is the truth: every significant thing that we do involves this process of taking aim, and gathering intention; of drawing ack an arm, and then releasing with a quick flick of the wrist. And our lives mostly a tapestry of these moments stitched together: the practice of this action again and again.

It isn’t about hitting the target at all. For there is always a next time, a farther, a closer, a more perfect line up, something else to aim for again and again.

The slender threads of right now {9 days} by Christina Rosalie

I am trying to slip back into work mode tonight. I've found that it is helpful, after the boys go to sleep to let myself unwind a little, doing some small act of creativity.

I bring tea and chocolate and maybe a handful of raw almonds up to my studio with me and then I mull about a bit, until I find some small thing among the scraps. A raveling, a glimmer, a tenuous thread bit of paper. It might be the smallest act of wetting a brush, uncorking ink, or letting color spread in water to the edge of a line. It is this act of making something from nothing that tugs me right back into this moment, tucking the tiredness falling in front of my eyes back like stray locks.

And even if it is a very small thing, a single purposeful gesture, it is often enough.

What can you make, if you pause right now? If you look around you, what do you see?

Tell me the inventory of where your creativity begins.

.

Almost: 11 days left by Christina Rosalie

Today it rained all day. I have 60 rough pages; double spaced. I have the vaguest ideas of what I want the visuals to be. I'm far from where I need to be. And yet, I am so close.

The amount that I have to finish terrifies me. It feels impossible, insurmountable, enormous.

My body is growing restless from sitting in a desk chair so many hours out of the day.

My mind like a bucking bronco, takes so much will power to harness to this task: finish. Simply that.

It's been such a long time without a break, I hardly remember what that feels like.

Still, I'm trying to slip in a few moments here and there of delight, and whimsy to get me through.

////

Tell me things:

What music are you listening to right now?

What blogs or magazines have you found that are simply too gorgeous not to share?

What is a meal you can't get enough of this spring?

WHat small thing do you do that brings you joy?

10 things that are awesome: by Christina Rosalie

Hello! Hello!

1. I have an interview up over at the gorgeous 52 Photo Projects site today. If you don't know Bella and all the photographic inspiration she brings to the world, you should. It was such a fun interview to do---particularly the last question.

2. Nothing quite compares with missing my guy while he was gone for the weekend, and then having him back: sweeter, better looking, and funnier than ever. I really have such a crush on him.

3. This blog is awesome. And hilarious. This post shamed me into cleaning out my car. I am so not an adult when it comes to doing so on a regular basis. The contents, just for fun: 3 ceramic cups, 2 to-go cups, 1 pair of shoes (mine), 1 pair of jeans (Sprout's), 1 pair of underwear (yeah, that'd be a good story. But they're Sprout's too), 5 picture books, 2 jackets, countless wrappers and dirty paper towels and napkins.

4. Twitter. It's really awesome. I know some of you have said that you don't have time. But here's a secret: It's better than Facebook. It's news and insights and inspiration and delight all wrapped up and moving at the speed of light. I've been having the best conversations there lately. Join in!

5. I've finally made my peace with the fact that I will not have any Kickstarter rewards for my dear backers until I graduate. It's killing me to admit this, but it feels peaceful and wonderful too, to picture sending out rewards when I start ramping up for my book this spring as I celebrate the end of graduate school. I'm planning some other big super fun things for this space then too... *grin*

6. Modcloth. I had no idea it even existed until I followed a Pinterest meander. And oh, I could buy nearly every dress there. Really. Truly.

7. My dearest friend had her first son on Bean's birthday! It's the coolest thing in the world to have known her since we were ten, and to know her now as a mom. Talking to her about those first weeks of staggering exhaustion and wonder has me reeling: that my baby is a three year old.

8. Speaking of: He is finally, completely potty trained. It was kind of epic, and I didn't really write a lot about it here because I never wanted to jinx anything and it took for effing ever. But now I think we're there. I think somehow without intending, I bought the very last package of diapers I'll ever buy. He's in underwear. We've graduated into a whole new era of big-kidness.

9. A project we just finished was to paint a wall in our house between the living room and the kitchen with chalkboard paint. It seems like a perfect way to celebrate the fact that we've moved into the era of big kids around here. They draw robots and play with magnetic numbers and make people with long legs and big smiles on the wall, and it's a totally rad ever changing work of art to come home to at the end of the day.

10. Instagram. I really, really love the glimpses, the bits of bright beauty, the inspiration, the community, the ridiculous talent of the people I follow. Yes, Instagram makes the ordinary gorgeous, but the people who really rock it, are the ones who can compose a shot just so; who have an eye for light and color, and who surprise you every time with the unexpected way the elements in the image are arranged.

I am particularly enjoying followingL: @carrisajg, @hilaryhess, @petamazey, and timrobisonjr. You can also find me on Instagram here: @christinarosalie.

* * *

Your turn: What are 10 awesome things?

Ready, set, go!

So many things by Christina Rosalie

I've decided that to just roll with the fact that this post is going to be disjointed and full of juicy tidbits and no real rhyme or reason because it is the only way to get everything down on the digital page, so that I can start fresh again before my brain explodes. Because so many things. Are happening. Right now. Oh my.

I keep thinking/hoping/wishing that I'll wake up one morning with more time, but instead, I woke up one morningcame back from my trip to California to find that T had taken out a wall in our living room. Yeah. So. That goal of painting a corner of our house aquamarine that I made for my 35/35 list? Check. Flexibility as a personality trait? Check.

I'll totally post pictures just as soon as there is some semblance of semblance. My entire house has a new wide-open floor plan. Removing the wall caused all sorts of re-painting to take place. The dining room is a different color. So is the living room. The kitchen remains, for now, the same. That it will persist that way is doubtful.

I love my new job. It excites me. It uses all the parts of my brain: strategic, creative, emotional, practical. It challenges me in all the right ways. And the days pass in a blink. I watch the light move across the sky from my office window; head out for a run at lunch, and then drive home, eat dinner, put the kids to bed, and hit my thesis. Or at least, intend to.

And oh, hey! I have two birthday boys next week. When did that happen?

Exhibit A & B:

They are pretty much the coolest. They're funny and full-tilt and totally, completely different. I intend to write each of them a love letter, or at the very least, share snippets of their Birthday Interviews that I always conduct. Of note: Bean is almost as good as me at snowboarding now. I can still beat him down the mountain, but I have a sneaky suspicion it's just because I'm heavier. The kid was born to ride. He has a sort of effortless grace that I can't help but be a little bit jealous of.

This past weekend we also put Sprout on a board for the first time, and wouldn't you know, he didn't fall at all. He had crazy balance. Rode perpendicular to the slope, laughing his head off. The only problem: He had no clue how to stop.

"When you tell him how to stop Mommy," Bean told me while riding the lift, "He doesn't believe you because it just looks like magic."

"Is that how you felt when you started?" I asked him.

"Yeah, but then my body learned the magic."

Exactly.

Somehow, the days fly by. I do as much as the hours allow, and am learning to let the rest go. I've started running again and it is definitely a key sanity and wellbeing. Today I hit my 3mi/25minute goal. Another thing on my 35/35 list. I think I may need to revise that one.

Did you see how I tossed that link to twitter in there? Yeah, I'm on twitter a lot, and it's one of my very favorite places to share, and find insight and be inspired. It's also a place where I've been sharing little in the moment updates, at the speed of life as it's happening right now. Won't you join me?

Slowly, softly, the new year arrived here: by Christina Rosalie

I’ve been wanting so very much to show up here and tell you things, but with the new year came a fever—the kind I remember having as a little girl, and all I was able to do was curl under thick down covers and sleep.

It’s not something I make time for readily: resting deeply, and I think my body knows this. I think it staged a mutiny just as soon as my very last project for the semester was finished and I crashed hard: first a chest cold, then a brief respite right over Christmas at to ring in the new year, followed by a fever that when it broke, left me feeling like a knobby kneed colt, my limbs somehow new and unfamiliar as I woke from a day of sleeping. I felt unbearably grateful to find my hands again, my arms, my kneecaps, scapula, ribs. What a glorious blessing to arrive with these fragile lungs still intact to suck in the cold air; with eyes to watch the birds lift and dive from branch to feeder; with fingers to type these words!

And so I woke, sipped tea, and wrote in my notebook 12 things to manifest in 2012 and a word to true towards, my own inner north.

FLOURISH

I’d been thinking of EASE, and VITALITY, and AFFLUENCE, and about the way those words called to mind a certain blooming of soul and career and creative work that I want to dream real this year, and then flourish found me, somewhere between dreaming and awake, while the puppy was on the bed, and the boys too, and it felt so right and true that I laughed.

Flourish (v.) 1. to grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way; thrive 2. to develop rapidly and successfully; to achieve success; prosper 3. to be in a state of activity or production 4. to reach a height of development or influence.

For 2010 I chose action; for 2011, fruition, and each word speaks more truth about its year than I could have ever imagined.

Big things came to fruition in 2011. I wrote my first book, completed my fourth semester of graduate school, got a dog, made incredible + soulful creative connections, watched my six year old become a first grader and my two year old become a talking, singing, dancing boy.

And now to flourish in this new life I’ve dreamed possible: doing work that I love as a writer, an artist, and as a social media strategist.

I haven’t shared as much here as I intended about my journey through graduate school, or about my growing love for social media strategy, and the way this field combines storytelling and conversation. It’s been so intense and full velocity and transformative in ways I’m only now able to put my finger on. It has reshaped my view, reframed my capacities, and honed my passions. It’s been pretty cool, really, and I’d like to share more here about that process this winter and spring as I finish up my thesis, and about the process of being a mother while also doing these things.

This is something I’m becoming increasingly aware of, how this truth, more than any other thing, is my trumpeters call, my purpose, my passion. To tell you this: you can do what you want.

Choosing is a myth. Being only one thing or only another isn’t a requirement. And manifesting what you long for has everything to do with finding your true velocity: your right tempo at the borderline between self and world; between mamahood and career; between soul and body.

I don’t always get the tempo right; and there are many days when I’m reminded once again that I’ll always be a novice at my life: new to the curveballs, the passions, the possibilities that come my way. But I’m joyfully committed to the process nonetheless. And that, my friends, is my way of way of telling you: I have big plans for 2012. New offerings, new directions and new adventures. And I can't wait to share them!

xo, Christina Rosalie

Inspiration for the end of your week: by Christina Rosalie

Hello!

Oy. The week hit.

That's all I can say about that really. I've been paddling along just about as fast as I can to keep my head above, and taking little mini-breaks as often as possible to rest + recalibrate outdoors and in.

Clover sees to the outdoors bit. I've rambled through woods and fields and watched the moon come up more times in the past week than I have in the past six months. I love that. The weather has been unseasonably mild here, and it's been so nice to go outdoors in the dark after the boys are in bed and listen to the wind move through sticks and twigs and grasses at the edge of the woods. I like the way my hair gets windswept into small tangles; how the moon, a fat waxing crescent, smudges the night sky with a ring of white gold; and there are unexpected things: the shining eyes of a stray cat along the rock wall; paths that give way to soft spots full of moss and mud; shooting stars when I look; and the quiet. Oh the quiet of early an early winter night.

Indoors inspiration looks like this:

Anthology Magazine's special digital winter edition. Two words: eye candy.

Pam Houston reading at Writers Block. Listening to Pam read is one of my favorite things. Her stories out loud are possibly even better than the very same stories on the page.

Jason's newest mix. (So, so good.) Also his photos. Always.

This collection of poems. Laisha's book The Sudden Weight of Snow is one of the only novels I slipped in to my reading list last year. Those Canadians... they get under my skin in the very best of ways.

And getting lost in Idaho wilderness, words, and beauty of the Noisy Plume. (Jillian is also Canadian. Seeing an unintended pattern here...)

Your turn. What some sources of inspiration +

delight this week?

7 things I'm doing to rest + recalibrate this weekend: by Christina Rosalie

1. Slipping offline for the weekend

2. Layering pretty dresses + winter cords, painting my finger nails, and putting henna in my hair

3. Taking walks alone to stalk the Piliated woodpecker in the far meadow, and follow coyote tracks

4. Emptying my inbox entirely

5. Clearing the number of feeds in my RSS reader

6. Reading Mary Oliver's Evidence. Again.

7. Getting a dog.

A creative loophole: by Christina Rosalie

That perfect letter. The wishbone, fork in the road, empty wineglass. The question we ask over and over. Why? Me with my arms outstretched, feet in first position. The chromosome half of us don’t have. Second to last in the alphabet: almost there. Coupled with an L, let’s make an adverb. A modest X, legs closed. Y or N? Yes, of course. Peas sign reversed. Mercedes Benz without the O.

Y, a Greek letter, joined the Latin alphabet after the Romans conquered Greece in the first century—a double agent: consonant and vowel. No one used adverbs before then, and no one was happy.


~ From Y, by Marjorie Celona, originally from the Indiana Review, republished in Best American Non-Required Reading 2008.

How can you not be inspired, like I was, reading this, to pose and consider everything remarkable about a letter? Maybe your first initial, or your last. I'm on the lookout every day for opportunities like this: to slip through an open doorway, an imaginative loophole, a slight tear in the fabric of all that right now insists. Because everything is happening at once, as it always is. Everything converging. Projects, deadlines, discoveries, presentations. It’s easy for me to just put my head down and run hard without stopping, without looking, without pausing for a handful of moments to practice doing what I love the most. And I found this to be the perfect thing to do today, mid week, now, on the seventeenth of November, with the world blue and brown and quiet with the promise of snow, amid everything else.


At the back door there are leaves that the wind’s tossed up in heaps, brown and crackling under our feet as we make a bonfire with friends, roast marshmallows and press them between crumbly graham crackers with chocolate; drink cappuccinos, and watch the children play. They take rakes with bamboo tines and heap the leaves until one or all of them are buried, laughter rising up with the sparks toward the night sky that is full of ink and diamonds; such a mess of grandeur, are the heavens above us.


The children turn on the porch lights; four boys in hats, leaves eddying up in the dark. Their shadows are eerie and huge across the grass, and then up in the sky, the waning gibbous moon, a pregnant C up there with the spilled milk of the universe, the faintest shadow of its darker side also there, barely illuminated: a C in reverse.


C: The letter that is at once the contents and the container, the balance of negative and positive space, the curve of palms, cupped, holding a bowl, and also the shape of the bowl. It is curiosity, and the top bit of a question mark in reverse. The final slight line in a pair of parenthesis, the pause of a comma, the arc of a story, a a smile turned on it’s side. It is the consonant that invokes creativity, the third letter of the alphabet, the symbol for chemical concentration, the speed of light in a vacuum, the abbreviation for carat, century, constant, cubic. It is the first note in C major, and the way my name begins.

It's your turn!

***

Take 5 minutes. See what you can write about a letter. Or share a link an image or post and I’ll be sure to take a peak.

An inventory of things found on my studio floor: by Christina Rosalie

Things found on the floor of my studio: A blue letter O; two puzzle pieces; a small rocket ship; a cardboard tile with the word COMETS on it; a very small sticker stuck to the floorboards that says "Road Closed" in black against orange; another sticker, artfully pressed into a knot in the floorboards that says "YES" in all caps; a small black wheel; a spool of turquoise thread; a solitary striped sock; a red matchbox car; 1 pacifiers; 7 hair ties; countless snippets. I can only trace the origins of the final two from that inventory. This is what happens when I work in my studio with children underfoot.

It's such good practice though, to slow down enough to take an inventory of the details around you. Try it: Can you notice five unusual things within an arms reach? What are they?

Inspiration for daily art: lines + marks by Christina Rosalie

1. Mine. 2. Collage Tipograficamente, 3. Collage and acrylic, 4. collage-067, 5. Collage 6x6 # 6, 6. collage-064, 7. Watercolor Collage

Hello! I wanted to share a few pieces that have been inspiring me as I continue with Daily Art, trying to make pieces that are simple; that play with positive and negative space; with online lines + marks or color. I am exploring what it means to make something quickly. To just do make something--following following through with the act of putting something on the page because this is what I committed to do. I am trying to slip into a grove of doing this as a creative habit, without worrying about meaning or intent or composition, as a way to exhale a little.

“Turning something into a ritual eliminates the question, Why am I doing this? By the time I give the taxi driver directions, it’s too late to wonder why I’m going to the gym and not snoozing under the warm covers of my bed….

It’s a simple act but doing it the same way each morning habitualizes it–makes it repeatable, easy to do. It reduces the chance that I would skip it or do it differently. it is one more item in my arsenal of routines, and one less thing to think about…” ~ Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit

If you're feeling brave, join us! Just a few simple marks on a page; a photo; a squiggled line; a bit of fabric sewn. This is a way to pay homage to your creative heart.

xoxo, Christina