Sunday, March 11, 2018

Simple Truths

"Creativity embeds knowledge so that it can become practice. We move what we're learning from our heads to our hearts through our hands. We are born makers, and creativity is the ultimate act of integration -- it is how we fold our experiences into our being. Over the course of my career, the question I've been asked more than any other is, "How do I take what I'm learning about myself and actually change how I'm living?"...after lots of research and interviewing hundreds of creatives, I've come to believe that creativity is the mechanism that allows learning to seep into our being and become practice."                                                                          ~Brene Brown

Simple truth: When I feel stressed or overwhelmed in my everyday life, I seek solitude and calm in my creative life.

For the last two weeks, I have been feeling a little overwhelmed. My kitchen has been in chaos. The choices for countertops and backsplash have gone so smoothly, but we are faltering in our flooring and lighting selections. Lighting is difficult to envision. Certain fixtures look tempting when hanging amongst hundreds of others in the store, but by itself in my unfinished kitchen, held up by my husband's hand above the peninsula, I am less sure if that is THE right one. There has been plenty of buying and returning in the last couple of weeks.

Simple truth: Because of this sense of feeling overwhelmed, I have been unable to do any filming for the past two weeks. The films I make require planning and storyboarding. This is something that comes fairly easily when my mind isn't overloaded with utilitarian decisions.

Simple Truth: Instead of filmmaking, it has been easier to grab my camera, jump in the car and go on a photo adventure. This leaves the planning and shot list to chance and happenstance, instead of placing the burden of more decisions on me.

Simple Truth: If I don't have an idea for this blog space by Thursday, there will be no blog post on Sunday. I work better being early instead of late.

Simple Truth: I am not afraid to try new things until I find something that works. In the spirit of trying something new, for the month of March, I am going to try and find my inspiration spark early in the week.

Sunday afternoon I sat down with my new book, Just Write One Thing Today - 365 Creative Prompts to Inspire You Every Day, flipping through the pages looking for inspiration. A couple caused small stirrings of interest, like: Flavors - Write down five of your favorite drinks, or Old Watch - Describe an old watch that has been covered in cobwebs in a box in the attic. Both of those could have been fun, but just not quite the right one. Finally on Day 280, I found the one that I couldn't stop thinking about: Evergreen Forest - Imagine you are in an evergreen forest. Describe the sights, smells, and sounds of your surroundings.

Monday morning, I loaded my tripod and camera into the car before the eight o'clock hour and set off for the Spruce Loop.

Simple Truth: I am a beach shooter, not a forest shooter. I love negative space. I had to work harder to find it in the tangle of trees.

Simple Truth: If you have made it to the end of this post and all you remember are serene, morning-lit pictures of an evergreen forest, that's alright. I take the photographs to share with you, but I write the words for me. I have taken what was in my head, used my hands, and moved it to my heart.

Do you have an evergreen forest where you could go for a walk this week?

In Other News...

For all my angst, the kitchen is actually coming along well. The countertops are in, and I LOVE them. The tile backsplash is up and I LOVE that too. The cabinets have been "refreshed" and look brand new again. Not bad for thirty year old cabinets. I spent Tuesday and Thursday painting over the Robin's Egg Blue the walls use to be. They are now a very neutral Alabaster. Outlet covers are still in the deciding stage. Flooring has been decided and I will get that ordered this week. The lighting saga continues...

Serendipitous moment at the grocery store this week. My path crossed with another blogging friend who I have never met before. She is @kateterhaar on Instagram. We have been friends for years on FaceBook and Instagram. She is originally from where I live, and happened to be in town for a conference and to visit with her sister. The chances of both of us being in the produce aisle at little past eight on a Friday morning are pretty slim. Meeting Kate felt like talking with an longtime friend.

Happy adventures this week my friends!


  1. Interesting thought process, Sarah and your photos which express what is going on in your mind. I am not near a beach nor a forest, I am near buildings and concrete and roads. I need to make big efforts to take public transport up to a forest area. Getting down to the lake is somewhat easier. Your kitchen is taking shape very nicely! Have a beautiful Sunday!

  2. I feel much the same way - when I am overwhelmed, I am not able to invest the mental energy in creativity. I haven’t posted for the past couple of weeks for pretty much this reason. This will pass. Light fixtures... the worst! I never used to even notice them and then I needed to choose one for my bathroom and made myself crazy! Side note - I chose poorly and someday will replace it, but the good news is that life goes on. When I notice it, I think - ugh I need to replace that, but most of the time I don’t really even notice it. Forest - yes, our Vermont home is in the forest and while I think the surroundings are beautiful, I struggle with getting a photo that truly reflects that. Good luck with your kitchen redo - it’s great that you’re loving it so far- those things are the hardest to redo, so no worries over the light, they’re easily replaced. :-)

  3. "We move what we're learning from our heads to our hearts through our hands." I love these words as they describe exactly how photography brings me joy. Sometimes I feel just holding the camera and pushing the shutter button brings me more joy than seeing the photo I took! Strange I know, but I love to hear that shutter click. Your walk in the woods was lovely. I do have my own evergreen forest where I can walk. It has brought me hours of pleasure! Your kitchen makeover is looking wonderful. I know you'll be glad when the last details are chosen and installed!

  4. We remodeled our kitchen a few years ago so I have sympathy for your process. In the end it is so worth it. I like that you just go out with your camera and share the photos. We have no beaches where I live but lots of woods. The winter cold has kept me in most of the time. I need to make it a point to get out there and shoot. You are an inspiration.

  5. Don't sweat the other choices you have to make because you've already done the hard part and it looks great. You'll be amazed how it will all come together if you pick out what you love.

  6. Nothing sets me right like a walk in the woods. I'm fortunate to be surrounded by them.

  7. Of course we take away those beautiful photos - who wouldn't? - but that doesn't mean your words don't resonate with us. I do know these feelings of being overwhelmed and it usually slows down my creative process, often to a complete stop. I'm glad I have my knitting needles for moments like that (and beyond). I also know that eventually the tides will change again.
    I'm not a real fan of the evergreen forest. I love forest, but more those that lose their leaves in autumn after displaying a splendid fireworks of colors, are bare in the winter so that we see the bark, come back to life in spring and offer cooling shade in summer.

  8. Your kitchen looks amazing! Such a heartfelt post.

  9. I am not good at decisions when I am faced with hundreds of selections . . .
    or thousands . . .
    I liked the lichen . . .

  10. Exquisitely lovely photos. The forest images very much represent your overwhelming state of heart(mind). And trying to find the calm(negative space). I really love this view of the boardwalk too. While dong Blake’s parent house I felt like I had to have everything decided before hand but ended up changing the backsplash at at the last minute. We are nearly finished too. By the way your kitchen is looking great!

  11. The morning light is beautiful! Especially the way the sun illuminated the leaves in the middle of the of the dark branches. It is hard to find negative space in the woods, but I see you found f2.8 (possibly 5.6:) works well to get the bokeh and create the negative space. I find it hard to be creative when I am overwhelmed too. It is like all the worry and lists fill my head and there is no room left for creative thinking, but there is no better cure than a walk in the woods. I have been to the Redwoods in CA twice. That would have to be my favorite evergreen forest, although I can't go there this week... Your kitchen looks wonderful! Lights are hard to pick out. But don't worry about it too much, do you know what the lights look like in your neighbors house? (That is before you started looking at lights.) John asked me that when I was overwhelmed. It helped. But thank goodness you can return them so you can get the lights that suit you the best. What a great surprise to meet a blogging friend in the produce aisle! Have a great week!

  12. Living in the heart of the Ozark Mountains, there really isn't anything BUT forest and woody trails to photograph. It's lovely to see the forest-y areas up where you live.

    And your kitchen looks gorgeous! Good luck with everything that's left to do!

  13. For me, there is nothing quite like a walk or run to clear my head. My favorite time is very, very early in the morning before the city wakes up. It's also great to be able to see the sun rise each day. I find it's almost impossible to have a bad day when I start my day like this.

    Your kitchen looks wonderful!! I love the brick back wall, and the cabinets are beautiful.

  14. It can be hard to find the negative space you crave in an evergreen forest... or any forest, but it's worth searching for. I once had a friend who said that trees were lovely, but they got in the way of the view. Whenever I go for a walk in the woods (and our woods here are mostly evergreen trees), I remember Chris and that particular comment. And I am reminded to not let what's in front of me, get in the way of what I need to see.

    Your new kitchen is beautiful!

  15. Oh I hear you overwhelm stifles my creativity too. I love that Brene Brown quote - thank you so much for sharing it. And that photo with the light coming through the leaves - magic. xx

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  17. We are about to embark on a kitchen update. Decided the flooring. Lighting was done and I still like it. Backsplash and counter tops still in limbo. But we haven't lifted a finger yet. I wait til all the decisions are made. It could be a long wait, Lol. Yours is looking good.

  18. I'm trying to catch up here in your space. I've been pretty much away from the computer for graduation prep. I can't believe you ran into a blogger/instagram friend in the grocery store! That is just so great. Love the forest photos.

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  21. I am fortunate to live on the wet side of the PNW, surrounded by trees. At sea level the forests are a mix of deciduous and evergreen; as you climb into the mountains they become mostly evergreen. One of my favorite wooded trails is just down the hill from my house. Your wirds about creativity being stifled when you're overwhelmed really struck a chord with me, as I've been struggling with the same feelings. You put it into words so beautifully, Sarah... thank you!


Thank you so much for visiting today and taking the time to read my thoughts on life. :)