on faith, creativity & making time
It’s something I hear a lot. I will be chatting to someone, and mention offhand about something I’ve made, or something I’ve blogged, something, generally, that is just “mine”, not directly connected to wife-and-motherhood, and there it is – “I don’t know how you find the time”. And I kind of shrug and mumble something about making time because it’s important. Truth be told, on the outside looking in, our life can appear to be something optimistically referred to as “organised chaos” (with not a great deal of the former, and a healthy serve of the latter) – we have four children, between the two of us we serve on four boards & committees, Mr Barefoot works long hours, there is always something I need to get the children to, always something else we have volunteered for or find ourselves tangled up in, and somewhere in there I squeeze in some time to create pretty things, or bake, or sew costumes for dress-up days, or blog… and squeeze is the best way to describe it! Blogging is often a night-before-publication thing. I am renowned for my midnight sewing jaunts to meet a (generally self-imposed) deadline. I craft with small companions a lot of time, quickly sticking something down while they create a glitter masterpiece. But I find I need that time to create something, to re-centre myself and it makes me a better wife, mother, person, when I get that time, even if it is only a stolen five minutes in the depths of the night.
I have also become a master of multi-tasking. I generally never leave home without a small handwork project, or a book. I knit while the children are at drama. I cross-stitch at story time. I read at ballet. It is a very rare moment that I sit with nothing in my hands. I am happiest when both my hands and mind are busy – even sitting chatting the mister on the back lawn on a Sunday afternoon, as we watch the children play, I will have something in my hand. Every spare moment I can steal, I will. And generally, I find it leaves me focusing better on the task my brain is engaged in, if my hands are busy.
Which, really, is a long-winded lead in, to saying how much I love bible journaling. Stumbling upon the idea by accident last year on Instagram, by the end of the night I had a pretty mint-with-berry-polka-dots journaling bible on it’s way to me. I have played on and off since I got it, but these last couple of weeks, I have kicked my own butt into line, and made a habit out of journaling daily. I am currently following a Lent devotional series via an app called She Reads Truth (the plan is also available on their website – the app is free, as is the web-based reading plan, though the app-based reading plan had a small fee, but it was worth it in my opinion) – but it started to feel like “one more thing” that I needed to fit into the “how I do it all” thing. I wanted to read the plan. I wanted to journal daily. If I was only just finding time for one, how would I find time for both? And the answer became clear – I needed to make the time. Just like everything else, it’s all about priorities.
And therein, my friends, lies my secret to how I “do it all” – spoiler alert; I don’t do it all. My beautiful large glass bi-fold doors that are the centrepiece of our living area are free of grubby fingerprints at child approximately three times a year. I would rather sew than fold socks. I would rather read than dust. Some people are born housekeepers & that’s their thing – I’m not (sorry honey!). Some people play candy crush. Some people go out for coffee every day. I am no more productive than anyone else (truth be told, I’m probably less – I could medal in procrastination if it was an Olympic sport). I just chose to spend my limited spare time making pretty things.
And so now, I have switched around those priorities once more. Bible journaling is a line item in my daily to-do lists. I either do it early in the morning if I am up early enough before the children wake, else it’s the first thing I do when Beetle goes down for a nap. Now, I get both done – I read my devotional on my phone as I brush my teeth, and pick out the passage I want to journal, and mull over it in my mind until I can get to the point of actually getting out the paints. Why I didn’t think to combine the reading plan & the desire to journal earlier, I don’t know. I had it set in my mind that my journaling was an “extra”, something to fit in on top of my regular reading. When I made the connection to prioritise it alongside my reading, it was a lightbulb moment, a face palm that of course I could do both. (For those horrified at the legibility problems I am creating for myself, don’t stress. I have a seperate, mostly-unmarked bible for reading. This one was purchased for the purposes of getting it messy)
I am definitely still in the “feeling my way” stage, finding a style that fits. But like all art journaling, it’s the process more than the end that matters. It feels like a good solid habit now, and a cornerstone of my day, to sit, read, reflect & then get messy and get it out on the page. Reading my bible. Creating something beautiful. Having fun. Two birds. One Stone. Perfect.