We are continuing our series, “Interview with a Renaissance Mom,” with one of my favorite creative mamas ever. She’s part flower-girl, but all God’s girl! The way she captures the beauty in everyday moments with her 4 little people, absolutely captures my own heart! I love her use of natural light. And the bold use of color throughout her home (both indoors and out) are the absolute best! Honestly, I dream of flying her out to my home one day to decorate my backyard with me, and then take pictures of my family frolicking around the fire pit! It sound ridiculous, but wait till you see this girl’s fun style and you’ll want her to help you frolic too!
Welcome with me, Renaissance Mom, Lee-Anne Haggett
1) Please introduce yourself to us by sharing a little bit about yourself – who you are and where you live, and a bit about your kids.
My name is Lee-Anne and I am from the Ottawa area of Canada. I have been married to my best friend + high school sweetheart for 10 years this August. We met in grade 9 and have been inseparable since! We now have 4 beautiful children and yes, we were crazy and had them all within a 5.5 year span! Our oldest is 6yo and her name is Priscilla, a year and a week later our Maelle came, Malakai is almost 3yo and our little Clementine is 8 months old. They are the sweet balance of chaos + beauty every hour of the day!
2) At Life Creative we believe that art morphs as a woman transitions from season to season. This is especially true of creative personalities. What did your creativity look like as a child, throughout school, or in your adult years before motherhood? And what shape does your creativity take today?
Oh goodness, my art has been all over the place! I have always been a crafty person, even as a young child. I loved painting + drawing growing up. I took art class all through high school and then decided I wanted to go into hairstyling. I went to a trendy little school in Toronto for hairstyling that I specifically chose because I would get to do runway hair. I was the head hairstylist for a few different runway shows during Toronto Fashion Week. It was such a rush and I absolutely LOVED it! I even got to be a model for one show because a model didn’t show up. It was AMAZING!
After hair school, I knew I didn’t want to be just a regular hairstylist in a salon but Ottawa didn’t have much opportunity for wild + crazy runway hair. I got a DSLR camera and started taking random photos around home. Friends loved my photos and I received an opportunity to have a payed gig photographing an anniversary party. That led to my first wedding and my husband tagged along taking photos as well. We had so much fun shooting together that we decided to make a go of it! My husband started researching you tube videos on photography and when he learned something, he would show me. Over the years we got better + better and more people wanted to hire us so we started a little business.
Once we started having children, it was the perfect business to let me stay home with the kids but still earn some money to supplement our income. That’s how Luke and Lee Photography began!
I have also picked up sewing! My hubby found an old Singer at a second hand store years ago, and for about 2 years I refused to even touch it. Finally I brought it to my grandma and she showed me how to thread it, and since then I’ve been making random outfits for my kids. I am always tinkering away at a craft of some sort, whether it be something for around the home or for a gift for a friend or family member. Creativity comes in many shapes + forms around our house!
3) In the busyness of motherhood it can be hard to find the place and the space to fit your passions within the practical places of family life. Where and when have you carved out the time to create in your busy days?
Oh this is SO TRUE! There are months were I look back and think, “Man, I have barely done anything creative!” and then other months where you will see me huddled at the kitchen table over my sewing machine every night or tinkering away in the darkness on something.
I keep my camera available in my dining room so when an opportunity arises throughout the day, I can quickly grab it and snap a photo. It keeps my eyes sharp and my heart soft to the beauty of the everyday when I can so easily just pass over it.
It is such a struggle but it is so life giving when you can set that time aside after the kids have snuggled up in bed or you have given them a pound of play dough to keep them busy as you work away beside them.
4) I believe that God purposed our creativity to be one of the vehicles through which we respond to the Great Commission call on our lives?
It starts in our home. I think just seeing the creativity that is flowing out of my children is such an honor to the Lord. To see that they have watched me and learned from me and are now creating masterpieces on their own for their loved ones is so amazing!
Beyond the home, God has given me many different ways to use my creativity to bless others. One is decorating our church each season. I would have never thought that such a simple act would bring so much life to the body. And, of course, our photography has brought us into so many different lives, people we would have never met or spent time with otherwise. For a wedding, we get to spend a good 10 solid hours with a couple that may not ever have had a personal relationship with Jesus and we can be a light. One of the first questions most people ask when we show up at a wedding is “Is photography your full time job?” and we get to respond with, “Actually no, Luke is a pastor!”. It is pretty cool and often leads into more discussion which is totally God!
5) We spend our days caring for “our most beautiful creations” but there are other creations we long to pen, sing, paint, stitch and bake. It’s hard to embrace any other dream during this dream-come-true season of mothering. Share one of your dreams with our readers?
Oh the dreams!!! lol One of my dreams is when all of my children are in school, I would LOVE to go back to school and take a fashion design course to learn how to properly make clothing and I would love to start up my own clothing line with funky clothes and bright colours. I love creating things with my sewing machine and I feel like it would be such a life giving opportunity!
6) Would you share with us one of your “creative crushes” – another creative mom who inspires you and why.
One of my favourite “creative crushes” is Joy Prouty. Her simple beauty for life and the way she can make a spec of dust look beautiful behind a camera is so magical! She has a raw sense of life but in that rawness, there is so much truth and encouragement. Follow her on Instagram.
7) If you had one piece of advice to leave us with, concerning this awkward dance between faith, family and the flourishing arts, what would it be?
Simplicity. Simplicity is everything in a world that is moving so fast. Do what you can and let go of the rest. This life is so busy, especially when you have little ones. Don’t pack your days so full that you give no opportunity to create or let your littles create. You will find your balance. And do not compare yourself to others. You were made to create, let God show you how in this crazy dance!
8) Where can we find more of your work and connect with you online?
We hope these interviews inspire you to celebrate your own Life Creative.
Order a copy of Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom today and join our Renaissance Faire! As a special incentive, purchase Life Creative by the end of September and receive our free downloadable resource, “Five Stepss to Turn Your Creative Hobby into a Thriving Business.” Confirm purchase and receive your free gift today!
Inspired by our new book, Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom, Kelli Stuart and I hope that this series encourages you to dabble and delight in the cracks and crevices of your mothering moments. We believe that when we fit our creative passions into the practical places of motherhood, the passion fuels the practical.
Avail yourself to the wonderful way God made you before He made you a mother.
I’m so excited to introduce y’all to this sweet mother of three, visual artist, and color enthusiast, Rylie Caldwell
Please introduce yourself and your family to all of us.
Hi there! My name is Rylie and I live in Houston, Texas with my husband and our three precious daughters. They are ages three, two, and six months. It’s all bows, sprinkles and glitter around here pretty much 24/7 and I love it! I studied architecture in college but have had an interest in art my whole life. Growing up I would spend hours at my grandmother’s kitchen table learning to use watercolor paint with her and really developed a love for painting. After working in the architecture field for several years we decided I would stay home after the birth of our first baby. Since then I have spent more time developing my artwork and am really enjoying the process of constantly digger deeper into my artistic side.
What did your art look like before you had children, and how did that art morph and change after children?
Before I had children my artwork was more literal than I am currently exploring. Since having children I have become much more interested in the abstract realm. I am not sure why that is exactly but it may have something to do with feeling more freedom to create!
Where and when have you carved out time to create in your busy mothering days?
I try to make time to create while my girls nap in the afternoon. I also invite them to come into the studio with me and enjoy that space with their mom. Sometimes it doesn’t last for very long with them in there but we give it a good try! After they go to bed I usually pick it back up and squeeze in a bit more time. My studio is just the study of our home so it’s all right here in our house and super convenient to stop and go with it throughout the day.
Motherhood doesn’t have to be the death of dreaming – in fact, it shouldn’t be! We continue to dream even with little ones by our side. What are some of your hopes and dreams in regards to your creativity?
I have so many! My ultimate dream would be to travel the world with my family and then come back to my studio and create collections of work based on each trip. Maybe 4 collections a year…what a life that would be!
If you had one piece of advice to offer a mother who may be struggling with the messy blend of motherhood and art, what would you say?
First of all, go easy on yourself! There is so much pressure to be all things to all people and it can be overwhelming. You are doing a great job! Second, make time to create because it will feed your soul and reconnect you with yourself and the ultimate Creator. Third, dream big and share your work! Don’t be afraid to show people what your fabulous hands have made! Fourth, have a plan and set up your space so that when you get a little down time you can sneak in a bit of creative nourishment. Even if you only get in an hour a day, if you do it every day at the end of the week that’s 7 whole hours!
Finally, how can we follow along and see more of your Life Creative?
You can find me at:
FB: Rylie Caldwell Art
I’d love to stay in touch!
Thank you Rylie, for living this inspired life so transparently. I’ve loved following you on Instagram and look forward to watching all four of you girls grow!
We hope these interviews inspire you to celebrate your own creative design. Order a copy of Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom today and join our Renaissance Faire! As a special incentive, purchase Life Creative by the end of September and receive our free downloadable resource, “Five Stepss to Turn Your Creative Hobby into a Thriving Business.” Confirm purchase and receive your free gift today!
Sometimes I sit down to read the Bible and get so inspired by the first four words in the very first verse, I set it aside and start writing a blog post or a book proposal; or I plan a party to encourage women because that sliver of scripture inspired me so; or I open up my sketch book and start hand lettering those four God-breathed words. Four Words.
Being a creative woman is never boring!
There are always a dozen windows open on my desktop – recipes to try, succulent gardens to plant, blog posts to write, portraits of my children to capture, invitations to send… you get me. And yes, in case you were wondering, it’s exhausting. I’m flitting and floating, and sometime lose my footing.
Recently I was at a gathering for other creative women where I had the privilege of chatting with Bible study author, Denise Hughes. She slipped me a gift, a copy of the first book in her new series, Word Writers, and my eyes got all big and round because, of course, I was ready to dive right in. Right then and there. I bubbled over, “I can’t wait to read this, Denise, I haven’t been consistent with a Bible Study these past nine months. I’ve been so busy with all the book writing and speaking and… and… and…
It was then that Denise quieted me with her gentle hand upon my arm: “I love creative women. They’re a lot like helium balloons, always bobbing here and there. But a balloon needs to be tied down or it can get lost. God’s Word is the string holding each of us in place.”
I’m pleased to say that the Philippians study Denise slipped into my hands is, indeed, working like a tether to ground me in the Lord again. I’m reminded of the lyrics to this old hymns:
“Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.” (Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing)
If you’re a creative woman, or really any woman, always striving, always going, always bobbing… on the fringe of being too far gone – onging for the days when you simply sat in God’s Word, fettered, tethered, and bound and determined to never stray, Word Writers – Philippians is a wonderful study to bring you back into a regular time with the Lord again.
And as a message of encouragement to you creative women, remember, your greatest strength is often your greatest weakness. though you tend to bounce around sometimes, the fact you are continually inspired is part of your “in His image” design. Before God created the heavens and the earth, He was, Himself, inspired – imaging each glorious facet of His creation. And the crowning accomplishment of all He made was you and me, all of us, embodying his Creative likeness. What a privilege, what an honor. So let yourself bob like a balloon on the winds of inspiration, but don’t forget to stay grounded to the One who inspires!
Denise Hughes has a great big heart for creative women, in fact, she was one of the first to endorse Kelli Stuart and my new book, Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom:
“Mothers carry deep within them an innate desire to create beauty —whether it’s with shape or color, words or song. In Life Creative, Wendy and Kelli come alongside the artistic soul inside us all with wisdom and insight on how to care for our families while also caring for the artist within. …an absolute must-read for creative moms.”
— Denise J. Hughes | Author of the Bible study series, Word Writers and the book On Becoming a Writer. Editorial Coordinator for (in)courage, and Founder of Deeper Waters Ministry
Perhaps your summer was hectic, running back and forth between their sun-soaked sprinkler play and afternoon bike rides, the umpteenth reapplication of sunscreen and popsicle parties, followed by last minute barbecues and late night movies on the couch! But now there’s school and packing lunches and matching socks, sorting through newsletters and keeping track of class parties, making it to soccer practice on time, keeping the baby from falling asleep in the car, and helping with homework… not to mention fitting dinner into the evening routine.
It’s a different sort of stress. But there’s aways stress. Whether you’re a stay at home mom, a work at home mom, a traditional working mom, a single mom, or a married mom. There’s always stress.
As far as my stress levels are concerned, I’ve been under the gun these past few weeks, with a crazy twitchy trigger finger.
Why? You may ask. Well, it’s had a lot to do with the launch of the new Triggers Study Guide – which released today!
(insert sweeping confetti up quickly, because sometimes a mess can make me stressed. It’s one of my triggers.)
Speaking of my own personal triggers… as Amber Lia and I wrote the triggers study guide we discovered that there’s lots of stress bound up in the writing of a book and sharing it with our people online. What with all of our little people (seven boys between our two families!) continually wanting our attention, adamant that they’re hungry… and out of clean underwear… in need of another glass of water before bed.
(insert cool water to the face)
In case you didn’t know it… writing Triggers was a great big trigger for me!
(I’m not a good multi-tasker)
(see chapter 27)
But I digress. Here’s what I think: Chasing any dream beyond the dream-come-true of motherhood can bring on crazy amounts of stress – even when it’s ministry! Especially when it’s ministry related! After all, we’ve got an enemy who would love to rip all of us ministering mamas apart with stress, so that our stressed out nerves come undone and we blow like a left-over 4th of July bottle-rocket, one week into the school year! Nothing makes us feel less qualified as a mom than getting inappropriately angry with our kids.
Can I get an Amen?
Remember the ole adage, “The devil made me do it.”
But you and I both know, as sure as we have an enemy up to no good, we have an advocate who can see us straight through the stress!
That quote above, ^^^ that there’s my most favorite quote from the brand new Triggers Study Guide! I speak it over myself regularly, believing it’s true.
Yes. He. Will. It’s a promise.
“When hard pressed, I cried to the LORD; he brought me into a spacious place. The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid.” (Psalm 118:5-6, NIV)
Sweet friends, His ongoing, saving presence is promised to every man, woman, boy, and girl who puts their faith in His redeeming right arm! If you are a believing mama who is so used to fighting stress you start fighting your loved ones… God wants to see you through your stress better.
Though Satan loves to keep us distracted, toy with our feelings, and stir up the stress and the strife with his twisted little finger, God says, “This one’s mine.”
So we keep our eyes on Him, and He leads us safely through.
No matter the trigger. No matter the stress.
Hey, I have an idea!
What do you say we go through the new Triggers Study Guide together?
(insert more confetti)
(quickly clean it up)
Starting Tuesday, September 6th, Amber and I are going to be leading a private Facebook group through all 31 triggers. JOIN US for the MOB Society Sponsored Book Club! We’ll be using the new study guide along with Triggers (which is on sale this week only for $9.99) to take us deep into God’s Word as we seek His counsel on the external things our kids do (like ignoring instruction and talking back) to the internal things about us (depression, exhaustion, and ALL THE MESS!) that cause us to explode at our loved ones.
Before we focus on any one trigger (what they do incessantly that causes us to explode like a midsummer bottle rocket) let’s simply remember what is true: Though they act childish, we’re still the adults. (winter, spring, summer, fall…)
I know this is true, because I get to practice it each and every summer day. You see, there’s still a lot of conflict in my home between my boys. Sometimes I indulge, feeling like a victim, and respond in exasperated anger, but then I remember… Triggers are merely opportunities to keep doing the good parenting! Even in the summertime.
Especially in the summertime, with all that concentrated togetherness.
So… who needs to keep doing some good parenting this week? If you’re worn out, halfway through summer, and they’re whining and complaining… you don’t get to. No you don’t. Their whining is simply an invitation for you to keep parenting well. And if they’re fighting with one another and fighting with you? Again, it’s not your job to fight back. You’re the adult.
“Let us not grow weary in doing good for in due season (whether winter, spring, summer or fall) we will reap if we do not lose heart!” (Galatians 6:9)
Press on in the good parenting. It’s your job! Of course they have a job too… It’s their job to push against your boundaries – begging for more screen time, begging for cookies all afternoon – it’s how they learn to make good choices for themselves on the other side of growing up. It’s how they come to find their own power, by leaning into yours – pushing up and rubbing hard against your boundaries, your power. It’s good and normal. Hold firm to what’s best for them, though it wearies you something awful; hold onto your boundaries. Let me affirm you! This is hard stuff, but you don’t have to fight your kids. Let them ask for the moon, but give them only what you can – what is good for them – and say no to what they can’t have.
Will they keep fighting? Perhaps… but you don’t have to fight back.
Use a soft voice and remember that God did a good job when He made you their mom. If the kids are talking nasty, don’t you join them. Excuse them to their rooms and remind them that no one in the family is allowed to talk nasty.
“Encourage one another and build each other up.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Make sure you’re getting some exercise and drinking plenty of water (you and the kids.) Watch your sugar intake too, and set some boundaries around other coping mechanisms that can become idols in a mom’s life. Alcohol in the afternoon, and time on your phone pulling away from the chaos as you smooth your angst-y nerves.
Summertime triggers are opportunities to parent, not excuses to pull away, slack off, and play the victim.
How do I know this? Because I’d like to pull away more afternoons than I care to admit! I’d absolutely like to pull away to lick my wounds… but most summer days there isn’t space for that. So let’s press into summer and press into Christ and press on into the good parenting. Grace and good parenting (and a popsicle or two) will get you through.
A very sincerely thank you to Amber Lia, my dear friend and co-author of our book Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses, for coining the phrase, “Keep doing the good parenting.”
It is my own personal mantra, every single day!
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