January Practice and Process: “Clearing”
In creating our new project Bellwether we’ve decided to share what we’re doing each month before it’s released at the end of the year.
We’re calling these posts “practice and process“.
They will detail the spiritual/life practice we’re doing,
give a look at our in-process art that we’re creating in response,
and then include a whole host of resources and activities! (like the new desktop wallpaper, book/music/movie lists, recipes, explorations for kids, etc. This is so as a entire family we can engage in this year’s exploration of “belief” we’re calling Bellwether.
JANUARY Theme: Clearing
To me January is about resetting, starting fresh. It is the metaphor of a clear desk space – putting away all old projects and supplies, shining the surface, pulling up a stool, and opening up a new blank sketchbook, and beginning.
As a family this month, we plan on doing two main things.
- Clearing out our house of it’s excesses – stripping down to the objects that give us joy and clearing room for creativity to breath.
After a book has been recommended to me by 3 different people independent of each other, I figure it is time to read it. While we were home for Christmas, Tim and I both read this book: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
Marie Kondo is quirky. She personifies objects and houses. I particularly loved how she talked about socks.
(“The socks and stockings stored in your drawer are essentially on holiday.”
I can’t say I have ever really thought twice about how hard my socks work.) Here are the basic ideas in the book –
- Start by discarding. Then organize your space, thoroughly, completely, in one go.
- Discard by category – not by location (first clothing, then books, etc…)
- A dramatic reorganization of the home causes correspondingly dramatic changes in lifestyle and perspective. It is life transforming. Then everything has its right place and tidying becomes easier.
- when you put your house in order, you put your affairs and your past in order, too.
- Surround yourself only by the things you love
“Letting go is even more important than adding” – Marie Kondo
What I have discovered by going through this process, at least so far, is that through discarding, I begin discern more clearly what is most important to me!
2. For our second spiritual/life practice we’re setting up a table altar. When the meal is finished and the table is cleared and cleaned ring the bell and say this prayer together: Lord God and King we thank you for your sustaining love.
Artistically, January is a month of exploration for me. I have some initial ideas for Bellwether, but mostly I am letting things steep. I will be drawing in my sketchbook a lot. And working through several boxes of beautiful old books to be used as collage material donated to me by the Greeley History Museum. I’m resetting and clearing my studio space to begin a new year of creating – I can’t hardly bear to post this picture of my studio right now. It is in SUCH a sad shape of disaster (this is what happens when the year ends with 3 major art shows). But, by sharing it here, it is just even more motivation to get it to where I want it to be.
Tim is working on recording a song around the ideas of subtraction and clearing. Hopefully for use in a really cool upcoming project.
(by the way if you haven’t checked out the new January calendar and desktop you definitely should)
Resources for “Clearing”:
JANUARY Dates to Take Note of:
January 11th – Winners of the major Children’s book awards are announced
January 18th – Martin Luther King Day – listen to this playlist or this one
Local: Greeley, CO events:
January 9th – Missoula Children’s Theater Rapunzel @UCCC
Starting January 18th – Centennial branch library is hosting a “Discover Nasa” exhibit
January 29-30th -The Annual Father Daughter Dance – tim takes the girls each year, and they all just love it.
(Here are the pictures from last year, we still giggle at how much these two shots capture the girls’ personalities)
Let me know if you have other fun Greeley events I should add to this calendar!
I am reading a lot of parenting and “how kids learn” kind of books, because we are thinking about shifting up how we teach our kiddos next year.
I have been really digging into Michelle Garrels new blog/resources at her site The New Domestic.
I want to listen to this podcast interview of her.
Her resource lists are particularly wonderful for learners of all ages.
Tim has been reading The Crowd, the Critic, and the Muse by M. Gungor
Every snippet he has read to me has been just wonderful. I can’t wait to pick it up too.
I have seen some powerful reviews of When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
I am very interested to read his story.
Here are some of the books I have on hold at the library for the kids this month:
We are also planning on rereading the financial classic Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey (if I can get past the Cheese factor). It is a proven system of money managing that has worked wonders for us in the past.
Chvrches – Every Open Eye (my current favorite track is Clearest Blue – it makes me want to go running)
This liturgists podcast called “Vapor”
Since the theme is “Clear”ing, I would love to do this vinegar egg experiment with the kids
Since it is ridiculously cold here right now, I think this would be a beautiful little science experiment to try as well.
We are in the midst of the Bon Appetit food lover’s cleanse for 2016. A practice we have done for the last 3 years. For our family it is a lovely reset. I do simplify and rearrange the menus for the sake of our grocery budget. So far our absolute new favorite is the Oven Roasted Chicken with Grapes.
Read and be inspired by this children’s book and experiment with our own scratch art.
Because one of our sub-themes is subtraction, we want to play around with Soap Carving with the girlies. Also seem like they would be fun for the bath if we made little boats.
POETRY to READ:
Betony, I can’t express how much this post really affirmed to me my own thoughts and feelings! For the last week I’ve been doing just that, “clearing” away the last year of storage clutter that had taken over my studio. My daughter came to us last May to spend the remaining 6 months of her pregnancy with us while her husband was finishing officer candidate stuff. No art was done after that, and I’m feeling rusty and rootless. Not only do I need a clearing of room clutter but also of mind clutter. I will be following along with you and Tim as best I can. I love the reminder that the new children’s book awards were announced, I’m a collector of such things but only by happen stance, i.e. When found at the thrift store. It seems years since I’ve been purposeful, thanks for the inspiration to move in that direction. Please tell Tim I enjoyed hearing him singing (The Cupboard is Full) on my music shuffle this morning….right next to “Grievious and the Droids” from Star Wars episode lll ( remnants of my 12 year old son, now 21) .
I would appreciate your prayers for my heart to be purposeful again for His purposes, as I will pray for you and your sweet family.