melissa hirshburg profile

artist + writer

sharing gentleness, faith and artful inspiration


Peace + Creativity

Peace + Creativity

I really love January more and more as I get older. 

The slower pace, my decluttered calendar.

Cold weather that makes me appreciate all things soft and warm and cozy. 

A little retreat after all the holiday gatherings.

This January I started out feeling pretty tired from travel, then needing to unpack, clean clothes, organize and declutter. Not just my home but my mind. To sort through last year and this year and reset. collect. Get organized in more ways than one. 

When Oliver went back to pre-k I took what felt like an extensive time thinking about 2017, really it was just an hour or two. Funny how that can feel excessive.  I was surprised by the resistance I felt towards really taking time to slow down and delve deeper into reflections. Nagging in my mind was the need to get started already on all the things. 

But I didn't. I pressed the slow button for myself, and asked a few questions:

What worked in 2017?

What didn't work in 2017?

What was life-giving? 

What was life-draining?

I didn't start out with the question  "what are my goals?". I eventually got there, but not before answering some important questions that would help shape my perspective and vision.

Then I made some timelines and goals with those things in mind. And it was really helpful. I loved this new practice and wanted to share it with you.

*Thanks Anne Bogel and Emily Freeman for sharing how you make these lists with your readers.

Also, I picked my word for the year; create. Last year it was peace. I was craving peace, but of course the year did not serve peace to me on a platter. It was a struggle. Anxiety heightened. So, I remembered my blogger friend Aimee Kollmansberger's words to me, a reminder that peace is a person; Jesus is my peace. I kept turning my eyes towards Jesus over and over and over, and then also I looked for practical ways to relieve anxiety. 

This year I chose the word create, because I don't want to stop creating. In a lot of ways 2017 was the year I picked creativity back up again, well, 2016 too, but this past year I setup an online shop (for custom watercolor painting orders) and I bought a few lettering and calligraphy tools/kits to get better at it. And when you dust off an old practice and begin again I think discouragement can easily make you want to quit. Starting again will mean going through some growing pains, making mistakes, and struggling. So, I chose the word create, to nudge me gently forward, not with any certain outcome expected, but with the mindset of embracing those things that make me feel more fully alive. I love painting and calligraphy and writing, but becoming good at it isn't easy. So I offer myself patience with a little nudge, a nudge that says enjoy the process and keep on in the direction of doing what you love. 

So that's just a little on my thoughts for the new year. Also,  just for fun I thought I would share a few things on my list of worked in 2017.

wHAT WORKED IN 2017

  1. Squarespace! I love having a blog on squarespace. User friendly, and made setting up an online shop so easy. Thankfulness.
  2. Very soft clothes, haha. For example my cream colored Patagonia fleece, fleece lined leggings, and cozy socks. The older I get, the more I realize how tactile things effect me so much. 
  3. The Christmas Quiet Collection by Emily P Freeman. I tend to get anxiety around the holidays, and this audio series by Emily was such a soothing sweet comfort to start my December days with.
  4. Collecting Seashells. Twice we made it to the beach this year, and I found so much joy in collecting seashells and just being near the ocean. It was worth the long long drive. 
  5. Oliver in pre-k! I still had lots of time with Oliver after school, but also had time to do more art and writing and house stuff during the day.
  6. Sacred Ordinary Days Planner: I read the Bible more consistently than I ever have my whole life. I love this planner that helps me stay in God's word.
  7. Friends  (or family) that get you. If you struggle with depression or anxiety one of my best pieces of advice is to find kind friends or family that have dealt with + overcome similar struggles. It is priceless.
  8. Therapy light. For the winter's short days and long nights. I bought this one:  Verilux HappyLight Liberty 10,000 LUX Light Therapy Energy Lamp  
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