The First Day of Spring

Yesterday was a good day.

what a novelty to read my book on Laurent's iPod!

I birthed my first e-book. Spring arrived on the calendar. And it was the birthdate of both my grandmothers.

I didn't plan to launch this book the first day of spring. I didn't give any forethought to the season in which I was publishing this book at all. It was simply a message I wanted to share and a project that needed to be completed.

The whole way through it was a journey of one foot in front of the other until it was ready to share with the world. The fact that its "birth" date coincided with the spring season was purely coincidental. Except that I don't believe in pure coincidence.

I had hoped to launch the book last week. I have other things to write and a life to live. But I just couldn't get it done for last week or even this Monday (which was plan B) and stay sane, or even motivated in the process.

Just like birth, you can't rush these things. They unfold when they are meant to and it's best not to push before it's time but to surrender and go with it.

And so this book arrived on the scene the day my grandmothers were born. The day we welcome spring and new life to the northern hemisphere.

The significance of this is not lost on me. Yesterday afternoon while I was baking cookies and making supper for my family (these awesome potatoes served sans the steak) I took some time to soak in the sweetness of the serendipitous timing in releasing this project. A timing that was not my own but was meant to be.

Nurturing Creativity is about being creative during this busy life season of motherhood. About making beauty right where you are. I wrote it from my own experience to encourage other moms.

And I realized yesterday (or rather remembered) with such sweet clarity, that the women who first modeled for me creative living in the context of motherhood and homemaking were my grandmothers. (And my mother of course but I give her due credit in the book, and today I want to talk about my grandmas).

My maternal grandmother died six winters ago, though it seems more recent than that as I carry her in heart and think of her so often. My paternal grandma is very much alive and reads my blog (Hi Grandma!). Unfortunately, I don't see her often since she lives on the other coast.

My grandmothers left a legacy for me to follow.

They supported their families. They fed people. There was always a whole lot of cooking and hospitality going on around my grandmas' kitchens.

They planted gardens. They served their communities. They made beautiful things with their hands. They were creative homemakers.

In my late teens and early twenties I knew I wanted to be a mother and homemaker. Some people have mentioned to me they are surprised that I wanted this at such a young age. I didn't wander the wilderness of young adulthood trying to find myself. (I get to do that in my thirties!)

I credit my grandmothers in part for that.

There is nothing wrong with wandering by the way, as J. R. R. Tolkien says, "not all those who wander are lost".

My grandmothers' domestic realities were very different from my own. There was a definite separation of men's and women's work in their world and I have no desire to return to that age. My own mothering/homemaking journey has elements that their's never did - homebirths, homeschooling, vegan eating for example. But they modeled for me creative homemaking and meaningful living long before those phrases had entered our modern lexicon.

They were resourceful and frugal, yet very giving of their time and finances. They created beauty every day in their homes. They were domestic artists. They lived with joy and love, even in very trying times. They created more than they consumed. They each raised a houseful of children with a lot less resources than what you'd think necessary. Children and grandchildren who grew up, and are still growing up, to do amazing work and "rise and call them blessed".

The way the lived had a lasting impact on me. They inspired me. Even if I couldn't articulate that, I knew as a young woman I wanted to walk a similar path. One with a bit more domestic equality but a similar path nonetheless.

(Sorry Grandma to talk in the past tense, but it's awkward to write in two tenses. I know you are alive and well and Happy Belated Birthday!)

local, organic, greenhouse grown tomatoes on a table runner made by my grandma

I think of my grandmothers so often because touches of their creativity are found throughout my home. Quilts, pot holders (my grandma makes the best quilted pot holders - I love them), table runners and table clothes. Handknit dolls, handsewn bags, wall hangings.

I'm not terribly sentimental and I let a lot of things pass through my hands and my life.

But these works of art, created by my grandmothers' hands aren't going anywhere. They are a part of my home and they are a part of my heart.

The beauty of all of this - my grandmothers' creative influence in my life, launching my first book on creativity, the arrival of spring and the earth's creative awakening - made yesterday so very special for me.

So did all your kind words, reviews, tweets, pins and facebook updates. Thank you. You totally blessed me.

Some of the beautiful moms (including my mom!) who contributed to my e-book and have supported me in this journey are giving away copies of Nurturing Creativity on their blogs. And they wrote really nice reviews (blush).

Check them out and leave a comment on their blogs for a chance to win a copy. I want as many moms as possible to get this book so please go visit their blogs.

Happy Spring!
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  • Jacinda

    Jacinda on March 21, 2012, 8:10 p.m.

    This post reminded me of a quote that goes something like "we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before." Blessings on your grandmothers. But of course you are also walking and creating your own path too with their challenges and unknowns. Such bravery. Good on you Renee. I'm cheering for you:-)


  • Heather

    Heather on March 21, 2012, 10:23 p.m.

    So very true about my grandmothers. They did work outside the home at different points in their life, but they always worked on their families. I cannot part with things they made, however other things easily are let go.


  • Carlyn

    Carlyn on March 22, 2012, 2:15 a.m.

    Congratulations on your e-book. I appreciate your encouragement to nurture creativity in ourselves, our children, our families, our homes. I'm trying to spend more time making art with my kids. Also trying to play more.


  • Auntie Ruth

    Auntie Ruth on March 22, 2012, 3:11 a.m.

    Thanks for the moving blog you posted, Renee - it was beautiful and straight from the heart and of course I appreciated the references to your grandmas, 2 very special ladies! - congratulations on the completion of your e-book - a job well done, I'm sure - I will read it, I promise! luvya!


  • Colleen

    Colleen on March 22, 2012, 4:08 a.m.

    Congratulations on your ebook renee! I have been reading your blog for some time now, and appreciate your openess and honesty. Thank you for sharing your creativity!


  • Lindsay

    Lindsay on March 23, 2012, 10:26 a.m.

    I came across your blog this morning via Plain and Joyful Living, and I love it! It was a pleasure to start my day by reading about your grandmothers, and gave me the urge to go visit my own. Perhaps the kids and I will do that this afternoon :)


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