Create February 2019

Do you guys know my sister, Shannon? She’s an amazing, kind hearted, loving, funny, talented woman. She’s also an artist. There’s a whole line of paintings that she’s done called Cat and Mouse. The picture above is one of them. They are a couple of sweet, unlikely friends that bring a glimmer of hope and light to the world. While I love all of her art, these two characters hold a special place in my heart. I think she would tell you the same thing.

Do you know my sister, Danielle? She is an equally amazing, kind hearted, loving, funny, and talented woman. Funny enough, she happens to be a budding artist as well. But beyond that, she’s also a talented writer. Now me, I have this blog, I love to write…can anybody maybe see where I’m going with this? Go ahead. Make a guess. And then peak down to the next paragraph to see if you’re right.

My sisters and I have often talked about creating children’s books together. I think I’ve always had it deep down that I could (and that I wanted to) write a children’s book. It feels like something that has always distantly called to me. Danni has been writing her own books since she was young. And Shannon just creates the sweetest little pictures. It only makes sense that we would team up, and try to make something happen. We have specifically talked long and hard about creating a Cat and Mouse series. While we’ve both taken a couple of shots at writing to these precious pictures, we haven’t quite “landed on” anything yet. Danni did write a really sweet, rhyming prose for them. But for me, it’s always been one of “those things” on my to do list that I really want to do, but may never actually get around to doing.

Enter my #create2019 goal. I knew that I had to put it on my list. And put it on soon. I decided that February would be the month. I was all excited, and rearing to go. Then I sat down and tried to write. Nothing came, so I put it off. I talked with Shannon about what she wanted her characters to be like, what kinds of stories she wanted, what kind of layout she had been dreaming of. In her typical Shannon style, she was super laid back about and said something like, “Just write what comes to your heart.” Ok, so it may not have been that exactly. But I think you get the gist.

The thing is, these two characters are extra super special extraordinary. Shannon’s normal job is as an ASL interpreter (which is pretty bad a** if you ask me). This being the case, she sees a lot of really hard, unfair things. She has seen so many ways in which life can be unfair. When she has the worst of days, she comes home and she paints Cat and Mouse. She paints a little light, and a little hope into the world. There’s a lot of heart and depth behind these guys. It’s more than just a drawing. So think about that. And then think about trying to write a children’s book that honors those things about them. Think about trying to write a story that uses these special friends to help soothe the soul. Yikes! That’s a lot of pressure. And I froze. I just got stuck and could not put to words the meaning that they hold.

I wrote a little something, and didn’t know how I felt about it. My sisters said it was cute and asked why I wasn’t sure about it. I said I didn’t know. Then last night, Shannon texts me and says, ” I think I know what’s missing from your stories. I think it’s missing you. Your heart, and what you’ve seen and been through.” She essentially told me to stop over thinking it. Stop looking at it as a children’s book, stop worrying about it being perfect, and just write! She told me to try every different format, to go here and there and everywhere and just find what works. So I did.

You know what? It worked. I typed up a few different ideas before I decided to try something totally new. I opened up my notes and started to type away. This may sound a little bragg-y. That’s not how I mean it. I love what I came up with. It’s simple, and deep, but not overstated. It gives me chills and makes me teary eyed when I read it. I sent it Shannon’s way and she said, “It’s perfect!”

I wish I could share with you now, but I can’t. It will have to wait. Maybe, just maybe one day you’ll see what I wrote. I hope that’s the case. But for now, it’s for me. And for Shannon and Danni. And a select few others. Either way, I finally feel accomplished with my February goal. I honestly thought that for a moment there, I would have to check it off as a “tried but failed.” So thanks, Shanni, for giving me the push I needed.

As far as the other Cat and Mouse prints, along with a slew of other Shannon Sweeney Originals, you can look at, or purchase them here.

I’m so excited for my March goals! And I’m excited about what the future may hold for Cat and Mouse. Now, does anybody know how to publish a children’s book?

Create 2019

quote calligraphy under cup of lemon tea
Photo by Studio 7042 on Pexels.com

By now it’s basically the end of January, and many of you may have already abandoned your resolutions for 2019. Right? I get it. You get all pumped up and ready to go when we ring in the new year, and then a few weeks go by, reality sets in and you see your resolutions slowly slipping through your fingers. Well, here in the Behr household we have ceased setting resolutions every year. We are, however, firm believers in goal setting. I know, I know, they sound so much the same. But believe it or not, there’s actually a big difference.

Probably about 3-4 years ago Blake purchased Michael Hyatt’s 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever course. He and a friend completed it, and that whole year I watched incredible growth in his life. There were some kinks to work out, to be sure, but he just kept accomplishing goal after goal after goal. So the following year, he invited me to do the course with him. I wasn’t quite sure it was “for me,” but after watching him grow so much I knew I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. So I did it with him! And you know what? It was super fun, I learned SO MUCH, and I got a whole lot more accomplished that year. We’ve been doing it together every year since. Hyatt’s whole “thing” is creating SMARTER goals for yourself. I’m a terrible goal setter. My goals are usually crazy vague and far too open ended. I have a hard time really zoning in my goals. Luckily for me I have Blake right by my side to help me narrow things down, and ask the right kinds of questions to get my goals where I need them to be. I highly recommend taking this course! The registration for the class is currently closed, but join that waitlist and sign up the second you can. It is worth every. single. penny. (P.s.-this is no way a paid advertisement for the class, I just really love it that much).

All of that to say, one of my goals for 2019 is to exercise my creativity more. That was my first goal, which is way too broad. As a creative, it feeds my soul whenever I get to create. And I love to create in all sorts of manners. Some people are exceptional photographers, and others are amazing seamstresses, while some are professional level bakers or chefs. As for me, well, I’m not an expert in anything, but I love to dabble a bit in everything. I knew I could commit to trying to really hone in on one skill, but I know myself, and how I can get burnt out doing that. I just love doing all sorts of creative things, it’s too hard to narrow it down to only one. Which got me thinking. As I worked through what I wanted my year to look like, I decided to try something new. And guys, I am so excited about it.

Every month this year, my goal is to pursue some sort of creative endeavor. At the beginning of every quarter, I’m going to map out what that specific quarter will look like. This month, my goal was to make macarons. And friends, I took off with it. Blake is so awesome and supportive, he planned an in-date for us to make them together. We made Smore’s Macarons, and other than not being able to get our marshmallow fluff to fluff up, they turned out surprisingly well. Plus, they were delicious. My Pinterest dessert board is filled with macaron recipes and I’m dying to try them all. I signed my oldest up for a macaron making class at a local Macaron Bar as a surprise. I’m so excited to tell her-and to learn right alongside her. Plus, a good friend of mine who has nailed macaron making after taking a class has offered to have me over to teach me all the tips and tricks. To say I’m excited would be an understatement.

Mmmmmmm
That marshmallow was goopy, but man were they delicious

I’ll be chronicling my creative endeavors on social media, and here on the blog using the hashtag #create2019. I would love for you to follow along! It’s gonna be seriously fun. I would love any ideas for what to create as well! I have this quarter planned out, plus a few ideas for the following months, but the calendar isn’t full yet, and I would love to have some input! As always, thanks for coming along. I’m so excited to see what this year holds for my creative soul.