Create: Space

Branches on Hill Street

Space intrigues me in both art & life. You have positive space in art, like the tree branches in the above photo. And positive space in life, like the work you need to do when you are done reading this post. The counterpart is negative space, such as the blue sky above or time for rest throughout your week. 

The balance between positive & negative space is one of the things that makes a photo or painting successful. I have found the same to be true in life. The balance of work & play brings a calming rhythm to your life, even when the work part is hectic & stressful. 

Interact with Space
#1 This week grab your camera and take photos that represent interesting negative space (such as the one I took above). I always find it an interesting exercise to focus on the negative space rather than the subject you are photographing. 

#2 I also challenge you to attempt the Soul Training exercise from chapter six of The Good & Beautiful God, by James Bryan Smith. He states, "We add so much to our schedules that we have no "margin," no space for leisure and rest and family and God and health." 

 This week try to do one of the following:

• Get up ten minutes earlier & create a space for silence before you begin your day.

• Cut out unnecessary entertainment activities.

• Explore scaling back some of your commitments by asking, "Is it essential?"

• If you do something often (for example, spending time with a friend), consider reducing the frequency without cutting that person out of your life.

{Day 80: EIGHTY! wow. I'm not going to lie I've been craving a brat off the grill like mad with the beautiful spring like weather here in Champaign. I really don't know if I'll be able to make it all summer...}


Two Years in the Making

On Thursday, April 7th two years of hard work & dedication by Jarrod & Jessie will finally be completed. The children's book that we have been working on since we got back from Maine, in 2009, will officially be released! It will be on display on the second story of the eFollett Bookstore on Green Street as part of this year's Boneyard Arts Festival.

If you want to buy your very own copy you can do so here. I just ordered my copy tonight, so I can't promise that all the kinks will be ironed out. Enjoy some of the inner illustrations that will be on display for purchase during the show below.


Challenger: Christine Bougie

Christine's new album, Aloha Supreme
Christine Bougie, a very talented full-time musician from Toronto, Ontario, & I share a love for bettering ourselves creatively. Christine took the Challenge from my last newsletter & answered the following questions back on February 17th about Restructuring Habits:

Did you restructure any habits over the last three months?
Tell us about your successes (or set backs).

About restructuring habits:
I've radically restructured my days since the beginning of the new year. Here's what I committed to:

• no internet before noon
• first thing of the day is guitar practice
• working in 45 minute intervals (with timer and with breaks). starting with practicing guitar, then composing, then either more practice (drums or lap steel) or prep for gigs.
• overall goal of finishing one new song a week over 12 weeks (I'm in the 4th week now)

It's been a great productive period for me over the past 7 weeks, and at the same time I've been very "in the moment."

Balance is something I've come to understand through creating structure.  I've found that when I start off my day with important but non-urgent things, the rest of the day feels
much more open. I end up feeling free to be spontaneous, which is a nice surprise. 

Thanks for sharing, Christine!

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This year I decided to train for the Illinois Half Marathon a bit differently. I enjoy a triathlon training schedule of swim, bike, run much more than run, run, run, so I signed up for the Olympic Triathlon plan through ActiveTrainer on active.com

Below you will see my training calendar from last month. Anything in green I completed, orange are workouts I skipped & the faces show up when I fill out a daily questionnaire about my sleep, fatigue, stress & wellness. Notice there is always a smiley face on Saturdays. Hmmmmm. Plus, I got a heart rate monitor for Christmas so inside each day I have been keeping track of those numbers as well. All quite interesting to a health geek like myself.
The workout with the best reward is my Saturday morning Spinning class. Cadence & I head out the door at 7:30AM. At the gym Cadence heads off to the playroom & I go downstairs to sweat for an hour. Afterward we pick up some free tea - real tea for Mommy & "pink" tea (sugar) for Cadence - & head home for Second Breakfast.

Are you training for an event? What tools do you use? And how do you reward yourself?