It's FRIDAY I'm in LOVE/ Inspire Me Series #14

Follow the Bliss...

Stefani is really really inspiring to me. Blue Yonder was one of the first group of mom/education/inspiration/homeschooling blogs I started reading when I knew I was going to leave my career. I found her interesting and her life authentic and real. Her blog is great because it gives a realistic slice into the days of raising boys. She a great new book out for download called Book of Days that gives others the chance to "slow down and spend time together creating, learning, growing bonds and cherishing their days."
And she is sweet as a peach and I am really happy that we have connected. I really think she is cool and I know you will too!

here is what she had to say:

I think if you know me at all, it kind of goes without saying that I am most inspired by the endless ingenuity, creativity, passion and determination of my children and the natural world. I spend every day deeply immersed in both, and I'm so grateful for it.

Here's three MORE things that set my creative wheels a-spinnin'.

1) A well turned phrase. I have had a serious love affair with the written word from the moment that I learned to write my name. For a shy kid, there is an incredible power in a sharpened pencil and blank spiral notebook. Suddenly you can say everything that's been bottled up in your heart without ever having to open your mouth.

As much as I loved, and still love, writing, I loved having my nose in a good book even more.

There are a lot of moving novels that have spoken into my creative life, but these days, as a busy mom, I'd have to say that I'm most inspired by forms of writing that are more spare - short stories or poetry or even those songs that really are just poetry set to music. Come to think of it, good children's books work the same magic for me. See, I tend to ramble, so I am endlessly in awe of writers that can pour gallons of emotion into a handful of words. The ability to simplify like that - to distill what you have to say down to its most bare, and most powerful essence - is thrilling to me.

To get my dose of wordy goodness, I read to my kids, like a lot, every single day. I also frequent The Writer's Almanac ( and spend Sunday evenings making up kitchen chores so that I can stand real close to the radio and listen to Selected Shorts ( I hang out at the used book store and owe a ridiculous amount of overdue fees to the library. Add to that a lot of listening to singer/song writer music (Lucinda Williams, Patty Griffin, Slaid Cleaves, Amos Lee) - really anybody who manages to say a lot with only a few lines in which to say it - and I feel pretty saturated in inspiring strings of words.

I keep a little moleskin journal nearby just so that I can scrawl down phrases that strike my fancy.

Here are my faves (with the disclaimer that my "faves" change on a near daily basis)

Favorite Short Story - Molly Giles' "Pie Dance"
Favorite Short Book - The Holy Man by Susan Trott
Favorite Children's Book - The Relatives Came, by Cynthia Rylant.
Favorite Poem - Rilke's "You Who Never Arrived"
Favorite Song that's really a poem - Patty Griffin's "Long Ride Home" or maybe Slaid Cleaves' "Flowered Dresses."

2) Strong Women. That shy, bookish kid grew up to be a pretty introverted grown up... one who is happily, but indelibly surrounded by men. So when I come across a strong female presence, it is moving and inspiring to me in a big way. That can come in the form of a memory of my sassy, stand up straight, laugh out loud, great grandmother, or i the determined twang of June Carter Cash singing about "going to Jackson."

A woman who stands her ground, knows her stuff, fights the good fight and yet manages to lend something beautiful to the world at the same time - that's powerfully inspiring stuff. In the same way that I'm awed by spare but meaningful words, I'm moved by women who manage to bring about beauty within meager means. I think that's why blogs are so fascinating and inspiring to me. There's a lot of women out there doing amazing things within the confines of an everyday kind of life.

Some of the women who are inspiring me today?

Stephanie Nielson of Nie Nie, who still writes with such depth, despite all that she's enduring.
Betty X. Davis who at 93 is still pursuing her dream.
Amanda Soule and Jade Sims , who are using their blog voices to give something back to the world.
The ladies of Habit who make sacred the simple.

3) Art -

In my early 20s I visited a museum and saw, for the first time, Monet's "Waterlilies", up close and personal. I stood there and stared for the longest time because even though I had seen reprints and representations of this work scads of times, I had never been able to see the brush strokes, the rise and fall texture of the paint. I was completely enamored. A few years later I got to take a train from Boston to visit New York City for the first and only time. I had only 23 hours to spend there, and I spent a BIG part of them at MOMA (, just sitting and staring. Those two experiences began a kind of awakening in me. Up to that point I had always looked at art as something that highly trained "others" did. Very slowly, through Monet's sweeping globs of paint and all the strange and wonderful things called "art" at MOMA, I came to understand that art is a feeling, a process, a skill - yes - but also a desire that's open to anyone who is unafraid to find their artistic voice.

I'm still feeling my way toward discovering my own artistic self and am so inspired by so many great artists out there.

Here are a few:
Beatrice Coron
Paul Villinski's Butterflies
Brian Detmer's Book Autopsies
and SO many of the artists who frequent Illustration Friday

also, I really am inspired by the little artists who live in my house... they are never afraid to just play with a medium and see what happens :-)

Kisses Stefani and thanks! Visit her at her blog and her shop!!!

we love you! Thanks to my good friend Mary for making a new Spring button for the series! xoxoxoxo