Jul 18, 2013

creativity // the circle

 The fabulous ladies at The Circle issued a challenge circles (pun intended, hehe) around (ooh, there I go again!) creativity. Here is my take on it!

* * * *

you can't use up
the more you use
the more you have
[maya angelou]

* * * *

 1. What does creativity mean to you?
Creativity cannot be mentioned without first starting out with the Creator. The Trinitarian (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) were all present at the beginning of time when something came out of nothing. Hold that thought for a second. 


God is the only One in all of creation who can truly create something out of nothing. The Hebrew word that is used in Genesis 1:1 for 'created' is bara, which literally means "something out of nothing". This word is only used for God's act of creation. Any time that we "create" anything, we are making something out of something, which in Hebrew is asah. It literally means "to make" or "to fashion and shape". So, for example, when Adam and Eve pulled a Project Runway and fashioned themselves a fig leaf wardrobe, they were essentially asah-ing, not bara-ing. The English language combines both of these words and uses the verb 'to create' interchangeably,  but the difference between them is crucial.

So to sum it up:
"We can take things that God has given us such as seed and land to plant crops and harvest food, but in so doing we are not creating food from nothing but rather creating it from the gifts given to us by God in creation.  (Mark Driscoll, Doctrine).
We create because we were created in the image of a Creator. He makes beautiful things. We see it everyday. Vibrant flowers, creatures large and small, rolling hills, snow-capped mountains, distant stars and planets. 

He is a perfect painter of a masterpiece. He is a perfect author of a story more adventurous and daring than anything a NY bestseller could conjure up. He is a perfect sculptor that molds and makes us to be more and more like Him. 

So, when I create, in a small but powerful way, I am reflecting my Creator. Therefore, creativity, to me, is a way to bring glory and fame to my God. It's my small attempt at showcasing one of the first characteristics we learn about God from the Bible:

My God creates.

(Source for the above is credited to Pastor Mark Driscoll's book Doctrine; the above photo is my own)

2a. Where do you draw your inspiration from?

(1 {mine}, 2, 3, 4{mine}, 5, 6

I draw inspiration from a hodgepodge of locations. Among my favorites are pictured. 

Jesus is my inspiration for how to love others.

Music inspires me to dance to the beat of my own drum.

Reading, especially poetry, biographies, and very old novels, bring out a yearning for something more.  Click here to see my favorite books

Pretty homes, especially in my favorite style, shabby-chic, inspires me to doll-up my flat. My favorite store that inspires me is Anthropologie. I go home thinking, "How can I create that look on a budget?" and then get to work on something anthro-y.

Kids inspire me. Their imaginations remind me to believe in the impossible. (Pictured above with his blog debut is my adorable nephew!).

Paris inspires me, especially my style. Most of my wardrobe is made of of stripes and the Eiffel Tour can be found in at least eleven places in my flat (yes, I just stopped my writing & walked around to count. {parisien} nerd alert).

b. How do you stay creative?

I love pinterest and use it frequently for inspiration. Other bloggers and friends are also great sources of inspiration.  But my favorite ways to stay creative include:

Journaling. I have several (I can count three on my nightstand) journals I try to routinely use for various writing. I especially love to light a sweet-smelling candle, turn pandora on my Helen Jane Long station for some beautiful classical music, place a vase of pretty flowers in front of me, and then let loose and write. Sometimes letters, sometimes poems, sometimes psalms, sometimes testimonies. It is amazing what comes out when the t.v. and computer are set aside and we return to the simple act of writing.
(1, 2 {mine})

Another beloved way I stay creative is by traveling. I love traveling. I love everything about it. Really, I do. I love creating the itinerary months in advance, then I love annoying my co-travelers with (what I believe is) the super exciting itinerary I've planned. I love the airplane rides (although I do not love my hears feeling like they will pop at any moment).  I love finding my way around the city. I love sending postcards from where I am traveling. I love watching people living life and I love imagining what it would be like to stick around for an year. I love taking photos of beautiful things while traveling. I love tasting new tastes, seeing new sights, and smelling new smells.  I love coming home and sharing all about the trip and creating photo books to remember the trip for years and years. I come home refreshed and energized. You may even say, I come home inspired
(check out my posts on traveling to 
NYC, London, Paris, and south France 
in the 'labels' section on the right!)
3. What is a creative side of you that you don't share much on your blog?

I love writing letters to friends and sending them in envelopes with their name and address in calligraphy (or at least my attempt at calligraphy). I try to include a handmade bookmark (although I have been finding great store-bought ones, so I have not made them recently) that has an encouraging verse or quote. While living in Seattle for two years, I found that writing letters helped me stay connected with friends, but also helped me stay grounded. It is a relaxing time for me. I light a candle, sip on tea, put music on, and pretend I am a Jane Austen character at my writing desk. It brought me joy, especially when I made the card or spent extra time with word art and doodles. It is a lost art that I am so glad to have picked up three years ago and find that I have to now be intentional at writing letters since my busy schedule often makes emails, Facebook posts, and  text messages more tempting.

Visit my pinterest for more photos that inspire me!

Check out The Circle and join the fun with this challenge! 


  1. Love the photos and how you see traveling as a way to stay creative. I never really thought of it that way, but you are absolutely right. Thinking about it, traveling always inspires me to create something.
    Great post.


    1. Thank you, Suzanne! Yes, traveling is great! It inspires me and challenges me at the same time. it takes me out of my bubble ... and whenever you're out of your bubble, creativity is sure to happen!


  2. love love LOVE this post! :)
    I loved that you broke down the scripture to the hebrew text (the theology junkie in me was happy!)
    And i love writing letters too! :) Great post Elle!

    1. Thank you, Amy! Yes, I am a theology junky at heart! It's always so cool to learn about the original text because sometimes the English language loses some of the beauty of the original thought process of the verses.

      - E

  3. Love what you had to say - especially the Hebrew words defined & the funny Project Runway reference! I used the same Maya quote you did! We may just be some kind of kindred spirits! I, too, love Anthropologie {but from afar {in catalogs/the web} as there's no store nearby}, love to write letters {I've always thought of myself as old-fashioned in that {& in many other ways,too}} =), I love to travel, but all my major trips have been solo adventures by myself... Anyhow {I ramble. Sorry.}, but I'm glad to find the blog of a real live possible kindred spirit.

    1. Hi Bess! Yes, kindred spirits indeed! Your blog is adorable! Glad we found each other through The Circle!!

      - E

  4. I so wish I had taken the time to mention that kids inspire me! I completely agree, I am in awe of their ability to create and live life without fears or worries. They are definitely some of the most creative people out there! :)

    And calligraphy? I have always wished I could learn how. I should also probably mention that now I feel like learning AND writing letters now! Snail mail is the best.

    Thanks for linking up, Elle!

    1. Thanks, Kiki! Yes, I work with kids so I'm constantly in awe of their creativity and fearlessness. They don't worry about people-pleasing or being perfect... They just do their own thing. I wish I could be more like that!

      I wish I could really do calligraphy. For now I usually do a pseudo-calligraphy I learned from Pinterest. Basically, you write a word in cursive and then thicken every downstroke which gives a sense of depth to each letter.

      Thanks for co-hosting The Circle. I'm excited to see what the theme will be next month!

  5. Oh girl, I share your love for Anthropologie --and for trying to recreate their aesthetic for much cheaper! Such a fun place of bold colors and bright patterns, such eye candy. I've dabbled in calligraphy lately, too, and love a good handwritten letter. Receiving things in the mail brightens my day every time!

    And you're absolutely right, our creative sides are a reflection of the character of God, the original Creator! He puts passions and desires in our hearts that He delights to pursue with us, including the arts and artistic things in life.

    Thanks so much for sharing and linking up with us :)

    1. Yes, I LOVE getting letters in the mail! There's something so simple and sweet about it.

      Thanks for the great topic, Bailey Jean! Can't wait to see what it'll be next month!

      - E

  6. We are kindred in the idea with creating travel itineraries and writing hand-written letters as a form of creativity. So sweet of you to share that. Love it!


I love to hear your thoughts!

Elle Alice