A warm night breeze. The scent of lavender, rich wine, and savory dishes. The gate creeks as guests arrive. A table lined with candles and purple sprigs is set against a backdrop of fields and deep blue skies.
Last week I was invited to attend a dinner at Sweetwater Lavender Farm in Petoskey. The Gather Series is a pretty simple concept. People who create: farmers, chefs, photographers, florists, artists, sit down together and eat. They discuss what makes them passionate about their trade. They share dishes, drinks, stories, and struggles.
If creativity is a garden, we need to take the time to stop and cultivate it. We need to step back outside of our client grind and take a deep breath. To nourish what makes us tick. Last week, I was able to do that.
But let me back up.
My friend Kalin recently purchased an old farmhouse and land, and is marvelously transforming it into this lavender farm. When she invited Chris and I to attend The Gather Series, Chris was not able to make it due to work, but encouraged me to go. “Think of it as a mini personal retreat,” he said. Best husband moment.
My Dad lives in Harbor Springs, across the bay from Petoskey in Northern Michigan. Away on a sailing trip, he let me use his house for this mini personal retreat. For one day I holed up in his living room, drank coffee, watched Stranger Things on Netflix, and toned photos. Photos, photos, photos. Photos of a baby newly wrapped in a hospital blanket, photos of a two-year-old running in a field with balloons, photos of a bride and groom dancing at their reception.
Every once-in-a-while I would glance out the sliding glass door to see the beautiful blue sky beckoning. I kept going. I toned photos from 8 a.m. to roughly 4 p.m. You guys, it was glorious. Want to know why? I had a regular work day. I mean, I was able to concentrate on my craft for hours, uninterrupted, and check things off my to-do list. Kind of like…most people who have an office job? How many stay-at-home moms are out there, working on their trade after their kids have been tucked into bed, during their “me,” time, so that they can afford to BE stay-at-home moms?
It was wonderful for another reason, too. These babies wrapped in hospital blankets, these couples dancing at their weddings, I really do love staring at their faces all day. Working on these intimate, explosive, colorful moments of time. BINGO.
That night at dinner on the farm, I was able to listen to other business owners beam about what they do. It made me feel good to hear that others are unsure about what to charge clients, what kind of hours to keep, about how to hire other staff. I am not alone. None of us are. Over cold white wine, I was able to take a big sigh, enjoy the beauty of Gods’ glorious nature, and digest all of these thoughts.
So here’s my encouragement to you. If you love what you do, but need to get away from the daily grind to appreciate it once again, take a moment and do it! You may not have two full days like I did, but even if it’s an hour or two at a coffee house, or a long walk (alone) with some peace and quiet. Feed it, water it, cultivate it. Creativity is a garden.
Soft morning light pours into the Kline’s postpartum room as Jen strokes the face of her brand new baby boy. Landon, born only hours earlier via. c-section, snuggles against his moms’ chest as he sleeps in a world that is brand new. Shyly, big sister Kennedy grins up as this little companion is placed on her lap. Family members enter to meet their newest treasure, smiles erupting around the room.
This was my first “birth,” photo shoot, and even though I was not present for the c-section, I deeply value these moments. Congratulations to the Kline family, on the arrival of little Landon.