The more entrenched I’ve become in motherhood, the more I’ve realized the value of setting aside time to think about what my passions are and finding ways to feed those passions however I can (I really believe that makes me a better wife, mom, and well, person).

Last year, I decided to set some creative goals for myself – some are broad, and others are more specific. I did okay, and when I consider why I didn’t fare better, the best answer (besides the general craziness of life) was simply that I didn’t keep myself aware of those goals. So, note to self: post goals somewhere visible for constant reminders.

But even with my goals right in sight, sometimes I just can’t seem to find the time for those creative pursuits I love, or at least not as much time as I would like for them.

But does that mean I’m not being creative?  As I reassess my life and the last year, I don’t think it does.

So often in our culture, creativity is synonymous with craftiness. And while it is indeed an element that goes into the art, crafts and handiwork that some of us may create, creativity can both go beyond that and be much more basic than that in its most intrinsic form.

Let’s look at the definition:

creativity: (1) The state or quality of being creative, the process by which one utilizes creative ability {creative= expressive, imaginative}. (2) The ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination.

When I read that definition, it makes me think. I mean, creativity as expressive and imaginative? Yes, that seems obvious to me. But what underlies that, the part that comes before the actual creating part, is a thinking part.

Productivity tends to become my main gauge on whether or not I’m exercising my creativity.

This year, I am determined not to quantify my creativity simply by the number of handmade gifts or DIY projects I accomplish. Instead, I plan to embrace a creative life by being aware of all the ways I use my imagination and transcend the conventional way of thinking, whatever that may be, even if it doesn’t churn out traditional art or crafts (and let’s consider redefining art while we’re at it).

What might this out-of-the-box type of creativity look like?

For starters, simple, intentional living definitely requires thinking outside the mainstream methodology– living holistically with your life’s purpose in mind naturally depends upon original, progressive thought.

We live in a culture of materialism and consumerism,  and wading through that to cultivate the life we feel called to demands creativity.

Finding new solutions for old problems, reading good books, adapting recipes, telling our children stories, planning date nights and road trips, dreaming up big dreams and plans, choosing curriculum, picking out an outfit, figuring out how to make the best of another hard day.  These things all make use of the amazing creativity that our Creator gave us.

And of course, so do sewing, scrapbooking, knitting and the like, but let’s move forward in the new year reminding ourselves not to judge a creative life by its handicrafts.

“I’ve come to describe what I do simply as creative living, not defined by anyone craft or activity but an overall approach to life.” - Renee Tougas, Nurturing Creativity

Where do you see creativity play out in your life? Do you have any creative goals for the new year?