13 Dec 2012

When you wish you had a room of your own — a tribute to the spaces where moms create

Five Minute Friday is on break until the New Year. To catch it’s breath. To reflect. To listen more than write. To rest. We’ll start fresh in January. And then we’ll write our fingers off together again in five minutes flat every Friday. It’ll be the beginning of our third year together. Incredible.

I mother and I write and often the two are all beautifully tangled up in one another. My writing happens in the middle of my life. My desk sits in a corner of the kids’ small room for playing. In this house there is no “room of my own” – rather everything is shared. My body, my space, my time, my energy, my creativity. As much as I might hope to cup corners of my days into neatly tied pockets of time, children spill into everything.

It’s taken me years to get over resenting that.

If a Pottery Barn catalog sneaks its way into the mail pile, I might still daydream about a soothing space of my own. Maybe it’s waiting for me in the future. I will surely relish it then. But now this desk that’s made major moves with us is friendly. The 4×4 cube shelving unit that used to hold beautiful crystal vases houses toy boxes and Micah has his own desk on the wall opposite mine. They know I write for a living. Both online and off.

And I have made peace with the chaos – this is my living, every day art. These children that I raise and these words that I lay down in between gingerbread houses and the covers of what is becoming my first book.

My friend Annie said it best when she said:

Some artists, they dream of a small studio: exposed brick walls and a view of the river in four equally glorious seasons … and hours of uninterrupted painting. I imagine it’s quiet there.

I set up shop at the Lego-littered dining room table, right in the center of our daily commotion…

It seems fitting to make art in the midst of life. After all, it’s the living that’s making art out of me.

She put my life into a paragraph so beautiful I could almost taste it.

And it made me want to visit you – to see each of your own, in between-the-every-day, spaces of creativity.

So I asked on Facebook and I got close to 60 photographs.

{To be sure you see my Facebook updates, try hovering over the “liked” button for the page and selecting “show in news feed”}.

They’re wonderful and real and true. They’re the nooks and crannies of where your words come from.

It’s a beautiful, brilliant, broken, every day Hallelujah.

with love.

{If you’re reading in an email just click here to watch the video with us.}


{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    This video made me tear up. So much love, so much beauty in our everyday.

    • 2

      I had the exact same reaction.

      • 3

        Me too! Thank you. I sometimes forget that it is OK to not have the “perfect pottery barn” area…much as I would like it, it is not what is possible in my little house. Thanks for reminding of these things.

  2. 4

    So true! I am blessed to have a craft ‘nook’ in the end of our ‘L’ shaped lounge room. But more often than not Mummy has just as much mess to clean up in the lounge area as the kids do! My writing happens on the couch, where it’s comfy and I have a view of life around here.

  3. 5
    mary thompson says:

    I love the video on where moms create! Could someone tell me the music that’s in the background (Halleluia). Who is singing?

  4. 9

    This blessed me this morning! Thank you. Such beauty.

  5. 10

    What a timely reminder for me to embrace where He has me NOW! I was in the process of reclaiming one of our bedrooms for an office space and then I was surprised with my 4th pregnancy. Now my office will be a nursery and I am reminded that this is God’s perfect plan.
    Thank you for this beautiful reminder!!!

  6. 11

    My eyes are welled-wet and my heart feels swollen with worship after watching the video. There is something about seeing other piled high desks and nook carved out create-spaces that makes me feel not alone. Not crazy. Not like “one of these things is not like the other.” Thanks for letting me — letting us — see those “others” and be comforted by the kindredness that doesn’t at all look like Pottery Barn. I’m walking away this morning, remembering that God designs His creations to worship Him uniquely, as we create for His glory through words…through raising little people…through making things that declare his beauty.

    • 12

      Yes yes yes – the “Kindrednes that doesn’t all look like Pottery Barn” – YES! I had the exact same reaction – that we’re all so much more alike, that it’s so beautiful this REAL life. That mothers who make art in the midst of the every day are a wonder and to be able to stop and absorb that for a moment does us all good! Thank you Lisa.

  7. 13

    Oh! I love it! Seeing where other mamas carve out a space to work and create is so good for my soul! I can feel the energy from each space!

    Thanks for including my little ” sewing studio” too!

  8. 14

    Oh, tears. You are right – the beauty in the ordinary – it’s breathtaking. It makes me love my own surroundings that much more. I need to stress about the mess a little less and be grateful for the mess-makers and the kisses they give and the life they are to my very soul. It’s a privilege, really.

  9. 15

    This video made me cry, too. To know that there are others out there, living their ordinary lives in such extra-ordinary ways is so uplifting. My sewing area is part of the kids play room. We create…play…mess…side by side. It is chaos, at times. But a beautiful chaos that I’m sure will be greatly missed when our kids have all gone. Thank you for reminding me to rejoice in the ordinary. ox

  10. 16

    Beautiful! I love all the differences and yet all the similarities. We all have our little nooks, and what a blessing for each of us and for each other. Thank you for doing this : )

  11. 17

    And yet, the bricks that build the studio for our creativity,oddly enough, are the ones under foot, the ones that come after us. And the peaceful view, is the view that we have as we stoke the hair of the little one whose head rests on our lap as she sleeps.

    Great job on the video, Lisa-jo.

  12. 18
    Joanne Viola says:

    Just beautiful!!!! Each space truly is a sacred place. Thank you for sharing with us all! Merry Christmas!!!

  13. 19

    You? I just love you. Tearing up over here at my messy desk (see at 2:43), and so grateful that you get it. So in awe of the incredible work that us mamas do, in the home, out of the home, and wherever we can squeeze it in. God is using us to bring life in so many ways… Thanks for displaying the everyday beauty SO well, sweet Lisa Jo. I’m so grateful for you.

  14. 20

    Ok. Made it through without tearing up until those last two darn slides. Then you had me! Thanks for celebrating our (extra)ordinariness! Your encouragement make hard days feel hard AND meaningful, and that makes the hard worth it all.

  15. 21

    That was beautiful, and I feel united with all of these other amazing moms. In those moments when life feels insane, this view into our lives helps us see that we are not at all alone. Just lovely.

  16. 22

    I don’t know why, but I teared up a little watching this! It was just nice to see the beauty of other moms creating life and memories right there in front of, and with, their precious families.

    Thanks for putting this together, Lisa-Jo, and thanks to the moms who shared their photos!
    Anna K.

  17. 23

    That Annie is so smart! {And BTW, thanks for introducing her to me at Allume. She is a gem!}

    Fabulous encouragement as always, Lisa-Jo. Love the video, and love how several of the pictures have your beautiful face sitting on their computer screens. :)

  18. 24

    Awesome. I didn’t send in a picture, because where I create changes on a daily basis. Sometimes its the couch, sometimes the kitchen table. Sometimes the comfy chair in my bedroom, sometimes the computer desk. It doesn’t matter WHERE we create, only that we are. Thank you for your awesome encouragement today.

  19. 25

    Nooks and crannies of sanctuary where God pours in and you pour out His love and gift of words. I loved the one with the bottles of formula all ready and the one with the string-hair dolls and the one with the view … all beautiful testaments that your gifts and purpose is greater than any limitations of space or time. Very inspiring.

    • 26

      Yes the one with the bottles of mama milk right there in the work space – that was my favorite too. The sacred and the every day with such blurry edges…

  20. 27

    I love this post. All too often I have to have the perfect conditions to write – a clean quiet house. Thanks for the encouragement to break away from that! I love seeing the space others write in.

  21. 28

    Never before have I been so proud of my “space”. Thanking you for helping me to look past the mess and see something truly beautiful!

  22. 29

    That turned out really cool, Lisa-Jo. I love the creativity that God went to when He made each of us … And all of us, we make this one big Body.

    Loved this and ((you)).

  23. 30

    The truth is, I had a space. A beautiful room that my husband finished off in the basement, just for me and my writing. But I felt isolated down there and seldom used it to its full potential, which just might be indicative of a greater story… now that room is the oldest’s bedroom and I work upstairs in the kitchen, living room or dining room, depending on the day and the lighting. Still working towards that whole “potential” thing.

  24. 31

    This was beautiful… I’m on the other side of toddlers now, and looking back I see how much God does with us in the midst of those years…(http://ow.ly/g4tO2 )

  25. 32

    I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes. I so needed this today; this knowing that I’m not alone, knowing that it’s okay to not be “perfect” (whatever that means!). I feel at peace now, knowing I’m doing the best I can and will work more on doing extraodinary things in my ordinary places. Too often lately I’ve been putting things off until things are in order & I have a nice, tidy place to work. All that’s left me with though is stress and not getting things done! Thank you for this encouragement today! God bless you and all your dear readers who have helped me look at things in a new way this morning. :)


  26. 33

    Beautiful video. I am a grandma – my space is limited to typing in the kitchen. My mess in the same as it was when children were around. I do have a spare bedroom that is filled with my art, my sewing and my “stuff” … all on the bed right now.
    So many lovely things to be engaged in. I had a blast watching the kids involved in everyday life with the moms. Hallelujah.
    Thanks for this.

  27. 34

    I love this so much, Lisa-Jo. Your everyday art is beautiful – all those pictures are, too. So grateful for the way you gather us in here and remind us of this good truth. Here’s to the messy dining room tables and little playrooms-made-offices! Love you, LJ!

  28. 35

    Is that JJ Heller singing? Love her voice.

    So fun to see all these spaces!

  29. 37
    Angela Billups Smith says:

    LOVED the video & needed this perspective so very much! Devil tells us we are the only one & makes us discontent w/ what we have. But God uses you to make me APPRECIATE what I have & recognize that the LIFE that I am creating w/ my hubby & 4 children is developing art in me! THANK YOU–God uses you daily in my life!!

  30. 38

    Lisa-Jo, this is holy ground. Absolutely stunning, friend. So grateful for you–for your warrior-heart that runs to us, grabbing hold of our fleeting hearts and says, “stay, this is for you. You are made with glory and beauty in you to share.” Love to you.

  31. 40

    So powerful! I get so caught up in everything/everyone having their own space because pre-baby and before we moved into this smaller house we did! This video made me realize that out in the middle is where the magic happens. Those are things I’ll remember when my children are grown. The magic. Not the mess! Thank you Lisa-Jo!

  32. 42

    Okay, I TOTALLY just got a little weepy. Thank you for putting this together! I didn’t have time to shoot a photo over to you in time, so I am blogging about it today. :) You are a sweet inspiration. <3

  33. 43

    LOVED seeing all these beautiful spaces…my “space” when the kids were young and homeschooling was quite different than what I have now – then we were all spread out over the house. Now I have a beautiful little space and much of the time I’m here, I have a gorgeous little grandbaby saying “up”! She loved the video and danced through it, even joined in “singing” near the end. Thank you for sharing and for letting us know that mommyhood is such a worthy occupation. I wish I would have had someone to tell me that back in the days when I was in the throes of raising little ones.

  34. 44

    This is so beautiful. I love that slide show. :)

  35. 45

    So, so beautiful!

  36. 46

    We have been in our home nearly two months now. Oh the joy of having new space. Decorating, or rather dreaming up designs that will never be for a long while.

    Last weekend I told the big guy, I want to move the filing cabinet into the “office” so that I can set up shop there. We had just got a new dinning room table, allowing the old to be moved into the new “office” to act as a desk. Whelp, the filing cabinet got moved into “office” and here I still sit at the kitchen table. I figure I’m closer to the coffee this way :)

  37. 47

    I really needed to hear this, and see this, today. I have berated myself ad nauseum for never being able to keep my desk clean. I clean it one day and an hour later it’s filled to overflowing. I have binders for school papers and yet I still find those papers all over the house. I have drawers for my crafts, and yet, there is yarn tucked into random spaces and scrapbook paper piled high and tumbling off my little scrapbook nook in the living room. It was so incredibly reassuring to see that other people live in the same chaos I do. That none of us keep our homes picked up all around the clock. You’d think I’d have figured that out by now, but it was so helpful to actually SEE it. Thank you!

  38. 48

    Really sweet video. I closed that chapter this week after 22 years and started back to work full time. I still use my lap top on the daybed now, as I am exhausted from my first week at work. This is so true, Mom’s just don’t get the space they would love to have. Every oz. of our being is being used all day long in 4 different directions at once.
    I come home from work and even though my kids are in their late teens, I still have a barrage at the door and them “needing” Mom. Two will be going to university next Summer and I am glad I had as must time with them as I did. Working only part-time until now I pray that someday they will have memories of our life like your video.
    Happy Weekend to All

  39. 49
    Jody Lee Collins says:

    Lisa-Jo, I too teared up at this….the photos with the Bibles laid next to the laptop, the Word wherever it could be fit in. And the tenacity of women who have something to say to glorify God and will do it in the midst of the chaos of life.

    Isn’t that what God did–sent Jesus into a noisy town in the middle of a convention while his mother tried to find a place to sleep? Smile.

    You are such a gift–God bless you.

  40. 50

    I have a small corner in our bedroom but find it is usually when I am the busiest is when inspiration comes over me. Then I run into the bedroom and type down what ever floods my mind. Good post

  41. 51

    Beautiful, simple, powerful. Wow. I will watch it again and again…much better than a Pottery Barn catalog! Thank you, LisaJo, and all the wonderful moms who sent in photos. Deep sigh – back to my middle of everything…

  42. 52

    Love all the spaces in the midst. My SIL had a lovely sewing room in her house. She stored her sewing stuff in there. She sewed in the living room in the midst of 8 kyds cuz there was heart there and the sewing room was lonely.

  43. 53
    Christy Douma says:

    This video reminded me how important it is to keep my own JOY alive! I love to create, but sometimes get caught up in cleaning up the messes of life. I’m going to try to live more with them both – creating and messes! Thank you for this :~)

  44. 54

    This is awesome. Thanks for this! Love that song too!

  45. 55

    This is spectacularly beautiful. It’s so easy to think that everyone else has the perfect space in which to create, when all I have is a corner of my bedroom or the kitchen table – surrounded by cracker crumbs, a small child asking over and over if she can “sit on lap.” The video made me cry. Thank you for sharing!

  46. 56
    Pamela Christopher says:

    I loved the video. Creativity, love, and life in every picture. Genius at work. Awesome. Thank you. Merry Christmas and may the New Year hold promise.

  47. 57

    “It’s taken me years to get over resenting that.” thank you lisa-jo for saying that out loud. thank you for asking for the pictures and then sharing them. thank you for reminding me of what god does so big in the middle of what sometimes feels so small. xo –kris

  48. 58

    I got the link to your blog from Simple Mom, and it was truly a blessing for me this Holiday season. I have been struggling with my office space that I never actually USE, actually I work at my kitchen counter (like some others as I could see from the video!) It was so refreshing to see the REALITY of how others are in similar situations to myself, and it made me feel better about my own “space.” My kitchen counter really is the heart of my home, so it makes sense that I would feel most comfortable working there. Thanks for this, I truly appreciate it.

  49. 59

    WOW! thank you so much for compiling that video. I almost didn’t watch but I’m so glad I took the time. I feel sooooooo much more normal now!!


  1. […] Lisa-Jo on creating in the middle of our ordinary spaces. […]

  2. […] When You Wish You Had A Room Of Your Own: A Tribute To Where Moms Create over at Lisa-Jo Baker&#8217… (maybe one of my new favorite blogs […]

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