I'm a proud Coast Guard wife, mother to two little kiddos (a big sis and lil' bro), a doodling calms inspirer, an inner creative JOY sparks igniter and a savoring life photographer.
I have a deep, deep love for using my crayons, markers, colored pencils and paints to easily calm my mind and soothe my soul so I can stay connected to what I truly love and what I'm most passionate about in life beyond motherhood; my kids, my husband, photography, doodling, yummy food, nature, yoga, mediation, music, gratitude, relaxing, BEing in the present moment and keeping creativity alive in kids and reviving it in adults.
If you're like me, then you know, that when life moves FAST, you can stay very disconnected from who you are and what you love.
I also have a deep, deep love for using my camera to slow down and savor the FEELING of moments that stop me in my tracks, have me smiling BIG and fill my entire self with happy JOY tingles. I LOVE all things photography; lifestyle, food, weddings, nature and just capturing life 'as is,' but I especially LOVE shooting images from the heart.
And, lastly, I have a deep, deep love for sharing the "everyone is creative" message and all the amazing, powerful benefits mindful- creativity provides as a Creatively Fit Coach. Because, yes, you are creative and...
It's THIS creativity that helps you feel calm, ignites your joy, helps you BE more present and, most of all, connects YOU back to YOU and everything that fills YOUR heart up with LOVE.
But, lemme tell ya, I didn’t always know I had deep, deep passion for all those things while growing up. The word creativity NEVER came out of my mouth and it never even crossed my mind to do anything creative in my life, because never, EVER, did I think I was creative.
That is, until a defining moment happened in my life in August, 2009,
When I Became A Mom!
Before becoming a mom, I spent the majority of my life, especially during my mid-20s, extremely focused on my fears and worries, which led me to living my days filled with anxiety. Some days, it was so bad that I had to run out of stores because I couldn't handle all the "stuff" in the store and my anxiety mind would skyrocket.
To better myself, I thought constantly filling my mind up with “head spinning” nutrition information on how to eat right and exercise was my answer to reducing my stress and living a better life, because I refused to take medication for it. My anxiety did calm, but my stress was still winning the show.
At this time, I had no idea that all of these fearful and stressful days I was experiencing, would end up being the best thing that ever happened to me, because it led me to find my inner peace, my inner happy and my true passion in life.
When I became an elementary school teacher, my stress skyrocketed even more, which led me to become a Certified Holistic Health Coach at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City. I was super excited to help others eat more wholesome and nutritious foods to better themselves, but mainly, I was really excited to help them lessen their stress by adding in more self-care to their lives.
But, after having my daughter, I began to notice some internal shifts occurring.
One day, while grocery shopping with my daughter, I looked down at my cart that was filled with wholesome, organic foods.
I thought to myself...
“I eat this food every day. Every week. Every month. I’m even a hostess home for a local farmer and have a refrigerator filled with the best local meats I could ever get my hands on. I cook almost all of our food from scratch. You’d think I’d be bouncing off the walls with natural energy, smiling from ear to ear and loving life right now. But, I’m not. I’m tired. I’m exhausted. And I have no desire to do anything fun.”
I looked at my daughter, who was upbeat, happy and loving life and then it hit me...
“I’m spending way too much of my life, in my head, concerned and focused on food. Eat this. Not that. I’m not in the present moment. I'm not loving life in a way that I should be. I’m not filling my life up with what I truly love and I'm not focused on all the JOY that's currently in my life right now. It’s my thoughts. NOT the food. I don’t want to model this heavily, saturated, one-sided view of food to my daughter. I don’t want her head to be filled with “spinning” thoughts on food like mine is and has been. I want her to grow up focusing only on what she loves, what she has passion for and what brings her joy!”
I became more aware that my thoughts were still out of control, even though I was eating the healthiest foods on the planet and exercised as much as my “mommy” time would allow.
I was gaining weight, hating military life (not my military man, just all the military moves), fearing food that wasn’t organic, stuck in a rut with what my passions are beyond being a mother and I was pushing my “me time” further and further down on my to-do list, which had me feeling nowhere near calm.
At that very moment, I knew healthy living and feeling calm was way more than saturating my mind with nutrients of food and drowning in sweat on the treadmill.
But, I didn’t REALLY realize it until I honored my inner, creative itch that had been calling out to me (for years!) during my pregnancy with my daughter.
Before that moment in the grocery store, and a few months into my pregnancy, I rediscovered my love for photography and I immersed myself in it as much as I could. At the same time, I was still having my doubts about focusing so much on food, in a "good and "bad" way, but wasn’t sure what that meant for me yet.
I continued on with embracing my love for my camera, by taking a million-trillion photography classes (yes, I can't get enough!) and pictures of my daughter, all while my inner, creative itch was still calling out for more.
Before I knew it, I started to crave something along the lines of coloring with my hands. I had no idea WHY this inner need to color was calling out to me, because for most of my life, like for 30 years (I’m 38 now!), I never, ever, thought I was creative, but I listened and began to research online for art journaling classes.
“Yes! I want to learn more about this. This feels right!” all while still thinking “I’M NOT CREATIVE!”
But, after signing up for one class, I felt it was WAY over my busy mama head, because, first, I did not want to think about, or learn about, tons of art materials because my mind was already filled to the rim with multi-tasking mommy tasks, and, second, I’m NOT creative and I’m definitely NOT an artist!
Then, by chance, I came across Whitney Freya and her Creatively Fit Programs. The second I heard her speak on left and right brain thinking, BIG aha’s exploded like fireworks right before my eyes.
“We have a right and a left hemisphere. They’re literally like two different personalities and bring a different skill set to the table. We're living in such an overwhelming, complicated, busy, over scheduled world that it’s our left brain that’s constantly getting the attention and the voice in our minds. Our right brain is designed to perfectly balance that, but because of our busyness and the logistical and linear nature of everything we’re doing, it’s not getting accessed. When you give your right brain a task, every time you do it, it becomes stronger and better able to contribute when you have problems to solve, dreams you wanna fulfill or ideas that you’ve been holding back because you’re thinking, “oh, I probably can’t make that work or that works for everybody else, but not for me.” When you engage your right brain, you engage the part of your mind that creates change, that’s able to envision things being different and then you take action to do so.”
“That’s it! I’d been living my life “thinking” in a very left-brain, dominated way.
Full of overwhelm, trying to “figure out" life, stress, worry, anxiety and my inner voice was craving more right brain, be in the moment, calming thoughts and activities.
This has been me for YEARS!”
Yep, for years, I had tried everything to calm my thoughts; yoga, mediation, Chinese Medicine balls, walks in nature, jogging, dancing.
My body loved it, but my left-brain chatter (worry, to-do list, eat this, not that) was still taking over.
I even tried journaling and writing down all my gratitudes, but I could never stick to it on a consistent basis and when I did sit down to write, I'd be SO completely stuck in what I was grateful for. I couldn't understand why this was so hard for me.
That's when it hit me even more.
“Even though I’m a health coach and have loads of nutrition information behind me, I’m still trying to figure out HOW to eat right and exercise. And, on top of that, I’m still trying to figure out how to keep up with life. How to reconnect to my true passions. How to keep money flowing in for bills. How to stay grounded while being a military wife and moving every three to four years. How to be the best mom, wife, daughter and friend. How to get meals on the table day in and out with two little kids to take care of. How to thrive instead of survive adulthood, and most of all, how to take better care of myself and add more “me” time into my overwhelming and stressful busy mom days. It’s my mind, not the food!”
At that very moment, I made the commitment to immerse myself in absolutely everything that had to do with calming my mind with right brain activity because I knew I needed and wanted to BE a more calm, happy and present mom to my kids, my husband and my life and I had a feeling this was going to help me finally get there.
I picked up crayons, markers, colored pencils and paints and I started to play again, like I did when I was kid...no rules, just fun!
At first this was HARD! My left-brain was NOT happy and it was telling me all the reasons why coloring like this was wasting time and taking me away from doing laundry, figuring out my business, blogging, exercising and everything else that needed my attention while my daughter napped. And, not only that, but it was having SO much fun telling me that I'm NOT creative and that I'm now an adult, NOT a child who colors anymore.
But, what I started to SEE, was that the more I colored and painted just for fun, the more my over-analyzing, worrisome, “I can’t do this!!” and “You're NOT creative!!" thoughts started to CALM and the more my “this is FUN!!” , "I LOVE THIS!" and “I AM CREATIVE!!” thoughts started to bloom.
My inner JOY, my inner creative self and my inner passion for life IGNITED and it was AMAZING! And when I finished playing, I’d get up, feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and happily-energized, like I had just left a day at the spa.
“WOW!! This is what I’ve been searching for all this time!! Nothing has ever made me FEEL this way, and SO easily, too!!”
And, the best part of all, I was staying even more connected to my LOVE for photography AND...
I was falling even more in love with just how important it is to keep creativity ALIVE and NOURISHED,not only my life, but in my kids lives as well.
Because of this, I became one of Whitney's Creatively Fit Coaches so I could share all of this creative amazingness that was bringing me back to my calm, happy, kid-like JOYful, passionate and present self with others.
Because of my training and my journey, I now believe 100% that I AM CREATIVE and that everyone is. I believe that we're all born creative and, as adults, it's a must that we reconnect with it again. Be it drawing, cooking, photography, projects in the corporate, medical, education world, singing, writing, landscaping...the creative sky is the limit and that creative sky is unique to you and only you! And as for children, our youth, we have to keep it nourished and alive when entering the school system and beyond. Creativity creates balance in a very demanding, high standardized testing, educational environment, as well as in a very high demanding, adult career.
I mean, really, who knew, that doodling everyday with crayons, colored pencils, and paint AND that using a camera to savor a moment that stops you in your tracks, puts a BIG smile on your face and fills you with happy tingles calms your mind and ignites your joy like no other.
Because, lemme tell ya, if someone would have said to me…
“Renee, when you become a mom, you’re not only going to fall madly in love your kids (and your husband all over again!), but you’re also going to fall madly in love with photography and using your camera to slow down and savor life. And, not only that, you’re also going to LOVE using crayons, paints and markers, like you did as a kid, to help EASILY calm your mind and revive your inner, creative sparks and passions and keep them alive, which will then, ignite even more passion in you, in which, you become a Certified Creatively Fit Coach so you can share the power “behind” creativity message with others, all while living your busy mama life.”
I would have laughed out loud a big “HA!!! YEAH RIGHT!!” and then would have walked away, continuing to live my life, thinking, “I AM NOT CREATIVE!”, all while continuing to struggle to slow down and calm my inner self through yoga, mediation, journaling, walks in nature, organic and local foods and swirling Chinese mediation balls in my hands.
I would have continued to not only feel stuck with what I truly love, what my inner most passions are and what my purpose in life is beyond motherhood, but I would also still be living my mama life in a very worrisome, anxiety filled, left-brain dominating way, which would still have me feeling stressed out, tired and depleted all the time, which would have me continuing to miss the littlest moments that mean most to my busy mama heart because my thoughts would be more focused on the past and future, rather than the present.
Like being 100% focused on my kids (and my husband) and fully enjoying WHO they are and what they LOVE in their current stage of life.
Thank goodness I became a mom!
I always say, I owe it all to my kids for helping me find my inner, creative self again because it led me to find my missing link to truly nourishing my mind, soul and body. The more I tap into my creating, calm right brain, the more yoga, mediation, eating foods I love (no food is off limits anymore!), walks in nature, exercising, dancing, listening to live music, reading romance novels and inspirational reads, writing in my daily gratitude and joy journal (that I can now fill pages and pages with!), relaxing and savoring my kids, my husband and my life I do.
I always say creativity is meditation for my mind. And yoga, mediation and all things “spa” related, is mediation for my body.
Mindless-creativity not only brings me more calm, more joy and more fun, but it also helps me to slow down, live in the moment and BE more present to all the JOYful moments I love in my life, rather than always in my head, worrying or thinking about the past and future, while taking care of myself, my little kiddos, my husband and our constant “moving” lifestyle.
I'm not always calm and joyful. In fact, everyday, I still have many moments that leave me feeling like a FRAZZLED and bad mom. Except now, after going through my creative journey, I see it as a sign to slow down, as a reminder to tap into my right brain more because I'll always be a "work in progress,” and I'll never be free or healed from the stressors of life, I'm just able to handle those stressors more calmly and embrace them with more ease than I ever have before.
And, because of that...
I’m on a mission to keep myself, and busy and stressed out moms (who are like me!), inspired to easily use mindless-creativity to help us FEEL more calm, happy, relaxed, rejuvenated, patient, joyful, passionate and present, so when our kids are all grown up, we’ll look back with NO regrets, because even through all the ups and downs parenting provides, we'll know, in our hearts, that we took the time to (creatively!) slow down, to BE present, and to SAVOR (fully enjOY!) it all.
You can't savor your kids, your family or your life if your mind is constantly running five miles ahead or behind the present moment.
Now this I know for sure! I'm SO thankful I went on this path when I did, because I now live my life anxiety free (I never needed meds!) and I'm way more focused on all the JOYS and LOVES and the HAPPY and the BEAUTY that fills my life every single day, rather than all the stress, fear and worry (that are needed at times, but aren't meant to be focused on as much as I was).
Sure, those left-brain, worrisome thoughts creep back in, but when I'm at Chuck E Cheese with my kids, or at any other place that is extremely fast paced, I always give thanks for my path, because if I had my kids in my late 20s, I would've been running out of there as fast as I could, because my mind couldn't handle all the stimulation, which would of had me missing out on all the JOY that fills my kids hearts when they're in there, which would then, have them asking my husband, "Where did Mommy go?" and them being upset because "she's gone again" (all while still making sure we are all eating a 100% organic foods at every meal and exercising our hearts out and living a very fast paced life).
It brings tears to my eyes knowing how far I've come, all because, I became a mom and creativity (right brain activities!) found me. I now live my life in a way that I never thought was possible back then...in a way that is filled with more ease, more calm, more joy, more fun and most of all, more slow, so I can BE present and SAVOR all the JOYous moments that light me up with love and with the people who matter most to my heart, which is...my husband, my kids and my life!
I'll always have a big heart full of gratitude for this. Always! Because there's nothing more important to me than living slow so I can BE present and fully enjoy everyone I love and all the love that surrounds me. Love is ALWAYS there, we just have to slow down to SEE it and FEEL it.
Thank YOU for being here and following my creative inspiration!