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AI Internet Takeover: What does it really mean?

 In the past year, AI generation has come to the forefront of the public's attention. It first came to my attention when listening to an art podcast where they brought up Midjourney and frequently discussed its implications and followed its progression and other sprouting AI offerings. Artists were enraged by duplicitous online artwork made in their styles and appalled to realize their art was no longer only being knocked off for a quick profit by cheap online POD merch stores, but now also by apparently anyone who wanted to. Now artists are not only losing rightful income due to copyright infringement, they are at high risk of artistic identity theft. The current climate of visual artists for hire depends on projecting a style, a self-image, online via social media. The danger of that style, that self-identity , being hijacked by anyone who could then possibly compete with the actual artist online or in the market is more than a little unsettling. It i

How to juggle personal projects as a Mother or caregiver

 Hi Y'all,

Today I wanted to talk to you about the principles behind managing personal projects while taking care of your family. It turns out that mamas are people too, and just like anyone, mamas want to feel the sense of accomplishment that comes from successfully completing a personal project. Also, 100% of mamas will get burnt out if all they do is take care of everyone else 24/7!

Before I was married and had a baby I was rather ambitious and fairly competent. I bit off a lot, but I could usually find some way to chew it all--even if it meant lack of sleep or lower grades in school. After my baby came, my capacity suddenly became extremely limited beyond being a caregiver. This was really difficult for me to deal with, however, I was lucky to have time to adjust (and lucky to have graduated college the month before). But even still... I can't help that there is a lot I want to do!

And then I start to fall apart because I overwhelm myself by trying to do too many things at once! Between raising a baby, being a wife, serving in church, baking bread, making food I am excited to eat, writing stories, illustrating my stories, starting this blog, cleaning my house, taking care of myself, planning a move, planning a graduation vacation, growing a garden, and more... Its a lot.  Maybe you can relate?

busy mama struggling to juggle family life and personal projects

Well, I haven't got any quick fix or magic solution that will get you pre-kids amounts of free time (although babysitters or obliging relatives can make a big difference) but I DO have a few tips to help you find some personal satisfaction in projects without neglecting your most important responsibility--your garden of people to love.

We have all probably used the juggling analogy to complain about how much we are doing, and it is truly an apt metaphor! And I have found that the same principles of juggling potatoes apply to juggling projects and life. Namely: The more potatoes you try to keep in the air all by yourself at a time, the more quality will go down overall. 

But that doesn't mean we have to say no to our dreams! 

We just have to Space them out, Share them out, and Let everything fall into its place.

1. Space them out

Time exists so everything doesn't happen at once--so DON'T TRY to do it all at once! The Bible also clearly teaches that there is a time for everything and everything in its time. This means, don't start more than one project at a time, and try to plan them out so when one project is in a waiting stage you can focus on another and vice versa. 

For me, this has looked like focusing on garden prep in early March so I would be ready for planting season and focusing on refining my book dummy during the growing months when the garden only needs to be watered (I don't weed much lol). It looks like typing notes for blog entries when I have something I know I want to say, and making an illustration for a blog post as it nears its post-by date. (at this time I am aiming to post twice a month, on the 15th and the 29th). It looks like exclusively focusing on one thing at a time when it is most important, and shoehorning little project pieces into free time you find in weird places.

2. Share them out

Get other people involved in your projects! This can look like getting the whole family involved in manual labor or finding a friend who is better than you at whatever you are embarking on so you can succeed. A good rule of thumb is to get at least one person involved for each project you set out to do.

For me, this looked like getting my whole house involved in prepping the garden bed--it was memorable and fun! and I got the help I needed! It looked like asking an approachable gardener in my community for tips, and she ended up giving me seedlings and other supplies that have helped me be more successful than I would have been alone. It looks like asking my husband or sister to take my baby to the park or on a walk so I can get an extra hour of work done on my book project. This has also looked like sharing out a bit of necessary and repetitive housework (chores) while cutting down on the overall list of chores so that I have more free time and less pressure.

I highly believe that children and families grow together and as individuals when they are given responsibilities that show them they are 1) capable, and 2) part of a bigger whole. We truly cheat our loved ones out of growth when we do it all for them--and we cheat ourselves by thinking that it is our job to do everything for everyone and that it will get our families where we want them to go.

3. Let everything fall into its place or fall out of the picture

There is a good God who cares about your dreams and understands timing better than you. Let him help you understand what potato to hold when, and how to let the rest of them float or fall as they should. 

For me, this has looked like having a pretty clear idea of what I want to do, what I need to do to be successful (breaking the goal up), and a rough idea of what the deadlines are for different components. I keep that jumble in the back of my head and go about my daily life doing normal 'keep-everyone-alive' things and working on things based on deadlines until something starts to bug me and tug at the back of my mind. Then I try to move forward and get that thing done as soon as I can. I believe that God helps me in this way, and He can help you like that too (or in a more personalized way--He knows you well and knows how to talk to you. All you have to do is listen and trust that He is there and He cares.)

This last step has been the most important piece for me--kinda like gravity is the most important thing for juggling (it's kinda impossible to juggle in space!) Earlier in the year as I was in the middle of starting a few different projects I suddenly became very worried about reserving the Airbnbs for our vacation in September. So I put other things aside and focused on sorting that out as quickly as I could. It was good that I did too, because I was still able to find what we needed, although the majority of places were already booked. We might have been able to book somewhere cheaper if we had booked earlier, but I am grateful that God helped us reserve what we needed--he knows what we need better than I do. (a similar story for applying for passports etc, it's going to be tight because I didn't do it earlier, but I believe that we will get them in time)

Another important aspect of this step is knowing what potatoes you can't drop, and which ones are nonessential. Sometimes life is too crazy and we need to put everything but the most important things down. In those times focus on family and reach out to trusted friends and people in your community to pull you and your family through those difficult times.


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