To Infinity and Beyond

So… It’s Fathers Day today, and I have been reflecting on fatherhood and the role fathers play in our lives.

For many women, the fatherhood role can be complicated. It imprints us at such a young age. In essence, our fathers are our first loves. Their actions, their words, their every move can shape our self-worth and how we see ourselves in relation to men. A healthy father-daughter dynamic can be vital in building successful male/female relationships in the future.

I was very fortunate to grow up with an incredible father. He was full of optimism, joy and humor. He eanddadmade us all laugh and created levity in our family. We soaked it up. He was my first true love. I learned from him how to treat and respect women by watching him interact with my mother. This was essential to my further growth and development of finding a mate and falling in love. I know, for me, I had such high expectations of the man I would be with because my father set the bar extremely high. As I look back and reflect, I probably had some issues early on with men because I subconsciously compared them to my dad. This was not fair or realistic, but it’s a natural response when you are raised by a larger than life father who adores you to the moon and back.

One of my all-time favorite books is The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan. Her father-daughter story resonated deeply with me. I got it. She was forever grasped by the adoration of her father. She so keenly states: 

He defined me first, as parents do. Those early characterizations can become the shimmering self-image we embrace or the limited, stifling perception we rail against for a lifetime. In my case, he sees me as I would like to be seen. In fact, I’m not even sure what’s true about me, since I have always chosen to believe his version.” 
― Kelly CorriganThe Middle Place

There have been a couple of episodes in my life lately that have furthered my reflection on fatherhood. I recently had lunch with a good friend. She lost her father at the vulnerable age of 12. He suddenly died of a heart attack. She was courageously talking about the impact that event had on her and her words significantly impacted me.

She revealed to me that losing her father at such a young age did, in fact, create issues in her young adult life with men. While in college, she was seeking out men’s approval and validation and she looks back on that time with some regret, but she also seems to truly understand why. She went on to tell me that when young girls lose their fathers, many times the community automatically supports the boy in the family. She recognizes this is not done intentionally or with ill will. Its just a fact. It’s more natural for the men to support a young boy by becoming a surrogate father to a him — taking him to games, coaching his little league teams, etc. I think there is an assumption that a young girl that still has her mother will be fine. But in reality — she’s not fine.

I thought about what she was telling me and it made so much sense. The natural development of her father-daughter model was tragically halted. There she was a 12 year old little girl — fatherless, with a hole that cannot be filled. But, through a lot of self-work and introspection over the years, she created a healthy, happy relationship with her husband. And today they are happily married and parents to two beautiful children. The take away for me is even when your circumstances are not ideal, you can still create the life you want. And for my friend, she was determined to get it right and create a beautiful relationship. She decided: I’m responsible for my own life. I can manifest a different story. And she did — AMEN.

This story gave me perspective. I thought about my own daughter, Marlie and her relationship with her father. Obviously, she does not have perspective yet, but one day in the not so distant future she will realize how incredibly lucky she is to have a dad like Jim. He adores her. He always has. They have a special bond that is irreplaceable. For as long as I can remember, Marlie and her dad have this “thing.” You know, that “thing” that you cannot put into words. It’s like they were meant to be together in this life. They share a natural, undeniable connection.

M&JWhen Marlie was a toddler, I would try too hard. I was desperately trying to tap into their frequency, their vibration — their “thing.” But, then I realized, it wasn’t for me to interrupt. I slowly began to see it for what it is, a gift. As I started to see it through a new lens, my natural connection to Marlie deepened and grew. As she got older, she naturally needed her mama, and her mama naturally needed her. I was always there waiting for her — waiting to receive her fully with no conditions — arms open, heart full. She has special needs and was born with a mother and father who embrace her right where she is — no expectations for more or something different, but rather, total unconditional acceptance for what is.

There is nothing more liberating than being loved for exactly who you are. Jim recently took this selfie of them on the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters ride at Disneyland. After looking at it, I thought what a lucky girl she is — being cradled by her dad who wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the world than on the Buzz Lightyear ride at Disneyland with his 11 year old, beautiful daughter, Marlie.

It’s a love felt “to infinity and beyond!”

(Thanks for the great line, Buzz!)


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Designer Katie Scott on Creativity & Faith

I am thrilled to introduce another creative guru today, my dear friend Katie Scott. Katie’s playground crosses many mediums — interior design, jewelry and writing — and I feel she truly embodies the creative life. She finds inspiration deep within her heart, and her book is about the spiritual journey that awakened her soul several years ago. Clearly, the fruits of that journey are spilling out into her creative efforts, and I admire the honesty and passion of her faith. Savor Katie’s beautiful, divinely inspired designs and enjoy her take on living a creative life. XOXO, Elaine

Kennon1736 ET: Can you describe your daily creative process? Are you disciplined about it and follow daily routines or are you instinctual about it and just let it happen?

KS: My daily creative process begins with prayer and meditation. I recognize my ability to design as a God-given gift, so I believe it must be nurtured by a higher power. Not only do I seek creativity, but first and foremost peace, love and divine direction. When this is at your core, everything else begins to fall into place and the universe begins to work for you. Inspiration can be found everywhere. No doubt, my creativity has grown tremendously through this vehicle.

I require routine during the work week because you must be scheduled, disciplined and organized in order to manage time efficiently. That being said, I remain open and flexible to the unexpected changes that may be required. My day starts at 5:00 a.m. to center myself in peace through prayer and meditation. I am dressed and out of the door by 7:00 a.m. to drop kids off at school, and my meetings start by 8:00 a.m.

ET: How do you recover from a creative block? Are there any practices you engage in to get you out of a rut?

KS: A creative block is essentially mental exhaustion. When this happens, I literally step away from everything and clear out the clutter that has accumulated in my mind. Nature is my cure – whether it’s escaping to the beach or something as simple as a walk in the park or through my neighborhood. It carries my soul back to just being, letting go of acquired “thoughts” so I can be open to receive inspiration and develop new ideas. I breathe out what was, and breathe in “today,” this very moment of simplicity and life in itself, circling back to purpose and accomplishing what has been placed on my heart.

Once I have cleared my mind, I recharge by getting back into my element, and my environment is very influential – I adjust the lighting, I light a candle, I turn on my favorite music. I ask God to infuse me with knowledge, wisdom and new ideas. I take a deep breath and I grasp what comes naturally to me, using my senses to guide my inspiration – looking at color, touching and feeling fabrics and metals, turning to the past and reinterpreting the inspiration through a modern eye with a fresh perspective.

ET: What are your feelings about your career being connected to your creativity? Do you struggle with this? Or is it natural for you?

KS: Being creative is what comes naturally to me, it’s all I know. Everything I do has been “self” taught, and practiced over time. I am definitely a student of life.

ET: Do you have other outlets of creativity that you engage in that fill your soul other than interior and jewelry design? If so, what? And how does that enhance your creative process if at all? Read More