Wednesday, April 29, 2015

the lessons april taught me


This one is a day early. But this weekend is busy with family and celebrations and all the things that make for crazy business, so I'm sharing my lessons from April a day early. I really hope there isn't something pertinent to learn tomorrow.


Without further fuss, my lessons from April: 

BULLET JOURNALING IS WORTH THE LEARNING CURVE. 
I was so overwhelmed. SO OVERWHELMED when I first looked at the bullet journaling website. It seemed too versatile and too expansive. But at the same time it fascinated me. Then my mom and I got to talking about bullet journaling and she said she was going to jump in on April 1st. Because we usually try new things together, I decided to give it a go.

I used this video to get myself started. But I've had to adapt things to my own way. It took some effort and patience in understanding the way blank pages might relate to one another. A post to come (hopefully this month) for ya'll who are curious. 

BEING A BETTER READER MAKES FOR BETTER WRITING.
Or at least more interest in the way other writers put words together. I've found myself picking up books that are really not my "type" and unable to put them down because of the ways their words and images just dance me around in a new place.

MOSCOW MULES NEED TARGET'S GINGER BEER AND A SPLASH OF SODA WATER.
When you're out of regular vodka it's worth driving to the store and getting some because substituting peach vodka is disgusting. Also, ginger beer is expensive, yes it is. But Target brand's ginger beer cans are BIG and easily make two, if not three, mules at a time. It is very ginger-spicy, but help tone it down with some soda water.

WHEN GRACE ISN'T EXTENDED, YOU HAVE TO KNOW YOU DID YOUR BEST. 
This hurts to learn, but best to learn it earlier rather than later in life. You can't control everyone else's emotions or reactions, but you can control the way and why of the things you do. So, be a good person regardless of the way you are received.

HERBS GROW BETTER OUT OF THE GROUND.
I actually cannot count the number of times that I've tried to grow herbs in the ground. They always get overtaken by some other plant (usually a weed). But you plant them in a standing pallet or pots or anything that allows them to grow without competition they thrive... Plus, pallets look so pretty.

KEEP A NOTEBOOK OR BLANK NOTE CARD HANDY. 
I read this in Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird. I've seen it all over online. I've heard Podcasts that preach about inspiration striking all over the place. Yes, I've heard it a dozen times. But recently, I've come to understand which has lead to blank note cards all over the house and tucked in my purse and between the covers of books and in kitchen drawers. Yes, everywhere.

Because when in doubt, write it all out. (Sometimes I review what's on those cards and giggle, other times I read them and fall in love all over.)

THERE IS NOTHING LIKE SUPPORT FROM A COMMUNITY.
When Cassie and I talked about launching #morethanaframe we purposely kept expectations low. We told each other this was fun and an awesome idea and that we'd email some trusted friends with hopes for some engagement. Then the day came and we were blown out of the water. There's nothing, NOTHING, like being encouraged and supported by an entire community. So many thank yous are in order because my heart is warm all over it's interior.

And, with much excitement, I'm linking up with Emily Freeman.

Monday, April 27, 2015

the creative process: rewarding hard work


Shortly after Jason and I got married I ran a really strong half marathon. It seemed that settling into marriage helped my running (oh, the stress of newlywed life). And in doing so, it bolstered my confidence. So I signed up for a full marathon with my mom. We trained. And trained. And trained.

We prepared ourselves to run for four hours without stopping, practiced how to eat and to drink and when to expect bathroom breaks while we continued to run. Often we'd eat light, veggie-filled meals on Friday nights skipping drinks so the morning run would be painless and enjoyable. Come Saturday night it was reward time filled with chips and salsa and table side guacamole, with pizza and beer, with spaghetti and garlic bread dipped in meat sauce.

As we ate, sometimes feeling guilty, we'd remind ourselves of our morning's task and look each other in the eye saying "reward". Yes reward, over and over again. I knew that a great morning run would mean an even greater meal. And the process went well, I finished the marathon and weighed 5 pounds more than the day we started training.

I used to lie to myself about creating. I'd say that it was my treat, my reward, for living, working, running. I thought all creatives felt the same way. I never allowed creativity to be seen as work. I thought it was my reward for doing the rest of life as need be.

THIS IS SO WRONG. 

Creativity requires much of you, so much, in fact, it can feel as though you're running a marathon when you're simply trying to write out 300 words. I didn't understand that creating is taxing, sometimes a very heavy load to bear. Add to that the people who use their creativity for their livelihood and there is rarely a chance to skip out on the artful tasks ahead of you.

SO, IF CREATIVE WORK ISN'T THE REWARD, WHAT IS? 

When I reached 25,000 words in my first draft of the book, I bought myself a pair of sandals. I love them and they make me smile, but I can't afford the money and space to always buy myself a present for pushing forward in my project. So, I set my heart on choosing things that were restorative while keeping open space in my mind and home.

In doing this, I have found there are three ways to reward myself that are restorative (and don't include filling yet another space in my closet):

1. TAKE A NAP.
I love sleep. Really, really, really love sleep. So when I've worked hard and the words are there and I'm just done and proud, I sleep. Sometimes it's just a little 20 minute power nap, but there's something so nice about letting my mind fall into a slumber after working it out. (I guess maybe this is just like our bodies...)

2. A CELEBRATORY COCKTAIL
I mean, what's there to explain here.

3. GO TO THE LIBRARY. 
I know, I talk about the library sort of a lot. But the thing is I didn't realize what a beautiful, restful space it is until just a few months ago. Sometimes I finish up a good hour writing and just want to sit in the presence of more words. The library's that place. Plus it's quiet and requires nothing of me but more quiet and it's just peace.

I also am a huge fan of having some smutty reality TV on your DVR for mind-numbing pleasure, reading through an issue of Real Simple for healthy distraction, and ice cream, always ice cream.

And, how do you reward yourself?

Friday, April 24, 2015

sometimes you just need a cake pop.

Sometimes you just need a cake pop. Sometimes a cake pop is the perfect way to show that you care. 
Sometimes you run into the dog store to grab some of your pup's favorite bones and there's a pup cake pop at the register. Since you're a sucker you buy it because it's pink and sprinkled. 

And so you come home and you spoil your dog even more. But you take pictures while you do because that's what all great cake pop moments deserve.
 Then the series is adorable. Just absolutely adorable. And there's this intense joy and hunger and wonder in your sweet dog's face.
A joy and hunger and wonder you sort of wish you had yourself. You think about delight and wonder if it's infectious.
You see the green sprinkles melted on her tongue and you find yourself wanting some green, melty sprinkles of your own.

Hunger. Joy. Wonder. Delight. Maybe that's the pattern of daily life. You find yourself scanning through the pictures over and over and over again throughout the course of the week.

When it finally dawns on you, this sort of feeling is yours to have. And so you stick a yellow sprinkle on your nose and you seize the day after starting it off with a cake pop for breakfast.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

the creative process: surround yourself

Life's always better in community. That's why we come online and seek connections with other bloggers who write through their messes. That's why family dinners are joyful and chaotic and fill more than our bellies. To live is to crave connection, or so it seems. And our creative lives are no different.

We need people to push us forward, cheer us on, encourage our deepest of dreams. We crave the ability to share in our processes with one another, granting ourselves the chance to see the ups and downs of the creatives around us. And, lately, this itch to connect has been stronger. 

ENTER COLLABORATION. 

Community is why collaborations are delightful and divine. So when Cassie mentioned what a joy it would be to work together, I, of course, was thrilled. Her heart for community exceeds my own and her soul constantly encourages me. 

Our collaboration came quickly in conversations about connections and making the online more real, more honest, more vulnerable. And from here the idea for #morethanaframe, a new Instagram hashtag that we hope to see become a community, bloomed. 

THE HEART BEHIND #morethanaframe: 

Our brands and blogs are beautiful and such fun reflections of who we are, but we know community doesn't simply happen in highlight reels, in pretty composed pictures, in beautiful calligraphy, but just outside of those perfectly choreographed square frames. Community happens in the way we nod our heads about that quote you shared, smile while we send a pink confetti bomb emoticon for your victories, and feel heavy through the losses. 

Through #morethanaframe we hope to expand our Instagram feeds beyond their frames, to break out of the seamless brands, color schemes, and themes to show the way our life happens. It is on foundations of vulnerability and honesty that community is built and #morethanaframe promises to be a start for greater connections. 

HOW DOES #morethanaframe WORK? 

It's simple, really. Each Sunday, Cassie and I will post the prompt for the week. It'll be a single word or short phrase to help center your thoughts. On Mondays, we will begin using the #morethanaframe hashtag while sharing our frames and the hearts outside of that square space. 

You can post at any time during the week. You can post one time or two times or multiple times. You can skip the sharing and simply comment all over the place. We just hope to see sharing our lives beyond the online brands we've created happen. 

Take advantage of both the picture and the caption. Something weighing on your heart? A trend appearing over and over again in your life? Itching to give context to your creative process? Do it right there in the caption and let us connect with you beyond the beautiful blog (or brand) you've created. 

Each week we'll feature our favorite shots and frames on our blogs. Of course, you're allowed to participate in whatever capacity you desire. This means, you don't have a blog and you don't have to worry because this is about community. 

Without further delay, we've got the prompts for you: 



THE BEST NEWS IS THIS: YOU'RE INVITED. 

You're invited to participate in #morethanaframe from now until forevermore by posting your picture using the hashtag. We'll hit it off starting THIS Sunday, April 26th. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

saying i love you || the letter link-up

Welcome to you, to you and to your words today. 

The Letter Link-up | Mr. Thomas & Me

This letter is part of The Letter Link-Up. They are written to remember mundane moments that would otherwise slip away, to hold tight to him, and to remember how life looks right now at this very moment with the chance to shed light on your heart. 

While my letters are documenting moments within our marriage before children for our children, you are allowed to write your letter to anyone, on anything with the prompt being simply a loose and suggestive starting point. 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Dear Jason,

If someone asked me to guess what role you'd play in my life the day we met, I would have giggled and said you were cute. I might have guessed that I'd date you. I may have said we would go to formal together, that I might venture to Las Vegas with you, that we'd walk along that bay walk you lived near. I might have mentioned something about boyfriend, relationship, love, but I wouldn't have said husband.

I wouldn't have said husband because I was working on being un-tethered when you bounced into my life on the dance floor of the Aubergine. I wouldn't have said husband because I was trying not to find Mr. Right, or even Mr. Right Now. Would I have put words to the generous future you'd give to me? No. 

I still, being here, in it at this instant, find words ill-fitting and uncomfortable. 

What I didn't know then, was that you wouldn't date me to fix me up, to doctor my wounds, to be a cure for my soul's fears. I didn't know you'd date me asking for anything more than being the naive college girl pretending to be brave. I didn't know you'd hold patient and steady as I flipped and flopped and gave us -as a potential relationship- a hard time. 

But you fixed me up by making a quiet, safe space for me to grow. You allowed my wounds to be doctored by a grand God. You let my soul seek its own salve for the chaos of life. And, in being there, patient and present, you've done a work on my heart. 

Not only do I love you, but I love who I am because of you.

Yours forevermore,
am
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
For May's link-up: 
Monday, May 25th

The topic: 
A Place of Peace
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
And without further fuss, the links for April:

Friday, April 17, 2015

when you get your burning bush


I asked God for a sign. And I told you about it. And you said things like yes and tears and me too.

I was thrilled that we want signs, all of us. I was comforted we aren't getting them. I was thankful I'm not the only one He seems to have forgotten. I prayed a prayer of thanks for lots of hungry souls, knowing that He could feed us just like He did the 5000 so long ago.

We want to know what we're doing is right and good and changing the world, if even in just tiny ways. We can tell each other that we're doing the right thing, pursuing relentlessly and the like, but we can't see it in our own lives. We say any sign will do, but how lovely would a burning bush be? Then we speak about burning bushes and decide we're worthy of it and prepared to see a bush not consumed by flame.

But what if we get the burning bush we want? 

Do we ignore it? Do we turn a blind eye and pretend it was just a random spark? Do we act like God just threw a still-lit cigarette out His window and it landed on our dry soul? Are we truly prepared for the message it might hold? Can we see something burning and not consumed without losing our cool?

I know I'd panic. I know that's not the right response, but I'd panic and forget I ever asked for a sign in the first place. Because burning bushes never make logical sense and so I explain them away. Cigarettes or fireworks or conspiracy. Who cares what it means when the burning bush is without explanation.

If I can ignore it, I don't have to change course.

What if the burning bush is inside of us? 
We pretend there isn't a burning bush though we feel the flames. Sure we can't see it, we can't smell it, but we we feel the flames. We feel them not on our hands, but in our hearts. We know they are there burning and hungry, but the kindling is not consumed.

What if the sign we asked for is an unquenchable passion in our souls? What if our soul continues to ruminate on the words we've dedicated our beings to ignoring? Is that our bush on fire? Yes. In ignorance, we can walk wildly through the brush without regard for a grander purpose. But it will continue to burn, begging for our attention.

I was writing a letter the other day. I was writing to a friend and I scrawled I am purposely ignoring Him because I'm afraid of what He's going to say. I wrote it to tell her we're all afraid. I wrote it hoping she'd write back and say she knows I'm listening to Him. I wanted her to say the ignoring feeling is just fear working deep in my heart and isn't really my fault or choice at all. But, I didn't need her to say that because He did.

The bush on fire is true regardless of my choice.
I'm ignoring Him and the burning bush He started in my heart. I'm afraid of where that bush might send me, who it will tell me has needs, what ways I will surely fall flawed and short, so I plug my ears and close my eyes and chant something about how "you can't see me." Because, if I say it, it is so.

So now what? 
It seems time to quit pretending the fire is going to burn itself out.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

the lucky coffee date #13

If we were on a coffee date, I'd be sipping out of this unicorn mug that my mama gave me for my birthday. I'd tell you I hand wash the thing every evening so I can drink out of it the following morning. I'd also confess that I had to learn to drink out of it with the horn because sometimes it stabs me in the face on the way to my mouth.

If we were on a coffee date, I'd tell you that I've stepped back from the book. Yes, I stepped back. And I was terrified about it because I don't want to disappoint anyone or let this dream go. But I needed a breath and a break and to give myself grace. It's been nice, taking away the pressure and allowing the process to flow naturally with the way life goes. But, sometimes, I want to set up dates and numbers and intimidating goals.

If we were on a coffee date, I'd introduce you to Sylvan Esso. I have raved about the way I love NPR's Tiny Desk Concert Series, but, oh my soul, how fun it is to listen to their latest releases and fall in love. Play me H.S.K.T. all the livelong day.

If we were on a coffee date, I'd ask what you're watching on TV. Lately my favorite shows are annoying me with their angry yelling (Hi, Real Housewives) and dysfunction (Hi Teen Mom) and same old schtick without growth. I don't know if it's that I'm maturing or that I just can't stand everyone seeming so upset with each other all the time, but, tell me there are fun, not-so-scandalous options out there.

If we were on a coffee date, I'd recommend some dinner time recipes to you. Eating has been good in our house lately and I'd want you to taste what's delicious and delightful.

If we were on a coffee date, I'd confess to the ten library books I have at home. I know, why ten? Because I'm there and I love books and so I check them all out and no one bats an eye. You might ask how long it takes me to get to the library and I'd say no more than 8 minutes and you'd wonder why I have ten books if I can go to the library every day. Because I'm book-obsessed.

If we were on a coffee date, I'd want to sing and dance. I don't sing well, but that's alright because you're awesome and love me. My body itches for movement more than usual lately... I'm not exactly sure why, but I'm enjoying the desire to walk and run and move, move, move. I've been listening to Elevation Worship's Wake Up the Wonder and holy.

If we were on a coffee date, I'd go home and write you a letter. I might send it, I might not. But I'd write you one. Because I'm writing letters to everyone nowadays. Anne Lamott said in Bird by Bird that when there's writer's block, write a letter. And so I have. Not because of writer's block, but because of the joy of it, because sometimes there's messages in our hearts we are just dying to share and we don't even know it. I'd write you a letter friend.

Monday, April 13, 2015

the creative process: using the instagrams


I imagine creativity like a baby. It moves in a cycle of rest, consumption and output. It needs constant attention and devotion, sometimes in the darkest hours of night or hellish moments of first light. But, like a sweet infant, it grows. And if we're lucky, it grows into a beautiful, energetic blessing that gives of itself over and over again.

But, like a baby, the nutrients, the provisions in the moments of intense hunger, must be good, nutritious, worthwhile. An essential part of the creative process is identifying what feeds you in the deepest of ways.

With the rise of Instagram and my love for all things art, I've come to realize I am greatly influenced by art and images. Sometimes I find myself feeling threatened or stupefied by other authors' words and structures. WHile they are are interesting and worthwhile to study, I can fall down a deep, dark rabbit hole of comparison. But color and composition draw me in, inspire me, and eventually lead to my own productive word work.

Here are three of my go-to Instagram inspirations: 


And her Instagram
Colors evoke emotions in us. Did you know that? It's not some made up fact from your elementary school art teacher, but a true scientific discovery. So, find colors that do something for you when you're trying to get in your zone. For me, blues and greens and whites often calm me, help me to fall into an almost meditative work. Yellows, oranges, and pinks bring out the happy emotions in me, usually bringing me to write about the joy or love in a specific moment.

Aside from my process, Emily's is gorgeous. I swoon when she posts her paint table and it's unintentional, but entirely divine, patterns and textures.



and her Instagram 
The best photos are full of emotion. And I'm a believer in that emotion brings forth words, one thousand words to be exact. When inspiration is waning and my heart just isn't in it, I look through pictures. Sometimes through my own Instagram feed, but often through the feeds of others. You can bet this one is constantly in that mix.

The tenderness in these images almost breaks my heart to pieces. I want to hug these photos tight to my heart and keep them in a shoe box in my closet because these moments are so fleeting, so taken for granted, and yet, so profoundly beautiful.


and her Instagram 
The work-life balance is a real sticking point for me. I often find myself guilty for being too invested in the one and not the other... Sometimes wasting precious productive hours wavering between what to do with full gusto. And then I found the refreshing feed of Julie Ann Art and realized, do both well and you'll survive. She's got an online card business (with snark-tastic creations that speak straight to my soul) and is enjoying her time as a newlywed and just kicking ass while taking names.

Sometimes I swing by her spot just to remember it's about life AND work, not ever resting solely in the camp of one. Balance. Balance. Balance.

And who is your creative Five-Hour Energy on Instagram? 

Friday, April 10, 2015

no rose questions why | an exploration of insecurity


There's something we all have, but we know not to talk about. It looks, feels, sounds different for all of us, but it's there in our lives, constant and creeping, sometimes falling dormant and then growing to the point of almost eating us alive. Though this sounds like a riddle, a sneaky, snarky joke, it's an every day reality.

Insecurities. 

They're there, always waiting, wanting, ready to woo us into some ugly ghost of our real selves. Usually I spot them on someone else far quicker than I realize their appearance in my own actions and behaviors. But, as of late, I hear a little whisper that warns me when insecurity is sneaking in and I'm putting up sarcastic walls and applying my smiling mask.

Insecurities are there, always. Like our breath and our hair and our need for water and food. Like God and love and light. Always there.

But they're not our definitions. 

We have a choice, to fall victim or to honor what's true. Those little devils on our shoulders that say "you're too small, too young, too fat, too thin" whisper angrily into our ears. We let labels fall down on us, climb into the box placed at our feet, and hedge ourselves in while pretending we don't mind.

Avoidance feels right. So we skip the skinny jeans and drink protein shakes for breakfast. We veer away from the old friend in Target before they see us and hide our red-rimmed eyes behind sunglasses. We hide in the face of new adventure and shrink back from big dreams.

But it's not those that are the most threatening. 

No, the insecurities that rock me and scare me and leave the bravest part of me rolled in a tiny, protective fetal position aren't about my body or age, but about my soul. They say things like "ugly, boring, unnecessary, replaceable, unlovable". And my soul tastes their metallic flavor like blood on the tongue.

It's those that justify my resting bitch face, my cold shoulders, my stand-offish behavior. I pretend it makes me cool, calm, aloof, and somehow more attractive and necessary in this role of living. I hide the fear I will not succeed, often riddled with jealousy of other's success. I deny any frustration with my recent (usually unimportant) shortcomings and act confident. I feel insecurities deep within my tender heart and they scare me, so I establish an outward shell in hopes of saving myself some hurt.

It's important to say they're liars.

Regardless of how true those "ugly, boring, unnecessary, replaceable, unlovable" words feel, they lie. Yes, insecurities establish their roots in teeny, tiny, almost invisible cracks and wait. They wait for the moment a shift happens and they can slip through, finding some sort of nutrition, and they grow. They grow and grow, sustained by your fear.

The struggle is real, it's something I'll fight from now until forevermore. But seeing those dark clouds on the horizon, the shadowy threat of insecurity, I get to choose: steel up to contain the scared or break open and share. May I always, always, move towards the latter.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

what i read in march

Another month, another three books read, another format for my reviews. I found myself more engrossed in my books and such attention brought me to be more attached, critical, inquisitive about the plot. I didn't want to just sit around and tell you to YES read or to NO skip... So, welcome to the NEW (and improved) layout of my month of March reads. 



I read this while we were driving to Mammoth to ski. A six-hour drive promises lots of time to get involved with some interesting characters and that is exactly what I'll remember about this novel. The main character captured my heart (and my mind) with his quirks and interesting thought process. For every bit that I enjoyed him and his naive analysis of the people around him, I was frustrated by his fictional friends. 

Maybe this frustration, their lack of empathy and understanding, is for a point -it is, really- but I just wanted to protect him, help him, encourage him onward, out of the rut in which he's found himself. 



I adore Hannah's blog. I adore her tweets and all the wisdom that spews out of her soul. So, of course, when she put out a preorder of her book last October I ordered it. I thought I knew how the book would go, and I did, but there's MORE than you'd expect. This is the Blu-ray DVD with all the extras compared to what I consume of hers online. 

The outset is a young woman trying to find her place and purpose in the world. This didn't do much for me -I guess I didn't really have that identity crisis post-college. Maybe it was that I wasn't worried about my place in the world because I was having a faith crisis or my belief that being a stay-at-home-mom would be fulfilling enough or the focus of preserving my family as we knew it, but I just didn't question my purpose or place in this big old land. I enjoyed the wisdom and movement and goodness contained in the final two thirds of the book and thought often of friends who are struggling to define what success and faith and love look like to them. 

The reason I picked this book up was because I adored Me Before You. I mean, I adored that book and the ground it might ever grow legs to walk on. And, Moyes arrived with her same quirky characters and delightful writing style... Twists and turns like a roller coaster are there, shocking you and driving me to call my mom with sheer surprise. Moyes had me emotionally involved with her characters, cheering some on, hating others, and wanting to warn them all the same. But, all that said, this just didn't go all the way. It ends happily ever after -unexpected, yes, but still sort of fairytale sweet. There's plenty of that on my bookshelves and I guess, if I'm honest, I expected a bit more from Moyes than that. 

I'm currently reading these two with another stack on my nightstand. 

What are ya'll reading? 

Monday, April 6, 2015

a year to savor: some reflections


On January 1, 2015, I made a promise to myself to savor this year. I knew many changes laid in the months to come and instead of racing through them like a mad woman, I dedicated myself to enjoy the process, the bits of transition and transformation. And so, I am.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Three months into my Year of Savoring and I've realized a few things:

1. SAVORING PEOPLE IS EASY.
Not always easy, but easy enough. The nights when Jason is home or we're having family dinner I hardly think about my phone or being somewhere else or all the writing things I want to do.

However, I'm struggling to savor time with myself. I'm a person who relishes the thought of time alone to think and be and do, but lately I've been trying to frantically fill that time with other people -even if just through social media. This doesn't fill me as much as I would like to say so. The task that lies ahead is to find a balance between self and social media in the slower, quieter moments.

2. I FEEL LIKE CRYING A LOT.
Not always sad tears or mad tears or anything bad, but just crying. My mom gave me a book (this one in particular) for my birthday. The big symbol in it is hawks -which are special to me- and it's a memoir about a girl losing her father. Does this sound sort of familiar? And so, I almost cried when I saw the kind, encouraging note she'd written inside the cover.

It seems savoring encourages me to be more emotionally vulnerable (even just with myself), something I'm enjoying and that's causing me to grow, but that's become a different social "responsibility" than I'd imagined.

3. I'M BETTER AT LIVING IN THE NOW.
I love to think about the next step. So much love it that I ignore what's happening now until it's gone and we're there and I realize that I've missed the point of things. No more of that.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

But I'm struggling to keep myself in pursuit of opportunities to savor new, different, many things. I realize I'm getting caught in ruts where I just keep focusing and enjoying the same things over and over again. So, for the next three months I'm going to set focus with three goals or points from which I can jump off.

1. READ THE BIBLE WITHOUT A PLAN.
The SheReadsTruth plan for Lent is good and has challenged me to rethink about this time of the year and what it means for my faith. But I'm ready to be free, to be on my own in my bible reading for some time. I have started to feel hedged in, bordered beyond my desires, and it's making me itchy. I'm longing to return to the Psalms and to just resonate with the raw emotions that are caught up in those words.

2. WRITE IN A JOURNAL.
As much as I have dedicated myself to write online, I've really fell out of the habit of journaling. I miss the pen to paper process... So, time to revive it.

3. SLOW DOWN IN MY DAILY ROUTINES.
Sometimes I catch myself eating dinner with Jason and inhaling my dinner. I realize I'm feeling frantic, like I must eat and eat and eat in pace with him. And that's just not the case. Lately, I've found myself struggling to sleep at night without waking and making lists, without working through the things I need to do. And, well, that's self-important. I'm sometimes so busy pulling myself in a dozen directions only to realize that I'm doing nothing well or with heart. And, that's disappointing. So, I need to slow down, savor my dinner, my sleep and let life be without that constant feeling of rush.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I'm a believer that when you fail to plan, you plan to fail. So, how is this all going to happen? What might it look like?

1. CONTINUE ON YEAR OF THE PSALMS.
Not a new book of the bible (because I started before Lent) but using the Life Lived Beautifully journal.

2. BULLET JOURNALING. AND LETTER WRITING. 
Thanks to this post from one of my favorite writers, bloggers, life-livers ever, Emily Freeman. I'm five days in and LOVING it with a few hiccups here or there.

I decided to take on something new for 30 days because why not try something new? And at first I thought it would be something with book writing or music listening or TV watching, but after devouring Hannah Brencher's book, I've decided to write letters in a journal for the month. Not that I'll tear them out and share them, but as a heart experiment -like who is on my heart, what's heavy or important to me, all the weighty things I want to write out, but don't.

3. DRINK MORE WATER AND TEA. 
I'm grossly hooked on caffeine. I think changing that habit will help slow my intensely forward-moving roll.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
How do you best savor? 

Friday, April 3, 2015

speak up: celebration

Another month down (does that seem possible?) means another month's started and means we're back to speaking up with and for and to one another. 
Please do yourself a favor and visit my sweet co-host Annie. Her wisdom will bless you all over the place, I promise.

And now, share your goodness for this month's link-up:

For May, we will be talking about GROWTH.

And, as always promised, some sweet, wicked awesome inspiration for you.




See you and hear you and commune with you again on May 1st!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

my creative process: introduction

I sat in the doctor's office on Monday morning and my stomach growled. Not the angry growls of hunger, but the digesting sort of groans. The nurse and I laughed and she said I must have had something good for breakfast.

The truth is, I only had a protein shake. A shake that was hearty and served the purpose of keeping me full until lunch, but not anything like bacon and eggs, or french toast, or pancakes. It growled and gurgled and I sort of started to giggle.

But as the giggles subsided I started to think of this place and how it's not about whether life is good or bad, happy or sad, nutritious or delicious, our job as humans is digestion. Sometimes we're digesting food, pulling what's important and life-sustaining. Sometimes we're digesting big news, removing the bits and pieces that change our life. Sometimes we're digesting what's happening daily, our routines and our movements.

And as bloggers we digest online. We take our daily life, mundane moments, and environments and we consume them, spill them out here in our online spaces in an attempt to create energy, creative energy, from them for you.

This growling belly and digestive moment started my mind thinking about creativity, about the way my mind and soul works in a rhythm similar to my gut. And from that came this series, a series on my creative process, a series I'm hoping will enrich your process as well as help me to glean greater goodness from my work.
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I'll be covering a half dozen different topics that range from what inspires me and how my mind mulls over happenings, but if you've got specific questions or interests, feel free to let me know. Email, text, comment, any way you wish to get in touch with me.

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