I Started a War. . .

check your passion before you post

Check your passion before you post.

Something I am definitely guilty of not doing enough. I don’t really consider myself a political person, but in light of recent events, I guess I am. I consider myself a passionate person. And that’s where I can get myself into trouble.

I genuinely want a healthy conversation, and I learned Facebook is not the place to have those. I posted out of confusion yesterday. I wasn’t angry, I wasn’t passionate. Just baffled. I genuinely wanted an honest, healthy conversation with people with whom I don’t see eye to eye.

My heart is hurting along with many people both in our country and in countries around the world. We live in a place where we prize Facebook wars, our comfortable lives and our opinions. We fear the unknown. We reject those who disagree.

We live in a broken world. But there are beautiful people around us. And I have to choose to find the gold.

The beauty of speaking out is that you learn.

You learn about your own heart, and where lies the heart of others.

You learn about how you could have/would have/should have said something differently.

You learn that your opinion is not always right.

Some people agree with you, and some people will light you on fire with their dissent.

But in all – you learn to see the beautiful privilege of speech – even the words furiously pounded onto a quiet keyboard.

Follow Inspiration

Find inspiration. Sit at its feet. Glean from those before you. And don't be afraid to stand out on your own. Because they will stand all around you.

Good morning! It’s a slightly snowy day here in Tennessee. While the snow isn’t sticking, there is a light dusting of white on the rooftops – perfect for a cozy weekend in. My best friend from college will be in town tonight, so I have a potato soup about to go in the crock pot and I’m ready to crawl back under my sweater blanket and pull over some cozy socks.

Since the wedding is over, I’ve had more time to catch up on reading blogs, writing a bit more, and listening to some really awesome podcasts. When I started working, I let my writing fall to the wayside. I’m looking forward to finally clearing off that $14 desk I found at the Salvation Army and sitting down with my paper and pen. The grey winter days always inspire me to introvert with my books and my pens.

To be a good writer, you must be an excellent learner. So today I wanted to share with you a couple ladies who have inspired me lately to open myself up to more creativity.

 Creativity requires vulnerability.

Yesterday I re-listened to this sermon by one of my favorite power houses, Kim Walker Smith. It’s a long one, so if you have an hour where you’re doing something mindless or cleaning, I highly encourage you to listen.

For the past few years, I’ve been practicing deeper intimacy through vulnerability. And being married – SHEW. It’s like Vulnerability 101 got skyrocketed to a 400 level practicum. Marriage is ALL the vulnerability, even when you’re only 3 weeks in.

 

One of the most vulnerable writers that I have been following over the past several years is Emily from The Freckled Fox. We are so privileged that she invites us into her life and her story. Recently, Emily lost her husband to cancer. As I followed her story, I was heartbroken. I couldn’t even fathom what she went through – a mom of 5 and a widow at 25. I admired that she kept writing. She not only just wrote, but she bared her heart and soul in her writing always with a tone of gratitude. As I continue to follow her blog, I remain encouraged by her love for her family and her love for writing. She doesn’t follow “blogging” trends in the sense of “I must put a header on everything and list everything.” Instead she composes essays that draw you in and invite you to stay.

 

 

As I was going into the year, I thought my word for the year was “Be Creative.” Last year I decided that rather than find action words for my year, I wanted “be” verbs. I wanted to practice just being instead of doing. This year I’m continuing with that trend.

I want this to be the year of creativity for me. This is the year to try new things, and to better my craft at old things. I want to, as Mary Oliver says, “make an appointment every day with my writing.” I want to carve the time to write – whether that be blogging, journaling, or scribbling a poem in my moleskin. Yes, I keep a moleskin in the pocket of my purse. I want to learn to be a better cook. No, it’s not a newlywed thing, it’s therapy. I want to understand the way flavors combine and explode. One day I imagine being the house where all the kids want to come just because I’m an excellent cook. (That will be my way of making sure my kids stay out of trouble. 😉 )

Chase your inspiration

I want to study creativity in everything – the way we love each other, the way a poet’s words seemingly fall from their heart onto the page (see: Mary Oliver & Nayyirah Waheed), the way a photographer angles their camera just so. . . I want to chase inspiration. I want to sit at the feet of those who went before me and celebrate their success. I want to practice vulnerability because I want to practice creativity.

So “Be Creative” was my word until a few nights before the New Year. Just as I was falling asleep, a different word popped in my head and wouldn’t let me go. And the word terrified me. I thought I could post it today, but when I sat down to write, the words didn’t come. The irony is, I am being the exact opposite of my word for the year. So when you come back to this space on Monday, hopefully I will have composed my thoughts enough to make a post more coherent than the one you’re reading right now. 

Thank you for staying through my rambles. 

Incomplete Gratitude {vol. 2}

incomplete-gratitude

Jack-O-Lantern Peppers, Stomping on Crunchy Leaves, Crystals Sitting on the Morning Grass, Hand Hugging Warm Cups of Coffee, the Evening Tea with a Candle and a Book, Bubble Baths with Netflix and laptops Precariously Placed on a Bathroom Sink, Stepping into the Aromas of a Stew Simmering in a Crockpot, Forgetting to Put Baking Powder/Soda into the Cornbread (it will be better next time), Sweater Blankets, Snuggly Nights and Superhero Movies, People Who Love Well, People Who Learn to Keep their Mouth Shut (Lord, teach me this trait), Poetry, a Clean House, Friends Who Gift Their Services, Blanket Scarves, Natural Light, Chili Every Week, Bright Fire and Orange Trees, Cozy Cardigans, the Soft Glow of Lamps, a Warm (but Drafty) House

An Incomplete List of Gratitude

an incomplete list of gratitude

How the Sun Dips Behind the Mountain, Spraying the Earth with Orange and Pink – Worshipful Poetry –  Fluffy Pillows – New Book Smells – Latte Art Sprinkled with Cinnamon – Slow Mornings Quietly Roused by the Pale Morning Sun – Sore Abs and Belly Laughter – Tight Hugs, Surprise Hugs, Warm Hugs Enveloping Hugs – Listening Ears, Empathizing Hearts – Holding Hands – Diversity Unified – Listening Ears, Empathizing Hearts – “This is Beautiful/Good Job/You are mesmerizing/Well Done,” – Chocolate – Heart Leaps When He Catches You Staring At Him – Cheesecake Paired with a Blackberry Wine – Small Gifts Whispering “I love you” in the Most Affectionate Way – Sharp, Cozy Coffee Beans – Sweaty Backs from a Hard Work-Out, Your Legs Defy Your Body by Taking One More Step When Your Mind says, “No More.” – Friends – Seeing God in Nature – Strangers who Genuinely Smile – Pops of Pink and Hues of Blue – Flowers for No Reason- Seeing the Process Through – Unique Compliments – Old Couples who Still Hold Hands – Hours Lost in a Good Book – Fresh Sheets and Shaved Legs, Lavender Vanilla Bubble Baths – The Voice of Your Favorite Human – Random Acts of Kindness

Hiding in the Poetry Between my Pages

Hiding in the Poetry

There were a lot of things happening for me this week by way of creative writing that were quite exciting. I was privileged to write a few lines for a voice over for a film our church is playing at our Night of Worship Sunday night, so that pretty much consumed all of my creativity and I remembered how much I loved to write something that was more than a list about tears. I absolutely love blogging. It’s a great venue for me to practice my craft and come to the drawing board several times a week. But it’s so fleeting. I lazily pound out a post about my misadventures in cooking and then spend 30-45 minutes finding the perfect picture (which still isn’t that wonderful, usually) and then trying to come up with clever tweets to schedule, and then trying to find the best SEO word when we all know that I don’t really understand SEO.

Blogging has become so technical.

So to return to something that takes a little more of me – something that takes me making an appointment with my Scrivener every night (which, by the way, is an AWESOME app for all you creative writers out there. Seriously, it’s not an affiliate link [because I don’t know how to do those either] I just love it so check it out) and write and re-write and edit and write and re-write and compose something beautiful is just the refreshment my soul needed.

I’ve probably mentioned it before, but I’m also working on an e-book. I’ve had my chapters laid out for several months now, and even brainstormed a few into my sketchbook. I finally started drafting a few chapters a couple Saturdays ago when I needed to get out of the house and went to my favorite coffee shop with mismatched chairs and an amaretto/chocolate latte and began the dance of writing.

I just finished Yes, Please! by Amy Poehler this week and I won’t recommend my mom to read it because there were some raunchy parts. However, Amy talks consistently about how hard it is to write a book, and how easy it is to romanticize the writing process. We (I included) think that we must settle into a spot in a coffee shop or a bar, a forever mug of coffee or glass of wine to the side of our computer. When anyone comes up we pretentiously say, “oh yes, I’m writing a book.” But in reality the pages come together in a frantic burst of energy at 12:30 in the evening, or in the groggy hours before work (for everyone else but me – I actually am romantic and try to write on Saturdays in a coffee shop. Mainly because I value sleep and not waking up early on weekdays.)

OK at this point I’m rambling, and there is really no thesis to this post. All I’m saying is that I have been reading a lot, and falling deeper in love with words. I’ve been writing a lot, and it’s been beautiful for my soul. I spent an entire office day listening to spoken word poetry. The pain and love that oozed out of their souls broke my heart in two and I just sat here, crying. My friend said, “If that’s not the perfect depiction of PMS I don’t know what is.”

Find what inspires you. Submerge yourself in inspiration. Write poems or quotes on post-its and place them throughout your house, your office, your car. Set your phone background as a photo that moves you. Wake up a little earlier and read something that sets your heart right before the day. Look in the mirror each morning, say something positive to yourself, and smile.

And then you find you become a poem within yourself.