Vacation is behind us and I'm caught up in that hazy fog and culture shock that always accompanies a return to the city after extended time away. I so enjoyed having a bit of a blogging break over the holidays to work on other projects outside of this space and to just be with my people. Today we are tucked inside after the blizzard that just hit the northeast and I thought I'd catch you up on all the things with an old school TEN post. Remember those? Photos and thoughts to gather up and share. Internet randomness at its best and a little peek into one another's hearts and minds.
The lake is still my favorite spot on the face of the earth. It is always peaceful and utterly charming in summer or winter, but there is something magical about standing on the shores with family and building a bonfire in the snow. It is safe. It is an anchor to my childhood, to my history and heart year after year and its the place I get serious with God about the way he wants to move in my life each and every summer. Being there feels like sacred ground. My soul is simply at home here. Do you have a place like that?
I escaped to the bathroom to hide from my people when all of it got to be a little too much for me over the holidays. Apparently I still wanted some interaction, because I decided to instagram it and this was the most highly commented on photo I have had in recent memory. Lots of you were even hiding in the bathroom along with me and we supported each other through the craziness that is Christmastime. Are you all doing ok now? The interesting part about this is that I come off as an extrovert to everyone I meet. My personality is a lesson is contradictions. My sweet husband has been studying Myers- Briggs profiles for a couple of months and we have found such insight into understanding one another, our quirks, our parenting styles, who our children are and on and on that we can't stop talking about it and begging to test every one we love. That probably means I'll be writing about it more soon. If you want to learn more about your own personality, check out the simple test at 16personalities.com.
Friendships take heaps and heaps of hard, intentional work. This may have always been the case, but I feel it most deeply now, and I feel the sting of those relationships that have drifted or just faded over time. Is this a symptom of my late 30s? There are dear people in my life that I am horrible at connecting with. I get caught up in my daily rhythm and forget to reach out, I get lost in my head and forget to share. I know I have hurt them in all my flaky seasons, and in my bruised up ones when I tend to retreat. I have also known the fight to build bridges, to forge common ground together, to work side by side and cultivate a partnership steeped in respect. What a gift to walk this life with such companions. Those who are near and far and on our team. And the grace of those who stick by your side through all the seasons and all the things? Wow. I'm so full to bursting with the gift of their life and love. May I be such a friend.
The last five months have been spent working to market and launch my sweet friend and mentor, Sally Clarkson's, book, Own Your life. Beyond being floored by the words she shares among its pages, I just returned from a weekend at the Denver Mom Heart Conference, where she shared messages out of the book with the women gathered. It was incredible. My journal is full to the brim, and big questions about how to invest my time, in this generation and the stewardship of my heart and my children are all over the place in my head right now. I'm realizing that this life is too short to not be a woman of action and strength, and that I have been held back by fear for a really long time.
So, what would you and I do if we were not afraid? What would we STOP doing if we were not afraid?
Oh yeah. Big ponderings.
But God has not left us alone, He has fashioned for us, the Hero. -Kierkegaard
Oh how often I fill my children's head's with instruction and forget the power of story in their hearts. To equip them, to build them up, to strengthen their will and give them someone to admire and pattern their life after. So, we are reading hero tales, stories of spiritual giants, defenders of the faith and those full of characters that face battles with courage. Our current favorites?
Crisp white is my favorite. Chic, fresh, quiet. There is something about fresh fallen snow that makes the light dance and fills my heart with calm. I'm thankful that winter holds as much great beauty and possibility as its sister, Spring. That the hope and possibility of life ready to burst forth under the surface, even in the bareness of it all can speak to the state of my own heart and all that is waiting to come alive.
I love to walk and move and listen to music. I'm trying to get out each day with the kiddos or solo to mix up my rhythm and just move. No agenda, no where to go, just pure movement to enjoy the neighborhood, to hunt for inspiring vistas in the architecture or among the trees. Its the simplest of pleasures to just get outside and take in the world. I don't want to neglect this practice. It makes me feel alive and at home in this place.
This image continues to inspire me. I wrote a post last year about Awakening Wonder in the midst of mid-winter dryness as a homeschooler. I didn't realize how much I would need it myself in this season. Do you ever find yourself in that place? Longing for your days to be filled with meaning and creativity and struggling to get out of the fog? Wondering if what you are committing your days to will ever be enough? Yeah. Me too. I'm writing a bit more this week about living in that place and finding beauty there.
Speaking of awakening wonder, I find winter to be a season again and again that awakens my soul. I cling desperately to candlelight and ideas while we're hunkered indoors and the days fade early. My heart tends to feel most vulnerable this time of year and I know I need encouragement! So I'm reading lots intentionally and listening to podcast archives from my pastor (you can find them to download HERE).
Some favorites on my bookshelf right now?
I'm writing a book. I have no idea what will come of it all, but I'm taking the first steps to just doing the work. I've been praying for a long time for God to give me the words for the warble that has been in my head for so long and as I pray and write each morning, He has been faithful to give clarity, to help me see what needs to be stripped and what needs to be strengthened in the story He would have me share. It has been both frightening and invigorating! I'll keep updating here throughout the process, but I'm excited to be on this journey. My writing times lately are the sweetest I have ever spent with Jesus lately and that alone is worth the work.
Thanks for reading here. I am so blessed by your presence.