In 2016, my blogs were some of my favorite places to write. I contribute to Keeping Faith Today once a week, which has become an integral part of my spiritual practice. I contribute to Enough once a month, which has become a community of seeking and blogging women who give me so much life. Because in 2016 I put a lot of writing energy into polishing my upcoming book, Play Like a Girl, my personal blog was less periodic, but remains an important space for me to explore my growth as a writer and woman. On my three blog spaces, I can be playful and interact with smart, creative, and warm-hearted thinkers and feelers.
Thank you to everyone who read, commented and shared posts that spoke to you this past year. I appreciate you so much. Thank you for reaching out and breathing life into my writing by interacting with it. If you like what you see here, consider following the three blogs as well as following me on Facebook and Twitter.
1. Practicing Advent, Free of Fear
on Keeping Faith Today
A dear friend of mine is a pediatrician who specializes in palliative care. That means, essentially, she helps children die well. It’s vocational work that is demanding of her body, mind and spirit. Because of the grueling hours and the deep sadness, she needed to find a hobby that would encourage her to sit still and rest in her time off. She started knitting. Specifically, she started knitting warm, beautiful sweaters for all the babies being born in her life. My son has one of these sweaters, and another will come soon once my second is born. At first she saw her knitting as a way to trick her body into being still and resting while still feeling productive. Creating something tangible also soothed her mind. Now, she realizes that, maybe most importantly, it is a spiritual practice. When she is not at work with children who are dying, she needs to be celebrating the children in her life who are healthy and thriving, welcoming them into the world. The knitting brings her balance and hope, one stitch at a time. It keeps her from slipping into fear and becoming paralyzed. It helps her show back up at work to sit with people in their sorrow. Read More
2. Belly Banter
With one month to go, I have reached the point in pregnancy where I often spill food on my belly while eating. The first thing I do when I walk in a room is look for available seating. I waddle. When I drop something, I seriously contemplate if I need to pick it up. If I decide to, I splay my knees to the side to make room for my belly and make an audible sound on the way back up. I rest my hands on my belly ledge. I laugh when I catch a glimpse of my body profile because, well, it’s just crazy absurd how this all works.
The size of my belly is the topic of conversation throughout pregnancy, but now is also the point where it is the main and only topic of conversation, most notably with strangers:
“Whoa. You must be having twins.” Read More
3. Creating Something From Nothing
on Red Sofa Literary
I’m skeptical of of writers who talk confidently about their controlled, repeatable writing process. I can’t wait around for the light to be shining through the window in my office at just the right angle to get work done. I’ve had to embrace the hustle of the modern writer lifestyle and figure out how to write in the nooks and crannies of reality. Constantly triaging and juggling paid gigs and pipe dreams, tweets, blog posts and essays, agile and mobile, I write on cocktail napkins, post-it notes and text messages to myself.
Although my process changes depending on what the project calls for and what life demands at that moment, there are distinct, ever-present elements to my creative process that work for me:
1. Do nothing.
Doing nothing is not the same as procrastinating, but rather a highly creative space of hibernation. Without seasons of incubation, my writing feels forced, produced and stiff. As I mature, I have less anxiety about the days I don’t write. My process requires rest, healing and recuperation. I ingest beauty, live life unabashedly and thus acquire and absorb stories. Doing nothing carves out essential space where truth can brew and percolate and from which art can spring forth.
2. Think Read More
4. Do New Habits Die Hard Too?
I’ve never struggled to work exercise into my schedule. Each January, when friends and co-workers are setting New Year’s Resolutions to work out more, I just keep my mouth shut. No one needs to hear from the eager beaver in corner.
What’s my secret? Well, for most of my life, it was that I was a competitive athlete. I had coaches, gyms, practices, teammates, and competitions built in my daily routine. I loved sweating and pushing my body to its limits. After college, I ran marathons. It was a good way to get off of competitive athletics. Races gave me the structure and goals I needed to move my body every day, and honestly, twenty-six miles was scary enough that I never skipped runs. Then, I slowly transitions to things like yoga and recreational jogging that aren’t competitive at all. There is no destination or external motivation. By then, however, I didn’t need it. I didn’t know life without movement, and I had fallen in love with it. I never exercise to lose weight. I exercise because I enjoy it in the moment as well as afterward. I know it is good for my mind, body and spirit. It was easy and joyful to carve out time to stay active.
Then I stopped. Read More
5. The Ladybug vs The King
on Keeping Faith Today
I walked into a Bible college auditorium filled with undergraduate students to hear a man I deeply respect preach about restorative justice work. I walked in late, having mistakenly assumed that chapel happened in the chapel and not the main auditorium, but I caught the end of the last worship song before the message:
Behold our God seated on His throne
Come let us adore Him
Behold our King nothing can compare
Come let us adore Him!
The lyrics, and a large group of young people singing those lyrics, triggered something in me. I crossed my arms over my chest, looking down at my feet. The refrain repeated enough times to give me space to think about my thinking. Read More