The Kind of Surprise We All Want

Every time I am in an airplane during takeoff I am one part convinced the plane is going to crash and the other part stunned that my childhood dream of flying has come true.

Portland, OR

It’s the same event that causes both thoughts – fuzzy terror and breathtaking awe. Sometimes I feel them at the same time.

When our plane took off right at sunrise, lifting us up right along with the morning, I snapped this shot over Portland. And then we made a turn, and glory showed up outside the window.

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You know what I mean. It’s happened to you, too, hasn’t it? You are gripping the edge of your seat in an airplane or your kitchen or your church or your car, holding on for dear life because you don’t know what will happen next and that can be the worst part, the not knowing.

But then, a glimpse of glory you don’t expect – her perfectly timed phone call, his warm smile, a note in the mail, a kind word from a stranger, the sun rising up to kiss an airplane window.

And you see it even though you weren’t looking for it, you are given it even though you forgot to ask for it, a reminder that you are not invisible. A reminder that God has not forgotten. A reminder that glory is everywhere all the time, peeking out from behind warm eyes, tired hands, and pink clouds.

The best part is, we get to participate in the glory surprise, too. Created in the image of a creative God, we can show up for people in the same way that sunrise showed up for me.

We are the megaphones of glory.

If you’re like me and need something tangible to hold on to this morning, something to help you center and remember God’s presence with you, find a comfortable spot, close your eyes, and listen to this song by Sarah Masen, an adaptation of Psalm 139. It’s a lovely combination of quirk, whimsy, and truth.

“If I were to ascend to heaven, you would be there.
If I were to sprawl out in Sheol, there you would be.
If I were to fly away on the wings of the dawn,
and settle down on the other side of the sea,
even there your hand would guide me,
your right hand would grab hold of me.”

Pslam 139: 8-10

May the eyes of our hearts be opened to glory, to love, and to the comfort found in the presence of God. And may we be open to handing it out in abundance.

When Doing Leads to Undoing

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I’m learning to crochet. Is that dorky? I have a feeling what the hipsters do with yarn these days is knitting. But I’ve heard that takes two needles which is completely intimidating. So for now, it’s crochet.

The girls and I took a class at a local craft store, and after three hours we learned one stitch — if that’s even what you call it. We make rows over and over again in a line, turn, and make another line.

It’s too narrow for a blanket, too wide for a scarf, and it doesn’t matter anyway because I don’t know how to read a pattern or do anything, really. So far I’ve worked the yarn through Mr. Bean’s Holiday, one episode of American Pickers, and lots of conversation.

I want it to be relaxing, but so far I mainly work tense. I hear that shows up in the yarn. Of course it does.

Of all the things on my to do list, crochet doesn’t show up once. But maybe it should, as I’m learning sometimes I need to engage in an activity for the single purpose of disengaging from productivity. Today I’m writing about the importance of making an undo list over at (in)courage. Join me there?

Learning to Walk Without an Agenda

Most of the time we walk in order to get somewhere. But sometimes we need to walk in order to remember where we are.

I’ve come to recognize when my soul needs a little more space than I’ve been giving her, a little more room to think and consider. This morning as I sat in the corner of my sunroom sofa, holding warm coffee and reading in Matthew 6, I felt it like a switch – You have to get outside. Go now.

Like much of the east coast today, our town is covered in a snowy, icy mix. I walk out into morning, frozen yard crunches beneath my feet, mismatched gloves uneven on my hands.

how to walk without an agenda

I’m mostly concerned about falling. Slipping is only funny when it happens to someone else and only rarely when it happens to you as long as you don’t fall all the way down and are with a group of people who love you.

But walking through the neighborhood alone, knowing every single person is most likely in their houses and at any given moment can glance out and see you, slipping is not an option.

I am more aware of this than I would like to admit. But I just did so now you know.

I’m mean, it’s fine, it’s whatever.

Walking Without an Agenda

It’s a discipline to walk without an agenda, to let yourself carry concerns with an open hand rather than trying to untangle them.

Because of the ice, my rhythm was broken a bit today, but maybe that’s just as well. The world is broken and the rhythm fits, doesn’t it?

I downloaded the Caring Bridge app to my phone a few weeks ago, two friends fighting their way through cancer. They’re both too young. Sunday, one went home. We’ll go to her funeral this week.

I try to untangle it, but no. Carry it.

From what feels like one end of a long tunnel, I’ve had my eye on the news this week, unsure and timid as to what to think or how to pray about 21 Christians beheaded in Libya. I want to drop it, if I’m being honest. But no. Carry it.

The long list of to-dos pile up in my mind, an unwelcome tally that always seems to be in the background of everything. You don’t belong here with cancer and beheadings. Go away now.

I want to shame the daily task from interrupting these serious concerns. But no. Carry these, too.

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And so the walking continues in a kaleidoscope of tragedy, grocery lists, dreaming, longing, and disappointment. In the uneven, careful rhythm of my steps, I recognize something of what it means to be human. Our bodies work in repetition – heartbeat, circulation, respiration, chew, chew swallow.

But the soul isn’t so easily measured. I think that’s why walking helps her to breathe, to release some of the tension she holds onto. Our bodies teach our souls when it’s safe to come out.

Walking without an agenda offers the soul room to emerge.

I know the directive be still and know that I am God is good for me. But I have to be honest and say sometimes the best way to still my soul is to move my body. He comes more fully alive in me as I walk.

It’s the first day of Lent, a time to make space for God.

“During Lent we are called to stop (or at least modify) whatever we are doing, no matter how important it might be, in order to enter more intentionally into disciplines of prayer, self-examination and repentance. Hopefully, as we kneel and receive the ashes today, we will come with some sense of how God is inviting us to enter into the Lenten season—the more concrete the better.

As we enter into this wilderness time, may we recognize a sense of anticipation about how God will meet us in the space we are creating for him.”

Ruth Haley Barton

As I hear the uneven rhythm of my shoes on icy ground, walking helps me remember the brokenness in the world and my role in it.

As I expose the concerns of the day and the world into the presence of Jesus, walking helps me remember we are moving forward even in our sorrow.

As I remember the comforting words to be still and know God, walking helps to quiet my mind and in turn, comfort my soul.

Arriving home, I have no answers except knowing in all of this, Jesus is present. For all of this, he is enough.

Becoming a Soul Minimalist

After a weekend out of town, I head to the gym to work off pent-up energy from van riding, airplane sitting, and waiting through flight delays.

airplaneAs I approach the elliptical, I look forward to the exercise as well as the chance to catch up on the Art of Simple podcast hosted by my friend, Tsh. I choose one called Freedom From Stuff, an interview with author and blogger Joshua Becker.

I’ve enjoyed Joshua’s blog, Becoming Minimalist, for a while now but I’ve never heard an interview with him. He and Tsh have an easy conversation about stuff, simplicity, and the difference between too much and enough. I immediately warm to Joshua’s perspective of becoming minimalist, emphasizing how the journey is important even if we never quite arrive at the destination, something he is careful to acknowledge.

At some point in their conversation, Joshua says we have regular, seasonal input of stuff into our homes – Christmas and birthday gifts, school papers, various decorations depending on the celebration – but we don’t often have regular output. As a result, the clutter builds up in our homes.

When he says this, a thought comes to my mind and I pause their conversation to let it fill out.

Just like my home, my soul receives frequent input with infrequent output.

Even in this moment, I am listening to a podcast while exercising in a crowded gym with not just one TV in front of me, but eight all in a row – FOX News, NBC, QVC – the works. (QVC! I mean really, nothing says motivate me while I work out like cubic zirconia). Meanwhile, a woman in front of me pedals fast on a stationary bike, two men to my left work with those giant rubber band things I never know what to do with, and behind me I’m aware of movement in the pool on the other side of the glass.

Input, input, input.

In the midst of this highly stimulated exterior world, I make a discovery about my interior world – the input is automatic. Where is the output? How am I regularly getting rid of the soul clutter I no longer need?

“If your life is a constant blur of activity, focus, and obligation, you are likely to miss critical breakthroughs because you won’t have the benefit of pacing and negative space. What’s not there will impact your life as much or more than what is.”

Todd Henry, The Accidental Creative

What would a de-cluttered soul look like? Maybe something like this:

  • courage to move toward others in love without a complicated agenda.
  • wisdom to begin to give up what we no longer need, like fear about the future or regret over the past.
  • willingness to face the silence within and not worry so much what we may (or may not) hear.
  • energy to be fully myself in the presence of others without fear, pretense, or defensiveness.

I don’t know if it’s realistic to live in a constant state of simplicity. After all, we are naturally complex creatures – nervous system, circulatory system, digestive system, not to mention relationships, emotions, dreams, hurts, and desires. All these are all part of our human existence and not one of them are simple.

Complex has its place, to be sure.

But when our souls are filled with clutter, what is meant to be complex and awe-inspiring can become complicated and exhausting. When that happens, I crave simple.

I have to be careful not to glorify simplicity, to worship it by itself, to try to carve out a simple way in life and call that peace when really it’s just the outcome of my own effort toward order and control.

When my soul feels like this crowded gym, lots of movement, hurry and input, perhaps it will bring a bit of peace to embrace minimalism in my soul when I become overwhelmed on the inside.

I can’t say what the result of this might be for you, but I can tell you for me, the best way to uncover a bit of whitespace in my own soul is to be still.

Stillness is to the soul as de-cluttering is to the home.

It’s how the soul sifts through the day’s input, holding on to what we need and releasing what we don’t, making space to access courage and creativity, quieting to hear the voice of God.

There is no wrong with this – simply find a few minutes to sit, relax, close your eyes, and listen.

Are you able to be still long enough to let the chatter grow quiet, the whirring in your chest start to slow?

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This post, Becoming a Soul Minimalist, was originally published in Hope*ologie, a membership site I co-created with my family to help you turn towards hope no matter how things appear in your family, in your home, or in your soul.

Become a Hope*ologist today and receive immediate access to eleven months of content, including posts like this one as well as this month’s printable by Annie Barnett, videos, DIYs and a special Sister*ologie podcast. Visit Hope*ologie to learn more.

I hope you’ll find a little soul space today. Maybe we can help.

The Importance of Following Clues

The sun went down laughing last night, leaving behind evidence of a beautiful exit. I never saw her directly, though it wasn’t for lack of trying, let me just tell you.  But she had her path and her timeline and she kept to it, no matter if I could find a good perch to spot her from before she slipped away for the night. Still, it was obvious she’d been here.

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The trail of beauty left behind points to a source beyond itself.

And you know what? Burdens leave a trail, too.

 “The soul was not made for an easy life. The soul was made for an easy yoke.”

John Ortberg, Soul Keeping

Since my soul wasn’t made for the easy life, I know hard circumstance aren’t my problem, not really. My problem is in how I carry them. When my soul feels downcast, it starts to show evidence that I’ve taken in the burdens of life in a way I’m not meant to – anxiety, overwhelm, frustration, defensiveness. These are signs of the heavy yoke. Burdens don’t come without leaving clues.

I’m writing more on what your soul really needs you to know today at (in)courage. Join me there?

The Spiritual Discipline of Wearing Better Pants

When I graduated from high school, my youth pastor gave all the seniors a book on the spiritual disciplines. Good girl that I was, I marked that book up in all the best ways, purposing to tackle a discipline a week for however long it took to become the best possible version of myself – prayer, scripture reading, fasting, etc.

Bible in the Sunroom

I knew I couldn’t be perfect but I thought it would be alright to get closer than anyone else.

Several years of Bible college, marriage, and mothering later, I realized that good girl in my head was a perfectly annoying mirage and if I wanted to really know Jesus and BE A SANE PERSON, I had to go let go of my constant attempts at trying to earn my way and performing for acceptance.

One of the casualties of my good girl detox was shedding my misconceptions about the spiritual disciplines. I needed to give myself permission not to practice them for a while because I couldn’t figure out how to do them without thinking I was earning something.

The past several years have been a re-entry of sorts into the world of the spiritual disciplines. It’s different now – kinder, gentler, tender, and more free. My definitions have changed as has (I hope) my demeanor.

I now understand the fundamental truth beneath the spiritual disciplines, that “if a discipline is not producing freedom in me, it’s probably the wrong thing for me to be doing” (John Ortberg).

Reading about the disciplines in Living in Christ’s Presence, I was further struck at this perspective:

“Discipline depends on what you are training for. If you are training to win a pie-eating contest, what discipline will you have to engage in? Pie eating. If every day you eat as much pie as you possibly can, a year from now you’ll be able to eat much more pie than you could eat today.

So, what counts as a discipline depends on what I am training for . . . The whole purpose of disciplines is to enable you to do the right thing at the right time in the right spirit, so if something doesn’t help you do that, then don’t do it.”

In short, practicing a spiritual discipline is not about trying to earn something, prove something, or win.

Practicing a spiritual discipline is more about receiving power to live in the kingdom. It’s about training my mind and my will to practice what my heart deeply believes. It’s about knowing that each moment is packed with grace but sometimes I need practice to see it.

It’s about becoming the person I already am in Christ.

Really anything can be a spiritual discipline when we recognize the presence of God with us in it.

Last week I had a full day of work in front of me, but I decided when the kids got home, work would be put aside and I would practice the spiritual discipline of presence.

I recently wrote a post about the spiritual discipline of learning nothing. John Ortberg may not write a chapter about that particular discipline, but there it is, and it was good for me because it produced freedom in me and helped me to live more fully in the invisible kingdom of God.

A spiritual discipline may be something we do, but it may also be something we abstain from doing. For years now I’ve been writing under the tagline creating space for your soul to breathe, and I’m finally beginning to understand what that means. With the discipline of silence and solitude, I abstain from worry and hurry, teaching my body what it feels like to undo rather than always do.

But y’all, this weekend I took the disciplines to a new level as I began to sift through my clothes. I found some jeans I love in the bottom of my drawer, pulled them on and continued to tidy up around the house.

Ever so slightly, my mood began to shift. I started feeling irritable, discouraged, and not great about myself. When I retraced my steps, I realized why. My jeans were making it hard to breathe.

And because I’ve been thinking about my tagline a lot lately, and because I’m always aware of how the outer life affects the inner life, I quickly made the connection between breathing in my soul and breathing in my body.

In order to let my soul breathe, it’s good to be able to actually breathe. Literally. In my diaphragm.

Y’all, I’ve been wearing clothes that hurt me and it has got. to. stop.

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So I had a DTR with my closet and we came up with an understanding we could both live with.

I will keep her clean and organized if she will stop harboring the enemy in the form of clothes that are too tight.

“Isn’t it amazing what we will do at our own expense? I’ve decided that even if I have to wear something with a  stretch waistband the rest of my life, I’m not going to demean myself by wearing clothes that hurt me . . . No more bad pants.”

Leeana Tankersly, Breathing Room

I started to make a pile of pants (and some shirts) that either physically hurt me to wear or caused me to feel badly about myself. As the stack grew, so did my confidence. I even logged into Stitch Fix to inform them I have moved one size up in pants and I may not be going back.

In those few moments in my bedroom, I was profoundly aware of the kind presence of Christ, that he doesn’t stop being relevant just because I’m cleaning out my closet. And while I still value taking care of my body and engage in other practices to maintain my health, I also want to be honest about my own expectations of myself and be careful not to compare my health to someone else’s.

I struggled with feeling oddly guilty about making something as trivial as getting rid of pants that are too tight into a spiritual practice. But then I remembered how life with Christ is about being a whole person, not pieced out into important parts and non-important parts.

In this one day I can carry both serious concerns in my soul and a pile of old clothes to the car.

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Making that pile of clothes was a spiritual practice for me that day, finally taking the time to honestly confront some of the small ways I’ve been disrespecting myself by keeping clothes I don’t need and that don’t fit.

So I’m calling a truce with my jeans and practicing the spiritual discipline of wearing better pants. Is there anything you need to call a truce with? It’s Tuesday, so maybe it’s a good time to remember how Christ is with you in every ordinary moment, no matter how small. Are there any unconventional spiritual practices you might need to engage in to remember that?

I’ll be on Instagram sharing some of my own moments using #itssimplytuesday. I hope you’ll share yours, too.

After you get rid of some tight jeans, perhaps you’ll want some ideas on how to let your soul breathe. Join The Bench (my monthly newsletter) and you’ll receive a free copy of my ebook, Seven Little Ways to Live Art, practices to help you take a soul breath today.

To Read When You Only Have a Minute

Listen, I know you’re not really on the Internet right now. You’re just popping on for a minute while the cookies bake or the derby pie sets or as you stand in line at Target or wait for the grandparents to arrive. I’m right there with you.

This year they’re all coming to our house. And while I’ve been enjoying preparing Him room in my soul over the past several weeks, today is a day to prepare actual room in my house for my family. I’ve been looking so forward to having them here. We’ll eat, unwrap, watch some old home videos, catch a few scenes of The Polar Express.

Creating space for your soul to breathe.

We’ll remember and dream and talk about 2014. We’ll laugh. We’ll fight some, too. It’s hard to get together with your family of origin and not resort to the same habits you formed when you were kids. But we’ll work on it.

We’ll try on grace and practice loving, one conversation at a time. I’ve found when I plan to have a full house, it helps to start the morning off holding an empty bowl in two needy hands, whispering an honest prayer for help, for perspective, for joy, for a light heart.

It’s okay if your soul needs a little room to breathe, especially since maybe you’ve been running and bustling and doing that thing you do, all those many things. It’s okay if you meant for this Christmas to be different than last Christmas but so far it’s feeling exactly the same – busy, rushing, and a little frazzled.

But it’s good and right to carve a little time to sit in the silence, stare off at nothing, and consider the place where you are right now. Not to figure it out or to make an agenda for change, but simply to consider it, to be with what’s real, and to bring it all into the presence of Christ.

Sometimes that will hurt and other times you’ll be so thrilled with life you can’t possibly be still. Most times it will seem so dreadfully boring or painful or frustrating that there doesn’t seem to be a point in dwelling there.

Maybe that’s the idea – your soul already is there. Maybe it’s time the rest of you acknowledged it so you can move on.

As we enter 2015, I hope to be a kind companion for your soul, a partner in creating space in your interior world.

To Read While the Cookies Bake

I know you can’t think about all that right now, you’ve got cookies in the oven and 25 kids in your living room making forts with wrapping paper and sleeping bags.

But soon, you’ll need to take a deep breath in or let a long one out and I’m here to help.

No matter our schedules, our sorrows, our joys, or our ambitions, I want to cultivate the still place deep within – a sure place from which to move and speak into the lives of others with compassion and hope.

To do that, my soul needs room to remember, to be loved, and to breathe. I bet yours does, too.

To receive help creating space for your soul to breathe in 2015, sign up here to sit on the bench with meYou’ll immediately get your first free resource, Seven Little Ways to Live Art. You can start that in the new year. After that, I’ll send monthly reminders, questions, and perspective to help cultivate the space your soul needs to dream, to be present, and become more fully yourself.

This is not a luxury, this is a lifeline – for our families, our homes, our ministries, our work, and our relationships. Let’s make 2015 a year of living from a place of love and not fear.

Merry Christmas. I’m thankful for you.

One Thing My Soul is Begging Me to Do

Early last week I sat down to write my post for (in)courage and managed to finish it in less than an hour. I found a few photos to go with the post, titled it, saved it in drafts and didn’t think again about those 500 words.

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Days later, I get an email reminding me my (in)courage post is due and would I kindly let them know when it’s ready? I got that dread in my stomach that comes after writing on the internet for nearly 10 years, the memory of words written, words lost, and words having to be found again.

Sure enough when I checked the drafts, the post had disappeared, no trace remaining. Turns out the (in)courage site had a little hacking incident last week and some drafts and comments were lost.

And y’all? I couldn’t remember one word of what I said. Not a photo, not a topic, not a drop of memory. Can I tell you how losing those 500 words dug into my soul like I can’t even explain? Even while the world is still reeling from tensions in Ferguson and New York, with the sorrow in Sydney and Pakistan, with people all over the world and in my own city starving and cold and sick – I was hot and bothered about losing 500 words for a post.

What bothered me most was how bothered I was about it.

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In the past I would move from here into a place of shame. I would recognize that I was being ridiculous and try to shame myself into different behavior, never taking the time to recognize why losing the post bothered me so much to begin with.

But knowing how Christ came so we could be free, I hesitate to move so quickly to shame these days. Even in something small like this, I think he wants to keep company with me. It was in the midst of that tension that pieces of what I wrote about began to come back to me. I remembered I used this quote:

“One of the most important lessons I have learned over the past few years is how important it is to have time and space for being with what’s real in my life — to celebrate the joys, grieve the losses, shed my tears, sit with the questions, feel my anger, attend to my loneliness.” – Ruth Haley Barton, Sacred Rhythms

That’s just it. I think the reason losing that post bothered me so much was because I hadn’t spent much time with what was really going on beneath the surface. And so the lost post landed like a heavy burden in my soul.

I don’t think we pay enough attention to the silent cares of the soul. We ignore her for long periods of time and then when she starts to flail within us by becoming overly emotional, getting frustrated too easily, or being bothered in an otherwise neutral interaction, we try to shame her into better behavior.

I’m not saying we should allow ourselves this bad behavior. I am saying we need to pay closer attention.

That’s when I remembered Tuesday was the day the post was set to publish. Tuesday is where we live our ordinary moments in our regular lives, the kind of moments that sometimes carry small irritants in our souls that we overlook because they aren’t “real” problems. It’s true, in comparison to the heartbreak in the world, they aren’t a very big deal. But Tuesday reminds me the importance of being with what actually is even if it feels minor.

Tuesday reminds me to attend to the footnote irritants that linger beneath the surface so they won’t later turn into headlines. Tuesday gives me permission to bring those irritants into the presence of Christ so I can ultimately release them into his care.

Recognize the fluttering anxieties as they come. Don’t give them a place to land. It seems simple which may be why I so often overlook it. But taking some time to “celebrate the joys, grieve the losses, shed my tears, sit with the questions, feel my anger, [and] attend to my loneliness” creates space in my soul.

A spacious soul makes room for others. A week before Christmas, I can’t think of a better gift to give.

By the way, I finally re-wrote the post and I would love to invite you to read it over at (in)courage. And then, let’s unwrap our Tuesday gifts together.

One Reason Why Rest Takes Courage

“Prison,” she said after sharing with me how desperately tired she was, “is starting to sound really good.”

She wasn’t in danger of being convicted of anything, unless exhaustion is considered a crime. But she was so tired that even the idea of prison didn’t repel her if it meant she could be on a mattress and read a book alone.

soul rest

Seems to me there are easier ways to get time alone than prison (Maybe a hotel? A lock on the bedroom door? Something that doesn’t involve bars?) but I knew what she meant. We laughed, shook our heads at ourselves, promised to never reveal those words to anyone because prison.

When desert islands, hospitals, sinus infections, broken legs, and jail start to sound like a vacation, you know you need to take a rest on purpose.

Today at (in)courage, I’m talking about why rest takes courage. To finish reading, join me there?

Welcoming Summer and All Her Gifts

“We stop, whether by choice or through circumstance, so that we can be alert and attentive and receptive to what God is doing in and for us, in and for others, on the way. We wait for our souls to catch up with our bodies.”

-Euguene Peterson, The Jesus Way

On Instagram, I mostly only follow people I know. But there are a few feeds I can’t resist and one of them is a farmer named Ben Hole who lives on The Isle of Purbeck, England. In the tangled trail of clicking, I don’t know where I first saw his images. But when I did, I wanted to see more.

benjaminhole instagram

screenshot of @benjaminhole’s feed on Instagram

When I’m scrolling through and see one of his shots, instinctively I pause. I stare. I recognize a longing deep within me that is stirred. For what? I’m not sure. But I like to pay attention to it. There aren’t many things on the internet that bring about this response. So when I find words, people, messages, or images that do, I hang on to them.

I hope Chatting at the Sky is that kind of place for you – a place where a little bit of frantic falls away, a place where you leave a little more calm than when you came, a place for your soul to breathe.

The summer of 2014 - chatting at the sky

To make this that kind of place, I need to take regular breaks from posting. I’ve already been posting less for the past month but slowing down isn’t the same as stopping. So I’m just going to stop for a while.

Soon my kids will be home for summer and we’ll head to the coast, spend a little time letting the sea smooth out the jagged edges that have formed within and around us, letting the salt burn the wounds, letting the sand rub off the dead skin, letting the nighttime hold us still and quiet until the first light of morning shows up with all her promises. We’ll follow the advice of Eugene Peterson and let our souls catch up with our bodies.

sunrise

We’ll skip the What I Learned in June post this month and maybe just do one big one at the end of July, perhaps a What I’m Learning This Summer link up? I’ll let you know.

While I won’t be writing here, I’ll still be writing because it’s how I know what I think about things, how I learn what’s hiding beneath the surface, how I see. Most of that writing will be private, for now. Some will be shared.

For example, new Hopeologie content will release July 1 and if you haven’t joined yet I have to say that June is my favorite collection so far. The way our words and thoughts came together with one another seemed especially serendipitous this month since our theme is hospitality.

Here is a photo my sister took of one of the prints Annie designed for June’s collection:

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Maybe this will be the month you decide to join us as we practice embracing hope no matter how things appear in our homes, our families, our own souls. (If you join and don’t like what you see, we offer a full refund if you cancel in your first month, no questions asked. So really you’ve nothing to lose.)

I’ve been working on a Recommended Reads list for a while that I plan to send out to my newsletter subscribers. If you would like to receive that, you can sign up for the free newsletter here. Until I return to Chatting at the Sky, you can find me on Instagram, a medium I rarely take a break from. Maybe I’ll see you there.

I’ll leave you with a sampling of posts on quietness, waiting, and rest:

“It’s much easier to spend a lot of time making your microphone louder than it is working on making your message more compelling.”

Seth Godin

Here’s to long days, thoughtful words, and more compelling messages. Dear Summertime, Welcome. We’re so glad you’ve come.