For Your Weekend

for your weekend

May I be quiet long enough to stop caring what my own voice sounds like. May I have courage enough to be small, to be still, to wait. May I be gracious enough to forget myself and see others instead. May I be open enough to let go.

Enjoy your weekend, friends.

Hello!! After nearly seven weeks of silence here on the blog, I’m happy to be back. I’m sharing what I’ve learned so far this summer on Wednesday July 30 and I hope you’ll join me. We’ve got two months worth of goings on to catch up on and I can’t wait.

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.

For Your Weekend

summertimeMay you enjoy all the blues of summertime and find someone to share them with. May you notice and receive the gifts that present themselves to you in hidden ways, gifts you may not have even known to ask for. Enjoy your weekend, friends.

Here are some good reads for along the way.

For Your Weekend

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Before the sun is even high enough for shadows, we wake up to read. This one wakes up, too – reads his Bible next to Daddy, asking questions about pillars of salt. May I be ever curious, open, willing to ask and to learn. May I remember where to go with my questions and rest in God’s presence even when I don’t understand the answers.

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On the last day of May, some reads for your weekend:

  • The Masterpiece Mom :: A new website and podcast about motherhood created by two lovely women I met at She Speaks last year – Amanda Bacon and Anne-Rene Gumley.
  • Fiction & Non-Fiction Book Proposal Tutorials :: Writers, if you’re looking for help writing that book proposal, look no further than Mary DeMuth. I used her non-fiction tutorial when I wrote my first proposal that later became Grace for the Good Girl. She knows all the things and shares them generously. Well worth the price.

Hopeologie

  • Hope*ologie :: Tomorrow we’ll roll out the third month of content in Hope*ologie – new podcasts, posts, videos, and printables to take you through June. Join us and you’ll have the whole month to read, watch, listen, and download. We’re having a lot of fun over there.

Local Interest

The One With the First Sugar Box :: If you live in the Triad area and are also a Friends fan, you need to order a Sugar Box stat! Kendra has re-imagined the monthly box of happiness to make it even more fun – basically if Hollywood and sugar had a baby, it would be The Sugar Box.

This month, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the series finale, the theme of the box is Friends, so all the edible goodness in the box will somehow tie in Chandler, Monica, Rachel and the gang. Could this BE any more fun? Order your box today and pick up June 20!

Enjoy your weekend!

For Your Weekend

A Blessing for the Finishers

In this season of finishing up, of moving on, of celebrations and endings, today I offer a few words of blessing over at (in)courage  for those whose service and work is coming to an end. For the teacher, the graduate, the parent, the artist, the coach, the performer, the traveler, the youth leader, or anyone else who might be moving on . . . a few words for the journey here. Enjoy your weekend, friends.

For Your Weekend

for your weekend - chatting at the sky

May I listen before I speak, walk before I run, and stop making quick assumptions. May I keep pace with the rhythm of small things and offer the gift of with-ness without hesitation, expectation, or regret.

Enjoy your weekend, friends. Here are some good reads for along the way:

What They Will Remember

Yesterday I spent a few hours in the southern Indiana town where I grew up. I came alone to do some thinking and some remembering. Some things you just need to get out of your system.

Indiana

As I pulled into town, every intersection had a landmark I recognized but a street name I didn’t. Even though the town is a fraction of the size of the town where I now live, I couldn’t navigate the roads without my phone for directions.

It was a little maddening, recognizing that stone house on the corner and that water tower over there, but now knowing exactly how to get to the library. But these were the sort of things I expected. We moved away from here before I could drive so I never learned my way around. What I didn’t expect was at every turn, at every familiarity, I thought of my mom.

It wasn’t a particular memory, like oh there’s where she taught me to finger paint! or that’s where we went out to that fancy restaurant and laughed about all the funny things!

Maybe memory montages happen that way in the movies, but I didn’t have many specific memories of anything as I drove to our old house, to the parking lot of the grocery store, to the elementary school where I learned to read. Instead, it was more like a blanket of memory, singular. It was simply a familiar cloud of an old life brought near but not quite.

Mother's Day - chatting at the sky

I kept picturing Mom, younger than I am now, just being our mom. I kept imagining, everywhere I was, that Mom was close by and I needed to go on home to her. Her presence was a deeply safe place for me as a girl, something I’m not sure I realized until this very day. And it’s not because she mothered us like some kind of super-hero. She didn’t. But she was there, she was with us, she loved us, and I knew it.

Wandering through these familiar streets reminded me of what it means to mother well. Now that I have three of my own, I realize fancy is great, but it’s probably not what they’ll remember.

If you are a member of Hope*ologie, one of the podcasts for May features a conversation with Mom, Dad, Myquillyn and me about growing up, motherhood, simple presence, and embracing imperfection. Visit Hope*ologie to see what others are saying about the site and sign up today!

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. Thanks for loving us well.

for your weekend

Elm Street, Greensboro, NC

May I take the time to celebrate my starts, my finishes, my first steps and my knowing-when-to-quits. May I learn, even more deeply, the value of waiting, listening, and a good, long laugh.  Enjoy your weekend, friends.

Here are a few reads and updates:

What My Sister Taught Me

I’m firmly convinced our genius is at least partially coded into our childhood play. Want to get an idea of how those first graders will change their world? No need to read their spelling words. Just show up at recess.

But I don’t know about all that yet, because it’s 1985 and we’ve got the day ahead of us, no plans but the Barbie world. We huddle over the pile of pink goodness ready to piece out what belongs to whom today. I’m eight and it’s my big sister’s turn to pick first.

myquillyn and emily

I study her choices carefully – the pink cabinet, the blue and pink pillows, the cushy sofa. These three must be the top items in the pile since she chose them first. I end up with a lopsided table I don’t know what to do with. Barf me out.

Days later, it’s my turn to pick first. I know just what to do! Pink cabinet, blue and pink pillows, cushy sofa. Yes!

I look up at her after my clean sweep, unable to hide my victory smile since I obviously just chose all the best stuff. Instead of reacting, she ignores me, and picks the table with the uneven top. Wait, is she trying to psych me out?

What is this? No anger? No you just got all the good stuff lecture? Not only that, she just chose the worst thing in the pile.  The worst thing!

How am I supposed to know how to make my Barbie house beautiful if my teacher keeps picking different furniture?! How am I supposed to know the best stuff if she keeps changing her mind on what the best stuff is? I am having a total cow.

Look at her over there in her corner, busy setting up her awesome space. I lean to one side to watch her work and notice she has that crooked table looking just fine, using it as some kind of loft-like bed for Skipper. I look back at my first-pick choices and they don’t look so great now.

I vow to choose the lopsided table next time. But next time always comes and no matter how I try to catalogue and then copy her choices, it makes no difference. It didn’t matter what she has to work with. She will make it look great, no matter how imperfect the pile.

And while it may on the surface seem like an older sister’s evil plan to make her little sister crazy, I think it simply comes down to this: her gift is that she sees differently.

The Nester's House

That feeling of discontentment, of missing out, of not having something vital I needed to make beauty showed up during those long days of play. I blamed it on the lopsided table and my lack of first pick, but these weren’t my problem.

My problem was I didn’t yet know how to trust my own ideas, couldn’t see beyond the obvious, and wasn’t willing to take a little risk.

My sister had eyes to see the usefulness in the mess and the beauty in the lopsided. Part of her art, even back then, was her eyes could see potential.

As I’ve grown up, I’ve learned I can have those eyes, too.

Myquillyn didn’t immediately apply this to her real life. But it was always in her, this ability to somehow see beyond the obvious and envision something no one else could.

The Nesting Place

What my eight-year-old self would’ve have done to get my hands on some kind of guidelines for how to have a Barbie house I loved. If only she could have written down her secrets!

Well now she has. And the best part is, her secrets aren’t as secret as you think.

She finally wrote a book is for all the little sisters of the world who doubt they have what it takes to make home (or life) beautiful, waiting for permission and courage to create, take risks, and be ourselves.

Over the years I’ve learned these things from her, valuable lessons practiced in my own home that spill over into everyday life.

The Nesting Place Contentment

She didn’t teach me the best color to paint my walls. She taught me it’s okay to paint my walls the wrong color.

She didn’t teach me where to put my furniture. She taught me it’s okay to move my furniture around.

She didn’t teach me the right way to hang a curtain. She taught me there isn’t only one right way to hang a curtain.

She didn’t lecture me on the latest trends. She taught me how to discover what my own trends are, that’s it’s okay if they’re different from others, and it’s okay when they change.

She didn’t point out what’s wrong with my house. She taught me how every house has a silver lining and home is wherever we are.

homeShe taught me that my house isn’t just about a house. It’s about trusting yourself, making mistakes, trying new things, inviting others in. It’s about community and communion, healing and wholeness, memories and tradition, love and loveliness and hope.

The Nester's House

I truly believe what I said before, that hints of our personal genius hide in our childhood play, what I also like to call our art. I’m so glad my sister had the courage to hold on to hers, to listen to what makes her come alive, to ignore the naysayers who said she was doing it all wrong.

You have a genius art too, and it doesn’t have to be the e equals mc squared kind. It might be the relational kind, the insightful kind, or the kind that moves in the midst of fear. Whatever it is for you, it’s evidence that you are made in the image of God and the first step to uncovering that could simply be finding freedom in your own home.

The Nesting Place

This lovely book – The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful - is finally available everywhere today! Get yourself a copy, your mom a copy, and don’t forget your little sister.

Love you, Sister Girl. So happy you said yes to writing this book. I don’t know how people get on in the world without a big sister to teach them things. I’m so thankful for all you’ve taught me.

nesting place

For Your Weekend

chatting at the skyLift up my head to remember your way is downward, your truth is sacred, and your life is enough. May I have the courage to revisit my ideas of success, accomplishment, and arrival. Move us forward in your name.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

John 14:6