I once bought a pair of gray canvas sneakers (gray because white is a little too clean for my messy life). I bought these sneakers with a dream in mind - a dream to make them my own little walking mantra. I wanted to embroider these shoes with words that I could carry with me wherever I went. I needed words that would ground me and remind me of places I’ve been and give me courage to go to the places unknown.
As I recently took a trip home to visit my family, I was reminded of these gray canvas sneakers. On this trip, I stayed at my childhood home. As a dreamer and a thinker, I, of course, encountered many reflective moments throughout my time there. I kept thinking about this place called home. Many have tried to wrap their minds around what home is. Is it a place, a person, many people, a feeling, a color, a smell?
I now live across the country, you see. I’ve lived away from home for many years at this point. I’ve had time to reflect on home. I have a cozy apartment in a sleepy western WA town where I live with my cozy hunk of a husband. It is home.
And, when I traveled 2000 miles across the country to visit my parents in their big messy house with every snack imaginable and it’s familiar stone fireplace, that was home, too.
Home is also where the heart is. I know, it’s cliche, but it’s true. Home feels like it’s halfway around the world in Amman, Jordan where I spent my junior year of college studying and living and growing and learning alongside a few of my very favorite people. Home is also with those people, those roommates who played an important role in shaping my worldview and my heart and my capacity to connect.
Somehow, home is also in places I’ve never been. It’s in Ireland because my family comes from there and I feel connected to my heritage and the culture and the country. I have this feeling that when I finally visit, I might never leave. (My husband says he’d be ok with that as long as he can come, too.)
I feel at home when I’m outside, in all the whimsical and dreamy and beautiful places God has created for me to roam through.
Home is at my keyboard, pouring out my thoughts into a puddle that feels more concrete on paper than it does dripping through my brain. It’s the moments where I’m sitting with a book and I read a line that puts words to a feeling deep in my soul I didn’t even know I had.
In all these thoughts, I know what home is not. It’s not merely a place or a building or a person. But, maybe it’s a combination of all these things. Maybe home is a recipe and it’s a complicated one. A dash of my childhood room plus a whole bundle of deep friendships plus a longing for a place that calls to me plus a particularly laugh-filled evening with my family. Maybe each of our recipes for home look different. Maybe our home really does sit in our hearts and our hearts are given to a wide variety of people, places, and things.
Before I left for that semester abroad in Jordan, I was frantic, I think a lot nervous and a little on the hunt for a piece of that recipe for home that I could take with me. It was in these frantic moments that I remembered that pair of canvas sneakers that I had long wanted to embroider with something meaningful. They had sat in my closet ready to guide me for a while now.
The day before I left, I finally settled on adorning them with an Irish proverb in bright colors. The proverb says, “Your feet will take you where your heart is.” I think those shoes captured something about home for me. They reminded me of the creative juices constantly flowing through the walls of the house where I came from. They gave me permission to find my heart in different places. And, I think, they were the beginning of my understanding that a concept of home changes and grows as we grow. My heart doesn’t have walls like a physical home. My feet could take me a million places, and my heart would still have space for more.
Your feet will take you where your heart is, and home is where the heart is. Our feet are constantly taking us home, and home is in a million different places and feelings and moments.
May you find the pieces of your recipe for home all around you.
A few days ago, I was sitting outside at a coffee shop getting some work done. It was a lovely morning, sunny but not too hot with the perfect amount of breeze. As I chugged away on my laptop, a man walked by on the phone.
I was only within earshot of his conversation for a moment, but the words he was saying got me thinking. They were words that were powerful and kind and true. The words he said made me want to chase after the man and tell him thank you. They made me want to stop for a moment and ponder them. The brief snapshot I got to overhear of this man’s conversation challenged me.
Do you want to know what he was saying? This man traipsed by on his cellphone shouting enthusiastically to whoever was on the other end of the call. He was saying, “GUESS WHO THE MIRACLE IS?!? YOU’RE THE MIRACLE!”
Now, I don’t know if he had a troubled friend or partner on the other line. I don’t know if that person was having a bad week or a bad year. I don’t know a single thing about who he was talking to. What was clear to me, though, was that this man was offering some enthusiastic encouragement to someone who likely needed it.
The thing he said made me smile to myself as he walked by, but it also made an even bigger impact. It challenged me to be a better encourager.
I am a person in constant pursuit of improvement. I am always searching for how to decorate my house better, my next career move, and the next great self-help book. I think this inward pursuit of betterment causes me to hope that others are working to improve, as well. Consequently, it also often makes me blind to all that is great and wonderful about the people in my life.
We all need to improve and grow and challenge ourselves. Also, we all need encouragement from our friends and family. I don’t want to be the reason that my loved ones don’t receive encouragement. I want to shout at them for all to hear, “YOU ARE A MIRACLE!” I want to call out the things they do well. I want to tell my friends why I admire them.
In my pursuit of growth, I need to remember to stop and see the miracles that are already in front of me. I need to notice these miracles. I need to tell my people that they are miracles.
The man on the phone gave me a gift that day. He reminded me of the value of encouragement. Encouragement is a tool so powerful that as that man walked by I smiled, but I also felt encouraged, too. I remembered that we all have this powerful tool in our belt that allows us to bring joy and life into the lives of those around us. I remembered that I’m not using the tool enough. I was encouraged to start using this tool more.
Also, I was reminded that I AM A MIRACLE! And so are you, so go live a day and a week and a life knowing that you are just the miracle you need to be.
Tell me what to do and I’ll do it. Give me a set of rules and I will most certainly follow them. Hit me with the guidelines and I can move forward.
I am what many would categorize as a “rule-follower.” I thrive in the black and white, the clear directions, and the exact playbook. I will follow the rules, often without question, because it is easy. It’s easy to wait for the crosswalk light to tell me to walk. It is easy to stay outside of the lake if I’m not supposed to swim in it. It is easy to park inside of the allotted lines.
But, there’s one thing that gets tricky with rules: they are usually easy, but sometimes they’re not right. It’s easy to follow along blindly and set off on my merry way, but what happens when I stop to think about each rule that I follow?
There are rules that are helpful. There are rules that have no purpose. There are rules that are annoying. These rules might not bring joy, but they probably won’t hurt anyone if I follow them.
The rules that really cause me to struggle are the ones that hurt others. There are some rules that oppress and wound and damage those around me.
I can move forward following every rule without question and that might work for awhile, but if I never question any rule, a little voice inside of me starts gently piping up. The voice asks me who am I helping? The voice asks me why this rule? The voice wonders what the purpose of the rule may be?
As a rule follower, these questions are hard to entertain. Questioning any rule feels dangerous and problematic for my black-and-white soul. Yet, digging a little deeper in my soul, I find a more important rule: to love my neighbor at all costs. This rule drives me forward and gives me the fuel I need to refuse blind submission and invite an eye of criticism into my rule following.
I like the idea of loving my neighbor at all costs, but the part of that rule for life that makes me squeamish is the “at all costs” component. “All costs” can be hard. It can mean lost privileges. It can mean lost resources. It can mean lost respect and lost friendships.
It can mean I might have to break the rules to love well on occasion.
But, loving my neighbor is a necessary rule for my soul to thrive, so I push beyond the potential losses and try to consider each rule that I adhere to. Does each rule make my neighbor feel loved? If it doesn’t, how can I respectfully and kindly disagree with the rule in a way that loves my neighbor?
I have to remind myself over and over again to examine the rules I follow. I want to love boldly and deeply and courageously. Some days courage looks like acting outside of the rules to show love, even when every bone in my body urges me to stick to the rule book.
Now, here’s my point, I think it is respectful to submit to authority most of the time, but if I follow blindly without thinking about my actions, I may inadvertently hurt my neighbor. Let’s follow the rules most of the time, but remember that a goal of loving those around us can be deterred if we follow every rule blindly.
You’ve created a great product or perfected a stellar service offering. You are excited about it. You know that people’s lives will be made better by it.
The only problem is people don’t know about it.
So how do you bridge the gap between the consumer and your product? Well, a few things: You need a marketing plan and marketing materials, and...you have to tell people about it.
Seems pretty simple, right? Great product. Consumers who need it. Tell them about it and they’ll buy it...well, maybe. It also matters how you tell them about it. That’s what we are going to discuss today.
Have you ever noticed that some websites sound like they were written by your college professor and some sound like your cool best friend? The types of words we use, the way we lay out the words, and the vocabulary in our writing all make up its voice. When we take all these components and make them uniform across all writing and platforms of a brand, this is called brand voice.
Remember that great product or service we talked about? Let’s say your product is a lotion, but it’s not just any lotion. It’s an anti-aging lotion. You have decided your audience is middle-aged women. You will need to establish a brand voice that will speak to this audience. This is likely different from a brand voice that is speaking to senior citizens in Miami or teeneagers interested in music.
Why does it matter how your brand sounds? Brand voice helps you to reach and engage your audience. Let’s discuss a few reason brand voice adds value:
It sets you apart
Any Jo Schmo could create a product. What makes a brand stand out is the ability to differentiate themselves. A brand voice does just that. It makes you sound unique and adds personality to your product. We don’t just want to know about a product, we want to know why it’s different. Brand voice establishes a difference.
It builds a connection with your audience
You should have a specific audience in mind when marketing your product or service. Your anti-aging cream isn’t for everyone and that’s OK. You have a specific group of people in mind who need this anti-aging cream. You need to connect with this specific group of people.
Your middle-aged female audience probably won’t connect as well with a knowledgeable dermatologist as they will with a matter-of-fact but cheeky girlfriend. Think about how you imagine both of these people speak and communicate. When you translate their “isms” into writing for your business, you are using brand voice. You want to write with a voice that connects with your audience.
It establishes authority
Your audience wants to know that your lotion brand knows its stuff. You can tell your audience that you know what you are talking about by the way you talk to them.
If we use the matter-of-fact but cheeky girlfriend as an example, the “matter-of-fact” is what matters for authority. If the girlfriend is only cheeky, we can’t be certain that the product is more than just fun. The “matter-of-fact” part of your brand voice means you are communicating the facts and knowledge of the product. This helps your audience to trust you as not only a friend, but a friend that will tell it to them straight.
Your brand voice is an important tool for communicating with your audience. Every brand has a unique personality and approach. Make sure your audience is clear on your personality.
Need help establishing your brand voice? Let’s talk.
My work is all kinds of all over the place. I have two part-time jobs. I am a freelance writer. I run my own copywriting business. I write a blog for fun. I also partner with my husband to take care of our home, cars, and meals.
I love the variety and freedom that this combination of things brings to my life. But, there are definitely systems and structures that I use to stay on top of it all. Probably the very most important structure in my life is my to-do list.
I am an unapologetic (and sometimes obsessive) to-do list maker. My typical day starts with a to-do list and I use this structure to build my day. This structure works for me and I love it.
And also, my to-do list doesn’t always work...sometimes the organization that my list normally brings to my day is nowhere to be found. Some days, I sit down and make the list just the same way that I do all the other days and then I just can’t find the motivation to get the things done. Some evenings, I find that I have had to refine my list several times because I avoided and procrastinated and simply didn’t do the things I should have done.
On these days, I have to find extra grace for myself. You see, on a typical day checking things off the list brings me a sense of accomplishment, pride, and success. Those things aren’t inherently bad feelings, but on the days when the list isn’t working I have to remind myself of a few things.
I am not what I do
The work I do has the power to bring me fulfillment, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing, but I can certainly take that too far. If I let my work and the things I check off of my to-do list run my life, I am letting them control me.
When I feel discouraged and not good enough because my list isn’t complete, then I need to take a step back and remember that the to-do list is just a tool and not my barometer of self-worth. This is something I need to know and remember all days, but on a day when I am struggling to complete the list, it is especially important.
Some days the odds (and emotions) are against me
Do you ever feel like no matter what your intentions are, you just can’t seem to find a single ounce of motivation? I know how you feel.
We have highs and lows in emotions and I need to remember to pay attention to that. If I had a rough week, my emotions might be heavy, and it’s ok to take some time to process that, even if it takes away from my work. If I am mentally and emotionally healthy, I will do better work going forward.
There’s always another day
Tomorrow is always a new day. That is the beautiful thing about tomorrow. Even if I get to the end of my day and not a single thing is crossed off of my list, I always have a chance to try again tomorrow.
Sometimes I just need to let a bad day be bad, knowing that tomorrow always brings a new beginning. As my girl Annie once sang, “...the sun’ll come out tomorrow…” This is always true - maybe not literally - but a new day is always on its way and it brings the hope of doing better next time.
Have a dance party anyway
We should certainly celebrate the big accomplishments and milestones (I’m a big believer in celebrating), but I think we could all use a little more celebrating even if we don’t feel like we’ve done anything noteworthy.
Being alive is worth celebrating.
These precious days are worth celebrating.
Having a to-do list to fail miserably at is worth celebrating.
And, dancing just makes everything better.
So on a day when your list seems like a discouragement, pull out your favorite tunes and start grooving. I’ll be over here spinning The Supremes and dancing alone in my living room.
Recently, I introduced both my husband and his little sister to the charming little film called 13 Going on 30. This movie comes from an era of cheesy rom-com’s with predictable plot lines. These films aren’t usually heralded for their Oscar-winning screenwriting or for the most imaginative storylines.
But here’s the thing, most of us like to watch a wholly predictable and wonderfully cheesy rom-com every once in a while. They comfort us and bring us joy and show us that things like true love are true and the things that we don’t think could ever happen sometimes do. These films help us to believe in everyday magic. Now let’s scoot past some of the misogyny and lack of female independence some of these movies peddle. (I’m not saying these things are good, I’m just saying for the sake of my argument, let’s ignore them for now.)
Let’s get back to that everyday magic because I think it is important and valuable and we should all look for those everyday magic moments of hope. Like me, you may have noticed that the era of the rom-com seems to be over. It used to be that every season a new rom-com would hit theaters and we would all head out on a Friday night with our girlfriends or obliging significant other and have an evening filled with simple joy.
These days, it seems new and modern rom-coms are few and far between. This dawned on me that recent night when watching 13 Going on 30. I’ve heard and read all the reasons that we don’t have many of these types of movies anymore. I know that they perpetuate the idea that women are helpless without a man. I know that they often portray women as weak, and I totally don’t think this is okay.
But, here’s the truth: we need movies that make us hope and sometimes help us to believe the unbelievable. We need art that reminds that there is good and hope and imagination in our lives.
I see that we are making more well-rounded films. I see that gaps in the movie industry are being filled and that is good, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring back something that is lacking.
When something like a rom-com enters our lives, we are reminded of not only the hope there is in love, but also of hope in general. A rom-com is often cheesy and many times the goings-on inside of them don’t make a lot of sense, but at the core is a story that teaches us to hope.
Predictable stories can be boring, but if they are created well, predictable stories can be just what we need to be inspired. We need to see a girl down on her luck unexpectedly fall in love and then encounter a problem, only to live happily ever after. We all know the movie version of happily ever after doesn’t exist in real life. I think we can all recognize that real life can’t be fully and accurately portrayed in a 2-hour movie.
But, the cheesy movie happily ever after has the power to teach us to seek out our own fuller and wilder and messier real-life happy endings. It reignites the lost hope we have in our hearts. It gives us this new perspective on things in our real lives that might seem hopeless.
So, I for one, am calling for a resurgence of the rom-com. I need that kind of idealistic hope to inspire and remind me of the bigger, fuller hope I have in my real life. Maybe we need to make a few revisions to rom-com rhetoric, but I think we all would be better off if we had a few more rom-com’s in our lives.
What about you? Do rom-com’s bring you hope?
Do you ever experience fear?
I can hear you laughing at that question from across the internet. You’re probably laughing because I just asked an ultra-obvious question. Asking if another person feels fear is like wondering if they breathe. The answer is, “OF COURSE!”
We all experience fear - probably everyday. It’s this annoying nag like the mosquitoes at twilight on a summer evening - constantly bugging us and even when we forget it’s there it leaves these lasting impressions on us. Some of these impressions are big and some are small.
When talking about fear, it likely isn’t some grand revelation that this is something that we all experience regularly. Something else that also isn’t a new idea? Getting rid of our fear isn’t really an option, but learning to approach it differently may just change our lives.
Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.” If you’re like me, maybe you encountered this quote for the first time in The Princess Diaries (and maybe that moment in the movie made your eyes well up with emotion). However cheesy it may be, Princess Mia and her story can teach us something about fear. In a moment when her fear made her feel like running away from something scary, she decided to stay even though it was scary.
Before you close out this post because this is old news, let me tell you that I have to remind myself of this about 74,940,028,420 times a day (okay maybe not quite that many). Maybe we could all use a reminder that fear will always be there, but we can learn how to live in spite of it. We have the power to overcome it. We can change even if it’s scary and hard and awkward.
And you know what? It won’t always be some big movie moment where we defiantly stand against fear as the soundtrack swells in the background. It’s in the everyday little moments of fear and decision that we make progress. In these moments we get to decide to do the uncomfortable or weird or awkward thing that is scary, but is the right thing. These little moments are often how we show fear who’s boss.
My mom had this magnet in our kitchen for a while that said “Do one thing everyday that scares you.” I experience these small moments of fear all throughout my every day, but this reminder always feels like an achievable goal. I don’t have to fully conquer every fear right this moment, but I can do one scary thing today.
Maybe that means striking up conversation with the neighbor I have never more than smiled at. Maybe that is reaching out to someone who could help me with my business. Maybe it means having an awkward conversation with a friend. Maybe I could just start the writing project I have been avoiding for fear of failing.
We allow our seemingly small fears to impact our decisions. A bunch of small decisions made in fear add up to a big impact on our lives. Perhaps, doing one scary thing everyday could have a big impact, too.
Maybe overcoming our little fears and refusing to allow comfort to control us will change the world, one little scary decision at a time. Think of it as an experiment. Who knows? Our world could look a lot different if we all tried to do a small scary thing each day.
Each day is filled with ups and downs. We have good days and bad days, and days that are just “meh.” Throughout each day, there is one tiny thing that always manages to bring me a little glimmer of joy. It’s nothing crazy or weird or costly. It’s this daily task that could seem mundane, but always promises to bring me at least a small amount of joy.
That thing I’m talking about? Checking the mail.
My mailbox holds this special power. No matter how my day is going, I am always excited to get to my mailbox. Most days I open it up to find junk mail. Some days it holds nothing. But sometimes, on a special day, it holds a letter from a friend or an ornately-decorated letter from my sister or a coupon that is truly exciting or a package.
These special days of mail are the exception in my mailbox discoveries, but these days exist, and their existence brings me daily expectation, anticipation, and hope.
Hope. Maybe that’s where the magic of my mailbox lies. I think I love looking in my mailbox everyday because it brings me hope. It teaches me to look beyond what is normal and hope for something abnormal. My mailbox isn’t unreliable. I know that most days offer sales fliers and junk mail, but there always comes a day when that changes. There always comes a unique day where my mailbox offers a card or a gift or a postcard. These days are special and fun and magical. These days are days to hope for. These days hold so much everyday power that they bring me hope every single time I go to open that mailbox.
The mailbox for me is a signpost. It is this tiny, seemingly insignificant thing that holds daily hope. It teaches me to dream and to believe that joy is coming (even if that joy is a simple postcard). This power of even a tiny daily hope is not lost on me. You see, my mailbox is a lesson in dreaming and hoping and not giving up.
I never give up on hoping in my mailbox, and I don’t want to give up on hoping for the bigger things, too. I know that in Christ, there is always hope. This is a hope that will certainly never disappoint. I always have hope that the victory is God’s, all injustice and mourning and grief will be erased, and His perfect plan will come to pass.
So, maybe my mailbox isn’t magical, but it does teach me a big lesson about hope.
What is a signpost of hope in your life?
Let me start by saying that my husband is an arborist and extreme tree enthusiast. We can’t go anywhere without pausing to look at the trees and notice their magnificence. I don’t naturally take in the grandeur of these ever-present leafy friends, but by his side I have learned to take a moment (or seven) and notice their magic.
Today, I was observing a Beech tree that is particularly loved by my hubby. It is just across the street from where we live, so we stop to look at this tree often (read: my husband often stops and I follow suit, sometimes willingly, and sometimes with an air of annoyance depending on how much patience I have mustered that day).
What I noticed today about this Beech tree was the complete and utter beauty of its leaves. This was the first time since the leaves appeared this spring that I really saw them. They are this lush green with some red that is almost iridescent in the sunlight. Today, those leaves took my breath away.
Then I started wondering about what really took my breath away. What makes those leaves so amazing and breathtakingly beautiful? Why did I notice them?
I began to think about how those leaves might not seem quite so magnificent without the massive trunk and intricately intertwined branches of this impressive tree. Maybe the leaves were beautiful, but they’re beauty was compounded by the structure holding them up. The structure behind those leaves makes them all the more beautiful.
That realization seems profound. You see, as a human being, I crave structure and routine in my life, but the spontaneous spirit inside me often decides to rebel against these desires.
Structure feels like something boring and ugly and plain. I know that a regular rhythm and routine in my life is good and necessary. I know that having a normal schedule makes me feel more at peace, but I sometimes wonder if my structure is making me miss out on some of the most beautiful things in life.
That friendly neighborhood Beech tree taught me something today. It taught me that structure and routine and schedule and organization might seem plain, and maybe they sometimes are, but beauty can certainly come from structure. If that tree didn’t take time, to build its structure and assemble an impressive array of branches, those leaves would not have a space to display beauty.
That tree taught me that there is a place for beauty in structure. It taught me that the work and effort of building structure in my life are worth it because they are making room for beauty to be displayed.
Today, that tree helped me to see that structure in my life doesn’t just have to be a “should”; it can be a “want to,” because I surely want my life to be a place the world sees beauty. I’m not getting rid of all spontaneity in my life, but I do have a new admiration and respect for routine. Routine might get a bad rap, but it can be a conduit of incredible beauty.
Are you tired? Worn out? Overwhelmed beyond fathom? Feeling like you are lacking something? Then, do more things.
Wait a second (insert terrible DJ scratch sound here circa 1999). That’s definitely not what the Bible verse says.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)
This is Jesus talking to us. He asks if we are tired and burned out, and I’m betting if you’re anything like me, you probably could give a resounding “YES” as your answer.
But, the antidote that He gives us to our exhaustion can feel like some intangible notion or idea. I love how The Message version of this verse phrases Jesus’ direction, “...watch how I do it..” This feels tangible. This is doable. I can read through the gospels and see how Jesus lived. What did he value? How did he spend his time? What did he do day in and day out?
I might not live in Israel 2000 or so years ago, but I can certainly deduct what was valuable to Jesus. One thing that he valued without a doubt is simplicity - in His time, in his possessions, and in his relationships.
I want to focus on one aspect of that simplicity today: Simplicity of time. It can be so tempting to feel like adding more to your schedule will make things better. Or maybe you don’t feel like this, but you don’t know how to say no to adding another thing that seems good. Or maybe you have big goals for life and you don’t want to miss out on achieving them.
Here’s the truth: having more space in your schedule makes you more available for what really matters. When I look at Jesus and how he treated the time that he had, I see that he was always available for interruption. He made time for the important things, and he didn’t fill his schedule so full that any interruption made him go berserk.
If I don’t make space in my schedule, an interruption or unplanned neighbor stopping by or the need to go comfort a friend unexpectedly makes me go berserk. I want to be available to take care of my needs, comfort my friend, or chat with my neighbor. These are the kinds of things that I see in Jesus’ time. If I’m watching how he does it and following his example, I need to have space and capacity for interruption.
This is something that I have been learning and figuring out the past few years. How can I build a life that has holes in its schedule. It feels like everything and everyone around me is trying to reach in and snag a spot on that schedule. If I’m not careful, my calendar could be bursting at the seams clear until 2022.
I’ve learned some practical steps that have helped me structure a schedule that has built in space. I’m not perfect at it, and I don’t always get it right, but these are some habits and practices that work in my life right now to help me create a simpler schedule.
Following rules for my time
I am an introvert, so whether I want to admit it or not, spending too much time with people makes me tired. Even if I am spending time with people whom I love, I need to carve out space in my week to have time alone in order to be available mentally and emotionally for those unexpected moments.
Making rules for my time has helped me to do this well. For example, I only allow 2 planned social events throughout my week. If it is for a special occasion, 3 social events are allowed. I know for some of you extroverts out there, this sounds like your own version of a living hell. However, I like to follow this rule for my week, so that if someone stops by my house unexpectedly, I am not already at the end of my social rope.
Saying “no” to good things
I’ve heard it said that sometimes you have to say no to good things, in order to say yes to great things. I totally agree. If I say yes to every opportunity or experience that comes my way, I would leave no space for anything else.
I am learning to be ok with saying “no” to something even if I don’t have another commitment. It might not seem like I have reason to pass on something, but it is reason enough for me that I am making space and cultivating a simpler schedule.
This doesn’t mean that I always say “no” if I’m not feeling something. We all have to do things we don't like or don’t want to, and sometimes important events or occasions aren’t my top choice, but they are necessary.
Scheduling the things I want to do
My life is organized by my Google calendar. Once a week, my husband and I sit down and make sure our calendars are accurate with how we want to spend the week, and touch base with each other on our events.
I have found that scheduling things that are important but don’t seem like traditional “events” is helpful. This means things like grocery trips, time alone, and sometimes even going on walks are scheduled. If we don’t put things on the schedule, they often don’t happen.
A simpler schedule doesn’t just happen. We have to intentionally shape it. One way I am learning to be more like Jesus these days is finding the practices that help me to form a life that has space for interruption.
How do you make space for interruption?
Hi, I'm Emma!
A Maryland girl who moved to Washington state seeking adventure, I adore writing and delight in sharing my favorite things. I celebrate whimsy and you can find me doing a happy dance when something really strikes my fancy.