Wednesday, February 11, 2015

What my blogging break taught me: it's not over

Photo by Abbie Driscoll

I'm not finished with it. The blogging break, anyway.

I realized that when February came around and I dreaded sitting at my computer. I thought, maybe I just need to get back into the habit... But I've dreaded every part of it. Sitting, thinking, writing, editing, promoting, answering emails, etc. All of it.

A lot happened over the past two months. In January, I breathed deeply, read like I was starving for words and spent many nights cooking with my husband. I was less stressed, less distracted and more me than I've felt in a long time.

Beautiful things happened. I wrote my first serious song and played it for my band mates. That was the most frighteningly vulnerable thing I've done in a long time. We put it to more instruments and I can't explain the feeling of hearing other people playing to the melody and lyrics I wrote. It was magical and one of those moments I just felt full, you know?

My church asked me to come on part-time as an interim worship pastor at our newest campus while they search for a long-term replacement. That was thrilling and terrifying all at once. The craziest part of the story is that for the first time ever, I whispered out loud that might be something I was interested in around Thanksgiving. To my husband in private. At that point, there was no opportunity and I didn't expect there to be. Not here, not now... But little did I know God was preparing me for a conversation with our executive pastor a few months down the road. What an opportunity to dip my feet into something I've wanted to do, but feel very unqualified for! He's walked with me through the swinging pendulum of fear and excitement, and I can't wait to watch the growth unfold. It's already been quite the ride. 

I have a lot of extremely creative friends who are willing to be brave with me. Like writing music and poetry, and discovering who we really are and living it, even if it's different than the norm kind of creative friends. God has blessed me with those friendships, with these people who aren't willing to settle for the easy road in our short lives and who are open to being vulnerable and doing hard things. I can't tell you how empowering and freeing that is.

God has been blowing me away by things like this lately. And with all of these changes, with making small steps toward unveiling the things that really get me excited and drawing near to God through it all, I don't want to come back to the screen.

Not yet. Right now, I can't live slowly while also working my job, working for the church, attending small group, investing in the student ministry with Jacob and blogging 20 hours a week. So maybe I'll be back periodically... maybe it will be a while before my next post.

But before I go, I just need to say thank you. This blog has served me so well for the past several years. It has taught me to be disciplined, to take risks, to write even when I don't feel like it, and it's introduced me to a lot of stellar women who I am blessed to know. 

Thank you for your encouragement, for your prayers, and for reading. This blogging thing is pretty cool, but I'm just not in a place where it fits for me now. 

So, I wish you the very best. I hope you live this short life we have well. Be brave, be present, and love. Love. Love. Love.


Monday, February 2, 2015

Operation Read Your Shelves: The Circle Maker

For the month of January, I read The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson.

To be truthful, I read 7 books last month. Seven!! I'd say that is a direct correlation to the fact I wasn't blogging. If that doesn't tell you how much time I usually spend blogging, I don't know what would.

My month of was absolutely fantastic, but more about that another day. For now, I want to shout from the rooftops about this book! I'd heard a lot about it over the years, but never really heard what it was about other than "prayer." While I knew I needed to grow in my prayer life, that description didn't really lure me into checking it out yet, if you know what I mean.

But I finally did. And I couldn't put it down. Batterson combined basically everything I'm passionate about into one book: chasing Jesus with all you have and doing so with your God-given passions.

"The day we stop dreaming is the day we start dying. When imagination is sacrificed on the altar of logic, God is robbed of the glory that rightfully belongs to Him. In fact, the death of a dream is often a subtle form of idolatry. We lose faith in the God who gave us the big dream and settle for a small dream that we can accomplish without His help. We go after dreams that don't require divine intervention. We go after dreams that don't require prayer. And the God who is able to do immeasurably more than all our right bran can imagine is supplanted by a god - lowercase g- who fits within the logical constraints of our left brain" (p. 43).

Can I get an amen? This book has really encouraged me to listen for God and embrace the whispers I hear, even if they are much bigger and scarier than I could imagine. I don't want to spend my life worshiping my own accomplishments by dreaming small - I want to live radically, trusting God to do big things and praying daily that he will.


I can't wait to read your reviews - you can find out what Operation Read Your Shelves is all about below, and link up your posts at the bottom of mine! :)

So, what's Operation Read Your Shelves all about?

ORYS is a book review link up geared toward people who love to buy books, but aren't great at reading them. In other words, you have shelves full of books you haven't read yet. And you probably have a few sitting in your GoodReads "Want to Read" List, too. ;)

This link up is a great way to hold yourself accountable to reading a book or two that you already own OR actually reading the new books you buy each month, and it will absolutely feed your growing list of to-read books. So you can get some reading done, connect with other book lovers and add more great books to your list!

The link up goes live the First Monday of each month, so mark your calendars! Have questions? Check out this post, or comment below and I'll answer ASAP.

You can read the October ORYS post here.
You can read the November ORYS post here.
You can read the December ORYS post here.

Now, let's link up!

A few notes:

1. The next link up will be Monday, March 2nd.

2. The link up will be live today through Friday at midnight, so you can link up your posts until then.

3. Please either link back to this post in your post, or display the button below. Also, use the #OperationReadYourShelves to share via social media!

34 Magnolia Street

4. Go visit and comment on other blogs! That's the point of link ups - to grow in community and share our book finds with one another!

Have any more questions? Check out this post for more info, or comment with your question below!

Link up your posts below:
*When completing link up form, please title your link BLOG NAME: BOOK TITLE as "title."

Do you want an email reminder a week before next month's ORYS post goes live?! Leave your email in the comments & I'll add you to my list.