The End of One Era…The Beginning of Another

Hello friends.

It seems like I’m always forgetting about you. I don’t mean to. If it makes you feel any better, I think of you often, albeit, with a slightly guilty feeling of abandonment.

It’s been a long time since I’ve spent time in this space.

A long time since the words have flowed freely. Ironically, the words are coming easily now.

I started blogging back when Xanga was a thing. Off and on over the last ten years, I’ve poured thoughts, dreams, and ambitions onto the electronic page, sharing bits of my life with you. I reviewed books. Interviewed authors. Met with agents. I’ve been able to meet new people, share your stories, and have a great time musing with you.

The website got drafty a few years ago, about the same time I moved back to Portland. If I’m honest, it was long before then, but that’s when I really started to notice it myself. I can’t do things halfheartedly and I kept trying to change themes, hoping that would cause me to change.

Silly me.

It was silence that I needed.

Silence to treasure things in my heart instead of share them on the page. White space to let ideas grow. Margins to listen what that still small voice was whispering. Time to reflect and think and be and indulge the introvert I pretend not to be.

Finally, I’m writing again.

There’s been a small army of people nudging me back toward the page. Asking me what I’m working on. Asking me why I’m not working on something. Inviting me to write for blogs, magazines, and for Pete’s sake, to just start journaling and writing for myself so the words would start to come again.

Thank you.

But on this side of silence, this site doesn’t fit me any longer. Part of it is that I changed my last name this past summer after uttering “I Do” during a sunbreak while surrounded by friends and family. Logistically, it’s harder for me to keep one last name on a website while keeping another one everywhere else.

The other part is that I’ve changed.

After years of seeking adventure after adventure, I’m learning to create home. A place where shalom dwells. To live simply, with intention, and without sugarcoating struggles. Adventures are there and back again. I’m creating that place to come back to and to launch from. And it’s taken me years and the love of a good man to learn that home can have adventure and shalom.

It’s like I’m growing up or something.

So I’m creating a new space for new thoughts.  You’ll hear about life and the pursuit of finding the extraordinary in the ordinary. You’ll be invited in to conversations about living good, yet unphotoshopped, stories. You’ll probably hear about the Handsome Woodsman (or whatever nickname I come up for my husband) and the Adorable Pup. But I’m getting ahead of the story.

In days ahead, you won’t see this goodbye. You’ll be redirected to the new site and a new hello. I’m excited to have you join me.

 

Love,

 

Caitlin

 

 

Pioneer Nation – Day 1

Pioneer Nation has officially started.

Yeehaw.

Today was a blitz of stories, ideas, and workshops. Entrepreneurs of every stripe showed up; chiropractors, yogis, consultants. Everyone had a dream to follow and a problem to solve.

It was kind of magical.

Here are some of my notes. Because, let’s be honest, I’ll be blogging through this for awhile:

From the opening:

Pioneer Nation is for the solo entrepreneurs. Not the silicon valley startups with angel investors but a community of individuals working towards their dreams and goals.

Our goal is to help you reach that next level of results.

There’s a change afoot in the world of business. Take a look at the growing Maker Movement. People want personalized, customized, and the useful unique. Engineering a lifestyle is no different.

People want to be their own boss. Name their own hours. Do what they love.

And that’s a good thing.

Every corporation started out small. Every company started as a good idea. Every empire was built by a lot of hard work. But I am jumping waaaay ahead of myself. Typical. 

Pioneer Nation is about empowering the solo-prenuer by raising up a community of like minded people around them. 

From Chris Brogan’s keynote:

Open your eyes. The world is rich with possibility and history is being made at every second.

People want you to listen to them. They need to know that you care about them. That is what builds a community.

Social media is about declaring who you are. Business is about belonging. Be a freak – passionate about what you are about.

No is just part of the business. Get used to it.

People were honest about their failures. One speaker admitted that he was in the red that month. Another talked about launching something they thought was going to be super successful…only to be ignored by everyone on his mailing list.

Business is not the place for BS. But really, is anywhere? Transparency builds trust. We know that. We’re taught that from an early age. Living it out is a different matter. Somewhere along the way, our egos replace our ethics. My friends, these things ought not be so.

That’s just a taste of what happened at the event. Some of the major themes of the day fell along the lines of learning to get used to hearing no and giving yourself the permission to say yes.

And in other news…I tweeted my notes. A lot. 

If you were at Pioneer Nation, what were some of your highlights and takeaways? 

Take a Chance. These Three People Are.

Generating ideas isn’t a problem. Daydreaming is second nature to most of us. But putting skin on those bare-boned dreams and making them dance is a different battled.

Tomorrow, I’m hitting up Pioneer Nation to learn from some incredibly inspiring people who have said no to their fears and yes to their dreams. I’ve followed quite a few of them for years on Twitter and have benefited from their perspectives.

They’ve mentored me without even knowing it.

One thing I’ve learned from them is that making things happen isn’t for the faint of heart. 

Saying yes to one thing means saying no to another.  That’s hard at any stage of life.

I hear that sort of stuff all the time from people. The internet people. The marketing people. The self help people.

But I think it’s important to hear about it from “average” people.

So I want to tell you about three of my friends. None of them have made it. None of them are secret millionaires. Not that I know of anyway.

Where their bank accounts are empty, their hearts are full. My friends are full of dreams, goals, and ambitions. I love that about them.

Here they are:

1. Kay 

She loves her job. She loves her family. And she has dreams of settling down in her beloved state, being able to see the mountains from the windows of her home, and creating a safe haven. It’s a beautiful thing.

She told me tonight she’s having an identity crisis of sorts. Which sucks.

She came to a horrible realization.

Her current actions don’t line up with her dreams.

She won’t be able to reach her long term goals if she stays at her job. She’ll be able to help people (great thing!) but she won’t have enough money to provide for herself (horrible thing!).

So she’s starting out on a journey to figure out how to take some of the elements of her job that she loves and create something new that will get her closer to her goals of helping people AND being financially stable. Woot!

2. Neil

Neil is a pretty simple guy. He loves people. Writing. Fashion. Truth. His girlfriend. And the South. He’s one of those friends that I keep in touch with sporadically, we pick up right where we left off. One day, I’ll fly across the country to see him, drink some sweet tea, and catch up in person.

Not too long ago, we caught up online.

The man is on the move. He’s been working hard at the same job for the last few years and steadily rising through the ranks. But there’s a problem. He’s in love.

That’s not really the problem. That’s just something that helps make him aware of the problem. He’s not happy with his current job. It pays the bills but it’s doing nothing for his goals. He’s ready to branch out into a completely new industry to do something that energizes him and will help provide for his future family.

He wants to step into the world of men’s fashion.

That’s kind of awesome.

3. Anna

This past weekend, I went to a garage sale.

My friend is taking a leap of faith, quitting her job, and selling everything she has.

Why?

She’s chasing Jesus across the globe. 11 countries. 11 months. It’s going to be a huge chapter in her autobiography. A turning point in her life.

She’s counting the cost and to her, the chance to grow her faith is worth giving up the comfortable suburban life, her entire closet, and kissing goodbye her comfort zone.

Which is kind of rad if you ask me.

Everyone is motivated by something. 

Each of my friends have skin in the game. Reaching their goals means giving up the comfortable and known for something uncomfortable and dangerous.

But for them, it’s worth it.

Call it lifestyle design. Intentional living. Owning their story. Whatever.

They decided to define success for themselves. That’s something I want to dig into deeper on this site, but I want to call it out now.

They aren’t allowing themselves to be limited by preconceived notions of what they should or should not do. They are drawing their own boundaries, setting their goals, and choosing to say no to the easy so they can say yes to the end results they want.

That’s huge.

When I talk to them, I can’t help but get excited.

I love hearing their dreams and helping them articulate their goals. Talks turn into mini coaching sessions with me asking them probing questions about how they envision their future. It’s not that different from when I worked with authors.

I love the energy and the ideas. That a-ha moment of when people realize that yes, their dreams and goals aren’t that crazy.

Because let’s face it. They aren’t.

 

If you can dream it, you can do it. It just might take time. And time, my friends, will pass no matter what. So you might as well be creating that life.

When was the last time you sat down and shared your goals? What’s stopping you from chasing them? And if you are headed to Pioneer Nation, let me know!

 

 

What I’m Digging These Days – March Edition

 

Reading -

  • Brit + Co. – A handful of 20something women in San Francisco have vibrantly entered the startup scene. They love fashion, food, and engineering. And I’m addicted to their app.
  • Daily Lectionary – I’m exploring some of the themes of the Protestant high church and loving this simple lectionary my blogging buddy has created. Not even sure what a lectionary is? You’ve come to the right place.
  • Why Leaning In is Killing Us – Finding balance is a theme that will be explored as long as  we live. I’m chewing on this article and will probably be blogging about it in the near future. Because I’m giving up on being addicted to busy, remember?

Listening -

  • Friar Alessandro – I have this thing for classical music, foreign languages, and tenors. It’s like chocolate for my ears. I blame Josh Groban. Friar Alessandro is a Franciscan monk with one heck of a voice.
  • Dave Ramsey Podcast – The man knows money. And he keeps me from impulse buying a condo that I probably can’t afford. So there’s that. Like every other person on the planet, I don’t agree with everything he does. But I’ve definitely benefited from listening in.
  • 24 Hours of Happy - My ears are infected with this toe-tapping tune. Probably because when Pherrell sings “can’t nothin’” it sounds distinctly like “Caitlin” and I feel like he’s singing TO ME.

Misc. -

  • No-Knead Bread So Easy a 4 Year Old Could Do It – Perfect recipe for the girl on the go who loves her gluten. Baking really isn’t my thing but I find myself coming back to this recipe. Pair it with red wine and a good book. Or a table of friends discussing ‘isms and ‘ologies.
  • Stitch Fix - I signed up for an online personal stylist. I pay $20 for her to handpick items for me based on my size, budget, and style (and fashion dreams based on Pinterest boards)…and they get sent to me once a month. If I like them, I buy them (with the $20 as credit) and if they just aren’t my thing, back they go! My first shipment comes next month. (FYI – referral link . If you sign up, I get credit!)
  • KuKuKlock - When my puppy ate my cell phone charger, I had to get creative with my alarm clock. So I turned to the internet and started waking up to the sound of a bugler. It’s incredibly annoying. Which is kind of the point.

Stop the Glorification of Busy

Stop the glorification of busy

Hello, my name is Caitlin. I’m addicted to being busy.

White space is lovely when it is in art or computer canvases. But in my life?

I just can’t deal.

My first impulse is to turn on my smartphone. Thumb through Twitter or scroll through Instagram. Pose a question on Facebook so people will laugh, respond, and reveal something about themselves. It’s easier for me to take a peek at what other people are doing in their lives than take a long hard look at the way I’m living mine.

Is that weird?

If so, let’s start a support group.

###

“You should give yourself the time to nest. The time to be. Just don’t go anywhere and reconnect with yourself.”

That’s the lump sum of what a friend told me in December. I was burned out and sniffling over doughnuts. Maybe it was SAD, maybe it was PMS, and maybe it was emotional constipation. Or all three, the perfect storm. Whatever it was, it wasn’t healthy. And somewhere between Pips and home, I knew I needed a change.

So I took her advice and became a hermit.

###

Often, I can sit in my car, drawing up business plans as I drive. Scheming about ways to take over the world. I can’t help it. Tim Ferriss is a hero.

I throw on beliefs like an overcoat as I slip out the door, not pausing to see if they really fit. As long as they coordinate with my surroundings, it’s easier not to question why I question. I throw around ideas gleaned from the headlines of Twitter, stoping to pose with people I barely know to impress those I haven’t met yet.

Maybe we really should start a support group.

###

It turns out that being a hermit as a Protestant just isn’t understood. It’s often considered plain ol’ anti-social. I think my Catholic friends get it best. Solitude and silence are spiritual disciplines.

To be honest, I thought about heading to a convent, just to be still in the silence. But my apartment was just as wonderful and just as secluded with my lack of internet. My leggings and t-shirts became my habit. Whispered prayers, my rosary. I built fires almost every night, drank red wine, and listened to records while I read my Bible and other books. I filled pages of my journal. Thoughts made manifest – flesh becoming words.

I let my calendar be blank. I shut up to live well.  And in that stillness, questions came tumbling out of the wardrobe of my soul. I saw a handful of friends. My family. My love.

But most of all, I saw me.

And I was glad to be reacquainted.

                                                                                                                 ###

New Years was rough this year. Two of my closest friends have confirmed it. Maybe we’re just all getting old. The world no longer felt bright and full of promise.

It felt tired. Sad. Broken.

Like it too needed a rest from all that had gone on. Did you feel it?

###

During that season, my love would slip his hand in mine, listening as I struggled to put into words the feelings that were welling from my soul. He’d patiently sit; pouring the wine, feeding the fire, offering his thoughts only when I asked. He just accepted me for who I am, loving me through it all. He often does that. He is steady, I am a dynamo. Together we are fire and ice. But this is not about him or me or the us that we are.

I told you he might slip into my stories.

###

As I write, the world is blanketed in night. In a few hours, the birds will come out to herald the morning. Spring is coming. It must. Winter is over.

It will soon be time to weed. To pull out by the roots the things that have taken up space on the calendar once again. To guard what happened.

Silence cannot last forever.

Words must be spoken. Ideas must take on flesh. Actions must be taken. Or else it’s all for naught. Margins are now part of my life.

Let us begin. Not with action. With rest.

We can write but we can’t always live.

 

 

 

Wait, I’m Really Writing Again?

Hello darlings,

It’s been awhile, hasn’t it?I seem to have created a rhythm of popping in and out of the internets. I eavesdrop on the conversations that are happening, stick my comments in every once in awhile, and go on my merry little way.

I think my blogging died around the same time Google reader did. Or maybe it’s when I started writing professionally.

Helping authors* consumed my days, bleeding into all margins of my life.

And I loved it.

I loved helping people understand how to tell their stories online. Doors opened. Opportunities knocked…and then I left in a daze, switching gears suddenly, and starting on a whole new adventure. New job. New timezone. You know the drill. You could call it a quarter-life crisis or the end of one.

It doesn’t really matter.

In the last year, things have changed.

Instead of obsessing about writing a good story, I’m working on living one.

And I’m going to start sharing the things I’ve been learning along the way. The days of writing about love and dating are mostly over – I reserve the right to relapse every once in awhile. I’m in love and it has a way of seeping into every atom of my existence. The page probably won’t be an exception. It just won’t be a focus.

My theme is finding the extraordinary in the ordinary.

I’ll be tackling other things. Talking about business. Navigating life. Creating margin in your life. The things you navigate as you try to figure out life as an older twenty-something. Mortgages. Tax people. Giving yourself the permission to indulge your long lost introverted self in a world that expects you to be girly, glittery, and oh so outgoing all the time. You know, the glamorous stuff. And yes, I’ll still be working on the Old/Boring/30 List.

It’s a work in progress. Just like my life.

It will be messy at times. Hopefully not as sporadic. My goal is to offer my voice, my experiences, and adventures, in the conversation for the other people in this same life stage.

I can’t wait to begin.

 

*I still take clients on a case by case basis. Shoot me a line if you need sporadic coaching, writing, or marketing ideas.

Chivalry Isn’t Dead…It Just Wears Sequins

Elvis and Caitlin

(Hello Christmas card photo!)

Elvis saved me.

It’s true.

Elvis Presley (or some incarnation of him) saved me while I was in Las Vegas. The photo above was taken moments before…well, keep reading.

It was my first time in Vegas and things were going well. I was on a business trip, so my days were filled with classes, recycled air, and 9,000 people who were also there for the conference. By the time the evening came around, I was ready to leave the complex, posh though it was.

Reasons to leave the hotel (in no particular order):

  • Fresh air
  • Christmas celebrations
  • Amazing restaurants
  • Concerts
  • Sight-seeing
  • To elope
  • Casino hopping
  • Shows
  • Spas
  • Helicopter rides over the Grand Canyon

You will notice that hanging out with hustlers (what is the proper word for the people who hand out porn cards and club wristbands?) is not on the list. That’s because at best, they are offensive.

On Thursday night, I went down to see the water show outside the Bellagio with a few colleagues. We were making our way down the strip to see some of the touristy places and in search of dinner.  I’m not really into water shows (I blame PBS documentaries on the water shortages in Nevada) but this was spectacular.

That’s when he saw us.

No, not Elvis. Sorry. He doesn’t show up quite yet. Someone else.

The hustler.

“Hey ladies.” You totally know people speak in italics. “Want to get in the club? Take a wristband.”

Not interested. My stomach was growling. Going to a club based on a seedy stranger’s recommendation was the last thing I wanted to do.

We kept walking and he kept talking.

“Hey pretty lady.”

Must. Not. Look.

“Hey lady, will you just hold my hand?”

Well that was a new tactic. “No.”

No. No. NO.

“Why not?”

“I don’t want to. I don’t think that’s a good idea and I don’t think my boyfriend would like it either.”

He didn’t take the hint.

I kept walking, hoping he’d get distracted by someone else but instead, he was pacing me. He kept talking and I kept ignoring him, trying to figure out the best way to confront him if the need came. The Wrangler Rodeo was in town and a thousand cowboys. From my experience, they don’t take kindly to women being harassed on the street. If only I could spot a cowboy hat…

“Just give me a chance. Hold my hand. I could be your boyfriend. I’ll never let you go. I could show you the world.”

He was quoting Justin Beiber and Aladdin to me. Great.

“She said no. You should take the hint and leave her alone,” said one of my coworkers.

He wasn’t listening.

I looked for cowboy hats. Instead, I saw…sequins?

“ELVIS! YOU GUYS, IT’S ELVIS!”

And now, dear reader, if you are just joining me after skimming the article to find the Elvis reference – welcome. I suggest catching up at the previous bullet points. It will help things make more sense.

The King smiled kindly, “Hey hey, I’ll have my pictures taken with you.”

Perfect. Maybe the hustler would lose interest and find someone else to harass. And yes, Elvis said pictures. It’s not a typo. He looked at the hustler and then looked at me. And in a moment, I saw that he knew. The King was there to save me.

We stood with our back to the fountains, Elvis and I. First came the familiar pose of a sneer and a hip jut. Across the sidewalk from us was the hustler, standing with his back to Las Vegas Blvd.

It felt almost wrong to wish that he’d find someone else to harass. But that’s exactly what I wished as I stood smiling with Elvis.

Then…the hustler opened his mouth.

And Elvis snapped.

He lunged at the other man, throwing him down on the ground, telling him in no uncertain terms that people were sick of his harassment and he that he needed to “leave the tourists alone,”

Apparently, they knew each other.

And if the flying fists were any indication, they really didn’t care for each other.

“Caitlin…we need to go. Now.”

She didn’t have to tell me twice.

And that’s how Elvis, sequins and all, stepped up to save me on a cold winter’s night in Vegas.

Contrary to Rumors*

Contrary to rumors, I haven’t died, fallen off a cliff, or broken another leg.

Follow me long enough on Twitter and you’ll know that I’m cyclical. Emotions ebb and flow like the tide. Words rush to the shore and then recede, skittish at best but taking with them traces of life.

My year of renewal has brought with it a symphony of emotions, none of them quite in tune. Yet every once in awhile, my lips murmur a hallelujah. Because in the broken, blurry moments, there is still good. God lingers.

 

 

* Actually, none of those things have even been rumored that I know of. It’s just my way of poking my head back into the world of electronics, where words take shape in brains and hearts and find their ways into pixels and tiny screens. Where relationships of all kind can start with 140 characters or even a long rambling email. 

Fifteen Minutes: Book Review

Fifteen Minutes by Karen Kingsbury
Fifteen Minutes by Karen Kingsbury
Reviewed by Caitlin Muir
Fiction Addict Blog Tours
Genre: Drama
Publisher: Howard Books
Pub Date: October 29, 2013
Karen Kingsbury’s new book asks the question: What Would You Sacrifice For Fame?
(Synopsis from Amazon.com) Zack Dylan made a promise to God and his college sweetheart as he left his family’s horse farm in Kentucky to compete on the popular reality television show Fifteen Minutes: If he makes it, the fame won’t change him.
Overnight, Zack is the nation’s most popular contestant, a country singer with the looks and voice of a young Elvis. As his star rises, Zack is asked to compromise and quiet his beliefs, and also something more. Something Zack could never have imagined. Just as America is falling in love with Zack, just as he’s on the verge of winning it all, his choices lead him to the brink of personal disaster.
At the same time, Reese Weatherly, a therapeutic horse instructor, is no longer sure about her relationship with Zack, or the wedding they had dreamed about. While Zack advances from one round of the competition to the next, an offer comes to Reese—one that will take her to a home halfway around the world.
Then Chandra Olson—reigning diva pop star and one of the Fifteen Minutes judges—intervenes. Chandra has suffered so much public pain and private agony since her days as a Fifteen Minutes contestant. Now she wants just one thing: meaning.
Can Chandra’s private losses help Zack find his way, or will his fifteen minutes of fame cause him to lose the life he once loved? Fifteen Minutes is a story of character, compromise, and the cost of having it all. A story that raises the question: Who are the real winners?
Fifteen Minutes raises questions about the fame machines that make up the landscape of talent singing contests on reality television; the formulaic approach to diversity, talent, and using Christians as props to prop up the numbers. Kingsbury acknowledges the choices of the number hungry producers while focusing on the stories of people of faith – those who claim it now and would have claimed it before their rise to fame. People who started out with high hopes and ended up with their souls being crushed.
All Zack wants to do is be a star…for God. His optimism in the beginning of the book reminds me of a commercial played in big market cities across the country. They go a little like this:
“Do you have a dream of being in Hollywood? Are you a Christian? Be a star…FOR GOD.”
“Do you have a goal to be a singer? Be a platinum selling artist…FOR GOD.”
“Do you want to walk the catwalk? Pose in magazines…FOR GOD.”
Maybe you recognize them from the radio. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to use your God-given talents. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be on stage. And there are many people who chase these dreams who really do want to do their best to honor the God that they serve. But as Kingsbury masterfully weaves in her story, when it comes to chasing glory, it’s all too easy to start chasing our own.
Zack’s story isn’t a formulaic cautionary tale even though it feels familiar. We’ve seen glimpses of similar stories play out across the pages of glossy magazines in newsstands everywhere.  Yet Kingsbury allows her characters to live their own stories.
I haven’t gotten caught up in singing shows. I’ve never felt the thrill of rooting for a contestant from the audition line to the top five. I have commitment issues when it comes to television shows. But as I read Fifteen Minutes, I found myself caught up in the story. Even though it’s not the world that I chose to live in, Kingsbury wrote so masterfully that I wanted to linger.
If there’s someone in your life who is addicted to shows like The Voice, American Idol, or The X Factor, consider giving them this book as a gift. And if you are a Karen Kingsbury fan, add it to your collection.
Fifteen Minutes is available to purchase from Amazon.com.
Note: I received this book as part of the Fifteen Minutes blog tour from Fiction Addict. I received no compensation for this review and only received a copy of the book for review purposes.  Review copy provided by the publisher.

I, Saul: Book Review

I, Saul

Meet Augie Knox: broke professor, history buff, and tour guide to the ancient world.

During finals week, his life begins to unravel. His estranged father is hospitalized, he finds out he’s getting a salary cut, and his best friend may or may not be running for his life in Rome with an stolen ancient artifact that just might change the way that billions of people view Christianity.

Yeah, you could say Augie Knox is suspiciously similar to Indiana Jones.

The difference between the two men’s story is that while Indy’s tale is larger than life, it’s still fun. He winks at the camera. Dodges the bad guys with ease. Augie isn’t afforded that luxury. He’s scared. People are dying. He’s even more broke. And there’s the little fact that his fiance’s billionaire father may or may not be in on the artifact heist.

Oh…and that mysterious artifact? It’s the memoirs of the Apostle Paul and it’s in perfect condition.

Part thriller and part historical novel, Jerry B. Jenkins and James S. MacDonald’s narrative alternates between modern and ancient Rome. In ancient Rome, we follow the humble physician Luke, who has traveled across the world with a simple mission: keep Paul alive before he is martyred. We see the aged apostle through Luke’s eyes; his frail body, his fierce determination to live, and his love for Jesus.

I have to admit, the narrative had me hooked.

Jenkins is a masterful storyteller and his partnership with MacDonald is a strong one. I, Saul was a book that I couldn’t put down. Reading a biography of Paul helped me piece together a portrait of one of the patriarchs of the early Church. Someone, who quite honestly, I didn’t think much about before.

The authors make him come alive; painting pictures of a small boy who just wanted to know God, an older boy who finds delight in enforcing rules, and the transformation period when zeal for the law infected his heart and caused him to go on a killing rampage. Readers are submerged into the ancient world, and just when the chapter gets good, brought back to modern Rome and poor Augie’s attempts to live.

The book is good and ends with a solid foundation for the sequel. I’ll be reading it when it comes out next year, even if I don’t get a free copy.

Disclaimer: I received this book directly from the publisher. I didn’t get paid for the review but I did get a free book in exchange for my opinion and a spot on the blog tour. If you are interested in becoming a book reviewer, I’d suggest contacting Radiant Lit.

Hello Again.

Hello friends,

I’ve been writing again.

Not in places where anyone would find my thoughts. True to my promise in previous sporadic posts, I’ve been paring down my words. I’ve cut back all my commitments, so that now I’m only writing when I take delight in it.

Like Mary, I’ve been learning to treasure things in my heart instead of always grabbing a microphone and sharing them with the world.

But it feels strange, having quit the cult of busyness.

I’ve idolized hustle for so long that I don’t always know how to simply be. Sometimes, I feel guilty for not doing more. Right now I’m a flawed Jesus follower –  bewildered Oregonian – professional – caretaker – girlfriend – occasional writer. Scheming entrepreneur has been taken off the list for the moment. Instead of always grasping for new gifts like a spoiled child, I’m taking the time to enjoy the season that I’m in. The mixed season that it is.

I don’t know how to explain the narrative I’m living and that bothers me. There was a time when I thought I knew the story.

Nope.

But in my heart, even when I am at a loss for words, I know that in my heart, this season is a good one.

As a flawed Jesus follower, I am learning once again that I don’t have the monopoly on truth. My calling isn’t to reiterate my own pharisaical interpretation of the ten commandments. My calling is to love. To love God and then to love others. To rest in Jesus and rest in the tension that comes from being fully flawed and fully forgiven.

As a bewildered Oregonian, I find myself yearning for the sunshine and experiencing a bit of the northernness that C.S. Lewis talked about. Yet, Oregon is a fairytale. The mountains call and the wilderness beckons; inviting me to lay down my burdens and be.

As a professional, I’ve switched careers and focuses with that. Taking one skill set and applying it in a whole new way to a different sector. Instead of the glorious scrappiness of startups (everyone should work at one at least once in their life), I’m dealing with cubicles, corporate credit cards, and an entirely new culture. It’s an entirely new set of awesome. And I’m learning to give myself the grace to grow into this new position.

As a caretaker, I’m learning about the domestic church that my Catholic sisters (lowercase sisters, although a few of them did think about joining an order…) spoke so highly of. The idea of seeing God in those closest to you and serving them the way that you would Jesus. It’s absolutely humbling.

As a girlfriend, oh, this may be one of the most fun things I’m experiencing this season. Perhaps the most important thing I’m learning is that most of the magazines, articles, and well meaning friends lied. Maybe they didn’t mean to. But my boyfriend is not a robot with factory presets. He’s someone completely different than me who is still made in the image of God. Formulas about relationships mean nothing. Instead of assuming, I’m learning. From him. As he learns from me. And it’s wonderful.

And so.

I’m writing again.

There are many things I will be writing. And many more things that I won’t.

My heart still yearns for vibrance. To tell stories with meaning. I’ve stepped off my platform for awhile and perhaps it’s time to step back on. To write what lights up my soul instead of writing simply on spec. You’ll be seeing some book reviews in the future. Seeing some stories of people being rescued. Stories of vibrance. Of grace. Of love.

But in this moment, I want you to know something.

I do want you to know that God loves you. He. Loves. You. No. Matter. What.

It doesn’t matter who you are, what you’ve done, or who you’ve done.

God. Loves. You.

I’m a flawed Jesus follower, redeemed by scandalous love, and trying my best to echo God’s love to the rest of the world. I’m not about debating theology online. Those conversations are best held in person, over coffee, or perhaps late at night when laughter has already spilled out and the sweet wine of friendship has been drunk. But not here, not on the internet where words can be so easily twisted and even the best intentions misunderstood.

I’m not sure what this space is going to look like. It’s freeing. It’s scary. And it’s one heck of an adventure.

So hi. You’ll be seeing more of me.

 

Even More Ways To Add Adventure To Your Life

  1. Surround yourself with interesting people.
  2. Realize that all people are interesting if you ask them the right questions. So summon up your inner Barbara Walters!
  3. Doodle.
  4. Encourage others to take risks.
  5. Believe in yourself.
  6. Believe in your future.
  7. Believe in the One who holds your future.
  8. Give yourself the grace to learn.
  9. Take up the very presitious sport of putt-putt golf.
  10. Encourage your significant other to pursue their dreams. Even if the road is rocky, hold on! It’s worth it.
  11. Don’t let yourself become brittle.
  12. Fall in love. If God is big enough to save you for all eternity, you can trust Him with your heart.
  13. Spend a holiday in a foreign country.
  14. Get to know your cousins.
  15. Rediscover your favorite band from Jr. High…and then crank them up on the speakers.
  16. Dance like no one is watching.
  17. Never be ashamed of your joy.
  18. Start blowing bubblegum on a regular basis.
  19. Write letters to people you’d like to get to know better.
  20. Ask people for introductions.
  21. Host parties and tell your friends that they can only bring people who the rest of the group does not know.
  22. Sing loud and proud.
  23. Buy something bright.
  24. Learn the fine art of mixing Italian Sodas.
  25. Try as many gelato cafes as you can.
  26. Dance in the rain.
  27. Create traditions.
  28. Get up early to spend time with God.
  29. Show up.
  30. Remember that you can’t fix someone elses’ life. You aren’t the Holy Spirit. So relax and enjoy the show.
  31. Sign up for the summer read-a-thon at the library.
  32. Build a tree-fort.
  33. Help a widow.
  34. Tutor a child.
  35. Be an English conversation partner.
  36. Use Facebook to connect, not to stalk.
  37. Buy the craziest outfit and wear it to work next Monday.
  38. Incorporate color into your life.
  39. Make a batch of chocolate chip cookies and give them away. Let someone else get the pounds while you get the joy from giving.
  40. Buy a hula-hoop.
  41. Start geo-caching.
  42. Help out at your church.
  43. Take up pottery.
  44. Join a car club.
  45. Join a movie club.
  46. Browse meetup.com and see what interests you.
  47. Don’t shy away from social experiments.
  48. Flash-mobs? Yesssss.
  49. Volunteer at the youth group.
  50. Become a hostess.