Peace in Writing

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This past weekend I had the opportunity to spend a few days coffee-shop-hopping in Raleigh, NC. The weekend was planned months ago before I knew how much I needed a weekend away to sit, process, think, sing, wander, breathe, and WRITE.  I kicked off the weekend with a dear college freshman who did YL in our town. We had dinner, I met her boyfriend, & then we headed off to the Sandra McCracken and All Sons & Daughters Poets + Saints Concert. It was a rich and restorative evening to spring board what was to become a blissful weekend of writing & wandering that I have been craving for quite some time.

My journey of writing has ebbed and flowed over the years. I have always loved to write and my stacks of diaries turned journals from my adolescence is a proof. It wasn’t until my creative writing class my senior year in high school that I realized how much of a gift it would be for the duration of my lifetime. I tend to always have a million thoughts and ideas swirling around in my mind, so putting pen to paper brings a peace only writing can offer in calming my headspace. When we first found out we we pregnant with my oldest eight years ago I started a family & lifestyle blog to document the pregnancy. Over time it became a free form of therapy for me during nap time to use my brain and hands. I started sharing songs, books, and my heart. A couple years ago when I started my counseling practice I made a more professional space that was more focused with a loose filter. I was initially disoriented in a more public space trying to find my bearings in the unfamiliar territory of writing for a wide variety of ears in addition to family and friends. One day I was fumbling around the internet trying to find a place to dig in with other writers in a similar season. Somehow I saw Emily’s post about the Writer’s Barn that she was co-hosting at her sister’s place in south Charlotte with Christa Wells. My friend Reeve had been singing the praises of her dear friend ‘The Nester’ for years and I decided to sign up!

A friend and I traveled down to the barn together and my heart almost exploded when we arrived. Everything was beautiful from the woods we drove through to the barn’s simple elegance nestled under the trees. I was expectant but had no idea how much would shift in my heart as we listened to one of my favorite authors and a new-to-me singer and songwriter share about their unique processes of writing. I found myself looking around at all the earthy and delicate details while we listened to each artist speak, sing, and we even took some time to write ourselves. I knew the Lord had arranged for me to be there that day.

After months of being “stuck” in my writing I felt like new creative life was breathed back into my soul again. This was the jumpstart, in addition to Emily’s book A Million Little Ways, about “uncovering the art we were made to live” which caused my creative juices to flow freely once again. I decided to jump into another year of writing 31 Days in October, this time about our yearning for more on this side of heaven. I was coming out of a few years of internalizing all my feelings and the grueling process of writing about it daily woke me up!

Although my new blog has been sporadic over the past 2.5 years, my personal writing has been consistent. I began the ritual of Morning Pages where you wake up daily and write 2-3 pages without an agenda. I started working out my writing muscles behind closed doors and slowly themes began to emerge. With yet another year of #write31days under my belt, I can honestly say it has over time formed the book I hope to one day write, even if it is for an audience of friends of friends & family. There’s a burn that only keeps growing inside!

So this past weekend I embarked on my more focused project of writing a book proposal. I am not sure what will come of it in the years ahead, but I have at least started a document that is organizing itself into chapters and arranging all the themes that have bubbled up.

So when I packed up to head to Raleigh, I had a list of places to check out, a few people to see, my Artist’s Manifesto (pictured above) written by Emily, and my laptop & notes. Then I found my new favorite coffee shop in Boylan Heights at Yellow Dog Bakery & Co.  It isn’t an ideal gluten free friendly bakery for my celiac needs, but the autumn spice latte was the best I have ever tasted, by far. The staff was kind & the atmosphere was peaceful, even in the midst of their Saturday morning rush on the last weekend of October with a local 5K. It also helped that Standard Foods grocery & restaurant is just a few storefronts down, which was delicious. I hope to head back down with my friend Jen, to enjoy dinner since their pimento cheese + local veggies are calling my name everyday. What a cute corner it is!


I camped out in this up and coming neighborhood for most of the morning and wandered it’s streets. I enjoyed both breakfast and lunch (down at Person St. Pharmacy) solo. Since I’ve been working on a more focused project & finishing up the Create + Complete course through the School of Creative Direction, I slacked off on my final week of my write 31 Days of October of Finding Peace in the Chaos. Thank you for following along this month! Even in my sporadic posting and sometimes wordless picture posts, I have enjoyed it. I do hope to go back to fill in the most recent posts with my favorite books, music, & podcasts!

Speaking of podcasts, lastly I must share the home community for writers & creatives alike that I frequent online to find the most inspiration and hope in a corner of kindred spirits. Hope*Writers is an online group led by sisters, Emily P. Freeman (Chatting at the Sky) & Myquillyn Smith (The Nesting Place). It includes rich resources, a private FB group, etc.

Learn more & sign up for Hope*Writers … I can assure you it is worth every penny & more!

If you are interested in the sold out workshop this weekend happening in Charlotte you can also purchase a recording for an inside listen to all the things that will be discussed.

Peace in Seasons 

Fall is a favorite season for many here in North Carolina as it brings much anticipated cooler temperatures and lower humidity. The leaves change colors,   a more regular rhythm is found, and all the earthy tones set the scene for all to indulge in pumpkin spice lattes, festivals, and layers of clothing. My heart slows even in the midst if autumn hustle simply because there is such beauty pouring into our shorter days. Finding peace in every season isn’t as difficult when we see the beauty in the mess. May we all take a few moments today to soak in all this current season has to offer.

Peace in the Written Word

I tend to forget the peace that washes over my almost instantly when I start to read the written Word from our Creator. When I was growing up memorizing verses was a thing we did for stars and big cookies in Sunday school. Somewhere along the way I grew a distaste for that form of reciting and decided in college in a “future plans” conversation with my now-husband that we wouldn’t make our kids do that. We didn’t want the verses to be meaningless and just roll off their tongue without any attachment to their heart. It wasn’t until Kindergarten hit for my oldest that I first saw the real need for him to have some living wisdom tucked away in his inner being in time of need when he was out of my reach.

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Now we spend sometime writing and coloring verses that directly apply to his life. It simply seemed like the right time to show him how to look up scripture and how to connect the dots to his own soul and his relation to the people around him. I could not be more thankful that the verses we have chosen to take a closer look at now are tucked away!

Many artists have started lettering verses and lyrics to hymns on all kinds of mediums. We have started hanging them on our walls and everytime I walk by one, a warm peace floods over me. I hope the same will become a part of my kids story as they grow and crave the living Word. I pray it will serve as a constant in the midst of their little daily storms.

Words that stand the test of time and transform us from the inside out are a true gift.

Peace in Hunting Beauty

Today I got to enjoy a little slice of heaven on earth meandering around the property of The Nester at her first ever NestFest. A dear friend and I rode down together to check out the handmade and antique vendors, food trucks, and musical guests on a blissful fall day.

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Something I have always appreciated about Myquillyn Smith’s blogging and her book The Nesting Place, is her main message that “it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful”. Ever since I can remember I have loved finding unique items to fill up our house with or gift to others that reflect their personality and style. Today at the white barn was a culmination of all the things I love and it was such a gift to slowly roam from booth to booth soaking in all the beauty. There is something about the thrill of the hunt for sure, but today for me it was simply about being with my friend Kristin, talking about life, dreams, ministry, and swooning over all the beauty contained in this one place together.

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I have been to the barn a few times for a writing workshop & Emily Freeman’s book release party for Simply Tuesday. Each event I have attended I have felt this deep peace and like I was at “home” in a sense amongst strangers, yet women I am kindred spirits with. Today it was a sweet gift to share this hunt for beauty with my dear friend. You know those people you just feel at home with? The ones you could talk to for hours on end and never tire of it? Today was filled to the brim with that goodness while we hunted beauty around every corner as leaves crunches beneath our feet and leaves & acorns dropped slowly from the tall canopy of trees overhead. Our favorite part was shopping in the barn first thing before everyone else started to discover was amazing deals and finds were tucked away inside. Myquillyn had tagged a lot of her own belongings to sell and it was a joy to shop!

Today was a Saturday for the books as the setting itself was a delight while linking arms with my  friend, seeing old and new ones in passing, and hunting beauty at our own pace.

I am grateful for the peace that comes from setting aside a day to hunt beauty.

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Peace in Movies

Our family recently decided to go see the remake of the beloved kid’s film Pete’s Dragon. I was amazed by the scenery and music as we all entered into the narrative of a boy’s life. We were all transported from our sweltering summer afternoon into the coolness of a dark theatre and then taken into an adventure deep in the wooded home of a lonely young boy.

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Our kids are pretty young and have only seen a few movies on the big screen so far, but Pete’s Dragon was worth every penny we spent to go as a family. The low saturated scenes mirrored the emotions of each character as the story unfolded about Elliot’s loss and love.

 

Peace in Porchtime

People used to sit on their porches all the time back in the day. When life was a little slower, families had the white space and margin to take the time to sit and fret less.

Why is it so hard for us to sit on our porches these days? What drives us to go, go go?

 

 

I know for my there is always a never ending list of things I would like to scratch off my to-do list. It ranges anywhere from laundry to writing a submission for a publication. Most days the mundane trumps the things that make me feel alive & the necessary responsibilities push my dreams to the back burner. But I wonder what the world might look like if we created corners in our schedule that allowed for interruptions and time to sit and stare off in space and lets our creative juices flow. I know for me my most inspired times come when I am standing in the shower or sitting outside breathing in fresh air.

Peace enters my soul when I leave my phone inside & swing outside for even just a few moments with a magazine or book or even a child of mine. The stillness of porchtime breathes life into the ruts of my daily routine that keep my moving like a robot. I long to be spirit led versus acting out of my own desires and selfish longings moment by moment. I have found that in order to have the head space to hear the subtle, yet bold voice of my Creator I must provide an environment that drowns out the distractions and lets His will be heard.

I have to be very intentional to not bypass my porch swing when I head to the mailbox every few days. I feel my heart longing to go sit and take some time to just be, yet usually I keep walking and doing everything inside that needs to get done. I am left many time feeling anxious and overwhelmed by all the things, even good things, I feel I need to do. However, when I take even 5 minutes to slow down and enjoy some porch time, I come back into my house with a fresh perspective. I am renewed by the reality that I don’t have to go, go, go to feel peace. It is actually the opposite. When I find myself moving nonstop controlled by the burdens of this world, I run out of steam because I am doing it in my own strength. There is something about that time on the porch that allows me to meet with my Maker long enough to remember that He is the One who gives me the strength to keep going. May we all take some time this weekend to practice porch, patio, stoop time sitting.

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