A Time to Be Quiet

quiet

In my blog series last week, one of the practices of sustainability that I talked about was taking intentional breaks from your blog. And it’s time for me to do that here.

I’ve talked a little bit here about my struggles with my second book. The truth is, I’d forgotten how much this kind of writing — memoir writing – seems to require from me even as it heals me. It’s long, vulnerable work. It means deleting a lot of perfectly lovely words to get at the One Big Thing beneath all the other things. It means a lot of tears and insecurity and coffee and chocolate.

And what I’ve found is that I’m struggling to do all this while maintaining the blog. Even when I write about less emotionally taxing subjects (like favorite books and blogging practices), the time it requires to put these things out into the Internet is more than I have to give right now.

So, that said, I’m going to be stepping away from the blog for the rest of July and perhaps a bit of August to focus more fully on the book.

I’ll miss working things out in this space over these next few weeks, but I know that what I need in my creative process right now is a little breathing space. A little more quiet.

Even though there won’t be anything new here, there’s a ton to explore in the Archives. Check out the Glossary of Terms to see posts on your favorite (least favorite?) Christian cliches. If you’re looking for some simple ways to embrace acts of social justice in your everyday life, check out some of the brilliant guest posts from the One Small Change Series. Or take a break from my blog altogether and check out my first book instead! It’s way easier to read on the beach than a blog. And that’s exactly where you should be right now. Because July.

I’ll also be around a bit on Twitter and Facebook. Please follow and catch up with me there!

Thanks so much for understanding and for being here, on the other side of these blog posts, encouraging me in so many ways.

See you in a month or so!

What I’m Into – June 2014

june 2014

Is anyone else just totally baffled as to where June went?

Truly. It is absolutely terrifying to me, how fast summer is going.

Still, it’s been an incredible month of sunshine, swimming, reading, and resting. We are scratched up, mosquito bitten and a little bit blonder. I am grateful.

What I’m Reading

books june 14

I loved everything I read this month. What Alice Forgot is a great, fun summer read, and I think I Rainbow Rowell’s Attachments was fantastic, and she captured the year 1999 perfectlyI finished Daily Rituals: How Artists Workwhich I raved about already here. And I finished my first Barbara Brown Taylor, An Altar in the Worldwhich may have actually changed my life.

What I’m Watching

I had every intention of quitting my re-watching of Desperate Housewives after I got through the first season. But really, who are we kidding? I just started Season 5.

My name is Addie Zierman. I am addicted to TV.

Also this month, I took myself to The Fault in Our Stars and sobbed alone in the theatre for two hours. (Good, cheap therapy.) And I saw the new X-Men movie with Andrew. Summer is for comic book movies.

What I’m Listening to

This month, all the country music. But also Of Monsters and Men, Cat Stevens and Angus & Julia Stone.

One of my favorite bands, Sleeping at Last, is giving away their entire 36-song Yearbook project on Noisetrade for a limited time (July 1 – 14). All the tips that you leave go to the Preemtive Love Coalition, which facilitates life-saving heart surgery for Iraqi children in need. Awesome. (I downloaded it yesterday. I know what I’ll be into for most of July!)

Other Things I’m Into

- Lots and lots of mornings spent at the park

sliding

- Frog catching. (This was the morning that we found the motherlode of frogs and toads in the egress window: SEVENTEEN!)

frogs

- Spring cleaning. I cleaned our insanely messy guest room and play room and went through all the kids’ toys. For kicks, I counted our accumulated tiny animals as I cleaned. (Tiny animals are my kids’ major obsession. Some kids like cars. Some kids like blocks. My kids? All the animals.) Any guesses on how many we had?

animal explosion

The grand total was 695. And I didn’t look under any couch cushions. So I’m guessing the total is actually somewhere over 700. We have a problem.

- Falling cotton seeds. Summer snow.

cotton

- A spontaneous family getaway to Duluth…

duluth collage

- …where my five-year-old lost his first tooth. Woah.

lost tooth

Blog & Writing Stuff

This summer, I’m deep in the process of work on Book 2. As I’ve been thinking deeply about my own struggles with my faith in that draft, I’ve had less energy to do it here. So I featured some of the brilliant words of other writers on the subject this month instead. (The one slightly deep spiritual post I managed this month was over at Deeper Story and was about that rotten phrase, “If you feel far away from God, guess who moved?”)

Instead of writing about my usual faith-y topics, I shared some of my favorite books on writing and my favorite literary memoirs and did a week-long series on everything I know about blogging. At the end of the series, many of you shared your own blogs, and I’m looking forward to checking them out over the month of July!

I’m linking up as always with the lovely Leigh Kramer. What have you been into this month?

What Do You Have That You Haven’t Received? [Guest Post]

I’m happy to introduce Brandon Chase here today. Brandon has a new ebook out – The Path of Freedom – which is available free from his website. I’m honored that he’s sharing his thoughts here today. Please join me in welcoming him!

So much of Freedom is realized in apprehending just who we have been set Free to be. Much of the Christian life, and the realization of its Freedom, is receiving what we already have.

Or, this Life of Freedom is becoming who you already are.

Paul’s letters continually reminded his readers, the early Church and believers, who they were in Christ. Often, Paul was addressing a specific issue or problem within a local gathering. But he would never address these head on. Instead, he began with reminding these saints who they were.

He continually edified them to receive what they had – to act like who they really were. We must also continually edify one another in this regard. It is too easy, and too often that we allow the natural, flesh, Self to order our opinion and receipt over our identity. We need each other. We need to remind each other the Truth. This is the essence of “speaking the Truth in Love.” Not a command of judgment, but an invitation to speak Life into one another, that we may be reminded of our worth in Him.

What does it mean to receive? It means to agree by faith with what God has said. There is a chasm of difference between mental, human acknowledgement, and spiritual, eternal agreement or receiving. One can say in their mind and with their mouth that they are a forgiven Son or Daughter of God, and are worthy and loved. But when this moves from the mind into the spirit, is said from the heart, with faith, and is acknowledged as a Testimony of words – receipt has taken place.

I was sitting outside on a cliff overlooking a river a few years ago, alone with God when He said, “Brandon, you are my Son. I love you, and am proud of you. Can you receive that? Can you receive Me?”

It wasn’t until I could say in faith, “Yes! I receive that, and You,” that I tasted the Freedom at hand. The Freedom was there within me. I was already a Son. I was already loved. He was already proud of me. I just hadn’t agreed with it, and Him…yet. When I agreed, by receiving what He had long ago, before time said was True, I received what I already had. Does that make sense? I hope so.

What do you have that you haven’t received?

 

brandon chaseBrandon Chase is a baseball player at heart; a practicing Crossfitter, golfer, hooper and guitarist; fueled by meat, cappuccinos and chocolate. He writes about Life, Love and Church – and how Jesus is all of these – on his blog Zōē Perissos (www.brandonchase.net).

He is the author of the eBook The Path Of Freedom: Few find it. Fewer walk it. Be one of the few. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Marie, and has two daughters McKinley and Delaney. They live in Fort Worth, TX.

You can connect with Brandon on Facebook or Twitter (@ZoePerissos).

A Celebration of Blogging

Well. It has been quite a week here.

Those who follow this blog normally know that I rarely post more than twice a week, so six days in a row is pretty much out of control for me. Particularly when the subject at hand is something that makes me feel so extremely out of my league: Blogging. Social media.

Still, I wanted to write about it because strangely, blogging has becoming a defining part of my life.

I would never have seen it coming. But writing through my faith has helped to rebuild it. Writing about my loneliness has brought me new and precious connections. And writing about my cynicism has made it fade to almost nothing. I never would have imagined that any of this would happen when that agent said, “You have to start a blog” and I cried into my French fries for two hours.

If you’ve been reading along this week, I imagine that you’re hoping for something like this too. You want numbers. Of course you do. And that’s totally fine and normal! But under all that, you want connection. You want to change the world in some small way, or at least to change yourself.

If you’re a blogger now, maybe that’s what brings you back day after day, to talk to the Void and to your four faithful subscribers. (Who of us haven’t been there?)

You keep coming back because the idea of sharing something meaningful with others taps into something in your soul.

And I think that’s worth celebrating.

balloons

Sometimes, I think, in the push to become more and better, to have bigger platforms and wider audiences, we forget about the bravery of this simple thing: coming back again and again and hitting Publish. This matters. This is worth noticing. This is a kind of spiritual discipline all of its own — showing up, writing, even when you feel like you have nothing worthwhile to give or to say.

Whatever your writing about, however you’re doing it, I want to celebrate you. I want us to celebrate each other. So today, I invite you to share your blog in the Comments section. (I played with the idea of setting up an “Official Linkup,” but the one linkup tool that I know how to use comes with strict character limits, and I want you to have the freedom to tell us what your blog is about.)

So please. Take a minute and introduce yourself. Then link to one of your favorite posts. Not necessarily the post that has gotten you the most traffic — but the post that feels most true to what you hope to accomplish.

Then take a bit of time to check out a couple of other blogs. Even if you never ever comment…comment. Why not? Offer a word of kindness and encouragement. Put yourself out there. Begin those first tentative steps of building a new strand of community.

Over the next month, I’ll be making my way around each of your blogs as well, because this matters. This is worth noticing, worth reading, worth celebrating.

Thanks for joining me on this journey. I look forward to reading your work.