An open letter to summertime

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Dear Sweet Summertime,

The ease of waking up and the welcoming presence of a new day give me peace.

The freedom of laying in bed for way longer than necessary and no pressure to get up at a certain time.

The collection of colorful mugs of cold brew each morning, not those evil travel mugs and their symbols of hurry and busyness.

No make up, no hair brushing, and no contacts for as long as I want.

The uncovering of emotions that I forgot I had because it was nestled safely underneath the more glaring issues of children and parents and learning.

The space in you brain to adequately reflect on the other areas of my life, such as the church group I lead.

The slow walks with Franklin and the quiet mornings watching him on the patio bark on birds.

The energy to enter hard conversations and let it take up my entire brain space.

The capacity to love others with greater awareness and intentionality.

The blank white space on my google calendar.

The quiet music playing from speakers filling the living room and dining room with its’ melodies.

Slow and careful handwriting across pages of journals writing whispers of prayers, shouts of joy, hidden dreams, and anything else that I want.

Hot summer afternoons spent by the pool with a good book and the smell of sun screen.

Vacations spent connecting with my husband and the memories to be made.

Sand between my toes, rhythms of ocean waves crashing with no plans of stopping, and a summer rain shower that makes sure you know there’s no such thing as a perfect day–but it was pretty close to perfect.

The constant process of relearning to relax, slow down, be still, and be present in each moment.

Summer, these are the reasons I love you.

But, I know you can’t stay forever.

Just, please go slowly.

 

On enjoying a moment

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I’m not really sure how to go slowly.

Even on my slowest summer days, I am still wondering what all needs to get done and what I should be doing to best prepare for my next season.

Even when my husband and I are on the most relaxing vacation with nothing on the agenda, I’m still plotting out our hours in our head, wondering how we can have the most fun possible.

I’m realizing this, though. In the slowest of summer days, I still have to choose stillness. A stillness in my heart, and in my scheduling, and in my body. An invitation and an openness to stop and enjoy myself.

It’s in these moments that I have to force myself to be still and enjoy the freedom, space, and relaxation in front of me.

As the water trickles down through the cold brew filter.

As Franklin (our dog) wants to sniff every blade of grass meticulously before picking one to pee on. 

As I clean out old boxes of “stuff” and happen upon pictures that I must sort through, then take a moment to soak up the joy of old friends and old memories.

As the car in front of me takes just 5 too many seconds to go once the light turns green. 

As I drive to the public library for the millionth time to return books that I never ended up reading.

As I wait on my mind to relax and let the words type themselves onto the screen.

I’m realizing that not everything has to have a purpose or a plan.

That sometimes, we can do things that are purely and unequivocally just for us to relax and enjoy.

It’s not a waste of time to stop and enjoy the moment. 

The Top 5 Letters in My Alphabet

My February series was a doozy for me, but I keep thinking about how much  I learned about discipline in my writing from it. I’ve also been reflecting on what caught people’s eye the most.

Here are the most popular posts of the alphabet:

5. B is for Books – 4 Reasons to Pick Up a Book Right Now

2

4. C is for Change – How to Make a Change Right This Second

3

3. S is for Start – What You Need to Do Right No to Jump Start Your Passions

19

2. F is for Faith – The Beginner’s Guide to Writing About Faith

6

1. A is for Asian Americans – What You Need to Know About the Asian American Identity

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Which one of these stands out to you the most? How about in the rest of the series? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Z is for Zest

Zest: an enjoyable exciting quality.

What does it even mean to have a zest for life?

I’m not sure. But, in writing diligently and expansively and purposefully on this series, I am beginning to see that I can have a zest for life even when all of my days don’t necessarily give me space to do that. I can feel a zest for life when doing things that cause me to wake myself to life.

It’s bittersweet that this series has come to an end. What I thought to be a daunting task was both a great discipline and joy for me in the past month. I’ve realized that without changing any circumstances, having a zest for life is a quality that I can grow and cultivate all on my own.

Here are some highlights from the journey.

10 things I liked about writing and publishing everyday:
  1. The deadline got me going. Without the pressure of a daily deadline, I don’t actually write much of anything. If I didn’t have a post planned for that day, my fingers got flying and my head got a bit more centered as I tried to come up with SOMETHING.
  2. I liked that I had something to look forward to throughout the day. Not that stats and feedback fuel me, but it was cool to see my blog have more activity throughout the day and to have something to look at it and towards gave me a reprieve from my daily grind.
  3. The exposure that I gave myself through my social media channels like Instagram and Twitter made people around me know what I was doing. I appreciated the people who mentioned to me in person that they had been reading my blog and even reference certain points.
  4. Following up on that, I liked that I was able to share more of myself with people close to me. The people close enough to me to pay attention to what I was doing showed me that they care about this small passion project and dream of mine.
  5. I realized that not many people are watching closely enough to be ready to pounce on my ideas and get me down. Nobody is actually out to get me. And, maybe there is pride of self-importance present in thinking that other people would be thinking that much about me to hate on me.
  6. Meeting my writing goals each day gave me a sense of accomplishment. I really felt my own progress as a writer and as a blogger through this process.
  7. The confidence that I grew throughout this month is significant. I feel more established as a writer and blogger. The more that I posted things, the more my bravery and courage was built up.
  8. Going through the alphabet wasn’t as cumbersome as I thought, it was actually helpful. It gave me topics to write about that I probably wouldn’t have thought to write about. It brought back things from the past that I could press into that I wouldn’t have really felt like approaching if I had just been focused on writing the present.
  9. I see that there’s different types of writing and it’s okay to have different purposes. For example, journaling may be for the purpose of self reflection, self care, and processing. Writing for a blog is for the purpose of sharing, connecting, informing, or encouraging. It’s okay for my writing to not always be for own processes. It’s a new way to approach writing, though, as I’ve almost always written for myself.
  10. Making a series gave me a guideline to follow along with. But, it also gave my readers something to follow along with and to expect from me.

So, there you have it! Thank YOU for following along this journey and giving me the gift of your time and readership. Can’t wait to show you (and myself) what I have in store for MARCH! See you then! 🙂

W is for Words

Words come slowly sometimes, and sometimes you have to let that happen. I can’t expect myself to crank out words on demand. They will come to me when they’re ready. Sometimes you can’t demand them to come two weeks before the deadline, and sometimes you have to wait until the night before your writing assignment is due to realize what you have meant to say all along.

Words come when they need to, often with a deep pounding of my heart, a tension in my shoulders, and a chill that run from my lungs to my mouth. My body steadies as my fingers race across the keyboard, desperate to record the words on the page before they run out or run away.

The real, true, good words that I need to come out of me will always come. But, not always (or ever!) right away. They come after I wrestle with others words that I force to come out of me. They come after I’ve sat through this struggle.

And, when the words come, they flow. Like an overflowing lava pit of feelings and insight. Like the swift overflow of tears that come upon you after you watch a sweet, sweet video of reunion and love. These words come quickly and swiftly and it’s a joy to be a writer in these moments.

It’s a gift to be a writer in these moments.

It’s a privilege to be a writer in these moments.

I never knew myself to be a writer until I realized that these moments come. They always come. I will them to come and they don’t. I pray for them to come, and they don’t. At least, not right away.

But, eventually, they do come. And all is okay. And the struggle was worth it. And posting something that I didn’t love writing or reading was worth it. Because the worth comes from not giving up. The worth comes from knowing that my best work is always ahead of me and that the work I’m doing today is today’s only chance of doing work.