The 100 Day Project: cultivating joy in a life that needs grit

In last week’s Sunday email, I shared that I have been going through life with a lot of determination but lacking some of my usual enthusiasm. The Christian life is represented as a battle but Jesus also promises us joy. We don’t have to stay in the camp of only one: balance in all things.

My word for this year is “warrior.” I want to think about the fact that we are in a battle, that the first woman’s defining word “ezer” is a battle word, that we are called to put on the armor of God before walking into life.  But I want to live with joy in the midst of that (John 15:11, 16:33, Philippians 4:4, 1 John 1:4).

The 100 Day Project starts tomorrow and I’ve been contemplating what to do for almost a month. I participated last year with an Instagram series on motherhood that I still occasionally post to. This year I’m going to do another social media project, just one that’s much more outside of my comfort zone.

The Circle of Fiction

I’m picky about the fiction I read. I open myself and let the stories march straight in. The characters move into my heart and I feel pain when they make bad decision. I feel anguish when life crushes them. I live those stories through them and obviously, that’s the point.

The problem is that I carry those emotions into my life. I still feel unsettled when I’m cooking dinner because Catherine and Heathcliff are tearing each other’s worlds apart. Or- my word- how will Harry live feeling responsible for Cedric Diggory’s death? Really, there are enough situations in my life and the lives of people I love that I don’t have a ton of emotions to throw away on “fake people.”

I’ve always been intrigued at the idea of writing fiction. I just finished reading Stephen King’s On Writing and it had a writing exercise in it. I was reading after the boys went to bed one night and got drawn into the prompt so I closed the book, opened my computer, and started typing. Over 1,000 words later, I felt satisfied with my ending to the story. Of course, it ended with blood pooling under the refrigerator but it was a Stephen King writing exercise.

How To Be Consistent

Sometimes people ask me how I manage to blog when we have four small children and I usually smile and shrug because they don’t really want to know the answer. They want to pretend that I’m a super-person doing things that they could never do because then they don’t have to change. Then they aren’t challenged. But that’s not true; I am an ordinary woman, just like every other woman.

Am I saying they need to blog? Nope. Do I mean that they could? Absolutely! Just like they could get to church with their small children or start painting or start studying their Bible.

I have learned a few things about being consistent, about sticking it out with one activity even when life is busy and there are other things to do. Think about that one thing that you would like to do. Picture it in your mind and apply these ideas to that one thing.

5 Things I’d Tell You: Creative Edition

What we behold is what we become. Input determines output. However you want to phrase it, what’s in front of our faces shapes us. When it comes to creativity, I have intentionally cultivated steady sources of inspiration and education. Today, I thought I would share five things that you might enjoy too.

Andrew Peterson I first heard Andrew at a homeschool conference this past spring. I attended a concert and heard his teaching session and was thoroughly impressed with how he incorporates so many different creative talents into his work. His music a little different from what I typically listen to but I love it.  (Also, I was fascinated to learn that he co-wrote several of my favorite VeggieTales songs.)

How to Set Goals When You Don’t Know Where to Start

Last week I had a mental image of myself holding my coffee. Except instead of it being 30-year-old me, it was 50-year-old me.

It was a powerful image that I stopped to take in. Fifty. That’s only twenty years from now. My boys will be grown; even this tiny six-week-old will be twenty. Life will be drastically different.

There will be many things that happen in those twenty years that I have absolutely no control over. Thankfully, I believe that God is sovereign and ruling over all and I can trust Him. But there are some things that I do have control over and I believe that God expects me to steward those things.

In a large part, I get to decide what person I will be when I am 50. I get to decide by how I spend my time. It’s all well and good to say that I want  to do certain things- to be certain things- in twenty years but it’s another thing to do them today. And that’s the only way I get there in 20 years: I do them today.

Having the Guts to Share: A Reader Question

I think we all, sometime in life, feel a draw, or even a calling, to do something that we feel unqualified to do. I’m talking specifically about writing here but if God calls you to do something you need to be more concerned about obedience than how that obedience makes you feel.

A reader emailed me to ask this question:

 “How do you have the guts to share your writing if you feel like you aren’t really wise enough yet to say anything that would be helpful to other people? Have you ever struggled with that?”

Please know that if you email me about a struggle, there’s a good chance I struggle with it too. My first response was to wonder if perhaps she has been listening to conversations with my husband or a few friends. I think we are all innately aware of our own shortcomings. We know how far we have to go and we know that there are wiser people that surround us. But perhaps we have that itch to write and we can’t kill it. Or we don’t want to. Or we don’t believe we should no matter how strong the urge is. Here are a few ideas I’ve picked up that might help.