What’s Up: New Year and a New Plan
Last night the sky was a flowing and molten pink behind the black hills, and I said, “Titus, look out back! Look at the sky!” And they all four got up, gasping whoa. Titus said, “I’ve never seen that! Mama, I’ve never seen the sky do that!”
I once saw the sky in a thousand colors across the sea, where Oban looks over to the Isle of Mull. Scotland was a young first thing for me, and I have to look back at maps now to remember where I’ve been. I don’t remember the place names or how much money it took to get there, but I do remember the colors in the sky. I remember sneaking into a private brunch for some old ladies and eating breakfast steak like it was an open buffet. I remember tea with velvet cream mixed in, a constant wet cold, cows with long hair, fish and chips in a greasy paper sack, and fog so low and thick you could grab a hold of it.
It’s 2017 now, and I’ve filled 25 pages of my new journal. For years, I’ve written a journal a year. I hope to fill two this year, but that’s not a resolution, just a hope. I hope I taste and hear and see countless new things to note. Every year has been a year of firsts for me, and I am growing up now just as I was the first time I tasted a strawberry. When I think of life that way, it makes me happy. It’s true. I enjoy being in this skin. I enjoy being me.
I expect this year to be no different, but in this sudden stage of people lobbing me straight into the “middle-aged” category, I confess it’s taking me some figuring to be able to enjoy life as easily as I used to. I vividly remember being so compelled by the yumminess of a strawberry as a child that when asked what I wanted for my birthday, I said strawberries, and when I prayed as a child, all I said was, “Dear God, thank you for strawberries. Amen.” I want Dear God, thank you to roll from my tongue today in an endless string. I want to leave a trail of words so full of gratitude and connection that you couldn’t bear to deny that any of us have been given something beautiful.
I’m making a plan to enjoy every ounce of glory there is around me, because we woke up today. We woke up and I had lost my only coin, but then I found it!
This plan I’m making, it’s not a promise, just a plan. It’s not a striving or a law, just some signs along the way for me to remember where I’m headed. I’m creating what is called a Rule of Life, and I am taking a serious look at what I practice and how I personally and specifically work those practices out as a woman of Spirit, as one who longs to be healthy and whole (in my body, mind, and soul), as a mother and wife, as a student of the Bible, and as a writer.
In the coming weeks and months, I’ll dive into writing another book, and also I’ll be writing here about my practices – in hopes to articulate them for myself (as a living manuscript) and also in hopes that you’ll be encouraged.
Sacred Ordinary Days
Since its the beginning of the year, I wanted to recommend the Sacred Ordinary Days Liturgical Day Planner. (I’m not getting a dime or a freebie to mention this, by the way. I just actually love and use mine daily.)
Sacred Ordinary Days offers the Daily Office (scripture readings from the Book of Common Prayer) and other tools for spiritual formation, as well as:
- three daily projects to focus your attention, with space to notate cues and rests or rewards for yourself. This allows you to recognize what each project’s catalyst or bottleneck is, as well as noticing and then planning for what drains and refills your energy throughout each day, keeping you from burnout.
- a section for at-a-glance notes, journaling, or your to-do list
- a section for your daily schedule
- some intentional white space at the bottom of each page
Each week starts with a weekly plan page on the left and Sunday on the right. The weekly plan page includes the Liturgical Season or Holy Day, a prayer or quote, the weekly Lectionary texts, and space to reflect on the previous week and reset for the coming week. We invite you to look deeply at six areas of your life – spirit, body, mind, relationships, home, and work. Sunday’s page has the Liturgical Season or Holy Day, a prayer, the Daily Office texts, a quote on Sabbath, and space for journaling, sermon notes, scheduling, or whatever needs working out in your own life.
I usually call my planner my BRAIN, but with this planner, I say it’s my brain and my HEART.
In other news:
I wrote a newsletter this week and would love to send it to you. Just sign up here! With forthcoming newsletters, I’m going to be switching things up, and I think you’re going to like it.
Other places to go:
It’s important to me to be one who links arms, and I need you to know this dear one. I want you to say her name out loud right now. Say it: Kaitlin Curtice. Got it? Kaitlin is a Native American worship leader and author, now out of Georgia, and she is the least jaded human I’ve ever known. She’s got no gall. She’s strong. She sings like a bird, and she writes to empower. If you’re opening yourself to empathy toward voices outside your own perspective, she’s one to hear. I think you’ll find one like JESUS.
Lori Harris is another one to hear. She’s been in this blog world a good, long, reputable while, and her post today absolutely must not be missed. Her mama voice is strong, true, and relatable enough to make you want to stand up how she stands.
Please read When Being on the Watchtower Isn’t Enough!
I seriously wonder what’s it’s like to be as cute as Erin Loechner. Her book, Chasing Slow, just released, and it does’t take a degree in anthropology to know that we as a culture simply need to read this book. Let’s do it. So far, it has been refreshing – even aesthetically. You’ll love her approachability.
Find Chasing Slow everywhere, but if you’re a “one-click wonder” like me, here’s the Amazon link.
Also, I’m gathering that she’s not super keen on self-promotion, and can I just say that I TOTALLY GET THAT?! Boy howdy, I get it.
That being said …