Surrounded by Amazing Bloggers and Friends

Joining in with the online discussion on the book “On Being A Writer” by Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig. Today we are working through Chapter 3: Surround–I surround myself with people, activities, and books that influence my writing. I am so very thankful for the friendships God has orchestrated this year as I have been surrounded by amazing people, places, and things!

These words echoed in my ear as I read them this past weekend. I find I surround myself with people, places, and things that help me to live this quote out in my daily life. I surround myself with amazing friends and family who allow me to talk about things in my life that I am currently thinking about. Sometimes our conversations lead to a blog post.

I also surround myself with awesome books. I have always loved books and continue to love books. Long before I read Ann Voskamp’s book “One Thousand Gifts,” I began a Sunday series on my blog titled “Sunday Blessings.” But after reading Ann’s book, my series was even more solidified. Each week I keep a list on my phone of the blessings I encounter and then post it on Sunday evenings. I also read Annie F. Down’s book “Let’s All Be Brave.” That book led to a blog post after I read it in just a few short days. That book is a book that spoke to me especially this year since “brave” is my one word 365 for 2015. I recently picked up “Wild in the Hollow” by Amber Haines, “Searching for Sunday” by Rachel Held Evans, and “For the Love” by Jen Hatmaker. Books all recommended by other bloggers. I also am currently reading “Orphan Train.”

But, not only, do I surround myself with books, friends, and family, I find myself surrounding myself with more and more bloggers. Because I have come to realize that these people are “my people.” They remind me of the gifts that I bring. They challenge me to be a better writer when I read their posts and want to sound as elegant as they do. But mostly they understand me and what I write about…God, faith, my family, my friends, singleness, mental illness, yearning to be a mom and wife, adoption…and the list goes on and on.

I met many of these woman through the Write 31 Days challenge last October. I spent those 31 days writing about “Being a Daughter: 31 Days of Mental Illness. I met Theresa Moma because her 31 day series was about her battle with depression. I met Dana whose words are always so beautiful and speak straight to my heart. And as the year went on…I have met others through the snail mail party and through Five Minute Friday. And I actually wait for new posts from so many of these people. (Susan, Bethany, TammyMelissaAnnaKate, Jen, Janel, Karrilee, and so many more. I wish I could list you all! I love you all!) Karrilee and I have so much in common that it could only be a God thing that our hearts have been united. And I believe that about all of the other woman as well. Only God could orchestrate these surroundings for me!

Each week, I often link up with some of my most favorite writers. These are writers that I want to to be more and more like. I am so thankful for the many who have shared their testimonies of faith over at Holly’s place every Tuesday. I am so thankful for Kelly and the RaRa Linkup over at Purposeful Faith. Some of the best cheerleaders in the world! I am thankful for Holley Gerth and Coffee for your Heart. But, to be honest, my most favorite of all is the lovely Jennifer Dukes Lee. Jennifer always writes words that speak to my heart. And the funny thing is she attends the church where a seminary friend was their intern. Jennifer’s words always weave together like a beautiful tapestry of words. I want my words to do that too! 🙂

There are so many more that I could write about, because I feel like each of them in their own ways surround me with stories and words that help me to write especially when I am feeling like I have NOTHING to say! I think there is so much power when we can inwardly and outwardly share our stories. I wouldn’t have met so many of these wonderful people if I hadn’t decided to be vulnerable and share my family’s story of mental illness. I wouldn’t know how to live if people like Andrew and dear Kara Tippetts didn’t share what it is like to live with an awful illness. May dear Kara rest in peace and may we all surround ourselves with people, places, and things that help us to answer the question on the header of Kara’s blog: “What will you do in the mundane days of faithfulness?”–Martin Luther.

Failing Miserably and Having the Best Intentions

“Beep Beep Beep” goes my alarm clock. I roll over and hit the snooze button…probably not once but a few times before I turn on Pandora and start getting ready for my day. After about twenty-thirty minutes, I am dressed, hair curled and ready to walk out the door. I walk every day to work since my house is only a block or so from the church.

As I walk, my mind wanders as I think about the tasks I have set before me today. Today I found myself making a mental checklist of all the things that I need to do to get ready for our church picnic this evening. This morning, I prepped our S’more worship bulletins for tonight and finished making some table tents to put on the tables. At noon, I hopped in my car and drove to Walmart where I purchased some buns and water for tonight. Since it was nearing one pm, I wound my way through the Wendy’s drive through where I picked up a quick lunch. I ate my lunch in the car and finished it sitting at my desk in my office which I dislike doing. I would much rather spend the noon hour at my own house, taking some time to just be!
All the tasks that I have to get done at work are sooo important. Yet when I get done after a busy day and head home, I find it so hard to sit down and write—especially if I have spent the day writing and crafting a sermon– even if an idea is floating through my brain. This summer I HAD THE BEST INTENTIONS to read through the Bible with Wendy Speake, but my friends, I have FAILED MISERABLY!!! I started off really well, but then summer started happening and I couldn’t keep up with it. In June, while enjoying my beloved Rocky Mountains of Colorado, I was determined to get back on track. I spent one afternoon reading like two weeks worth of readings. After that trip, I returned home and ten days later, I left with a group of youth and another adult for our church’s Youth Gathering. Sadly I felt like I was failing miserably yet again!
But what I have come to realize is that I may have stopped reading along, but I was still hearing Scripture. The Youth Gathering was scattered with the gospel of Mark. In all reality, Scripture and God were all around me. I just had to take the time to notice God all around me. (Hint: My Write 31 Days topic is leaning towards something along those lines!)
As I watch for God around me, I am reminded of the importance of finding margin in my life; of finding time to do those things that bring me joy–like my writing. I am going to have to do a better job of scribbling down notes on my phone, on napkins, whatever may be in front of me so that I can write whenever I want and feel like writing!
I may have failed miserably reading along with my blog friends as we try to read the Bible in a year, but God is gracious and allows us to start and restart again and again and again! So my friends instead of hitting that snooze alarm one more time, I am going to try and begin my day in God’s Word—because “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” I can’t think of a better way to ground my own time and space to be able to create a sacred space that reflects God’s Word through my own words. 
Where is your favorite sacred space to write?