Weekend Links / Treat Yourself: On Dinner Mayhem, Motherhood, and Dragon-Slaying

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Happy weekend, my friends.

Here are a few gifts from the internet this week. Enjoy!

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A Mom’s Relationship With Dinner: It’s Complicated by Tracy Wright {for Scary Mommy}

Y’all, I died over this. Because I have this same “where did it all go wrong?” relationship with dinner and I needed someone to make me feel less alone.

Nothing is worse for your self-esteem as a home cook than a couple of kids. There is nothing quite like spending an hour-plus in the kitchen preparing a meal for your family, only to have everybody weeping at the table within minutes.

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The Spiritual Discipline of Being a Parent by Richella Parham

For so long, I’ve struggled with the concept and practice of spiritual discipline. But Richella explains it through a lens I can understand and relate to: motherhood.

I’d always wanted to be a different kind of person, the kind of person who loved and appreciated people instead of being irritated by them. I tried. I wanted to change myself, and I was constantly frustrated. No wonder: I was trying to do God’s job.

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What My 10-Year-Old Son Taught Me About Slaying Dragons by Matt Rampey

Because sometimes divine truth comes tumbling out of the mouths of children. And we’re wise to listen.

When I believe that my view of myself is more accurate than God’s, then that’s not humility at all.  It’s pride and pride is, as Will put it, a dragon that needs to be slayed.  That fight can be long and bloody and exhausting, but it is worth it.

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This week on the blog: How I Became an Accidental Optimist

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Sometimes we take part in something, week after week, year after year, and we have no idea how it’s changing us because the change is so slow.

Practice doesn’t make perfect but it does bring change. Over the years, writing has slowly begun to etch new grooves in my thought patterns, to kick the dirt over the well-worn path of pessimism and to instead forge a new path of possibility.

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And finally, one more plug for Hope*Writers {my favorite resource for writers} because I don’t want you to miss out on the awesomeness of it all.

Hope*Writers is for anyone who writes, who wants to write, or who might be curious about writing. This week they hosted the first ever Hope*Writers Summit, a FREE event with 12 video interviews with authors / writers / editors at various stages of the journey.

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One of those 12 interviews is mine. I’m not a published author or editor like the rest of these gals. But I sit down with one of my favorite authors, Emily Freeman, and have an honest conversation about where I am and where I’d like to be. interveiw We dish about everything from unfinished books proposals to “stewarding your story,” something I’ve learned to do as I’ve written my way through messy chapters of my own life. You’ll learn why I write on my blog and in a journal. You’ll also learn why my husband is my best editor, even though he’s not a writer.

Curious? CLICK HERE to learn more!

While the summit is over, if you join Hope*writers you’ll still get all of them to watch at your leisure + more.

Listen — I’ve paid hundreds of dollars to go to conferences. And while conferences are awesome, I get just as much {if not more} from Hope*writers. You can connect with other writers, share your work once a week, glean from interviews with published authors and editors, learn how to start a blog, find answers to your tech questions, and discover how to be a better writer. All from the comfort of your own pajamas.

For the price of two fast-food salads a month, I get Hope*Writers. And you can too! So join, look around, download all you can. If it’s not for you, no biggie. You can cancel anytime. {But I think you’ll end up staying.}

Convinced? Here’s the link.

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{Just click on my face to learn more / sign up.}

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I’m all about helping you recapture the possibility of your right-now life.

If that sounds like something you need, sign up in the box below to receive fresh hope and possibility delivered to your inbox a couple of times a week.

 

*Affiliate Links: If you choose to join the Hope*Writers membership site, I receive a percentage at no extra cost to you. Affiliate links are one of the ways I’m able to cover costs and provide new content, year after year. Thanks for supporting my work! {Also, I believe in Hope*writers so much, I was telling y’all about it even before I was an affiliate. Now go get started!}

How I Became an Accidental Optimist

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“You might be dangerously close to actually becoming an optimist.”

That’s what one of my friends told me recently. She’d received disheartening news about a project and we were trying to stay positive, attempting to see next steps through eyes of hope, wondering how we might repurpose what she had.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that statement. Me? Becoming an optimist?

I’m old enough to know by now that change doesn’t happen overnight, that our personalities and quirks are more entrenched than we’d like them to be. But I think my friend might be right, even if those closest to me are still skeptical.

I’m beginning to see the world through possibility-colored glasses.

I make myself sound so Disney. Don’t be fooled. I still worry and entertain fatalistic thoughts. I fuss at the people in my house and roll my eyes. But the tide within me is turning. I’m more determined than ever to look beyond how a situation appears and imagine potential in its place. Ever since my friend made that statement, I’ve wondered what’s brought about the change. Life hasn’t gotten any easier; the climb has actually felt steeper this last year as I’ve struggled with grief, exhaustion, confusion, and chronic setbacks.

Why the optimism?

Because I’ve been practicing without even knowing it. 

Way back in the dark ages of blogging, an overwhelmed homeschool mom with three young children had said goodbye to a career she loved to focus full-time on raising and teaching her children. She was grateful to no longer be spinning so many plates but she did miss the intellectual stimulation and tangible productivity her work provided. She started a blog. What began as random posts slowly became coherent-ish pieces, everyday stories through which she was learning about failure and grace and everyday gifts she’d been too busy to appreciate.

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Writing, whether in my journal or on the blog, became a way for me to process the complexities and frustrations of life. As I did, a serendipitous thing often happened: I found clarity and resolution, rest for my soul, perspective that I didn’t have when I began. It wasn’t always that tidy but the point is, writing helped me. Sometimes I shared what I’d written and it helped others feel less alone in their crazy and more hopeful about their mess.

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Sunday I talked with a friend who told me that her daughter always needed to write in a journal before she turned out the light. She struggled to fall asleep if she hadn’t poured out her thoughts and emotions first.

My youngest child has a spiral notebook. He writes about all the reasons why Nike is awesome. Pages y’all, about shoes and socks and shorts and why he loves them. Apparently Nike swag is the overflow of his eight-year-old heart. I’m not going to stop him; this too is self-expression as he professes undying love and devotion to Elite socks and the latest Lebrons.

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My younger brother, someone who hated writing during his growing-up years, recently re-launched his blog. Writing showed up as a form of therapy for him as an adult. When he writes, his honest but hopeful words meet others in their own places of doubt and depression.

We’re not all wired to write. But I do think that spilling our words is more therapeutic than many people realize, inviting us to access the deep places or even just the superficial chaos, pouring it out and feeling the exhale that results. Therapists often advise those who can’t sleep to keep a pen and journal beside the bed, writing down the anxious thoughts and to-do list tasks that keep us from rest.

In countless ways, writing can provide a guest house for the occupants that overcrowd your inner world. The occupants are still around but they’re not right there, smothering you with their heavy presence. 

And when our inner world isn’t so clouded and crowded with all the things, we can finally see with eyes of hope.

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I share my life with readers, those I know and those I don’t, because words are both my worship and my offering. As every writer eventually learns, we are first and foremost to write what we know. My life is what I know. The stories with which I am most intimately acquainted are my own. But I’m learning that we have so much more in common than not, that in telling you my story — both the epic and the everyday chapters — I speak into your story too, providing a place for you to pull up a chair around the table we all share.

 

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Words continue to help me name an unspoken thing and lead me along an unexpected route to possibility. I can’t explain it. But every time I’m crowded and clouded on the inside, I try to write through the overwhelm in order to see what comes out on the other side. Something always does. I never know how those posts will end up. Ever. It’s always a surprise and it always points toward hope, even though I’m “not an optimist.” It feels like a miracle every time.

After all these years, I’m just now fully realizing that the practice of writing has also been the practice of possibility. Practice doesn’t make perfect but it does bring change. Over the years, writing has slowly begun to etch new grooves in my thought patterns, to kick the dirt over the well-worn path of pessimism and to instead forge a new path of possibility.

Writing has been my faithful companion, a friend with layers of resourcefulness that I’m only now beginning to appreciate. She has been both a gentle guide and an exhausting coach, at times soothing me with her easy rhythms and at other times pushing me to dig deeper, to write even though it hurt, to persevere through all the self-doubt.

I trusted that she knew the way home, even if I didn’t, that she would excavate the truth and beauty I couldn’t get to without her. And somewhere along the way, my despairing self began to change, began to relentlessly hope, began to speak words of undying Possibility into my own narrative and also into the narratives of others.

I’ve become an Accidental Optimist. And I have writing to thank.

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If you’ve been around here the last week or so, you’ve heard me share about Hope*Writers, my favorite resource for writers.

This jam-packed site is full of everything from how to write a blog post or a book proposal to tech helps and writer interviews. There’s also a private Facebook group where you can connect with other writers just like you. #ihearthopewriters

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Hope*Writers is for anyone who writes, who wants to write, or who might be curious about writing. And this week, you can be part of their FREE Hope*Writers Summit, an event that gives you access to 12 video interviews with authors / writers / editors at various stages of the journey.

13177520_10154393267153974_6219948258442135292_n One of those 12 interviews is mine, a writer who’s been blogging for years, juggles writing with a paid job and a family, and hopes to write actual books one day. It’s an honor to be included in this mix of writers who I love and respect. I have gleaned so much insight and encouragement from their interviews.

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I sit down with one of my favorite authors, Emily Freeman, and we dish about everything from unfinished books proposals to “stewarding your story,” something I’ve learned to do as I’ve written my way through messy chapters of my own life. You’ll learn why I write on my blog and in a journal. You’ll also learn why my husband is my best editor, even though he’s not a writer.

Curious? CLICK HERE to learn more and join me this week for the summit. The first day was yesterday but it’s not too late to get in on the fun. Join us!

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……….

I’m all about helping you recapture the possibility of your right-now life.

If that sounds like something you need, sign up in the box below to receive fresh hope and possibility delivered to your inbox a couple of times a week.

 

*Affiliate Links: The Hope*Writer Summit is absolutely free but if you choose to join the Hope*Writers membership site, I receive a percentage at no extra cost to you. Affiliate links are one of the ways I’m able to cover costs and provide new content, year after year. So thanks for supporting my work!

Treat Yourself / Weekend Links: On Creativity, Laughter, and Letting Go

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This weekend, may you find the space to create, may you be surprised by all the hilarity that surrounds you, and may you receive the little ones in your life with humor and chill, even if they’re driving you bananas. Happy weekend!

The emotions that make us more creative. 

There’s something about living life with passion and intensity, including the full depth of human experience, that is conducive to creativity.

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I want to know the funny people who thought of ancient Greek sculptures dressed up in Hipster clothing. This slays me.

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A writer never really knows which words will resonate with the world she serves. Apparently these words did, and it sort of surprised me. 

For the Overwhelmed Mom of Little Kids: 8 Things I Wish I’d Known

for the overwhelmed mom

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And finally, join me for the FREE Hope*Writers Summit! 

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My FAVORITE resource that encourages me in my writing is Hope*Writers. I’m so happy to tell you about the Hope*Writers Summit that you can receive for FREE, only from May 16th-19th! Hope*Writers Summit is offering everyone access to twelve interviews. {And mine is one of them. #gulp}

I talk with one of my favorite authors, Emily Freeman, about everything from unfinished books proposals to “stewarding your story,” something I’ve learned to do as I’ve written my way through messy chapters of my life. You’ll learn why I write on my blog and in a journal. You’ll also learn why my husband is my best editor, even though he’s not a writer.

Curious? CLICK HERE to learn more and to sign up! 

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Each one of these interviews shows me that we have a lot in common as writers, but the road proceeds differently for each of us. I love that. In a world that’s obsessed with formulas and algorithms, I’m encouraged by the surprise, serendipity, and setbacks of each writer’s story. There’s no one right way to do this.

If writing is part of your life at all {or if it’s not but you maybe want it to be}, I highly recommend this online space.

When I’m drowning in my right-now life and wondering if this writing thing is worth it, I read a post or listen to an interview and just like that, I’m inspired and back in the game. For real. Hope*Writers is that encouraging. I hope you’ll join us!

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I’m all about helping you recapture the possibility of your right-now life. 

If that sounds like something you need, sign up in the box below to receive fresh hope and possibility delivered to your inbox a couple of times a week.

 

*Affiliate Links: The Hope*Writer Summit is absolutely free but if you choose to join the Hope*Writers membership site, I receive a percentage at no extra cost to you. Affiliate links are one of the ways I’m able to cover costs and provide new content, year after year. So thanks for supporting my work!