Monday, October 6, 2014

What I'm Doing For 31 Days

For two years, I spent every single day in October writing my brains out about matters wedged deeply in my heart.

2011 was the year of Letting Go.
2012 was the year of actually Going.

And it makes sense, because in 2011 we packed up every room in our dream farmhouse, we sorted dishes and linens and toys and art. We thought long and hard about what it was we really needed, and let the rest float away, like the last brown leaves leaving town for the winter. We burned images of pastures and ponies and bank barns into our hearts and resisted the urge, at turns, to shove it all out to the curb and walk away like it had never mattered.

Then we moved into the Betty Draper Rental and, well, there was carpet in the kitchen.

We had almost a year to feel the pulling away of all the things we thought defined us. We sat squirming in a place where beauty was buried underground. We did our best some days to mine for it. Other days, we despaired.

And then we kept on moving.

Just as the leaves were turning again, we were going places - new places. It was exhilarating and confusing. We lost love along the way, but found more than we ever expected.

October 2014 brings different kinds of changes.

We're all settled in, and though I'm inclined to think the hardest work is over, I'm keeping company with new visions. At night, we're dreaming new dreams.

I'm falling down  rabbit holes and taking stock and here's one of the visitors that keeps rapping on my pane: What does it really look like to live a life of surrender? How does it work, in my everyday, to live freed from the American Dream? Is it even possible?

Again and again, I'm punched in the face with all the ways I run toward and away from this world and all its luster. I hate it. I'm desperate for it.

I'm sick of being a perpetual consumer, so focused on getting that it leaves me short on time and too weary to give.

I could talk about this for the next 31 days (I know we're actually on day 6, but when you leave town in September and return well into October, things get wonky in your head) but the truth is, other things call my attention right now.

The other truth is, many of my favorite folks are pouring their hearts onto the page, and though I have always read and will never stop reading, I have fallen into the trap of consuming even them and their words, which they hand to me day after day like a ribbon-tied bouquet.

For the rest of October, rather than reading and nodding and moving along, I will pause to be part of the conversation they're starting. I'll mark an X in their garden - Shannan Was Here. I want to honor the work they're doing, because it is unbelievably hard (and freeing, and wonderful) to write on one topic for 31 days straight. I want to offer back just a little bit of myself, rather than gobbling up the gift they are then moving on to the next thing I need.

There are hundreds of women (maybe men? maybe? now I'm curious...) plumbing their depths and pouring out treasure like tin pails of gems. Nester handled the pesky parts for us and organized 9 different themes, so it's easy to find the stuff that'll strike ya.

I still reflect often on the lessons I learned during the two Octobers where I wrote and kept writing. I remember the nights when I wanted to chuck it, but sat down and worked anyway. I remember battling thoughts (truths?) that if I was sick of talking about it, surely everyone in the world was tired of reading about it. But I kept on truckin'. And I never once regretted it.

I'm committed to leave comments on at least half of the posts I read every day. Because sometimes what we have to offer might look small, but we can still offer it with passion and intention.

I'd encourage you to have a look and do the same. Find something you're itching to learn about and spend this month listening to someone who can remove a bit of the guess work for you. The topics range from food to faith to decorating to parenting to fitness to blogging to art. And then some.

I'm closing with a few I'm most excited about. These are all dear friends of mine who stay close to my heart always, and I'm excited to cheer them on from the sidelines this month.

I may sprinkle new finds throughout this month's posts, too.

Also, I might be a bit more scarce here for the next few weeks. I'm doing my best to buckle down and focus on the right words for the right time. If you think about me, I'd be buoyed by your prayers.

All of Me Loves All of You (haha),

31 Days of Marriage and Church-Planting by Lori Davis
31 Days - Note to Self by Wynne Elder
31 Miles in 31 Days by Becca Stanley 
31 Artists who Influence by Emily Freeman
Cool About School - Grace and Freedom in our Education Choices by Marian Vischer
31 Days - Vignette by Nester