write 31 days

Expectant.

Last night, I wrote the hard and heavy post. I cried more tears than I knew my body could. This morning, I shared it. I gave it to the men it's about, and cried more tears. I announced my big news to the world and cried more with every comment and text and message.

This whole thing is bittersweet.

But I'm expectant.

There is joy in this, too.

Expectant: having or showing an excited feeling that something is about to happen, especially something pleasant and interesting.

I am expectant. I have an excited feeling that something is about to happen. I have a feeling it's going to be something pleasant and interesting.

A whole new job.

A whole new team.

A whole new company.

A whole new website to manage.

A whole new lifestyle.

I'm expectant. I'm hopeful. I'm anxious. I'm nervous. I'm full of emotion and unsure how to handle it all, but I am expectant still.

Lord, Your will be done. This life, my work, it's all Yours. May it be for Your glory every day in every way. I know You go before me and You are always with me. Let's do this thing.


Every day in October, I'm writing whatever comes to mind when I focus on one word.

You can find all of my Write 31 Days posts HERE.

Peace.

She's a quiet thing, but she's powerful. She's meek, but she's mighty. She's like silk and a worn, knobby sweater all at one. She comes like a river, bringing cool waters to parched souls. She comes like a sweet breeze, bringing a new breath. She comes like steady rain, soaking us and reviving us.

She's peace.

She's a blessing we don't deserve. She's worth pursuing. She is promised to us by One who loves us. She has been established for us by One who came before us. She is found solely in Him, in the One who has overcome the world.

She is with us.

Peace is with us.

Hallelujah.


Every day in October, I'm writing whatever comes to mind when I focus on one word.

You can find all of my Write 31 Days posts HERE.

Courage.

But no one except Lucy knew that as it circled the mast it had whispered to her, “Courage, dear heart,” and the voice, she felt sure, was Aslan’s, and with the voice a delicious smell breathed in her face.
— C.S. Lewis in "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader"

When I think courage, I think bravery. I think boldness. I think daring greatly. I think rising up. I think sacrifice, love, willingness, humility. I think passion.

I want more of that.

I want to be courageous in the face of fear. I want to be courageous enough to find the flickering light in the darkness, to hold on to hope even when it wavers, to believe even when I'm blind. I want to be courageous enough to let go of my grip and control and to surrender freely and fully. I want to be courageous enough to step out of comfort zones, to let down walls, to shed my old skin. 

In human beings courage is necessary to make being and becoming possible.
— Rollo May

I want to have courage enough to send the email, ask the question, say the hello, make the connection. I want to have courage enough to step out of rows and into circles. I want to have courage enough to let myself be known and loved and seen. I want to have courage enough to keep believing the best in humanity and working for the glory of God.

Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.
— Maya Angelou

Here's to courage, and having more of it tomorrow than we had today.


Every day in October, I'm writing whatever comes to mind when I focus on one word.

You can find all of my Write 31 Days posts HERE.

Perspective.

I wanted to quit on this Write 31 Days project today. I wanted to quit yesterday too. I got behind because I wasn't managing my time and my responsibilities and my work well, and it made me want to quit.

In my procrastination, I got on Twitter to scroll through notifications, and saw the encouraging messages from people who are new to my site and have been enjoying these posts. Those few sweet tweets were all I needed to gain perspective-- this isn't meant to be a burden or a chore, but to be a fun challenge and a joyful project. It's 10:30 pm and I'm deciding that isn't too late to write my post for today and keep it at it. I'm not going to quit.

I published a piece on The Rising today that I found buried in my drafts from many months ago, and it's all about the mountaintops and valleys we go through in life.

Sitting at my computer now, it feels like the obvious word for today is "perspective."

The perspective from the valley is one that challenges and overwhelms us. The perspective from the upward climb is one that fuels us. The perspective from the mountaintop is one that inspires and revives us.

Life today feels like I'm on the upward climb. I can look back and see I've come so far. I can see all the pieces of the puzzle that has been my life for the last few years coming together. I can see the peak starting to come into view through the haze ahead of me. I know I've grown immensely, I know I've overcome obstacles and conquered challenges. I know I have so much further to go. I know my eyes are open and I'm seeing it all, really, truly seeing it all. I'm tired and my muscles are aching, but I'm full of fire and fuel for the journey still ahead. I'm motivated by how far I've come and inspired by what's still ahead.

What if we lived life every day like it is an enchanting dance, a wild adventure, a delightful exploration?

What would it look like to wake up each morning and fully engage with all that the day holds instead of letting hours pass us by because we are obsessing over things yet to be? What would it look like to be wholly present instead of half-hearted and distracted? What would it look like to savor each season instead of wishing for the next?

What would it look like to press in to the struggles of the valleys and press on to the victories of the mountaintops? What would it look like to find joy and find Jesus in all of it?
— "When Life is Peaks and Valleys" on therisingblog.com

Every day in October, I'm writing whatever comes to mind when I focus on one word.

You can find all of my Write 31 Days posts HERE.

Places. Presence. Prayer. Purpose.

I'm behind on writing for 31 days. I shouldn't be surprised-- it's typical of me to start something and then push back against the commitment and hard work of it. Anyway. I'm catching up today with four words from the past weekend and hopefully I'll stay on track from here on out...hopefully being the key word there!


Places.

Earlier this year, I wasn't sure where I wanted to be. My lease was up on the apartment in the north side of Richmond where I had lived by myself for a year. My work was remote, and I had the freedom for the first time to really go anywhere I wanted. I moved back home temporarily to figure out my next moves, but it soon became clear that Richmond was home and this city was where I needed to stay.

Lately, I've been reminded time and time again that this city is my favorite.

Spending beautiful evenings on the lawn of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts just coloring and relaxing, returning with friends on Friday nights for their happy hours, Saturdays spent by the James River and on Brown's Island for the Richmond Folk Festival, Sunday afternoons at my favorite coffee shop with open mics and vanilla lattes, leisurely walks around the neighborhood that take me past Agecroft Hall and the Virginia House and tree-lined streets of the most charming houses, restaurant and bar hopping with friends on the weekends to dance and watch soccer games and eat french fries...this River City is home. This is the place I love. I can't imagine being anywhere else.

This place is my place. I'm grateful to call it home.


Presence.

Have you ever been somewhere physically but felt far away mentally? Standing on a hill by the river as bluegrass music played from the massive stage behind me this weekend, I felt that way. I was there, but I wasn't. I hated the feeling. I couldn't place it, couldn't quite define it, definitely couldn't explain it.

I wasn't fully present.

But I want to be. I want to live my life intentionally, wholeheartedly, meaningfully. I want to be present. I want to turn my phone off and keep it away, knowing the notifications can wait, that being fully present matters more. I want to eliminate distractions and focus my attention. I want to sift through the emotions and the doubt and the worry and stress and let it all settle so I can be still and be there.

I want to be fully present. 

It will take effort, but it will be worth it. I want to live in the moment, eyes open, all in.


Prayer.

I realized recently that I'm not good at asking for things. I think I'm afraid I'll be heartbroken or disappointed if I ask for things or pray for things and then they don't happen. I'm realizing how prideful that is, that I think my desires are the ultimate best thing for me. I know my God is gracious and good, and I know His plans are best, but I hold on to my own hopes and dreams and desires because I'm afraid they won't be His and I selfishly don't want to let them go. I want to pray boldly. I want to give voice to the things in the deep parts of my heart and hold them with open hands-- if He wants to take them, if He wants to give them, if He wants to transform them, if He wants to hold on to them for longer... I want to trust His will and His way above my own wants and wishes. I want to pray honestly and vulnerably and totally openly. I want to ask. I want to praise. I want to worship. I want to pray without ceasing.


Purpose.

I want to look like You.

I want to act like You.

I want to move like You.

I want to pray like You.

I want to love like You.

I want to serve like You.

I want to lead like You.

I want to worship like You.

I want to sacrifice like You.

I want to be like You.


Every day in October, I'm writing whatever comes to mind when I focus on one word.

You can find all of my Write 31 Days posts HERE.

Curiosity.

I was listening to a Magic Lessons podcast from Elizabeth Gilbert yesterday as I went on a walk around the neighborhoods near my apartment. I've fallen in love with this podcast, because Liz talks about creativity and living beyond fear in a way that is just stunning and tangible and applicable and so motivating. In this episode, she advised this stuck artists to write letters that embodied the personas of Fear and Curiosity. She said to write them like they are alive and living within us and trying to win over our creative souls, telling us what they want.

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Today, I want to write that letter and embody curiosity. To hear my thoughts on fear, here's a vlog from last week all about it!


Dear You,

My name is Curiosity.

I'm that tiny whisper you hear when new things catch your eye and pique your interest. You know me, you've met me a million times. Usually, you're afraid of me, and I get that. My best friend Unknown and I are together a lot, and people kind of get intimidated by us. We know we seem glued at the hip, but we just click really well. I promise once you get to know Unknown, she won't seem as scary anymore! She's really awesome and there's so much more to her than meets the eye.

Okay, anyway, this isn't about her. This is about you and I. I want us to be friends. I know you feel like I'm childish or silly or frivolous, and while that's a big part of me, I'm so much deeper than that too. My favorite quote is from C.S. Lewis (and I know you're a fan too) that says "there are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind." You know that's true! All I'm asking is that you take a chance on me more.

Give me the opportunity to show you that you're capable of great, beautiful, wonderful things. Let me introduce you to Unknown and show you she is full of so much more than you can even dream about. Come play with me. Spend time with me. Embrace the whimsy. I just want to show you there's more and it's worth it. 

I want you to pick up the paintbrush even though you say you aren't a painter. I want you to write in those big margins of your Bible and not worry about messing it up. I want you to step foot in the new coffee shop and say hi to the cute boy across the room and taste the new food and blaze the new trails. I want you to embrace me wholeheartedly. I'm a really good time, I promise! I'm so much fun to be around.

There's always something new with me, but it's not daunting but exciting instead.

I want you to read the books from the authors you love and the authors you've never encountered before and the authors you've heard mixed opinions about. I want you to study topics that excite you or interest you, even if they're totally wild and wacky. I want you to pursue those things, because those things are what I'm all about. I just want you to get to know me better so we can discover new depths and new heights and new ideas together.

You're talented and capable. You are an artist. You are a writer. You are a creator. I just want to bring you into more of those callings. I want to illuminate things you never noticed before to show you that there is goodness and inspiration there too.

My very name means "a strong desire to learn or know something" -- it's in my DNA. 

I just want us to be best friends. I have more up my sleeve than you can imagine, dear one. I'll make you better in ways you never dreamed of. Take a chance on me. I know Fear is playing the devil on your other shoulder, and I get that, but life's a lot more fun with me. I'll show it to you, bit by bit, and it will blow you away.

I love you and I believe in you. Let's get closer.

Forever in your favor,

Curiosity


Every day in October, I'm writing whatever comes to mind when I focus on one word.

You can find all of my Write 31 Days posts HERE.

Light.

illuminating, radiating 

glowing embers holding on 

dancing through a windowpane 

always coming true as dawn 

rejuvenating, mesmerizing 

distant starlight shining true 

awakening the morning

after dark, light comes to you


Every day in October, I'm writing whatever comes to mind when I focus on one word.

You can find all of my Write 31 Days posts HERE.

Ask.

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I didn't know how to describe it. I didn't know how to wrap words around it until this morning, before my eyes were even fully open and I was there writing three pages because Julia Cameron told me I had to. There I was, head heavy and hand scrawling, realizing what it was for the first time.

I've been afraid. I've been afraid to ask. I've been afraid to ask because I've been afraid to admit. I've been afraid to ask because I've been afraid to admit that my heart longs for things that I'm afraid will never be real.

I realized in my writing, in these three pages of pouring out the first thoughts of the day, that I've been like Adam and Eve, hiding behind fig leaves that can't begin to cover my realness and my nakedness.

Why has it been so hard to put words to my heart's longings? Why do I struggle to bring my desires to my Lord and into His light? Why do I keep silent, or worse, throw a blanket of fake laughter over it all in attempts to brush it off and keep it hidden away?

I try to keep my desires pushed down deep and instead say flimsy "Your will be done" prayers, because that seems easier. I'm afraid to say, "Lord, these are the desires of my heart." I'm afraid that they won't be His plan, so I'm afraid to give a voice to them. I'm afraid of the heartbreak and the disappointment I'll feel if I let myself give these things life and then they don't come to be.

Who do I think I am?

Why do I think my dreams, my hopes, my desires are best? Why do I think I know best?

Putting words to my heart's deepest longings makes me feel naked and exposed. I'm realizing I've been trying to cover up with fig leaves and flimsy prayers and fake laughter.

I've been afraid of vulnerability and afraid of my own heart. I've been thinking I'm bigger than the God who made me, thinking I can hide from Him when He knows every beat of my restless heart intimately. Who do I think I am.

I don't want to be afraid to ask. I don't want to be afraid to be real with my Creator, my Savior, my Father. I don't want to be afraid to admit that the things my heart wants are real. I don't want to be afraid of the potential disappointment if those things don't happen.

I want to give voice to the things in my heart. I want to bring them into the light. I want to put them into words. I want to bare them to my Father and say here's my heart, Lord, take and seal it, and say Your will be done and mean it, and, no matter what happens, even so, even so, it is well. 

No more fig leaves. No more hiding. No more fear. 

I want to ask. Boldly. Humbly. Transparently. Truthfully. Honestly. I'm asking, Lord. Answer how You will, for I know You are good and You are faithful and You will never fail me.


Every day in October, I'm writing whatever comes to mind when I focus on one word.

You can find all of my Write 31 Days posts HERE.

Glorify.

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Glorify: reveal or make clearer the glory of (God) by one's actions.


Today's sermon at HOPE was "Life, On Purpose." I had never heard of the Westminster Catechism, but the first question and answer that David shared from it struck me: What is the chief end of man? To glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. 

Glorify and enjoy.

My goal is to glorify. To reveal more of the glory of God through my actions. To make Him clearer through what I do. To live intentionally, to live my life on purpose, with glorifying Him as the whole goal.

C.S. Lewis talks about it like this: "Our whole destiny seems to lie...in becoming clean mirrors filled with the image of a face that is not ours."

Abba, may I be a mirror that reflects You. May I spend so much time with You that I soak up all You are and spill it out around me. May I know You so well that I become more and more like You. May I reveal You with my life. May I delight in You, in Your will, in Your promises. May I make You clearer through my words, my actions, my choices, my love. May I enjoy You forever and glorify You endlessly.

"Fully to enjoy is to glorify. In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him." --C.S. Lewis


Every day in October, I'm writing whatever comes to mind when I focus on one word.

You can find all of my Write 31 Days posts HERE.

Selah.

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Pause and praise. Stop. Give thanks. Slow down long enough to see what's happening and count it all as good. This life moves quickly and our vision gets blurry, but I'm learning to live with eyes wide open. I'm learning to slow down and step out of the fray and be still long enough to notice what's around me. The details amaze me, but I don't see them when I'm rushing.

The fiery red veins on a leaf laying in the sidewalk's edge-- Selah. Lord, thank You for autumn and a cooler sky and a slower pace and a calmness all around.

The chirping of a cricket I can't see in the nighttime-- Selah. Lord, thank You for peace and for rest and for restoring my weary soul.

The sweet words left in a comment box on a blog post-- Selah. Lord, thank You for the people in my corner, for the ones who love me so well, for the ones who believe in me endlessly and push me to keep fighting the fight, for the way You've woven hearts together across distance like only You can.

The words of the song that came next in the shuffle-- Selah. Lord, through it all, though it all, my eyes are on You, and through it all, through it all, it is well.  

A new season in so many ways-- Selah. An exhale. Selah. A whispered thank you. Selah. A deeply rooted gratitude. Selah.  An outpouring of love. Selah.  

I pause and I praise. You are good. You are faithful. You are true. You are unfailing. You are gracious. You are radiant. You are holy. You are radical. You are endless. You are for me. And I praise You. Selah.  


Every day in October, I'm writing whatever comes to mind when I focus on one word.

You can find all of my Write 31 Days posts HERE.

Yes.

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A risk, a choice, a calculated gamble. A step forward into newness. A flicker of light into the darkness of unexplored, unfamiliar territory. A word of faith, three letters summing up all the trust and confidence and hope I can muster. A word that puts my money where my mouth is, that says I believe You, Jesus, when You say You have plans for me. I trust You, Jesus, that You will not lead me astray. I believe You, Jesus, when You say You love me and You want to give me the desires of my heart. I trust You, Jesus, that this yes will not be in vain, that You will not abandon me now, that You will be as faithful as You have always been. A shaky but sure symbol of all of the courage I can find within me. A heart-wrenching, trembling key that will unlock more than my wildest dreams ever held. A vote of confidence wrapped up the blessed assurance that Jesus is mine.


Every day in October, I'm writing whatever comes to mind when I focus on one word.

You can find all of my Write 31 Days posts HERE.

31 Words in 31 Days

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Earlier this year, I participated in The 100 Day Project and doodled 100 pages in a mini sketchbook. Last month, I joined Bailey's Blog-Tember Challenge a few times when my schedule was free and I actually remembered. This month, I decided to join in the fun of "Write 31 Days" and give October a fun focus.

For the next 31 days, I'll pick a word a day and freewrite a blog post about it. I'm envisioning that some days will just be stream of consciousness writing, some days will be lists of associations and connections that come to mind, and some days might be more like poetry.

This is where you can find it all. I'll add the links to each day at the bottom of this post, so you know where to find everything.


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DAY ONE: COMMIT.

The biggest takeaway from this year's 100 Day Project was that dedication is necessary, and that it's hard to consistently show up and create. I decided I wanted to commit, and I did. With the Blog-tember Challenge, I didn't. I halfheartedly wanted to participate (maybe selfishly just to connect with new people and grow my blogging network) and my lackluster attempts are no surprise. I didn't commit.

Having the accountability of the massive 100 Day Project community kept me going and kept me coming back to make something with my pen and paper, and I know this month will do more of the same. It's refreshing and challenging and so rewarding to push toward a goal day by day and put the effort in to make art happen.

I want to commit. A few years ago, commit was my word of the year. Even now, I crave intentionality. My time is too precious, my to-do lists too long, and my life too short to waste my heart, my talents, and my passion on things that are frivolous or meaningless. In everything, I want to lean in and dig deep. I want to embrace things that intimidate me and rise to challenges as I face them. I want to commit to projects like this one and do the work of showing up day after day after day.

I'm happy you're here. Thanks for sticking around as I figure out what this space holds for me. Thanks for entertaining my wild ideas and reading my words and coming back. I hope what you find here meets you where you are, too.


Click on each image to read that day's post:


come back tomorrow!

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