Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Loving My Actual Life
Bringing the Creativity

I'd never heard of Alexandra Kuykendall when Loving My Actual Life hit my radar screen several weeks ago via Instagram - but I now feel like Alex is a friend!

My One Little Word for 2016 is Yes - and from the moment I saw the cover of this book, I knew that it contained something I needed as I continue to explore that word this year. I was so right!

In the seventh month of her "experiment of relishing the goodness that is here and present" [page 11], Alex specifically addresses one of the concepts behind my decision to choose the word Yes as 2016's word — that is, my need to create. Sometimes my day-to-day life as an accountant is about as creative as the stereotype would suggest. And yet I feel the pull both to prioritize my existing creative outlets and to expand my horizons.

Alex explained this pull by quoting Emily P. Freeman's book A Million Little Ways (which, not so coincidentally, I purchased several months ago):
The first thing we know about God is He made art. What is the first thing we know about people? We were made in the image of God.
As Alex says, "Creativity is woven into the fabric of who we are. ... We were made to create!" [Pages 142 and 144].

I could feel the importance of these statements as I read - but what sunk deep into my heart was this later passage:
I am not a fan of the phase philosophy ... That this is just a phase or a season and there will be time for (fill in the blank) later. Because the truth is, we don't know that there will be a later. ... I can do my best to make plans, but truly, if I was made to do something I must figure out a way to do that something now, even if a little at a time [pages 194-195].

So. What do I do with this truth?

As Alex expressed her own doubts about whether she really should prioritize creative time, she referenced a book that (again, not so coincidentally) I read earlier this year — 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam. A primary take-away of that book, as Alex summarizes it, is this:
It's about making the most of our downtime when we have it. Either to be intentional about a creative pursuit or letting our minds wander instead of inputting the mindless junk food we tend to feast on [page 150].
Yes! To quote Alex: "I'm feeling inspired to be a little more intentional here" [page 150]. While I long to initiate an epic experiment in loving my own actual life — and one day (soon) I will — today I have got to start where I am, I have got to start with one small change.

Beginning now, once or twice each week I will schedule time (even if it's just a little time) for writing or photography or Bible journaling. Spending less time on social media will help make this possible. Those little bits of time will add up!

This post is linked up over at Alexandra Kuykendall's blog along with others talking about loving their actual lives through small changes.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Quote of the Day

"You write because you have a story to tell, because you sense that you can find words for things that might matter to someone else, that might set them free, that will make them feel less alone, like they’ve made a friend, like they’re not crazy, like they’re not wrong just for being who they are. You write because you think it might matter to someone, the way other people’s words mattered to you."
              ~Shauna Niequist

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Only She Who Sees

From "Aurora Leigh"
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
      Earth's crammed with heaven,
      And every common bush afire with God,
      But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
      The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.

Love life. See good days. Every day. Today.

Friday, October 30, 2015

First Observe, Then Serve

A few weeks ago, when I was putting my lunch bag in the office refrigerator, the administrative assistant on our floor called my attention to the boxes of soda she'd recently purchased. She pointed to a box of Diet Coke with Lime, saying that they were specifically for me. She had noticed that, when I bring a can of soda from home, it's always Diet Coke with Lime, and she acted upon what she'd seen. I felt good that someone had seen me—and not just seen but done something about it.

In October 2012, Linda K. Burton said:
To help us better love one another, I would like to suggest four words to remember: "First observe, then serve."

Whether it is something minor like a preference for Diet Coke with Lime or something big like disaster relief efforts, seeing people is the first step to loving them.

Christian Legal Aid of Los Angeles asserts the following:
God has created us to love, and love is the natural response when we take the time to truly see and know another person. If the first step toward loving our neighbor is seeing them, perhaps the first step toward seeing them is taking time to look. Maybe we can’t really see people as we drive by or rush through our to-do list. Perhaps love comes with time, and not just the other way around.

See people. Take time to look.

Burton, Linda K. "First Observe, Then Serve." Ensign, November 2012.
"Time to See." Christian Legal Aid of Los Angeles, February 23, 2015.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Quote of the Day

"Worship is a way of seeing the world
in the light of God."
          ~Abraham Joshua Heschel

Antelope Canyon (Arizona). June 2005.
© 2005 Alison Walker

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Walking By Faith

Cedar Breaks National Monument.
© 2015 Alison Walker

Faith, to be faith, must center around something that is not known.
Faith, to be faith, must go beyond that for which
there is confirming evidence.
Faith, to be faith, must go into the unknown.
Faith, to be faith, must walk to the edge of the light,
and then a few steps into the darkness.
                - Boyd K. Packer