Shining the light of God's word into our confused world.

Tag: links (Page 1 of 2)

Link Roundup: Fall Minimalism Edition

Happy fall, y’all!

This week has been a week. Not a terrible week, but not a great one, either. It started out great with a super-productive Monday, but on Monday night our refrigerator started making unhealthy noises and, sure enough, by Tuesday morning everything had begun to melt and thaw. So that was tons of fun to deal with. I also had a lot of freelance writing that I needed to clear off my plate, and I’ve been feeling pretty run down all week, to boot. I kept telling myself that it was just allergies and that I just needed to press on, but today I’m throwing in the towel and admitting that I’m actually sick.

It’s not all as bad as it sounds, though. For one thing, seeing as how we’re renters now, this refrigerator thing is just a minor annoyance rather than the full-blown crisis it would have been when we were homeowners. And we still have our old fridge in storage downstairs, which we were already using for overflow (our apartment fridge was pretty small), so we just had to tote all our food down there. The replacement fridge won’t arrive for another two weeks, and having to run up and down the stairs all the time to get our food is less than convenient, but I’m just thankful that that’s the biggest thing we’ve got to worry about in this situation.

At any rate, I had a thoughtful post all planned out for this week, but here are some links relating to minimalism and simple living instead, because keeping it simple is all I’ve got the energy for.

The Minimalists are giving away two of their books, including Everything That Remainswhich has been on my wish list since I watched their documentary earlier this year. Click here and scroll down a bit for details on how to download free PDF versions of the books. It’s easy and doesn’t even require signing up for anything. (PS – that Amazon link is an affiliate link. If you decide to buy a Kindle version or a hard copy of that book, if you get it through that link, I’ll get a small commission that will go toward supporting this site, and you’ll get my gratitude as well as a great book.)

A new phase of Project 333 begins in October, and I’m hopping on the train–or trying to board, at any rate. If you don’t know what that is, the short version is that it’s a capsule wardrobe challenge in which you try to live with just 33 pieces (including shoes, jewelry and accessories; workout clothes, lounging-around-the-house clothes, sleepwear and underwear don’t count) for three months. I spent this morning cleaning out my closet and figuring out my fall capsule wardrobe and managed to get it down to 42 items, but I’ve still got a week left to decide what else to eliminate.

This is a good post by Joshua Becker examining whether a good criteria for deciding what to keep or discard from your life is whether or not it “sparks joy.” I have thoughts and opinions about his thoughts and opinions regarding the Konmari method, and that was originally going to comprise this week’s post. But I couldn’t muster the energy to write about it coherently, which is why now you’re getting links. But his post is worth a read.

Finally, you probably already know about Emily P. Freeman’s new podcast, The Next Right Thing, but I thought I should mention it just in case you missed it. This short podcast — each episode is only about 15 to 20 minutes long — is meant to help “create a little space for your soul to breathe so you can discern your next right thing in love,” and it’s so, so encouraging and inspiring. If you struggle with overwhelm and decision paralysis, this, my friend, is the podcast for you.

Do you have any relevant links or recommendations you’d like to share? Be sure to leave them in the comments! And let me know if you want to tackle Project 333 with me, too. Meanwhile, I’m going to spend the weekend with my feet up, reading and watching Netflix in between naps and drinking copious amounts of Throat Coat tea.

 

 

11 Simple Life Quotes to Inspire Clutter-Free Living

 

Here’s an excerpt of a recent article I wrote for Brightpeak Financial blog.

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You’ve cleaned out your closets, given truckloads of stuff to charity, streamlined your schedule and seen firsthand how living with less can free up time, money and energy that you can use to focus on what truly matters. But no matter how great the rewards of simpler living, it isn’t always easy to maintain a clutter-free lifestyle.

Here are 11 simple life quotes to help you stay focused and motivated when the clutter starts creeping back in.

1. “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” —Mary Oliver, The Summer Day

2. “Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?… But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” —Matthew 6:25-27,33

3. “The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.” —Marie Kondo, The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up

4. “The best way to give yourself a raise is to spend less money.” —Joshua Fields Millburn, Everything that Remains

5. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” —Matthew 6:34

Read the rest at Brightpeak Financial!

 

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PS: Find more encouragement for your soul at these linkups:

Holley Gerth’s Coffee For Your Heart

Missional Women’s Faith Filled Fridays

#DreamTogether at God-Sized Dreams

PPS: Looking for some a-MAZ-ing tools and resources to help you be more productive, write better and/or generally do life while keeping your sanity? I’ve got the goods — sign up to receive Daydreamer Dispatches, a once- or twice-a-month newsletter from yours truly, and you’ll automatically receive a super-sekrit link to My Absolute Must-Have, Can’t Live Without Tools and Resources list! Click here to get your link!

JeanA Jesus girl through and through, Jean Marie Bauhaus is on a journey of healing and rediscovering who God purposefully created her to be and figuring out how to do life within that context. She’s the wife of Matt and mom to a crew of four-legged dependents, all of whom make their home in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Jean counts coffee, dark chocolate and a yarn addiction among her vices. She’s the author of Restless Spirits, a family-friendly paranormal romance/mystery now available from Vinspire Publishing. You can learn more about her novels and short fiction at jeanmariebauhaus.com.

In Praise of a Quiet Life (Link Roundup)

“…make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

I was really hoping to resume my regular blogging schedule this month, but realistically it will probably be next month before that happens. But I wanted to check in and let y’all know that I haven’t fallen off of the planet.

Transitions are hard, y’all, and while this one is the answer to a lot of prayer and a whole lot of waiting in faith, I’m going to be real and remind myself (and anyone else reading this who’s dealing with hard times as the result of blessing and answered prayer) that it’s okay to acknowledge the hard, that doing so doesn’t make you ungrateful. I am SO thankful that all of this is happening right now and yet that doesn’t change the fact that my husband and I are exhausted and overwhelmed and there is still so much more to be done and I cried this morning and told God I can’t do it anymore before He helped me buck up and put on my big girl pants and come up with an action plan that I can live with.

At any rate, in the midst of a flurry of busy with the end looking a long way off, I’m longing to get back to a simple, slow, quiet life, and these links are all about doing just that.

What I Learned from Adopting a Simple-Living Mentality – Back in February I had the privilege of interviewing Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist for an article for Brightpeak Financial. Here’s a sneak peek:

A simple living mindset can mean different things to different people. According to Becker, simple living is “about deciding what in life is most important and then redirecting our resources towards that.” Getting rid of clutter and reducing material possessions is a big part of it, but it doesn’t stop there.

For Becker, it also meant cleaning up how he spends his time. He not only got rid of most of his television sets, but also vastly reduced the time he spent watching TV. His family also downsized their home to one that cost less in both time and money to maintain.

While some of these changes may seem drastic, it still came as a surprise to Becker how this mindset changed his life for the better.

Head here to read the rest.

What if All I Want is a Mediocre Life? – This post at A Life in Progress speaks so directly to the heart of everything God’s been dealing with in my heart for the last year and a half or so that if you take out all the parts about motherhood I could have written it myself. Seriously, y’all, I think it’s time to stop telling our kids (and ourselves, for that matter) that they have to aspire to lives of greatness and instead that they should aspire to lives of satisfaction and contentment–and that if that means lives of quiet domesticity and small, behind-the-scenes contributions, that’s completely okay.

And a book rec: Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown – Like the post above, this book is about everything I’ve been trying to do by editing my life over the last couple of years. For me, while this book had some things that I can apply to help me tweak my efforts to streamline my life, it was less of a revelation and more validation of my determination to turn my back on a life of hustle. But if you’re stuck in hustle mode and feeling overextended and overwhelmed I highly recommend giving this book a look-see (and if, like me, you’ve made it your aim to stop hustling and slow down but are wondering if that makes you selfish, definitely read this book).

I’m hoping to get an April issue of Daydreamer Dispatch out later this week (…maybe), so if you’d like to know more about both what and how we’re doing, scroll to the bottom of this post or click the link in the sidebar to make sure you’re signed up.

That’s all for now. Hopefully I’ll be able to get back to regular posting in another couple of weeks, but don’t be shocked if that doesn’t happen. In the meantime, thanks for hanging in there.

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PS: Find more encouragement for your soul at these linkups:

Holley Gerth’s Coffee For Your Heart

Missional Women’s Faith Filled Fridays

#DreamTogether at God-Sized Dreams

PPS: Looking for some a-MAZ-ing tools and resources to help you be more productive, write better and/or generally do life while keeping your sanity? I’ve got the goods — sign up to receive Daydreamer Dispatches, a once- or twice-a-month newsletter from yours truly, and you’ll automatically receive a super-sekrit link to My Absolute Must-Have, Can’t Live Without Tools and Resources list! Click here to get your link!

JeanA Jesus girl through and through, Jean Marie Bauhaus is on a journey of healing and rediscovering who God purposefully created her to be and figuring out how to do life within that context. She’s the wife of Matt and mom to a crew of four-legged dependents, all of whom make their home in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Jean counts coffee, dark chocolate and a yarn addiction among her vices. She’s the author of Restless Spirits, a family-friendly paranormal romance/mystery now available from Vinspire Publishing. You can learn more about her novels and short fiction at jeanmariebauhaus.com.

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Link Roundup: K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Sunshine)

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I was originally planning to do another blog series this month, this time about faithfulness, but this month is really chaotic. I need to simplify and scale down the things that are in my power to do so or I will lose my mind, and one of those things is this blog.

So this month (and probably next month too) will feature easy posts that include links and fun stuff, as well as some repeats from the archives.

Speaking of keeping things simple, this week I’m sharing links to my favorite links about minimalism, simple living and keeping house, since that’s mostly what’s occupying my head space right now as I scrutinize every object in my house (or at least the ones my husband hasn’t declared hands-off) to determine whether it belongs or needs to go.

For starters, if you’re interested in simplifying your life, I highly recommend watching the Minimalism documentary for inspiration and motivation. It’s on Netflix, but if you don’t have a Netflix membership, you can watch it here on YouTube for $3.99.

Or you could just watch this TEDx Talk by the Minimalists — it’s free, much shorter, and you’ll get the gist of what the documentary’s all about.

This lecture from Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist is long but worth it (I had the privilege of chatting with Mr. Becker a few weeks ago for an upcoming article and he is a nice guy who is full of Godly wisdom about this subject).

The Simple Show Ep. 60: A Slob Comes Clean – You guys, I think Dana White is my brain twin. I wish I had read her book because all of her mental road blocks to cleaning and housekeeping are identical to mine and I just figured out how to get around them in pretty much the same ways she describes in this podcast. Her book might have saved me a lot of trial and error. I put it on my wish list so I can see if she has any insights that I haven’t yet stumbled into on my own.

And here is her blog. I think I have a new guru, y’all.

Speaking of gurus, y’all know I love the Lazy Genius, and I want to give you a heads up that her podcast is starting back up this month.

I also want to give a shout-out to Trello because it’s really coming in handy for organizing and tracking what we’re doing this month. I can see this being a really useful tool when it comes to tracking a big decluttering project, too.

Finally, for those who are into this sort of thing, I’ve started a Lifestyle Goals Pinterest board where you’ll find all kinds of inspiration for slowing down and simplifying.

Got any links of your own to share? Do any of these look helpful? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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PS: Find more encouragement for your soul at these linkups:

Holley Gerth’s Coffee For Your Heart

Missional Women’s Faith Filled Fridays

#DreamTogether at God-Sized Dreams

PPS: Looking for some a-MAZ-ing tools and resources to help you be more productive, write better and/or generally do life while keeping your sanity? I’ve got the goods — sign up to receive Daydreamer Dispatches, a once- or twice-a-month newsletter from yours truly, and you’ll automatically receive a super-sekrit link to My Absolute Must-Have, Can’t Live Without Tools and Resources list! Click here to get your link!

JeanA Jesus girl through and through, Jean Marie Bauhaus is on a journey of healing and rediscovering who God purposefully created her to be and figuring out how to do life within that context. She’s the wife of Matt and mom to a crew of four-legged dependents, all of whom make their home in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Jean counts coffee, dark chocolate and a yarn addiction among her vices. She’s the author of Restless Spirits, a family-friendly paranormal romance/mystery now available from Vinspire Publishing. You can learn more about her novels and short fiction at jeanmariebauhaus.com.

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You Are Not a Failure (Link Roundup)

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It’s the last day of January as this post goes up, and I know a lot of you are already feeling like you’ve failed in what you hoped to accomplish in this new year.

I just want to stop everything right now and tell you that you are not a failure.

Seriously, y’all. It’s not too late to turn things around. His mercies are new every morning. Just because you caved and ate some pizza and chocolate two weeks into your new diet (…or maybe that’s just me) or haven’t even gotten started yet on your decluttering project (again, maybe just me) doesn’t mean you’ve failed and should give up. You’ve still got 11 months left to meet your goals for 2017 (and if some of them have to get pushed to 2018 it’s probably not that big a deal–the world probably isn’t actually going to end before then despite what the media says and you’ll still have time. Life is a marathon, not a race).

I hate New Year’s Resolutions — they set you up to feel like a failure and a loser. That’s why I’ve been moving away from setting major, concrete goals and instead making tweaks and edits to how I do life as I go (more on that in a future post). There’s no deadline and no expiration date. Just prayerful self-examination and asking God to order my steps and show me which way is best.

With God, every new day is a fresh start. Amen.

For those of you who need some encouragement or motivation, a different perspective, or maybe a little help, here are some links that might speak to where you’re at right now.

How’s your New Year going so far? Did your January go according to plan or was it a disaster? Have any additional links to share? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

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PS: Find more encouragement for your soul at these linkups:

Holley Gerth’s Coffee For Your Heart

Missional Women’s Faith Filled Fridays

#DreamTogether at God-Sized Dreams

PPS: Looking for some a-MAZ-ing tools and resources to help you be more productive, write better and/or generally do life while keeping your sanity? I’ve got the goods — sign up to receive Daydreamer Dispatches, a once- or twice-a-month newsletter from yours truly, and you’ll automatically receive a super-sekrit link to My Absolute Must-Have, Can’t Live Without Tools and Resources list! Click here to get your link!

JeanA Jesus girl through and through, Jean Marie Bauhaus is on a journey of healing and rediscovering who God purposefully created her to be and figuring out how to do life within that context. She’s the wife of Matt and mom to a crew of four-legged dependents, all of whom make their home in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Jean counts coffee, dark chocolate and a yarn addiction among her vices. She’s the author of Restless Spirits, a family-friendly paranormal romance/mystery now available from Vinspire Publishing. You can learn more about her novels and short fiction at jeanmariebauhaus.com.

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Link Roundup: Struggling Doesn’t Mean Your Faith is Broken

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Sometimes — more often than I like to admit — I struggle with obsessive thinking. When those obsessive thoughts get stuck on a negative loop, it puts me on a downward spiral into anxiety and depression.

I’ve learned that when this happens, I need to take those thoughts captive and redirect my focus through prayer and time in God’s Word, but at times that is way, way easier said than done. I pray and I pray and I cast my cares on God and I proclaim truth and claim His peace, but inwardly I still wrestle with negative thoughts and feelings. And I in turn feel a lot of guilt and shame because shouldn’t this be working? Shouldn’t this be easier? Is my faith broken? Am I not trusting God enough? Am I a bad Christian?

I’ve felt God speaking truth into my life on this topic this week, and that truth is this: we all struggle like this. We’re made to. Our brains, while not all wired to be obsessive, are wired with a bent toward negativity. Our feelings work against us. This is natural and normal and even Jesus and Paul and King David experienced it. Probably every believer ever has.

The fact that we wrestle like this doesn’t take God by surprise, and it doesn’t make Him displeased with us. It’s not something to feel guilt or shame about. The fact that we wrestle against our thoughts and feelings means that our hearts are turned in the right direction. It just takes our minds a while to catch up to what our hearts already know.

Even more importantly, God uses this struggle for our good. He uses it to strengthen us, teach us, grow us, draw us closer to Him and deeper into His Word.

Today I want to share the posts that helped me arrive at this understanding. These first two laid the groundwork:

When Gratitude Feels Unnatural by Heather Enright on InCourage

“What can we be thankful for?”

His startling words broke the dark night. He knows me well enough to read my thoughts, and so he added, “The Bible doesn’t say we have to be thankful for all things. But God asks us to be thankful in all things. I’m just reaching here. But can we find anything to be thankful for to help us look at the bigger picture?”

The Bible talks about the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. These words never ring more true than when you are stumbling through the valley of loss and searching frantically to find your way to God. A sacrifice of thanks, indeed.

Gratitude When You’ve Got an Attitude by Holley Gerth

We also don’t have to feel thankful. Our brains are wired with a negativity bias. This means we tend to pay more attention to what’s wrong (like a bear charging at us). This instinct keeps us alive but it also means our emotions and perspective can take time to catch up with our wills. God knows this and we don’t have to feel shame or guilt about the disconnect.

And this one gave me my “A-ha!” moment:

What to Do with Tough Relationships by Lysa TerKeurst on Proverbs31

1 Peter 5:10-11, “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”
(NIV)

In the end, this struggle can be used by God to make me stronger and more capable in my relationships. If I am humble enough to receive from Him in the quiet what He wants to teach me through this, I can rest assured with whatever the outcome is.

It was those words of Peter — “after you have suffered a little while” — that brought it all home for me this morning. Lysa refers to that passage throughout her post, starting with verse 6. Peter walks us through the process of humbling ourselves before God, casting our anxiety on Him, remembering who our true enemy is and resisting him, promising that the end result will be that God will make us strong, firm and steadfast — but only after we have struggled a while.

Y’all, God knows this stuff takes time. He knows it isn’t easy, and He’s okay with that. He doesn’t condemn us for it. Instead He patiently helps us through it.

We have a good, good God, you guys.

In Love,
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PS – Find more encouragement at the following linkups:

Holley Gerth’s Coffee For Your Heart

Missional Women’s Faith Filled Fridays

#DreamTogether at God-Sized Dreams

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Link Roundup: Posts that have ministered to me lately

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We’re in the midst of an interesting season here in the Bauhaushold. It’s not super-hard in comparison with some of the awfulness we’ve been brought through in recent years, but it sure hasn’t been easy-going lately, either (I’ll be sharing in more detail in my next Daydreamer Dispatch, my semi-regular letter to friends of the blog, so if you want to hear it all, be sure you’re signed up to that). It seems like we’ve been under constant attack and pressure from the enemy–nothing majorly serious, but a steady onslaught of stressful stuff to deal with that is enough to keep us feeling discouraged and very, very tired. I’ve been having to fight for enough margin to keep myself centered, and my husband and I are both having to work very hard to stay mindful of reasons we have to be thankful.

To be honest, it’s hard to be an encourager when I’m in a place of needing encouragement. Thankfully, there are plenty of other encouragers out there in the blogosphere, several of whom really ministered to me over the last week or so, and I thought I’d give myself a break from blogging and share their posts instead. Hopefully, their words will minister to you, too.

You’ll Have to Believe You Are Good Enough by Alia Joy at SheLoves Magazine:

We’re talking about pitching articles and I admit that I never have. I’ve been writing for four years on the web and never have I really pitched an article, submitted an unsolicited guest post, or sought out a place to feature my words without first being asked, without waiting for an invitation.

I waited for someone to tell me, You’re good enough.

Show and Tell for Jesus by Jennifer Dukes Lee at InCourage:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. . . . We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. (Marianne Williamson, as quoted in the post)

When God’s Faithfulness Sounds Like Silence by Karina Allen at InCourage:

Sometimes we are the Moses who obeys God and sees the supernatural occur. But sometimes we are the Moses who needs an Aaron and a Hur to hold up our arms during a battle when we are too weary.

How Can We Wait Well on Our Dreams by Alecia Simersky at God-sized Dreams:

Today, as I work on my dreams of becoming a writer, I have my days of wishing God would make the path easier.

I wish all the hard work and learning I have been doing magically translated into success. But it doesn’t. I have to wait.

Have you come across any posts that have spoken directly to your heart lately, dear reader? I’d love for you to share them in the comments.

Blessings,
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PS – Find more encouragement at the #DreamTogether link party on God-sized Dreams.

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What I Learned In March

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This week I’m doing my first link-up with Emily P. Freeman in which we look back on what we learned in the previous month. This is kind of a doozy because March was a big month for me as far as spiritual healing and growth, which means we’re going to get a little vulnerable here. Which brings me to…

 

1. I learned I need to let myself be more vulnerable. I’m pretty good at that in writing (although there’s room for improvement; also, some people *cough*myhusband*cough* might say I have a tendency to be a little too vulnerable, if by “vulnerable” you mean “tending to overshare about things nobody wants or needs to know”), but face to face I can be pretty reserved and closed off, and it’s hard, even online, for me to reach out, put myself out there and take risks with people. So, praying about that, and resolving to work on it.

 

2. I learned that I’m a fan of Emily P. Freeman. I’d read posts on (In)Courage and on her blog before that gave me that eerie feeling that she’s peeled back my skull and peered directly into the inner workings of my brain, but after reading her books Simply Tuesday (which I finished in early March) and A Million Little Ways (which I finished last week), that feeling intensified to the point that I got all Anne Shirley over how she’s a kindred spirit. That lady GETS me.

 

3. I learned that I need to be kinder to my own soul. This includes accepting–nay, even embracing–how God made me instead of constantly fighting it and believing that I’m not enough. It means shedding the lies that the enemy used to prevent me from becoming the woman God wants me to be. And it means understanding that desire, in and of itself, is not a sin, is not selfish, and it’s okay to move beyond survival mode and spend time and money on the things my soul needs to thrive. It’s okay to want nice things for myself.

 

4. I learned that I enjoy passing the evening with a book instead of a TV show. I mean, I love my shows, don’t get me wrong. But we were in such a habit of feeling like we had to have something to watch together in the evenings, even when our shows aren’t on. But our Prime membership expired and we haven’t gone back to Netflix yet, and we’re down to just a small handful of network shows each week, so for the last couple of weeks we’ve been spending a lot of evenings just sitting quietly together and reading, and it’s been lovely. And I got a TON of reading done this month, which was nice.

 

5. I learned that my soul needs these things in order to really thrive:
  • Quiet and stillness
  • Opportunities to sit, think, process and dream
  • Opportunities to be creative, not just in writing but also hands-on things like crafting and visually creative things like graphic design or even just doodling
  • Beauty and art
  • Opportunities to connect with nature
  • Pretty things: a pretty home, pretty surroundings, pretty clothes, pretty tools, etc.
  • Intimate connections with people — having a few close relationships with people who really understand me rather than a lot of casual acquaintances
  • Books/good stories via any medium
  • Kindness and gentleness from others; assurance that I’m loved and cared for

 

6. I learned my “love language,” which is, probably unsurprisingly, me being a word herder and all, words of affirmation. I also realized that I need to feel really listened to, heard and understood in order to really feel loved on a deep level. A close second is physical affection, which also isn’t very surprising, seeing as how I’m both a hugger and a patter.

 

7. I learned that I think God is nudging me toward writing inspirational romance, except then I went to the bookstore and checked out that section and it all seemed to be stuff about either cowboys or Amish people, so probably that’s the wrong label for it. If there’s a category for chick-lit style books featuring strong and snarky but broken heroines figuring out their lives that are clean and explore Christian themes without being all preachy, then that’s the category I mean.

 

8. I learned a lot about Jesus. Since the beginning of the year I’ve been slowly working my way through the Gospels (I’m still in Matthew — that’s how slowly) with an eye toward trying to connect more with the human side of Jesus. When I think of Bible characters I can relate to, people like Elijah and Peter and Paul spring to mind — flawed, broken, plain ol’ human people who were prone to screwing up sometimes. As much as I love my Savior, I’ve always had a hard time relating to Jesus as a person. This latest round of gospel reading has really opened my eyes in that regard. This is stuff I plan to elaborate on here on the blog at some point.

 

9. I learned that I enjoy reading memoirs. It used to be like pulling teeth to get me to read nonfiction, but this year I set an intention to broaden my reading horizons, and so far I’ve been sticking to it. After reading the above-mentioned books, plus Wild in the Hollow and Bird by Bird (which is about as much memoir as it is writing advice), I’m eager to read more in this vein.

 

10. I learned that I’m really tired of feeling bad and being in constant pain and I’m finally ready to do something about it. Which is why on Monday I’ll be kicking off my first Whole30. I’m slightly trepidatious but mostly I’m looking forward to it.

Say it with me: Women are people. So just write people.

I woke up this morning to a bit of a kerfuffle in the writing world. The short version is that a well-known male YA author gave an honest answer to an interview question about why he sucks so bad at writing female characters that could possibly be taken as a sexist answer, maybe, if you tilt your head just so and squint really hard at it while wearing sexism-colored glasses.

And it just so happened that a female YA writer read the article while tilting her head just so and squinting really hard through her sexism-colored glasses, and then went on her Tumblr blog and ripped the guy a new one for his sexist (according to her) attitudes and called upon women and feminists everywhere to join her in a campaign of public shaming.

As a result, some of her followers did just that, although she also received quite a bit of backlash from people asking her to please stop making feminists look crazy-pants and distracting people from the real issue, which is why so many male authors in our society are so terrified of even attempting to write women.

On the positive side, this has opened up some more dialogue about women in fiction, and it seems like a good time to round up some good links on writing female characters, like this excellent article from Tor.com: Writing Women Characters as Human Beings by Kate Elliott

And this one, also from Tor: Oh No, She Didn’t: The Strong Female Character, Deconstructed

There’s also the one I wrote a few weeks ago that says pretty much the same thing: How to write [insert adjective] female characters

And the Chuck Wendig post that inspired that one: How “Strong Female Characters” Still End Up Weak And Powerless (Or, “Do They Pass The Action Figure Test?”)

Or I could just distill it all down to this: women are people, dude. Just focus on writing a well-rounded, complex person, and don’t let the fact that that person is attached to a pair of boobies throw you.

Busy week. So have some links.

This is a hectic week. In addition to a full freelance workload, I’ve got to company-clean in preparation for entertaining my mom on Friday, and hormones and lack of sleep are making me scattered and bad at managing things.

So in lieu of blog posts written by yours truly this week, here instead is some recommended reading:

Delilah S. Dawson: 25 Writing Hacks From A Hack Writer – this is a bit long and, being that it’s a guest post on Chuck Wendig’s blog, it’s laced with profanity. But it has broader application than just writing–it’s really about how to hack your life to chase your dream–so if you can get past those two things, it’s definitely worth the read.

Arting Hard Like An Artful [MoFo]: 25 Ways To Be A Bad-Ass Maker Who Makes Bad-Ass Stuff – this is sort of a companion piece to the first article. Being that it’s written by Chuck himself and I even had to censor the title, it should be apparent that the same caveats apply.

Want to Be a “Success”? Learn to Be an Outlaster – Motivated yet? Well then, here’s a whole six-pack of motivation from Kristen Lamb — and with zero cussin’!

Give Me Gratitude or Give Me Debt – A great post to read if you feel envy and dissatisfaction creeping into your life. Or if you just like to dance in the kitchen.

Manners for Gentlemen – It’s not often that I recommend poetry — okay, more like never — but this is just lovely and you should read it.

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