If you haven’t yet discovered Emily Freeman and her blog, Chatting at the Sky, you’re welcome.
One of the loveliest blogs I’ve discovered in a long while, both in style and content. I highly encourage you to check her out. She also does a community collaborative project that consists of her sharing, at the end of every month, what she has learned over the course of that particular 4-week window. She encourages others to do the same then link up with her page to share the wealth. I’m slow on the trigger, so somehow I’ve managed to wait eleven months to get on this bandwagon. However, better late than never as my great grandmother always said. So without further ado, in no particular order, here are my November Nine.
1. The more difficult the conversation, the more likely you really need to have it. Such conversations, once they are had, also tend to be the most fruitful. By some miraculous aligning of the stars [that is, God's divine intervention and grace], I managed to have 4 of these in November. FOUR! Friends, I don’t know if you get the gravity of this, that’s a lot. I’m talking the terribly intentional, challenging conversations that send your heart into your stomach just thinking about them. And while all were fruitful, one of them in particular was a long time coming for the better part of 15 years. Kind of a big deal; the kind that made my therapist’s jaw nearly hit the floor when I told him about it. The best part? It went beauuuutifully, tears and all.
2. Twitter is actually… not that bad. And for the record, I cannot believe I’m admitting this. I have had a distinct and firm aversion to Twitter from day one, and swore it was the one social platform I’d never join. And then… I met Emily Maynard. No, no, not the bachelorette. This one. She is a talented writer and speaker, fierce feminist, Jesus-lover, and she lives here in Portland with all the cool kids. She is friends with one of my [many] roommates and came to our Harvest Party in October. I was picking her brain about writing and how she got her start. Her first and immediate response was to ask me if I was on Twitter. Uhhhh… no. “You simply must” she says. “It’s how all the conversations get started.” So here I am, tweeting. But you know what? I’m actually growing to appreciate it. She was right, it’s chalk full of passionate people posting great articles and contributing to conversations about issues that matter [subject to the flock you follow I suppose]. It’s also one of the only platforms from which you can engage your favorite author [or other well-known person-of-interest] and actually receive a response.
3. Writing every day is really difficult. My roommate Rachael and I undertook a challenge in November to write every day. That didn’t necessarily mean we posted things to our respective blogs every day, or even weekly for that matter [clearly]. It just meant we would choose to invest in the thing we both love but struggle to carve out time for. I can’t boast a perfect track record, but on the whole, I did write almost every day in November… and you know what? It gets easier. And what’s more, I find when I’m writing regularly, I feel most well… most like myself.
4. The Junia Project is such a fantastic project. I went to college with Kate Wallace [co-founder], and while I didn’t know her well back then, I knew her father who is the President of the University and was also a professor of mine in my final year of undergrad. They are a wonderful family passionate about justice and fighting for those who cannot fight for themselves. Kate and her mother Gail are particularly passionate about equality for women in our world so heavily influenced by patriarchy and all its oppressive orderlies. This blog, along with a number of other great resources, has proved to be a tremendous encouragement for me as I learn how to more clearly articulate something that has long-since been a heavy weight on my heart. I highly encourage you to check it out. And be on the lookout for my Fierce & Feminine article on there as well!
5. Sleep matters. When I was in junior high and high school, I was a regular insomniac. I would go days without sleeping, finally pass out three days later; rinse and repeat. This pattern diminished for the most part in college, though I have remained a very delicate sleeper. Being someone who also loves mornings, I generally average 6 hours of sleep per night. I swore I was just one of those rare people who functioned on less sleep, and I would argue this point with you if you tried to convince me otherwise. It was my therapist who countered me with “we don’t want you simply functioning, we want you thriving.”
Did you hear that? That was the sound of me being shut.down.
And so he challenged me to start fighting for 8 hours on a regular basis. Go figure it took a therapist to convince me I was a nervous wreck, in part, due to lack of sleep. And despite all my best arguments, I’ve got to admit, it’s seriously something else. Even my skin thanks me as a result. I’ll take it.
6. I might possibly be a bit iron-deficient. I have craved raw spinach to such a heightened degree lately, that I have eaten my way through entire bags of organic spinach from Trader Joe’s in one sitting on multiple occasions this month. I have no idea. But I’m not going to fight myself on the matter. If the girl wants spinach, give her spinach! She could be asking for a cookie. And you know what happens when you give a mouse a cookie…
7. Chronic back pain is a pain the neck. Literally.
8. Big houses are awesome. Then you live in one and you realize why your grandparents sold theirs after all their kids grew up and moved away. It’s an insurmountable chore to keep it clean and heated.
9. I hate electronics. I hate them. Exhibit A: I asked my parents for an external hard-drive last year for Christmas because “I so desperately needed one” for my Mac, which runs ridiculously slow due to the bajillion and one pictures on there from years of storage. It’s been bound to crash on me at any given moment, taking all my memories captive with it, for far too long. So they got me a hard drive… a year ago. Really simple device; I only just opened it over Thanksgiving weekend for the first time. I still can’t figure out how to get the pictures off my iPhone or how to update my GPS. So many better things to do…
And that’s a wrap my friends. Lots more learning to do in the month ahead; Advent is upon us at last. May we embrace the tension of the here and the not yet, waiting with joyful expectation for all that is ahead and a spirit of thanksgiving for all that we hold in our hands this very hour, lest both slip away unnoticed.