bringing him glory

I like to dabble at poetry. Ever since I learned what a sonnet was as a young kid (junior high maybe?) I’ve tried my hand at writing my own here and there. Not so much the deep, serious, beautifully constructed kind of poems, but more the fun (usually rhyming) type.

For Christmas one year, I wrote Gigi a bunch of fun poems and printed them out in a real book complete with full-color photos. It was one of my favorite handmade gifts.

But I don’t think poetry is my calling. I don’t call myself a poet, even though I may enjoy dabbling at it. When I named this series The Life Poetic, I wasn’t really referring to poetry itself, but rather the idea of poetry and of a poetic life.

I’m reading Emily Freeman’s A Million Little Ways, and she has hit the nail on the head for me. I know why God gave me that title/phrase now. It’s not that I’m a poet, it’s that He’s a poet.

I’m a poem, my life is a beautifully constructed piece, crafted with rhythm and grace, seemingly ordinary but in fact, distinct and unique. 

Our English word poem comes from the same greek word [poiema]. Workmanship, masterpiece, poem– all these words in Scripture are used to describe God’s work– you and me.

God calls you his workmanship, his poiema. What happens when God writes poetry?

We do. We happen.

We are walking poetry, the kind that moves, the kind who has hands and feet, the kind with mind and will and emotion. We are what happens when God expresses himself.

I feel like my job is simply to observe, and to recognize His artistic hand at work in my life. Of course, part of His design is that I myself am a creator as well– He gave me a creative mind so that I can reflect who He is every time I make something, whether that’s by way of sewing, cooking, writing– anything!

It’s easy for me to feel like I’m bringing Him glory when I’m worshiping Him, arms out stretched, heart and voice singing out with abandon. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg really. Living out a poetic life, where all that beauty stuff is noticed and appreciated, that too brings Him glory.

When a poet writes a poem, he isn’t writing a technical manual or a how-to booklet. A poet writes to express an inner desire.

We see that same idea here in Ephesians 2:10, where it essentially says, You are a poem written inside the person of Jesus Christ. You exist to carry out his inner desire. This is your good work.

So this is our job, to carry out the inner desire of Christ. And the inner desire of Christ is to bring glory to the Father.

This goes for you, too. You are a poem, beautifully, wonderfully crafted out of the inner desire of our Savior. 

the life poetic

This is Day 13/14 of 31 Days of the Life PoeticView the other posts in this series here.

If you’re new here, you might want to consider signing up for email updates or for my (bi-)monthly-ish newsletter.

The discipline of writing at least something daily is hard one for me, for my stage of life. I’m not legalist about it as you can see, but I’m going to keep on going, there’s so much poetry out there in my life and in the world to take in and note down. I lost steam for a couple of days, but I’m hoping to carry on through the second half of the month. 

Quotes from A Million Little Ways by Emily Freeman. I’m loving this book so far! Affiliate links included; thanks for your support. :)

{ 1 comment }

For years, David has been half-jokingly been talking about celebrating his 33rd birthday with a Three Amigos-themed party (anyone know why this had to be the year?).

Three Amigos Party-1-2

This year, things got real, and we decided to make it happen, complete with a singing bush, sombreros, Mexican food, and a cantina that only serves tequila (okay, margaritas). We had a jolly good time.

Three Amigos Party-2 Three Amigos Party-5 Three Amigos Party-6

Besides celebrating with friends (and parents who returned from a two-month journey!) the best part was probably how the theme and the costumes came together(we had El Guapo and El Guapito and even a few Germans!).

Three Amigos Party-3-2 Three Amigos Party-1 Three Amigos Party-4 Three Amigos Party-3

 

It was a laid back party– but I had a lot of fun making tissue paper flowers and stringing them on crepe streamers and patio lights.

Three Amigos Party-7 Three Amigos Party-2-2

Seeing people we love crowd into our tiny house and onto our lit-up patio really warms my heart. Plus, I love my husband and it was fun to bless him with a special night. Double win!

the life poetic

This is Day 11/12 of 31 Days of the Life PoeticView the other posts in this series here.

If you’re new here, you might want to consider signing up for email updates or for my (bi-)monthly-ish newsletter.

{ 3 comments }

When I think about observing, documenting, and appreciating the beauty, grace, rhythm, and poetry in life– what I’m calling The Life PoeticTen on Ten seems like one of the best ways to express it. This simple photo challenge of taking a photo every hour all day on the 10th of the month churns out such bits of beauty that I many times would not otherwise notice in the midst of a busy day.

So I’m linking up again this month over at Rebekah’s sweet blog. Here are ten moments from October 10th, and here are ten snapshots of The Life Poetic.
ten on ten button

 

10 on 10-1 10 on 10-2 10 on 10-3 10 on 10-4 10 on 10-5 10 on 10-6 10 on 10-7 10 on 10-8 10 on 10-9

10 on 10-10

the life poetic

This is Day 10 of 31 Days of the Life PoeticView the other posts in this series here.

If you’re new here, you might want to consider signing up for email updates or for my (bi-)monthly-ish newsletter.

{ 1 comment }

evidences of God's grace

At our church leadership meetings each month we take some time to share what we call “Evidences of God’s Grace;” leaders of various community groups and ministries share ways that they’ve seen God work or examples of His grace. It’s a life-giving exercise, and usually the best part of the meeting. I’ll be doing my version that here some days during this month of The Life Poetic– it’s reminiscent of Ann Voskamp’s counting gifts, and seems only appropriate this month.

  • crisp October mornings
  • days and evenings as warm as midsummer
  • fish tacos at the beach
  • my four loves playing in the ocean
  • reading Jane Austen on the sand
  • pink sunsets
  • reinstating Quiet Play Time
  • party planning
  • birthday scheming
  • dark skies, sunrises, and hot coffee
  • good, gospel-teaching books
  • fun, well-crafted novels
  • gathering with friends
  • my parents coming home after over two months of traveling!

I’d love to hear from you– what are some evidences of His grace in your life today?

the life poetic

This is Day 8 of 31 Days of the Life PoeticView the other posts in this series here.

If you’re new here, you might want to consider signing up for email updates or for my (bi-)monthly-ish newsletter.

Affiliate links included. Thanks for your support!

{ 0 comments }

nothing gold can stay

One of the best ways I remind myself to find bits of beauty in my days, is to remind myself how fleeting they are. I’d rather hear it from a poem or a refrain (the days are long but the years are short) than from an old lady at the grocery store.

The poem I remember most from high school is one that I still love, “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” by Robert Frost.

So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

(source)

I think that’s why I love photography so much– it gives us the power to freeze a fleeting moment so we can remember and review it any time. That lovely masterpiece painted in they sky might be long gone, but I can look through iPhoto and remember all the beauty in a tangible way.

Sometimes I confuse actual memories with memories of looking through photo albums of my childhood endlessly (my mom was so good at documenting). But I don’t mind that blurry line. Either way, I reflect back on how things were, on the road God has brought me on, on the beautiful sunsets I’ve witnessed.

It’s true that when dawn goes down, nothing can stop the colors from fading. But He’s been so faithful to wake us up with light breaking through again on the next day.

But this I call to mind,

and therefore I have hope:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;

his mercies never come to an end;

 they are new every morning;

great is your faithfulness.

“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,

“therefore I will hope in him.”

Lamentations 3:21-24

For as many days as we are given, I’m going to try to see the gold.

the life poetic

This is Day 7 of 31 Days of the Life PoeticView the other posts in this series here.

If you’re new here, you might want to consider signing up for email updates or for my (bi-)monthly-ish newsletter.

{ 2 comments }

embracing the beauty ache: the life poetic day 6

I opened a new book today and immediately was struck by the words of the preface (I haven’t even gotten to the meat of the book yet, but I already know it’s exactly written for me. I’ll share more about it with you later this month.).

“The One who calls Himself the Great I Am actually is. Right here.

And it’s this God who has given you the beauty ache, that ravishing desire to find good in the mess, to hunt for glory in the grime. When you go looking for beauty and hunting for glory, you’ll discover again and again the realness of Him: the God who is here and is not silent. The One who all the while– when you were grappling around in a fallen, wrecked-up world– was there.”

This. This is why I’m seeking out the beauty, poetry, rhythm, grace of this one ordinary life I have. Because if I don’t, the hard stuff will overtake me and my life will be one big complaint (which it sometimes already feels like).

The good stuff is always there. But sometimes, it’s quiet. Too quiet to be noticed under the loud struggles of tantrums and spills and fights. But it’s there. It’s always there. This month I’m working on hushing up the hard stuff and amplifying the goodness.

the life poetic

This is Day 6 of 31 Days of the Life PoeticView the other posts in this series here.

If you’re new here, you might want to consider signing up for email updates or for my (bi-)monthly-ish newsletter.

Affiliate links included. Thanks for your support!

{ 0 comments }

life from their perspective
It’s quite convenient that when locked, you can slide up the phone screen to reveal the camera, right? It makes it easier to quickly capture a funny moment on the spot. But…

Space is at a premium on my phone; it’s only a 4s after all (old school!)… almost daily I open my camera roll to see an entire screen of finger-in-front-of-the-lens snapshots. Some renegade photographer (of the three-foot and under crowd) has snagged it again and taken aim at life.

Usually, I select the whole lot of the day and delete these by the batch. They are generally blurry and unrecognizable… but sometimes?

Sometimes, I look a bit more critically, and see something that’s actually quite beautiful, a blur of color, like a rainbow, or simply, a different perspective, or a random look at life around the house.

I had this revelation last night as I scrolled through my photos. Sometimes we love technology; sometimes we curse it. But the easy access for little hands to snap photos gives evidence of something we wouldn’t otherwise have… their perspective.

Usually, I reprimand– I don’t want them thinking they can grab my phone whenever they want without permission– but secretly, I’m starting to appreciate their little snapshots more.

the life poeticI’m finding beauty in the perspective of my little photographers, how they see life, and what they view as worthy of a capture.

This is Day 3 of 31 Days of the Life Poetic. View the other posts in this series here.

If you’re new here, you might want to consider signing up for email updates or for my (bi-)monthly-ish newsletter.

{ 1 comment }

finding our people

We just entered our third year at the charter school Gigi attends part-time. We’ve connected with families here and there but for some reason, the ones we’ve connected the most with have decided to move on and do something else for school unfortunately. This has been hard on Gigi.

She’s an extreme extrovert who thrives on social interaction and is a fiercely loyal friend. Once you are a dear friend of Gigi, she will not forget you for a long time to come. I’m realizing that she still is shy in groups though. She tends to latch on to one or two close friends and has a hard time breaking in to already-established groups. I think she’s actually a lot like me.

As her close friends have left our school one by one, she has seemed a bit lost at times when it comes to really gelling with the kids at school. We are with many of them three days a week now, with the new awesome social studies co-op that just started, and I’m really sensing this feeling of finding our people there.

I have community all around me– the neighborhood crew, which overlaps a bit with our lovely community group, our larger church family (especially fellow leaders),  my CBS ladies, our extended family, my online community– I’m blessed beyond measure by these hearts and the people in my life.

It’s been hard for me to mesh in with the school families, mostly because of feeling overwhelmed by always having two little ones in tow (with a mostly older crowd) and being so connected elsewhere. I think for a while now, I’ve seen our kids interact, and seen glimspes of their passions which seem to line up with many of mine, and I’ve sensed that these other moms could be really great friends.

The last couple of weeks, after a couple hours of intense studies at the co-op, we have all retreated to the beach for a few hours. And it’s been pure joy to get to know these families more amidst studying and surfing and sun and sand digging.

the life poeticThe more I sense this growing sense of connection with our school community the more right it feels, like this is exactly where God wants us for this time.

In each sphere of our lives we have to find our people, and it’s fun and beautiful to feel those relationships finally starting to take shape in this particular corner of our life.

This is Day 2 of 31 Days of the Life PoeticView the other posts in this series here.

If you’re new here, you might want to consider signing up for email updates or for my (bi-)monthly-ish newsletter.

Photo by my friend Milly :)

{ 2 comments }

Happy October!

The last two Octobers I’ve done very specific, tangible series for the 31 day writing challenge (one even transformed into an ebook!). This year, I’m taking a bit of a different direction.

the life poetic: a 31-day series

I honestly don’t even know where I’m going with this one, but the phrase– in all of its Wes Anderson-ness sound– won’t let me be. It’s been whispering to me for a while now, and though I’m not a poet, I’m attempting to document the poetry of my life over this next month.

Both words and photography will be my medium this month as I look for bits of beauty and rhythm and grace in my days, and I will also be taking this month to delve deeper into the idea that I am in fact an artist. That applies whether I’m cooking or singing or homeschooling or sewing or writing. All that–  that’s what I’m calling the life poetic.

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 11.27.53 PM

 

I hope you’ll join me on this journey. Consistency has consistently been one of my biggest hurdles with writing. So I’m anticipating that this won’t be easy to follow through on. Who knows, some days I just might not be able to make it to the blog; on those days, catch me on Instagram with the hashtag #thelifepoetic.

I’m giving myself grace, while also reminding myself that my word for the year was perseverance after all.  ;)

As the month progresses, I’ll update this page with links to all of the posts as a landing page for the series.

31 Days of The Life Poetic

This is Day 1.

Day 2: Finding our people

Day 3: Life from their perspective

Day 4: On Instagram

Day 5: On Instagram

Day 6: Embrace the beauty ache

Day 7: Nothing gold can stay

Day 8: Evidences of God’s grace

Day 9: On Instagram

Day 10: 10 on 10

Day 11/12

 

{ 3 comments }

I love to read, and I have a real love for books.

The earliest memory I have of loving a book is first grade, when I fell in love with Harriet the Spy. I loved how she kept a journal and took notes as she observed the world and the people around her.

And I remember how proud I felt when I wrote my first book that year in school– it was “bound” and covered in rose-colored contact paper and told a story of a panda who was happily surprised to have a baby (seriously).

In junior high, my dad and little brother played hockey and we were obsessed with The Mighty Ducks. I wrote my first (unfinished) novel about a girl who played hockey. I think I sensed, even at a young age, that I was designed for this, created to string words together in one way or another — be it a novel, a thank you note, a research paper, or a poem for my kids. Like others, I’m realizing, that it has always helped me process my thoughts and feelings to write them out.

I can't read, watch, or observe without thinking about writing. That's how I know I'm a writer.

The more I read books, watch movies, and observe stories unfolding around me in real life, the more I feel the tug to write. To write blog posts, articles, stories, memoirs, even just to narrate my own life in my head (I really do that, but only after I read a novel whose voice I really connect with or like).

That’s how I know I’m a writer, because I can’t read or watch or observe without thinking about writing. I think about all those who have gone before me as writers and what that looked like for them, whether it was ink on parchment or fingers on keys, I wonder how they constructed such a plot (and thought of such a twist!), or whether they took lots of notes while they traveled, or what inspired their story.

I read a lot in the cracks of the day, early in the morning, and late at night. And I can’t read without longing to write.

Of course, I’m a mom in the trenches, too. I’ve got mouths to feed, lessons to teach, playdates, and activities to drive to, but underneath it all, I think I really am a writer.

I feel a little brave and audacious saying that out loud here on the internet: {I’m a writer.} I feel like I’m daring myself to believe it and to walk forward in that truth.

****

Have you heard of MOOCs? MOOC stands for massive open online course and the classes are taught by real professors through real universities. My husband has been taking free classes on line for “fun” for a couple of years now. His usually have to do with programming or statistics or something nerdy like that. :)

I’m starting one this weekend called How Writers Write Fiction through the Writing University, which is part of The University of Iowa. You can join me if you want, for free! Register here.

****

Books to inspire me to be more brave that I’m reading (or will be soon):

A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live by Emily P. Freeman

The War of Art: Break Through Your Blocks and Win Your Creative Battles by Steven Pressman

Glitter in the Blood: A Poet’s Manifesto for Better, Braver Writing by Mindy Nettifee

You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) by Jeff Goins

****

Tomorrow starts October, and I’m hoping to join in with the other 31 dayers to (casually) process this a bit more. Not writing itself per se, but well, you’ll see… :)

Affiliate links included. Thanks for your support!

{ 6 comments }