The Journey to Something New

  
Written with a Faber-Castell Loom (M) in Diamine Grape

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The Journey to Pens

 Written with a Sheaffer VFM Fine Nib in Sheaffer Peacock Blue. 

And the beat goes on . . .

I was going through some old drafts in WordPress and came across the unfinished post below:

Let’s dance today.

I wish I could write as freely as I dance. Dancing is easy for me. Just put on a good song, give me a little room, and you can’t stop me. I don’t have to prepare to dance. I just turn on the music and let loose. I don’t perfect when I’m dancing. If I miss a step, I just keep on moving.

I want to write that way. I just want to sit down and let loose. I want to write without editing, just keep my pen moving on the page until I run out of words.

I’ve tried to write like that, and sometimes I can do it. Most of the time, I’m too critical. I was critical just yesterday when I was taking notes. I had to get the words just perfect, even though no one except me was ever going to read those notes.

I wasn’t even writing my own words, but they had to be perfect.

If I’d been dancing, I would have just pretended that I meant to do that and kept going.

That’s how I should be writing right now. I can edit later. Editing doesn’t need to happen until the story is completed. I need to retrain my brain to treat writing like a dance. I just need to let loose and write.

Maybe I should dance first? Get the freedom flowing and see what comes out?

Now, I really feel like dancing.

Hunger

I’m hungry. And not for tacos.

It has been creeping up on since before Christmas, this hunger. I’m hungry for more of the Word, for more worship, for more praise, for more Jesus.

I know that my spirit is always hungering and thirsting for fellowship with my Savior, but I haven’t felt it this strong in a long time. It stops my days. It interrupts my nights. It is hovering around me like a cloud.

I’ve tried to do something about it. I’ve started listening to more Christian music. I’ve started a devotional on the YouVersion app on my phone. But I just realized today what’s still missing. I’m not praying. Not like I should. I mean, I’m praising, but I’m not spending any time in prayer.

My excuses are frail. “There are always a bunch of people around,” or “I’m waiting until I can work it into my daily routine.” But those are meaningless. The truth is, I’m not making time to pray. I’m having a hard time getting started. I’m finding it difficult to just speak the words I know I should. I know He won’t reject me. I know He’s always there, but I feel like I’ve been distant for too long. I feel unworthy of His attention. And I don’t want my prayers to be empty. I want to mean what I say. I want to speak from my heart to my Father and know that my words are true.

So, I hesitate and stumble over the act of prayer. And my hunger increases, because I know that I cannot be completely satisfied until I am truly in fellowship with Him.

I should go pray. You, dear reader, are a distraction from what I should actually be doing right now. You’ll forgive me if I don’t have a witty remark or thoughtful question to end this post?

NaNoWriMo

I did something stupid on Friday. I decided that I would try to do NaNoWriMo this year. Stupid, right? Yeah, it is. Stupid, because I have three jobs. Stupid, because I’m teaching 4 college classes, which means 4 classes worth of paper grading. Stupid, because I’m crazy busy and somehow I’ve decided that I’m going to try to also write a 50,000 word novel by the end of this month.

Yeah.

So far, I’ve written nothing. I’ve started gathering my thoughts, and going through old notes on this long forgotten story I once wanted write. But I have yet to put pen to paper and actually begin writing something new.

And, instead of writing my book, I’m sitting here writing a blog post.

Yeah. Definitely stupid.

A Decade of Singing

If I could travel to any decade and visit, I don’t think I’d pick the Victorian era. Some of you are surprised, and if this were any other week, I’d probably say, “Give me Queen Victoria over the 80s any day.”

This week is different. This week, I miss the 80s. Hold on. Before you paint me with too much neon, it isn’t the hair or the spandex. It isn’t the TV shows, the pop songs, or the movies.

It’s the music.

Not the pop music. I ruled that out, remember? It’s the music of my childhood. I was talking to my Mom the other day about music in the church, and she said something that’s had me thinking. She said, “What I hate is that we’ve thrown away so many good songs.”

She wasn’t just talking about hymns. She was also talking about the praise and worship choruses of the 80s. Remember those? Songs like “Because He Lives,” “All Hail, King Jesus, “Lord, You are More Precious,” and “Majesty.”

I miss those songs, don’t you?

I like a lot of the new worship songs we sing. I love Unhindered’s music, and Kim Walker-Smith and Jesus Culture. (Although, I’m so tired of Chris Tomlin that I could scream.)

But I miss those old songs. They were good, and we threw them over for songs with complicated melodies and even more complicated harmonies. We tossed them aside for really long, boring songs with too many words. We kicked them to the curb for songs that sometimes don’t even make sense (I’m still talking to you, Tomlin).

If I could go back in time, I’d go back to the days when we sang those songs. I slip in the back of our churches and sing them all once again at the top of my lungs. I’d relish it this time. The first time around, I didn’t know how precious those moments were. I didn’t realize how much our worship style would change. I didn’t know we would lose our past entirely.

I want to bring some of those songs back. I want a couple of nights around the piano or guitar with someone who can play a few of these. I want to sing songs I don’t have to think about so that I can just enjoy worship.

Let’s do it. Let’s plan a night, just a few of us, around a piano, and sing some of these oldies. It’ll be great. You’ll love it, I promise. We’ll party like it’s 1989.

The Ten Best Things About Summer

1. Camp
2. Only 6 more months until winter
3. Camp
4. The smell of freshly cut grass
5. Camp
6. The smell of whatever tree grows at camp
7. Camp
8. Cookouts
9. Camp
10. Camp

A Decade in the Future

I’ve always hated the question, “Where do you see yourself in ___ years?”

I understand the purpose of the question. It’s an attempt to see if people are long-term goal setters, if they are willing to commit to a future. It’s a test, and I’ve never liked tests very much.

So, where do I seem myself in a decade?

Honestly? I have no idea. Every time I’ve tried to predict the direction of my life, I’m so far off that I’d need a map to get back on track.

There are things I know about my life, about myself and the way my mind works. There are things about me that will not change. I will probably always love tacos. I’ll always think of both Texas and Arkansas as home. I’ll keep on cheering for the Yankees, even if they never win another World Series.

But 10 years is a long time, and for all of the things about me that will stay the same, there are so many other things that will change.

I can only start working towards a goal and hope I achieve it. I can only think of what I want to change about my life right now and see what path that decision leads me down. Ten years could be the difference between who I am now and who I’ve never even dared to imagine I could be; or it could mean that I’m just 10 years older and most of that wiser.

So, as for the question, “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?”, the answer is:

“Who knows? Look me up in 10 years and find out.”

A Decade of Dreaming

I’ve been considering the idea of a decade. In many ways, 10 years seems like a long time. After all, in the past 10 years, I have gotten married, worked for four different employers, lived in three towns, and finished two degrees. Yet, it seems like those 10 years have passed very quickly.

You know how, when you’re a kid and someone asks you what you want to be when you grow up, your answer has no limitations? Because, when you’re a kid, you can’t imagine a world in which everything isn’t possible. When I was little, I wanted to be everything. A teacher, a Broadway star, a famous musician, a novelist, a poet, a princess, a dancer, a preacher, and anything else I could imagine.

I’m only one of those things. And only part-time.

Does everyone feel this way? Does everyone look back at the dreams of their youth and long for that feeling of hope? Do we all think of how silly it was to think all of those things were possible? Do we all pretend that we don’t still have a secret wish in our hearts to do all of the things we’ve always wanted?

I do.

There’s a commercial about a little girl who is constantly told that she can’t do this or can’t do that. The last image is of the girl looking at some academic challenge, before she puts on lipstick and walks away. I wasn’t that little girl. I was told and truly believed that I could become anything I wanted to become. My parents have always been very supportive of my dreams and goals.

It’s the rest of the world that put me in a box. It’s the people I know, and those I don’t, who have unintentionally aided in crushing my dreams.

When you tell someone you are writing a novel and they make fun of you, you stop talking about writing novels. Eventually, you stop trying to write them because you feel so discouraged.

So, stop it, world. Stop telling me that I am limited. Stop telling me that I can’t fulfill my dreams. Stop telling me that:

I could never be a Broadway star. I’m too old to start now.
I could never be a full-time musician. My voice isn’t perfect enough.
I could never be a novelist or poet. My stories are too plot-driven.
I could never be a princess. They don’t just hand those crowns out to everyone.
I could never be a dancer. I don’t have the right body type.
I could never be a preacher. No one would listen to me.

You’re wrong.

I may not be a Broadway star, but I am always on the stage.
I may not be a full-time musician, but you can’t stop me from singing.
I may not be a novelist or poet, but I’ve got a great story to tell.
I may not be a princess, but my Father is the King of Kings.
I may not be a dancer, but I still move to the beat.
I may not be a preacher, but you won’t stop me from sharing the Truth.

I am a dreamer, and I’ll keep dreaming and hoping that the next 10 years will be even better than the last.

You should, too. Don’t let your circumstances limit your imagination. Hope for something bigger. Dream the impossible. Believe in miracles. Share your story. Today could be the beginning of the best decade of your life.

A Decade of Learning

For the past decade, I have been a college student.

As I wrote that sentence, I had to stop and calculate to make sure that it was correct. It was. Mostly. I’ve taken a couple of single semester breaks along the way. Aside from that, I have been in college for 10 years.

I feel a sense of “wow” knowing that for the past decade, I’ve been focused on school. On one hand, I’m amazed that I survived. At times, it was frustrating, difficult, discouraging and I wanted to quit. Yet, I was somehow able to persevere (with a lot of assistance from others). On the other hand, I feel like there were some wasted semesters which, if I had handled things a bit differently, could have been used to get finished faster. It probably shouldn’t have taken me 10 years to finish my two degrees. But that was my journey, and I took it knowing it would take time. To think of it in terms of a decade makes it seem like an enormously long time. Now that it is over, I feel a sense of accomplishment that I never imagined, and 10 years seems like barely any time at all.

Surprisingly, I am already starting to feel like something is missing from my life. I don’t have any classes for which to study. There is no longer a pending comprehensive exam to cause me stress. I am not searching bookstores and buying new notebooks for the fall semester of classes. (Though, there may be some of that, since I will be teaching a few hours.)

Yet, there is something, a feeling, maybe even a longing, to continue. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but when I am sitting in a classroom as a learner, I am content. There, surrounded by others who love literature as much as myself, I can speak as I wish, without fear of being mocked.

I don’t know what the next decade holds for me. But, I hope there is more learning. I hope there are classes to take and new books to discover. I hope there is rhetoric and poetry and prose. As long as I can be taught, I will always be searching for something new to learn.

So, what about you? What do you want to learn today?