Sunday, October 19, 2014

The enemy of done? {Finishing Something}

"You don't know what the story is about when you're in the middle of it. You think you do, but you don't. You make up all kinds of possible story lines: this is about growing up. Or this is about living without fear. You can guess all you want, but you don't know. All you can do is keep walking." -Shauna Niequist {because every 31 days must have at least one quote from her, of course}


"I want to see the finished product. Right now I'm in the middle and it's a mess." -my friend working on a home improvement project. This may be somewhat paraphrased but I have dibs on her words because she knows I quote all the wise things she says.

So, I didn't realize my series on 'finishing something' would turn out to be more about finishing this series than anything else. I keep showing up MIA so finishing this is becoming a feat! Who knew writing for 31 days would be so hard. I guess I'm not surprised, since Octobers seem to be a flux month for me, but every year without fail I think a daily writing challenge will be easy breezy. This year, I'm okay with the fact that a daily writing challenge is not easy breezy.

Thank you, friends, who stand by me in the beautiful mess that is writing and life.


I am becoming a big proponent on clapping for things that get done even in the midst of things that don't get done.
-I am excited that I am starting to do Morning Pages, even if it's actually more 'Night' Pages for me.
If you are a writer or a creative (we all are somehow!), do you have a way to get the juices flowing? This is a process I used to do a lot more in the past and need to remind myself is important to make space for nowadays, too.
-I've been creating writing/blog goals, concrete ways to move forward, because if you aren't moving you are just standing still and will probably get run over by a train (that was me attempting to say one of my favorite quotes off the top of my head, but I messed it up -- here is the real quote).
-I have momentum again for the book patiently waiting to become a book, 87 Coffees, where I interview lots of different folk. I get excited when I interview people, because this continues to be the slowest process known to man. Even though I meet interesting people every day and even though the book has been trying to write itself for a long time.
Brene Brown says it well when she says, "perfection is the enemy of done."
Your turn: Where can you spot good things that are moving you forward right now?

Monday, October 13, 2014

For those who grieve {Finishing Something}

"Life seems to be a story of holding on and letting go, learning which is which and when." -To Write Love on Her Arms

i heard this song
performed by christa wells 
at the barn
and every so often
i play it
and then play it again

because it's so true to life isn't it?

it doesn't matter your job
or your personality
or the strength of your faith
things break
for you
for others
and there are times you lose words
because maybe something is burning

and it should be easy
to pray and
'lay down our plans'
to fix it
but it's not

how do you sit in the burn?

friends, who grieve

"what can i bring to your fire?"

i listen to those words on repeat
it haunts me

i know it's me too
the times the flames have grown
and i've needed someone to
"brave the heat and come close now"

so where do you go
when it breaks?

when even best words start to fail
and you can't hear anyone speak to you

they can't get in
through the door


He's not afraid
He can get in to

"come close now"

{maybe this has nothing to do with finishing something
or maybe it has everything to do with it..}

Check in here for what's going on with the rest of the series.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The welcome home {Finishing Something}

Life is one adventure after another. Tonight was a fun day of golfing -- yes, golfing! Somehow I have never actually hit a golf ball other than putt-putt so this was exciting. It was pretty low key though. We took pictures while we golfed.


 I mean, we took it very seriously.
Speaking of serious, these fruits, called Rambutans, are no joke. They look like bugs to me and taste kind of slimy inside. A customer at whole foods called me brave just for trying those suckers, so that was exciting, but I ended up keeping a couple around my house for show for a few days before I tried them again (still not very good) and wishing it was Halloween already because they were spooky.
 What else is going on? Well, God, being God, keeps speaking to me through different mediums and for awhile now He's put this song on my mind to remind me of grace.

The wonderful Brennan Manning, who wrote Ragamuffin Gospel, one of my favorites, reminded me tonight that we -- ragamuffins -- are never far from grace and "a light in the window"  with "a "welcome home" sign on the door."

I can do well to remember that. That I need the welcome sign.

"It's not the long walk home that will change this heart
But the welcome I receive with every start" - Mumford and Sons

I don't know what this series, this story about finishing, will become. It feels like my stories become more about beginnings than endings. And what I seem to learn along the way is that He is the real author, as much as I want to be. 

Manning says that Jesus "chose to enter your broken world and limp through life with you."

Wouldn't that be like God, as I limp along, to show up each time, with each start, and remind me He's there with me?

I can't do everything. You can't do everything. We are broken people. It does me well to remember I need him, every single day, in writing and in life, when I think I can figure it all out, or can bring everything to the table.

I can bring him all my hopes and desires, all my pride, my flaws and my sin, my distress and the places I hurt, and all the places I limp.

You'd think it would be the long walk home that would change this heart. But maybe it's the welcome I receive with every start.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Simple words {Finishing Something}

A simple word for me, perhaps for you.
 Or maybe only I am lacking motivation at the moment?
Don't forget to write through the rut and the heartbreak.
And when you want to leave it alone for another day, when you think your words have come up dry, there is something there just beyond the muck.
It may not be fun all the time, but it's there.
Write even though your laundry needs done.
Your family will love you for that.
(So will your washing machine. Tonight I accidently went through a wash cycle with nothing in it, it was a good time).
Write even though your kids may be calling you and you have to crawl into a closet to get it done.
On days when you don't write and all you think about is how you can get writing done (irony, anyone?), sigh and remember tomorrow's coming. Celebrate whatever little discoveries you found today and pack them away for tomorrow.
You can always pick up where you left off tomorrow. You don't have to wait for tomorrow's tomorrow.

Pretty sure that translates to big, bad writing procrastinator, amidst this stellar series on finishing.

Does anyone share this pain?

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases
his mercies never come to an end
they are new every morning
great is your faithfulness
lamentations 3:22-23

P.S. This post had the word TOMORROW in it five times.
You are welcome for being highly motivational.

Monday, October 6, 2014

The first and the last {finishing something}

I wrote a lot of things down in a brand new journal at the barn when I went a couple weekends ago, for a day to breathe the crisp air of fall and to hear rhythms of quiet and to remember that writing is good even when it feels redundant and let's be honest, sometimes meaningless.

But it's not. 

What you love, where you feel called, where you can't sleep unless you share your voice or your creativity or your whatever, these places are sacred and they are valuable.

These places make us come alive.

We can always start again. Even if you've had a thousand false starts and so many rough drafts your garbage can is full.

Begin today.

This 31 days series is on finishing. But I always, always must remember the journey, our lives and our faith is one of second chances, and third and fourth chances.

Goals and visions and clear production are important,

but this quote by Frederick Buechner helps me remember the point.

May our lives be fully lived wherever we are, whether we see today and our work as the beginning or the end.

It is the first day because it has never
been before and the last day because it
will never be again.
Be alive if you can all through this day.
~Frederick Buechner

Saturday, October 4, 2014

I'd rather be yard saling

It's 31 days and I missed a day already. 

But busy days and unusual situations provide writing material and so, I have to keep the big picture in mind. 


My friend is calm, even in the face of boxes and bins and baby clothes everywhere. I even remember some of the clothes because she's one of my longest friends and I've watched her three grow.

Sentimental but ever trying to be practical, I ask if I can take a "small box" to store so my own kids can wear the clothes someday. I'm (half) joking, I tell her. That's almost as silly as holding children's books, like I've been doing since college (that's called being an education major).

I become my best self in moments with friends. I (mostly) forget about all the things. 31 days. The need to finish what I start. That I want this season to make sense and perhaps skip over it.

Instead, while I put up yard sale signs in the dark, I take a video to remind me of all that is right on the world (of course I do), like laughter and blending in with the trees as the cars drive by. 

Even though my friend says I am forever her "optimist Julie," it still becomes far too easy at times to lean into where we've all gone wrong. Sometimes you need moments of playing auntie. Reminders that little ones will jump off the couch and free fall into your arms without a second thought that you'll catch them. 

They will risk and maybe they don't know that sometimes that means they will get hurt like the rest of a us do.

I try my best to catch the babies every time but sometimes they are too quick. 

Their excitement overrules any pain they feel because they know bedtime stories are next and for the night I sneak into the world of princesses and far away lands and pigs who eat pancakes and llamas with mamas.

Check back here for all of the posts of the series with a goal of finishing's always an adventure in these parts.

P.S. My friend just asked me what I'm writing about this month.

I replied: "Finishing something. Anything..."

Including and especially 31 days.

Note to self: let's work on that

Thursday, October 2, 2014

"I don't even really work here" {Finishing something}

I might work with kids in my 9-5, but writing is my job, too.

Most days, I don't struggle with calling myself a writer, because I know that it's a love and a calling, but at times I do struggle with getting words on the page. I am sure there's lots of reasons for this oxymoron.

Writing is an essential ingredient for a writer.

Don't listen to Kramer's boss.

I do work here.

You do work here.

Whether writing is your day job, or the kind you have to squeeze into the in-between, it's meaningful.

I like to ask kids what they think they are good at; there are times they tell me writing. Sometimes they tell me talking.

You're onto something, I say.

Write on, little people. Talk on, young friends.

If you're a writer, who inspired you? How old were you?