Posts filed under this-here blog

because I'm into you, August

 In August, I returned to roots—looking for greenery and trees wherever I could. 

In August, I returned to roots—looking for greenery and trees wherever I could. 

August showed herself with roots and chakras as I began working through some things that apparently weren't going to leave me alone. If July came as clarity, luminosity and embodiment, August proved to be alchemic and cohesive.

In fact, as you read this I'm currently on a two week hiatus from social media (thank you, internet scheduling gods). It's not the beach, but it's my couch and if I'm doing this right, there's a book in my lap and a fruity drink in my hand. 

So you know, basically the beach without the amazing view and the gritty sand.

books read :: 

Ugly Love, Colleen Hoover - Ever since one of my friends turned me on to Hoover's writing (way back when SLAMMED was a new release) I've read everything she's published. I was slightly disappointed with her last book, but UGLY LOVE was read in a few hours. It just may be my favorite of hers—primarily because of her toying with structure in order to show two different view points. Loved that concept.

APE: How to Publish a Book, Guy Kawasaki - If you're looking to self-publish, man. This is the way to go. Kawasaki offers so much information in this book I know I'll be referencing it in the future. I used this to beef up my own knowledge (since I only know fiction-related indie publishing) because of a certain-something I'm cooking up behind the scenes. Grab this book if you're interested in pushing out your own words, but buy the paperback because of underlining and tabbing. You'll want it.

Speak, Nish Weiseth - It was a no-brainer for me to have this book on the day of release. I'm pretty sure I pre-ordered it way back in March or April or whenever it went live on Amazon. I loved working with Nish when I wrote for Deeper Story, and this book speaks to her desire for good and true story-telling rather than pounding on our platforms and yelling out our opinions. Grateful for her vision.

Stupid Girl, Cindy Miles - This book was engaging, but a little disappointing. I still enjoyed it, and I would recommend it for a quick read (I found it for free on Netgalley) but the title and the ending just made me cringe. I'm curious to see where Miles is going with the series. 

This Sky, Autumn Doughton - I've been a huge fan of Doughton's writing since finding her last summer, and this book is no exception. I loved the quirky characters and the way she pushed against some of the more common motifs within indie plot-lines. 

The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt - I have ALL OF THE THOUGHTS about this book, and will be writing more about it next week. It did something to me, I believe. Especially that ending. MAN OH MAN that ending.

books still reading ::   

The Enneagram, A Christian Perspective, Richard Rohr 

The Icarus Deception, Seth Godin

Winter's Tale, Mark Helprin 

Book of Life, Deborah Harkness

for the love of poetry ::  

Has it ever occurred to you
it oughtn't to be
it's scarlet fever of the soul.
I choose to do it my way.

-  me, a found poem from this month in my art journal

television ::  

We binge-watched Luther last month but have slowed down considerably these past few weeks because holy cow. It's like the intensity just grows and grows and grows until I can't even take it anymore. There have been plenty of nights where we're watching the show and then the credits roll and I'm just left shaking my head. So we turn on New Girl reruns. 

We also started watching The Killing. I'm intrigued that the entire show is based on one killing — but also I just like to see the rain because I live in central Texas and I forgot what it looks like. 

I also watched the season finale of Scandal and all I can say is OLIVIA POPE YOU CAN'T LEAVE AND DADDY DEAREST IS A HORRIBLE AND MEAN MAN AND HARRISON BETTER BE OKAY. 

I just have feelings about it. 

music :: 

I may have been charged with creating a playlist for a friend's 30th birthday party with the theme of (wait for it) SECOND CHANCE PROM. Other than that, I've basically been listening to this song on repeat >> 


on beauty ::

I've had a minor moment of grief because of canceling my Julep subscription, because I LOVE NAIL COLOR and who doesn't take Discover anymore? Apparently Julep, that's who. 

But that's okay, because I have Essie to fall back on, as well as Sinful. 

Oh and I dyed my hair with Color Brilliance Brights' ROSE and I love it. 

everything else :: 

 Thankful for friends who will experiment with me and don't mind having their hands dyed along with my hair. 

Thankful for friends who will experiment with me and don't mind having their hands dyed along with my hair. 

  • Two weeks of reading.
  • Dancing with my friends to songs from our high school years.
  • SOMEWHERE BETWEEN WATER & SKY now available for pre-order
  • Reminders that I am safe and cared for—even when I don't feel it.
  • Synchronicity
  • Launching the second round of Rebel Diaries with my partner-in-crime Brandy Walker
  • Investing in yet another eCourse from Braid Creative (they're brilliant. Check them out. No really.) 
  • Surprise books waiting for me in the mail 
  • A husband who understands me working late nights so I can eally unplug for two weeks
  • Friends who know me well enough to ask if I'm okay.

What about you? What's made your July magnificent?  

:: Linking up with the amazing Leigh Kramer for her What I'm Into posts ::

Posted on August 28, 2014 and filed under this-here blog.

because I'm into you, July

 Coffee and magenta lipstick. Oh my. 

Coffee and magenta lipstick. Oh my. 

If I can summarize July in any way, it would be through the words of clarity, luminosity and embodiment. 

It was a month of learning curves, for sure. But even more it was the month of fully accepting and embracing who I am in this season and celebrating with those I love. I entered into the month marking nine years being a Mrs. and ended the month 32 and ready for the dreams taking shape for this next year. 

2014 has been the year of soft — learning more about what makes me move in this flesh and bone. I'm learning more and more — and loving what I find. And I just may have the beginnings of my word for 2015. 

books read :: 

#GIRLBOSS, Sophia Amoruso - I saw a picture of this book on Instagram and immediately went to find it online. Snarky, honest, and at times completely unconventional, #GIRLBOSS was exactly the read I needed to jumpstart my understanding of what it means to be a creative entrepreneur. 

Warm Bodies, Isaac Marion - A tale of a zombie-turning-human again? Sure I'll bite. Great summer read for a local book club. Wasn't disappointed. 

The Here and Now, Ann Brashares - This was one of those reads where I would love the direction Brashares was taking and then suddenly, I was left wondering what the hell was going on. Way too many subplots, I think. Over all I enjoyed it, but I probably was more thrilled about the cover design than the actual plot. 

Landline, Rainbow Rowell - it's no surprise I'm a huge fan of Rowell. This book is no exception—a brilliant and honest look at modern marriage and friendships with a slight nod to paranormal elements. Bonus: her dialogue is still the best out there as far as I'm concerned.

Conversion, Katherine Howe - my favorite book of the month/summer/year so far. I'm serious. Listen, I'm a huge fan of The Crucible and so any book that chooses to tie into the themes of hysteria as well as the pressure high school students are under now, it's just brilliant. My favorite line just might be the APUSH instructor looking at the students and saying (describing Miller's play), "...and because it's Arthur Miller, it's not about the Salem Witch Trials. It's about sex." 

Um. Yes. Spot on. All my geeky-literary respect and mad props to you, Katherine Howe.

books still reading ::   

The Enneagram, A Christian Perspective, Richard Rohr 

Linchpin, Seth Godin

Winter's Tale, Mark Helprin 

Book of Life, Deborah Harkness

for the love of poetry ::  

There are fundamental values
underneath tonight
- and every other night - 
I don't want to get self-conscious
inhibited about it. 
I'd like to leave that entirely 
to you.

-  me, a found poem from this month in my art journal

television ::  

I'm mourning the fact that we finished Chuck earlier this month (but how cute was that series finale). We also finished Orange is the New Black, with me bouncing up and down on the couch as you-know-who did you-know-what in the last few seconds of the season.

And, in the vein of needing to just shut the laptop and unplug, I've had TWO FULL DAYS of Pretty Little Liars binge watching. Hello, Ezra. When did you get so creepy? And how 'bout that season 4 finale? A is most definitely for answers.

Finally. Luther. Oh my. 

music :: 

Definitely still listening to Somewhere Between Water & Sky's playlist as well as this one I created a few months ago for a secret project I'll be starting soon. 

Also? This song from Yuna has been on NONSTOP. 

on beauty ::

I'm still obsessed with violet & magenta lip color. Particularly this line from Bite Beauty. Other than that, July wasn't necessarily a month for beauty—considering I had an allergic reaction to arnica covering a majority of my body for most of the month. 

But yay steroid pills. And lipstick. 

And haircuts from Bird's Barbershop.

everything else :: 

 The weekly letter with artistic visioning for the everyday creative. Click on the picture to sign up! 

The weekly letter with artistic visioning for the everyday creative. Click on the picture to sign up! 

  • Celebrating nine years of marriage with my love
  • Clarity that comes after chaos
  • The launch of ten story-coaches within Story Unfolding
  • Language surrounding where I want to go 
  • Falling back in love with Somewhere Between Water & Sky
  • Weekly art-journaling dates with my closest friends
  • Taking risks and stretching into this skin of creative entrepreneur
  • Investing in eCourses from Indie Shopography as well as Braid Creative (they're brilliant. Check them out. No really.) 
  • Dinner with Preston & Hilary Yancey
  • Getting the cover to book two (cover reveal next week!)
  • Celebrating 32 years with my people
  • Days spent reading just because. 
  • Launching the 30-Days of prompts
 July brought a tradition far too long in the making: Sunday evening wine and art journaling. 

July brought a tradition far too long in the making: Sunday evening wine and art journaling. 

What about you? What's made your July magnificent?  

:: Linking up with the amazing Leigh Kramer for her What I'm Into posts ::

Posted on July 31, 2014 and filed under this-here blog.

do what you must :: when you need to find the flow.

This past month has been one of the most stressful I've experienced in a long time. A few days ago, on a Story Sessions call discussing Rilke and the importance of artistic rhythms, I had a moment of clarity I decided to turn into a mini-series on the blog about doing what you must. The first post can be found here

flow.JPG

If there has been one word that captures this season of my life, it's the word flow. 

Rhythm. Movement. Shift. Drive. Change. 

Every where I turn, she reminds me of her presence. 

It would make sense, then, that most of my moments of clarity have come when I'm actively engaging in motion.

.::.

It's three in the morning, and the third or fourth time I'm taking our dog out for a walk. There aren't very many thoughts pressing in outside of let this be the last time please and holy cow can there BE any more trees left on this property that you have yet to sniff. 

But I feel a dissonance. 

I let her lead me around the complex, forcing my eyes to stay open, and when we trudge up the stairs and I fall into bed I think for a split second I need to change something. 

Bianca Broos tells us in a Coaching the Coach meeting that dissonance can be one of the best teachers. My ears perk up and I jot it down in my notebook. 

Teach me, then. I think. 

The words come later that evening as I fight for control with my dog's leash.

It shouldn't be this difficult, I pout, wrapping the leash around my wrist and giving her collar a slight yank.

And then I pause. My girl stops with me, looking up and giving me a questioning glare at the interruption of her squirrel chase. 

It shouldn't be this difficult.

.::.

I've been discontent with the direction of this blog for a while. 

I knew what I wanted: to encourage artists, to be real about the creative process, and to blog candidly about my experiences with creative entrepreneurship. What I didn't know was how to get from where I was, stuck, to where I wanted to be—caught in the flow. 

Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple "I must," then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse. - Rainer Maria Rilke

In our last call for the spring session of Story 201, I had us look over this quote and consider it for ourselves. Was our life a sign and witness to the impulse within us? Were we truly digging for a deep answer of what it is we must do?

I knew my answer even before pausing the camera and allowing them time to reflect. I needed to find my flow. I needed this — in all of the definitions of that word — to not be so difficult. 

And I'm not speaking of the difficulty surrounding risk and growth. Change and movement always require a shift, a breaking of sorts. That hurts like hell and isn't easy, even if it's for the best. I'm speaking of the difficulty of trying too hard.

I'm speaking of the moments in which we choose to bleed out instead of asking for help. 

I knew there was a shift occurring within the clarity surrounding Story Unfolding. I knew it would probably look a lot like restructuring and rebranding. 

It also looked a lot like hope, and felt a lot like flow. 

.::.

I was skyping with Bianca when I told her, "you know, this past weekend was the first time I gained clarity and acted out of my vision instead of necessity. Every other moment of decision-making it's been because of someone telling me what I should do or offering a suggestion." 

She tilted her head. 

"Tell me about that. What were you doing?"

I laughed. "Um. I was knee-deep in eCourses. I was taking notes and answering the difficult questions. I was thinking about my language and my brand and what my vision is for Story Unfolding's future. It wasn't how we could make this as big as possible or involve this person or that figure. It was hat is Story Unfolding at its core?—I wasn't concerned about anyone else's opinions. I needed to know for myself." 

.::.

Here's a spoiler: I found my language. 

I have a lot of work cut out for me. But for the first time, I'm okay with feeling driven. I'm okay with the movement. It's not overwhelming anymore; it's breathtaking. 

And if it were a color, it would be golden

 

This is one of the things I'm most excited about—the redesign of my newsletter. A weekly letter with artistic visioning for the everyday creative. I would love it if you signed up, and I won't ever spam you. Promise. 

You'll get hints and inspiration about getting unstuck and living your most artistic life within the midst of your every day poetics. Come join us?

Posted on July 24, 2014 and filed under creative entrepreneurship, desire map, this-here blog.

because I'm into you, June.

 Sometimes sisterhood looks like flesh and bone bookstore hopping instead of screen time and text messages.

Sometimes sisterhood looks like flesh and bone bookstore hopping instead of screen time and text messages.

June snuck up on me the way summer often does, through humidity and mosquitos and late night dinners with friends. The beginning of the month brought back the worst kind of anniversary, and I wrestled through another year of empty arms and the waiting that feels a little like forgetting. 

I tripped a little because of it, but soon put my head down and finally finished my second manuscript. Somewhere Between Water & Sky is so much of who I am in this season and I can't wait to get into your hands. 

Soon after I finished the very last sentence, women from all over the country were flying into Austin and we were making ourselves at home for a few days in the hills at a sprawling estate. We spoke about the keys we need to drop and the keys we need to pick up—and how this relates to our creativity as women. There were talks on shalom and beauty and working the dream. And the entire weekend, I kept pinching myself because when did this life become mine? It's a beautiful one. Doing life and art with the women of Story Sessions pushes me to create better, be better, and dream better. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

books read :: 

Tables in the Wilderness, Preston Yancey - full review is coming for this memoir, but you guys...it's so good. SO GOOD. I felt like Preston and I were back at a table in Justine's eating mussels and talking about his story. So recommended. 

Paper Towns, John Green - I'm unabashedly a late-to-the-table Green fan. I read Looking for Alaska a few years ago and loved it, and then resisted FiOS for obvious reasons. I gave into the madness back in May when I had the opportunity to see a screening of the movie and then read the entire FiOS book in one sitting. Paper Towns was the same way. I started the book Sunday morning, and didn't leave bed until 2pm when I finished the last page. It was engaging, well written, and only brought a slight eye-roll in some of the obvious head nods to the manic-pixie-dream girl trope. 

The Light Between Us, Beth Morey - another review coming to the blog later this week. This one was a quick, easy and fun read. 

books still reading ::   

#GIRLBOSS, Sophia Amoruso

The Enneagram, A Christian Perspective, Richard Rohr

Warm Bodies, Isaac Marion

The Here and Now, Ann Brashares 

for the love of poetry ::  

The small woman
Builds cages for everyone
She
Knows.
While the sage,
Who has to duck her head
When the moon is low,
Keeps dropping keys all night long
For the
Beautiful
Rowdy
Prisoners

- Hafiz

television ::  

It's been all Ink Master and Chuck and Orange is the New Black around here. I need to catch up with Scandal and Pretty Little Liars BUT FIRST, Crazy Eyes.

music :: 

I've been having fun creating and listening to Somewhere Between Water & Sky's playlist as well as this one I created a few months ago for a secret project I'll be starting soon. (wink) 

on beauty ::

This month, it's purple lipstick only swapped out for bright pink or magenta. All of the color, ladies and gentlemen. ALL OF THE COLORS. 

Oh and pink hairs. Because everything is coming up rosy. 

everything else :: 

 Falling in love all over again with peonies.

Falling in love all over again with peonies.

  • Steak and pipes on the porch with best friends
  • Watching my man do what he loves to do for other people
  • Continuing the tradition of story-sisters and jalapeño ranch with margaritas.
  • Reminding myself why Artful Blogging matters through a Story Sessions' workshop
  • Giving away the third scholarship for the Story Sessions' subscription
  • Lindsay Tweedle and her editing skills
  • Paint on my fingers
  • holding my nephew and niece 

What about you? What's made your June magnificent?  

:: Linking up with the amazing Leigh Kramer for her What I'm Into posts ::  

Posted on July 1, 2014 and filed under this-here blog.

a beginning.

It's been something that has echoed in my spirit for months. 

Build a routine. Build a routine. Practice rituals. Practice rituals. 

And well, for a writer who's published a book and wants to publish more, I'm horribly undisciplined. 

Part of this is me pushing against the mundane. I don't need the website stats or to waste time on the perfect title or to get lost in the checking the box-ness of daily practice. 

But. 

I remember what it's like—the writing every day. I remember the blood-pumping through my veins and the tunnel vision and the words falling faster than I can get them down. I remember that rush and how much of a natural high it produced and yet I resist. 

"I don't want to put a box around my art" I say, and really, it's fear talking. Will I ever write another book?

"I don't want to waste my words on blog posts" I mention. Which translates to the worry of being pigeonholed.

I talk a big game, you know?  I'm nothing if not a dichotomy.

I'm learning that part of embracing wholeness is embracing all of me—even the messy bits. Even the piece (especially the piece?) that rails against opening up the new blog post area of her website because "who's gonna read it anyway?" and "I should be emailing Story Sessions instead" and "has anyone walked the dog today?" 

Here's the deal: I left this space for a long time because I was tired. 

Tired of the finger-pointing.
Tired of not feeling enough.
Tired of the pressure to perform. 
Tired of the risk in becoming someone's poster child for whatever cause they're hollering about from their corner of the internet. 

And I think I needed to step away from the consistency in order to get my heart back. In order to find the rhythm of the way my words beat against my chest. 

Because there's nothing that'll sap your energy and focus than when others try to suck up your words and breathe them out for you.

So this is me tripping and falling. 
This is me getting up and brushing off my knees and trying again.
This is me making this space purely my own with no other agenda.

I love words and I write the holy and broken and I believe your story matters. 

This is where I will begin to practice merging those three. 

 

Posted on January 13, 2014 and filed under this-here blog.