This morning I woke up and was compelled to write a blog post like it’s 2009. But maybe that’s not quite right.

I’m convinced in the power of letting things go, of hushing up for a while, and giving not only our souls room to breathe, but our practices, too.

I haven’t written in a free-form kind of way in this space for a while, but there’s no need to go back in time to invite back into our lives what we loved about the past. We can do it now, in whatever way we like. We can do it in 2018, too.

I can’t fully account for the compulsion I woke up with to write here. Maybe it’s because I read Emily’s post about her family’s vacation the other day or maybe it’s because I’m a writer, after all, and a blog is still the best place to practice writing and see what connects, if you ask me.

It could also be that this week I’ve been combing through my iPhotos to delete duplicate, terrible, and oops images and in the process I watched my life scroll by in pixels and it reminded me of the old days of blogging where we shared the little things and the ridiculous things and sometimes the big things, too.

We still do that, I know. Just in different ways and different places (hello my beloved instagram! I see you and never plan to leave you.)

My compulsion to write a personal blog post this morning could also be because of this: it’s the end of April and the twins are in 8th grade and their little brother is in 5th grade and that means in the next few months, we will be transitioning from elementary school to middle school for him and from middle school to high school for them and I’m starting to feel some kind of way about that.

That was a four line run-on sentence and I don’t even care.

I started this blog before our youngest was born and having him go into middle school in the fall, well. It’s enough to force a mama to write on a blog again is what I’m saying.

So here I am and here you are and look at us! Writing and reading blogs still! Sometimes it’s good to do things just because you want to.

To be clear, not writing as often in this space is not a strategic decision for me. It’s just been a natural evolution of life, of simpler platforms, of easier ways to communicate with you, and of time.

Also, I’m in grad school, finishing up my second semester and preparing for summer term. Being a student again has a way of clearing the decks and honing in priorities, not to mention if I’m sitting down to write a thousand words, it’s going to be for a school assignment and not a blog post.

By the way, because I know some of you will ask, I wrote about my school decision here: How I Made A Hard Decision. If you’re curious, I’m getting my Masters in Christian Spiritual Formation and Leadership and I’ll be finished with it next spring.

So these are the days of required reading, of spiritual theology, of looking and re-looking at what I believe. With each new chapter, lecture, and conversation, I am more curious, more in awe of the mystery, more grateful for our friend Jesus, and more convinced than ever that His kingdom is strong and unshakeable – to borrow the phrase from my friend and teacher James Bryan Smith.

These are the days of teaching, encouraging, and co-leading a group of over 1,000 hope*writers in our membership community, a space we decided to make priority during the first quarter of 2018.

We spent countless hours building and re-building that space that we’ve run for two years and now in what will be our third year, we’ve caught a fresh vision for how we want to serve our writers and how the whole thing fits into our own unique calling and, though it takes up more time than ever and is fast becoming a huge part of my job, I’m grateful everyday I get to do it. What a gift.

Last week I traveled with John to California to serve at our friend Jamin Goggin’s church. We met Jamin two years ago when we traveled to Italy for the Tuscany Writer’s Retreat and had a near instant connection.

Here he is in one of my favorite photos from our week together, he and Jenni Burke (they led the trip together) serving the pool goers. Only in Italy.

So we had a connection and because of that, he invited me to come serve the women at his church last week, to lead them in retreat which now ranks up there as one of my most favorite events I’ve been a part of in recent years. But my point is, several California hope*writers drove hours to come to this retreat simply because I was going to be there.

I almost cried when I saw them – familiar, kind, writerly faces. These are my people and again, I’m grateful.

And so these are the days of probably working a little too much, of watching Cedar Cove on Netflix because it’s non-threatening and doesn’t make me think too much, of discovering Louise Penny books and Chief Inspector Armand Gamache.

These are the days of watching the new American Idol with the kids and remembering how much I love duets and seeing Katy Perry in a new kind of way that I like.

These are the days of almost seventeen years of marriage to John and how is it possible that I still learn new things about him and just want to spend all the time with him still? After all these years? May that never change.

These are also the days of discovering new apps for photos that help us time travel and manipulate space and erase the existence of people. For example, the photo above? Is a lie. The one below is the truth.

Tell me you see the difference. The app is called Retouch and it has powers is what I’m saying.

But back to the point. I have one. I think.

With all the transition in this space over the last twelve years, a few things remain solid.

I believe more than ever that I’m called to a ministry of listening which feels like a weird thing to say when I’m doing so much talking. But I continue to work to create space for your soul to breathe in whatever way will both serve you and sing well with my own current life stage.

For now, I do that through The Next Right Thing Podcast, instagram (and stories!), and my weekend email and monthly letter.

I can’t say for sure how I’ll continue to do that in the future, but I can say I’m sticking around to find out.

I still love photos.

I still love talking with writers about writing.

I still love writing words I can’t take back, discovering what I think about things by writing my way through it, and listening as a loving discipline for myself and others.

This is turning into a list post, isn’t it? I didn’t mean for that to happen. I have to save some things for our What We Learned link up at the end of May. We still do that, by the way – share what we learned at the end of each quarter.

Here’s what I learned in Winter 2018 if you missed it. List posts are my favorite.

But that was not my intention here. Instead, it was simply to say hello, to document a few things happening these days, and to give myself permission to write on a whim without an agenda.

Thank you for receiving the words and for always being a safe place to come back to. Would love to hear from you in the comments as proof that some people still read blogs!

But listen, if you are a forever lurker and only comment on Instagram or just don’t like commenting in general because it’s a pain, I’m here for that, too. We’re running an introvert friendly gig over here, lurkers welcome, no need to raise your hand.

If all you ever do is skim, nod, and go on your way, you’re always welcome back.

However you show up, I’ll take it. Thanks for doing the same for me.

P.S. Of course I still write regularly, just not always here. You can get my monthly letter by signing up below.

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