Category Archives: Purple Crayon

When you’re feeling a little wobbly. Tribe Conference 2017

You’re about to walk into a room of 270 where you don’t know a single human.

You’re feeling a little wobbly.

Nervous and excited and hopeful.

Hopeful that the people in this room are YOUR tribe.

You feel a connection with some of them because they have shared their stories online.

They were vulnerable and generous.  They showed you a piece of their heart.  You got a good look at their values.

And you wanted what they have.

A chance to share your words with a wider world.

A chance to impact at the deepest level.

A chance to make a living by sharing.

Because these people and their words have already marked you indelibly.

Take Jeff Goins’ 500 words a day challenge, for example.

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I’d been blogging about a year when I took the challenge.  I was having problems posting consistently and I thought 500 words a day would help.
So, I started and found 500 words a day was pretty easy to hit.  Sometimes I could do it in 20 minutes.
The first result I noticed was I started posting on my blog LESS often– once month down from once or twice a week.
The second result was a marked improvement in my emotional health.
In order to get 500 words a day in quickly, I was brain dumping– stream of consciousness writing.  Scattered thoughts, random rabbit trails, whatever was on my mind.  Not focused, one topic writing good for blog posts.
But I was less angry, less depressed, more grateful.
After four months, I started to wonder if I just needed to journal and not be posting to the world.
Then I started mining the ramblings to develop into blog posts.
I started using part of the 500 words directed to specific posts and the remainder to whatever was on my mind.
I started spending fifteen minutes a day on editing, picking photos and all the non-writing tasks needed for my blog.
I still have lots of tweaks to make to the creative process, but I don’t ever want to go back to a life when I’m not writing at least 500 words a day.
500 words a day changed my life.
It hit number one on my list of  What’s Saving My Life Right Now.
And that’s just one example.

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So, you step into the room.  And you fasten your badge onto your lanyard. And you ask if this seat is taken.

And it all begins.

And it’s just as exhilarating as you’d hoped.

And you knew it was okay to be where you are in the journey– stumbling, stalled, hopeful.

They had been there too.

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Interested in finding out more about Tribe Conference?  Check it out.

 

 

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3 Things I Learned, Summer 2017

Linking up with Emily P. Freeman to share what we’ve learned this summer.

In August we celebrated thirty years of marriage with a week at the lake with the kids.

Thirty years is a long time.

That’s a lot of days.  It’s a lot of hours.

I’ll be the first person to admit that clocking 30 years doesn’t necessarily make you an expert. Scads of people who’ve been around the block didn’t learn anything on the trip.

For what it’s worth, here’s what I learned for making it to 30:

Keep re-negotiating your marriage and extend grace.

Having lived the past 30 years with a lot of upheaval and transitions on top of the normal phases of life, I’m more sensitive to the need for constant re-negotiation.

Getting on the same page can be difficult. Melding two personalities to head the same direction takes a lot of negotiation. We’ve made some big changes geographically and culturally in our marriage. With each change, we have to re-negotiate our marriage. It’s not easy.

Also, I don’t think you can make it to 30 years without heaping helpings of grace and forgiveness. There will be hurts and offenses. There has to be grace in equal measure. It might take an act of God.

“I just want my kids to be happy” is not a helpful parenting philosophy

It’s amazingly pervasive, though.

Sometimes what the kids need most will not make them happy.  Take immunizations, for example.  Or eating vegetables.  Or going to bed.

In order to be happy, your kids might just want pizza and french fries. But you know that’s not what’s best for them. What’s best for them is eating vegetables. And they might not like it at first, but they will develop a taste for it.

The same is true for many things, including doing dishes and doing laundry.

Our kids are independent, responsible young adults. And they’ve adopted the values that matter most to us. Our friendships with them bring us joy.

Tweaking my morning routines has made a huge difference for me.

Keeping up with paper clutter is one of the huge struggles of my life and just dealing with the mail at home every day was overwhelming. The bottom line is that it’s not that hard to handle.

But, the critical element for me was realizing that I couldn’t handle it in the evening. I was processing the mail in 3 minutes every morning while my eggs were cooking. That went well except for the mornings when my husband made breakfast or I didn’t eat eggs. A few slips and I fell off the bandwagon.

I was able to re-start with two minor tweaks. I process the mail for 2 minutes every morning while I heat my water for a hot drink (lemon, hot water and stevia to help deal with Hashimoto’s).

This is working.

There’s something about micro-habits that makes them easier. Knowing that it’s only two minutes helps. In the morning, I haven’t succombed to decision fatigue and the process is possible (even easy) instead of overwhelming.

It’s amazing to me that such little changes can make such a huge difference. It’s fun to figure out what works.

 

 

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3 Ways Global Nomads Find Community

One of the greatest challenges for gobal nomads is finding community.

Connecting with others is difficult for the nomad because not everyone understands his life. Finding kindred spirits takes more effort and probably isn’t the person living next door.

Another factor is the taste of community that the nomad has already experienced. He’s trying to replicate that in another context and finds it doesn’t work.

There’s also the matter of personal identity. With which culture does he most identify? Where’s his tribe? If he’s a fish out of water, where can he find some water?

(note: this post contains affiliate links. At no extra charge to you, a percentage of your purchase goes to support this site.)

There are three ways to face this challenge.

1. Embrace Imperfect Communities Right Where You Are

Geography is a critical factor.

It’s natural to cling to a community that grew in another part of the world. With Sykpe, Facebook, What’s App and internet phones it’s easier than ever to stay in touch with people all over the planet.

Technology is amazing, except when it keeps you from connecting to people where you actually live.

The community that you plug into in the new place will not measure up. Push yourself to do it anyway.

2. Re-connect With Former Tribes

Reunions are important.

When you’ve logged a significant portion of your life with a tribe, it’s good to re-connect and catch up.

Last week, we went to the funeral of a mentor from a decade ago.  We shared a meal with former colleagues.  Because our lives intertwined so closely with these people in the past, years of separation melted away.

The same thing happened at a wedding in May.

Doing life with these people has marked us indelibly.

We need to touch base or we lose a part of who we are.

3. Create Your Own Culture

Establish traditions, celebrate holidays, eat the ethnic foods.

Marry someone who sees the value in preserving observances and ritual.

Create a family culture that incorporates  world cultures.

Influence churches, clubs and schools to reflect values and traditions you want to perpetuate.

Of course, these efforts are fluid. They will only last for a season if someone else doesn’t pick them up and carry them on.

But, the encouraging fact remains that the nomad isn’t doomed to a lifelong search for community: he can create it.

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The best book I’ve read this year about globe-trotting and the search for belonging is Tsh Oxenreider’s book At Home in the World.  Tsh and her husband took their three children and circled the globe. The book traces their journey as well as Tsh’s reflections on travel, life and personal growth.

  Buy now from Amazon

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Stop wishing you read more: one simple key to reading more books

Every year, almost 5 million people google how to read more as part of their research for New Year’s Resolutions.

It comes in behind exercising and eating right, but it’s on the list of things people want to do to improve their lives.

I remember wishing I read more.  I didn’t google it and I didn’t make it a New Year’s Resolution, but I was feeling it intensely.

I still wish it sometimes, but not as often and not a strongly, since I discovered the simple key to reading more.

 

The key to reading more is to surround yourself with irresistible books.

Goals and challenges can help.

Accountability and support systems are good.

But, achievement will be almost effortless if you are surrounded by irresistible books.

The challenge will no longer be, how can I make time to read? But, how will I get my cleaning done, how do I get a full night’s sleep every night? How can I get my work done?

Not just great books, not just bestsellers, not just books that are famous, but books that are irresistible to YOU.

Finding them and getting access to them is your challenge.

How do you find them, the irresistible books?

First of all, you have to answer the question Why am I reading?

Am I reading to be educated or entertained? Do I want to learn or escape? These are the two main reasons people read.

The exceptional writers are the ones who can entertain while teaching or instruct while entertaining.

So, you mainly want to escape and be entertained? Where do you find great books? The plethora of books available makes finding ones you love a daunting task.

You could go by bestseller lists, by GoodReads or Amazon reviews, what your friends are reading, book clubs or bloggers. There’s so many great resources on the internet now to find books you love. Pinterest, instagram, twitter.

So, you’re interesting in learning? To scale up your business, to take up a new hobby, to rocket your side hustle. Or to improve your spiritual, emotional or relational life. To understand what’s happening in the world or in politics. To understand a cause or join the conversation.

This is the best time in history to connect with people with the same interests as you. You can find them online. You can find out what they’re reading and what they’re writing.

Surrounding yourself with irresistible books has never been easier.

Even with the disappearance of bookstores. Even if you’re not close to a library, the possibilities are greater than ever. There’s audio books. There’s ebooks. There’s used books–sometimes cheap online, sometimes not. There’s free books from people building their businesses.

Some people don’t consider the time that they’re exercising or commuting or cleaning the kitchen as a good time to read. But, if you add audio books into the mix, all of a sudden windows of time for reading open up.

 

Find books you love.

When you are surrounded by books you love, then it’s no longer a problem of finding time to read, it will be a problem of finding time to clean or mow the lawn or sleep.  It won’t be a matter of finding time to read.

I think this is the key. I really do. I owe a lot to Modern Mrs Darcy for helping me to find books that I love. Not that everything I’ve heard on podcast or read about in her blog have been winners, but I found out about a lot of books that I wouldn’t have otherwise. It gave this fiction snob a reason to believe that there are novels out there that I like. I had about given up hope. It felt like all the wholesome novels were not well-written and the well-written novels were not wholesome.

“Throw your phone in the ocean.”

Even with print books and ebooks, there’s the time you spend waiting, there’s the time you spend on your phone or watching tv or engaging with social media.

Austin Kleon’s number one rule for reading more is “Throw your phone in the ocean.” Nuff said.

 

 

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Real Artists Don’t Starve

 

This book is a game changer.

It challenges long held beliefs and deconstructs myths.

Real Artists Don’t Starve doesn’t just refer to painters and sculptors, but writers, poets, and creatives of all types.

The twelve principles that emerged from Jeff studying creatives are supported by success stories from today and throughout history.

I love lots of them, but my favorite is about C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien and the literary group they belonged to, the Inklings.  They shaped each other’s art.  It debunks the myth of the lone genius and highlights the need to work in collaboration.

This message is important for young people who have been told to put their dreams on hold in favor of a steady income.

It’s also important for older people who have not pursued their dreams believing in the inability of artists to make a living.

It’s time for a paradigm shift and Jeff Goins is leading the way

.  Buy now from Amazon

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Five Minute Friday: Future

It’s Friday.  Time for another link up with Kate Motaung.

Today’s prompt is: future.

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I live in the future.

That is where my daydream fantasies are always perfect.

Where things go my way and even my craziest ideas work out and are brilliantly successful.

All this as opposed to the here and now.

Where things are messy. And I screw up.

AND I CAN’T WRITE FOR FIVE MINUTES WITHOUT BEING INTERRUPTED!!

There’s just lots of irritations in the present.

The perfect, fantasy, daydream future is so enticing.  No wonder I want to live there instead of here.

I have to fight it.

I have to be present in the here and now.  With the mess.  With the interruptions.  With people who don’t agree with all my brilliant ideas, who point out the flaws and see the drawbacks that I don’t see.

I need to be present.  Here.  Today.

And not only present, but grateful.  Grateful for what is.  Grateful for the mess.  Grateful for the people who see the drawbacks and my imperfections and walk along with me anyway.

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3 Things I’ve Learned, Spring 2017

This season our lives have taken some unexpected twists:  car accident, theft, a good friend losing ground to cancer.  I’m re-evaluating God’s sovereignty and maybe trusting it more than I used to.

Linking up with Emily P. Freeman to share what we’ve learned.

Family Christian bookstores has closed all 240 locations nationwide.

These closings are of particular interest to me because we own a bookstore.

I’ve been following the story of Family Christian for a few years.  They became a non-profit several years ago.  Then they filed for bankruptcy.  Their creditors sued them after the original bankruptcy proposal.  So they re-organized and filed again.  Their second proposal was accepted.  That lasted two years.  Now they are shutting their doors for good.

Of course, Amazon and online purchasing is to blame.  Just like the big box bookstores that didn’t survive and many independent bookstores that have gone under.

I tend to think there are other factors in play as well. I think the quality of Christian products has influenced sales.  There are some notable exceptions, but there are a lot of poor quality products with a Christian stamp on them that ruins the reputation for all Christian sales.  Most notable are CDs and Movies, but I believe it to be true across the board.

I also think the climate of Christianity in this country is reflected.  I don’t want to detract from good things going on, but there’s a lot of lukewarmness and apathy as well.

How to listen to podcasts on my phone

I’m a slow learner and not techy at all, but I was able to install the Stichter app to my phone and subscribe to my favorite podcasts.

I usually listen to the podcasts in the car to and from work or doing errands around town.

The Dave Ramsey Show is the one I listen to the most.  What Should I Read Next is one I don’t miss, although I’ve become a little wary of some of her top picks.

Speaking about not being techy:  I’m learning how to use MailChimp again.  I used it a decade ago to create a newsletter for a school.  But, it’s evolved since then and I have a terrible memory.   So, it’s an uphill learning curve.

I like the intellectual challenge of Five Minute Friday.  

Writing for five minutes based on a one word prompt has stretched my creativity in all the best ways.

I’ve learned the importance of limits: knowing when to start and when to stop.  Knowing when to stop is critical.  When you don’t know when to stop, it’s hard to get started.

My mind so quickly drifts to the theoretical and philosophical.  It’s my favorite type of thinking.  Practical execution, actually pulling it off?  Therein lies the rub.

What have you learned this Spring?

 

 

 

 

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Five Minute Friday: Visit

Linking up with Kate Motaung and Five Minute Friday.

This week’s prompt is: visit.

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Visit makes me think of temporary versus permanent.

As in, it’s a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

I’ve read a couple of of blog posts this week about Third Culture Kids transitioning and dealing with life.  I can relate to the itchy feet of wanting to move on, but also to the desire to put down some roots.

What are the elements that make up home?

I want to read Tsh Oxenrider’s book At Home in the World, because I think she deals with some of those same issues.

They say home is where the heart is, but what if your heart is stretched across continents?

The very word home carries a lot of meanings– a haven for some, but not for others.

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I love exploring the global nomad issues, especially when the light bulb comes on.  That happened  when I realized that our family tree was grafted.

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Who’s In Charge?

Who’s in charge?

The question has been echoing in my brain ever since my five year old niece asked me last month.

It was the first day of her parents’ 11 day absence.  I was filling in as caregiver, but I was the newbie.  She and her three sisters were getting me up to speed with how the system worked.  My biggest advantage was that I had the driver’s license.

So, I picked Charlotte up after school on the first day and she asked me flat out,  “Who’s charge?”  As if to say, let’s get the ground rules straight here:  where does the power lie? I was so stunned by the question, I don’t remember if I gave her a definitive answer.  I hope I did because it’s pretty important to win that battle up front.

But, it got me thinking.

I love, love, love setting goals.  I love new systems and “the answer to all life’s problems” and the new way of doing things that’s going to make All. The. Difference.

But, it often doesn’t work out.

I lose enthusiasm.  I drop the ball.  I don’t hit my goals.  I start over or give up.  I face insurmountable obstacles and get discouraged.  Life happens and things don’t work out.

And then I wonder again, “Who’s in charge?”

Is God in charge of my life or am I?  Am I the captain of ship or not?  Why bother to set goals if there’s a Higher Power moving the chess pieces?  How can I set goals that align with His agenda?

These are my questions.

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Coming Soon:  The Summer Reading Guide for All Ages.

Stay tuned.

 

 

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Five Minute Friday: Should

Linking up again with Kate Motaung and Five Minute Friday.  This might become a habit.

This week’s prompt is should.

Should feels like a heavy weight, crushing and debilitating.

It restricts freedom.

It’s the weight of expectations that are too much to bear.

Sometimes, should serves a useful purpose.  It gives us the kick in the hind quarters to move into action and accomplish what is good and right.

Sometimes, though, it paralyzes with regret and shame.

Where is there room for grace?

How can we leverage the helpful side of should without being smashed by the weight?

 

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