Saturday, May 11, 2019

QUIET | Why Being Quiet Isn't Being Lazy (Guest Post by Victoria Grace Howell of Wanderer's Pen)

Today on the blog I have a special treat for you: A guest post written by the one and only Victoria Grace Howell of Wanderer's Pen! I was so excited when Victoria reached out to collaborate, and am so happy to share her essay on why time spent being QUIET and restful isn't time wasted. Without further ado....let's jump into her essay!

I spent my childhood around a previous generation that believed
hard work was the key to success in life.

They’d work themselves to the bone to keep their families going and/or to pursue their dreams. For years, I adopted this practice because it felt like if I wasn’t working myself into exhaustion, I was being lazy. I’d take on tasks from waking till sleeping and I was productive, yes, but so exhausted. While I felt like I was accomplishing so much, at the same time I was withering and suffering from burnout.

Going on the occasional vacation never felt restful enough because although I was away from work, I was still going, going, going -
just for recreation instead of a paycheck.

It wasn’t until I was working a day job, involved with three different writing organizations, trying to write my own stories, and being diagnosed with depression and anxiety that I realized I have to take some regular time to be QUIET. I highly do not recommend coming to such a low place to have such a revelation, but I do strongly recommend finding time within a week or even every day to rest and reflect. I’ve started taking one rest day a week where I sleep in, relax, and not burden myself with a never-ending to-do list. I also take an hour or two every day to just refresh myself before
going to bed.

I know not everyone can take a day out of the week, but try taking an hour or two every day to just do things for you.

Watch a show, read Scripture, take a walk, draw, whatever brings you joy. Spending time being QUIET is like hitting the refresh button. When a web browser page has been working too long, you often have to hit the refresh button to get it working again. You have to do that with yourself, too.

Since taking that time, I've felt even more productive, I've slept better, my mental health has improved, and I've felt like my life is fuller.

 I believe strongly in hard work, and I don’t by any means believe it is a bad thing, but it needs to be balanced with QUIET and peace, too. Resting doesn’t equal laziness.

Erin here: Can we all just give it up for Victoria?

I loved reading her thoughts on taking time to wind down, because it truly does make us more joyful and productive in the long run. And I believe it vastly improves our quality of life. A big thank you to Victoria for sharing these thoughts!!
Everyone go give her blog some love!

What about you?

What kinds of things do you like to do to prioritize your self care and QUIET time? For me, it's all about listening to new music, taking a park walk, writing my novel and watching Harry Potter movies with my family. Thanks again to Victoria for the awesome essay! Have a stellar weekend, my dudes.

This is the second post in the QUIET series.
Miss last week's post? Fret no more, find it right here.
Or click here to read through all the posts in the QUIET series.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

QUIET | Why I Want to Say Yes to More Quiet Time in May

Easter morning was spent on the back porch of my parents' house in the country, swathed in a sweater and drinking chai tea. The day before, what seemed like my entire extended family arrived to celebrate, but the next morning was quiet, still. There is a certain amount of peace surrounding these kinds of places that words can't do justice. Whenever I visit small towns and this little country house in particular, I feel whole. My only job is to unplug and be present.

Even so, I don't always do the best job of this.

Our lives are so easily filled with noise these days. I'm not saying that we all need to move out to the country to escape it all (wait that's exactly what I'm saying) but I think we have to find ways to cope with the constant surge of sound present in our daily lives. At least in my own experience, any given day can be filled with noise from the media, social networks, texts, emails, music, even my own thoughts. That's why this month will be devoted to posts about pursuing QUIET.

The posts will kind of piggyback on last month's theme, VOICE.
I think that we can create best and really have an impact with our words
when we take time away from everything and rest in the silence.

So, what does QUIET look like? Why should we value it, and what does it mean in terms of places, faces and mental spaces? (I promise I'll stop rhyming; it was just super good timing. OOPS.) I hope to explore posts about this in May, and *throws confetti* we will also have a special top-secret guest poster sharing her thoughts as well!

As always, if you guys have anything you'd like to
see me post about this month, let me know!

I'll leave you with a verse that has been a favorite this year (emphasis mine):

"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life,
to mind your own business and to work
with your hands, just as we told you."
- 1st Thessalonians 4:11

I don't know about you, but the quiet life sounds pretty darn lovely to me.

      What about you?

      What do you do to step away from the noise of everything? What kinds of activities do you enjoy that allow you to unplug from the constant stream of sound?
      Hoping your May is off to a stellar start! 🌸

      It's the first post in the QUIET series!
      Which I actually managed to publish on the first day of the month.
      Not too shabby if I do say so myself!

      Sunday, April 28, 2019

      VOICE | 12 of My Favorite Songs in 2019 (So Far)

      It would be kind of ridiculous to write about this month's theme (VOICE) without mentioning music. I actually don't talk about music on the blog as much as I'd like to, which is kind of odd considering my blog name. But for those of you who don't know, I am capital-o Obsessed with music and am always looking for new songs, albums and artists to add to my playlist. Here are some of the songs I've loved in 2019. Keep in mind these are songs that weren't necessarily released this year but that I've adored anyway.

      Aesthetic: Floating gently to the bottom of the sea as the sun reflects off the water.

      Why this song: Ok, so maybe I was initially a little late to the Billie Eilish party, but now that I'm here, WOW, my dudes. I love Billie's full-length LP (honestly all of those songs are the jam), but this one in particular is so hauntingly beautiful. Her voice is so young, pure, and innocent, but coupled with genuine pain and heartfelt lyrics. Love the layered vocals towards the end of the song. So sad and beautiful, I DIG.

      Related image
      Aesthetic: Parading around your living room in a full black cloak for sheer theatrics; background music for reading Edgar Allan Poe.

      Why this song: Why not this song? It's ridiculously short, sweepingly dramatic, beautifully breathtaking and an absolute gem of a track that easily takes the cake as my favorite song by this band. It's Queen, of course (read: maximum drama), but somehow more pleading and soft than anything I've heard from them. I went out and bought the full album on vinyl the other day just so I could listen to this track.

      Aesthetic: Foot-stomping your way down a woodland path in the park, as the sun dapples down and your spirit soars at the joys of living (WOW what are my words today).

      Why this song: My sister and I saw Hozier in concert this year, and before that night, I hadn't heard this particular track from his new album, but OH MAN. His raw vocals (and stellar background singers) on that killer chorus make this one an instant favorite. Worth a listen, or twelve. DANG IT ANDREW HOZIER-BYRNE. Be right back, just going to be scream-singing this one for the rest of all eternity. 

      Aesthetic: You're literally these two from Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom, and you're going on adventures, darn it.

      Why this song: It's Miike Snow but with a sort of whimsical twist. I love the playful keys and the whistling, and the marching-band style drums give it a youthful feel. It's cute, very summery, and simple enough to sing along to after literally one listen.

      Image result for there is more live hillsong

      Aesthetic: Breathless declaration of identity while gently swaying from side to side.

      Why this song: I usually don't listen to a ton of worship music (which I'd actually like to change), but I heard this song at a Bible study and WOW, the lyrics and powerful vocals just move me. I have sung this song at the top of my lungs more times than I can count, just leaning into the promises of God. Love the live recording because it feels like there's a whole stadium of people singing with me. Also, the song just keeps gives you time to let the lyrics wash over you. 

      Image result for lumineers gloria

      Aesthetic: Leaving town with only a suitcase to your name and a long woodland drive ahead of you.

      Why this song: I can't even begin to describe how much the Lumineers' music affects me. It's relatively simple and often acoustic, but there's an urgency to it, and the raw vocals from their lead singer are like a wound. He believes every word he sings, you can tell. Those keys towards the end of the song also have my heart. Eagerly awaiting the third record.

      What about you?

      What are some of your favorite songs this year, my dudes? I look forward to hearing your recommendations! So far 2019 has been a wonderful year for music.

      Miss the last VOICE post? Check it out here.
      Or click here to read all of the posts in the VOICE series.
      Looking forward to announcing a new theme very soon!