The first time I opened Gift from the Sea, I was pedaling barefoot on the exercise bike in the basement. It’s the story of this stage of my life, I’m circling my legs around in full stride only to realize I’m a hamster in a wheel. I stopped pedaling as Anne Morrow Lindbergh described my frenzied days in pointed poetic lines written half a century earlier.
For all of the joys of my dual callings to children and words, there are pressures. I scrub the baby’s high chair tray to clear the crusted baked beans from the last meal so I can serve this one. I steal away for a few minutes to write a post here, hoping to publish more than once a month, but the words come out ugly and ask for tedious work while the rest of the Internet sets the pace, posting beautiful, effortless entries every morning.
While filling out a form the other day, I stumbled across a box labeled, “occupation,” and puzzled for a minute. It didn’t feel right to pick just one descriptor, so I ended up penning block letters to describe a hybrid of roles: HOMEMAKER/WRITER. I am the hermit crab with the over-sized shell on my back. Sometimes the responsibility feels like too much to carry, yet I’d be naked without it.
When the load begins to weigh heavy, other mother writers like Anne Morrow Lindbergh mentor me with the words they left behind: “Even purposeful giving must have some source that refills it. The milk in the breast must be replenished by food taken into the body. If it is woman’s function to give, she must be replenished too,” she wrote.
For me, this means making time to decompress alone and dream together with like-minded friends. AML suggested refilling via a combination of contemplation and creativity: “Quiet time alone, contemplation, prayer, music, a centering line of thought or reading, or study or work. It can be physical or intellectual or artistic, any creative life proceeding from oneself. It need not be an enormous project or a great work, but it should be something of one’s own. Arranging a bowl of flowers in the morning can give a sense of quiet in a crowded day….”
As Sheila and I met the other day to talk about what the summer session of The Story Circle would look like, we decided to focus on rest and rejuvenation in the mood of my Gift from the Sea Book Club series from a couple of years ago. We are both tired in this season, from the troubles I’m wading through and the baby she’s carrying, but also from staying up too late and putting hard work into all these good things in front of us.
We need it right now, that good mixture of contemplation and creativity. (1) We want to spend some laid-back time reflecting on who we are as creative women, owning and developing our God-given talents, asking the Lord and each other how we should use those gifts in the hard-working season of fall. (2) We want to observe the beauty around us like tourists on an easy-breezy vacation and take a little time weekly to share our finds with one another. (3) We want to learn under the mentorship of wise women writers (specifically Anne Morrow Lindbergh this session) on growing into the most authentic version of ourselves, both with serving those in our care and taking time to nourish ourselves.
Today, I have two ways for you to take the next step in cultivating the writer in you. (1) Registration opens today for our (in)couragers group The Story Circle. It’s such a life-giving community and it’s free. I hope you’ll consider joining us this session. Click the link to get one of just thirty spots. There are only nine spots left as I’m finishing this post. (2) If you’re looking to take the next step in building a platform for your writing, I recommend Joe Bunting’s smart course on best practices for building a solid readership without wasting your writing time. I’ve done the The Story Cartel Course twice and have gleaned some amazing insights each time. Plus, Joe is just a good guy to be around. When you purchase The Story Cartel Course through this link as part of your writing journey, the affiliate commissions, which come at no extra cost to you, help fund my efforts to inspire creative people to act out their potential through my writing here and elsewhere.
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