Words like Honey: Circling Up to (In)Courage

Welcome to those of you visiting from the (in)couragers community page! After reading below about the heart behind circling up, you’ll find an introduction to The Story Circle, our (in)couragers writing group that runs from now through April. (Update 2/16/13: Our group is now full!)

I’d love to have you join in the community here at Message in a Mason Jar as well. To get posts in your email box or blog reader, enter your email address on the homepage sidebar or enter http://messageinamasonjar.com/feed/ in your reader. You’re also invited to link-up with today’s Take Heart companion post, The Land of Raw Milk & Honey.

stitching

words like honey

I laid out a picnic blanket over amber lengths of grass left too long in fall. Now they greened early from mild winter air. The bugs had hardly had to hibernate; the pansies had bloomed all the way through. There, in late winter in my yard-turned-meadow, something whispered in my ear, the soft buzz of a honeybee circling my head and whispering secrets.

My little boy held his breath at the sight of the stinger inches from my skin. But the bee had better things to do. The little sunflower with wings, she was a seeker, smelling sweetness on wind, sensing the position of the sun through clouds. She wandered, zig-zagging through the tall blades of dry grass, but she wasn’t directionless.

My son and I watched the bee fly off until she was just a speck and then invisible, our own minds buzzing with curiosity about what was next on her agenda. As always, nature was the place where our imaginations opened to the wider world, where wonder blossomed. In Creation, we became more creative.

“Every really good creative person…whom I have ever known has always had two noticeable characteristics,” said James Webb Young, “First, there was no subject under the sun in which he could not easily get interested…. Every facet of life had fascination for him. Second, he was an extensive browser in all sorts of fields of information.”

The honeybee had us fascinated, asking questions. And we went browsing.

Our eyes widened at the diagrams of how the honeybees encourage one another back at the hive, how these sisters come from all places to tell each other where to find what they’re looking for.

They memorize the angle of the sun and make adjustments for the time that lapses between their discovery and their meet up. At the hive, they dance in circles and map out the surroundings in their movements. In their shimmies and shakes, they spell out direction and distance, leading each other to fields full of pollen and nectar, each giving the other a leg up on fulfilling her calling.

In the same spirit of circling up and sharing from unique angles of wisdom, gifting, and expertise, I’m privileged to be heading up a community group with (in)couragers this session! If you are a writer who has been looking for a community to spur you on in following your creative call, I hope you’ll join us in The Story Circle, our (in)couragers writing group. We’ll be interacting together in a private Facebook group from February 12 through the end of April.

Proverbs 16:24 tells us that “Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” I believe so much in the power of words that I majored in writing in college. I married a fellow word lover and now I get to watch the writing and publishing process over and over again as my husband runs his literary agency. Aside from writing here at Message in a Mason Jar (have you checked out this month’s Take Heart series?), I have written Bible studies and camp curriculum for a large not-for-profit, plus I dabble in fiction writing and hope to complete a novel and/or a work of creative non-fiction at some point.

If you want to get even more of a feel for my love of writing and writers (and to work on your own writing), be sure to check out my 31-day series, Preserve Your Story. Altogether, I believe we write our best when we’re connected in community, pairing our own insights with those of other writers coming from all different angles.

I am beyond blessed to have two lovely friends, each with their unique giftedness in writing, leading The Story Circle with me:

SheilaSheila, a former librarian and bookseller, writes about all things literary at The Deliberate Reader. She began reading at age three, and now working as a stay-at-home mother of two, she does all she can to instill a love of reading in her children. As an avid reader who finished an astonishing 160 books last year, she is especially in tune with the ingredients of good writing and will provide thoughtful insights throughout our session. She herself dreams of writing children’s or young adult historical fiction and/or fantasy. She’d love to connect and chat about anything related to books, reading, or writing. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads. Click here to read her Story Circle welcome post.

adriennebiopicAdrienne, a homeschooling mother of three, writes about whole foods, homesteading and slow living at A Suburban Menagerie. She is active in caring for the poor in her community and just recently began a blog series called Stage Your Own Mutiny, based on the book 7, by Jen Hatmaker. In her spare time, she practices fiction writing and even took part in the NaNoWriMo challenge this past fall. You can find her Story Circle welcome post here.

We will all be teaming up to bring you fresh writing prompts, creative exercises and inspirational thoughts from successful authors. We’ll facilitate the chance to do peer review and workshopping whatever you’re writing, be it fiction or non-fiction. We’ll provide opportunities for group members to get to know one another and cheer each other on in our writing efforts. And most importantly, we’ll point each other to the original Word as our inspiration.

We’d love to have you in on it all this session. Circle up with us by clicking the link and requesting membership in our Facebook group: The Story Circle ~ (in)couragers writing group. We’re so excited to meet you! (Update 2/16/13: Our group is now full!)

IncourageWriters

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Don’t Lose the Sweets {Preserve Your Story ~ Day 15}

It’s a neighborhood masquerade. Little characters toddle from their homes and gather all at once along sidewalks. We marvel at ninja moves, watch Robin Hood pull back his bow, and learn the trick of dodging the light saber. We tote around little Leia, keeping her warm beyond the braids twirled in place to make convenient earmuffs. No matter the shivers, she nods yes for more treats.

Our words come out funny through half-frozen lips, but we talk anyway and feel the warmth of this door-to-door festival. We laugh at a friend barreling down the hill on his son’s stroller. We tousle the fur of the prodigal Bichons who slept in a stranger’s house last week. Another neighbor caters to us parents, ladeling cups of hot apple cider and telling us about the arches in the window woodwork more than a century old. And then there’s our aging neighbor across the street given two days to live after a drunk driver bruised her heart. Here she was last night, months after the accident, handing out candy.

These are the treats to me. My children open up their bags for chocolate bars and lemon drops. I open up for this– these little bits of story handed out in my own neighborhood. They are the richness of scene and character, whether I use them in my writing or not. But I’d rather keep these little bits than lose them. If I don’t, I’m like a trick-or-treater with a hole in my candy bucket. The sweets fall out and trail behind, left to the raccoons.

Whether in the moment or at the end of the day, I take time to record a brief memory cue or one-liner at the bottom of my planner page. Sometimes I record a bit on the iTalk app on my phone. Sometimes I snap a picture of an inspiring object or scene and share it on Instagram or store it in my private One Thousand Gifts app.

You can carry a small leatherbound book (dated or blank) like Hemingway did. You can ramble your findings on your phone or gather them in a photo stream with a good caption. But make sure that somehow, some way, you’re taking notes or you’ll likely find yourself back home empty, a sad-faced kid with nothing much to chew on.

{Have you been taking notes to give yourself something to work with later? How can you make it more convenient to gather the bits of story handed out in your everyday? Do you prefer the old-school or high tech options?}

This is Day 15 of my series 31 Days ~ Preserve Your Story, linking up with The Nester’s annual 31 Days of Change.

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