In This Season

In This Season

The past several weeks and months have been just a bit too much. Too much good, too much bad, too much work, and too much to think about all at once. In all of that I’ve tried to be present where I am, doing what most seems to need my time and attention.

I’ve read books and listened to podcasts about how to balance “doing it all” and at the end of the day, I think these people want to tell you the answers, but don’t actually have it figured out. As soon as you seem to strike a balance, something in life changes so your schedule and coping mechanisms all need to readjust to fit everything in once more.

I subscribe more to the notion of seasons. There’s a season for hustle and a season for rest. A season for uncertainty and a season for stability. A season for laughter and a season for tears. The length and order of these seasons may change or go against your plans, but I just don’t believe you can do it all all the time. Unfortunately, in this past season or two, blogging just didn’t take priority. While I’ve missed writing here, I don’t regret that decision.

My writing has taken on other forms lately. My days are actually filled with it, be it at the North State Journal where I work as a writer and copy editor or with my various freelance clients who I continue to work with each week. My life has certainly not been void of writing in my absence from this blog.

I have continued to wrestle with what this blog should say and how to say it. There has been a significant amount of transition and change in our lives in the past year and as a result, I’ve wanted to keep most of these thoughts and feelings private from the likes of social media and an unknown audience. Yet, I want to continue to be here, to write in a way that inspires or relates.

So here’s my wave hello saying that I’m still here and will continue to come back. I’ll bring more of an update in time and continue to write so I can share it with you.

 

Thursday Three

Thursday Three

So many things yet nothing at all. How can it be? Here it is, another Thursday Three!

1. Sometimes the anticipation is the best part. This is a season where we are getting ready, celebrating through Advent and preparing for things we’re all looking forward to. There is a certain excitement in the time leading up to something, and we should cherish that. More to come, but for now, I’m happy to be in the planning and anticipation stage for a few different things.

2. Nostalgia and forgetfulness are at an all-time high this season. Oh, remember the porcelain tree my grandma had? Look, I have one just like it! Oh, it’s December 11th and all gifts/cards should be shipped in the next week. WHAT?!?!?!! I feel like I know it’s time for Christmas, but I’m just not ready still. Maybe I spend too much time hanging out in the anticipation stage and not enough in the preparation. Welcome to what Christmas looks like in our house.

Oh Christmas Tree | Moving Peaces

3. Blogging is more than just writing. Doing photography for money is more than just taking photos. Being a musician is more than simply playing music. Sometimes it’s easy to get wrapped up in the idea that it’s one and the same with any of these (and likely many other roles). At the core, there is a lot of writing involved with blogging (and so on), which is why it is important to love it and continue to improve the skill. That said, the past few weeks and months I’ve really been pouring into all of the other components that go into a blog, like tweaking the website and being active in the blogging community. Trying to figure out how best to grow my audience or interact with readers. It’s been a lot of work and not nearly as much writing as you would think. I’m enjoying learning more about all that goes into it though in hopes of becoming both a better blogger and a better writer.

A Little Q&A

So, I have mentioned how I am really trying to do things with this blog. Sure, I want to have more followers and readers and whatnot. I want to write to a bigger audience about things that matter and make a difference, but also just make connections with readers. I definitely want to continue to improve my writing skills as writing is something I love to do. I’ve found that one thing that often gets overlooked with blogging is the community in the blogging world. People share with each other and get to be friends without ever meeting face-to-face. That sounds a little weird and creepy at first, but there is some real community happening. Although I will always promote community within your neighborhoods and cities first, I think having an online community is awesome. The internet gets a bad reputation for all of the negative things that people say and do online, but there really are some amazing people doing great things online, too.

Liesbster Award | Moving Peaces

Recently, I was nominated by a few blogs (Vicki & Livi, Broken with Remedy, Shelby Clarke Blog, The Aussie Osborns, Polka Dots & Pampers)  to answer a few questions as a part of the Liebster Award. I didn’t even know what hit me so I did a little online searching to find out that “liebster” is a German word and basically is a sweet little compliment/sentiment. So, with this I have been challenged to answer a few questions and then nominate some more bloggers. Without further ado…

1. How did you decide on the title of your blog?

When we were first really considering moving out-of-state I knew I was ready to write again. I had gone almost a year without blogging consistently are dearly missed it. Moving Peaces was a little bit of a play on words at first but then I grew to really like everything it encompassed. We moved from Iowa to North Carolina and still face some of the outcomes of that, but we are always moving from one thing to the next in life. As that happens though, we’re called to live in peace. Moving Peaces covers what is often a juxtaposition between the stress and busy that comes from moving (in a literal or figurative sense) with the calm and contentment that accompanies peace.
2. What one word sums up the heart of your blog and why? 

Honesty. I’m the kind of person who calls it like it is. There’s a lot of fluff I can write that might be fun and interesting but the core of who I am, what I’m learning, what I’m struggling with and what I value most will be what you read.
3. What’s your favorite pastime other than blogging?

Too many to count. I really do love writing and often have a few side projects going. I love to bike, read, play music with my husband and spend time with people. Currently though, with the job search in full force I often joke that writing cover letters is my hobby.

4. What is your favorite aspect of blogging?

Blogging really helps me to put words to some of the things I’m learning, and hopefully allows others to learn from my own stories and experiences.Writing it down for an audience forces me to really understand what I am thinking through in order to articulate it for someone else.
5. Which recipe, project, or idea on my blog would you most like to try yourself? (What is a post you have liked written by the person who nominated you?)

Okay ladies, you all came at me at once…Vicki & Livi are giving a few date night ideas. Heather is growing a little baby bump, which is not something I’m ready to try but very cute to see. Shelby is growing the cutest little succulent garden. Neive gets creative with cooking, including these delicious sounding chocolate coconut cookies. And Natalie is putting together a fall capsule wardrobe with some cute pieces.
6. Where does your blog inspiration come from?

Usually conversations I’m having with people and generally life stories of others.
7. What is one country in the world you would like to visit? Why?

All of the countries. Okay, fine. I do love traveling when possible and am definitely hoping to take a trip out of the country with the hubby in the near future. Top of the list right now is Argentina. I’ve never been to South America nor have I gotten much use out of my high school Spanish classes yet. I should probably revisit some of the language, but naively I like to think it will all come to me once I am surrounded by Spanish speakers. Mostly, I’m excited for an opportunity to take a trip with my husband, see some of the gorgeous surroundings and get a glimpse at another culture.
8. If you have children, what are their names? If not, what are your favorite boy & girl names?

No children in this house yet. Favorite names? I feel like we’re playing MASH on the playground. I’ll be honest, I have a ridiculously long list (literally) of names that I like. I generally like names that are a bit older sounding and many of them seem to have the letter “L” in them for whatever reason.
9. A long lost relative leaves you a large sum of money. What do you do with it?

I think that will not actually ever happen so I try to not plan ahead too much for such an occasion, but I would definitely do a combination of saving it and traveling with it.
10. In your opinion, what is the best blog post you’ve written so far? (Include the link!)

That’s an interesting question. I don’t really have one in particular that I like the most or think is the best. Each month it seems to change. Most recently, I’ve really enjoyed writing a series about Finding Self over the month of October and among those posts I wrote about Being Enough, which is something I constantly have to remind myself and work through.
11. What is your favorite food? 

Seldom does a day go by without eating some chocolate.
With that, I’d like to nominate the following bloggers to answer these same questions and then to nominate some bloggers they’d like to hear from: Emily at Staving Off Disaster, Anne at Lifelong Summers, Emily at Choosing To, Elizabeth at best. day. ever., Savannah at Savvy Darling, Raewyn at Warrior Queen, Martha Kate at Seasons with the Strattons, Natalie at A Tiny Traveler,  and whoever else feels like going for it!

There Will Be Days

31 Days of Finding Self | Moving Peaces

There will be days when life seems to make sense. You feel like you know who you are, what is most important to you and what your best talents and skills are. Those days are sweet days with a certain ease to it. Your confidence is restored and you have a clarity of mind.

There will also be days when everything you thought you knew goes awry. You flounder about trying to understand why you feel the way you do and wonder what your purpose is in the world. There’s a difficulty and sometimes pain that comes with these days. It can lead to discovery or it can lead to doubt. Self-worth is questioned and positivity is often lost.

You will face both types of days. When you hit one of those days hard, it might seem unfathomable that things will swing back around in the other direction at some point. When that happens, we need to cling to the truths. We need to prepare for both days and acknowledge that they will happen as they are part of life. But then we need to keep moving forward.

 

This post is a part of the Finding Self series for the 31 Days of blogging in October.
To see the all posts in this series, check out the Finding Self page.

Guest Post: What It Took

Guest Post: What It Took

Samantha’s Note: Writing for 31 days is a great challenge, but one I quickly realized I couldn’t keep. I had more than one dream and area of focus that needed my attention this month. I found myself with too much to do and realized there was some rearranging to do. Thankfully, within the blogging community there were more than a few people ready and willing to help, and I’m so glad to have a few guests posts now throughout the month. Finding self isn’t about just me. We all have a story to tell and hearing from others can help us with our own. Today’s post is by Natalie, and she’s got a great perspective to share.

 

I think we will find ourselves over and over again throughout life. New parts of ourselves, hidden parts of ourselves, sometimes painful parts of ourselves.

Natalie - Finding Self | Moving Peaces

The most significant transformation I’ve seen in myself brought out a new, hidden, painful part of me. It happened like this.

A few weeks after graduating from college, I packed up to fly over an ocean to live in a small house with seven other adults and twenty small babies. Each day, I did my best to give those little babies all I could. Downtime was infrequent, and trips to town were rare. I got poop on my hands more than a few times.

But it was a sweet time God used to confirm my belief that four years of journalism were going to be used, for sure, but social work — orphan care, foster care, adoption — was where He really wanted me. I felt like I had hit my stride. I poured out every inch of me to love and serve that summer. And I’m so thankful for that stride-hitting and confirmation-feeling, because the next few months were hard.

I came home after eight weeks and promptly moved to a new city for grad school. I knew no one. Not even my roommate. All the friends and streets and favorite spots of familiar Iowa were far away. I no longer had the physical closeness of friends with whom I had gone to middle school, high school, and college. I no longer had my familiar routines I played out for four years in a little college town in the middle of Iowa.

I started a social work graduate program. And I have to tell you, God felt distant. I struggled to find my groove in all the areas — church, friendships, and school. But He wasn’t distant by His own doing. The only times He is distant on our journey to find ourselves is when we let Him be distant.

He was there. He pursued me. And through His closeness, I felt comfortable to pursue a deeper faith, good friends, and all these new passions. I found a great church community, I found my niche in the social work program, and I found my husband.

So, what did it take to find those parts of myself I discovered in 2010? It took the removal of all that was familiar and the realization of a God who was always there freeing me to be shaped into this me.

 

Natalie | Moving Peaces - Guest PostNatalie is a part-time social worker and waiting adoptive mama. She lives with her husband and dog in Indianapolis, and she blogs about adoption, foster care, faith, marriage, and home at little things + big stuff.

This post is a part of the Finding Self series for the 31 Days of blogging in October. To see the all posts in this series, check out the Finding Self page.

People and Titles

People and Titles

31 Days of Finding Self | Moving Peaces

We are all people. People who have lives outside of our day jobs and interests that go beyond data entry. Why is it that when you are a kid the common question is “What do you like to do?” but later in life that changes to “What do you do?”

As kids we could be soccer players or artists or rock stars. Sure, we spent eight hours of our day in school but no one considered that to be our primary focus. If all we did was school, we were probably pretty boring little dudes. Why has that stopped? Why does a job have to feel like your primary purpose and lot in life? Shouldn’t our lives be made for something more?

I want to dream and create and live my life. So don’t put me in a box that only goes as far as my job title. Because I am a writer. A reader. A creative thinker. A traveler and explorer. Don’t shove those attributes under the rug. Because if those fade, a part of me does, too. And then you’re stuck with a pretty boring little lady.

My life was made for more than a few titles and so was yours.

 

Does this post sound familiar? I’ll be honest, this was a recycled post from back in the day when my blog had a few faithful followers. It seemed to fit with this series, especially the most recent post, so I thought I would add it in here. If it’s new to you, then super. If not, hopefully it served as good reminder like it did for me.

Behind the Blogging

Sun's Behind a Rock

This is my blog post about blogging. It’s about dreams and big goals that are scary to exclaim to the world. Maybe I’ll fail or maybe I’ll succeed.

I’ve had several blogs dating all the way back to high school at this point. I also have a bad habit of starting a blog relating to some life event and then dropping off after I finished traveling or got married. This blog started when we first started working towards a cross-country move but after we moved and somewhat settled in, I knew it was time to hold onto it. Writing is second-nature to me, but I still have to sit down and actually do it. I have to will myself to find something to write about and have to consider writing to an audience not just to a diary. As I felt the lull in this blog, I instead implemented the Thursday Three posts to prompt something each week.

So just to make it all official, I wanted to inform you that my blog is different. It’s been a work in progress for a couple months now, and I’m still working on creating different categories and pages, subscriptions and eventually, a more custom design. But for now, I’m happy to have the freedom and flexibility to explore.

How did this come to be? Well, I hate to admit this but I’ve worked at a few different web/design/marketing agencies among some fairly talented web developers for years, but I was too scared to ask for help. There was a part of me that was too proud to ask, figuring it was such a small thing that I should be able to figure out on my own. The other part of me reasoned that they had better things to do in their free time and my little tiny blog was not worth bothering them about. Recently however, a friend (who happens to be a talented designer/developer) asked me about my blog and what I wanted to do with it. I told her about some of the limitations I was facing and she simply said, “I can do that.” I was so grateful to her for all of her help getting me set up and practically bouncing up and down when she told me. Just like that my world opened up, and I decided this was my opportunity to go for it. To truly go for it.

While I complained about some of my limitations in the past, they also made me feel safe. I didn’t feel like I had to keep up with blogging or really challenge myself to grow. I knew I could stay there, not try and it would never count as a failure. My small number of readers was fine because then I didn’t have to push to promote it or share it with the outside world. I felt comfortably sheltered in my bubble of friends who read it because that meant I didn’t have to completely face the reality of putting myself out there. But when it comes down to it, if I don’t commit to it, I’ll never really know what I am capable of as a writer or as a blogger.

As I (hope to) grow, there’s a few other things I’ve begun to consider. I want to find my voice and identity as a blogger, yet maintain the authenticity that comes from just jotting down the first things that come to mind from time to time. I want to be a bigger part of the blogging community by actually engaging with the many blogs I read on a regular basis. Likewise, I hope to engage more with my own readers and also further my reach through blogging. Maybe one day I’ll have ads or sponsored posts, not just to drive you crazy but to further push myself to discover and define my voice as a writer.

Last year at a conference, everyone in the audience was encouraged to write down a creative dream or goal. Personally and professionally, I was at a weird place but a true dream of mine still managed to seep out. My dream? “Writing on a large platform about life, pointing to God and healing hurt for others.”

So there it is. My goal is no longer the secret that it has been for the last year. I want what I write to matter–my lessons learned to help someone and my silly stories to encourage someone. I want to inspire and support someone. Here I am now, facing the world with my thoughts and ideas, struggles and candor. And I’m asking you to join me. To share it with others and to stick with me along the way.