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Entering February like it's a new year
Links and plans for starting over
Happy first Friday of February. This morning we watched Punxsutawney Phil view his shadow and though I love me some spring, I’m ok with six more supposed weeks of winter weather. Don’t hate me but I’m rooting for one good snow here in southwest Oregon (but please can we keep the power on thank you).
I’m also rooting for a new start this month and today and probably again in an hour. I love starts more than ends, I guess, and the beginning of something is always a good reminder to me of God’s goodness and the potential for hope. So, happy new month!
In the spirit of beginning things, I'm reading too many books at a time right now and I need to stop that habit. Finishing is good, and it’s hard to finish with so many starts. But one of my plans for 2023 is to re-read some books from the last few years because much of that time is a blur, so I have pulled a stack to work through. At the top of the re-read stack is The Irrational Season by Madeleine L’Engle and World Enough & Time: On Creativity and Slowing Down by Christian McEwen. I’m still listening to Bono’s Surrender on Audible, I’m almost done reading Eat This Book by Eugene Peterson, and I have started Orphaned Believers by Sara Billups.
Our oldest daughter gifted Tim two books by John Mark Comer for Christmas: Garden City: Work, Rest, and the Art of Being Human, and The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry. He’s finished one and is halfway through the second, which is huge for a busy guy like him (and also, do you see the theme of the two books?). I feel like I’m vicariously reading them through him because he is so good about summarizing what he’s read—something I need to find a way to do. For now, I’m just putting my reading list in print here for accountability. I need a nerd-shirt that says: Ask me about what I’m reading.
I am writing moreand this year I am purposing to tackle the issue of energy and focus, which are the biggest blocks to my writing right now. I have the time and I’m not too busy—another T-shirt idea. I just have swirling thoughts and old lady energy. Good food, good sleep, good exercise should all help. And lots of prayer.
Deadlines help, too. Writing for The Cultivating Project is good accountability and fellowship for me and I’m always thankful for the work there, and the themes we write around quarterly are the rails I need to get focused.
My essay for the first quarter of this year is about our personal names for God, the ones we give Him out of our experience:
Let me tell the truth without any secrets: I sometimes hate facts and I always hate cliches, but they’re both true and neither needs to be stated. A life spent seeking answers leads to a life just simply spent, and I am tired. I am looking for something now (and this is how I used to live but I wandered away so let me circle back); I am looking for something now that is a secret I don’t want uncovered, an answer I don’t want given, because that is how I hold on to hope. God is better and more and mysterious and I am satisfied in Him.
The Patient, Mending God of Comfort and Secrets is a God of infinite names, known in our experiences, in the dark, in the light, in the deep, empty wells of despair and the life-giving wells where all our deeds are known and we are still loved.
It’s the top of the hour, another new start, and I’m thankful to have the time to share some of the goodness I’m engaging with. I hope February is a month of spontaneous plans, new energy, and restful reflection for you, and I’m thankful for your readership.
If you’re new to Substack, like I am, tell me how you like it and who you’re reading here. You can see my recommendations here and I’m always looking for new authors to read…
Oof which reminds me of another book I’ve started, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. She’s known for her practice of “morning pages”—3 handwritten pages a day. I’m trying the practice and I think it’s beneficial, but her book is a little woo-woo for me…I’m mining it for nuggets though.
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