Things I Learned in April

I am in love with this rhythm of reflection at the end of each month. I think it suits both the collector and the student in me.

So here we are at the end of this rainy month when April showers bring May flowers. Its time to see all we have planted big and small.

Here is what I learned in April.

1.My next writing piece may spin off of my Instagram posts.

I know you can post on Instagram from your computer, but I like the beautiful shot accompanied by a shortish thought fumbled out with my fingers on my phone. I guess it's one of my quirks. I like the authentic, in-the- moment-and-beautifully-flawed feel of it.

I've discovered there's magic in the on-the-fly process of seeing something that catches my eye and snapping a photo. Then taking the time to let what I have to say about it bubble up around me.

There's a timeless hint in that unguarded time. But a bit of waiting is key for my thoughts to form and rise to their best expression. My fingertips tingle with the hope that in listening to my heart, I can connect with you or challenge you (& me too!) to bravery.

It isn't always obvious what to say about each photo and that's the fun of it. By the way, I have deleted posts midway because I suddenly wasn't sure I had anything to say that might make the world a happier, stronger place.

I recently created a blog post that I unwittingly crafted from seeds on my Instagram. I was on a road trip and I knew I'd write about it soon. I just didn't realize I already was.

I called it Rebel to My Routine (which I secretly love).

2.I forgot how much I love homemade popcorn for dinner.

I know, I know, its a terrible dinner. But is it?

I love the sound of the kernels bursting and the way it makes the house smell warm and toasty. It reminds me of being in college, all on my own and living very, very simply. A lack of funds in the bank account had nothing whatsoever to do with it.

My daughter Kate made a big air-popped batch for us one night recently after she put Sweet Pea to bed and we sat down to watch Joanna Gaines work her magic on Fixer Upper. She had drizzled it lightly with organic coconut oil and a hint of sea salt.

Voila! Suddenly, I was right back in Jester dorms with an earth-tones rainbow comforter on my pull-out bed. Of course, back then my popcorn was drizzled with butter, but still.

All we needed was a box of Milk Duds.

3.Making a Brazen Board is at your fingertips. (and I loved making one or two)

I just finished Brazen by Leeana Tankersley.

First of all, run out and buy it or one-click it on Amazon. You'll be glad you did.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes,

"I believe God wants us to make peace with our brokenness, and that is exactly the journey I have been on. What's more, I believe God also wants us to make peace with our wonder, which is the journey I'm starting into. We need to welcome our brokenness, but also our belovedness. This is the brazen path." (page 111)

"But I am older now. I care more about living from a soulful place than a striving place. I'd like to settle into my skin a bit more than the adolescent me ever did." (page 123)

I have always loved a bulletin board, a big creative collage; part diary, part inspiration and part dreams. I had one in my bedroom growing up and spent many Saturdays adding my latest magazine clippings, concert tickets or love notes to the cork. It was one of my favorite parts of my job as an Resident Assistant in my college dorm. And I was the one who volunteered to do them for my whippersnapper's classroom teacher.

When I was in Architecture School, we created inspiration boards to reflect all the thoughts behind our final designs. These were messy, textured and lovely. The inspiration for a design could come from songs, poetry, literature, art, fashion, nature or history. I always found the origins of ideas intriguing.

Now we call them mood boards. In music, they are called mash-ups.

They follow the concept of something I have long loved, a storyboard.

So, I was thrilled when at the end of each chapter in Brazen, Leeana has her reader collect an image or an item to create a Brazen Board. I envisioned a textured collage on a canvas, but I had an epiphany scrolling through my so-many-photos-I-literally-cannot-take-another-photo phone. I would make a Brazen Board with my photos inside an Instagram grid!

Here is the first one I made halfway through the book. This one includes my favorite color, images of hope, beauty, lightness, holy, being loved, God, the idea of expanding and a splash of gold. All from the chapters in Brazen.

"A thousand different looks, all of which are poetry." Leeana Tankersley

Here's the second one I made. This one expresses my ideas of rest, faith practice, holy tussle, "I'm not sorry", choosing you, sanctuary, welcome, inspire and saturated.

There are at least three more of these collages in me just from reading the book, but you might find more spinning off in my feed every now and again. They touch several parts of me in one activity; my affinity for reading, reflection, design, grids, collages, creativity and collecting.

Holy cow! So much fun in one place.

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