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Your Future Self

On Tuesdays we've been Practicing Pauses - exploring moments of rest, why they're important, and how we can better find them. Last week I wrote about little things that bring me a moment of joy - this week, little things that are more lastingly beneficial.

In the same Hope*ologie podcast in which the Nester mentioned that the things you use should be beautiful, the concept of "treating your future self" arose. Pre-Adam, I never had a problem with buying myself flowers (ok, I still do that), taking myself (and a book) to dinner, or even seeing a movie by myself if there was no one to see it with, but the word future thrown in there threw me.

But after they explained it, I realized that it's already something that I do. "Treating your future self" simply means doing something that will continue to do you good beyond the present moment. For example: a couple of months ago, Kristen Welch announced that Fair Trade Friday had a new option - in addition to the beautiful boxes that you can subscribe to (those are a bit more than I can afford, and filled with things that are, while lovely, not things that I need), they were offering a just-earrings option. For less than $15 a month, a pair of earrings made by a fairly-paid woman somewhere in the world, tucked into a lovely little bag, arrives in your mailbox. Yes, please! Realizing that I probably won't be over the moon for every pair, I've already resolved to use this as a way to get ahead on Christmas gifts, while also augmenting my own curated collection.

Another way of doing that is to predict and prepare for possible future frustrations. I keep a notebook with me at all times, so that if I end up having time in a parking lot with sleeping babies in the back, or Tobin decides on a pre-bedtime marathon nursing session, I can redeem the time. However, I write best when I have a visual for inspiration, and that isn't something that's always within reach. So I made a little matchbook album of photo prompts* and tucked it into the pocket in the back of my notebook. It was quick and easy to make - once these twelve pictures cease to spark creative genius, I can make a new one.

image from She Reads Truth

Honestly, study and memorization of anything that inspires you, but especially Scripture, could also fall into the category of "treating your future self," by providing your mind with ready encouragement that can be recalled in a time of need (also, when sitting up in the dark with a teething toddler, near-verbatim memorization of the story of Esther and of The Hobbit can come in handy for outloud story-telling).

Who you are right now determines who you will be in the future. So if I'm worn out and stressed right now, that's going to affect me tomorrow, and next week, and five years from now. But if I begin the practice of pauses - of being still - of disconnecting from distractions and reconnecting with God - then the positive effect will be exponential.

*specs, if you'd like to make your own: the matchbook is a strip of patterned paper 2.25" wide and 5.75" high, and the bottom tab is folded up one half inch. The inserts are 2" by 2" with an extra half inch of white space at the bottom where they'll be stapled - I made a template in Publisher with margins and layout guides adjusted to create the size I wanted so I wouldn't have to measure each picture and so they would all fit on one page, then cut out my pictures, tucked them into the bottom fold, stapled them, then folded the top of my matchbook down, tucked it into the bottom fold, and creased.

What can you do today that will benefit you in the future? A class, index cards with memory verses written on them, a subscription, a jar of bath salt (purchased or homemade), a planned date, frozen cookie dough balls, a new yoga mat... there is no thing too simple or silly - if it helps you, that's what matters!


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31 Days of Unraveling Designs

It's that time of year again... the 31 Days writing challenge starts today! Bloggers from all over will be writing every day of the month of October on the topic of their choosing. This will be my fourth year participating - the first year I did 7 for 31, and spent a month going through Jen Hatmaker's book 7. The second year I did 31 Days of Sustainable Dwelling, and wrote about local and fair trade living. Last year I was busy but still wanted to participate, so I went the easy route with 31 Days of Everyday Beautiful.

This year I'm diving into my greatest passion: knitting! I'll spend this month looking at past designs and talking about the inspiration behind them, so there will be plenty of regular life mixed in with the stitching - and there may be discount codes for the patterns that I write about. You'll just have to read and see!

Pattern index:

Pageturner Mitts
Hogwarts House Tie
Urban Artemis
Graffiti for Humanity
Love Out Loud
Strange Jacket


In order to change your knitting, you must first change yourself. I've lost track of how many times I've said that, or how many people I've said it to. Frustrated new knitters wondering why their work is loose or tight or uneven or really anything less than perfect. But something I love about knitting is that it's a record of your inner dialogue. That swatch knit at the yarn store table with a cozy cup of coffee and a helpful (and more experienced) knitter nearby is going to be a lot more relaxed than the sweater begun a week later while sitting next to a hospital bed - just like the knitter.

Unfortunately, this also applies to my own knitting. For years, I was apparently unaffected by the shifts and turmoils in my own life, so I assumed that I was exempt from the rule - when the reality was, in fact, that I wasn't really experiencing any of those on anything deeper than a surface level because everything was deadened by depression. When I finally started to really…


A few years ago, I was introduced to the concept of replacing the traditional list of resolutions with a single word. It appealed to me - I am not a big list person, but I love language and words and meanings and etymology and metaphor and... ahem. Ennyhoo. I liked the idea.
I've never chosen the word. It's always presented itself to me - and last year was no different. Pacific was very insistent, even though I tried to argue with it. Pacific? What does that even mean? What am I supposed to do with that?
But I accepted it, and I'm glad I did. I learned about depth and calm, about storm and nurture, about faith and adventure - and about the unstoppable ocean of God's grace, that overwhelms to fill and cleanse and bring blessings unasked.
So I'm bidding pacific a very fond farewell, and welcoming spark and whatever lessons it would like to bring. I invited it in with a copper wire punctuated with tiny lights and wrapped around my mood board, and I've got an empt…