Most of this year seems to have flown by, but somehow, to my relief, August seems to have gone a little slower… or maybe it’s just that I’ve packed a lot in.
New Discoveries/ Highlights:
It is by far the busiest month in the city where I live, and the pace of moving around is certainly much slower with busy roads, packed buses and tourists everywhere. As a local, the choice is either to be grumpy about the fact that getting from A to B takes at least twice as long as normal, or to slow down and embrace the festive atmosphere.
I opted for the latter this year and I’m glad. It is genuinely a lot of fun as long as you’re not in a hurry and there are many weird and wonderful sights to be seen. It encourages me to take the same approach at other times of the year too- to slow down enough to notice and appreciate all that is around me instead of rushing on by.
This month I discovered again how much I need music in my life. On a day when I was feeling particularly stressed I went along to a performance of the musical “Guys And Dolls” and the moment the lights went down and the familiar notes of the overture sounded, I could feel myself physically relax. A couple of hours immersed in the music and story that I knew and loved was exactly what I needed, and I hadn’t noticed before just how therapeutic it could be.
I mentioned that there were some weird and wonderful sights to be seen this month; one of the most unique of these was the Knitted Bible Stories Exhibition!
A group of ladies in England had spent ten months knitting to recreate various Bible scenes from wool and then taken the exhibition on tour! I don’t think I’d have the patience, but the amount of detail they had included was incredible, and it was certainly a fresh way to bring Bible stories to life and get people talking about them.
Other than that, I have enjoyed some good books in August. I reviewed Single Gay Christian by Gregory Coles and Deeper Waters by Denise J. Hughes here and would highly recommend both of these, but I also enjoyed a few fiction books- in particular Dear Mr Knightley by Katherine Reay and The Light Between Oceans by ML Stedman. I feel as if I may have been the last person in the world to read this book as I have heard so many people talk about it, but if there is anyone out there who hasn’t read it I would definitely encourage you to consider it.
My word for the year (Voice):
This has not been a month for fresh insights but more a time to continue putting into practice all that I have already reflected on this year: making time to listen to God, listening well to others, pushing myself to speak up when the time is right, and developing my writing voice.
My main news for this month is that I have booked to go to my first ever writing conference in October!
With so many people talking about the Five Minute Friday Retreat, She Speaks and other conferences over the last couple of months, I wished they weren’t all so far away, and I began looking to see if there was anything closer at hand.
I discovered a Christian writers group in the UK and saw that they were having a day conference in London, which is still a long way to travel, but a lot closer than Missouri or North Carolina! (And it provides an opportunity for some more musical theatre therapy! 🙂 )
What excited me about the conference is that the topics for look ideal for what I want to do with my writing. The two main sessions are on Telling God’s Stories and Telling Our Stories. Even better, the speaker for the second session is Emma Scrivener, whose writing has already been a huge influence for me.
Her blog was one of the first I ever read, long before I considered writing myself, her book “A New Name” in which she tells the story of her journey with anorexia helped me hugely as I attempted to support a friend through the same struggle, and one of her blog posts particularly helped in giving me the courage to share parts of my story here.
It seems fitting that she should be part of my first writing conference and I’m looking forward to hearing her speak in person.
I’ve also had some contact, through a Facebook group, with some of the others who will be attending, and while it is a little intimidating as so many of them are published authors and far, far more accomplished than I am, they have all been lovely and very welcoming and I’m sure this will be a experience that will teach me a lot.
Every Mile Mattered- Nichole Nordeman
“It’s history; you can’t rewrite it.
You’re not meant to be trapped inside it.
Every tear brought you here,
Every sorrow gathered.
Yeah, it’s history, and every mile mattered.”
Free As A Bird- Rend Collective
“You break us out of our cages
Into the wide open spaces.
We are free, free as a bird on the wind.”
How was August for you? Feel free to share a highlight or reflection in the comments.