I literally did a cartwheel in my backyard today, y’all.
Actually, I did two.
You see, the past three years I’ve had peony plants grow bigger and bigger but refuse to crown themselves with flowers. But this year – this year! – we have buds! Which means we’ll have flowers! Be still my cartwheeling little heart.
A lady working in the garden area of Lowe’s told me that peonies need ants to bloom, although when I googled “ants and peonies” I discovered this is a hotly debated topic. Still, we transplanted them to a new spot where we hoped the ants would find them and they’d flourish more. Unlike years past, the hardworking little insects are crawling all over the plants. So judging by my own experience, it seems the Lowe’s lady is right.
Whatever the reason that caused them to bud, I can’t tell you the joy it gives me to just stare at those long-awaited, beautiful baby flowers.
As I mentioned to y’all a little while ago, I’m writing a book. (And once again, can I just tell you how much I appreciate your kind words about it? Notes and messages and comments keep rolling in, and they are prayers guiding words to paper. Thank you, thank you!) Agatha Christie said, “The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes.” I’ve found this to be absolutely true. And I’ve also found that the best way to infuse spark and life into your creative mojo is to go outside and breath the fresh air, stare at the peonies. Summer holds sun-kissed opportunities for both, and both for me bring rest and relaxation.
This summer, I’ll also be exploring the idea of rest a bit more, in large part due to the book Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest.
“Rest is not something we engineer, but something we invite . . . Spiritual whitespace moves us away from making spiritual rest an activity to please God, instead of enjoying HIs comfort and pleasure. Spiritual rest is a journey of awakening our hearts to fully receive.” ~ Bonnie Gray, Finding Spiritual Whitespace
For a girl like me, the norm is to rest with something to do. An action to perform. A list to check off. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I do find rest in activities such as baking pies with my son or watching the progress of my peonies, and I believe God honors the recreation in our rest. But the kind of rest Bonnie explores in her book is the kind that isn’t something sought for, but invited in. Sometimes rest isn’t achieved by escaping somewhere but summoning Someone into the place you are right now. With breathtaking beauty, Bonnie’s words usher us toward Christ as they show us how to leave whitespace in our hearts to rest with Him and in Him. This book – just like Bonnie herself – is totally my cup of tea.
A memoir-driven book, Bonnie’s story is made that much more compelling because of her history. Several traumatic occurrences in her childhood rendered the grown-up Bonnie with PTSD, and she began working through that debilitating disease while writing Finding Spiritual Whitespace (talk about ironic). So without a doubt, Bonnie has learned the book’s message the hard, painful way.
I’m discovering so much about this soul rest and just how important it is for fueling my creativity. So for the next several weeks, I’ll be taking some time away from the blog. I’ll still be writing and working, especially on the book. The manuscript isn’t due ’til fall, but I need to have the majority of it finished by summer’s end. My family will also be taking our annual trip to Oooooklahoma where the familiar prairies and squeezy hugs from nieces and nephews refresh my soul. I’ll be playing with my sisters, talking with my parents, and hanging out at the lake house with my husband’s family, too. If you want to still wave to me here and there, you can always find me on Instagram, the one social media-y place I’ll still regularly visit.
I’ll also do a lot of reading this summer, a mix of fiction and nonfiction. (Speaking of which, I’d welcome your suggestions for great summer reads!)
Lastly, while we’re on the topic of rest, I do pray Chasing Blue Skies is a restful spot for you, one where you feel comfortable enough to hop on a swing, look up at the sky, and let the fresh air fill your lungs. Maybe even the kind of spot that gives you the kind of rest that refuels your creativity, too.
I can’t wait to get back here because honest to goodness, you are fresh air to me.
Much love and happy summering, sweet friends. xo