Posted in spirituality

Creating Sacred Space Each Day

In celebration of our upcoming Still Saturday event, I thought I’d share a few practices I’ve found helpful to create space in my life for God to do His work.   (Note that there is still a LOT of it left to do…like a lot, a lot.)

Four Practices + Two Bonus Ideas

1. Get out of bed 30 minutes earlier. 

This is your time, it is thirty minutes that you are adding to the day for your own spiritual growth so protect this time. Be careful not to let email, dirty dishes, or Twitter notifications steal from it. Pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea and sit down in your most comfy spot. Open up your Bible and read your scripture for the day. (More below on what to read.) It is extra nice to have a journal or sketchbook handy where you can briefly write or doodle about the parts that speak to you most.

Then pray:

  1. Offer gratitude for the day ahead, for your life, your loved ones, and for God’s faithfulness.
  2. Ask God to lead you through the day and help you to be a beacon of light and love.
  3. Share your thoughts about the scripture you just read; ask for clarification and understanding, let go of the confessions it stirred up, ask to be shown ways to apply it, and reflect on your convictions.
  4. And finally, be quiet. Give it another 5 minutes without any talking. Be silent and listen…give God a chance to respond before closing your prayer.

2. Take up a quiet craft.

Crafting as a spiritual practice seems to be overlooked, but I have seen it work wonders in my own life so I’d really encourage others to give it a shot. I recently had a miscarriage that was a hard and devastating loss for me…it really threw me off my tracks – physically, emotionally, spiritually…I was a wreck.

Just two days before it started, I had taken a beginner’s crochet class, and the days that followed were mostly spent taking it easy, processing, and trying to heal. I picked up my yarn thinking if I was going to be stuck in bed not sure what my heart was doing from one minute to the next, I may as well get in some practice.

The quiet, focused, repetitive motion of crochet stitches calmed me. It gave me time to sit still without feeling bored, and without wanting to look at my social media feeds or feel like I should be doing some more productive. It helped me give myself grace in a way. It was something I could do even when I was very sad and tearful, and it brought me a zen kind of peace as I sorted through my thoughts and feelings. It has truly made a difference in this part of my journey, and I ended up falling in love with a craft that now joyfully reminds me of my grandma.

The important thing I think, is to find something that requires you to focus, but does not need a whole lot of thinking, and that you can do quietly by yourself. Knitting, crochet, needlepoint, making hemp or beaded jewelry, painting, or any number of things. Just something for you to peacefully co-create with the Lord.

3. Be with His People and His Creation.

This is pretty simple. You need two things on a constant, regular basis.

  • Nature walks.
  • People to love and be loved by.

You’ve probably heard how immensely beneficial it is to spend time in nature and have a supportive community of people around you. And I absolutely agree, these are definite quality-of-life improvers. But these things also have a HUGE impact on our understanding of God.

There have been a lot of prayers lifted up and tears fallen down through the trails of Oak Canyon Nature Center. This is my go-to place when the noise has gotten too loud and I need to feel God in the trees and the streams. This is where I go when I need to be wrapped up in peace, and I am better for it. Both immediately after each and every walk, and also in the long run. I am better for the time I’ve spent soaking up the natural world the way it was created, rather than the way humanity has managed to mold it.

And my people…oh gosh. My people. I would be a big, stinking, hot mess if it weren’t for the people who walk this wild life with me. From my husband who is my actual best friend and partner in all the things, to my artfully curated group of girlfriends (seriously, I have the very best), to my extended church community. These are the people that hear me out, share my prayers, encourage, inspire, and celebrate with me. They are people brought together by a plan and purpose far greater than I can describe, and I would be nearly nothing without them.

These are two big areas where God makes himself known – creation and community. So make it a real point to spend time with trees and build a community of confidantes. It will change your life and widen your view of the Creator and Life Force of the entire universe.

4. Spend intentional and significant time praying.

There is nothing – not one single thing – that will bring you closer to God than prayer, so pray continuously. Pray every day about every thing. Pray when you’re driving or taking a shower. Write your prayers in letters to God. Set reminders on your phone to take short prayer or quiet time breaks throughout the day. Pray, pray, PRAY. Whenever you can, tune out the world’s clamor and talk to God. If you don’t feel like talking, then skip it. He already knows what’s on your heart and mind, so go ahead and hangout quietly for a few minutes and just let your soul rest. It doesn’t much matter how you pray, just that you do.
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….you might also want to….

 

  • ~~Find a Bible reading plan.

How will you know what scripture to read each morning? With a plan. This is no breezy summer beach read….there is significant weight here and having a plan makes for a much more coherent experience.

I have only been studying the Bible for about 3 years, but I’ve found my favorite method is to dig through one book at a time to really wring out what’s going on there.

But there are many other ways too! If you have the (completely free) YouVersion Bible app, then you already have access to literally thousands of reading plans. If you prefer printed plans or want something emailed to you, check out She Reads Truth and He Reads Truth, Proverbs 31 Ministries, Faith GatewayBible Gateway,  and the “Bible In A Year” plan.

  • ~~Dig even deeper.

Do real, actual Bible studies. (I know…but hear me out.) The thing about this is that you need to come to your own conclusions about God. There is a lot of insight to be found in the Bible, but its a complicated text that needs to be taken apart a fair amount to really make sense, and its nice to be able to reach understandings about it yourself. It is better to read and discern something for yourself than it is to adopt someone else’s perception of it as your own. And its invaluable to know what you believe and why you believe it, to separate the literal from the figurative, and to be sure of what you accept as truth.

Lifeway has a great selection of studiesBeth Moore and Kelly Minter are a couple of my favorites in this area, and Priscilla Shirer has recently piqued my interest too. These are just a few of many though…take the time to find one that will be interesting to you.

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© Danielle Hewitt (of Loving A Fit Life) and DanielleHewitt.com (including LovingAFitLife.com) 2011 – 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Danielle Hewitt and DanielleHewitt.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Posted in Uncategorized

Why We Quit Homeschool Before It Began

My son, Maddox, had been asking me for nearly two years if he could change from a traditional public school to a homeschool platform. I was reluctant mainly because my husband and I both work full-time and aren’t home to run a homeschooling operation. And I read the blogs, people. Homeschooling is indeed a major operation.

But I had started to see those K12 commercials and it seemed like a potentially workable option. After exploring the whole thing in detail and checking out a few of the networked schools that appealed to us, we settled on one and went through the registration and enrollment process. Maddox was thrilled to finally have the homeschool opportunity he’d been hoping for and I felt perfectly confident about the decision.

Maddox is a very studious, smart, focused person. He is only 9 years old, but wise beyond his years and just very scholastic. He understands his lessons clearly, requires very little help with homework or assignments, and (much unlike his mama here) was gifted with some sort of inherent knack for school and learning. Its bewildering to me, really, as I was quite over the whole schooling thing by third grade or so. But he is who he is.

Which is exactly what convinced me that he might actually know what’s best for himself in this department. I certainly wasn’t doubting my ability to call the mom-shots, but I felt in my heart that Maddox knew what he needed in this area of his life better than anyone else did. So when an opportunity came up that made sense for him, I was completely supportive and happy to help it come to fruition for him.

The driving force behind this entire thing was that I trusted my children to make this call for themselves. My daughter absolutely did not want to homeschool. She wanted to be with lots of people…she missed her friends and her teacher. She craves a highly social learning environment, which is perfectly and totally okay. Maddox felt pulled toward the exact opposite.

This isn’t surprising…my kids are one another’s exact opposite in almost every way. A complete listing of their common interests includes Disneyland and that Minecraft game that kids play now. Other than that – Completely. Different. People.

So we planned for their two unique choices and went about the business of both. Then last week, the final week before school officially started, Maddox had some orientation and welcome courses to take, meant to familiarize him with the online platform, his course listing, what is expected of him, and all of that good stuff.

Those orientation classes were a clear indicator to him that this was not the right option for him.

After going through them, he felt overwhelmed and uncertain. He felt ill-prepared and unsure that he would be able to stay on-task in the online classroom. I assume these courses were meant to give students confidence as they begin a new system, but Maddox left the courses feeling like that new system was not a good fit for him after all.

Since this whole endeavor was motivated by the belief that my kids can make good decisions, even if it is a last-minute decision, I accepted Maddox’s feelings about it without any reservation. If he felt wrong about this, I was not going to argue with or condemn his instincts. My greatest aim in all of this was that my kids feel empowered and able to make decisions for themselves. Obviously supervised decisions (I’m not an idiot) but decisions nonetheless.

So we stopped everything. We cancelled enrollment. We sent the books and materials back to the school. We put the furniture back the way it was prior to adding a desk to the layout. We made sure his previous school still had him registered. And then did the whole uniforms, backpack, lunchbox, new shoes, and spiffy new haircut dealio last weekend before the grind kicked back on Tuesday morning.

And everyone is perfectly happy.

For us, this was never about sheltering our kids from mainstream education or trying to protect them from pop culture. And it definitely wasn’t about intervening with basic scientific or educational norms, since I am really not the type to rob my kids of general factual information. I am totally confident that, like myself and other intelligent believers, they will reconcile (to the extent possible) the realities of science and history with their spiritual teachings and Biblical understanding as they move into adulthood.

What this was about was showing my kids that I respect them as individuals. Showing them that they can explore things and make decisions, and that they can make adjustments when needed. Showing them that there’s not always a right way and a wrong way to do things, and that each of us may take our own approach. We don’t all learn with the same methods and we don’t all excel in the same environments. But we’re all people and we all have feelings and desires and things that drive us, and we have to honor those things.

This experience has shown me that my kids (and probably most kids) know a lot more about life than one might first think. So I will keep encouraging them to explore different paths and will absolutely seek their input on big decisions as they grow up.

(But I’m still not footing the bill for this kid to take up hockey. He can start himself a GoFundMe campaign or something.) 

😉

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© Danielle Hewitt (of Loving A Fit Life) and DanielleHewitt.com (including LovingAFitLife.com) 2011 – 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Danielle Hewitt and DanielleHewitt.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

Posted in The Week In Wellness

What’s good? (July 2015)

So……..July.

Where did you even come from dude? I feel like you snuck up on us a bit and now we’re more than halfway through the year with little to show for it.

We’re all going to wake up tomorrow and it’ll be Christmas. Watch…

 

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Do you remember the movie, KIDS?

This was probably the most interesting thing I have read all week – an interview with the main cast and crew, twenty years later. I remember seeing this movie and being both deeply moved and deeply disturbed at the same time. It was unforgettable, and it had hit me hard.

Sex, drugs, and rave culture were things I knew very well and things that were so vividly illustrated by this unexpected cult-like film of the 90s. It had a big impact on me when I saw it. Reading this interview really stirred things up for me…

kids 1995

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One breathtaking shot from every state.

view of cumberland gap and fern lake at pinnacle overlook. cumberland nat. his.park, ky
View of Cumberland Gap and Fern Lake at Pinnacle Overlook. Cumberland Nat. His. Park, KY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I love these 33 Captivating Road Trip Photos from NatGeo.

camper patio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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9 Things to Know About Kids in Foster Care

foster kids

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This really ripped my heart right out of my chest. I have felt for a long time that foster care and/or adoption are part of my future, and now I feel so more than ever. No child should have to live without someone to love, cherish, and protect them. That just should not be.

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How To Stop Surviving and Find Your Real Purpose

real purpose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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CURRENTLY READING:

Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

It has taken me so long to get around to this one because I didn’t want to read it badly enough to actually buy it and only just discovered it at my library last week. But, better late than never, right?

(And to be honest…I think I could’ve written this very same collection of essays with far greater fanfare. All I heard about this book was the controversial content and explicit stories, but I have yet to be even the slightest bit shocked or offended.)

not that kind of girl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

tidying up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Annnnnnnnnnddddd, that is what’s good this July.  🙂

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Are we friends on Facebook yet?  Because we totally should be.

Even though I usually have a way better time on Instagram…

I do some pinning here and there, and occasionally I tweet.

And just for good measure ;)
GoodreadsTumblrLinkedInGoogle+

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© Danielle Hewitt (of Loving A Fit Life) and DanielleHewitt.com (including LovingAFitLife.com) 2011 – 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Danielle Hewitt and DanielleHewitt.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.