To My Planner (On Being Intentional, yet Flexible)

intentionalby Christina Hubbard

As an ENFP on the Meyers-Briggs personality test, I value whitespace on my calendar. LOTS of it. Please, don’t box me in or schedule every hour of the day. I will most certainly implode. I also value commitment and being intentional, but a force within me fights hardset plans.

As you can imagine, I’ve had an ongoing love-hate relationship with my planner. After using it diligently for two weeks straight, I suddenly toss it in my bottomless purse and forget about it for a month. Years ago a friend told me, “Intention without expectation.” I like that. Recently I’ve tweaked it a little, “Intention, with GOBS of flexibility.” 2018

Since 2018 began, I’ve been getting used to my new planner and coming to terms with its overhelpfulness. Today I thought I would write it a little note.

//Dear Planner,

I have tried my best to love you

Although I secretly desire to throw you across the room 

On occasion.

Your hard-bound gold embossed cover,

Straight-edged, pointing me to turn pages,

Make plans,

And climb goal-setting mountains.

You promise me a sense of accomplishment,

Glorious task-checking satisfaction.

But I love to ignore you,

To have free time,

Uninterrupted adventures

And no plan Fridays.

When I look at your hexagon habit tracking pages,

Gold spiral easy-turn binding,

Weekly goal focus bullet points,

I see your soul, your desire to infuse me with intention.

What’s a free spirit to do?

I bought you because you were beautiful.

Aqua cover, folder pockets,

And blank pages promising a great year.

Trying you on, day after day, I cringed.

I tried so hard to set a mission and

Formulate focused goals.

But I’ve already failed.

And I’m ok with it.

Because in the back of your binding

Are stickers and a pencil tucked away.

No longer do I make plans in black ink,

Like dark ropes binding me to the page. //

Being intentional means writing with an eraser

So my life can breathe.Tweet This

I decorate and customize with pastel stickies,

A gleeful sense

Of making something beautiful wells up within,

Flexible, ever-changing.

Good things are happening

And I’m beginning to like you.

Love,

 

 

 

 

 

This post is linked up at Five Minute Friday, a community of free writing bloggers. (// indicates the start and stop of five minutes.) Happy free day!

P.S. This is my 2018 liveWELL Planner® | Flex Aquamarine from Inkwell Press. Tons of wonderful resources for the free-spirited achiever.

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Top Posts of 2017

by Christina Hubbard

2017 tested my strength. It pushed me to every limit. At the same time, it taught me to trust the courage, compassion, and creativity God has given each one of us. As we step into 2018, remember to dance when you feel like it, speak life into the overwhelm, and enjoy this messy beautiful process of becoming.

Here are the top posts of 2017 on the blog. I hope they inspire you to move forward and celebrate all that you are!

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This Christmas Will Be Different

by Christina Hubbard

It’s been said one shouldn’t write while in process. I don’t write like that. To me, writing is how I learn who I am becoming. Today that is someone who wants to be different this Christmas.

In recent years, I’ve struggled to enjoy the holidays. A mixed cocktail of stress, anxiety, sadness, and guilt churns within:

Stress for all the things I should be doing.

Anxiety about all the people I can’t control.

Sadness for losing all my previous joy.

Guilt because I felt all of the above. 

UGH.

This Christmas? I want to be different.

I don’t want to hate myself for not getting the perfect gift. I don’t want to count the hours until everyone leaves. I certainly don’t want to be crying over what isn’t. No, I DO NOT want the shame because I feel all the feels.

That way of doing Christmas is exhausting. It’s reactive. It’s full of fear and I don’t want. It’s all about me.

I want this Christmas to be different. I want me to be different. I want love, joy, and peace.Tweet This

This Christmas? I will exult in messes. I will cover my counters with flour and brown sugar and dip my fingers in and lick it off. I will not stress when we forget to take Christmas trash to the street on pickup day. I will let my sink overflow with crusty dishes.

I will say thank you. To my mom who sweeps my floors three times a day to be helpful. To everyone who is up in my space because they are here in my home. It is an honor to have them because they could be somewhere else. They are with me. For that, I an grateful.

I will be present. I will listen. I will play games and try my best to hear out my kids’ long-winded stories. I will bite my tongue when I want to correct and one-up.

This Christmas I will invite. I will stop worrying about me. I will use the gift of empathy God has given me to help others feel welcome and wanted. I will ask them if they want to join us as we read, cook, or go outside because we’re all going stir-crazy!

I will not judge people with screens. I will advocate for screen-free time, but I will not silently stew and throw dagger-eyes at the person playing Candy Crush in the corner. I will not give precious brain space to grudges. I will forgive all the IPADs and smartphones.

I will forgive dumb statements. I will not hold onto the past. I will use that empathy superpower to get curious. Questions and mercy will be my ammo of love.

This Christmas I will find joy in simple things: candles, quiet, a clean counter once or twice, and a thriving, healthy, off-the-wall family.

I will find wonder in the mystery of not having it all together. I will trust that the God of the universe is making all things new through my triumphs and foibles. I will rest in the knowledge I am loved, and therefore, I can spoon it out in great big dollops!

I will pay attention to my feelings and desires. When things don’t go my way, I will breathe deeply. When I am hurt, I will be honest and expressive. When I am bursting with joy, I will be Christmas confetti all over the room.

This Christmas I will get away with God whenever I can. I will give Him the most sacred space of my heart. I will rest. I will worship. I will give Him my whole heart, the person I am becoming.

There may be stress for you this Christmas. A twinge of anxiety may crop up. A deluge of sadness may take you down. Guilt or shame may rob you blind.

But it’s not forever. It’s a moment. You are capable of learning. You are growing. You are becoming.

This Christmas will be different.

Disclosure: This post was inspired by Five Minute Friday, but I’m a rulebreaker this time because I didn’t write this post in five minutes. 

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When Light Breaks You Open

by Christina Hubbard

Only the strength of His light

Carries me through

Gray days.

Within this mortal cage

I expand

Until ribs cannot

Hold oxygen

One second

More.

Once I burst

Clean open.

A crack in the shell

Split under

Pressure.

When you see me next,

Brilliance might just

Blind you.

This post is part of Five Minute Friday. Our one-word writing prompt today is ONLY. Join us!

Where is light pushing its way out in you today?

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Waiting on Words and Other Advent-worthy Pursuits

I’m breaking from the words which struggle to come. A pause to come back to the free flow of blogging. A hope that writing unhindered will bring about the magic.

Yet I suspect it’s not magic that I need, but patience on the words to work their way through me. One thing I am learning with all of my being: God is in no certain hurry.

I pull at my memories and skills, trying to conjure a polished product from my repertoire of wordsmithing tricks. But I haven’t written what needs to be said yet, and I know this.

Advent, too, is upon me, and I feel it’s pregnant pause. It’s widdling work, gently growing, inch by inch within my heart. What Advent bestows is a hope seed, right in the middle of pain. It says, Anticipate. Percolate. Worry not. Wait. Oh, just wait.

I feel it. This story working in and through me. It’s stretching tight muscles, churning up unresolved pain, and inviting me into a reliance which grates against my fierce independence. I’ve been wanting to tell this story for a long, long while and I will, bit by bit, in whatever form God provides. Already, that form is changing, and so must I.

If I had the emotion to convey, I would. Simply put, I am in need. Of direction and focus, experience and healing. I show up to the words. The routine of lighting a candle and pumping up the playlist plods alongside the doing.

I believe what I am writing will be helpful to someone someday, and with God’s help, transformational. Humbly, I work. Patiently, I wait.

To the outsider, there may seem so much lag time, staring out the window, taking walks, and napping. But this is the pace of a story in process, a work which I am really working on very little. It is working on me.

Despite the best words’ blessed arrival to show up on the page where I want them, I take joy by the hand and listen to her whispers. I will relish what I have been given today.

I trust He is remaking you too, waking you up to a sacred space burning in your chest.

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Don’t Excuse Yourself from the Table of Vulnerability

by Christina Hubbard

Do you find it hard to be vulnerable with God and others? As a creative, I know this is one of the most powerful ways to connect. Yet, how often do we excuse ourselves from authentic conversations because they make us a little uncomfortable?

I’ve been seeing an amazing therapist for almost a year now. It’s amazing to reflect on my vulnerability journey. I have often longed for it, but the process would send me into an emotional spiral. With practice, it gets easier. Vulnerability creates depth and connection. I’m not advocating spilling your guts during every conversation. Instead, approach others with your whole self: in honesty, which can definitely be through laughter and curiosity.

//

Three ways to create an authentic connection 

1. Ask open-ended questions.
2. Share a story of how you struggled and what you discovered.
3. Look at others through the lens of love. Thank them for who they are.

What I’m learning is being vulnerable is putting myself out there, no matter what others think.  I do care what others think, but I care more what God thinks. In that safe space, I am free to bring my whole paradoxical, utterly beautiful messy self to the table. Hopefully, others will feel like they belong here too.//

Don’t excuse yourself from the table of relationship: try a moment of vulnerability and see what happens.Tweet This

This post was written in conjunction with Five Minute Friday. We write each Friday for five minutes on one word. Today the word was EXCUSE. (// indicates the start and stop of five minutes).

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