On my way to Alaska this summer, I brought a book that had been sitting on my bedside for a couple of months. I figured a 5 hour plane trip was as good a time as any to jump in! The book was "A Thousand Miles in a Million Years" by Donald Miller. I finished it in one sitting, have started re-reading it, and it's had me thinking ever since...
We always talk about, in the life of the church, learning to tell our stories - but what would happen if we first decided what kind of story we wanted to live? The wheels have been turning... and turning... and getting stuck.
As many of you know, my dream is to one day own a bed and breakfast. A B&B that focuses on gratitude (in fact, the name will be "The Gratitude Inn"). I imagine a place in the country where people can come take a break from city life, relax, spend time in a house that is environmentally sustainable and eco-friendly, eat foods that are local and organic... A place where our visitors can spend time outside, walk a labyrinth, sit by a campfire, listen to local musicians, and enjoy local art... In other words... a place that can help people feel at home - both at the B&B and in their own skin.
It's so easy to get caught up in our busy lives and forget to take a breath, pause, and say thanks for all the blessings in our lives. That's why I started this blog! After going through a difficult phase in my life - and realizing even in the midst of that, life was pretty darn good and I had so much to be thankful for! I started this blog to record 10 things everyday that I AM thankful for. To count my blessings. I think my B&B could be a place where people are reminded to take that pause. To say "thank you."
I've started a 3-ring binder of all my ideas, pictures, local artists, musicians, and craftsmen that I would like to include in the building and running of my B&B... The vision is there. The mission of helping our world to see the positive in all God has given us is there. I even plan to have guest books in each room - encouraging guests to write down their "10 things" each night - and once a year, I will print a coffee table book for the great room with all our guests notes from the past year... Wouldn't that be a great reminder of all the simple things we forget to say thank you for?!
My passion, since my scare with cancer, is to be thankful everyday - and to encourage others to do the same. When my hubby has a bad day at work and vents for most of our dinner conversation - I usually follow it up with "10 things - go!" And he, being the smart aleck that he is, will name off 20. It's changed the way we see our lives... And I'd love to help others experience this change of view, too.
The stumbling blocks? 1) Money. We both work in non-profit jobs (and with the current economy, seem to be losing money every year instead of increasing). 2) The know-how to get started. I have all the ideas, and I feel confident that once we're ready I'll have the drive and commitment necessary to keep it going and make it a success... But I don't know how to get there from here.
I'm hoping to go to the "Living a Better Story" seminar in Portland, Oregon, this September to have a couple of days to hear how other people are planning to live their stories, to have some time to figure out what this means for my current story and where I need to start adding in chapters that look to the future, and to network with other fascinating people from all over the country who are excited about this life and where it can take us - the inspiration from being around these people will be amazing in itself!
At our church, we're currently talking about what it means to "tell our stories"... Talking about the past is one thing - and can mean the world to those who hear it... But right now, I'm excited to look to the future - how might God use me? How can I make the world a better place? Who are the fascinating people that will help me along the way? What adventures will get me there? So many questions... and in the midst, remembering to enjoy the ride along the way!
Life's short... and oh so good!
Living a Better Story Seminar from All Things Converge Podcast on Vimeo.
Today I am thankful for:
1. A quiet day at work.
2. Day 3 of an intense workout.
3. A new magazine: Whole Living.
4. Not caring about my frizzy hair.
5. The Avett Brothers Band.
6. Going for a walk tonight and not getting winded.
7. Discovering new bands to go see in the Twin Cities.
8. Fun notes back and forth with Emily.
9. An excited phone call tonight from Kayla.
10. Looking forward to all kinds of fun stuff this weekend!