Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category

Two-thousand thirteen.

Monday, December 31st, 2012

A happy New Year
[Photo Credit]

Although I skipped over the usually obligatory Thanksgiving, advent, Christmas, and other end-of-year posts, I think New Year’s posts are some of the best in blog-land. There’s something so inspiring about reading everyone’s goals, focus words, and year-end reflections and accomplishments. (My 2012 year in review post WILL be coming soon, once my best and I have a chance to hash out the happenings.)

Some of these goals aren’t measurable or specific (we all know how “do ______ more” usually pans out)… but here are a few areas I’d like to improve:

  • Eating at the kitchen table. Right now we eat almost every night on our couch while watching Netflix (for shame!). This is because our kitchen table (first stop after the front door in our tiny apartment) is our clutter-catch-all, and we never want to both cook AND straighten the table. I’d like to use our cute placemats, pay attention to each other, have conversations, and get up from the kitchen table when we’re done (which I suspect will make cleaning up from dinner immediately a much more natural transition).
  • Start playing the piano again. My aim is once a week to start out. I figure if I do this, I will naturally want to play more than that, which is my eventual goal. To make this goal more measurable, I’ll probably decide on a few songs to learn and perfect.
  • Develop better routines. This is a biggie. It includes creating a rough weekly schedule that works with my highly variable work responsibilities, a cleaning routine that works for both of us, a gym routine and a morning routine. I started majorly slacking in the morning (and letting myself) when I got sick this summer, and now I can’t seem to drag myself out of bed until Eric’s almost ready to leave for work. Ideally I’d be awake with Bible read and tea/coffee had by that time, ready to start my work day.
  • Pick a few books of the Bible to read and re-read this year. I’m stealing this approach to a Bible-reading plan from this post by our good friend Paul. I’ve chosen Esther, Isaiah and Phillipians so far. Any suggestions?
  • Simplify and improve our eating. Eric and I have talked about wanting to start eating organic meats as a step toward improving the quality of what we put in our bodies. This means eating less meat in general and finding out where the best deals are, as our grocery budget doesn’t have much room to expand. We’ve talked about doing a CSA arrangement if we can find an affordable one. I love cooking, but grocery planning/shopping is one of my most hated chores.
  • Become a better photographer. This will probably involve working through some online tutorials, as well as practicing a lot. I’m looking forward to this goal as a fun one, especially with our new camera.
  • Work through a writing book slowly and do all the exercises. I tend to treat writing books as general inspiration, instead of really using them to practice skills. I have a couple awesome writing books right now, including On Writing Writing Down the Bones, Bird by Bird, and one from my mother-in-law called Writing as Way of Healing. I want to spend some quality time with each one.
  • Blog more consistently. I know I’ve totally neglected my blog this year. It was a strange year in some ways, especially with four months of sickness, which I think left me quite depressed in the low energy, just getting by kind of way. One positive is that that leaves me with tons of blogging material, particularly about my writing career, that I never got to in 2012. That should be enough to jump-start my new blogging habit.

Thanks for bearing with me through the breaks this year, friends.

2012 in review, coming soon! (PROMISE!)


Two years old.

Friday, June 8th, 2012

Dear friends,

I’m back.

But if you were expecting some epic, put-together type of revelation on this, the blog’s second birthday, you may not ever want to come back. After some thinking, I just don’t think this is going to be a place for being put-together.

What you’ll get today is hopefully somewhat-coherent rambling about blogging, life and some of the sweet etc. that comes with them.

I thought hard these last two weeks about questions like these: Why do I want a blog? What kind of blog do I want? What kind of blog do I definitely NOT want? What’s the purpose of a blog? What about MY blog? The answers I came to were a little dissatisfying because for all my ideas and excitements, there’s still a big fat I DON’T KNOW hanging over my head.

For those of you who think I’m over-thinking this, you’re in good company with my husband — but hear me out.

honesty. community. vulnerability. exchanging ideas. teaching and learning.

These are some of the things I value about blogging, and why I want to be part of a blog. Not so I can be on a soapbox, and not so I can paint a deceptively perfect picture of my imperfect life. It’s vulnerable, being here on a platform of sorts, especially when I think about some of the bloggers I read — some with no-holds-barred policies and others with more restraint — that offer honest portrayals. They give real glimpses into life, not to cater to voyeurs but to be voices willing to tell the truth.

So I’m asking you for a favor: do it with me.

Talk to me and to each other here, as we are. Not so I can tally up my comments and feel popular, but so we can get a real conversation started and see where it goes. I want this blog to be less about me and more about all of us. I want to get our hands a little bit dirty.

Here’s what you can expect from me:

A real attempt at honesty as I write about topics like faith (in all its glory and all its struggle), anxiety and depression, family, writing, poetry, books, creativity and the like. And I want you right there with me.

And here’s what you won’t find:

You won’t find perfection or any portrayal that hints at it. You won’t find many “how-to” posts. You won’t find much instruction at all, beyond what I glean from others and am applying to myself. And just in case I’m freaking you out, you won’t find every single nitty-gritty detail of my life here, either.

So you.

You’re welcome here. Introduce yourself. Let’s talk. And a QUESTION to answer with your introduction:

Just how personal do you think a blog should be? If you’re a blogger, do you struggle with this? If you’re not, what do you consider TMI (too much information)?




Thursday, May 24th, 2012

This blog is having an identity crisis.

It’s gone through phases but it has not arrived. Not that I need to point that out — the very fact that I have not posted in a month says plenty about the priority I’ve placed lately on building something in this place.

It’s been

a homemaking blog

a project blog

a fitness blog

a theology blog

a career blog


a writing blog,

among other random categories and non-categories.

And now it’s approaching its 2nd birthday, and I’m alternating between love and hate, wanting to revamp, restart, tear down and keep on all at once. Mostly, I need some direction.

So I’m going to take a little bit more time, and I will plan to return on June 8th (the 2nd anniversary of Brynna Begins) with some concrete plans and goals for this space. In the mean time, feel free to comment, or you can reach me by email.


Gifts for Writers

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

Christmas brought plenty of encouragement this year in every regard: I got to see every family member on my side of the family, hid away in a cabin in a ghost town, skied, water-parked, did NO work, and really just loved the break. So much so that for the first time in a while, I got misty-eyed leaving. It seemed normal life just wouldn’t compare to time spent with many of the people I love most.

Thankfully I had some tangible reminders of that love in my hands when I left — thoughtful gifts that will bring joy long after my floor is cleared of dried up pine needles and the garlands are tucked away.  Here are a few specifically writing-related gifts I’m enjoying in 2012:

2012 Writer's Market, Stephen King's On Writing, Wildwood by Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis

Square Card Reader, LAMY fountain pen, Lights Acoustic album.

1.  2012 Writer’s Market
For learning about submitting articles, poetry, and other stuff in a wide range of print and other media publications.

2. Stephen King’s On Writing
Widely regarded as one of the very best books on writing you can read. And I’ve never read it!

3. Wildwood
For the Decemberists fan, adventurer, and Portland-dweller in all of us…  Colin Meloy and his wife Carson Ellis have written and illustrated a beautiful and imaginative story.  Eric and I saw them at Wordstock this year and heard them explain the book and read from it. Way cool.

4. Square reader
Now I take credit cards for my writing services. Just cool.

5. LAMY fountain pen
I trusted my research-loving husband to pick a good pen out for me that I would love, and he delivered. It does everything I want it to, but mostly it makes me want to write with it constantly.

6. Lights Acoustic
I had never heard of this band before my sister introduced me to them this Christmas. Girl-singing-over-acoustic-guitar always tugs my writing heart strings.

Writers: what writing-related items are your favorites this season?


Thoughts for a new year.

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

glittering snow[via Kinahmi]

I’m practicing writing with my new fountain pen, pondering the old and new, tending to a clingy kitty (who didn’t quite like that we made him sit in the car for 12 total hours and left him with a house sitter for a few days), and trying to create a few really meaningful and achievable resolutions.

My thoughts feel scattered today since it’s been a while since I blogged — the break was unplanned but needed — but I’ll do my best to focus, because I think that’s what you’re supposed to do when it’s a new year…

A word.

One trend I’ve seen in the last few years is that of choosing a word for the year. My problem with this is that I have a word hang-up that continues year to year – joy. I don’t think I’m quite ready to give it up just to have a 2012 word.  I explored joy in 2011 through study, though gratitude, through mindfulness and prayer. I have a plan to elaborate on this word and its significance to me in the continuation of the story of my name, which I hinted at through this poem last month.


I’ve struggled with the word conundrum and the idea of resolutions (and the discouraging thought of once again attempting to stop biting my nails — both that I believe it may be impossible and that there are far more important resolutions to make).  Yesterday an elder at our church gave an incredibly timely sermon on the last chapter of Habakkuk. He examined Habakkuk’s response to God after God reveals his plan for disciplining his people by raising up the Chaldeans to conquer them.

Habakkuk begins by appealing to God for relief. He then spends several verses recounting God’s mighty works in creating and delivering his people. He submits himself to God’s purposes (“I hear, and my body trembles; my lips quiver at the sound; rottenness enters into my bones; my legs tremble beneath me. Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble to come upon people who invade us”).  Then he rejoices. Though he is about to lose his livelihood, his community, and all he knows at the hands of an evil conquering people, he says, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.” He knows that regardless of his limited understanding, his situation fits into the larger plan of a God who has been and will continue to be faithful. And he is able to say all this even without the knowledge of the Messiah come that we just celebrated this Christmas.

In 2012, I pray to be made like Habakkuk: bringing my laments to the God who cares for me and appeal to him for relief; remembering, always, his faithfulness and the promises he has made and kept; submitting my will to his; and rejoicing in him always, regardless of my circumstances.

Year in Review.

Last year, I got my first real teaching job. I celebrated my second wedding anniversary, signed up for a triathlon, attended my brother-in-law’s beautiful wedding, and read a lot of 7th and 8th grade core literature. I redesigned the blog and moved it to, moved into a new apartment in Portland, and began thinking deeply again about creativity and writing. I completed the aforementioned triathlon. I continued my quarter-life identity crisis. I officially launched my freelance writing business. I found out one of my best friends is pregnant! We celebrated Eric’s 26th and my 25th birthdays. I got a job teaching high school online while I work on growing my writing venture. I read and wrote a lot of poems.

The new year finds me searching. I feel a little dizzy, a lot excited, fearful. I still think the questions I’m asking might have been answerable several years ago, and it takes intentional grace-extending for me to move into fully accepting this season. I’m thankful for the removal of the numbness to creativity I felt for a couple of years up until this summer. I’m thankful that although I feel apprehensive and insecure, I feel awake.

…the sense of creative activity is the great happiness and the great proof of being alive. (Matthew Arnold)

Alive is a good way to start a new year. Here’s to living fully and celebrating the giver of breath in 2012.

Love to you all.