Positive Portfolio / Abundance

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In my last post (ahem, in March) I talked about starting a “positive portfolio” series, you can read more about what that is here. Today I’m compiling my first portfolio and the subject I’ve chosen is abundance. What does it really mean to live an abundant life? What does it require? What IS abundance? Here goes:

In true elementary-school-report-writing fashion, let’s start with a definition.

Abundance:
“plentifulness of the good things of life; prosperity.”

Notice the definition does not mention money. It says only “the good things in life.” Here are some of mine.

  • Getting Charlie from his crib in the morning. Even when it’s early it’s sweet to open his door and see him standing at the edge of his crib waiting for me.
  • Waking up slow on the weekends. Hanging out in bed as a family and deciding what we’re going to do that day.
  • Books, podcasts, magazines.
  • FRIENDS. Long talks. Drinks. Laughing until my face hurts.
  • Music: listening, playing, watching, discussing.
  • Pouring a cup of coffee after putting Charlie down for his morning nap, and knowing I have (usually) an hour to myself.
  • Writing: journal entries, prayers, blog posts, hand written cards.
  • Art.
  • My Mom and Dad
  • Texting daily with my sisters. Checking in with each other, supporting one another, and sharing the same dark sense of humor.
  • Brent. Marriage. True partnership and companionship. Being so mad you can feel your blood boiling one second and then laughing literally the next. Building something important even when we don’t feel like it (especially when we don’t feel like it). Parenting together. Loving someone, serving someone, being loved despite how terrible I can be sometimes. I could go on. Marriage is muddy, complex, and beautiful.
  • Netflix marathons
  • Seeing/feeling/hearing God in my life. The times when peace descends and goosebumps happen. When things are too coincidental to be coincidences.
  • Stretching, moving, walking.
  • Nature. Seeing the clouds move and change shape, noticing all the shades of green in the trees, watching water move endlessly but never in the same pattern twice, hearing the birds and watching them dance around each other. Even some bugs are pretty amazing if they’re not touching me. But never mosquitos.
  • Rest. Sleep. Unplugging. Slowing down.

This letterpress print by artist Kayla Gale. This simple image represents such a beautiful and abundant time of life for some women. It signifies so many quiet and special moments…and reminds me of how hard I worked to have this experience.

This song. The Beach Boys will always remind me of childhood and my dad. This song specifically reminds me of watching Never Been Kissed a million times with my sisters. And it also reminds me of when Brent and I first started dating. We made mix CDs for each other…(so cliche but also a really good indicator of your compatibility IMHO) and I added this song to the end of the cd as a hidden track. It had the effect I hoped for, and we’ve been married for 5+ years. It’s our song even though he doesn’t race cars or whatever.

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These faces. This is Charlie with his brother, Ashen. Brent’s oldest is 20 years older than Charlie and he is the kindest, sweetest, most resilient kid. I just love both of these boys so much and am so grateful for all the things they have taught me. I think before kids I didn’t really understand what people meant when they said that their kids were their greatest teachers…but now I think I’m starting to get it. It’s because you lose your patience, let them down, and just generally fail at a lot of things, and they love you anyway and it makes you want to be better.

Ok. I don’t want to ramble on, and if you’ve made it this far I appreciate that. I keep thinking of really good things to add to my list and my heart is bursting, but I’ll rein it in.

I decided to focus on abundance because quite honestly it’s a struggle for me. My life is not perfect, and I so often focus on lack. I always seem to have a running list of things I need (and don’t have). Situations I want changed. Ways in which my life is not quite good enough. We all do it. So if you’re feeling down or like you don’t have enough lately…I encourage you to take some time and create your own portfolio of abundance. I think it’s a practice we all know works but rarely actually DO. And it really does help! What’s on your list?

“Our fall was, has always been, and always will be, that we aren’t satisfied in God and what He gives. We hunger for something more, something other.” -Ann Voskamp

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TGIF // 05


Hi guys. How are you? Is it weird to start a blog post that way? I guess it’s not like you can respond, but I do genuinely want to know how you all are. Also, I’ve always liked writing letters and starting a post this way makes it feels more like a letter – so whatever, I’m sticking with it. Hah.

I’m feeling a little drained today. I’ve been brainstorming about this post a bit throughout the week and as of this moment…I have NO idea what I’m going to write. So let’s see what comes out, here goes.

This week I’m trusting grace. I guess this goes with last week’s theme of not trying too hard to be worthy or perfect – but the theme continues and I’m trying more and more to rest in grace. I feel like when you really grasp the idea of grace it’s life changing…but then the concept slips away and we forget. It’s kind of like when you try really hard to imagine eternity or infinity…sometimes, for a second, you get this glimpse of it and feel sheer terror or awe…but then it goes as fast as it came. You know? So sometimes when I really understand grace I get this overwhelming sense of rest and peace..but then life goes on and I return to my neurotic self who is constantly striving for something I can’t earn. So I’m trying to meditate on it more, and trust it more…we’ll see where it leads.

This week I’m feeling grateful for nature. I know, sorry, I’m not trying to be all deep or get hippie on you (even though I am kind of a hippie at heart), but nature is something that can always calm me down or lift my mood. I leave the house for work at 7am, just as the sun is starting to rise, and this week I have seen the most AMAZING sunrises on my drive in. I love starting my day soaking in that beauty and being in awe of how amazing this planet is. It’s funny how you can watch a million sunrises and it never gets old. It’s always striking, always different. That being said – I’ve been saddened by some things this week going on in Washington that show very little regard for the Earth, it’s beauty, and it’s importance. But more on that another time, maybe. For now, this poem – because she is the BEST at capturing the subtle miraculous moments I often experience when paying attention to the world.

Lately, I’m finding so much inspiration in music. I tend to go through phases with music where sometimes I don’t listen to it very much. I mean, I’ve always loved it and it’s been a big part of my life, but I can get kind of burnt out and occasionally just appreciate silence instead. But right now I’m devouring album after album – I’ve had fun exploring new stuff and returning to old stuff. You can see a playlist I posted here.

Lastly, faith. I was listening to this podcast on finding our calling and heard the speaker say this,

“God is actually most near to us when everything is falling apart. In those times, when God is most near, the people trying to help us access the nearness of God are sometimes so profoundly in the way.”

*Side note: this quote came after a clip he shared from the movie Hunt for the Wilderpeople – if you haven’t seen, it’s so good!

I think this quote is, sadly, so true. And I see it happening again and again in most organized religions. The focus is on doctrine or theology or rules – and those things can often just get in the way of people actually experiencing God. At some point we were told not to trust our experiences, but to trust in what someone at the front of the church was telling us instead. I think it’s a good thing to be aware of – and if you’ve experienced that kind of thing…don’t let it turn you off completely. Don’t let someone else ruin something that can be so good and beautiful. Discover it for yourself.

That’s a lot of text. Thanks for sticking with me to the end.
I hope you all have a good weekend, wherever you are!

Yours,
Marci

*Main image is a painting I did recently, you can see more of my artwork here.

lately

last week i found out that my uncle randy passed away unexpectedly. i was completely heartbroken and shocked – he was the picture of health and so full of life. i can’t remember the last time, if ever, i’ve felt grief quite like this. most big losses i’ve felt at least came with some warning…but this was so sudden that i’m still struggling to comprehend the reality of a world without randy in it.

the first few days i felt physically sick. in his book, a grief observed, c.s. lewis talks about how he didn’t realize grief felt so much like fear until he experienced it when his wife died. anxiety, butterflies in your stomach, adrenaline…it’s weird how physical emotions can be.

anyway, i wanted to mention something about it here because it seems odd not to. it seems odd to move on to the next book report or music post and not at least mention how my world has shifted. we all have to go, but it seemed too soon for randy. he had a lot left to give and i just have to trust that there was a reason for it. i’m really thankful for the time he had here and all the hilarious stories he’s left us with. i was lucky to know him, and extra lucky to call him my uncle. 

^^ whenever i feel down or need a pick-me-up, heading to the natural gardener always helps. they sell lots of plants, flowers, and trees, but also have some animals and let people wander their grounds for free. here are some pictures i took today…the monarch is for randy. when we were kids he would bring us a little plant with a monarch caterpillar on it every year. we would watch it eat the leaves and get ready to transform…it was always a bit like christmas morning when it finally made its cocoon. a monarch chrysalis is beautiful, by the way, google it if you haven’t seen one. when the butterfly emerged we’d let it go free…it was such an awesome way to learn about nature and science. ^^


^^ she was pooped after a long day of exploring. ^^



^^ this gal’s name is biscuit and i don’t think she liked our dog, haha. ^^


^^ so thankful for brent. not sure what i’d do without this man in my life. ^^

xox,

marci

possession

bigbend

the things i wish for are:
a color. a forest.
the devil and ice in my mouth.
everything
that can’t be owned.
a leopard, a life, a kiss.
you
never let me down.
to know that you have wanted me too
is as good as the deed
of trust.

words: barbara kingsolver | another america p. 65
photo: iphone | big bend, tx

thousands

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out of the thousands
who are known,
or who want to be known
as poets,
maybe one or two
are genuine
and the rest are fakes,
hanging around the sacred precincts
trying to look like the real thing.
needles to say
i am one of the fakes,
and this is my story.

words: leonard cohen | thousands (book of longing)

photo: iphone | austin, tx