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Quick and Quiet: come and click

2016 Essentialism, Learning, Quick and Quiet: come and click

Friendly or Writing

September 19, 2016
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So much to say with so few words to compose my wild thoughts. July 4th I began painting our living room. It took seven days to complete this project. For seven days I painted and prayed. I even wrote a post about how I was thankful I got my prayers in for whatever storm lay ahead.

Now it is the middle of September. This is my birthday month. Fall has come. September is always my favorite. As I look back over the rest of July, all of August and the first few weeks of September I am beginning to see what the prayers were for. They were for me. Not for any great storm or any huge trial. They were for the inner struggle of recognizing who I truly am, acknowledging who I really want to be and the dissonance between the two.

I have been reading Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist. I am almost finished with it. I have every intention of returning to the first sentence the second the last sentence has been read. This woman is living my life. No actually Shauna’s heart peers at her life the same way that mine does. I have learned so much about myself, about my theology, about love.

Near the end of the book she talks about earning love. She doesn’t feel that others have to earn her love, but she does feel that she has to earn the love from others. Shut. The. Front. Door.

That is me.

I am an earner. My husband and I were having a conversation about this yesterday. He said, “That is a terrible way to think. You shouldn’t do that.” This caused tears to come. Through sniffs and rumpled tissue I said, “I know that is what I am trying to tell you. I am slowly discovering how to undo this, but at times it is a slow process, and that can be discouraging.”

Silence.

Long silence.

Finally I said, “I need you to say something.” He gently replied with, “That is a really good thing that you are beginning to recognize it and finding your way through it.”

Thus there have not been very many words on the blog because I have been finding my way through it. I have been making an effort to be present in the very moment I am in and I am still processing all that is around me and how it is changing.

One thing that has becoming shockingly clear in this season, is it is more important to be a really good friend, than to be a really good writer. Daily I have been making the choice to put my friends first over my writing. Friends are beautiful and messy. Truly time consuming in the best kind of way. As I weighed these two options of time with my friends or writing; I let friendship push over the writing.

Because I am an earner in love, it felt very bad letting Monday after Monday go by without a blog post. Then Thursday would roll around and I still hadn’t put any words on a page. But my friendships were thriving. I was connecting with friends far away. I was connecting with my husband as his friend and life companion. My son and I would race off to Chuck E. Cheese for an hour and play as many tokens as we could. I felt like a person again. I hadn’t even realized I wasn’t feeling like a person, but my soul was dry.

For the past few weeks I have had this question over my kitchen sink, “What is restorative to me?” I honestly didn’t know. But now I do. Being a true friend to the people in my everyday world is what is restorative to me.

What does this mean for the blog? I don’t know. Writing helps me be whole as well. So I will let you know when something is posted. But for now, my friends are going to get my regular Monday and Thursday times.

How are your friendships? Do your friends know they are important to you? Be sure and let them know how much they mean to you.

Quick and Quiet: come and click

Stop. Right now. . .

August 22, 2016
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Stop. Right Now. Remake your life from the inside out. p. 51  Shauna Niequist

This has been quite a week. A friend came in from out of town to stay with us. We decided to buy a new family vehicle, and the husband unit worked over 50 hours. Along with all the other normal life things that go on.

Last Sunday two very significant things happened. Tim and I decided we wanted to actively start looking for a car and a friend texted me and said she had bought me a book and it would be arriving in the mail soon.

The book that she bought me was Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist. I had been wanting to buy this book but was waiting for our financial resources to settle a bit first. What a fun thing to receive a book in the mail, I hadn’t even ordered!

In the midst of all the busyness I began to read. Friends, buy this book and read it. The subtitle is: Leaving behind frantic for a simpler, more soulful way of living. This has been at the core of what I have been working on, and dealing with. How do you un-create the life you have created for yourself? Especially when you thought this was the life you always wanted?

Every paragraph has a sentence or more underlined. I cry almost every time I pick it up. But the tears are not out of frustration or hurt. They are out of relief. Someone else has had my struggle. Someone else has found how to make their life smaller and create more room for their soul.

Stop. Right Now. Remake your life from the inside out. p. 51

Wait, What? Right now. You mean this very day? Not next week or next month or in 2025, but right now? What am I doing? I am stopping. Stopping fear from ruling my life. Stopping doubts from having the most say. Stopping the running track of nonsense that makes me think I have to do certain things a certain way to be successful or blessed or whatever other accolade I am looking for.

I am still grappling with how to remake my life from the inside out. But Stop. Right now. Is enough for me today.

If any of this resonates with you then buy this book or go to the library and get on the waiting list. Discover the words for yourself.

 

Listening, Personal, Quick and Quiet: come and click

What I Learned from Listening

June 30, 2016
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The theme for this month of June was Listening. Here is a brief synopsis of what I learned this month.

  1. If We’re Honest: I discovered a new song by Francesca Battisteli  that reached deep into my soul because I took the time to really listen.
  2. I learned (or was reminded) that doing a project with a friend is way more fun than doing a project by yourself. On our Truth Share Project Lydia and I discussed a quote from Adam McHugh’s book The Listening Life. The ever mindful reminder to listen to God. Take time to be quiet and just listen. So hard for me. So very hard.
  3. Small Moment Listening: I learned that enjoy listening to scripture first thing in the morning. While I do my morning stretches I listened to Emily P. Freeman read scripture to me. If you haven’t done this, do it!
  4. What I am willing to swipe my whole calendar for. I learned that I am willing to move anything and everything if  friend is in need especially if sick parents are in the mix of the need or crisis.
  5. How a simple phone call can redirect a dump day into a blessing day. My head was stuck in the wrong place and I knew it. I picked up the phone and called a dear friend in another state and we had the loveliest of chats.
  6. Listening to others and not finishing their sentences! A friend shared with me that she discovered she did this, and you know what? So. Do. I. So I have been working on it.
  7. My tongue can guide a conversation into blessing or despair.
  8. Listening to my one strength, which is encouragement. Encouraging myself but more importantly encouraging others.

I hope that you have become a better listener over the past month as well. In the month of July we will be discussing wisdom. Wisdom in relation to the book of Proverbs. There are 31 days in July and 31 chapters in Proverbs. Let’s look for the gem of wisdom that is penned in every chapter of this amazing book!

 

Listening, Quick and Quiet: come and click

Listening To Your One Strength

June 27, 2016
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The month of June has been about listening. What is interesting about picking a topic and thinking about it, writing about it, and talking to others about it, it becomes apart of what you do everyday.

Yesterday I went to a friends back yard BBQ. Ben was my date as the dad was home in bed sick. We love going to this house because they have a whole toy room, plus the best little kid back yard you can every imagine. I can actually sit down, have a conversation with someone, and watch my son play knowing he is safe and can’t get into too much trouble.

There were several people there that I hadn’t seen in a while as we have recently switched churches. I was excited to see them. But wasn’t sure what to talk about. How do you catch someone up on the past three months of your life? Especially when the past three months have felt really significant but you aren’t sure why or where God is leading you.

As I sat there watching the different people getting situated I decided to become a listener. If asked a question I, of course, answered it. But listening became my main focus. A group of us were clustered around a baby and a conversation grew up around a young man who is 20 and trying to figure out life. He has his AA and isn’t sure where to go next. The friend was asking him really good questions and he was willingly answering them. As I was listening I kept thinking, “Oh I can relate to this kid! I remember this feeling so clearly!”

What is my strength? Encouragement. I encourage others in all kinds of ways. The friend shifted to another conversation and I picked up where she left off. Asking questions, sharing experiences. I told him how I felt at 20, how I finished my degree at 21, but then at 30 went back to school to earn a second degree in a totally different field. He was surprised by this. My encouragement to him was do something. Pick something and do it. I thought of two specific stories to share with him, but it was time to load up plates of food.

Once our plates were full we sat down again. He turned to me and said, “Okay I’m ready I want to hear your two stories.” One story was about my 20 year old niece who had very recently figured out what she wanted to do. But what was interesting was she figured out what she wanted to be . . . because she had to return home unexpectedly and the local art elementary art teacher wanted her to help in her class. Suddenly all the different pieces of what she did well came together and allowed her to see she wants to be an elementary art school teacher. But the thing is with life is you don’t get to go back. She will never be able to go back to that time or to the event that caused the situation that necesitated her to move home. She will never know what the other path may have been. She only knows what this path that she is on is leading.

“It’s the same for you.” I said to my new BBQ friend. He agreed and you could see the wheels turning in his head. He was processing and scrolling back through his life. He was sifting through what he did well, what he was currently doing, and where it was leading him.

“Now tell me the other story!” He focused in intently. He wanted to listen to my strength. He was being encouraged and he wanted more.

I told him about the conference I attended last summer. I explained how there was a question and answer session with the main speaker and organizer. Someone had asked her how she had gotten to where she was. Her answer was priceless and the encouragement I was offering him. “Do the next thing. Just do the next thing and it will lead you along.”

“That is what I am encouraging you to do, do the next thing.” He smiled. He nodded his head and said these words. “I am almost didn’t come today. I have been working a crazy amount of hours and was planning to just be home and relax but my whole family was coming to this BBQ, and at the last minute I decided to come. I am so glad I did, because I have been so encouraged through this conversation. Thank you.” He then got up and went over and sat by his dad on the other end of the yard.

As he walked away I realized something. Listen to your strength. Yes it is good to listen, but it is also important to use the gifts you have. What is the one thing that people are consistently saying to you? Are you listening to that thing or are you always trying to silence it? Put it to use. Ask it some questions: when is your strength out most? When does it manifest itself? When is it obvious to others? When is it obvious to you? Listen to what your strength says and then do the next thing.

Listening, Quick and Quiet: come and click

Listening to Others

June 20, 2016
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One of my close friends chooses one word for the year. This year, 2016, she chose the word Listening. Since this is the main topic of the blog this month. I thought it would be interesting to hear what she has learned over the past six months.

As we sat on the floor of her newly renovated basement watching our boys play, I asked her what she had learned from listening this year.

She said the main thing that she has learned about herself is that she struggles to actively listen while other people are talking. I asked her to elaborate. She explained that she often tries to finish people’s sentences for them. But more often than than not, the person that she has just completed the sentence for says, “No, not that exactly, more like . . . “ And then uses a totally different word.

She never realized how often she did this sentence finishing thing until this year. She even pointed out that she had done it to me when I had first arrived. As I thought back through our first few minutes together, she was right. She had tried to finish one of my sentences and I had said, “No actually I think ___________ would be a better word.”

Since that conversation with my friend, I have been making an effort to pay closer attention to if I do the same thing. Do I finish other people’s sentences for them? Yes.

Do I pick the right word for them? No not always.

Yesterday our family went to lunch with another family after church. As we were talking throughout the meal I caught myself finishing my friends sentences! And each time I did it, she said, “No I think it is more ______ (this word).”

What about you? Do you finish other people’s sentences? Are you so busy anticipating what the other person is going to say that you rush the conversation?

I am making a very conscious effort to bite my tongue, literally if I have to. Letting the other person develop and communicate their whole thought is really important to me.

As I read my Bible, I discover James had a pretty clear understanding about our tongues in relation to our whole body.

James 3: 2 We all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. (NASB)

I want to be known as someone who truly listens to others. Not stumbling into their words and stories because I think I have a better word or way to say it. I don’t want them to feel rushed or like they have to come up with the perfect word or phrase. I want to be an active listener, not an active sentence finisher!
Join me in this. Pay close attention this week. Are people finishing your sentences? Or are you finishing theirs?

My friend shared that she has one colleague in particular that she often finishes sentences for. This colleague graciously pushes back and says, “Wait, let me finish. I know what I want to say.” May this be what we do for others and what we do for ourselves – be gracious active listeners.

Quick and Quiet: come and click

Quick Visit

May 12, 2016
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Last night at 4:45 a sweet friend texted and asked if she and her daughter could “drop by”. We hadn’t seen each other in a few weeks. I responded with “Yes. Come.”

They arrived about 5:30 and left around 8:00. It was such a lovely visit. We played outside catching up on life, mothering, and how to travel with little-s. It has been such a pleasure to see how this friendship has evolved as we were friends when there were no little people and only one of us was married.

Life changes and evolves and it is always fun to have a friend who can role with the changes and engage the evolve-ments.

She was planning to leave at seven, but at seven we both decided it was too soon and we needed more time to visit.

Do you have a friend that you can call at the last minute and just stop by their house? Are you the type of friend that would invite someone to stop by any time? I hope so. Sometimes the impromptu visits are the very best ones.

Who in your life have you been intending to call or see? Purpose this week to do an impromptu visit whether it is you inviting them to your house, or you inviting yourself to their house. I promise it will bless you both!

Quick and Quiet: come and click

First5 – Try a Fresh Start to Your Day

February 29, 2016
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Need a fresh start to you week? Maybe even your day? Try the First5 App. It is accessible for iphone or android.

I have been using this app since last summer. The idea behind it is to give the first five minutes of your day/brain to God. Here are some things that I love about this app:

Convenience – it is on my phone which I use as my alarm clock, so as I am already messing with my phone to turn off the alarm it makes it really easy to click on the First5 App.

Thought Provoking – each day is a verse, followed by a few words, a short prayer, and a question to think about. So often I uncover things about my soul that I didn’t even know needed uncovering. Also I like having a prayer written out for me so early in the morning.

One idea for the day – having a toddler has stripped me of the illusion that I can think about many things at once. This app helps me reign in my crazy brain to consider one concept for the whole day. I have found this incredibly helpful.

Prayer – sets my day off on the right foot, even though I haven’t even gotten out of bed yet!

Place to comment – each day you can respond to the question that is being proposed. You comment just for yourself or list it with many of the other people who have chosen to comment. On really discouraging days, I find this really helpful and encouraging to see that others are struggling with the same things I am struggling with.

Helping me read through the Bible – We have read through three books so far and starting today a new two book approach is starting. I am really excited about this. It is Leviticus and Hebrews, I am going to learn so much!

Download the app today. Make the First5 minutes of your day the most encouraging five minutes of your day. Join me each morning as we read the hope and encouragement from the First5 team.

 

Quick and Quiet: come and click, Raw and Real

Quiet Creativity

January 18, 2016
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My mind is constantly running. I am always thinking about all kinds of things. For years I was told I needed to “get out of my head.” But as I am learning more and more about introverts I am discovering I am not alone in this mind running trait. What I am learning though is how to control what topics my mind dwells upon.

This past week the topic of my mind running was creativity. What is it? How does it manifest itself in my life? But most importantly I was taking notes on God’s creativity in Revelation 8 and 9.

For years I struggled to read C.S. Lewis’s the Chronicles of Narnia and J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy. The reason is I imagine what I read. But both of these authors had created things I could not imagine. Orks, what are they? The white witch, how could she be beautiful and threatening? But then some imaginative movie directors took on the challenge of turning these books into movies. I will never forget sitting in the theater watching The Fellowship of the Ring with my brother and sister-in-law. They had been Tolkien fans for years and told me I couldn’t go to the movie with them unless I read the book. I dutifully read the book and had no idea what I had read. What is a hobbit? And how scary can a Black Rider be?

Then I saw it – the scene of the Bucklebury Ferry. It was like a whole new branch of my brain was opened up and I could suddenly comprehend fantasy or science fiction. The next few weeks were consumed with reading all of these series of books and finally having a framework in my mind to dwell on them.

This year in Bible Study Fellowship we have been studying Revelation. The same thing has happened with Revelation that happened with Lewis and Tolkien. A book that always felt odd and illusive to me, is coming to life. Instead of being bogged down by all the things I don’t understand like locusts that have tails like scorpions and creatures with four heads I have been able to focus on the overarching creativity of God.

His creativity in showing this whole vision to John. The creativity of how the judgments are coming. The creativity of the judgments themselves. But the thing that kept circling through my head last week as we studied Revelation 8-9 is God, the creator, was destroying his creation. But he was destroying it to make a better world. The end of the world will come, so that we can spend eternity with him. The earth has to be destroyed so that a new earth and a new heaven can be created and established.

This resonated with me so much. I create. I paint, I type words. The thought of destroying my paintings so that I could do a better one is mind boggling to me, yet as I swirled it around and around in my brain it made sense.

One of the ladies in my BSF group shared this week that she is working on de-cluttering her home and striving to make her home peaceful with less stuff. This comment really resonated with me, because I am desiring to do the same thing. As we continued talking the clarity came. Sometimes you have to ruin something to make it better. It isn’t enough to just work over the top of it. The room has to stripped of everything before you can a peaceful environment with the right things.

The prayers of the saints is something I never noticed before in Revelation. Read these verses:

“Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand.” Revelation 8:3-4

Chapter 5 first introduced the prayers of the saints:

“When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” Revelation 5:8

Golden bowls of incense are filled with the prayers of the saints. This phrase has seeped into every part of my soul. I am in search of a golden bowl to remind me of this phrase and what it represents. Incense comes from something that is burned, but a lovely smell not the smell of burnt toast.

So this week at Target I splurged and spent $4 on a candle that smells like vanilla cupcakes. It is the candle that is lit in the post picture. I light it when I pray and sit in quiet and solitude. I am doing this to embrace the creativity of God. There are many things about God that I don’t understand, but creativity is one I want to dwell on and learn more.

I want to be creative in my home. Creative in marriage resolution. Creative in parenting. Creative in loving others.

It is true, sometimes the most beautiful thing that has ever been created has to be destroyed so that something even more wonderful can be crafted.

What things in your life are the most beautiful to you? Can you imagine them even more beautiful? That is the wonderment of God. He can. He can imagine them more wonderfully than you can. So invite Him in. Invite Him into your head, into your heart, and into your creativity. Sit quietly with Him and see what he shows you. Rediscover what you once had or discover for the first time.

The prayers of the saints. I want to be part of filling up those golden bowls. I want my prayers to be a sweet incense to the ever knowing all creative God, who loves me and wants to know me.

Come join me on this journey of seeking quite creativity.

Quick and Quiet: come and click

Shhh – Quiet

November 9, 2015
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I have been reading a book called Quiet by Susan Cain. The subtitle is “the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking.”

I am learning much about myself and the world around me. If you are a reader I recommend you read this book.

Here is an interesting article on the web about quiet and creativity.

May your day have a bit of quiet in it.

 

Quick and Quiet: come and click, Simply Tuesday

Stages and Stairwells

October 8, 2015
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If they don’t know who you are then you have been given the gift of obscurity. Let this not be offensive. Let this be a relief.When I celebrate my smallness and receive the gift of obscurity, I am free. I have hope. I can give generously. I can be who I am rather than who I want you to think I am. When I resist smallness it’s because I’m afraid it means invisibility. p. 104 Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman

Obscurity.

Let this not be offensive.

Let this be a relief.

My life is more hectic this week than normal. I think that this quote speaks for itself. Re-read it. Think about it, and be challenged by it.

Ask yourself why you resist smallness? Are you afraid of being invisible? Don’t be. You are seen. You are loved. And you are known even if by a few it is true.

Each week we are reading a chapter from Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman. Come join us, it isn’t too late. Buy your book here. Watch an encouraging video here. And read some other fabulous bloggers at A Good Crisis and In Glorious Wakes.

We read one chapter on Tuesday and chat about it on Thursday. Next week Chapter 7: Community and Competition: Finding safe places to feel insecure.

Until next time #itsimplytuesday on instagram.