begin again.

the view of the colorado river from mt. bonnell, austin, texas

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of starting over. It’s a fresh wind on a wide-open road, the sun warming your face, an attentive curiosity to all things new.

My husband Jack and I recently moved all the way across the country from the north shore of Chicago to Austin, Texas, so this feeling is still very real to us. As difficult as it was to say goodbye to our friends, our church community, and our beloved city, we were absolutely ready for big change.

And it certainly was a change. If I could describe it in a single word, it would be spaciousness.

This sense of spaciousness is physical. No longer are we embraced on all sides by the tight squeeze of tall, red-brick buildings and imposing Victorians. No longer are we cramped into a tiny apartment whose size didn’t even allow us the room to unpack all of our boxes. No longer are we limited in our travels by train and bus routes. Now, our apartment is on the outskirts of Austin where there are hills and open fields. We live in an apartment almost double the size of our old one, and it comes with huge walk-in closets and a pool to swim in (thank you, Texas rent prices). And, a few weeks ago, we finally got our first car, which has been revolutionary in terms of giving us a sense of freedom to move around our new city. None of these changes were unexpected–in fact, they were huge motivating factors for us in making the decision to move down south.

But what I didn’t expect was how this sudden increase in physical space would then make room for other kinds of spaciousness in my life.

There’s a freedom you begin to feel the closer you get to Austin, Texas.

Willie Nelson

Ever since we made the decision to move last March, and especially since we began our new lives here, I’ve felt this sense of freedom, creatively and spiritually. Perhaps it’s a lack of others’ expectations, a lack of history, a lack of obligation. Maybe this is just how it feels when you know you’re where you’re supposed to be. Maybe it’s the sense of peace that descends on you when you follow where God has called you to go. Maybe it’s just having a small room with big windows all to myself to write in. Honestly, it could be all of these things.

Whatever it is, it has refreshed me. Spiritually, I feel more comfortable asking questions, rearranging, being open and vulnerable, letting God be expansive and larger than my understanding. And as an artist, I feel ready to create. I feel confident in the projects I am working on and in my own style, where before I had trouble accepting my works and style for what they are. I feel a sense of creative focus and direction, where before I felt limp and foggy. It feels like a new chapter, like creative liberation. So, regardless of its origin or of how long it may last, I am compelled to follow it.

And that’s why, after many years of sharing my writing on my old blog, I’ve decided that now is the perfect time–and this new website, the perfect place–for this writer to start over.

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a writer, and, someday, a published author. My vision for this site is that it will be a writer’s companion while I do the harrowing work of writing my first novel–a place where I can write about the creative process, share stories of my travels, meditate on my faith, and more, all the while connecting with my readers and other writers as I journey on toward my ultimate goal. I hope you’ll find that what I write here is more curated and focused on the three topical areas that matter the most to me:

  • my faith & personal life
  • creativity & the writing process
  • travel & nature

For those faithful few who have been with me from the beginning (thank you, deeply), that means there will be some changes. You will still be able to access my old blog, The Mind That Wanders, but I won’t be posting new work there anymore. I will no longer be publishing pieces of finished fiction work on any blog–this is so I can eventually publish them elsewhere. Finally, I hope (and this is a big hope) that I will be able to share shorter, micro-level updates on my writing on a more frequent and regular basis than I did at my old blog, regardless of whether they come with a deeply-thought-out personal essay or not.

And finally, to both old readers and new–welcome. I hope this new online space gives you a sense of who I am as a person and as a writer, and I would love it if you gave me a follow to join me in the journey on the long, open road ahead.

I am so thrilled to be able to begin again.

2 Replies to “begin again.”

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