Reader Feature // March Designs + a HUGE Announcement!

Hello Friends!

I have been overwhelmed by your response to the designs I've been offering over the past several months, and it makes me so happy to see you enjoying the things I've created for you! I am thrilled to announce that I'll be offering even more designs in the coming weeks, with the launch of a new collection called Hello Spring

With that said, I'd like to introduce you to an exciting change taking place here at THE LIFE IN BETWEEN:

TLIBInsider Design Subscriptions

I will still be offering a few monthly freebies to newsletter subscribers, but in order to make it financially possible for me to continue creating for you, I am combining the former freebie page with the former digital shop to offer you one source for all printable and digital hand-lettered pieces, art designs, calendars, notebooks, greeting cards, journaling templates, and more!

 

And since so many of you have been using and styling my designs in such fun ways, I am dedicating a blog post to your creativity each month! I'm doing this for two reasons: 

  1. To thank you for enjoying and sharing my work.
  2. Your creativity will inspire others!
TLIB Reader Feature, NEW March Designs, plus a HUGE Announcement!

Here's how the Reader Feature works:

When you share a picture of any TLIB creation (freebies, subscriber items, or product) and tag me, @thelifeinbetweenon Instagram or notify me of your share on another social platform, you'll be eligible to be featured in the next Reader Feature post.

As some of you may know, I now have a small Ambassador Team as well, so I'll be using this series to share a few of their posts too in order to give you some more creative inspiration.

Alright now... here are my favorite shares from February!

 

READERS

A post shared by Chi (@cma88) on

 

AMBASSADORS

A post shared by Holly (@hollykooi) on

A post shared by Holly (@hollykooi) on

A post shared by Annetta Bosakova (@annettab) on

A post shared by Annetta Bosakova (@annettab) on

A post shared by Holly (@hollykooi) on

 

Thank you all so much for being such a supportive bunch! I am so thankful that God has put me on this creative path, and cannot wait to see where it leads!

 

xotawni
 

TO BE FEATURED

Share a picture of any TLIB creation (freebiessubscriber items, or product) and tag me, @thelifeinbetweenon Instagram OR notify me of your share on another social platform to be eligible to be featured in the next Reader Feature post!

Reading Group // Craving Connection: 30 Challenges for Real-Life Engagement

This post is sponsored by DaySpring and contains affiliate links. I received product in exchange for promotion. All views and opinions (and reading group plans!) are my own.

 
 

I've been teasing about this for awhile on Instagram and Facebook, and I am so happy to finally extend this official invitation to join me in a reading group for the book Craving Connection: 30 Challenges for Real-Life Engagement.

I've been spending some time reading a bit of Craving Connection and have been trying to soak up as much as I can before we start reading together. Although I haven't read the whole book yet – and most definitely have been skipping most challenges (in anticipation of this group!) – I wanted to make sure I'd read at least some of the book before I attempted to lead a reading group. I'm really excited to finally go through the book with you at a more meaningful, engaging pace.

Reading Group – Craving Connection: 30 Challenges for Real-Life Engagement // Join the Reading Group at THE LIFE IN BETWEEN!
 

As an introvert, I've always found it a bit hard to make friends. I suppose we could talk about trust issues, spending a lot of time in my head, social anxiety, self-doubt, sensitivity, and all of that, but most of all, in my adult life I've never felt like I really needed friends. Sure, maybe a few – as long as I could count them on one hand – but I'd tell myself even then that I don't really need anyone. I'm happy to be alone.

Well.

While it may be true that I'm happy to be alone, it's also true that I'm not happy to be lonely, or to feel alone. Do you understand the difference? And yeah, even though I have a loving husband and children to keep me company, I recently went through a very lonely season. 

Reading Group – Craving Connection: 30 Challenges for Real-Life Engagement // Join the Reading Group at THE LIFE IN BETWEEN!
 

To keep myself from writing a memoir, I'll just share some points to try to help paint a picture of my life currently:

  • Wife
  • Mom
  • Introvert
  • Shy
  • Expat
  • Language barrier
  • 30-something in a community of 20-somethings and 40-somethings
  • Sensitive
  • Passionate
  • Creative
  • Blogger (by many this is a foreign, misunderstood hobby/profession)
  • Disciplined (I came from the American Dream's workforce – I haven't always been a blogger/designer!)

I think you can kind of imagine how these points (plus more I won't get into here) could lead to something really beautiful... or to something really lonely. My personality traits, my circumstances, my emotions, my skills and experience, my gifts and my faults – all together they're like a powder keg – I could go off at any time, and the explosion will either send me soaring to the highest of heights or it will tear me limb from limb. 

Reading Group – Craving Connection: 30 Challenges for Real-Life Engagement // Join the Reading Group at THE LIFE IN BETWEEN!
 

It came to a point recently when I was dangerously close to letting my circumstances and failed friendships get the best of me. I was about to throw in the towel and just say, "forget it, who needs 'em?" I was even willing to give up on friendships that were going well in order to avoid the possibility of future fall out. I thought by building a wall around my heart I could protect myself from getting hurt. I told myself I was being proactive.

After awhile though I started to realize that I was getting pretty lonely, and found myself wishing I had someone to count on. Someone who would hear me out over coffee. Someone to distract me with their life's business so I could forget about my own for awhile. Or even better, someone I could share life with.

I've been trying to open myself up more, in my own little ways. Having visitors over is a huge deal for me – hostessing is not one of my spiritual gifts – and I think anyone who knows that about me would be absolutely shocked at the number of visitors we've had over the last few months. (I definitely deserve a gold star.) Also, joining a women's bible study has been a great big leap of faith for me, and I've found myself really enjoying it, and there are definitely authentic friendships to be made there. I also try to plan a one-on-one coffee date at least once every couple of weeks.

I'm making progress! However...

Reading Group – Craving Connection: 30 Challenges for Real-Life Engagement // Join the Reading Group at THE LIFE IN BETWEEN!
 

When I read the description of Craving Connection and learned more about the heart behind the movement, I knew right away this book was going to challenge me in great ways. DaySpring and (in)courage are coming together to provide each of us with tools and resources that will help us connect with God, friends, and our communities on a deeper, more meaningful level, and I am so ready to be challenged and encouraged in this way! Even more, I'm excited to have you join me!

Not only are we going to walk away from this book feeling challenged and empowered (and hopefully having made some connections!), but there are fun products available to help encourage us even more! The clipboard in the photos below comes with interchangeable cards and hidden card storage, and the necklace is one of a pair to share (I've already given my matching necklace to a friend!). There are also encouraging cards, pouches, journals, and other great gifts available from DaySpring and (in)courage!

Reading Group – Craving Connection: 30 Challenges for Real-Life Engagement // Join the Reading Group at THE LIFE IN BETWEEN!
Reading Group – Craving Connection: 30 Challenges for Real-Life Engagement // Join the Reading Group at THE LIFE IN BETWEEN!
Reading Group – Craving Connection: 30 Challenges for Real-Life Engagement // Join the Reading Group at THE LIFE IN BETWEEN!
 

Above all though, my hope for this reading group is to spark conversation, to encourage each other in the challenges presented by Craving Connection, and to build deep, meaningful, life-giving relationships.

(I've also been considering keeping the reading group going with new books after we've finished Craving Connection, so I'm hoping for that too! We could all use a few more reading buddies, after all!)

Here are the links one more time:
CLICK HERE TO ORDER YOUR COPY OF CRAVING CONNECTION: 30 CHALLENGES FOR REAL-LIFE ENGAGEMENT
CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE READING GROUP ON FACEBOOK

Now, let me know in the comments if you plan on joining!

xotawni

When “Inspiration” Doesn’t Cut It: Ideas for Journaling // Guest Post

I'm a poet and a copywriter. That means I spend a lot of time writing for other people, but I know that when I write for myself I just feel better. And not only do I feel better, but I am better. I think more clearly, I walk a little lighter, and I’m not so dang mean all the time. But enough about me. I want to challenge you to do something a little different. There’s a bunch of talk about being inspired to write. And that’s all well and good. But you can’t count on it to work. So I want to challenge you to write every day for five days. Just for fun. Just to see what happens. Are you in?  

When "Inspiration" Doesn't Cut It: Ideas for Journaling // Guest Post on THE LIFE IN BETWEEN // Tips and Tricks to Inspire Writing and Productivity

When I wrote my first collection of poems, Dovetail Down the House, it didn't happen all at once. Obviously. I wasn't in a fever heat all the time (though I was in fever heat sometimes). I didn't have endless free hours to kill. And I didn’t glue my pages together so I could write it in one continuous go (lookin’ at you, Jack Kerouac). It sounds boring, but I wrote it in between other stuff. On napkins while at work. On my cell phone while I was waiting in line at the DMV (I could probably get a whole ‘nother manuscript out while waiting in line at the DMV.) You get the picture. But I found that the most important part was generating work. So let’s get down to it! 

Get Started the Right Way

You might want to jump into it, and I applaud your effort. If you’re like me, you need to set up some ground rules first, so here they are. 

Schedule in time to write.

I know you. I know it won't work otherwise. If you want to take part in the challenge, you're going to need to schedule a time for it. So go ahead. Check out your calendar and find some time that works for you. I like to write in the mornings right after I wake up, so I set my alarm a little earlier every morning so I can wake up and start typing. You can start with a low number (say 5 minutes every day), or you can shoot high (30 minutes daily). Either way, the point is to write continuously. 

Remove distractions.

You don’t want to be in the middle of the sentence when your email starts dinging. Turn off those distractions. Enter a space where you can’t do much but write. If there’s no place like that at home, try a park. Try a library. Get out of your comfort zone to work a little harder on getting your thoughts out.

Quiet the editor.

During your generation process, you shouldn’t edit. And I’m talking no backspace, no stopping, no deleting. To make this work, let’s focus on a Surrealist technique. Before you begin writing, choose a “safe” word. Not that kind of safe word. The kind that will get you out of a slump. My safe word is “and.” Whenever I stop writing, or whenever I feel myself slowing down, I go back to my safe word and I write “and.” This helps me keep typing. Your safe word can be anything, but I like to choose words that increase the momentum.

Close your eyes.

You don’t have to do this every time, but if you’re typing and feeling stuck, close your eyes and type. Let me know if you experienced an easier writing time. Whenever I feel too caught up in my surroundings, I close my eyes and I’m better able to say whatever it is I’m trying to say.

Sit silently after for five minutes.

Set a timer when you’re done. You don’t need to reflect, but it will be calming to sit with your thoughts and feel good about completing your daily task. And hey, it’s more time for you! That’s never a bad thing.

When "Inspiration" Doesn't Cut It: Ideas for Journaling // Guest Post on THE LIFE IN BETWEEN // Tips and Tricks to Inspire Writing and Productivity
 

To jumpstart your process, I’m going to talk about a few prompts that you can use to begin. Start with any of these, and try to get through all of them in the five days. 

Prompts

Write a response journal or poem to one of the poems below.

What did you think of the opening? How did it make you feel? What would you do if you were the speaker? Now see if you can write a response poem.

Go outside and transcribe an interaction that you see.

Try to choose an interaction that involves a lot of movement. Describe the setting. What’s nearby? What colors are people wearing? Can you hear what people are saying? Write that down. When you’re done, see if you can write the same thing from the perspective of someone else involved. What changes? What do they see and hear? How are they feeling? See if you can explain the same scene from another perspective. 

Write a truth that you're afraid to tell other people.

When you’re done, see if you can expand by asking yourself a few questions: why are you afraid to tell other people this truth? What would happen if you told someone? Do you think other people might have similar experiences? If so, why? If not, why? Can you imagine that someone you know might have a similar experience? Do you think you’ll continue to keep this truth private? How would you feel if you told someone? Can you describe a setting where this might be possible?

Write a list of ten things you would like to see happen today.

Leave space under each thing. Go back and write down how they might happen and how you might be able to make them happen. You can use a simple bullet point or you can write full sentences for each. 

Write down the names of five people you wish happiness for.

Leave space under each person’s name. Then, go back and write what that happiness might look like. Create a scene where you visualize that person getting happy. 

When "Inspiration" Doesn't Cut It: Ideas for Journaling // Guest Post on THE LIFE IN BETWEEN // Tips and Tricks to Inspire Writing and Productivity

If you're struggling for inspiration, check out weird links to get you moving. Feel free to write a response to anything you find here. Sometimes, just wasting time can be the best way to get new ideas. 


When "Inspiration" Doesn't Cut It: Ideas for Journaling // Guest Post on THE LIFE IN BETWEEN // Tips and Tricks to Inspire Writing and Productivity

Kallie Falandays is the author of the poetry collection Dovetail Down the House (Burnside Review). You can read her work in PANK, Black Warrior Review, Salt Hill, and elsewhere. She lives in Philadelphia, where she writes copy and runs Tell Tell Poetry