what i love about fishing

A few weeks ago, one of my husband’s little dreams came true.

Die Fische is an Austin-based blog devoted to all things fishing. And if you know Taylor at all, or even if you don’t know him but maybe just follow his Instagram, then you know my husband loves (loves, loves, loves) to fish. In fact, if you only follow his Instagram, then pretty much all he does is fish.

Over Taylor’s birthday this year, we took a trip to Denver to see some friends and so he could go on a trip to fish the Dream Stream, a special stretch of water outside Colorado Springs that (I’m told) is home to many large and beautiful trout. Thus, the brightly colored Cutthroat Trout in the picture above. A fisherman’s story can only be done justice if he’s telling it, so I won’t try to re-tell it here. Let’s just say it was a battle, and one of the most rewarding fish Taylor’s ever caught.

So naturally, when one of your favorite fishing blogs announces a Fish Of A Lifetime (FOAL) contest, you’re going to submit your photo in hopes of being voted the best and receiving some awesome fishing schwag.

And I wish you could’ve seen Taylor’s face when he found out his picture was front page on Die Fische’s blog. Think giddy. Think can’t stop smiling. Think bouncing up and down excited.

I looked at the picture, and after the “Heck ya, babe!” and high-fives, I read down a little further on the post. And what I read reminded me why, while I am by no means a skilled fisher, I love fishing.

Below Taylor’s entry, Die Fische had written this:

After some on the water discussions we’ve decided to get rid of the idea of #FOAL being some sort of monthly contest, it feels like it goes against the very nature of this blog. Instead, what we will do is send every published entry an envelope of random goodies from our schwag box.

The sport of fishing has one of the most inclusive, encouraging communities I’ve ever seen. If someone wants to learn how to fish, they just have to ask. When people ask Taylor if he can teach them how to fish, his immediate response is, “Come fishing with me.”

If you need tips on the best flies to use during a certain time of year, head to your local fly shop and they’ll talk your ear off. As much as Taylor likes fishing by himself, he loves having a friend to call who will drop everything to go fishing with him. It’s the attitude of “Come join this great thing we’re doing.” It’s the idea that there are plenty of fish in the sea, so let’s share our craft instead of hoarding and striving at someone else’s expense. It’s about community and enjoying nature, not about competition against one another.

In short, fishing is a sport that believes in abundance.

That’s counter-cultural.

We live in a culture that’s driven by scarcity. We’re daily bombarded with the lie that we have to be more, do more, have more. There isn’t enough for everyone. If she has more, that means I have less. Our culture is largely driven by competition and capitalism – for us to succeed, others must fail. If others succeed, that means we fail.

And while that thought process is understandable given it’s what we’ve grown up hearing, can we just all agree that it’s exhausting? 

What if we chose to do it differently? What if we operated more like fishermen and believed that just because someone else catches a fish, doesn’t mean there are less fish for me. What if instead of trying to leave people behind, we brought them along with us? What if we laid down our measuring sticks and stopped letting comparison rule our hearts? As Glennon Doyle Melton says – what if instead of fighting for a bigger piece of the pie, we fought for a bigger pie?

Abundance knows we can pour ourselves out every day, and wake up with renewed resources in the morning. Abundance knows that it doesn’t hurt us to cheer others on, and help them reach their dreams. Abundance is calling to everyone saying, “The river is incredible. The fish are biting. Cast your line in!”

Believing in Abundance is where the joy and freedom is.

So, let’s all go fishing.

 

 

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why i write

One Saturday about three weeks ago, my husband Taylor and I had a day off together. It was one of those gorgeous spring days in Austin- 80 degrees, not a cloud in the sky- and  my unsatisfiable itch to be outside was going crazy.

My mind was also going crazy.

See, the night before my friend Amy and I had a pretty truth-filled, mind-shattering, lies- exposing conversation. The “hard, but good” conversation. You know… the kind where your best friend is looking you in the eye, not holding back punches, telling you what you need to hear and it’s all at once the most refreshing and freeing and acutely painful thing. If you’re anything like me, your brain stops working in the middle of the conversation. Not that you stop listening, not that you’re putting up walls, but you just. can’t. handle. any. more. Thoughts and feelings and beliefs are pouring in, yet my ability to pour them back out has ceased. My ability to process completely goes out the window, I feel like I’m drowning in my own thoughts, and I’m stuck. Here’s the thing- I’m a deep thinker, extremely introspective and as a result, I typically process slower. So at this point, the point where my brain is on overdrive, the point when my thoughts are beginning to swirl and resemble a very large, nasty-looking hurricane cloud, I have only one choice. I must find my way to the eye of the hurricane. To the place of rest, peace and quiet- if only for a few moments.

For me, that place is writing. 

So on that Saturday, I wrote. I sat outside and played frisbee with Taylor. We ate lunch in the park and laid in our hammock and soaked up as much sunshine as possible. We read books, and I wrote.

That's me, on that Saturday, in my happy place.
That’s me, on that Saturday, in my happy place.

Almost instantly, I could feel the storm easing up- after having its way in my mind for 24 hours. There were still remnants of course- some ideas where shifted around, some trees I thought were solid knocked over. There was still wreckage to clean up, feelings leftover that I wasn’t sure what to do with, but I was at peace. And the anxiety, the restlessness, the shame I had been fighting against the night before all washed away with the storm.

Later that evening, as Taylor and I were debriefing our day, I was sharing with him all that I had written earlier-  the fears, the feelings, the confessions, the lies, the truth. After  I finished talking, he said,

When you write for a while, I can tell. There’s something different about you…it’s like there’s more to you than there was even a few hours ago.

And that, in a very profound, succinct nutshell, describes my relationship with writing.

I have to go pretty far back in my 24-year-old memory to remember a time when writing wasn’t a substantial part of my life. My first memories of writing my thoughts down was in middle school. I was far from consistent. I would write for a few days, fill a few pages, and then get bored with it. There were more exciting things going on like basketball practice, or family beach trips, playing in the pool or arguing with my brother and sister. Then, high school hit and writing became a chore. Essays, book reports, annotations. While I devoured any book I could get my hands on growing up- namely Nancy Drew mysteries- it took discipline to finish books in high school, much less analyze them and produce 3-5 page, single-spaced essays.

Then for some reason that I can’t really put my finger on, I picked up a spiral notebook in college and started journalling. It started as an outlet. As a way to get my thoughts and feelings on paper. I was growing in my relationship with Jesus like never before, and it became a way to process through scripture.

And soon, it became a LIFELINE- absolutely necessary to my well-being, to my sanity, to my growth spiritually, emotionally and mentally.

It became where I would run when I felt the world crashing in on me. It became a way the Holy Spirit moved in my heart. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started writing about one particular thought, and landed about 34,897 miles away on a completely different idea. As I read back through what I wrote, it’s evident how the Holy Spirit brought to mind thoughts, verses, and experiences that led me to where he wanted me to be. Each time spent writing, I would walk away knowing God a little more deeply, and as a result knowing myself a little more deeply as well. My journals- I’ve written through 19 in seven years- are the truest form of myself. They are raw and uncensored, and the most accurate picture of my story. Specifically, they are the most honest depiction of my relationship with Jesus, and the seasons of life he has brought me through.

I wasn't kidding. If you look closely, I bet you'll figure out my favorite style of journal. (Hint: Moleskine)
I wasn’t kidding. If you look closely, I bet you’ll figure out my favorite style of journal. (Hint: Moleskine)

More often than not, I’ll finish a journal and start a new one at exactly the appropriate time; when one chapter of life is ending, and another is beginning. If anything, that is proof to me that the Lord’s timing is perfect, that he’s completely in control of my story.. and also that he has a sense of humor. Sometimes, the transition from one journal to the next is easy. Sometimes, it’s painful. I don’t want the chapter I’m living in to end. I don’t want to move on. I’m hurt, or angry or confused with the Lord and I don’t want to go to him. I don’t want to process through anything with him. When I’m angry, when I’m hurt to the depth that words can’t describe, I push him away and the dates between two journals have more space between them. But then, there are those transitions that are hopeful. With a new journal comes new days, new life, a breath of fresh air, blank pages with stories just waiting to fill them. Regardless, how much I’m writing, what I’m writing is the most accurate gauge for me on my relationship with Jesus. I might not know all the answers, I might not know every verse in the Bible, but I am being gut-wrenchingly honest with my Savior.. and I believe with all my heart that that counts for something.

Every once in a while, I’ll read back through old journals. It will make me laugh, bring me a profound sense of thankfulness and remind me of pain so vivid it brings me to tears all over again. But most of all, it gives me faith that God knows what he’s doing with my life, with all of our lives. He is an incredible author, and a wonderful storyteller. And that is what motivates me to write. I write to find a place of peace, rest and truth with my Savior in the midst of a chaotic world.

I write to remember the faithfulness of God.

I hope this little piece of my world helps you remember too.

I’d like to know.. What helps you remember the faithfulness of God? What is the thing you turn to that helps you process? How do you find peace and rest in the midst of chaos?