guest post

The Beauty of Everyday Adventure – Guest Post by Joey Holmes

I love when other writers approach me with beautiful ideas to share. When Joey emailed from Europe and asked if she could write something on the adventures we create in our daily lives, I jumped at the chance to see what she had to say.

Read along and start adventuring. Bonus points if you guess which of her suggestions I am going to do in the next few weeks!

Author: Joey Holmes

Her Website: www.coolofthewild.com

“In every walk with nature, one receives much more than he seeks.” – John Muir


I often question why being outdoors is such an important thing to me. Maybe being born in December and being cooped up inside for the first 6 months of my life has something to do with it. Or perhaps it was that, when the weather permitted, my mum would be outside with me on every given opportunity. But whatever the reason, there is something about getting outside and embarking on adventures, no matter their size or ambition, that lights a spark in me.

Recently I have started to take note of the things I say when I’m outside adventuring, and the way I feel or react to my situation. And on reflection I’ve come to realize just how important it is for me to be surrounded by the beauty of nature: an ancient woodland, a colorful bug, a stunning view, the dying light at sunset. These small, seemingly insignificant things are what drive me to get outside as much as possible and to open my eyes to the beauty that is out there.

Last year I challenged myself to cycle 70 miles across Wales, sleep on the beach and cycle back again. I loved the physical and mental challenge and the feeling of independence and strength that it gave me. But I was on a schedule to get from A to B before the sun went down, and I found it really frustrating that I couldn’t take the time to stop and enjoy the waterfall, or to lie down for half an hour to listen to the silence and take in the sense of freedom that my adventure presented. So I promised myself that, moving forward, I would always try to allow for that time of reflection and appreciation of what amazing things nature offers me on my adventures.

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This got me thinking about how adventure is so different for everyone. Stepping out of ones comfort zone and embarking on something new, unusual and exciting can be all sorts of things, and doesn’t have to be grand or significantly life changing. Anything from cooking your dinner on a hill after work, to spending weeks at a time exploring far-flung corners of the earth. Regardless of the scale, seeking out adventure always uncovers beauty in one form or another: in your surroundings, in the actions of your fellow adventurers, or in the feeling, emotions and thoughts within you.

With modern life getting busier and more hectic every day, it’s easy not to make the effort to get out adventuring. And even easier to forget to appreciate all that beauty when adventures do happen. So for a little inspiration on how to get some adventure into everyday life, here are a few simple things to try each week:

Dining out

  • Cycle to work instead of your usual mode of transport
  • Cook your dinner on a campfire – even if it’s in the backyard!
  • Take a walk along a river at sunrise
  • Climb a tree in the park
  • Have a sunset picnic at a place with a stunning view
  • Take a night hike
  • Go for a swim before work at your nearest wild swimming spot
  • Take a run to your nearest park on your lunch break
  • Climb a hill and do some yoga at the top
  • Build a den and read your book in it – even if it’s inside
  • Take your camp stove to work and make your own coffee in the park at lunchtime
  • Hang your hammock in the park after work and enjoy listening to noise of the city

Planning and then embarking upon mini-adventures is a great first step to getting out more. But to truly reap the benefits of all that adventure has to offer, I believe that it’s essential to take the time to sit back and pause. To really breath in all the elements of the beauty that is uncovered through seeking out the unusual, daring and exciting.

So whatever adventure is to you, make sure you do it with open eyes, arms, ears, mind, heart and nostrils(!), to fully absorb all that beauty that’s yours for the taking.

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Joey Holmes

Joey is based in Cornwall, UK, and runs Cool of the Wild. She can’t get enough of being outdoors – whether that’s lounging around the campfire cooking up a feast, or hitting the trail in her running shoes .

You can connect with her here:

 Facebook    Twitter     Instagram    Pinterest

 

If you are interested in contributing to 52 Beautiful things, send an email to 52beautifulthings at gmail dot com. 

Beauty is Fleeting – Guest Post by Chelsea Nenno

Here it is folks, the last guest post of the year. Thank you to all of the writers who have chosen to share their journeys with me this year. This week’s post is written by my online Pen Pal Chelsea Nenno. I don’t quite recall how we found each other, and have never actually met in person, but we have connected over blog posts and tweets throughout the year. The internet is an amazing thing. I resonate so much with her thoughts and have appreciated hearing her version of her “20 something” story. I was thrilled when she said she would share her version of beauty here. So without further ado….

Author: Chelsea Nenno

Blog: My Life in Words        Twitter: @chelseanenno

Beauty is Fleeting.  – Proverbs

A few months back I stood in the airport waiting for a friend of a friend to arrive. The gate monitor told us they’d be late. I’ve always liked the airport at night, so I didn’t mind. Three teenage boys moved away from the walkway and headed to their seats excited and… teenag-y. A gruff middle aged man walked back to his woman, slouched in the chair and threw his arm around her. An asian gentleman scuffled to the opposite end of the building where no one else was sitting.

It was the old man who caught my attention as he looked both ways then found a seat close by the crowd. His golfer cap leaned a little to the right as he crossed his left leg and placed his hands on his lap.

I figured he was waiting for an old buddy coming back from visiting his grandchildren. Maybe he was picking up his own. Nothing about him was extraordinary, just interesting.

The overhead speaker announced the flights had landed. A gray haired, gray clothed, gray attitude asked me “Who just landed?” I pointed at the screen to show her which flight, She nodded and walked off. Nothing about her made me intrigued.

Travelers descended down the escalators and toward the arrival gate. The teenage boys were the first to be seen as they stood on tiptoes eager to see their friend. The gruff man took the bag of his hipster daughter and walked toward the baggage claim. It was busy as hugs were passed and loud hello’s and men with headphones and long coats made their way to the taxi’s outside.

In the hustle, and at the corner of my eye, that old man, shuffled his way to the gate and met a tall petite dark haired woman with a french accent and an old small rounded woman with a black stylish purse. Her eyes said she was glad to be home and His arms were opened wide as he welcomed her. He embraced the older woman and kissed her right on the lips. He put himself in the middle, wrapped his arms around the two of them and walked out the doors.

Everything around me was happening so fast. I wrapped my friend in a hug as we walked outside to my car. My mind still on the little glimpse of something I thought was beautiful.

I don’t know why that was beautiful to me. I don’t even have words that describe what I felt when I watched that old man embrace what he loved, held them tight, protecting them from the cold and eager to get them home.

Maybe it was because I was stuck in a place where nothing was beautiful. The world had turned black and purpose and meaning and love and joy had all escaped from the bubble I’d been living in. I had felt like my world was caving in and all that I wanted to be good was throwing nightmares and gossip and ugly at my face. And this one little moment, this one tiny little moment, brought all the light back to my dark world.

The next day I was driving home to my parents out on the lake thinking of the old man. Something to my right caught my attention and me, the only person on the road, at the right time, saw a 60 foot tree in the woods crack, bend and fall to the ground, bouncing back up a few times then coming to a rest. All in the 15 seconds it took me to pass it on the highway.

Fleeting, was my first thought when I saw that tree. So shortly lived yet something that filled the rest of my day with anticipation for what I might see next.

I’ve always believed God has showed his love to me by the simple things in life that only He knows I would appreciate. Only He would know how much that old man would affect me by simpling wrapping his love around those two women. Only He would know how much emotion it would bring me to be the only one, in the world, to see that tree fall in the forest. Only He would know that what I find beautiful is that which most everyone looks past.

When I think of beauty I don’t think of chiseled faces, or perfectly defined abs. I don’t see color or even perfect shapes. Beauty seems to be this odd, short lived moment that happens when you least expect it. It’s as if Beauty is a living, breathing work of art that floats around and hopes that it’s not seen, and when it is, it hides quickly as if not wanting to be captured.

Maybe I’m speaking to much from my thoughts and not making much sense but what I am beginning to believe of beauty is that it’s a moment. A moment that once seen, tasted, heard, felt, it’s the only thing that keeps me wanting to search for more. It’s the only thing last lasts.

I hope that during this season of frenzied chaos, family drama, sparkly lights, and little children, you will glimpse beauty that is just for you. Just like that old man and the tree. It was just for me. I pray the same for you. May the beauty you see fill you with anticipation for more and eagerness to share it with others so they may see their own beauty too.

View More: http://beckiwalker.pass.us/chelseanenno

 

Chelsea currently lives in the Pacific North West, is in school for massage therapy, works two jobs and writes in her spare time. She is anxiously awaiting the summertime and chooses to believe everyday is Friday. You can find her at thechelseapage.com or My Life In Words

The Beauty in Change

I’m happy to be bringing to you the second guest blog post here at 52 Beautiful Things. Ms. Stoecker and I quickly bonded as our awkward sixth grade selves found each other in a bible study. We have been friends, working and growing into who we are meant to be, ever since.

Author: Jenny Stoecker  

Twitter: @JennyStoecker   Blog: www.JennyStoecker.com

I have never met a chick flick I didn’t like. It should embarrass me to admit that anything from Hallmark to Lifetime to a downright classic makes my heart happy…but I love them so much it doesn’t matter. My top three favorites are You’ve Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, and While You Were Sleeping. If you haven’t seen them before, go do so now. I’ll wait…

I’ve learned a lot about love from these movies: that you can find it in an “Over Thirty” chat room, on the top of the Empire State Building, or while pretending to be engaged to someone in a coma. (So far none of these scenarios have panned out well for me, but I’ll keep you posted.) The more realistic aspect of these movies I’ve carried with me has to do with change.

In While You Were Sleeping, the supposed love of Sandra Bullock’s life goes into a coma. How does she handle this earth-shattering change? By creating her own idealistic (um…unrealistic) fairytale scenario. In Sleepless in Seattle, Tom Hank’s wife dies and he moves across the country, combating one life change with another. In You’ve Got Mail, Meg Ryan is forced to close her store and handles it with resentment and a lot of tears.

When facing change in the past, I’ve stood with Meg and shared her sentiments, “People are always telling you that change is a good thing. But all they’re really saying is that something you didn’t want to happen at all has happened.”

I met upcoming life changes with worry about the future while grasping so tightly to the present that I forgot to really enjoy either one.

Growing up, I was never the kid who wanted to be adult. The never-grow-up mentality was still with me four years ago when I was forced to graduate college. I was thrown into a world I wasn’t ready for—one where I was lonely, under qualified, and ready to quit. Yet looking back, it was in that season of difficult change that I learned patience, independence, and to trust the Lord in a deeper way then ever before.

While Meg was right that I hadn’t wanted the change to happen, it turned out to be the bearer of so much beauty in my world. It was with this realization that my heart slowly (I mean really slowly) began to long for the new growth that only change can bring.

This mindset gave me the freedom to dream without holding back and I started to ask myself, “What would I dive into if I wasn’t afraid of change?”

For me the answer was graduate school. So in less then two months, I’ll be moving to Scotland to pursue a masters. I’ve never been to Scotland (although I hope it’s filled with kilts, bagpipes, and Harry Potter) and I don’t know anyone who lives there. In the past this would have gone one of two ways: I would have been so excited to go that I neglected the present, or so freaked out to go that I clung too tightly to what was already the past.

Instead, without the fear of change, God has given me the ability to soak in every bit of goodness in my life here in the States, while still being healthily excited about what He has for me next. Change is forcing me to recognize the gifts I currently have, and the hopes I so long to see come to fruition.

Like Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks ending up together at the end of every rom-com (that’s romantic comedy for any males that have actually made it to the end of this post), change is inevitable. I have come to agree with those Meg criticizes—change is a good thing, because it has become the catalyst that causes me to see beauty in my every day. How do you view change?

JS Bio PicJenny makes her home in her favorite state of Colorado. She loves Jesus, pancakes, traveling, photography, sarcasm, making lists and people. She’s passionate about the work she does, serving people in poverty with VisionTrust International. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter @JennyStoecker. Don’t forget to check out her blog www.jennystoecker.com.

The Unexpected Beauty

The Beatles spoke wisdom when they wrote, “I get by with a little help from my friends.”

Sometimes, I need a break, a pause, a whisper of relief and shared experiences in the pursuit of joy and beauty. So, this week, I am thrilled to post my first guest post from a dear friend.  Read her thoughts, share in her search. Follow her in her own journey by connecting on social media.

Author: Katie Myers                     Instagram/Twitter: @kjmyers8

www.livestepbystep.com

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“Isn’t it wonderful how big the definition of beautiful can be? Sometimes I’m just overwhelmed by the simple beauty of things and people. And it can be defined and redefined every day. Living in Colorado I am lucky enough to experience some of the most beautiful natural settings, but more beautiful still have been the interactions I have with people on a daily basis. To me, when I think of beauty I think of getting a heart drawn on my to-go coffee cup from my favorite barista. Or of the tiny hands and big creativity of my nieces and nephews. Beauty is a dog sticking its head out of a car window, a look of pure joy on its face as it looks on into the wind. These things make my heart happy.

There is a quote that I found from the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay that says “Beauty is whatever gives joy.” I love that. Beauty and joy definitely go hand in hand for me most times. But what can also be beautiful are the things that don’t always bring immediate joy, but lasting growth.

These past few months I’ve been experiencing number 258 of my identity/quarter-life/I’m an adult but I don’t feel like an adult crises. In trying to figure out how I fit into my life and it fits me, I’ve felt incomplete to say the least. If I look at my life I have what can be defined as “successful”: a great job downtown and an awesome place to live in a great area near downtown. But even though I am so extremely grateful for those things, I had a realization that it’s time for me to start taking steps in a different direction…my direction.

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Up until this point I’ve been living a path laid out for me; a yellow brick road of “go to the schools my older siblings went to, go to the college my older siblings went to, graduate, find a job that happens to be where my older sibling is, and find a place to live in a place that is deemed ‘popular to live in'”. Where was me in all of that? Even though I was making those decisions, I wasn’t owning them as being a part of myself and who I ultimately want to be. Who do I ultimately want to be, you ask? Well I realized that I ultimately just want to be myself, without all of the strings of others’ expectations attached.

I can’t tell you how much even that shift in thinking has changed me. Even though my job is still the same and I’m in the same place with the same relationship status, I’ve decided to own the decisions I’ve made up to this point, and the ones that will come after. I do feel more like myself, and I like who I am. I’m paying more attention to what I’m interested in and what I want to do, and I make lists to remind me of those things. Happy, uninhibited lists that include “go rollerblading”, “learn more French”, “get a dog”, “buy a polaroid camera” and “run through a fountain”. Why limit ourselves? Amazingly as the years go by, even though the big things might not fall into place yet, there are a bunch of little things that come together to make you feel more whole day by day. You experience life, take what you need to grow, and you’ll realize one day that you’re more of who you want to be.

When you’re younger you think that a certain age will feel a certain way, and then when you actually get to that age you realize you’re just…you! You’re just you and you’re living life, and that’s the only way you can really “define” it. In a way, that’s beautiful. I’m coming to learn piece by piece that the unknown and the incomplete are valuable and ok. There are beautiful things that you can take from the everyday and tie into your own life to help shape it.

IMG_0506You can constantly define and re-define your life, and define and re-define beauty. I hope that you find the beauty in yourselves as well as the everyday, friends. Thank you for letting me share a piece of my life in this wonderful, creative and inspiring space.”

When not drinking coffee, reading in a cafe, or playing guitar, Ms. Myers can be found on her blog “Stepping Stones”

If you are interested in sharing your thoughts on the pursuit of beauty in your own life, email 52beautifulthings@gmail.com for more info.