As we begin this journey together, I want to share what you can expect to find here. My mission is to help you discover or rediscover your passion and live with intention and joyfulness. I want to encourage and empower you to connect with God, with yourself, and with women who will celebrate your journey to joy.
Before we really dig in, let's talk about how we can support one another. Women are nurturers by nature. As women, we often give of ourselves without taking time to refill and refresh. We pour out until we are empty, and then we try to keep going. How can we pour from an empty vessel? When we are empty, we see obstacles instead of opportunities. We feel invisible instead of treasured. We feel overwhelmed instead of grateful. And we feel stagnant instead of creative. We believe the lie we tell ourselves that others matter more and that taking time to fill ourselves is selfish. This lie drains us and leads us to think and act from a place of obligation rather than from a place of love.
Sparks of Joy is about embracing your value and learning how to fill yourself. A spark of joy comes when you recognize the fullness of your life in the present moment. It comes when you embrace the power and the gift of the present and give thanks for how it will shape you and guide you towards your full glory purposed by God. Living with sparks of joy is living with intention, gratitude, curiosity, and creativity. As we move forward together, we will explore how to live a life full of sparks of joy.
We will examine how to build your days so that you are intentional with your time, making the most of every part of your day. This doesn't mean you need to squeeze every last ounce of productivity from your waking hours. It means you become capable of building your day in a way that balances "doing all the things" with making time for yourself, for fellowship, and for rest. Living with intention is about living with balance and purpose. It is about owning your day rather than your day owning you.
We will practice gratitude and presence in our lives. We will learn how to fully be in the moment by living in constant appreciation. Practicing gratitude leads to greater contentment and self-awareness. It can also have a profound effect on your relationships and your ability to recognize opportunity in your life. If you feel like you are going through the motions, just meeting the requirements of your life, practicing gratitude may just reopen your eyes to the beautiful world around you and the endless possibility your life holds.
We will step outside our comfort zones in the name of creativity. Why creativity you ask? As humans, we are God's ultimate crowning piece of creation. We were imagined and brought to being by the ultimate Creator. Therefore, as we are in His image, we were created to be creative. Tapping in to our creativity connects us to ourselves, our world, and to God. Creative space is a place of discovery and innovation. When we find our creative flow, whether through visual art, writing, gardening, decorating, cooking, or playing pretend with our children, we unbound ourselves and begin to step in to what we are truly capable of. Exploring your creativity is terrifying, but this is the place to do it! You will be supported and encouraged and reminded that creativity is in your nature because you are a child of God, the ultimate Creator.
You are worthy of joy and worthy of being full. You are not selfish when you refill and refresh yourself, when you dwell in God's presence, when you fellowship with women, or when you explore your creativity. You are meant to live with sparks of joy -- with intention, gratitude and creative curiosity. Embrace the fullness of your life, and allow yourself to live joyfully.
Journaling is a discipline, yes. But how we define discipline can greatly affect our success in the disciplines we commit to. For me, discipline always had a negative affiliation. It's an obligation, something I don't want to do, but should. It's good for me, but no fun. That's how I thought of journaling. I was constantly reading about the power of journaling and how it could bring forward vision and stimulate creativity. Sounds great...but every day, even when I don't know what to write? Pressure. It became something I thought I should to do, but actually kind of avoided.
Then I changed my mindset. I made a conscious decision that journaling is not what I should be doing. It is what I wanted to be doing. I wanted to see where it would take me and how I would learn and grow through the practice. This simple commitment changed everything. It was freedom. I was no longer trudging through an obligation, distracted by avoidance and guilt. I was engaging in something that I wanted to be doing, and that I wanted to effects of. I wanted to see where the journey would take me. I wanted the vision and the creative clarity.
Journaling became a creative outlet and a self exploration for me, so I want to share some of my best advice for cultivating the habit as part of your own journey to joy. May you find freedom in a discipline that brings forward what you really want.
1 - Be intentional in choosing your journal.
Take some time to consider what kind of journal will allow free flowing thought. Your journal is where ideas, observations, and insights you didn’t even know were inside come flowing through your pen like magic. But, is your mindset what you should produce impeding your process? For instance, do you love the idea of beautiful bound and embossed journals, but feel like you have to save them for when you feel true brilliance coming on? The journal is so beautiful that you can’t allow yourself to experiment and free flow? Maybe you need a simple composition notebook or legal pad to take the pressure off to be profound and let your writing take shape without hindrance.
Ask yourself a few questions to feel out what style journal is best for you.
2 - Create a habit.
Make your process a habit, a ritual even. Schedule your journaling time into your day. Keep your journal and a working pen in the same place so that when you go to write, you have what you need to get started right away. Pick a spot in your home or in nature that is your go-to spot for writing. The consistency and routine of your process will allow you to funnel more thoughtful energy into your writing instead of into when and where to write.
Some days you may feel like you have nothing to say. Write anyway. Set a timer and make yourself write until the timer ends. I’ve often thought I had nothing to say and forced myself to sit down for 15 minutes to write, and come up for air an hour later amazed at what my heart needed to explore. If timing isn’t for you, you can set a page minimum for yourself. You may take 15 minutes to meet your minimum feel like you’ve said what you needed. You may take an hour and feel unsatisfied. Rest in that discomfort. Something profound might come from it tomorrow. Whether it’s a timer or a page minimum, set a rule for yourself to help avoid the “I have nothing to say” hangup. Sometimes those are the days that your heart unexpectedly pours out onto the page.
Selah Philosophy and Mission:
Selah (pron. see-luh) means to pause and praise. It is about pausing to notice the wonder and beauty of your life, and giving joyful praise for what you observe. Selah is a discipline: pause and praise through joyful times, through heartache, through silence, through every season of life. Selah women encourage and empower one another by joining in community every week to listen, to accept, and to acknowledge each other's beautiful journey to joy. Selah women spark joy for themselves and for each other. We are a village.
Weekly Selah Sessions in St. Simons:
Weekly Selah SSI is a fitness session. We meet every Thursday at 7:30pm at Epworth by the Sea. We also host special events and groups, like our monthly Sunrise Stretch classes on the beach, and occasional running groups for distance runners. There are 3 key elements to every Selah session:
1 - Check in - Before each session, we pause. The leader poses a question or reflection to the group, inviting each participant’s voice into the session. The purpose of the check in is two fold. First, we believe in the value every woman’s voice. When we pause to hear from every individual, we are acknowledging one another’s individuality and great worth. Secondly, we believe in being intentional with our time. Verbalizing our goals, needs, and emotions before we begin promotes purpose. When we speak our truth to ourselves and to the group, we open the gates for encouragement, understanding and love to flow inwardly towards ourselves and outwardly to the women around us. The check in brings us together as a unit, and also recognizes each individual.
2 - Activity - Thursday night Selah sessions are bootcamp style workouts. We jog short distances between exercises and do body weight exercises designed to be modified for all body types and fitness levels. During workouts, we push ourselves to be the best we can be, while offering ourselves and each other encouragement and compassion. There is no judgment and no comparison. We recognize each individual’s unique fitness journey, and we give praise for the bodies we have and the friends who encourage us to be our best selves.
3 - Moment of Gratitude - To wrap up every Selah session, we praise. We still our bodies and quiet our hearts to reflect in gratitude. Practicing gratitude reminds us of our worth and the gifts that surround us. It promotes self-love and acceptance, releases tension, and prepares us to return home and embrace our lives with grace and appreciation.
A Selah session is a pause - a pause from the busyness of home and work; a pause from roles and responsibilities; a pause from pressures and expectations. We pause to breathe and to offer and receive grace and fellowship and praise.
Selah is a praise - a praise of self for the conscious decision to do something good for our bodies, minds, and hearts; a praise of the women running beside us, acknowledging, encouraging, and loving us towards our best selves; a praise of a God and purpose bigger than ourselves, a God who wants us to live fully and joyfully and in community with one another.
Selah SSI is launching on Thursday, August 18th from 7:30pm-8:15pm. We will meet on the lawn by the water at Epworth by the Sea. Bring a mat or towel and your water bottle.
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