Table of Contents
Video - A short explanation and the heart behind why I built this new resource called The Summer Slowdown: A Practical Summer Challenge to Inspire You to Slow Down & Revitalize Your Life
Greetings - A welcome to all the new subscribers!
A Contrarian’s Heart - A written tidbit on The Summer Slowdown’s contrarian heart.
The Value of Retreat - A short reflection on why we must intentionally pursue retreat.
Practical Hacks for Pursuing Retreat - Three short tips to free your soul and inspire you to go on retreat.
Amazon Update - We’re 10 reviews away from our goal of 100!
Greetings to New Subscribers
A hearty welcome to all the new subscribers. It’s a delight to have you here! Here’s how I work this newsletter. Everyone receives each post, free and paid subscribers. The posts only stay public, however, for a couple of weeks. Paid subscribers get access to the entire archive of written and video posts. Commenting and bonus posts are also reserved for paid subscribers.
If you’re new to Substack, I’d encourage you to download their APP. Substack is really doing a wonderful job at creating a space where we can all access our favorite writers, artists, musicians, theologians, poets, you name it. And it’s done without the algorithm madness.
I love supporting my favorite writers and thinkers on this platform, and I know what it means to them. So my sincere thanks go to all of you for subscribing, whether paid or free. It’s an honor to get entre into your inbox. If you’re considering upgrading your subscription, you can take advantage of The Summer Slowdown Special.
A Contrarian’s Heart
I'm a contrarian at heart. At least, that's what my wife tells me. In my younger years, it got me into trouble. But now, I rely on it to keep me from being swept along in the cultural flow.
Sometimes, you must take a step back and look at life from a new perspective. To do so, however, often requires change. Change in view, change in action, change in thought. Change of heart.
What if we took the summer and changed our view? Changed our hearts? What if we stepped back, slowed down, and embraced change?
Because the world wants you to be docile in your mind by keeping you moving frantically.
How often have you talked to a friend, co-worker, or loved one who said, "Wow, now that I'm back from vacation, I need another one so that I can rest."
Even while vacationing, we can let the world dictate our pace of life. But slowing down doesn't mean doing nothing.
The Summer Slowdown is about creating healthy changes in your summer routine. It's about removing the same ole thing and replacing it with a life-giving activity. It's about changing your perspective on what it means to be still, pursue silence, declutter your life, and rejuvenate your creativity as a human being.
This is why I developed The Summer Slowdown Challenge. It's about trying new things, gaining new perspectives, and challenging yourself to see the world with fresh eyes.
To Slow Down, We Must Embrace Rhythms of Change.
The Value of Retreat
What's the point of finding quiet? Abiding in solitude? Sitting with a few friends around a fire? Retreating to a remote place for some writing and thinking?
Because we need to feed our souls, we need to chuck our phones, tablets, computers, and televisions and visit with things we can touch, smell, hear, and taste.
We need to sit on a boulder, by a fire, under a tree.
We need to be reminded that we were created to be in this world of ours, not just to passively watch it hum along as we plug into the next season of bingeing silliness.
Instead of annihilating time and space, we need to partake of it. We need a good ramble on the mountainside, down by the creek, to feed our imaginations with the sounds we're often too busy to hear.
We need to interrupt the routine of fast-paced-ness with the routine of stillness.
We need time with our Creator. To hear him. To love him. To become more like him.
And we don't always need some hyper-planned getaway either.
I remember a few years ago, I volunteered at an event that our dear friends hosted on their farm. I arrived the night before for some fellowship with other friends who were volunteers, as well as the art vendors who’d spent the evening setting up their booths.
After we laughed around the fire, the crowd thinned, and everyone returned to their homes or hotels. I stayed, unpacked my sleeping bag, and laid it on the outdoor couch before the fire.
I slept under the stars.
I woke at 4 a.m. to rebuild the fire. It roared.
The air was cold, and the autumn stars watched over me.
I watched them for hours. Just staring at the heavens, watching them move ever so slightly across the sky.
Gemini, Orion, Taurus, Aries, and the Pleiades. I traced them with my fingers. I named them. I studied their place in the sky. And then, two massive falling stars dripped into the horizon.
I laughed. Each falling speck of brilliance was an epiphany. I'd forgotten about the Orionid Meteor Shower. What timing!
I spent a short time praying out loud; for friends, family, and praise to the Creator of all this grandeur splashed in abundance right over our heads.
I didn't sleep much that night. And I was groggy the next morning helping folks park. But I didn't care. My soul felt nourished. I was joy-filled.
It was a spontaneous retreat. It was not planned. Just a simple opportunity that yielded deep blessing.
You don't have to be a writer or painter or musician or whatever to benefit from retreat. After all, Jesus was a carpenter, he stole away all the time to the mountainside to pray.
You just need to take advantage of the moments set before you. Once you taste retreat, you'll schedule it. And then you'll invite a close friend or two. And once it becomes your routine, you'll find the art of life take on new meaning.
Practical Hacks for Pursuing Retreat
Don’t be paralyzed by planning - Release yourself from the planning black hole. You don’t have to plan some complex getaway to a far-off land.
Be spontaneous - Go to a place you know and love, a place you know will minister to your spirit.
Practice thankfulness - While on retreat, take time to thank God for his steadfast love. The created order is a great reminder of God’s daily steadfast love for us. And you are so much more valuable than the trees, stars, or seasons.
Y’all! We’re almost there! We only need 10 more Amazon reviews to get to 100! I’m stoked! You guys are killing it!
If you read my new book, The Beauty Chasers, and loved it, I’d be so honored for you to leave a sentence or two at Amazon to tell others how much the book meant to you and how it inspired and encouraged you. Reviews matter so much in our weird world of algorithms! The more positive reviews it receives, the more other people will find the message of The Beauty Chasers.
Thank you all so much for your generosity in leaving such encouraging words. I’m humbled and grateful! Check out what Maggie Ross said about it. She and her husband used the audiobook version! I had so much fun narrating it!