Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Flights of Peaceful Fancy


My travel plans this summer don’t require a suitcase or even an overnight bag. I don't have any plane tickets or hotel accommodations booked.

I'm not going anywhere on vacation this summer. 

But I did travel across town for brunch. {Does that count?}

When my sister and I confabbed about a place to take my mother for her birthday brunch a few weeks ago, her love of art and interesting food led us to a place that combines very quirky art and exceptionally delicious food.

When we invited two of her friends to join us, our conversation might as well have been a feature on the Travel Channel. Linda had just returned from China and Mary got in the night before from Chicago. 



They both had a summer full of more travel planned and my mother would be joining them for a ladies junket to California. 

Even my sister {who doesn’t like to travel} will be jetting off to the west coast in a few weeks. 

I was the only one without any travel plans. 

And really it’s my own fault. I just couldn’t decide what to do or where to go this summer.

So what do you do when everyone’s summer plans look a whole lot better than yours?



Maybe it’s time to appreciate the stillness. 

I live in Orlando. Our beautiful city has experienced tumultuous days of late. 

I sit in an office just one block away from the nightclub where last week's tragic event occurred. Years ago before that building became a nightclub, it was an Italian restaurant where I'd often eaten lunch. I work for the hospital that received so many of the injured patients. 

Maybe it's time for some peaceful pondering.

It seems as if every day there are a handful of ways God has grabbed my attention and I let them slip through my fingers because I'm moving on to the next thing that distracts me. 

Maybe this little hollowed-out space of a season is the place where I can listen to the echoes of my soul. The reverberations ringing with whispers to rest, unwind, unbend. 



A time of soul rest can reinvigorate beauty and creativity.

I used to get excited about writing stories. Fiction instead of facts. 

I liked making up characters and seeing what they’d do as they came to life on the page, since I was never quite sure where my characters would take me. 

It was fun creating histories for them and exciting experiences that were so different from my own. I wrote short stories all through my girlhood but when I went to college, the idea of calling myself a creative writer was intimidating. 

I thought I should major in journalism to give myself a wider range of job opportunities



It seemed safer, especially after I took the required creative writing class for journalism majors where I felt intimidated. I'd sit with fingers crossed, hoping class would end before it was my turn to read what I’d written. 

I’d listen as the other students read their pieces for critique and I thought they were beautifully written and riveting.

I told myself that I’d made a good choice to write about facts - - the who, what, when, where of reporting — and I wouldn't worry that my writing wasn’t all that creative.

But this summer even though I'll be staying close to home, I might capture a few fanciful thoughts that travel through my mind. Maybe I'll create a character, a scene and some dialogue and let my imagination run away with me.



Maybe my flight of fancy will take me to the banks of the Thames in Shakespeare’s London, or Fitzgerald’s Paris during the roaring 20s, or maybe I'll even find myself in California, too, but during the gold rush of the 1800s.

Sometimes this mode of traveling is the best kind, don't you think?

Maybe your summer is busy and you’re off to explore new destinations. Or maybe like me, you’re staying close to home. 

Whatever you do, I hope your soul finds a sacred space of peace. I hope your art brings renewed joy. I hope your journeys are enriching. And I hope your prayers bring you a deep communion with God. 
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. - Phil. 4:8

I think I might try to squeeze in another brunch across town, though.

At my mother’s birthday shindig, we feasted on jambalaya, crab legs, maple-glazed bacon, salads in Mason jars and French toast made from croissants. 

They were cousins to the scrumptious cronuts topped with rum whipped cream I wrote about here on an earlier visit to the artsy restaurant.

Whatever you do, may your summer days be fancifully and peacefully inspired. 




I'm joining my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for your Heart. Join me there to read more posts from my blogger friends.



25 comments:

  1. "Maybe it’s time to appreciate the stillness." Oh yes, it's always time for that! Praying for your city, Valerie. :( Such a deep tragedy calls out for deep stillness.

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    1. Hi Lisa,
      Thank you so much for your encouraging words about deep stillness -- I love that!

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  2. Good morning, Valerie ... I love this post. You've whetted my appetite for luscious food and deep conversation. I'd go across town for brunch with you anytime.

    And yes to finding peace, to let go of striving, to sit still and quiet. I'm finding grace in these finest moments. And I just know that you will, too.

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    1. Hi Linda,
      Oh I would love to brunch with you -- what fun that would be! Finding grace where you don't expect it is such a gift and I relish finding it in those darkest places because it's such a miracle!

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  3. Valerie,
    The food looks soo good.
    I believe in you. Really.
    I think your writing is excellent, easy to read, that you have a gift. Please exercise that creative side!
    Who knows where it will take you this summer .

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    1. Hi Somer,
      I cherish your sweet words about writing and I plan to dip my toe in the waters of creativity more often this summer! xo

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  4. I for one would love to hear your take on some historical fiction...♥ You should totally do it! I know that stories can transport us faster and farther than any plane, train or automobile... Rooting for your creative juices to flow! P.S> I hope you writing date in Panera last week was fruitful! ♥

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    1. Hi Heather,
      Writing at Panera was good! I stayed through breakfast and lunch -- or coffee and a salad - ha - until I got distracted! I LOVE the idea of historical fiction since I love to read it but it would be fun to take a stab at writing something! xo

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  5. So true that sometimes we just need a bit of time and space to be still. I hope you enjoy your peaceful summer. Praying for Orlando as the city mourns and seeks to move forward from this tragedy.

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    1. Hi Carly,
      Thank you so much for your sweet and encouraging words and we so appreciate your prayers!

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  6. First of all, I love that I just learned a new word: confabbed. I'm going to be using that like crazy! :)

    Second, I love the way you write, and I hope if you decide to do some creative writing, you would consider sharing it. I want to take an armchair adventure through the words you weave!

    Third, I definitely think you need to have some peaceful pondering. All week I have thought about the people who lived in Orlando, wondering how stressed out you must feel. Sending you prayers and comfort!!

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    1. Kylie,
      Oh I think you will love the word confab like I do! :) Thank you for your beautifully sweet words and I'm so grateful for your prayers for our city this week. I'm loving reading your words over at your blog and I'm so glad we've connected!

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  7. Oh, Valerie, we've been following the news of this tragedy as most people have. Just a few hours south of you this is our state, our home. A good friend of ours was serving (with the Salvation Army) water and coffee to the first responders there. I can't imagine how this has shaken you and all those who are right there. Know you're been in our prayers. Now seems the perfect time for a quiet vacation lived through words scratched out of fanciful dreams or the everyday kind. I'm an everyday kind of dreamer myself :) Peace, friend.

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    1. Hi Debby,
      Yes, I know you're just a few hours south and your heart is here in our beautiful state. We all appreciate your prayers for our city and we are running to our heavenly father for the comfort and peace we so desire! xo

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  8. Hi Valerie- I love this post- It is refreshing and peaceful(which I so badly need tonight!) although I am so sad for your city. How hard to be so close to such tragedy and have it be in a place you know so well :( . I love your ideas about writing fiction - I think about that too. I love the way writing can take us places we always wish we could go! I cannot wait to read what you come up with!!!! Your blog post always feel like a mini vacation to me and I know that you will write an amazing novel! Anyway praying for comfort and peace amidst such great loss.---with much love :)

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    1. Hi Susie,
      I missed your post today! I'm right there with you on how books and writing can take us places we always wanted to go -- the sky's the limit, isn't it? :) Your encouraging support of my words is a priceless gift to me and even on the weeks I'm not sure I have anything worth posting, you are here to lift me up and I'm so grateful for you! xoxo

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  9. Valerie, I love this thought: "Maybe this little hollowed-out space of a season is the place where I can listen to the echoes of my soul. The reverberations ringing with whispers to rest, unwind, unbend." So many of us seem to be in a hollowed-out space of a season now! I'm praying for all of you in your city to find God's peace. And I'm praying for God to inspire you with more of His Words and Beauty. Your stories are so captivating here--so I am also rooting for you to give voice to your fictional stories! --Blessings & Hugs!

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    1. Hi Bettie,
      I missed your post this week (unless it came a little late:)) and I'm so grateful for your prayers and thoughts and the time you take to read my words, friend! xo

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  10. Wonderful article - as always. Sometimes, staying home is just the very best thing. It gives you time to discover the greatness of life around you that God has provided - and which, in our hurried days of life, we oftentimes miss. I look forward to your articles - they give you pause to think of the everyday things of life that we oftentimes miss, and to see God working in wondrous ways in our life around us. Have a fantastic summer - would love to run across town for your next brunch - if only I were in Orlando!

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    1. Hi Sharon,
      Oh I would love to brunch with you -- it's been so long! Thank you for being one of my earliest readers and always encouraging me with your gift of kindness! Much love to you! xo

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  11. That french toast looks amazing! What a treat and what a blessing to share dining in new places with your mom. You've inspired me to start going 'across town' with my girls, experiencing new places and making memories in our home town. Summer is the best time to spend at home in my Canadian province actually! Memories can be made right where we are...and stories created too.

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    1. Hi Lynn,
      Summer in Canada! Sounds a little chilly for my Florida heart but I love it that you'll be making memories this summer and as always, I'll be eager to read about them!

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  12. I have felt so sad the last few days. Know we are all praying for healing and peace for your city!
    Oh and I bet your fiction would be wonderful! please share any you feel comfortable sharing. :)

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    1. Hi Sarah,
      Thank you for your prayers -- I know a piece of your heart is here, too -- and thank you for always being my encourager! I'm eager to get my pen out and start writing! :)

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  13. I am so with you Valerie, sometimes you have to step back and appreciate the stillness. Stillness isn't necessarily a bad thing at all. By the way, the architecture... AMAZING. This post just put the biggest smile on my face and I thank you so much for that.

    Kia / KTS
    www.houseofkts.com

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