pretty words that you should read // 004

pretty words 600

I’m baaaack! I haven’t done one of these posts in over a month, and it feels good to get back into my routine again!

A Blog Manifesto – If you don’t read any of these other posts, go read this! Especially if you’re a blogger. Or even if you’re not a blogger, it’s beautiful. I agree with her times fifty thousand. I’ve had random thoughts about the blogging world and its shortcomings floating around in my head a lot lately, and Meg did a stellar job of expressing exactly what I’ve been thinking of.

An Uphill Battle – Bailey Jean was the blogger who hosted #blogeverydayinFEB, and I’m so glad that I found her blog! This is a wonderful piece from back in February about choosing joy and happiness and goodness, even when so many other choices seem easier.

I’m Grateful for Love – This is also from a while ago, but it’s still well worth sharing. Thoughtful, well-said words about love, and affection, and emotion, and its place in our lives.

Also, if you missed it earlier this week… Fixing What’s Broken,  where I dig some meaning out of shattered dishes and talk about putting the pieces of life back together.

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other places to find me (because making friends is fun, right?!):

twitter >>> @tessabrynnk

bloglovin’ >>> life and loveliness

instagram >>> @tessabrynnk

pinterest >>> tessa kohler

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fixing what’s broken

les fleurs

I woke up Sunday morning to sunshine, and pink blossoms on the trees, and a sky that is all kinds of lovely blue. I woke up to my favorite kind of a Sunday – one that is equal parts lazy and uplifting and inspiring. I went about my normal routine slowly, methodically, with plenty of time to relish the feel of the fresh spring morning, and plenty of time to think. {Note: this post is a few days in the making, hence the words about Sunday, when I’m posting on a Tuesday, but the majority of it is the product of my Sunday musings!}

So today I have some thoughts for you about brokenness, and a little bit about change, and a little bit about potential. A while ago I wrote another piece about brokenness, on a night where I felt terribly broken myself. What I have to say today has a different tone than that, though, and most of these ideas have been spurred by situations I’ve seen around me lately, with one person’s situation in particular (who I hope reads this at some point).

Broken. Meaning not whole, not complete, something missing. The most basic picture of broken that comes to my mind is that of dishes. I picture circular plates, and clear glasses, and well-loved bowls lying fragmented on the light-brown hardwood kitchen floor, the result of a hastily moved elbow, or a slipping of the fingers. I picture something that is no longer fit to serve its purpose of holding food, but instead is simply destined for the trash, and an unknown landfill, somewhere on the edge of town.

And the thing about broken dishes is that no one usually breaks a plate or a cup or a bowl on purpose. Well, maybe you do, if you’re my dad and you have visions of garden mosaics in your head that your family will only ever chuckle and roll their eyes at. But not many people frequently go around breaking dishes. When these items are broken, it’s by accident. One thing leads to another, and suddenly you have this pile of colorful pieces lying at your feet.

I’m a person for finding lessons in simplicity, so I’m going to go ahead and dig something out of broken ceramic and shards of glass.

Life happens. We are humans, imperfect, and flawed, and – at times – very, very much broken. Broken by circumstances, or by choices, or by consequences, or by emotions, or by doubts…take your pick. Everyone has their own form of elbow bumps or slipped fingers that lead to those pieces on the floor. I don’t think that anyone intentionally brings something into their life that they know is going to break them. As much as trials make me a stronger person, I can’t honestly say that I’m the kind of person that invites them. Just like anyone else, I’d rather stay intact, thank you very much.

But life happens. Life brings beauty, but it also brings imperfection, and struggles, and so many, many factors that jostle us around and lead us down unwanted paths and quite often break us.

But the thing about broken is that it is a far cry from destroyed, or vaporized, or obliterated. Broken can be fixed. Yes, it takes some effort, but it is one hundred percent possible to reach down, pick up those pieces, and put them back into their proper place. Whether it’s a broken friendship, or a broken life, broken can be fixed.

I’ve heard a handful of adorable stories over my life of little children who accidentally break a parent’s cherished china dish and then try their hardest to glue, or tape, or rubber band the fragments back together again. When something that has value gets broken, you make the effort to fix it. Think about that for a sec.

Also, in order to put something back together again, you need some form of glue or something to get it to stay, so you’re not just fitting pieces back into a puzzle just so they can get dumped out into a mess again as soon as the puzzle is flipped upside down. From what I can tell, life-glue has many forms, and there are often many types of life-glue needed to fix what has been broken. Life glue can be found in the form of apologies, or confessions, or faith, or hope, or belief, or Christ, or prayer, or late-night talks, or service, or scriptures, or running, or yoga, or hot chocolate, or sunrises, or really anything.

We are all broken in some way, and we all have a go-to life-glue for whatever situation we might be in. I have my thoughts and deep-seated beliefs about what is the true life-glue, but to each his own – I know that not everyone shares the same thoughts. But find your life-glue.

Broken can be fixed. Never, ever, ever toss up your hands and give up. Never. 

You have something inside of you that absolutely and completely strong enough to pick up those pieces at your feet.

Sometimes this is a hard fact for me to tell myself, since it is usually about twenty-one times easier to just look at those pieces and cry and throw a pity party and then pull out the trash can and neatly sweep up the remnants up and throw them away. Despair is a real feeling. Hopelessness is a real feeling. Helplessness is a very, very real feeling. But giving into those feelings and throwing away all chances of wholeness brings a worse feeling, and a more enduring feeling, than all of those combined.

And yes, change is hard. Fitting pieces together until they turn back into a plate takes time, and effort, and patience with the methodical and often slow process of figuring out which piece goes where. Looking at the whole mess in your hands is overwhelming, but great things take time, and piece-by-piece it will come together again.

And yes, I know that there’s no possible way for me to have any idea what everyone in the world is exactly and specifically going through. But I do know that broken, in one form or another, happens for everyone. And I have no desire to streamline everyone’s problems at all – in fact, far from it. Broken hurts. But I know for a fact that we haven’t been dealt anything that we can’t glue ourselves back together from after the impact. 

I have faith in you. If you’re that one specific person reading this right now that I’m sort of halfway writing to, I have complete faith in you. And even if you’re not that one specific person, I still have faith in you. There is light in you. There are gallons and gallons of hope. You have everything in you to turn around and face that light. You know where it is, where you can find it, and you have wonderful people right behind you, backing you every step of the way.

Broken can be fixed. Messed up friendships, or situations, or relationships – whether we were the ones doing the messing up or not – can be mended. Broken can be fixed.

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other places to find me (because making friends is fun, right?!):

twitter >>> @tessabrynnk

bloglovin’ >>> life and loveliness

pinterest >>> tessa kohler

mondays are for memories

photo (1)

I Instagrammed this picture earlier this evening with some words about Mondays, and writing, and remembering times past, in the thick of a nostalgic mood (along with an Instagram mood…I’m kind of obsessed lately), and the words are flowing a little stronger today so I thought I’d elaborate on the days that are Mondays.

I feel like everyone hates Mondays. Those are the dreaded days of the week that bring a return to work, and an end to relaxation. On the other hand, call me crazy, but I actually love Mondays. To me, they feel like a fresh start, a clean slate, a return to work, yes, but a return with the intentions of being better and more productive than the week before.

Mondays are also my days for nostalgia. Mondays are for memories, and for missing people, and for reminiscing about times past, before friends moved, and people changed, and when life had a slightly different vein of magic running through it. Not necessarily more magic, or better magic, just a slightly different vein of it.

On Mondays, I reread letters, and journal entries, and flip through photos. I get this strange desire on Mondays to bring back the past for an hour or so and smile on the idyllic life of seasons long gone. And despite what one may think, especially considering my romantic and sometimes dramatic nature, this doesn’t make me sad at all. Nostalgic, yes, but sad, no. Life was just different back then. That’s simply all there is to it. Not better, or worse, just different.

And holy cow do I miss some people. Friends, and more than friends, that no longer reside in little Idaho with me. I do wish that they were closer, and that times with them didn’t seem like such distant, long-ago moments. But I have an unending belief that everything happens for a reason. I know that there are a million different ideas about how or why events happen, and feel free to take whatever stand on that idea that you want to, but as for me, I believe that nothing happens without a purpose. I think that it’s this belief that makes Monday memories a happy, and peaceful, and heart-filling occurrence.

But yes, Mondays. Mondays make me remember, and give me the itch to tiptoe back into the past for just a second. Mondays give me words, and thoughts, and ideas, and a smile. Yes, Mondays are for memories.

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other places to find me (because making friends is fun, right?):

twitter >>> @tessabrynnk

bloglovin’ >>> life and loveliness

instagram >>> @tessabrynnk

pinterest >>> tessa kohler

well hello again!

Well hey there! I apologize for being so missing in action lately. Or I guess maybe I don’t need to apologize, since this is my blog? I do feel kinda bad, so maybe I at least need to apologize to myself for being so not on it for the past week and a half.

At any rate, whether apologies are due or not, I am back! For good, hopefully! And I’m back with an explanation, as well as a revision of direction.

In the way of explanations, blogging every day in February really did me in. As wonderful as it seemed, especially in the very start, I found that by the end it had taken everything out of me. It took the words, those precious, beautiful, wonderful words, and drained them right out of my heart. I feel like I turned into one of those horrid story problems in math where the water is draining out of a lake at a certain rate, and being filled at a slower rate, and you have to do some fancy pencil-scratching to figure out at what time the water will be at a dangerously low level, or something complicated like that. I always hated those problems.

But that’s what happened in February. The words dutifully flowed out of my fingers and onto this blog, but the rate that they were being replenished was not nearly fast enough to last the entire month. I found that by the end of the month, my writing felt (and sounded) forced and dry. It lacked richness, and substance.

As fun and simple as it was to answer a different prompt every day, and as quality as those prompts themselves were, I’ve found that that’s just not how I work. That’s not how I write. In my mind, it either comes from the heart, or it’s valuable as a bent-out-of-shape paperclip. 

By February 28th, the corner of my heart that is in charge of writing was exhausted and gasping for air. So I took a week-and-a-half long hiatus from all things blog, with my brain telling me every day that I needed to blog, and half-willing me to sit down and actually write something. Because that’s what I’m supposed to do, right?

But I’ve realized that I don’t want to write just because I feel the obligation to post. It shouldn’t feel like a chore. I want to write because I have words about to overflow from the brim of my heart, words that need written and shaped and spoken, whether for myself only, or for anyone else out in the word who cares to read what I write.

Not that there’s anything wrong with bloggers posting every day. I admire the people with the commitment and the motivation to blog every day. For many blogs, and bloggers, this system works flawlessly and successfully.

But it’s not for me, or for my blog. In order for me to write with depth and quality, which is the kind of writing that I feel is the signature of “Life and Loveliness,” I need time. So yes, I’m back at it, but bear with me as I ease back into a schedule that is comfortable for me, and also as I ease back into my usual style that is very far from answering a daily prompt. This blog is still evolving, and I’m still in the process of setting a definite tone for it, but I’m going to work on giving it a little more direction and purpose. I’m hoping for at least three or four posts a week. Maybe closer to the side of three. But along with that reduced number, I can pinkey promise you some writing of substance, something a little thicker, something that you can sink your teeth and thoughts into a little bit better than a “What’s in my Bag” post.

On that note, welcome back to “Life and Loveliness!” I am Miss Tessa Brynn Kohler, a hopeless romantic, a blogger, a writer, a normal person trying to make sense of the world, and a lover of all things beautiful and amazing. I hope you stay a while and find something here that speaks to you.

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other places to find me:

twitter >>> @tessabrynnk

bloglovin’ >>> life and loveliness

pinterest >>> tessa kohler

one little word

Aaah this type of writing fills me up like no other, and I’ve missed it. I feel like it’s disappeared for the larger part of the past month or so, but it is coming back, I tell you, coming back with a vengeance.

So, “one little word,” huh? I’ve been thinking about this post for the past few days, searching for that “one little word” that is whispering inspiration to me at the moment. And the one little word that kept showing up in the corners of my brain that I was scouring surprised me.

Courage.

Courage? Why not strength, or patience, or perseverance, or work, or some other word that I relate to a little more. Or at least that’s what I thought. The more I think, the more courage seems to fit, so I’m just going to roll with it.

Courage is strength. Courage is patience. Courage is perseverance. Courage is work.

Courage is sometimes standing alone, but it’s also sometimes standing in a crowd.

Courage is one of those things that often gets overlooked in the moment, but is praised in hindsight. I’m so much quicker to tall myself to be strong, or to be patient, or to persevere, or to endure, but I, for some reason, rarely tell myself to have courage. Maybe because courage seems to encompass all of those other little pieces.

So then how does a person have courage? I have a thought that courage comes from baby steps – baby steps in the right direction. It comes from living. Curling up on your own with the thought of independence in your head is a good way to trick yourself, but I’ve figured out that there is a difference between independence and living. Sometimes they go together – actually, in the best form of courage they do go together. But then there are times when you tell yourself that you’re being independent, and you say that the experience of independence is living, but you’re actually isolating – which is quite far from living, in my thoughts. For me, at least, sometimes it takes courage to find that living state of independence, that state where I’m not just labeling myself independent so I have permission from myself to hide away and live in my own neat and tidy world all the time – instead, that state where I can be independent and my own person, but also take part in the richness that is society and human diversity.

That takes courage. Courage {and strength, patience, perseverance, and work, too} to plunge deep into the world, outside of all limits of comfort. That’s what I’m in the process of working on. I’m in the moment of courage, or at least trying to be. I’m not even wading through any particularly deep sludge in life at the moment, but I think that a person can have courage for little points of stickiness along with the thick swamps of sludge. Everyday life takes at least a little bit of courage, that mysterious, strong force that keeps us going.

Courage, to me, is living with actions and intentions, and living with the intentions to truly live, and embrace life, and strive for the beauty, and walk in the light.

What are your thoughts on courage? 

other places to find me:

twitter >>> @tessabrynnk

bloglovin’ >>> life and loveliness

pinterest >>> tessa kohler