Pausing to Refill

Refiling My Cup -- Gina Lynette

As I’ve been thinking a whole lot this week about Joyce Rupp’s quote about pouring from an empty cup, I’ve been paying special attention to things that refill mine.

One thing that really helps is when I give myself permission to be a bit of a slacker. I don’t mean, give up on life. But as a driven, hyper-motivated, constantly-on-the-go someone, turning down the volume is sometimes desperately needed.

While I’m a pretty happy camper for the most part, it’s been a tough fall and winter for me in some ways — especially physically — and I started to really think about why. It isn’t a new revelation, but I’ve been using way more energy than I have available to me at a sustainable level. I needed to do some spring cleaning of tasks and to dos in light of the reality that my world has shifted to include two little people in my day who were previously off site, I’ve added a wonderful-yet-time-and-talent-intense contract to my schedule, I’m still in grad school, and I still want to include my coaching, art, and writing in my regular routine.

I know that as I add new elements into my day, it’s a great idea to paused to say, “Okay… that’s new and I want it here. Do I have room for it with everything else or do I need to do some clearing somewhere?” The truth is that those “You Can Do It All” siren calls are still pretty enticing. So, it always kind of takes me by surprise when I sit up and realize, “Hey! Wait! I’m worn out and cranky and have lost control of my calendar again!”

Next week is finals week. This means I have 5 papers to write as soon as I return from helping to facilitate an out-of-town conference this weekend. It’s going to be a whole lot of intense, time-limited, on-deadline work.

So, today? Today I gave myself permission to pause and refill my cup. You know, take a deep breath. Pour some coffee. Sit still. Participate in a live video summit that I didn’t think I had time to  attend.

And you know what happened? This little seed that I’ve been precontemplating for about 4 years just burst out of that conversation. I shared my idea, in public, with the actual person whose writing inspired it. You see, I was afraid to allow myself to want to pursue this idea because of fears of stepping on her toes, stealing her ideas, or infringing on her copyrights.

And you want to know what happened?

She said, and I quote, “Go for it!” Right there! Live!

I’m so excited that my teeth are buzzing. I’m hoping to keep this excitement and motivation flowing as I focus on this conference and finals week… but watch this space. I’m going to make room on my calendar for launching an idea that’s been percolating for years.

Talk about a full cup! It’s overflowing today!

How about you? What are you doing to refill your cup? Or, perhaps, the question should be, “What are you going to pause doing in order to refill your cup?”

Note: The lovely cup in the image was made by the incredibly talented and supremely delightful Melodie Grace. It’s my very, very, very favorite cup in the whole wide world.

Gina’s Stuff: Tennessee Tarts — Almost Good Enough to Eat

Tart Warming Scene

Last year around the holidays, Ned Andrew and I came across these adorable little cast iron skillets in Franklin, TN. We bought about a half dozen of them to give as gifts, but made sure to keep one for our own selves. The clever shop had them displayed with little tea light stands so that you could warm potpourri tarts in them. A local crafter just happened to have said tarts for sale nearby.

We’ve loved this little set up. It does a wonderful job of adding fragrance to our home, and the little tea lights are way more economical than scented candles. The tarts can be warmed over and over again, so they last for a long while. The dozen or so we purchased last December are just at the end of their run.

So, when I learned that single-mom, pal, and all-around super hero, Jennifer Batts, from Knoxville has a business making these little waxy smell-goods, I had to give them a try. I ordered a couple of’ 10-Tart Samplers (free shipping!) at the end of last week. Even with the postal holiday, they were here today. (Amazing. I was sort of looking around to see if she’d driven them to Nashville.) I’m kind of impressed that they weren’t eaten in transit. The box smelled like a bakery.


Box o' Tarts

When I finally got inside and got the package opened, I was thrilled with the assortment of goodies. The typical tarts come in shapes that reflect their scent, but the samplers all look like baby Bundt cakes. Since I know that the shape doesn’t matter once you melt them, I was cool with the simple shape. I ordered 2 each of 10 “flavors” and had a really hard time deciding which one to try first. After warning everyone that they couldn’t actually eat the tarts — they’re that delicious — we put it to a sniff vote. Pumpkin Spice won the first round.

So far, we’re thrilled. It melted beautifully in our warmer. The scent is lovely and fragrant enough to notice without knocking you backwards upon entering the house. In short, I’m delighted!

The great news is that I probably have a years’ supply of them now. The bad news is that I can’t justify ordering Jennifer’s 30 other fragrances yet. Unless… I order a boatload of them for holiday gifts.


Hey, Jennifer! I’m gonna need more tarts!

Gina’s Stuff: Nest Necklace by Anita Schmadtke

In an act of appreciation for the hands that make them, I’d like to highlight some of the things — actual physical objects — that bring me joy. I’m not sure how this will work, exactly, but I was sitting here thinking about how much I love this little necklace and I wanted to write about it. So, here goes…

Sterling Nest by Anita Schmadtke

With the exception of books, I am not an impulse buyer by any stretch of the imagination. I tend to be a researcher — studying models and features for weeks before making a decision. Add that to my trending toward the thrifty side, means that even if I really want something, I’m going to watch for a sale.

Case in point: my son was practically walking by the time I made a decision on which stroller to purchase and could push it himself when I finally broke down and bought one.

So, it was a pretty unusual day when I walked into Nest, spied this necklace and purchased it on the spot. It had to be mine. Correction: it already was mine. I just needed to pay for it.

I’m all about handmade items and I love pieces that are meaningful. There’s all sorts of symbolism woven into this little nest. I see birth and renewal and promises and family and love. I suppose the fact that I was in mourning when I encountered it made it all the more poignant to me.

Once I got it home, I started the research (Yes, I do all of the steps, even if they aren’t in order) on the artist and found Anita Schmadtke on Facebook. Turns out we are practically neighbors, so we met for coffee and immediately hit it off.

Anita spends hours coaxing 14 feet of sterling silver into these little nests, and her sweet energy somehow sticks to the piece in the process. When I needed a meaningful 60th birthday gift for my sister-in-law, I called Anita and asked her to make one especially for the occasion. She graciously agreed and, if possible, the custom one was even nicer than the one I’d purchased for myself.

I love this little nest and wear mine just about everywhere — it’s become a signature piece — and get kind compliments on it daily. In a world of throwaway, mass-produced everything, it’s delightful to acquire lovely items that were designed and created to be treasured. What a sweet bonus treat it is to grow to know and love the creators of those treasures.



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