What 39 Years Have Taught Me

39by Christina Hubbard

Thirty-nine nudges forty just barely. Enough to know forty won’t be awful. Enough to know getting a little older can fill you with grace and chutzpah, and you really do start to care less what people think. That feels like a whole new level of freedom!

As you may have guessed, today is my birthday. It’s funny—39 feels a bit nostalgic and thrilling. I used to think what I had to say wasn’t wise or worthy, but time has a way of revealing what’s true.

God values each of us. He invites us into a beautiful lifelong adventure with Him, not dictated by social media, culture, or politics. Thanks for giving me the floor for a few minutes. I hope it inspires you. Also, check out my announcement at the end.

Love, rest, and speaking up: what 39 years have taught me

  1. Every voice matters, so use yours with no apologies.
  2. My mom was and is superwoman.
  3. God loves to use our weaknesses.
  4. That thing you love to do? Start doing it.
  5. It’s O.K. to quit when it frees you to pursue better things.
  6. Slow down. Whatever you’re hustling hard for will pass away. Then what?
  7. Forgive. Now. It helps, I promise.
  8. Teaching kids and dogs good manners make the world a better place.
  9. I may never get all the artwork I own up on my walls, but at least I went beyond them.
  10. Put down the phone. Look people in the eye.
  11. Take walks. They’re nature’s cleanse.
  12. Ask for help when you’re struggling. That’s real courage.
  13. Reach out. People are lonely, and friends will be found where you least suspect.
  14. Trust your guts to speak the truth. Edit less.
  15. Do less. Be more.
  16. Spend time learning to pray.
  17. You are not a clothing size. You are a work of art, designed by God.
  18. Let others have the last word.
  19. Take a regular Sabbath to remember God is in control, and you are not.
  20. Pain refines. Don’t fear it.
  21. Give what you love away often.
  22. Poetry is never a waste of time.
  23. Compassion is not only having empathy and meeting material needs. It’s listening and sitting in the hard spaces with people.
  24. If you can’t answer WHY you are doing something, then don’t.
  25. Don’t apologize for your messes.
  26. Be yourself although it may qualify as totally uncool (for my tweenager).
  27. God often calls us to places we question ourselves. That’s called humility.
  28. Share the story of what God is doing in your life aloud.
  29. Two things to be a better human: read books + shut up when others are talking.
  30. Chew slowly. Enjoy food.
  31. You don’t have to say yes to everyone who asks.
  32. Tell your favorite people exactly what you love about them.
  33. Write thank yous. Pick up the phone.
  34. Your pace is not the next person’s. Chances are they are busting their chops behind that shiny smile.
  35. Creativity requires whitespace. Lots of it.
  36. Love is always worth it.
  37. If you want to heal, give.
  38. Make friends with your body, skin, emotions, and mind.
  39. You can change.

The upside-down kingdom of God puts things in the right order: God-sized love first, others next. Like you, I’m still in process on most of these. I can’t wait to see where today will take us.

My new site

Speaking of new things, today I’m launching my new writing + speaking site! The blog will stay put as the place where what I write lives, for now. This new site features my services as a speaker and retreat leader for creatives and leaders. Do come on over and check it out.

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The Reward of Routine

routineby Christina Hubbard. Routine feels so routine. Personally, I resist it on a regular basis. In some ways, I’m addicted to novelty and adventure, that intoxicating sense of the unknown. Yet routine benefits our creativity in countless ways.

When I was a girl, my mom taught my sister and me piano lessons. From the time I was three until age fourteen, we practiced our scales and etudes nearly every day. No, we did not love it. I secretly wished I was shooting hoops in the driveway or riding my bike around the block. Sitting down day after day to the black and white keys, I learned the discipline of routine.

The Pay Off

In high school, I opened my own private piano studio in my living room, just like my mom. I earned good money without having to drive anywhere or flip burgers. Routine turned out to be a huge blessing.

What routine gives us is the ability to do something with less thought. The more we do it, the better we get at it. Even though I haven’t played the piano seriously in years, I can still sit down and sit down a piece fairly well.

Sit Down and Get to Work

Routine eliminates the daily decision: should I work at my creative passion or not? Routine sits the will into the chair and instructs it in the art of showing up and working hard.Tweet This

…routines allow you to carve out time to pursue your passion every single day. Once it’s a routine, there’s no more wriggling out of painting or writing or working on your business plan because you’re too tired or the muse eludes you. -Ellie Robins, “The Secret Benefit of Routines: It Won’t Surprise You

More on welcoming routine.

This post is part of Five Minute Friday, a creative community of bloggers who write for five minutes on one word. Today’s word is ROUTINE.

How does routine help you?

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Real Help When You’re Just Plain Tired

by Christina Hubbard

I went to church by myself today. Kid number two is down with the flu again and my husband graciously stayed home with him. It’s month three of 2018 and I’ve tallied it up: I’ve spent one whole month of it being sick or taking care of someone who is. I’m tired of sickness. I’m tired of being strong. I’m just tired.

We often get weary because life loves to throw us the character-building learning curve of interruptions, delays, and disappointments. We find ourselves needing a real rest, but who else is going to buy the groceries? We can’t stop adulting simply because we are tired.

Beyond just fine

Recently, a dear woman honestly shared her burdens with me. Through tears, she shared the stresses of parenting, caregiving, and facing a crisis in her marriage. She was tired and she was real. I looked at her and said, “That’s beautiful.” I meant it. She went beyond just fine. She shared what was actually going on. Although she was exhausted, she had joy. Not a pasted-on smile, but a genuine hope she could face whatever comes. Her willingness to be real in spite of everything encouraged me to keep going and go get those groceries later with gusto. After a hug and a thank you, I got the sense we both felt a little lighter. I gave her an ear, and she gave me resilience.

God gives

God gives tired people the supernatural strength to carry other tired people. Tweet This

I think I can keep adulting a little while longer.

This post is part of Five Minute Friday. Our one-word writing prompt was TIRED.

More on sharing burdens.

What helps you keep going when you’re tired?

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Justice: Author Interview with Emily Conrad + Giveaway!

Novelist Emily Conrad releases her debut book Justice today. Emily is my poetry buddy and friend, and this interview is the first time we met face to face, sort of…virtually. Justice is fabulous for so many reasons, my favorite ones being: 1. Emily is a master of writing romantic tension and dialogue, 2. She tackles tough topics with grace, 3. This book is set in a quaint small town coffee shop and I could smell the deliciousness the whole time I was reading.

I also love that Emily was totally up for talking on a screen. Hearing the heart of an author and listening to their voice can connect us to their work and deepen our experience with the story.

Emily and I chat about…

Grab a copy of the new novel Justice by Emily Conrad.

  • What a yodeler had to do with her getting into writing.
  • The premise of Justice and how she used classic storylines from the Bible to help structure it.
  • Her foreign exchange student from China.
  • Falling for her heroes and uncooperative characters.
  • The mashup of coffee shops and a historic bank building that came together to be her main setting in the book.
  • What success as an author means to her.
  • How God’s plans were different than hers for the book.
  • How she stays inspired as a creative.
  • What it was like working in her brother’s food truck in the name of writer-ly research.
  • And much more!

Hear Emily Conrad’s heart behind her novel Justice in the full video interview HERE. (The video freezes for a few seconds at 1:26 but stick with us.)

Connect with Emily at her blog.

Now for the giveaway…

Because Justice is set in a coffee shop, Emily is giving away a bag of salted caramel coffee to one randomly-chosen person who leaves a comment on this post by 3/11/18 at 12:00 AM CST.

COMMENT: Would you rather read for an hour in a coffee shop or take a walk around a lake?

The winner will be announced in a comment on this post on 3/12/18 and will need to email Emily with a valid mailing address within one week. U.S. Addresses only. Void where prohibited.

Holy coffee beans, I can smell the java already!coffee

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Being Brave: The Once Timid Tiger


by Christina Hubbard

What does being brave mean to you? In honor of her new devotional book Being Brave: A 40 Day Journey to the Life God Dreams for YouKelly Johnson invited me to share a poem. Before you read it though, let me say her book is one of the best on true courage, the kind which begins in humility, vulnerability, and Christlike love.

“T” for timid he circled

On my ski school badge

On days one through four.

So I was.


“You are shy,” they said

At church, school, places

Where cliché ruled minds.

So I hid.


“You’re ugly,” he yelled

From the bus window

As I ran wet-faced.

So I thought.

Read the rest at Kelly’s blog… 

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Waking up Creative, as If from Winter’s Dream

waking-upby Christina Hubbard

A bit of spring whooshed into the Midwest this morning. A warm wind is dusting off last week’s salt-laden roads where ice so recently caked and solidified us inside our toasty walls. As the sun rose bold today through my bathroom window, creativity awoke as well. Once dormant poems broke through my fingertips and wrote themselves out. This sounds a bit overdramatic (and it is): I emerged from a dream.

The thing about creativity is if we don’t use it, we lose it.Tweet This

There is a practice of making space for inspiration to flow. It must have priority in our day. Maybe first thing, before children and coffee, or after our people are at their respective places and we’re showered and fresh. We must make room for the muses.

For me, this looks like getting the calendar stuff out of the way. I write it down so it doesn’t get lost. Then I light a candle, grab a notebook and a pen, and I sit. But I don’t wait. Yes, there is some staring out the window and listening to that warm wind roar a bit in the rafters, but I don’t wait. I write whatever comes.space

The danger is perfection. The danger is to-dos and what-ifs and I’m not doing enough. That is the territory of creative suicide. Give yourself compassion, dear artist, writer, musician, and friend. Whatever your art, make space foremost. But do not wait. Let what comes have its way into the earth, just as spring is rushing into our hearts with a warm glow. For this is the inspiration of the Creator calling to us all, wake up! Shake off the chill like your winter duvet, open the door, and walk a while in this new welcoming space.

This is where we belong.

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