What I’ve Been Thinking About This Week


The past couple of weeks I have been devouring Austin Kleon’s latest book, Keep Going; 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Time and Bad. This week I’ve been camping out in certain sections and I want to share a few excerpts with you. Let me know what you think.

Here we go:

  1. “Pay attention to what you pay attention to,” he quotes Amy Krouse Rosenthal and then adds, “What you choose to pay attention to is the stuff your life and work will be made of.” This statement brought to mind four questions.
  • What do I want my life to be about?
  • What do I not want it to be about?
  • What do I need to quit paying attention to?
  • What do I need to pay attention to?

By answering the first two questions I was able to answer the last two questions. The answers showed me I do have time for what I want my life to be about by helping me see what needed to go.

  1. “Attention is the most basic form of love.” This quote by John Tarrant made me stop reading. Immediately I thought of my three-year-old Grand asking someone to play with him or look at what he had made. I thought of the pleasure and delight on his face when someone gives him attention. For him—and all of us—love is shown through attention. Nothing speaks love to me quite like someone looking in my eyes and listening to me. Or sending a text just to see how I am. Or inviting me to lunch to catch up. This quote is an especially good reminder to take time for others in a culture where everyone looks at their screens instead of each other.
  2. “Learn How to Say No.” Austin shares another great piece of advice—this time from Alexandra Franzen’s piece, “How to Graciously Say No to Anyone.” He writes, “She suggests the following: Thank the sender for thinking of you, decline, and, if you can, offer another form of support.” On the next page is a sample form note that can be used in any situation. It reads, “Dear ___, Thanks so much for thinking of me. Unfortunately I must decline. Best wishes, __________. Kind and to the point. Austin makes a final point, “Saying ‘no’ to the world can be really hard, but it’s the only way to say ‘yes’ to your art and your sanity.” I couldn’t agree more, except to add “its the only way to say yes to your family and all that is important in your life”—back to point number one.

Enjoy your weekend!

*Keep Going by Austin Kleon, pages 114-118.

Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.

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