• Love Surrounds

    Hey all! Happy Thanksgiving!

    I just wanted to take a moment to say thanks to all of you who keep stopping by my blog every so often. It has been so great to have a space to share my thoughts about life this year. I really feel that it’s become a place to embrace growth and also to interact with others about their life journeys. I am thankful for you.

    Even in the midst of the unpredictability of life, writing is something that brings me peace. And on the flipside (at least for me), reading is sometimes an escape into someone else’s story, and a pathway to learning about myself and the world.

    The power of language and the written word is so uncontested. Words hold such magic.

    Before I head out shortly to go share a meal with people I love, I just wanted to share a poem with you. As Thanksgiving is happening today and Christmas will come quicker than we think, I was thinking about all the loved ones each of us wishes could be with us on special days like this.

    Most importantly I just want to say, if you’re grieving this holiday season, may peace find you. May love catch you in unexpected ways.

    Much love ~ Sonja K.

    Seeing you
    That dimple on your cheek
    Proof of your smile
    You nod and laugh
    In a room with family who are friends and friends who are family Completely surrounded by love
    Just as I knew you would be
    This is my favorite way to see you
    Pressing on, enjoying life, embracing love
    I am gone
    but not gone
    You may not see me
    But your life reflects love
    And that’s how you know I am still with you
    Always

    Written by: Sonja K. For all those I love whose journeys on earth didn’t seem long enough – thanks for keeping an eye on me.

  • Sipping a Latte

    Hello, sweet friends. I feel so glad to be sitting in one of my favorite coffee shops, sipping a latte, and writing something.

    It’s been a minute.

    Since my recent job change, it has been harder for me to make myself sit down and write. To put it plainly, the last thing I want to do after a long day or week of work, is look at another screen and use my brain.

    Today though… today I got to sleep in, have some puppy snuggles after my husband went to work, and just let my mind rest. There is nothing I have to do today. THAT is a wonderful feeling.

    I do want to share with you that my making a career change, from early childhood education to the world of nonprofits, is one of the best decisions I have ever made. I am enjoying the work itself and my team is just phenomenal. I like knowing that the organization I work for is doing so much good in our communities. I still get to help kids, but it just looks a lot different these days. While I continue to learn the ins and outs of database and fundraising work, I am helping families in a different way. It’s truly been a joy.

    That being said, my mind and body still need rest. I still need to take a moment, an hour, a day to reset. I am learning to be kinder to myself in this way, and it’s so good to work for an organization that embraces the importance of the mental health of its employees. It’s also a big bonus to be married to a guy who worked in mental health for several years (and who knows my quirks and loves me in spite? because? of them 🙂 )

    So, friends, all I want you to glean from my words today is this one word: rest. It’s good, it’s important, it’s necessary. Just rest.

    I do hope to start posting regularly again, so look for new posts likely on the weekends. More poetry, favorite quotes, and thoughts on life coming your way. Thanks so much for continuing to read and share this blog. It really breathes life into me when I embrace the gift of writing, and it’s incredible to me that words can bring about such community and healing.

    Author Stephen King once said, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” With that in mind, I think I’ll go back to reading my book now.

    Remember to rest. ~ Sonja K.

  • What We Can Do

    I’ve heard it said that the only predictable thing in life is change, and I really don’t think I can argue with that.

    Some changes we see coming because we make them on purpose: starting a new job, moving to a new city, or deciding to start a family. Sometimes the change chooses us: a coworker you depend on leaving your workplace unannounced, or the sudden sickness of a loved one. Whether that initial change is chosen or thrust upon us, the sure thing is, these changes have a ripple effect. The change doesn’t stop after that one thing happens.

    So, my question is, what can I do about it? I know I can’t stop the change, but what can I do?

    This week I’ve been reading Shauna Niequist’s book I Guess I Haven’t Learned That Yet. She talks in relatable ways about hard things in her life, though she keeps a boundary around sharing the sticky details and I deeply appreciate that. It’s nice that she can give me some helpful thoughts based out of her own experiences without making herself painfully trudge through the details of those experiences. I find her witty, relatable and charming in this book, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants some love and light dropped into their lives.

    So back to my question about how to deal with change… I think Shauna hit the nail on the head with this one. She writes:

    No one gets through alone.

    So what can I do? I can keep showing up.

    I can show up for my loved ones who are going through their changes, and I can rally them around me when it’s my turn to wade through the swirling waters.

    I can show up by offering a granola bar and bottled water to the guy standing on the sidewalk holding up a sign, offering a smile to help him through whatever change he’s going through.

    I can offer to show up and listen when a friend is going through a hard time.

    I can let others help me (which if I’m honest, is not always easy for me to do.)

    Showing up, guys. That’s what we can do.

    Thanks for being here today. Keep showing up as you – the world is better for it. ~ Sonja K.

  • Light

    Hello friends! I am excited to share with you a few quotes tonight around the theme of light. The first comes from a book I’m currently reading by Richard Rohr. This is the second of his books on my list and I find myself taking my time reading it so as to let the words settle in… sometimes after a chapter, sometimes a page, sometimes a sentence. There is just so much I am gleaning from his unique perspective. Here is the quote that has been rolling around my head this week:

    Mind BLOWN. Have you ever heard light described in that way? I sure haven’t, and especially not in a spiritual context. Light is the way we can see the world in the first place, and then see how to love within it.

    These words of Rohr reminded me of one of my favorite quotes of Albus Dumbledore (who I tend to think has oh so many good things to say). It reads:

    “Turning on the light” can take many forms. Sickness can be a dark time, but recognizing those caring for you is a way of turning on the light. I think people would agree that sometimes divorce or a bad breakup can be a lonely road; turning on the light could be choosing time with good friends. Loss and grief can seem unending when you’re in it, but a shoulder to cry on or just someone sitting with you can be a source of light. Starting a new job can be challenging, but light could come through the presence and encouragement of a good manager. There are just so many ways light can break through in our lives, and make us notice the good things right in front of us.

    I am going to share one last quote with you, and I hope it sparks wonder about your very self. Let it remind you that you are radiant in a way only you can be. These words come from one of Oprah’s podcast episodes (though I neglected to write down the title of the episode when I jotted this down… but I feel like she’d forgive me). It reads as follows:

    Until next time, shine bright. – Sonja K.

  • Poetry Post: Untitled poem – No. 28

    Hi friends. Today I want to share a simple poem I wrote about a month or so ago. I have not titled it, and I think I’ll keep it that way; I feel in this particular instance that this allows more room for the reader to feel the words of the piece and to flow where it takes them.

    It would be so great if you would take a little time to write a comment about the things that come to mind for you as you read this piece. I am so curious about what it calls forth for others, so please share your thoughts with me.

    I hope you have a wonderful weekend. May stillness find you along the way. ~ Sonja K.

    Be still. 
    Listen.  

    What does the river say in its rushing? 
    You are enough.  You are strong.  
    Like Me.  

    What does the wind say in its whispering?
    We are one.  We are one.  Weareone.  

    When you close your eyes and feel the warmth of the sun on your face, 
    what words does that warmth carry? 
    You deserve joy in your life.  

    Be still. 
    Listen to what the world is saying to you.  

    Receive it. 
    Believe it. 
    Go live it.

    Untitled poem – No. 28 – Written by: Sonja C. Ketchum – 7/31/22
    The place of inspiration
  • Sitting with Me

    I find myself at a loss for words today.

    I’m sitting by a lake, the gentle waves lapping up onto the shore. Every now and then a bird sings. The dog is keeping busy exploring the shoreline, jumping in and out of the water unpredictably. The warm aroma of hot coffee reaches me from the table next to my lawn chair. Somewhere around here the man I love is giving his own soul some reflection and care.

    This is a place I cherish. The comfort of its constancy is overwhelming, and yet the changes it does proclaim are beautiful— the buds in spring, the warm sunshine in summer, the colorful leaves of autumn, the stillness of winter.

    Sitting here now in a steady breeze, the leaves whispering behind me, I simply feel peace. Contentment. Joy. Gratitude.

    My last few weeks have felt jam-packed. Between trying to learn a new job and all that comes with that, and going to events with my husband and our families, it has been quite a ride. All good things thankfully, but busy nonetheless.

    It just feels good to sit and come back to myself again.

    Living in the grace of today. ~ Sonja K.

    P.s. I am trying to go easy on myself as I am learning new things and figuring out my new routines around work/life flow. Just know that my posts may be unpredictable in their timing for now while I am getting a handle on things. Thanks for being here 💛

  • Connection is Life

    Well, folks… it’s Friday evening and I’m just now realizing how busy my mind has been this week. If you’re wondering, I started a new job two weeks ago, so my brain has been a bit crowded with new information and new processes. It’s been a great gig so far, but I’m using a lot of brain power and energy toward that… which is why I missed my Monday post and didn’t even realize it. 😆 But I’m back tonight to share a quote from my week.

    So… moving right along…

    I have fortunately been able to find a few solitary moments this week and my mental capacity could handle reading a bit (unlike last week when I wanted to go to bed at 7pm every night out of pure exhaustion.) This week’s quote comes again from Richard Rohr’s book Eager to Love. It reads:

    Life is never about being correct, but only and always about being connected. Just stay connected. At all costs stay connected. Our only holiness is by participation and surrender to the Body of Love, and not by any private performance. This is the joining of hands from generation to generation that can still change the world—and will. Because Love is One, and this Love is either shared and passed on or it is not the Great Love at all. The One Love is always eager, and, in fact, such eagerness is precisely the giveaway that we are dealing with something divine and eternal.

    Richard Rohr – Eager to Love – Pg. 207

    I’ve come back to this passage a couple times this week, and I just love that emphasis on connection. I always feel better when I’m connected to others and caring about others, and his words helped me understand why. Life is all about connection. I’d love to read your thoughts on Rohr’s words, so please comment below or shoot me an email.

    Thanks for being here. ~ Sonja K.

  • QW – Make Up Your Mind

    Hey friends! This week’s quote comes from a classic, L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables. In all honesty, I am not currently reading it, nor have I recently watched the movie. The reason this quote came to mind is that I started a new job this week and a coworker had a sticker on her mug of a different Anne quote. Seeing that sticker brought one of my favorites to mind. It reads as follows:

    I am truly enjoying my new job, but I think this way of thinking is influencing that experience. I WANT to be there… I am so ready to learn… teach me all the things so I can do my job well… I WANT to meet new people. I am HERE for it, folks. I have made up my mind to change careers and therefore, I can make up my mind to enjoy the different aspects of that journey. Sure some days will be more challenging than others, but I’m going to keep showing up.

    I hope Anne can inspire you to enjoy something in your own life too.

    Have a great weekend! ~ Sonja K.

  • New and Awkward

    I’m sitting on the back deck at our house, letting my mind wander the different paths of anxiety, of anticipation, of excitement, of not-yet-knowing. I start my new job tomorrow and these paths all started at the trailhead of that thought. What will it be like? Who will I get to work with? How long will it take to learn the processes and systems I’ll need to know in order to do my work effectively? These questions and more are bouncing around in my mind.

    I’m also thinking about the lessons I’ve learned throughout my years of working with kiddos. I am realizing there are many principles I can carry right on with me into this new endeavor despite the fact that it’s a completely new kind of work for me. I’m going to share them with you below, in hopes that they can also help you be successful in your own workplace. Here they are:

    1. Be kind. Kindness can go a long way in building relationships and creating a positive culture.
    2. Be open to learning. I don’t know everything, I never will know everything, but I want to learn as much as I can. Continued curiosity can often result in creative solutions.
    3. Be compassionate and empathetic, seeking to understand other perspectives instead of pushing my view on everyone else. Collaboration can bring about wonderful, beautiful things.
    4. Show up as my best self so that I can do my best work.
    5. Take a break when I need to reset. Go get some coffee, take a little walk, chat with a coworker for a minute or two. Often frustration or overwhelm can dissolve when the space is intentionally made for that to happen.
    6. Realize that the first time I do something, it might feel REALLY hard, and I am being brave by giving it a try. For more on this, go listen to Brené Brown’s podcast on FFT’s. It’s fantastic. Here’s the link: https://open.spotify.com/episode/6UAoHu3VQJNrZcBubo4ABF?si=yNDV8saSR1-nerbvhMwfsA
    7. Move my body and drink all the water. My body is the thing bringing my brain to work, so I shall try to show it some love.
    8. If you have extra time, see if others need help. They probably will remember that and maybe even help you out in the future.
    9. Be kind. Always.

    So my plan is to show up tomorrow morning with these things in mind. I won’t have a clue what I’m doing, but I will try to keep in mind that I’m the “new kid on the block” and no one expects me to know it all right away. I pretty much just need to show up, be kind, and be ready to learn.

    I would absolutely love to hear what from my list above resonates with you, what principles you use in your work life everyday (whether I listed it above or not), or any other thoughts you may have about this topic. Please comment below or shoot me an email so we can engage in a dialogue about this – I would so love that!!

    Before I sign off, I just want to share a quote with you from Dr. Brené Brown. Her work has taught me so much over the past couple of years, and I am so grateful. This one hits me smack dab in the forehead as I think about the reality of starting a new job. It’s from her podcast Unlocking Us, and it says:

    “When we give up being new and awkward, we stop growing, and when we stop growing, we stop living.”

    Brené Brown

    I want to grow and I want to live. How ‘bout you?

    Hopeful today,

    Sonja K.

  • The Power of Chemistry

    Life is alchemy, and emotions are the fire that turns me to gold.

    Glennon Doyle – Untamed, pg. 68

    It’s hard to feel all the feelings sometimes, but the more we do it, the more we come back to ourselves. Feeling the fire of emotions reminds us of our humanity. The flames can burn hot but the pure gold on the other side makes it so worth it.

    This is my second time in a year reading Untamed, written by Glennon Doyle. It has been staring at me from my nightstand recently amidst a pile of books I keep there, so I decided to pick it up again. What blows my mind, about any book really, is the changing of the lens each time I read it. Why does that lens change? Because I change, I grow, I learn, I try to open my mind a bit more.

    I absolutely flew through Untamed the first time I read it. I’m finding this time around that I’m trying to let myself absorb things, and really settle into some key words and ideas. The quote I began this post with was the first one I picked for my “Quote of the Week” post for today. It is just so succinct and beautiful. I wanted to make sure I fully understood it so I looked up the word alchemy and found three definitions on dictionary.com:

    • a form of chemistry and speculative philosophy practiced in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance and concerned principally with discovering methods for transmuting baser metals into gold and with finding a universal solvent and an elixir of life.
    • any magical power or process of transmuting a common substance, usually of little value, into a substance of great value.
    • any seemingly magical process of transforming or combining elements into something new (emphasis mine)

    If we keep in mind that third definition of alchemy, it really blows the door wide open on the potential meaning of the quote I shared at the beginning. Read it this way: “Life is a seemingly magical process of transforming or combining elements into something new, and emotions are the fire that turns me to gold.”

    Life? It’s magical. It’s always changing and we’re always learning, growing, transforming. It’s beautiful.

    I also found myself returning multiple times to the words you’ll see below, so I wanted to share this quote with you as well.

    We are here to fully introduce ourselves, to impose ourselves and ideas and thoughts and dreams onto the world, leaving it changed forever by who we are and what we bring forth from our depths.

    Glennon Doyle – Untamed, pg. 86

    What could be more magical than showing up as our true selves with all the ideas, thoughts, and dreams that originate deep inside us? And also, the magic of holding space for others to be who they truly are?

    Let’s make that magical world. Let’s love and be loved as we endlessly transform.

    Thanks for joining me today for the “Quote of the Week.” I hope you are inspired to embrace the magic of who you are.

    ~ Sonja K.