A Drop of Sunshine #16
January 2024: The Art of Good Noise
Hello Dear Ones,
Happy New Year! I hope you enjoyed restful, festive holidays and that you’ve entered into 2024 with hope for all the wondrous possibilities of light tucked into the shadows of winter.
The other day I was placing holds on books at my local library, and I was astounded by the breadth of their upcoming title announcements. So many enticing books are hitting shelves this spring alone. It further impressed upon me that which lucky book rises to popularity has less to do with quality and more to do with visibility. There are simply too many books to notice, let alone to read and recommend.
For a moment, this made me sad, because I already find the world too loud at times, and I don’t want my future books to add to the overwhelming noise.
But every time I ponder ceasing this newsletter, to remove my voice from the constant thrum of chatter, some kind soul reaches out to say how positively these humble ponderings influenced them. Which leads me to reflect on how sorrowful I’d be if my favorite artists, writers, and musicians stopped adding their work to the world simply because we have an abundance of artists, writers, and musicians. I don’t want an abundance, I want them. Their singular unique perspective or melody or line of beauty.
Which led me to the startlingly obvious (yet temporarily forgotten by my HSP-self) conclusion that noise isn’t bad. Noise is a sign of life. From singing birds to rushing rivers, to laughing babies and encouraging speeches, noise brings joy and hope.
Isn’t is odd (and often rather frightening) how one skewed thought can infect our minds? I deemed noise bad, and therefore trivialized my own vocation, my own art, my own voice.
But noise is neutral. It’s what we do with it that adds or detracts value.
So I pose this question for your 2024 musing: What do you deem good noise? Bad noise? How can we collectively and individually silence the bad and happily listen in and proclaim the good?
Smartphones in our pockets bring the noise of the world to our pockets and that noise can be scary, hateful, and tragic. But a physical book, brimming with truth, hope, and joy isn’t a grating shout into the void. It is a gentle whisper, an invitation into an imaginative, wonderous life. Books are good noise, and I’m glad my library is bringing in such a bounty, even if time allows me to only select one. One can be enough.
As we all venture into the fray of 2024, may we shun the bad noise: strife, envy, slander, covetousness, greed, malice. May we make good noise: laughter, encouraging words, bold truth, loving proclamations, creative visions.
“Let us make a joyful noise until the Lord!” - Psalm 98:4
Quote to Ponder:
“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, or a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we embrace for that day. We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me, and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you, we are in charge of our attitudes.” - Chuck Swindol
What to Bake
Almond Flour Berry Muffins - When the blueberries are frozen, we usher in the season of the muffin! - An Old Adage (that I just made up). I also add chopped walnuts and swap the olive oil for melted butter cuz I ain’t scared.
What to Listen To
Kicking it back to 2005 for some peaceful nostalgia, I present Jack Johnson’s album In Between Dreams.
What to Read*
A Stroke of the Pen: The Lost Stories by Terry Pratchett - This is a perfect collection to build a reading habit. These 3-page stories take only a blink to read, but ignite the imagination with Pratchett’s clever satire and unique plot twists. Each story is perfect to read aloud over breakfast or on the car ride to school.
Cocktails, Commitments, and Crafting Conversations - For an introvert like myself, the concept of The 2 Hour Cocktail party sounds slightly terrifying and also thrilling (a 2 hour time limit, you say?) Whether I will ever host or attend such an event is currently something only God knows, but this article is an interesting read nonetheless.
Question to Ponder:
Do you have any resolutions for 2024? Or a focus word? I’d love to hear them!
My mindset/focus words for 2024 are: self-forgetfulness and present gratitude.
Until next time, wishing you sunshiny trails,
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