July 28, 2014

When Words really ARE enough...


For all of my days, I have had this love affair with words... how they can affect us, stretch us, and grow us. How they can stir us up and cause All. The. Feelings. to rise to the surface and sink down deep, all at the same time!  

For all of my life, I have been a list-maker, journal-keeper, note-taker, letter-mailer, ...a blogger of sorts, before there ever was such a thing!


Stacks & Stacks of lovely Dayspring Cards      

I remember passing notes in school, long before there was an option of texting. I remember sending letters in the mail with such excitement to have it travel for me and say what I really wanted to say, across miles and states... trusting the words to connect hearts through space and time.

Words and encouragement and love spilled out of me from the beginning.  It's part of how He made me. (It doesn't hurt that my Love Language is Words of Affirmation, so I speak it fluently!)  However I never really knew that it could be a ministry - this stringing together words to uplift and uphold... this offering my heart mixed with His.  Sometimes I would feel almost helpless, unable to be the answer to what was asked or to provide the tangible for what was needed... but I would pull out my notecards, and grab a pen... I'd pour out my prayers and my hopes and send it off in the mail, trusting that sometimes words really are enough! Not in themselves, not always... but they hold the power to unleash faith and unlock hope that has been for too long hidden away.  Often I have found in my own life that through the gift of words, my heart has been healed and only then does the tangible help come into view.

It was long before I knew that prophesy was a thing or that I could hear from God that I began randomly sending cards or letters to people whom the Lord would lay on my heart.  I would simply write out what I had been praying or what Scripture I had been reading when I had thought of them.  It felt a lot like just me... but it turns out it was a partnering with the Spirit to pour out love and blessing.  It felt natural to me and so I discounted it as nothing spiritual.  But that mindset began to shift when I ran into a couple of people at a conference and they mentioned how much the cards I had sent had ministered to them.

"Nice!" I thought... but then they opened their Bible or pulled it out of their journal.  They had been carrying it with them, in heart and hand... and it was giving them courage and hope and a reminder that even when I could have no way of knowing what they were facing, God knew... God knew and He sent words to build up, to break through, to bless.

So I began to see this little stack of stationary and notecards in the corner as my office, and the pen in hand was His heart being spilled out on a page for someone across the pew, across town, or across oceans.

I am blessed that I have received my fare share of love notes over the years as well. And because Words of Affirmation is my jam, I gather them up and collect them in boxes... looking over them from time to time, allowing Him to remind me of how much I am loved... by Him, and by others.



There is power in the written word... and when I asked several years ago for the Lord to give me my purpose in a clear and simple way... "Talk to me like I'm twelve." I said, He did.  He said, "This is why I created you... this is your Call and your Purpose: Speak Life. Be Love. Shine On."  

So I attempt to do that every day... to do it in my in real life everyday hours, as well as online and through cards and letters (and emails and texts, but really - who doesn't love a little old school Happy Mail, right?)

I figure if I am attempting to do this simple call every day - I can't possibly miss my big picture destiny, as long as I am walking it out little by little, card by card, every day!


So my sweet friend Kaitlyn had this amazing idea in the midst of a twitter party and it's because she gets it - the power of our words and how there is life and death in our tongues (and pens) and my how much we all need a little more life! She gets that.  She's lived it out loud and so she decided to organize this 'list'.  We call it #fmfpartysnailmail because it stemmed from an evening on twitter with the #fmfparty gals who gather brave and write for five minutes flat on Fridays!  We are now in Round 3 and it is amazing the number of women who have signed up to not only receive a card in the mail each week... trusting that God will speak to them through a (once-) stranger (-now-friend!) but who have signed up to partner with God and give the encouragement and love and hope that is needed to a woman they have most likely never met!




No matter if you are involved in #fmfpartysnailmail or not - you too can partner with God and Speak Life, Be Love, Shine On.  

It may feel a lot like just you, but trust me, God will speak and love and shine!



I am linking up with Kaitlyn today on the power of The Written Word
(plus there's a Giveaway, too!)

July 26, 2014

That Thing I Do Now - Vol 54


Happy Weekend, ya'll!  I hope you have some super fun plans... or, maybe, no plans at all (if that is how you roll!)  That makes me think of a John Mulaney routine where he talks about how, as adults, doing Nothing all weekend tends to bring a smile to our faces!



So - whether you do a lot of things (I hope they are fun!) or do no things (still fun... you see how this works?) I am praying that you get a few moments of down time to read through these great finds!

Happy Reading!
Enjoy! (Ya'll know to click on the authors' names to read their whole posts, yes?)

* This one by Crystal Stine over at InCourage.me on Living Unfiltered...
"There are no paparazzi waiting to take photos of me when I leave my house. My family isn’t preparing to star on a reality show about yard design or appear on the cover of a magazine.

But would you know that if you only knew me online?

When I play paparazzi to my own life, editing and filtering the bits and pieces I allow you to see, are you really getting to know the real me? Would you know that I struggle, have bad days and doubts, that my family fights and spends more time apologizing than posing for photos? If you were to meet me in real life, would you be surprised at the differences in what you thought you knew about me, or the similarities?"


* This one by Holley Gerth on When You Want to Live Less Tired & More Inspired...
"I sit with a woman as she describes a busy, hectic, gotta-change-something-or-I’m-gonna-pass-out life. All of what she shares is good…family, church, friends, community. But together it’s just all too much.

Sound familiar? One potential drawback of living in the land of opportunity is that we can treat life like an all-you-can-eat buffet and instead of being satisfied we end up groaning and holding our stomachs wondering, “Why did I do this to myself?”

One of the first things I always recommend when life feels like too much is an energy inventory..."

Seriously... take this inventory! It's simple and yet so revealing!

This post by Jefferson Bethke over at A Holy Experience on the What You Can Hold On To — Before Things (and You) Fail this Week...
"You can’t work no matter how hard you try. Any amount of work we think we can add to the Cross of Jesus is in essence saying “Jesus, you’re cross wasn’t enough.”

How beautiful is that though?

You don’t have to try harder, you don’t have to be better, you don’t have to do more, you just have to stop working and TRUST in the one who justifies the ungodly!


* This post by Patty over at Hearts Homeward on being Radical...
"I want to allow Him to have His way in my heart and life so that I can be radical for Him.  Sometimes radical is quiet.  It isn't always being a foster mom to 18 disabled children or selling all your belongings to go reach those who don't know Him in East Asia.  Radical is a heart stance.  It is the undivided love which looks at God and says, "yours.""


* This post by Kaitlyn Bouchillon over at It Just Takes One on Spiritual Warfare and When Everything Is Fine But You Aren't...
"Repeat what you believe not because you've stopped believing but because there is power in the name. He is light and darkness must flee. Whisper how much you love the Father, offer praise to His Son who was crucified and then raised to life, and gratefully ask the Holy Spirit to intercede when you have nothing left to give.

Go ahead - talk to the darkness. Tell it what you believe and feel free to mention how the battle has already been won. Jesus comes out victorious, so keep on whispering that name, friend."


* This post by Jennifer Dukes Lee talks about How to Make the Grandest Entrance...
"I put a hand on my new friend’s shoulder in that hotel lobby. We’ve spent the weekend at a retreat together. And it’s that time when everyone’s saying their goodbyes. People walk by, pulling wheeled suitcases behind them.

And she doesn’t flinch when I ask her some questions.

Her name is Sally. Her hair is pulled into this tousled ponytail. And she is wise beyond her years when she answers.

“My dad,” she says, and she pauses, while this wide smile stretches across her face like a sunrise. “It was about the way Dad walked into a room.”

Sally tells me more.

Her dad taught her that when you walk into a room, you never say, “Here I am!”

Instead, you say, “There you are!”



* This one by Ann Voskamp over at A Holy Experience on How Your Life Really Can Change (and what to do when change comes)... You can read it, or - BONUS - you can let Ann read it to you!
"He winks, shrugs his shoulders like it’s no big deal, like the weight of the world really can slip off your shoulders.

“So I changed my mind.”

And I etch that: Minds can change, kids can change, things can change, people can change, the world can change.

The unlikely happens, the unbelievable proves to be believable, and the unexpected turns around and brushes up against you and you remember your name, the hope in your DNA.

You remember: We get to change the world

* This one right HERE where I talk about how His Grace is like the tide, crashing into me...
"His Grace... His Love... His Tender Kindness... His Goodness... it crashes into me... washes over me... I can't stop it. I can't really run from it... if I want to walk on water, and I do, I must lean in and trust that the waves washing over will not overtake me... they will once again pull back out and leave me clean... refreshed..."


And of course... the video... because, of course! (Here is the clip of the above mentioned comedian... John Mulaney.) 

*Side note - this is in no way me endorsing drugs or alcohol... FYI (because, of course!)



So did you find any Awesome posts or articles that you read this week? Please share in the comments below!

July 25, 2014

Finish - FIve Minute Friday

I missed out on the twitter party last night, but I found myself saturated in His Presence while attending a local conference with my Honey and oh my goodness... He is the ultimate Gathering of Awesome, right? What He spoke to my heart? Well - no surprise, it fits in nicely with our one word prompt today!

Oh but - first - the fine print: if you don't know what FMF is!  Five Minute Fridays are hosted by Lisa Jo Baker.  It is open to anyone, so to learn more about it - and to jump in yourself (the more the merrier!) or just to find a linky to see what everyone is writing about today - click HERE!  The idea is to simply write... for Five Minutes flat... no editing, no deep thinking - or at least REthinking, no spell check - just write! Let it flow! We all write using a prompt that Lisa posts at 10pm Thursday night (EST.)  I'm loving the community of amazing bloggers and the creativity that flows from these magical Five Minutes!

So - here goes: Five Minute Friday - The Word Prompt is: FINISH

{GO}

So, I missed out last night over on Twitter with the Thursday night gathering of awesome... the flashmob of writers/encouragers who know how to write raw and real and live brave... or at least we are all learning, right?  I missed out on the fellowship - but this is what I was saturated in:


Worship. Powerful, lingering, waiting on His Presence (and oh my how He loves to show up and show off in that atmosphere!), hands lifted high, hearts laid low, bowing down and rising up, worship.  

And my, how it feeds my soul.  And my, how He is calling me back to this.  He is speaking to me through worship and through water.  

This is nothing new, really.  He always speaks to me while sitting seaside, toes in sand, breathing in deep.


 I feel tension leave, a refreshing spilling in and pouring out and it never fails... I walk away renewed.

I have written about here in this space - how we are Empty Nesters and how He is refusing to let me push right through that into what's next.  It seems there is an In Between and while it feels like there has been a bit of a death to a dream, He keeps reminding me:

You're not finished yet!

For the whole of my life, since I was 5... what I wanted most is to be a Mom. To stay home, to nurture, to raise up a life and I am blessed - BLESSED, I tell you - that I have been able to do that.  And yes, I know - we never stop being Mama's... it's a job never finished.  And yet - my days are wide open and while I can choose to fill them up with all kinds of good things, He is speaking to me about just being, once again.

Just sitting... quietly... waiting...

Not so much for an answer to a question, but for a refilling to an emptiness that I hadn't even really noticed was there.

And in the midst of worship last night... in between "Oceans" and singing of His Kingdom Come this is what my heart sang out:


Your Grace is like the tide,
crashing into me!



His Grace... His Love... His Tender Kindness... His Goodness... it crashes into me... washes over me... I can't stop it. I can't really run from it... if I want to walk on water, and I do, I must lean in and trust that the waves washing over will not overtake me... they will once again pull back out and leave me clean... refreshed... filled up to overflowing once again. 



A new day is dawning... a new season lies before us. Unfolding and unfurling and saturated in His grace. 

I am simply reminded that no matter what is going on in my life - in your life, friend - we are not finished yet!

Let's not try to rush it.  Let's walk along the water and sit by the sea... let the sun warm us and watch as the tide rolls in!


Let's let Him crash over us! 

{STOP}

I will be away next week, at the sea (well - not quite - but 'at the Sound' doesn't quite have the same ring to it!) but I hope to be 'here' because it will be Lisa-Jo's last week hosting Five Minute Friday and oh my goodness how I have fallen in love with her and this Community of writers who can't help but pour out words and love and sisterhood (brotherhood too, from time to time!)  The Five Minute Friday link-up will go on with a new host, Kate Motaung so we will continue to share and grow and support each other! But next week - well, I will attempt to be in two places at once because, Lisa-Jo! (Read: All the Feels!)





Five Minute Fridays gives us the chance to dive right in and share what He puts on our hearts! Click here to read what others have to say about "FINISH"  




July 21, 2014

Be Overwhelmed...


This is not your usual invitation, right?

I mean - who wants to be overwhelmed... who chooses that?

But here is the thing... Being Overwhelmed isn't always a negative thing!  The very definition of Overwhelm, according to Websters, is:
1 :  upset, overthrow
2 a :  to cover over completely :  submerge
b :  to overcome by superior force or numbers
c :  to overpower in thought or feeling




In this little mini-bloggy break, He is calling me back to worship... back to sitting silently in His Presence and waiting... back to being submerged in Him, covered... and who couldn't use a little more of being overpowered in our thoughts or feelings from time to time, right?

So this morning, as I rested in Him, this is what He said to me:
"Be Overwhelmed!  Be overwhelmed by My Goodness... by My Lovingkindness towards you... be overwhelmed by My Beauty!" 



He is an overwhelming flood...  As I listened to this worship song, I saw in my spirit a Waterfall... flowing over rocks - making the sharp places smooth, and falling over cliffs as if nothing could stop the flow... He, like the waterfall, rushes in and over and all around... and oh how I want that!

I felt Him whisper to my heart, "If you are going to be overwhelmed, choose Me!  Choose to be overwhelmed by Me... by My Presence, by the washing of the water of the Word, by My Power and Refreshing.  Be overwhelmed by all the lovingkindess and goodness and beauty that is all around you!"

So I invite you in. Join me! If you are going to be overwhelmed by something (or Someone) - let it be Him!   

Click this song, turn it up, and let it sink in... 

Alberto & Kimberly Rivera - "More"                                 

Here's to 'so much more'!


P.S.  I'm linking up with these lovely writers this week:

Jennifer Peterson for #NoWordsAreNeeded

Holly Barrett for #TestimonyTuesday

Jennifer Dukes Lee for #TellHisStory

Holley Gerth for #CoffeeforYourHeart





July 19, 2014

That Thing I Do Now - Vol 53 (+ Winners announced!)


I can't believe we had over 400 entries to win the Giveaways in celebration last week of our One Year Anniversary! (...turns out EVERYONE loves Books and Coffee, I guess!) 



Technically, I am still on a Summer/Semi-Bloggy Break but mostly that means I get to be the boss of me and I decide when I want to write and when I don't!  Well - that is sort of how it goes... mostly, really, I stop deciding and get back to letting God decide! We are still (re)learning this balance and most days I love the freedom and unplugged-ness of it all! But then there are the other days when I long for routine and the tapping out of words, forming thoughts, and bringing clarity and preaching to my own self here, in this space.  But I force myself to not sit in this chair on those days and I am remembering how He loves to just spend time with me... just to spend time! Not always with an agenda or something that needs to be shared and typed out!  

Still... you know I love to read All The Things... so here is a Gathering of Awesome, in case you too have been sitting in front of a screen a little less lately! (Oh how I hope you have!)

Happy Reading!
Enjoy! (Ya'll know to click on the authors' names to read their whole posts, yes?)

* This one by Barbie Swihart over at My Freshly Brewed Life on Journey To The High Places: The Invitation*...
"Going from the known to the unknown is often very frightening.  The idea of being changed though difficulty and danger can make us tremble. However, God promises that He will help us and that His Word will make the necessary provisions in our hearts so we can walk the way He chooses for us."

*Barbie is leading her readers through a book study of  Hinds Feet on High Places over at her place and so you are invited to re-read along or discover for the first time... she will be sharing what speaks to her as well as opening up some conversations! I highly (ahem) recommend this! 


* This one by Kelli Woodford over at Chronicles of Grace on Being Prayer...
"I believe I will sit here until the light becomes the dark. A little longer, maybe. And watch it all go by. Because is it ever okay to just practice the art of being? Not remembering, not focusing. No solving or communicating. Without decisions and free of plans. Words hushed, silent before the invitation

just to be."


This post by Logan Wolfram on the Dog Days of Summer...
"Mostly, I have had a zillion things to write about, but have given myself the freedom to just not.  Sometimes our “no’s” make way for more “yesses.”  And when I’m old and gray, I feel sure that the things I’ll remember most, are the yesses that I say to the people around me…" 


* This post by Jennie Allen on No More Dismissing Your Power...
"SO HOW DO WE USE POWER WELL?

It’s not about you. Whether it is feelings of inadequacy or a power trip- both shut down the building.

Take Initiative. Because we have been given much. Use your voice, resources, freedom, grace.

For Others. What are the needs you see? We are given power for the good of others."


* This post by Jen Hatmaker answers the question "Are You Taking My Message?" - A post from Rwanda...
"The correlation between poverty and lack of justice is astronomical – it shakes the foundations of human security, fostering abuse, fear, victimization, and despair.

But like the IJM team explained, no community need convict every crime to affect change. Engineer one, then four, then ten convictions, and you If predators begin to fear prosecution from their legal system as well abegin changing the equation of fear: Who will be afraid? The abused child? Or the perpetrator? If predators begin to fear prosecution from their legal system as well as outrage from their community (IJM educates churches, local leaders, healthcare workers, and parents toward this end), then justice for the oppressed is absolutely within our reach.

These victims will rise up to tell a better story."


* This post by Jennifer Dukes Lee At the End of a Long Week, A Bit of Encouragement For Brave Souls...
"Brave isn’t always about adrenaline rushes, or power trips, or life-defying leaps into the unknown.

Bravery isn’t about being fearless. It’s about being less controlled by your fear.



* This one right HERE where I join in with Lisa-Jo Baker and the Five Minute Friday crew, writing on "Bloom"...
"I loved how a simple change in perspective made us see these flowers differently. I had to prove to My Honey that there were from our garden.  They look so big... and so amazing, wrapped up in glorious morning light... standing up tall and giving praise.  It's a reminder that this is how He sees me... us... wild and free, and yet planted and in full bloom!   Let it be so, Lord!"


And of course... the video... because that's how we roll... now... now you can not hate it when this tune gets stuck in your head! (You're welcome!)


LAST BUT NOT LEAST...
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!!!

Our Giveaway Winners:

(1) $25.00 Amazon Gift Card:
Fruit Bearer

(1) $25.00 Amazon Gift Card:
Laurie Byrne

(1) $10.00 Starbucks Gift Card:
Kaitlyn Bouchillon

(1) $10.00 Starbucks Gift Card:
Jennifer Westrom Peterson

Congratulations to all of our Winners!
So did you find any Awesome posts or articles that you read this week? Please share in the comments below!


July 17, 2014

Bloom - A Five Minute Friday Post


I have been itching to write all day - but even more than that, I have been waiting for the #fmfparty to start! This Gathering of Awesome that happens first over on Twitter, and then all around the Blogosphere every Thursday night into Friday... it's just the best, ya'll!

Oh but - first - the fine print: if you don't know what FMF is!  Five Minute Fridays are hosted by Lisa Jo Baker.  It is open to anyone, so to learn more about it - and to jump in yourself (the more the merrier!) or just to find a linky to see what everyone is writing about today - click HERE!  The idea is to simply write... for Five Minutes flat... no editing, no deep thinking - or at least REthinking, no spell check - just write! Let it flow! We all write using a prompt that Lisa posts at 10pm Thursday night (EST.)  I'm loving the community of amazing bloggers and the creativity that flows from these magical Five Minutes!

So - here goes: Five Minute Friday - The Word Prompt is: BLOOM

{GO}

"Bloom Where You're Planted..."

This is the phrase that pops into my mind as I see the prompt tonight and I have to laugh because, of course... 


This is all part of the reason why He is calling me to step back and to slow down and to really pay attention to where it is, actually, that I am planted.  To fully be present in the wrapping up of one long wonderful, terrible, blessed season without rushing out and looking for somewhere new to bloom!

That has been my bent... my survival, maybe.  To clean things up all nice and tidy and move right along to whatever is next.

Some months days, in this last season... I felt like I was wild and unrooted... a wildflower blowing in the wind.  Only some could see the beauty that I unfurled... others couldn't get past it, holding onto a weed mentality and who among us hasn't fallen prey to that?

And yet in this midst of the hard season... the dry season... the season where no wind or rain would carry me... I leaned in.  I chose to trust anyway... I chose to seek and find beauty. Who could know where I would end up and what would happen.  All I had was Him to cling to and, as it turns out, He was is enough!

My Honey... he has taken to planting wildflower seeds in our Garden.  We love the surprises... the unexpected blessings and the way they feel wild and free, while being firmly planted and blooming among the planned for.


We are learning a sense of adventure and it starts in small spaces, with seeds recklessly flung into the wind... trusting that the One who is never reckless will carry them and water them and cause them to bloom wherever it is that HE desires to plant them!*

{STOP}

I snapped these two photo's last weekend on my iphone... a Challenge from an online class I am taking and I loved how a simple change in perspective made us see these flowers differently. I had to prove to My Honey that there were from our garden.  They look so big... and so amazing, wrapped up in glorious morning light... standing up tall and giving praise.  It's a reminder that this is how He sees me... us... wild and free, and yet planted and in full bloom!  

Let it be so, Lord! Let it be so!

I reached my Five Minutes at the "*" but wanted to share about the photo's used because they so tied in with my frame of mind and where my heart is resting these days! Resting in the fact that we are being called to be wild and free, and planted all the same!




Five Minute Fridays gives us the chance to dive right in and share what He puts on our hearts! Click here to read what others have to say about "BLOOM"  





* All photo's taken by me on my iphone... no filter... thanks to David Molnars' iphone only photography online course!

Blog Archive