August 31, 2013

That Thing I Do Now - Vol 8

Here we are... the 8th Edition of "That Thing I Do Now"... (Don't you love how I can't decide if it's an Edition or a Volume or an Issue... Hmm...well... anyway...)

Here is the 8th time - in a ROW, ya'll - that I am giving you ('the internet') a weekend recap of some of my favorite finds this week across the world wide web!

We'll just get right to it...

So - what exploded on the internet first thing this week were a LOT of posts about Miley Cyrus and the whole VMA performance... I loved what Annie Downs had to say about it and planned on listing it here... but then I found this post by Matt Walsh and I had to give you a 2 for 1... (and You're Welcome!)

* This post by Kelli Woodford over at Chronicles of Grace - where she tells her experience of a parade of Grace... may we follow this example!

* This one by Kristin Tanner where she invites us all to break our measuring sticks and stop comparing sins and trying to earn back grace!

* This post by Melissa Greene over at A Deeper Story, in which she explains what it really looks like when Love Does!

* This post by Brad Aronson about Acts of Kindness... he lists several (and I mean several) ideas on how to be a blessing

* So Much This: By Sarah Bessey over at Rachel Held Evans this week on the grace of good love.

* This post by Jen Hatmaker - well, because I think I already stated here that anytime she has a post - she will be on this list (maybe not EVERY time... but you get it... I have a little lady crush on her!)

* The piece from my own blog that attracted the most visitors is my #TellHisStory post, where I give a little update on my brother Jack and his battle against cancer.

Lastly - our Video pick of the week... grab a tissue... you just may need it! Fred saw a song writing contest and decided to enter a song for his wife... even though he doesn't sing - or play an instrument!

I hope you found each of these posts to be a blessing! I know I did!

Enjoy your (longer than usual Labor Day - for those in the States) weekend!  

Again, if you have any favorite finds from this week that I may have missed, please let me know in the comments below! Seriously... I need some new blogs... small blogs... hidden treasures to pick from! Share the wealth, people!

Happy Weekend!

August 29, 2013

Five Minute Friday - WORSHIP

I had been gone for two weeks in a row... two weeks of having to be somewhere ELSE other than here, on my computer, on a Thursday night? Normally - I log off or unplug for (most of) the night - but not on Thursdays nights! Oh no... missing a week from time to time happens... after all, I do live a real life - but two weeks in a row is a bad idea... and three weeks? That is just cray cray! So it was good to be back to the #fmfparty last night! Much needed - this weekly gathering of Awesome! So - let's get to the prompt.

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 one minute past midnight Friday morning (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 - Worship...



Music has a power that pulls on your soul... it can draw up and it can lead in and it can bring you right down to your knees - if you let it!

I remember reading a book years ago and the author stated something about how God's favorite part of our church services is the worship because it's really the only part that He gets anything out of! No one has ever preached a sermon that taught Him anything!  

But us - loving on Him... He loves that! 

He loves to hear our voices and our hearts poured out in worship!

Oh how He loves us! 

I am blessed with a hubby who leads worship... he enters in with the strum of his guitar and makes a way for any and all to enter with him.

Our house is filled with sounds of worship...
Music, sure... but Worship is so much more than that!

Worship is prayer and laughter and hope and joy...
worship is leaning in and trusting hard
- even in the midst of some doubts creeping in.
It is "I'm sorry" and "You shouldn't have!"
and it is all sorts of things... 
Ultimately, Worship is choosing... 

It is choosing Him... His ways, His heart, His perspective... it is giving up on our own - not always - but always when it is not what His may be for us!  It is intimate and holy and please, please, please don't reduce it to a portion of the service at church. If you do... if you are... you are only shorting yourself and I can assure you - He has a much better experience in mind for you.  He desires to meet you in your worship... to encounter you... to fill and heal and love you!

He is seeking for worshipers who worship Him in Spirit and in truth... and I don't know about you - but I am All In!


So - even though Worship is all of those things in addition to music - how could I not include one of my favorite worship songs...  even if you are familiar with it - I encourage you to sit back, click play, turn it up a bit, and enter in to worship for just a few moments... see how He comes right on in!

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 "WORSHIP"  
Five Minute Friday

August 28, 2013

GROW in His Word - Colossians 3:16

I am linking up with my sweet friend Vanessa over at Hearts on Guard (along with several other amazing bloggers) again this week for GROW in His Word.  The GROW Link Up is simple... we all have the same verse and we GROW (Greet, Read, Observe, & Write)... then we offer up a prayer.  Easy Peasy, right? We'd love to have you join in!

Our Scripture this week is found in Colossians...

"Let the word of Christ
dwell in you richly in all wisdom,
teaching and admonishing one another
in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing with grace in your hearts
to the Lord."

                                                     Col 3:16 NKJV

Yes... another very familiar portion of Scripture.  I love to read verses like this in other translations and given my romantic ways... I always fall for the poetic beauty of The Message... let's read it slow together, with a verse before and after... 

"Let the peace of Christ
keep you in tune with each other,
in step with each other.
None of this going off and doing your own thing.
And cultivate thankfulness.
Let the Word of Christ
—the Message—
have the run of the house.
Give it plenty of room in your lives.
Instruct and direct one another
using good common sense.
And sing, sing your hearts out to God!
Let every detail in your lives
—words, actions, whatever—
be done in the name of the Master, Jesus,
thanking God the Father every step of the way."

                                                                        Col 3:15-17 The Message

I know, right? #Swoon!!!

So for me... what stands out the most - is the community of this verse!  It's the 'with each other' and the 'one another' and the giving the Word the run of the house... it's the singing together and the 'every detail' - every action, word, 'whatever'... all gloriously lived out loud TOGETHER!  This is church, my friends! Whether it happens on Saturdays or Sundays - (it should happen on every day!)... it doesn't matter if it is scheduled in a sanctuary, over coffee, or tucking in at bedtime... we are in this together!

We hold each other up-- lift each other up... we keep each other accountable... we laugh and love and live close and real, right on through the good times and the bad. 

I am blessed and honored to have grown up with such friends who are like family and though we have all moved on to different churches and different zip codes... we gather together on a (somewhat) regular basis to catch up - to tune in and cheer on.  We are there to remind each other during those long dark seasons when we honestly begin to forget... We are there to celebrate victories, comfort through loss, bind up and wrap up and pull close... we are there to speak life... to be love... to shine on.  We have 'done church' in church, in parks, on patios at home and at restaurants...  We are iron sharpening iron. We are rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those who weep. We are decreeing and declaring and standing firm and tall on the promises of God.  We are bound... we are family... we are His.

...and every step of the way, we are thanking God the Father!

Father God,
We come to you today
and our hearts cry out for this...
that right here - where we are...
that You would bring us into Community.
That You would  guide us to discover
and sow into this kind of connection.
We pray Lord that the love of God will draw us to friends
and that the peace of Christ will keep us tuned in...
to each other, and to You!
Keep us safe and hold us close...
help us not to retreat or isolate...
or do our own thing.
Instead,  remind us that we are Yours,
first and foremost, and so even if we feel 
disconnected and lonely
we never are.
Not truly.
So when the pull is to feel that these lies are truth...
remind us to follow this verse and to cultivate thankfulness.
To list off the ways that we can trust You...
the times You have come through for us...
Remind us - show us - help us
to let the Word of Christ
'have the run of the house!'
We submit to You... 
every room in our heart belongs to You, Jesus
and we give you the keys.
We hold nothing back.
We give You room to move,
to show up and flow through...
we wait on You expectantly... 
and as we wait, Lord...
we sing out...
we give you praise
and make Your Name famous,
and we let You lead us
where you want us to go,
and all the way there,
we give You thanks,
every step of the way!

In Jesus' Name,

Linking up today with Vanessa over at Hearts On Guard

August 27, 2013

Behind the Scenes and Beneath the Surface...

Ah yes - Behind the Scenes, and Beneath the Surface... is this not how our God works at times?

How especially even when we can't see Him... feel Him... hear Him at times... He is still right beside us, right within us... working behind what we can see, and beneath what we know!

I shared a couple of months ago about my brother Jack and what we were facing... the battle at hand and the cry for prayers of agreement and protection and healing.  You can read that post HERE... (seriously... I will wait!)

I love something my friend Ashley wrote earlier this week in a post for SheLoves magazine... she said, "The unknown is not his unknown – only mine."  I felt So. Much. Yes. rise up when I read that... because this is exactly where we are right now! We are leaning in, relying on, trusting for the completion of the healing that has begun.

These photo's... they were taken before all of the family knew what war my sister and Jack had been waging... they didn't really know the battle scars that were not healing...

This is Jack... at a park, with our great niece... feeding ducks and playing and laughing and oh how you can catch a glimpse behind his eyes - of hope... Beyond the weariness... hope that one day... one day... he will do these things with his own grandchild...

The prognosis was bad... but the update is good...

God is at work and peace is reigning... and who among us - on any day - can't give thanks for that alone?

Jack had a mastectomy and they were saying bad words at him like 'cancer', 'stage 3', 'chemo & radiation' - they were not offering any hope... And as if that wasn't enough to overwhelm - the reality of a stressful job, a budget already stretched impossibly tight, and an average American family without insurance... the darkness tried to pull down hard.

But God...

Beneath the Surface, faith arises... How much faith is just stirred right up to the top when you hear those words?  Those words right there? Those are two of my favorite words!

I wrote in the other post about my sisters' marriage - of how amazing this man is and how connected and intertwined and gloriously one flesh they are.  They met young and fell hard and sought after finding God full on.  After a few years of searching... it all just kept going back to "What about Jesus?" and they found Him there - chasing after them.  It was really the power of the Cross... the finding a God who LOVES and sacrifices and Bleeds Out in our place that stunned them silent and won them over.

Completely.  They were all in with Him and they dug in deep to His Word... they are all about telling His story and they've been living it out loud for decades now.  They fully believe that they will continue to do so - for years to come!  They taught me of the holiness of breaking bread long before Bread and Wine was on my nightstand... and they have showed me first hand how to Speak Life... Be Love... and Shine On... consistently... day in and day out... for decades now!  (and I fully believe that they will continue to do so for years to come!)

They opted out of the options given them.  It was brave and scary and bold and freeing... some think thought it was not really any of those things and yet... Peace is Reigning and Healing is Unfolding and making itself at Home! They are doing natural things and taking a lesser known path... and it is making all the difference!

To learn more of what steps they are taking, and to know better how to pray, and to sow into helping them overcome (if you feel so led).. click here to Help Jack beat Cancer...

More than any gift you may be able to give, we covet your prayers... for they are being heard and held and answered...

Linking up today with:

Crystal Stine over at

and Jennifer Dukes Lee over at

August 26, 2013

Seizing the Last Days of Summer (Ann Voskamp Style)

As I read the words of Ann and how they can just right undo me every time, she encouraged us all to seize the last of summer... to drink it in, slow it down... to photograph it and instagram it..  and to count it full!

Yes - I am feeling it different this year... as August winds down and just speeds right into September - it's unfolding different.  No back to school shopping... no supplies or checks written (yet) for art class or sports expenses... no threat of returning to bedtimes or early mornings (yet)... my Only Girlie is nearly grown and attending college this Fall. So as Back to School starts around our small town this week... we seize the last of summer together, enjoying it a bit longer than usual...

And we count on...

#1506 - A Morning walk with my Girlie... beating the heat of August... climbing hills and working out, while dreaming dreams and talking long.

#1507 - Walking by Orchards... trees and trees, lined up with harvests of Apples hanging there... just waiting for the picking... with blue sky background!

#1508 - Sunrise making Mt Adams look Majestic in pink!
#1509 - Light filtered through giant trees along the path, providing shade with streaks of Glory raining down.
#1510 - Lamps in the Living Room that give just enough Light to make it warm and cozy... inviting and relaxed.
#1511 - Old Hymnals from the early 1900's, worn and torn, and still offering hope and history... love and legacy passed down.
#1512 - Forever friends who have known you through ALL of your phases - and loves you still!

3 Gifts Moving:
#1513 - Our plans moving right along for our trip to South Carolina in the Fall.
#1514 - My body - legs burning, climbing up an incline to crest the top - breathing in the reward of fresh air and gorgeous views of our valley.
#1515 - Moving stories/testimonies/blog posts that I read every week... Aslan is on the move!
#1516 - Happy Mail... and helping to make a difference!

#1518 - Trust being rebuilt... opportunities extended, grace and second chances all wrapped up in one.
#1519 - Fragile: Faith in the face of fear... Talking gently with a friend and boldly calling out walls erecting, and pushing and hiding... friendship that does Real and talks Long and keeps Accountable... that leans in and says what He says to say even when we don't know how it will be received!
#1520 - Tackling my Scrapbook/Art table that was piled high and hiding my work area!  (It's not done - but it's getting done - and I can see my creativity work space once again!)
#1522 - Jonah Boy - never knowing if he wants to be inside or outside... or inside

...or outside. (SO much like Sad Cat Diaries - and yes - we prop open the door for him!)

#1523 - Flowers in the Garden, clinging on to the last days of summer... insisting on blooming all the way through!

 #1524 - Sunsets sprawled out in Pastels and in Neon... lavender, peach and pink... painting the summer skies!

#1525 - My Nearly Grown Girlie and how she is growing and embracing change!
#1527 - The smell of Chicken on the Grill
#1528 - The Bright colorful fresh flavor of Bean Salad - refreshing and crisp on a summer day!

 #1530 - Evening walks with a friend!
#1532 - Bethel Worship station on Pandora while out on a walk!
#1533 - Finishing a great book (Daring Greatly by Brene Brown) and starting right on in to another (3)... (Bird by Bird by Ann Lamott,  Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey, and Prototype by Jonathan Martin)

#1534 - Seeing Benches (Thanks Emily Freeman) and "Y's" (Thanks Jennifer Dukes Lee) everywhere I go now!

(Benches represent offering a place to slow and sit and talk...

 ...and Y's represent Yahweh - and her Y-shaped scar!)

#1535 - Seeing the Beauty of Pink - just bursting right on through and out of the box... and oh how it spoke to me!

 ... and as much as we LOVE the sun and summer, the heat and water, the less Bossy lists and the  lazy(/ier) days... Fall is my absolute FAVORITE, ya'll! 

So as the morning air is just beginning to hint at being a little cooler, and the need for layers at night in this desert town rise up... I am looking forward to the warmth and coziness that Autumn brings!

What about you? What are you thankful for this past week? How have you seized and squeezed the last of summer into thankfulness? I'd love to hear!

I am linking up with Ann Voskamp at the Multitudes on Mondays

August 24, 2013

This Thing I Do Now - 7th Edition

This Thing I Do Now - 7th Edition...

This week was back to routine... at least our laid back 'summer routine'... mostly - It just means I was back home.  No more vacation or unplugged days away and still - I am sure I missed out on all sorts of Awesome!  Still - because, this is a Thing, and seems to be what I do now for you, my readers, here is a gathering of some of my favorite finds on the world wide web... in no particular order:

* This post by none other than Jen Hatmaker - a sequel of sorts... and let me tell ya - put down your coffee for just a moment while reading this... you'll thank me later! (I'd hate to have you spill and waste that morning coffee - or worse yet, have it come back OUT of your body through your nose!)

* This post by Jennifer Dukes Lee where she shares a prayer for Manic Mondays!

* This by Shauna Niequist on lessons learned that we can all gleam from!

* This by Ann Voskamp over at (in)courage on how to be a happier Mom.

* This post by my sweet friend Tonya where she reminds us that "We need generations of women who will rise up and live up to her name of Blessed..."

* This, by Holley Gerth, in which she again invites us to use our words to bless -or maybe not even use them at all!

* This post by Logan over at Allume - featuring a super fun Link Up for attendees of the conference in October in which we are invited to share warnings things that our roommates should know!  Even if you are not attending... it gives you a little insight into some of your favorite blogging friends!

* This Guest post by Patty Horstman over at Dispatches from a Good News Girl on Empty Rooms! (Oh my heart!)

* My own post of the week that attracted the most visitors is this one, where I join Logan above in the link up sharing 10 Random Things You Should Know About Me.

* Lastly - as this is how we end this Weekend Thing... here is your Video of the week... This by Jennie Allen on Unconditional Love... so much yes!

I hope you enjoy these posts as well... if you have any favorite finds from this week that I may have missed, please let me know in the comments below! (Seriously, ya'll... I need some new blogs... small blogs... hidden treasures to pick from! I mean - we can all rely on a favorite from Ann or Holley or Jennifer - but fill me in on some other bloggers that you enjoy reading!

August 23, 2013

10 Things You Should Know... for my Allume friends!

It's countdown time.

Allume is looming large in just 10 short weeks (Did you see what I did there?) and I suppose it is high time that I actually click the button and finalize my travel plans! (I do already have my conference ticket, and my hotel room... it's just locking in to how many days before or after that I keep struggling with! It just doesn't feel like enough time either way!)

Allume is hosting a link up today to share a bit of insider information to give a little warning insight to your roommates - whom many will be strangers.  Since I am rooming with my Honey, he should already know all about me and my quirks and how things really go... so I will open this post up to you, my fellow bloggers and Allume attendees... in hopes that we will meet face to face while at the conference!

So... 10 Random Things You Should Know... (but maybe already do?)

1.  I love coffee... as in Love. Coffee.

As in - before I consume it - things seem a bit fuzzy...

But after it has blessed my lips, things come into focus nicely! 

 I wouldn't say it's dangerous to talk with me beforehand, but chances are WAY better that I will maybe remember having talked to you if we just wait a minute for the caffeine to work its' magic!

OK - honestly - I love a little strong coffee with a lot of other flavor... so - around here, it's not really considered coffee per say... but still.  (I also love tea... and - I drink a lot of water... Actually I've been known to have two or three different beverages going at one time!)

2.  The pronunciation of my name is more like, say - you heard a song and it reminds you of the holidays and it sounds a little Christmas Carol-y... Yeah. That.  So, there ya go!

3. I LOVE to laugh... like, if I could get PAID for it - DREAM JOB!  I laugh every day.  I have a gift tendency to be a little sarcastic and dry... sometimes a bit under my breath in case someone may think it inappropriate.  My Honey makes me laugh every day... and our girlie is hysterical, ya'll!

                                                                        (She's my favorite!)

4. Oh - yeah... that.  I say ya'll as if I am southern.  In which I am not! Born and raised in this small town smack in the middle of Washington State.  I think I just love how laid back and inclusive it is! (Who doesn't love THAT?)

5. I am all about seeking His Presence and I feel Him or see Him working all around me.  I am all about prayer - so if you need it - I will speak it out loud with you and bring it straight to Him... I love to worship... that is one of the things I am most looking forward to about Allume.  What gets better than a gathering of worshipers, except maybe a gathering of worshipers who hunger and thirst to hear His heart and then share it with the internet? Yeah - off the charts (ya'll!) I am believing that He has plans to seriously meet us there when we lift our eyes, our hearts, our voices in one accord!

6. I try to eat healthy. In 2008, I lost 75 pounds in changing how I ate and finding a more consistent exercise routine.  I hit a plateau/wall in 2009 and for 3 years tried nearly everything from drastic 'dieting' to intense 'insane' workout routines...without losing an inch or pound! By the 4th year (last year) I sort of gave up and got discouraged. I regained about 20 pounds and am just recently back on track.  I've realized that whether I am able to lose weight or not, I feel so much better and I am healthier when I feed my body actual food and stay active.

Now - that said, all this talk of chocolate and cupcakes and goodies... well - I will be allowing myself to enjoy some of that while still attempting to maintain some resemblance of self control! (Which is one good reason, I suppose, that I don't have a 'real' roommate!  I'm pretty sure he will not be slipping me chocolate... then again this may explain why I may want to come and crash a few of your room parties!)

7. I am (in real life) a little shy! I know, I know... but it's true! Online I can be all bold and secure in who I really am but in real life, I tend to battle a little more with fear of man (or know, mostly woman!)  So - I wrote about my first experience at a writers conference HERE and how I plan on doing things differently this year at Allume! I want to get over myself and my own insecurities and boldly come right up and introduce myself.  That is my plan... but if you see me retreating and attempting to melt into the wall... come over- or send some extrovert you know - to come pull me back out!  I will say the benefit of online friendships, meeting in person, is that we already know that we adore each other - so that temptation is less entertained!

8. I am SUPER EXCITED about the Prayer Room (See #4) ...if you can't find me... I am probably there - praying and looking for someone to pray over! I love a party - but I thrive in the smaller gatherings of 2 or 3 when Real takes place and Hearts are laid open!

9. There is a long list of people I want to meet and hug (and I keep hearing talk of photo booths! #Swoon!) I am hoping to be all organized with a sparkly binder and have lists of bloggers/sisters that I am going to look for!  If you see me first - don't hesitate to come over! Chances are good you are on my list and I may not have seen you yet and I would hate to think that we didn't meet... I should just put it on out there (even if it invites pranks.. ahem) I am blind.  As in legally... without my contacts. Which - you will never see me without because... well - I had cataracts as a child and had to have them surgically removed as a teenager in order to save my sight. So - without contacts, - I am sleeping.  And that is all. #BlindAsABat #Truth #CokeBottleGlasses #ThatYouWillNEVERSee

& 10.  Oh yes... that.  I have a Smart(ish) phone (was hoping for an iphone before the conference!) and I LOVE me some Instagram and Twitter time. I #hashtag everything... even when I speak. #SorryNotSorry  #LetTheGamesBegin

What about you? Are you going to Allume? If so - what are some things I should know about you!
This weekend (I swear!) we are confirming flight plans and car rentals and then - THEN - it will feel real and I will put stuff in my Binder and ACTUALLY start making those lists that I speak of!

Linking up over at Allume today...

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