July 31, 2013

Things I learned in July (A Link up with Emily Freeman)

So - this is one of my favorite 'things' that Emily does, so when she opened up a Link Up last month to jump in and share what we all learned in June - I was in ...and so were many others and Oh My if those posts were not some of my very favorite reads in June!

So, here we are -a month later- and we're reviewing things that we have discovered or rediscovered... things we've learned or relearned in July! 

Here is my list of 12 Random Things that I learned in July:

1. I learned that maybe I should be keeping a running list of things I am learning through out the entire month (and not just the first few days!)  Honestly - how organized and over-the-top, on-top-of-it would that be?  I had plans of doing just that... I did!  See? 

I didn't get much past 2 or 3... but still?

2. My new favorite word is "Ridiculous" used as "awesome"... (also, "Hilarious" - when spoken with a slight British accent... as used in The Holiday.)

3. Stress has the power to undo us and can partner with fear and it can make us downright sick.  (OK - this one I suppose was more of a RElearning... thankfully I am not a super stressed out person... and our home and family is fairly chill.  Our Girlie got a job promotion but the stress of the new responsibilities were causing her some serious (seeming) issues! Thankfully - she is, for the most part, settled in to it and doing better!  As a bonus, we found out today that all of her blood work came back perfect!

4. Strawberry Lemonade...  If you take Simply Lemonade and add freshly sliced Strawberries (and who knows... maybe just a splash of tequila) you may just have a little Summer, served up in a fancy glass!

5. Some shoes are just plain mean... Even though you can buy the same size, style, and brand of running shoes that you always wear, that doesn't mean that they will like you or be kind to your feet.  (Blisters on blisters... Ouchie!)  In an attempt to get even... I bought ANOTHER pair, in a different brand, and size and style... and still... sadly - I am featured in moleskin and BandAids. (I'll spare you any photo's!)

6. A Day Trip with my Honey on a summer day is always ALWAYS a great idea!  We took a quick trip to a small town nearby and meandered through their Farmer's Market... walked around a local park with an Aviary... and a little park down by the river... just a warm sunny slow outing! Time to drive and talk and just enjoy some unplanned, unscheduled alone time! So nice!

7.   I learned how to add Social Media Buttons to my blog... (oooh and aaaah... everyone, join in with me!)  I also learned that apparently there are a lot of updates and things I have been doing wrong around here so....

8.  I also learned how to make PAGES, ya'll!  Easier than I thought - but choosing content for each page was more time consuming than I had planned and I suspect that I will be tweaking it pretty much from here on out!

9.   I (re)learned that I LOVE Skype... and I had the pleasure of chatting online with a sweet friend and fellow blogger for a couple of hours.  We just couldn't see waiting for #Allume... so we didn't (which sparked a larger HangOut on Google with some other bloggers too!) God love the internet!

10.  Apparently I do this one thing when I'm upset...  whenever I am trying to edit myself before I speak... or hold my tongue (/opinion)... I do this 'thing' with my jaw.  My Girlie has been calling me out on it All. Month. Long!  So - in other words... I have a 'tell'?  Sigh... so, now there is that! (Great.)

11.  My Girlie & I... we are stellar Marathoners.  Like - we do it like it's our JOB!  Now - by Marathon, I am not talking running (ahem... see #5 above!) - Oh no... I am talking Back to Back, Season after Season, intense dedicated Netflix watching!  If only we could get PAID for this!  Right now - our love is West Wing... we are seriously LOVING West Wing!

12.  I {heart} Sara Bareilles... I know, I know... sure... I think the girl swears like a sailor and some may have issues with some of her songs, but the girl can sing and I LOVE her voice and her wit in writing lyrics and I have known that her newest album (do we still call them that?) was coming out now for months - and yet I still somehow do not own it?  I'm old school for some things and while I LOVE a good download... I want to hold her CD in my hands.  So - I have waited... (and instead of buying her CD this week, or last week - I have yet again, purchased BOOKS?)  Soon... very soon... I will be driving somewhere warm, with my sun roof open, and I will be blasting this song:

So what about you?  What have you learned in July? 
I am Linking up with Emily over here:

 Join us!

Speak Life. Be Love. Shine On.

When a Dream is a Nightmare...

So... you know when things are going along great and there is really nothing to worry about and life seems to be all back on track and God is good and Dreams are coming true and restoration feels complete for the most part?  Things feel cozy and peaceful and dare I say comfy?

Then, ya know how you - who never remember dreams anyway - wake up quick, breath short, in a cold sweat, pulse racing around blind corners... nightmare freshly rolling around in your head and looking for an opening right back into your heart to stir up fear and doubt and accusation?

Yeah... I hate that!

I'm not really into that...

I don't wanna play that game.

(As my girlie would say, "I'm over it!")

My day unfolds and I am faced with the challenge to pay attention to it... to relive the nightmare and give it place... or to dismiss it all together and just move on.  

A little reading... a little coffee (which always always helps!)... a little listening leads me to a different kind of remembering... 

He leads me to remember all that He has done.  He reminds me to go back to those days where dreams died and promises were broken... where hearts were bleeding out and what we all thought we knew was shaking... where we found ourselves in a heap, all piled up at midnight on the kitchen floor...

...and in all of that brokenness and grasping for Truth... He grabbed hold of each of us and held on for the ride.  

He reminded me that through it all - He was in the midst of it all... making us stronger... giving us a storyline we would have not chosen - and yet through it - we are redeemed, and He is glorified and the story of redemption is now - yet again - unfolding in our lives.

He reminded me that even in the darkest hours... in the chill of winter, or the heat of summer... in all of it - His promises remain... and it's our choice to look for the signs... to count the gifts... to see Him there - right beside us, all along!

And isn't the enemy just crafty enough to not always be all over the top... revealing his hand. Oh - he goes too far and we can be on to him right from the start, but sometimes... sometimes he just comes in with a whisper... a doubt... a nightmare that feels like so much truth... that feels just oh so familiar.  It takes just a seed... and we water it with our thoughts and watch it grow wild and fierce, and we wonder how it happened!

It can feel out of our hands, beyond our control... and yet - when we remember to take every thought captive... to be the boss of our own thinking... our own wandering... and we remember to slow down, breathe in, and count gifts... when we surrender it all to Him, and trust that He's All In with us, when we remember that no matter what 'it' is, it's gonna be worth it. Then we can exhale the worries and fear, and enter into His rest.

So today... this day... I silence the whisperings and choose to trust.  I take back the power and I worship my way out of the downward spiral... and with my whole heart... I sing out...
It's gonna be worth it all! 

Join in with me, won't you?
 Feel the truth of these words:

What about you?  How do you handle thoughts
or nightmares that come at you hard,
and stir up fear and doubt?

How can I be praying for you?

Speak Life. Be Love. Shine On.

July 29, 2013

Counting Gifts like Jazz, Breezy Sunshine, & Love

It's become a tradition... an annual get away... a gathering of friends and food and music and a forcing ourselves to just Slow It Down and Drink It In and Be Present... to Listen - really listen - to the music... to hear the notes and the harmony and nod our heads in agreement and truly appreciate the time and talent on display before us.

(Insert super fun Jazz festival photo's here... for some reason - I can't upload tonight!)

Now - I must say up front... my Honey is the musician... he is the guitar player and Jazz enthusiast and the half of our One Flesh that can pick out the notes and follow along with the chording.  I, on the other hand, am a Word girl! (Shocker, I know!)  So while I have learned to appreciate the music alone... I do prefer a lyric to jump right on in from time to time!

Every July we are blessed with an incredible Jazz festival in a nearby town. We started going years ago, and at first it was hit and miss and we would just drive over for the day.  But over time, we have learned to make a weekend out of it every year and we now go with the same two couples and we laugh and visit and eat and drink and rest... we sit for hours outside under a canopy that lets the breeze blow in soft and the sun filter in through shadows and we listen.  We listen to the music.. sure.  But we also listen to each other... we slow it down - all the rushing and bossy lists and running around - and we take the time to listen... to hear.  We reconnect - to each other, to ourselves, to our God.

It is a sacred rejuvenating... filled with fun and feasting and refreshing... and I could go on and on - but I think I will write more about food and community with these precious friends for the Bloom link up on this coming Friday - so I don't want to get too carried away with it here... but this year?
This year, I brought my camera and while I forgot to capture any photo's of my actual people... I did remember to count gifts all along the way!

#1401 - (A Gift Understated) The Steadiness of My Honey...
His Consistency is amazing!

#1403 - (A Gift High) Clouds, all wind-blown, & spread out across a summer sky
...reflecting His Majesty!

#1404 - (A Gift Low) The Glory of the Hiddens at low-tide...

#1405 - (A Gift Far Away) Friends who are
Close at Heart... but not at Hand!

#1410 - (A Gift Fresh) Fresh cut flowers from our little garden,
displayed in wine glasses in the living room...
My Honey cuts them and makes these mini bouquets
for me every week in the summertime!

#1412 - (A Gift on Vacation) Sightseeing, hand in hand,
meandering down streets unknown, drinking it all in!

#1414 - (A Gift in Relaxation) Sun soaking into skin, warming & tanning slow...
sipping something refreshing, with music gently carrying across a breeze...
ahh - the bliss of summer!

#1417 - (A Gift of Beginning) Friday afternoons... with a full weekend still just ahead!

#1418 - (A Gift of Together) Nutella & Bananas... yes please!

#1419 - Pandora Ap on my Bethel station, headphones plugged in,
ready to accompany me on my morning walk!

#1420 - Driving our of town with My Honey... the car packed & tank full...
The road open & the weekend unfolding slow and easy!

#1422 - The text at 6am from our girlie while we are out of town...
up and ready for work on her own after a wild and crazy night
having the house all to herself!
(She got off work, ate dinner
& then napped until bedtime!
She's a wild one...
that girlie of mine!)

And the list goes on...
Speak Life.  Be Love.  Shine On.

Linking up today with Ann Voskamp and the Multitudes on Mondays:

July 26, 2013

Yet Another Weekend Recap... I know, right?

So - not like I am bragging or anything... but I am writing this blog on Friday... yep - as if I planned to do it all along!  Still... don't get your hopes up... I'm not ready to say that this is a "Thing".

This week was full of learning new tricks (like adding pages and media buttons right here on this blog!) and lots of creativity - in non-writing sort of ways!  But I tend to make room for reading all sorts of Awesome... so here are a few of my favorites finds: 

This post by Emily Freeman... on what it really means to do less and to be more!

This one by Lisa-Jo Baker... (the one that broke her blog!) on what love really looks like!

Jennifer Dukes Lee posted this one that made me cry... and want to write letters to my girlie!

This one by my friend Tonya over at Stone to Heart where she talks about Mary Magdalene and it just pulls me right in to listen for Him to say my name!

This one by Sarah Bessey that made me go on out and climb my own metaphor... well - ok - it was more like a really steep hill... but it was really steep - and it was triple digits and I pushed through anyway... because - well - because who doesn't want to be just like Sarah?

My friend Rebekah from Three Bees in a Blue Bonnet with her first ever Guest Post - linking up with Bloom! Go Big or Go Home! So Proud of her!

This one from Jaime the Very Worst Missionary on playing it cool in SE Asia... and an invitation to jump right on in and make a difference!

The post from my own blog that has gotten the most traffic this week has been a piece I wrote for Embracing Grace where I am a Contributing Writer.  Here - I write about the importance of living real... of letting down our masks!

I am liking  throwing in a video in the wrap up... so, again  - if this ever DOES turn into a 'Thing'... we're just gonna keep at it! 

Lastly, this week, for your viewing pleasure - check out Jeff Goins new book promo... (Warning - you're gonna want to get it!)


I pray these posts bless you as they did me!
Enjoy your weekend...

Speak Life. Be Love. Shine On.


July 25, 2013

Five Minute Friday - BROKEN

I missed out on the Twitter (turned fb) party tonight... I so love this gathering, but I had an opportunity to attend a conference in town that creates for me an atmosphere of Heaven that I cannot pass up!  So while I missed being with the Awesomeness of #fmfparty... I was entering in to His Presence with a couple hundred friends - listening to Him remind us of who we (really) are... of how He doesn't see us as Broken...

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 -BROKEN...


For so many of my years... I was afraid to fail.  Afraid to try... afraid to be Broken.

It's only been recently that He has stirred me up and called me to Lean In... to Embrace Change... to look for ways to Take Risk... invited me to Dream again...

When I saw the word prompt tonight... my thoughts immediately went to some photographs I snapped while in Redding, CA - capturing some of His creation...

These beautiful butterflies...

 they were breathtaking...



...and then... there was this one:

This one - more than any of the others... captured my attention!

It reminded me of that old Martina McBride song, "Broken Wing"... the chorus ringing loudly through my mind... "And with a broken wing, she still sings.  She keeps an eye on the sky.  With a broken wing, she carries her dreams. Man you ought to see her fly."

How often do we get wounded... or fear getting wounded... and just shut down, thinking it is over?  Sometimes, it is just the mere thought of it that causes us to shelve our Dreams and settle ourselves into no more flying.  Even when we are more than able... we believe a lie, and give up hope.

But there is such Beauty in Brokenness - such Grace to see this one fly, from flower to flower... amidst the others... uninhibited... unstoppable - keeping an eye on the sky.  Can't this be us, my friend?  Can't we - in all our Brokenness and Failings... be Beautiful - not in spite of - but BECAUSE OF?

I so want to Lean In... to take Risk and to remember that even if I fall... if I fail... He never sees me as Broken... He sees me as HIS OWN... as His Beloved... and Man - He LOVES to see me fly!


Inching up to the Edge... Dreaming Big (God-Sized Dreams)... and feeling ready to fly!
What about you?  Where do you feel your Dreams taking you lately?  I'd love to hear!

Speak Life, Be Love, Shine On!

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 "BROKEN"  

Five Minute Friday

July 23, 2013

Let's Embrace Grace and Let Go of Comparison

Is it just me, or do you sometimes fight the feelings that everyone else has it all... well - at least it appears that way... and it can feel like they at least have it all together!  With Pinterest and social media statuses and updates and the rush of busy lives... we can get glimpses and build an illusion around what we think someone's life is really like... but so often, we don't see the Real.

What I am learning is that when we are bold enough to risk being seen... REALLY being seen... we live more authentic lives and find that not one of us is perfect.  Not one of us lives without insecurity or doubts...

I am over at Embracing Grace today, writing about how I think we need to risk being vulnerable in order to be real and where I share what the benefits are!

I hope you'll join me!

Speak Life. Be Love. Shine On.

July 22, 2013

Forcing a Slow Down... embracing Summer

Life has thrown at us fast and furious in the past year...

We - who love a slower pace and to chill out and just keep it real.

We kept pace and finished strong
and held on to each other and on to His grace...
and now, Summertime has arrived
and in all her glory, slowly unfurled before us!

I am a Fall Girl... I LOVE Autumn...
I wrote an entire 31 Days series on it...
but oh how I am always ready for the
Slow Down of summer when she finally arrives!

How is it that it can seem like she takes her own sweet time in coming...
but if you blink, she is half gone already!

This summer is unique and we will never have another one like it.  Our Only is feeling like this is it - her last real summer... She is in between high school and college... making plans and working nearly full time - but clinging to what has been, for the whole of her life, 'normal' summer: sleeping in, cuddling close, movies and parks and playing in water... soaking in the sun and the laughter, making memories wherever she can.  I can see her determination - just a look in her eyes, when I glimpse over and can feel her Slowing Down Time... to drink this in.

I love that she knows that she can do that! That when life is coming fast and lists get bossy and you can start to feel overwhelmed... I love that she knows that she can do that!  Just breathe it all in slow... look around and within and really SEE... and exhale out the worry and the rush... I hear her whispering under her breath, counting on... giving thanks... and I know...

I know everything's gonna be alright!

After all - not one of us really knows what tomorrow holds.  It can feel like a lot of pressure to figure it all out - but when we slow down time... lean in to Him and trust... we can feel ourselves remembering that He's got this... even when we aren't sure what 'this' is!  So we are breathing in slow, and partaking in all the Summertime that our community offers...

Friday night concerts - indoors and outdoors, all over town... Thursday night Downtown Market, Sunday Farmer's Market & Sunday night movies in the park... Lavender Fields and Orchards all around... We are counting gifts... 1000 and more... and embracing Summer while she lingers here!

Here are some of my gifts...

#1370 - Fresh Berries - ALL the TIME!
#1371 - My Honey, working out with me at 9:30pm to Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred!
#1372 - Tonya, Amy, Rebekah, Nikki, Kim, Jennifer, ...+ so many others... Online friends who are Oh So Supportive!
#1374 - Breakfast Cookies (Healthy and so good!)
#1376 - The Summer Nights Movie in the Park Kick off... a snuggly family, watching a movie on the outside wall of the theater, popcorn and red vines, stars twinkling, and Community happening all around us!
#1380 - Music in the Park (different park... different night!) - again, a free Community event filled with lawn chairs and blankets, picnic baskets and ice cream cones... dancing and relaxing, and listening to local talent!
#1381 - Learning how to make Mango Curry Chicken (from Bread and Wine) - Delish!
#1382 - I am learning to just roll with it more and more!  I'm learning that some of the BEST days are the spur-of-the-moment, let's-go-do-something, unplanned days!
#1383 - (Still learning this one:) How to type withOUT a keypad on my phone!
#1384 - My Honey... worshiping on his guitar... inviting the Spirit of God to enter in... drawing our hearts to His.
#1387 - My Girlie being brave - her first time giving blood.
#1390 - Chilling with friends at the Thursday Market... listening to live music, eating street food (Gyro's - Oh My!), then walking over to Cafe Vittori's for a latte and coffee talk!
#1394 - The front patio in the summertime - early morning, bathed in sunlight, filtering through the black walnut tree, dancing on garden, skin, and pages.
#1395 - Dark Chocolate Red Wine Truffles from Brights (Walla Walla) - Divine!
#1396 - Our shadows... my Honeys' and mine - growing tall in the evening setting sun, on a stroll in the summertime - holding hands... connecting and reconnected over a slow steady walk... Bliss!
#1399 - A Wide Open Saturday!

Linking with Ann and Multitudes on Mondays...

July 21, 2013

The Exquisite Fragrance of Christ

Happy Sunday!

I couldn't help but think of the verse below last weekend, as we strolled through fields of lavender and breathed in that intoxicating scent... and I wondered, "What do people smell... what lingers after I leave the room?" 

Lord - let it be the fragrance of Christ...

“I got it, thank God!
 In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade. Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life. But those on the way to destruction treat us more like the stench from a rotting corpse.
This is a terrific responsibility.

Is anyone competent to take it on? No—but at least we don’t take God’s Word, water it down, and then take it to the streets to sell it cheap. We stand in Christ’s presence when we speak; God looks us in the face. We get what we say straight from God and say it as honestly as we can.”

                                                                2 Cor 2:14-17 The Message Bible

Let what lingers behind me when I leave a room... when I walk away from a conversation, be a sweet sweet smell that has undertones of grace and joy, but is dripping over the top with love!  This is a 'terrific responsibility' - but let's not make it harder than it is supposed to be!  

Out of our time and intimacy with Him, He flows and no matter what I dab on my wrists and neck before I leave the house - the essence of what I want people to notice is not a brand name perfume - but that when I walked by... they catch the scent of Jesus!

I pray the same for you!

Speak Life. Be Love. Shine On.


I am linking up with sweet Barbie over at The Weekend Brew today

July 19, 2013

The Weekend Recap... A Few of my Favorite links!

I know, right? Don't be shocked... as I eluded to last weekend - I am not so good at picking Favorites and I also mentioned that I was making no promises that this little Weekend Update of sorts would ever really turn into a Thing... at least not a consistent every-Saturday-sort of thing... and yet, here I am again?  

This week was super busy with out of the norm' things on our schedule (like doctors appointments and having blood drawn... and more funner things too - like swimming in a friends' pool and hitting a midweek concert/farmers market downtown!)  Still... I managed to read quite a few things in the Blogosphere... and here is a sampling of things I loved this week:

This post by Holley Gerth... on why you don't have to hurry...(hint - because God is not in a rush! Don't you just LOVE that?)

This one by Ann Voskamp (as if I can pick just one)... where she speaks up on how we live after the Verdict is in!

This from my sweet friend Kelly Mahalak... To Mom's - Full of Grace!

This by Shelly Miller... where she writes about her sweet grandmother and learning how to make a pie... this was featured on the Bloom Book Club site, as we read through Bread and Wine by Shauna Neiquist (which - by the way - I HIGHLY recommend!)

Also featured this week as a Guest on Bloom Book Club, the incredible Alia Joy of Narrow Path to Higher Places... in which she - in usual fashion - gets all poetic and soul stirring and honest and breathtaking... on Fasting and Feasting!

This one by my friend Vanessa (from Hearts on Guard) over at Barbie's this week... on the importance of Bible Study (with a future link up for August that you'll want to partake in!)

Here is my most popular piece of the week from my own blog... this post has gotten the most traffic this week and I am so thankful to Vanessa (mentioned above) because, thanks to her friendship - I was able to pray and rewrite this into what I feel it was supposed to be... the post in which I wrote about learning the Art of Balancing Life...

I sort of liked that I threw in an audible (of sorts)last week to wrap it up... so, ya know  - if this ever DOES turn into a 'Thing'... let's keep at it... 

Lastly, this week, for your listening pleasure... I saw Donald Miller link to the new video for "Inland" - the title track from the new Jars of Clay CD & I love this new song... 


I pray these posts bless you as they did me!
Enjoy your weekend...

Speak Life. Be Love. Shine On.

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