December 31, 2014

The Blog Review - 2014 edition

Happy New Years' Eve, ya'll!

I started doing this Year in Review a couple of years ago and I love it because it makes me look back through the blog and see which posts either got the most traffic or stirred up the most conversation in the Comment section!  

Last year, regarding New Years' Eve, I asked you this:
"Are you doing anything fun to celebrate? We used to be fun...  we used to have friends and do stuff... then we had littles and our group of friends would gather and ring in the midnight hour together with games and food and all the kids in their jammies.  But slowly over the years, we have gotten less exciting! We talk of hosting a dinner party with suits and fancy dresses and appetizers and such - but really... the thought alone makes us tired and I don't even have a Pinterest Board made for it yet... so there is that?"
Yeah... there is still that!  I still thought of this kind of party this year... and it still made me tired! My Honey had a 'big' birthday and we surprised him with a oober casual gathering just a few days ago - so that was our big celebration - sans fancy anything!

This year, I will simply share the post that got the most traffic and the post(s) that got ya'll talking the most. I know we are all busy and so you may not want to go and read all of them... I'll pull out a quote that gives you a glimpse of what the post is about, so you can pick and choose what to (re)read, if you so desire!  

Let's get started:

December 29, 2014

How Vision brought Clarity (-ish) this year, and my OneWord365 for 2015

For the last several years, I have joined in with the growing Movement of picking one little word... or actually, of allowing one little word come and pick me! It's not that I don't still entertain the idea of a few New Years' Resolutions... (You know the ones: eating healthier, working out, career success, being better...) Yes, I am all for that. The thing is, I want to make changes - to allow changes to come all year long and not just fade away by mid-January -February! What I love about OneWord365 is how by simply inviting one word into your life... it opens you up to find it all year long.

As the OneWord365 website says, "Forget New Year's Resolutions.  Scrap that long list of goals you won't remember three weeks from now anyway.  Choose just one word.  One word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live.  One word that you can focus on every day, all year long."

My OneWord365 for 2014 was "Vision" and in some ways it brought with it more clarity... a clearer vision of who I am and how I am gifted and what I'm we are called to do with it all.  In other ways, our Vision was tested, both physically and spiritually. I wrote a bit about it here and here. 

In looking back over 2014, I see how Vision showed up for me personally in giving me Hope for a future that is still yet unknown, as well as Grace for the times when it feels like my vision is lacking. 

December 27, 2014

That Thing I Do Now - Vol 76

So - in light of how this is smack dab in the middle of Christmas and New Years - this is a lighter edition... because, really - even if you aren't quite wanting to anymore, you probably have family to hang out with this weekend! 

Featured today are posts by Deidra Riggs, Aliza Latta, Jon Acuff, Colleen Mitchell, my guest post over at Jennifer Lee's, a post from right here... and - of course - a video!

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

December 23, 2014

Tis the Season to take Him at His Word... You are Enough!

It's been nine months.  Nine months since I first read Love Idol and heard the call to lay down Self-Doubt.

In nine months, I should have birthed something.

After nine months of laying idols down left and right, there really should be some sort of new life to show for it!  I would be less than honest if I told you that I was nailing this idol-free life every day.

I am not.

I am over at my friend Jennifer Dukes Lee's place today, inviting you to lean in and remember that in this 'Tis the season frenzy, you are already Enough! 

Slow... Breathe... believe this:

You are #Preapproved!

Click HERE to Join me and read the rest!

December 22, 2014

When Holiday Cheer Is Lacking But You Don't Want To Just Be Going Through The Motions

Last week at church during worship, I had a vision.

It's one I have 'seen' before years ago but this time, there was a bit more to the end of it. The first time I experienced this, I didn't know what I was seeing, but this time I recognized Isaiah 52 right away!

I can't recall what we were singing or how long this lasted, but as I worshipped with my hands raised high and my heart bowed low, I was saying the lyrics while singing a different song.

It's one filled with, "How Long"s and "Come Quickly!"

In this weary world... oh how we need a Savior!

December 20, 2014

That Thing I Do Now - Vol 75

It's countdown time... Christmas is ever coming closer and I pray that in the midst of this weary world, you have found a little rejoicing!  It's not easy, ya'll - with everything going on in this world... but this is why He came... because we are so very desperate for some Saving!

In the mix this week you will find some non-Christmasy posts, as well as some Advent/Christmas posts that are all about keepin' it real, ya'll!

Featured today are posts by Colleen Mitchell, Michelle DeRusha, Lisa-Jo Baker, Addie Zierman, Emily Freeman, Kelly Balarie, a post from right here... and - of course - a video!

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

December 18, 2014

ADORE - Five Minute Friday

Tonight I set myself up in a sweet spot... new laptop fully charged and opened to tabs to party it up with #fmfparty over on Twitter, while Netflix Marathoning Gilmore Girls like a Boss with Tonya via Voxer... I know... Don't be jealous! This is the life of an Empty Nester!

This is our last Five Minute Friday of 2014 and while we love hanging out together on Twitter and over at Kate's, we also love to hang out with our inrl people and celebrate the holidays!  We'll be back in 2015! Until then, here is our last Word Prompt of the year: ADORE


I know... Tis the Season and Come Let Us Adore Him... of course.  Let's.  It's not like Christmas and Jesus' birth, and all things Adventy didn't come to mind right away at the revealing of the prompt... but then there is this:

December 17, 2014

Why I Love a Flash Mob... and why you probably do, too!

It's true! I love a flash mob! I mean as in, stop everything and watch it unfold while I am somehow undone.

Every. Single. Time.

It could be a breakout into song and/or dance, a marriage proposal, or a joke or ...anything.

Webster's defines Flash Mob like this:
FLASH MOB:  a group of people summoned (as by e-mail or text message) to a designated location at a specified time to perform an indicated action before dispersing
This is the first Flash Mob I remember seeing falling in love with! (Because, really... who doesn't love lunch - and hello? Fun!)

There is something about a Flash Mob that just right undoes me.

December 15, 2014

Do You Hear What I Hear - (For the Love of Christmas Songs but ya'll know how I am with picking Favorites!)

We hear it all around us... long before Pandora or Spotify or even entire radio stations were dedicated to them 24/7, this is the time of year that we are engulfed in Christmas music! It's in the stores, on the radios, playing at parties... it seems there is just no escape from it!

I know for some - it is almost like torture... but for this girl? I LOVE me some Christmas songs!

I am a firm believer that one can not have too many Christmas CDs... my Honey, however, is not so - um, festive! He thinks my stack of holiday CDs is towering high enough and yet - he loves me and listens gladly (?) to all my beloved songs from December 1st through December 25th. (No -ish involved.)

December 13, 2014

That Thing I Do Now - Volume 74

Hey Ya'll!  How are you doing in the midst of Advent? In the midst of this Christmas season... in the midst of this weary world? Are you finding ways and reasons to rejoice?

I pray you are... I pray in the midst of the busy and the bossy, that you are finding moments to simply BE... 

Featured today are posts by Lisa Jo Baker, Jessica Leigh Hoover, Sarah Bessey, Becca Stevens, Asheritah Ciuciu, Sarah Jo Burch, a post from right here... and - of course - a video!

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

December 12, 2014

Prepare - A Five Minute Friday post

Last night I had plans to be gone... a Christmas party, complete with food and drinks and karaoke.  Yeah, if you know me at all, you know that you'd have lost me at karaoke. I love music - but I have mercy and know that I am not, um, 'gifted' like that! Blend in in a group - sure... find a way to somewhat harmonize, OK... but it would take a LOT of drinks to make me think this would be a fun way to spend the evening with strangers.  Oh - we went last year and didn't participate... it was fun to watch for awhile, but then the other guests started to notice that we were not playing along!  We had already discussed how we would probably sneak out a little earlier this year, but my Honey was tired from a long week at work and had a few other things on his mind to accomplish so we skipped it and stayed in. Still, I stayed 'unplugged' and didn't party it up for #fmfparty. I hate to miss it because it is always so much fun!  Anyway - this morning, here I sit... ready to write, so let's get to it:

Our Word Prompt is: PREPARE


Prepare... oh yes, we are all quite familiar with this word --especially during this time of year! There is a LOT that needs attention... an unusual amount of Bossy Lists, errands to run, gifts to buy... there are just a lot of preparations that need to get done! 

And yet...

I wrote about it awhile ago --about how more than anything else, what we really need is to prepare Him room... 

December 11, 2014

When You Brave the Cold and Show Up!

"Tradition, tradition! Tradition!" 

Sing it with me! Wait - what? No? (No Fiddler on the Roof fans here? Moving on...)

Well - we have an Only Girlie and she is a huge - no, I don't think you understand... HUGE - fan of Tradition!  She likes things to go the way they have always gone and she is only now beginning to see Change as anything less than the enemy.  

We have lived through a few rough seasons... gone through some things that tested and tried Traditions and we chose to lean in and cuddle up... to hold each other through it. In the getting through it parts, some Traditions felt numb... others needed to stay up until April... or June... whatever.  I wrote about how our See-Through Christmas Tree stayed up during a time when we found ourselves clinging to comfort and needing stability and twinkling lights, and while we are stronger closer because of that time - we are happy to be on the other side of it!

December 9, 2014

Rejoice! Rejoice! (A Christmas Giveaway!)

I know, right?  Who doesn't love a Giveaway... but a CHRISTMAS Giveaway?  Well, come on!

If you are like me, then reading yesterdays' post about being ahead of the curve with a self imposed deadline and being almost done with all things Christmasy was just a fun little confirmation to just keep on being you!

If, however, you are not like me, and you are behind on all things Christmasy... well - Good news! I am feeling rather Festive and got a little carried away in both my crafting and in my shopping, so I am here to help a Reader out!

December 8, 2014

Ahead of the Curve, or Beating Self Imposed Deadlines and NAILING it for the Holidays!

Ya'll... it's almost December 10th!

December 10th!!!

Maybe you are new around here, or don't know me in real life - if so, this may not mean much to you but to me and my family, December 10th has long been my self-imposed Deadline to go crazy and have a mini melt down in order to finish All. The. Things.  


This year, thanks to maturing,  (no, sadly-- not that...) -thanks to Advent, I am approaching the season with a slower pace... but still - December 10th is just around the corner, and I am feeling just ahead of the curve. You see, December 10th is the last possible day of Crazy that is allowed in this house.

December 6, 2014

That Thing I Do Now - Vol 73

Happy December, friends!

So far, as I am typing this intro in the beginning of the week, it is SUPER cold here, but no snow.  I think, actually, it may be warmer if we had snow.  I love a White Christmas, and I don't mind snow if I don't have a full, bossy schedule that causes me to have to be out in it... but now that I am feeling all Christmasy and such... a little dusting would be nice!

With or without snow, I pray you are staying warm and carving out time and space to sense His coming!

Featured today are posts by Shannan Martin, Lisa Jo Baker, Holley Gerth, Annie Barnett, Becky Keife, Deidra Riggs, Addie Zierman, Jennifer Dukes Lee, a post from right here... and - of course - a video!

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

December 4, 2014

Dear Girlie of Mine - a Five Minute Friday post

So it is freezing here tonight... literally, raining frozen slushy wintry showers - but no snow. It's the kind of cold that makes me thankful for the warmth, and reminds me to pray for those who don't have somewhere safe and cozy to hang thaw out. 

I had a full afternoon, having to be out and about both yesterday and today and it made me really miss my girlie.  For the past nearly 20 years, she's been my wingman for all things Errands.  I know, I know... she's close - still living just minutes away from 'home' - but I don't get to see her much and when I do, well - she is exhausted and stressed out (finals week, anyone?)  So of course tonights' prompt made me think of her right away...

The prompt is: DEAR

Let's play...


Dear Girlie of mine... (of Ours... of His!)

Gah, I love you so very much!  I am so proud of who you are and who you are becoming and I can't believe that God has blessed me with you and let's me have a front row seat to this life that you are living. Brave and Beautiful - full on and full of grace.

I know baby girl... I know because 1) I remember 19... and also because (2) I know you... 

It's hard some days. Living this life all growed up and carrying so much responsibility...

December 2, 2014

Let's Look for Miracles...

It seems like White Noise... to add talk of Miracles this time of year.  

It seems now, this month, more than any other time of year - we are all talking about Miracles... miracles on 34th Street, miracles in a manger, miracles of Christmas bonuses or families able to gather together, miracles of needs met or gifts found or -you get the idea. 

Our anticipation and expectation --it rises along with that Christmas Star and we, once again, dare to hope!

You can feel it too, right?  That tugging that starts down deep...  In a world spinning fast, all dizzy and blurred, I love that pull that is nearly tangible to slow. it. down.  --to stop, to breathe in deep this cold winter air. It fights within us... this drive to keep up, and the need to slow down!  

December 1, 2014

What I Learned in November...

It's that time again... time to join in with the lovely Emily Freeman (now a NYT Best Seller, I might add!) for her oober fun link-up, What We Learned... 

It's already December, ya'll! Can you even believe it? I haven't played along since Summer, but here we are:
As Advent begins and the pull and temptation may be to lean in to the rush of the season... I am encouraging you to slow... to find a little silence... to reflect back -to last month, sure... even last year... but as Advent shows us, there is value in reflecting back - all the way back.  In doing that, we see more clearly how Christ has come, yes. But we also see how He's been coming for us all the while! (And He is coming still...)

But for today... here it is:
What We Learned in November...
12 Random Things That I Have Learned. 

November 29, 2014

That Thing I Do Now - Vol 72

Hey there, friends! I pray you had a wonder-filled Thanksgiving! Whether you are a Black Friday shopper, or a Hunker In And Spend Time On The Couch relaxer, I pray you are recovering from the festivities, and letting His goodness and blessings continue to be counted... inviting Him to linger longer...

And just in case, somehow, you are lacking something to read... I am here to hook you up!

Featured today are posts by Kristen Welch, Robin Dance, Glennon Melton, Jennifer Dukes Lee, Deb Wolf, Holley Gerth, Asherita Ciuciu, a post from right here... and - of course - a video!

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

November 28, 2014

Give - A Five Minute Friday Post

Happy Day After Thanksgiving, ya'll!

I may have skipped out on the party last night over on Twitter... I just sort of assumed there wouldn't BE a FMF this week, since the writing happens on Thursday night and Thursday night was Thanksgiving and... well, the Seahawks were dominating the 49ers (#sorrynotsorry) and there was just no way I was going to find myself in front of a (different) screen! However, I was thrilled to see a link up and to see so many still participating in this challege to write unedited and uninterrupted, for five minutes flat and then hit publish and just let it go... let it be whatever it is... and trust that it is enough! (It is... it always is!)

Enough of that... on to our Word Prompt! 
Today's prompt is: GIVE


I know, I know... it's that time of year.  We all talk about it.

Giving: Giving thanks, Giving gifts, Giving time and money and hours in our days, oh my goodness, you can almost feel the rush of the season unfolding already!

This time of year also brings to light all the needs... all the ways that we could/should give more.  I think we enter into Thanksgiving looking back at what we've been given so we can fall into Christmas with eyes scanning all around us, finding ways that we can give it away.

Little things (and big things) suddenly come into focus and we realize the state of this world... for better or worse.

This week it has felt worse.

November 26, 2014

Counting Gifts, Being Thankful, Giving Thanks... in a Blessing Box!

Counting Gifts... Being Thankful... 
Giving Thanks...

It's nothing new and even a few years ago, when I first read Ann Voskamps' lovely words written out in one thousand gifts, writing down the ways God blesses us on a daily basis was not a new practice.  

Still, it was a somewhat forgotten one.  I kept a list running in my mind, but there is just something different
something deeper, maybe - about writing them down

And then I remembered this:

A little poem I wrote years ago to go along with Boxes we would deliver around Thanksgiving.

As a family, Counting Gifts is part of our Thankgiving Tradition, yes... but it is so much more than that! We've been marking them down and reading them back for years! 

November 24, 2014

How To Create An Atmosphere of Gathering In for the Holidays - or any day!

Aaah yeah... if I were a bird - I WOULD fly around seeking out Autumn!  I think one of the things I love most about Autumn is simply just how cozy it is! 

Image by Karrilee Aggett

Even when the temperatures are falling outside, the invitation is open to go out, enjoy that crisp Fall air, and then retreat to some place warm and inviting!  

I think it is easiest in the Fall to create a space that is nourishing and welcoming.  All the lit candles, and yummy scents of the season - maybe it's just me, but there is something special in the atmosphere around this time of year that seems to beg for Community!

November 22, 2014

That Thing I Do Now - Vol 71

Can you even believe that Thanksgiving is NEXT week? This month is just flying by! I pray you are finding Rest... remembering to carve out a little Sabbath in your days... and reading things that feed your soul! (I am here to help with that one!)

Featured today are posts by NJ Rongner, Kris Camealy, Emily Freeman, Deidra Riggs, Jenn Peterson, and Aliza Latta, a post from right here... and - of course - a video!

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

November 20, 2014

NOTICE - A Five Minute Friday Post

I made it back to the twitter party for Five Minute Friday and oh my goodness how I love this Community! From recipe to prayer requests, we cover it all (in 140 characters or less - with hashtags galore!) and we'd LOVE to have you join us! Thursday nights on Twitter, simply type in #fmfparty and jump right in!

OK... ready to write? Let's go! Tonight's prompt is: NOTICE


I've mentioned it a few times... this annual get away that My Honey and I take with two other couples... four of our very best friends.  It's a tradition now and one we all look forward to every year.

One of the joys of friendships that run deep and true is that we have found the rhythm of silence and rest.  We trust in the quiet... we have learned that even then, God is at work.

November 18, 2014

Miracles in the Dark... Let Light Come

The power went out the other night. Like -no warning (as is normal, I suppose!) and suddenly:
thick inky darkness.

No sound. No flicker. Just soft lighting and then suddenly, black endless nothingness.

Until the lights --I mean, ALL of the lights-- go out, you don't really realize how dark darkness actually is.  

We were in the basement watching a movie with only a small lamp on and suddenly the lamp, the clock and lights on the tv and dvd player, the lights on Wii remotes, the hallway light upstairs... even the street lights and traffic lights outside... all of them, gone.

"Hello Darkness, my old friend..."

No, wait... Not that.

Literally, hours before this black out, I wrote this in my journal:
"We are surrounded by
Darkness and Death.
It's no wonder that
we've been called to
Be Light and Life.

November 15, 2014

That Thing I Do Now - Volume 70

Hey there!  Happy Weekend!  I hope you are all staying warm and cozy (and maybe free of snow?) - at least that is the prayer I am praying for myself here out West!

Featured today are posts by Ann Voskamp, Kelli Woodford, Shauna Niequist, Lisa-Jo Baker, (Lisa-Jo Baker), Mike Donehey... and - of course - a video!

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

November 13, 2014

STILL - A Five Minute Friday post

I skipped Five Minute Friday last week... did anyone (besides me) notice? It was not easy as I LOVE this Community and this challenge to write for five minutes flat on a one word prompt and hit publish before rethinking or rewriting... still, it was the week after 31Days and oh my goodness, I think we all needed a break from me! 

But I am back now and ready(ish) to jump right in!  Let's go!
Tonight's prompt is: STILL


After a month of writing about Rest... one would think Still would be easy.  

After all, I gave myself a little break. Not completely unplugged (or not typing) but still, I stepped away from the screen for long(er) periods of time and I fought for Stillness, and it was wonderful.  

Dare I say, Wonder filled... 

Let's All Be Brave... honestly, it's just time!

It is... it's time! I'm in my 40s now and I have felt a stirring... an awakening... a gathering of courage and strength from deep down inside for some time now. I have written about it, prayed about it, and tried to live it out loud and I am so excited because I feel a movement coming of so many of us standing up taller into who we are and leaning in to Him, leaning on each other, and walking boldly, bravely, into all He has for us! 

Here's the thing... 
When we talk about being Brave, we so often jump to the idea that we have to say Yes.  Whatever it is... say yes.

But some of the bravest things I have ever done have been to say no.  

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