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:


The first Five Minute Friday of the year:
FIGHT - The Glorious Return of Five Minute Friday

"We love, we speak life, we are all in and we are FOR each other... and I know, sadly, that for others... well, that is not always the case. 

So when he begins to dream out loud and sketch out outlines and rough drafts of what we would cover, the fight is on because what the enemy WANTS me to believe is that if we stand up tall and open the door to how we live this wonderful life of matrimony and bliss, well - it will unravel, fall apart... at the very least it will be tested... and yet - how can I not fall more in love with him (and Him!) when he wants to dream and preach and live and laugh and do it all side by side... my words finishing his sentences... his worship intermingling with my prayers?"

Joining a new Link Up with Holley Gerth:
Pouring a little Coffee for Your Heart

I have written all over this blog about all of those things but what I want you most to hear and see and 'get' today is this... let's focus on what we are doing RIGHT!  . (I don't know about you, but I am already well versed in what I do wrong!) The secret is not really a secret at all... it is a choice.  

I know. I know... it's nearly a week in to the New Year.  Some of those Resolutions are already forgotten. Some of that excitement on January 1st has already wained and given way to 'realistic' and 'compromise' but let's warm up your cup together.

Each of us can sit down and talk about how we've blown it; how we failed, or feared even trying.  We can pull out our long list of Should Have's and What If's.  We can come in agreement with our shortcomings because that is easy and we all have them.

But this year... this year, still fresh and only days in, let's purpose to acknowledge a few things each day that you have done RIGHT.


Linked up with Holley Gerth and Jennifer Dukes Lee:
"My Darling Daughter... You're Beautiful!"

I was Exhausted.  

Still - this felt like more... but I pushed it aside, cleared my scheduled and cozied up on the couch with a cup of tea, a fuzzy blanket and a cheesy Netflix romantic comedy to half-zone out, half-fall asleep to.  This felt like a PLAN! As in - for the win... a do nothing, no writing, no thinking, no laundry sort of day - in an EMPTY house, ya'll! (...and she takes a bow!)

It appeared to be going along FINE. The movie was cute, in that anticipated predictable way and I was relaxed and not thinking about any of the Things I 'should' be --. I was going to say 'should be doing' - but let's just be honest. Come mid-January, aren't we all really thinking of All the Things we should just BE... ? No? Is that just me? Anyway - my mind was completely, blissfully blank. (Think Nirvana. Don't be jealous.)

Then as the movie was nearing the end, there was this one scene that unfolded and before I could even know what was happening to me, I was undone, tears streaming down my face, completely losing it, feeling All the Feelings.



More #CoffeeForYourHeart:
No Matter What... a Little Coffee for Your Heart

The prompt this week from Holley is: 
“No matter what happens, you’re going to be okay because…” 

Before we dig into the Because, let's just start at the beginning! That's a big ol' statement right there...

"No matter what happens..."

"No matter what..."  

That is crazy big... bold and nearly daring the invisible; like shouting out a challenge.

I know... well - I don't really, but I know for me, for us... some of the wind has evaporated out from under our sails of "No Matter What..." lately.

Some 'whats' are hard to overcome... hard to push aside... hard to stand up tall to, nose to nose and eye to eye, without wincing or shrinking back. 

Some 'whats' have hit us hard in the past few years... 

Like sickness, disease, broken hearts, broken dreams... 
unknown, unwanted, un(yet-to-be)answered...

Yeah... it's like we've stood up to the bully with all kinds of faith, only to find the unseen backup army we had behind us seemingly not there. 

But - only Seemingly... for let's not forget so quickly that wherever we go, there He is.


Talking about who inspires:
A Little Coffee, Art, Prayer, and Spilling Out! Who Inspires You?

I could make a list here - specifically - of who inspires me. But here's the deal... they know it! They know that they inspire me, and do you know why? Because I make it a point to tell them! Consistently. As in, "Hey - you know what? You really inspire me!"  

Because who doesn't need to hear this? I mean, really?  Who couldn't use a little confirmation that their life matters... that they make a difference... that whatever it is that inspires us through them, we see God in that... in them! Who couldn't use a little encouragement that in their every day living, they are stirring us up to greatness... to want to do great things! Whether that be travel, or teach, or love and parent, or laundry and errands... if there is someone in your life who blows you away with their every day giftings and inspires you to strive to be better... to be more of who you know you can be... tell them!



Another Five Minute Friday post:
From Crowd to Community - Five Minute Friday

My Honey, ever supportive and loving and taking care of me, parked the car and planned on waiting in line with me... hoping to ease my fears. 

But here's the deal... I didn't really have any fears? I wasn't having all the feelings and it turns out - I honestly didn't pack Self-Doubt, and Hesitation didn't make it into my bags either.  I felt ready and eager and at peace... joyful even.

I'm not sure My Honey believed me when I said I was fine.  Yeah - these Idols have been in my back pocket longer than he has been at my side.  I wasn't nervous about the Crowds and the people that I didn't know... the people I was hoping to meet... the 'networking' that should be happening! I came expecting Community - not a Crowd, and when Self-Doubt doesn't interrupt, Expecting is an amazing companion! (I highly recommend him!)


A Multitudes on Monday post with Ann Voskamp:
How to Stay Happy While Giving Up and Giving In

How do you hang on to Happy when you are Giving Up and Giving In... when the Lenten season is upon us and we are sacrificing, laying low, and bowing down?  

Through the Mountain Highs and the Valleys Low, here is the secret I have found that really works:

I have found that there is Joy in Giving up... in Giving In... in saying Yes, without hesitation. The secret to staying happy through our 'good' and through our 'bad' is to remember, as Ann Voskamp says, that all is grace.  

Hang on to Happy by reminding yourself that all is grace and that God is near.  Count your blessings, one thousand gifts at a time, and then start all over again!

Look for all the ways that God is pouring out... that God is providing and protecting, leading and loving.  They are there... a million little ways - they are all around us, if only we train our eyes to see!



Linking up with Kristen Welch for the launch of her book Rhinestone Jesus:
The Power of Testimony... like His Train Filling the Temple

I love impromptu visits, and try to keep all my Bossy Lists of Things To Do loose enough that I can shift my day around because honestly - in all the coffee and connecting, what I love the most is when we move from small talk, and beyond the prayer request/what's going wrong mode, right in to the praise reports/look what God is doing mode!  

Yeah... that one! That one is my jam! (My girlie is begging me to stop saying that... but I like to think I am cool like Jen Hatmaker, soooo....)

I know my pentecostal roots are showing here, but I love me some testimony time!  We love to hear OTHER people's testimonies of how God showed up in their mess and came through and stretched them out and showed up big. We want all of that in our own lives too - but maybe without the mess, without the stretching and the desperate neediness. Yeah - we want God - but who wants to be broken and begging for mercy?  We want the High... but not the Low. We want the Testimony, but not the Test.

Here is the thing that we forget in the midst of a battle: 
We serve the king of Kings and lord of Lords and He is Victorious... and really, that is all we need to know!  

He wins. 

Hands down... in the end, He wins - and we are on His side!


A Good Friday Five Minute Friday with Lisa-Jo Baker:
When Glue Won't Hold Us All Together - Five Minute Friday

We are all laid out open, slowly losing life, unaware. We are seeking for hope and healing... for solid ground and a way out of this sad and stormy day that just won't seem to end.

Answers are slow to come and confusion rises up fierce.  We are all bruised and battered and windblown come Friday night... and as the skies turn black and death seethes ragged breaths and sings haunting songs of victory, it's easy to feel like the enemy wins.  We can lean back in defeat and come into agreement without even realizing it as our thoughts turn to 'he always wins.'

Except... (But God...)  Except he doesn't... We know... we've heard it before and we know it to be true, but we forget.

Can I remind you once again... Sunday is coming. With the dawning of a new day and the rising of the Son, Light shines on answers and Love binds up wounds... Hope is stirred up and spilling over and Victory?  Victory is ours!

On Easter Sunday - yes.  But on any given Sunday... because He lives, and He wears the Victor's Crown... we win!

I don't know what kind of terrible sad Good Friday that you may be facing, but can I encourage you? Sunday is coming!



Five Minute Friday - Grateful:

I have battled this week to stay grateful... most days it comes easy. But hey, it's those other days that we must FIGHT!

As Ann Voskamp said this week, we get to choose how happy we want to be because we get to choose how grateful we are willing to be! 

"Lord... I am willing!" 

And so I count them slow... one by one, and in the beginning it feels like a fight... I can feel the battle weighing down and winning, but the more I count on - the more I feel strength shifting, power in the punches, and freedom in the swinging.  

This battle has already been won!


My first ever Vlog post for Mother's Day:
In the In Between... Happy Mother's Day

Spoken Word: "

In The In Between"

Where I write about making Art in Your Life:
Art in Your Life... Just Breathe. It. Out.

in the middle of last week, my Honey announced that he signed me up to do a Spoken Word at the Coffeehouse night on Friday evening. He had been asked to play a song or two and in confirming that, the guy doing the schedule mentioned that they were hoping for a variety of singers and people using their gifts and he said something about Spoken Word... which caused my husband to say something crazy like, "My wife does spoken word... put her down! She'll do something!"

Clearly - he lost his mind.  I do not do spoken word.  I have felt drawn to it. I love to listen to others do it. That is not a title or a gifting that I have stepped into, but he was right in knowing that God is making me anyway! Whether I feel ready or equipped or gifted or not.  

Sometimes we are called to make art anyway...

To open our eyes and ears and heart and see art in our lives... to realize or remember that art is not just something we do - but it really is who we are! We are works of art in progress and when I so boldly foolishly argued with God about how it's hard, or I'm not ready, or I don't know how... well - He graciously spoke truth to me by saying this:

"You won't get better until you start!"

Well... thanks for that! 

And so, with only a couple of days to write, and not enough time to actually fully memorize... shaky knees and racing heart, I did it anyway...



This, from my most favorite monthly link up with Emily Freeman:
What I learned in May... a random Gathering of Awesome

Seriously - I LOVE this link up because it is usually full of quirky, fun things, as well as a few great tips or revelations!

At the risk of sounding so - I don't know, - OLD, where has the time gone? Honestly... I blinked and May happened!

It is now the beginning of a new month, and for us around this house - a whole new season, but we'll get to that later! For now - let's just say - it's time for my favorite link up, where I share a random Gathering of Awesome... attempting to once again remember What I Learned in May...


Writing about my Honey:
Hands... Five Minute Friday

I have lived over half of my lifetime, madly in love with this man, My Honey, who lives out loud and is full of grace.  It is his mission every day to love me... to love us... and to make us laugh and always, it's his hands that protect, and provide and the more I lean in to him and let our hearts and fingers connect... it's his hands that look scarred and pierced. 

Oh I know... he and Jesus are not the same! He is not perfect but for the whole of my grown up life it's been his hands that hold me physically, when all the while, it is Gods' hands that have shaped this heart and wrapped around my soul.



Where I write about Island Time:
Exhale... a Five Minute Friday post

I talk a lot about leaning, about breathing, about entering in to His Rest.  I talk often of how He is simply a breath away and I have encouraged you over and over and over to simply lean back, close your eyes, and fully breath in deep... slowly exhaling... and like magic, He is there!

And He is... because He always is! We just tend to forget... or stop noticing Him.

In this season of taking some time, He has been calling me away - not just from blogging (although this week, maybe you couldn't tell?) but also from other things.  He has been calling me to slow down, to not rush on through to the Next, but to relax and reflect and to enter in to His rest.

But here's the thing... sometimes it is WORK to enter in... to give up our routines and all of the comfort and chaos of our Bossy Lists and to give ourselves permission to actually, for real, do nothing.  It goes against our culture and for many of us, it goes against our nature... and sometimes it is a fight and it takes real strength... real skill... to work to get to that Calm.
It takes work and determination to climb higher and yet, remain unseen... hidden... not sure of where we are going really. But when we follow His lead, and allow Him to be our Guide... He leads us up to high places, with views (and perspectives) that we could never see when down below, going through all of our daily living!


A Five Minute Friday post on Bloom:
"Bloom Where You're Planted..."

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!



Writing through some hard global times:
When Words Bridge the Gap...

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  

Sometimes, though, it's the words that are most valued... most necessary... most longed for. 

It's the words, whether spoken, typed, or written out old-school style, that bridge the gap of the lost and the broken, bringing hope to stand on and faith to walk right on through!

This week - globally speaking - has been a rough one.  

So much sadness and horror and heartbreak... so much negative and bad news and it is so heavy and so much that we either turn the other way in order to cope or we shut down all together under the weight of it all. It's too easy to lose the battle and too hard to look for gifts. But oh how right now is when we must win... when we must count... we must do it anyway, because we have overcome - even when we forget that truth!

On our own, we forget... we get side-swiped and feel woozy.  We are off-center and free-falling and it's hard to stop staring at all the Bad News.  But here's the thing... can I encourage you to look away.  No, not to bury your head in the sand, but to turn your attention back to good... back to what God is doing both around the world and in your own neighborhood -in your own heart. And then shout it from the rooftops, that our God is good!

Pray for the persecuted...yes!  Let me encourage you to give and serve and do what you can... but don't allow your focus to stay on the darkness. 

Instead, use your Light (and your words!) to shine brighter still.


Where I find a little brave in #GoingThere:
On How It Turns Out We Are To Blame...

My friend Deidra Riggs has been #GoingThere for quite some time now and in the past couple of weeks some other friends have 'gone there' with her.  I have so appreciated her voice... their voices... but can I just say: Oh my goodness - I didn't even know how vital this was is... how much of an emergency was is at hand.  

How could I not know? But honestly, I didn't.

I had half-written posts on #GoingThere floating around in my head for weeks but really, what could I offer to the conversation? I've got nothing.  Because... well, I didn't know. I told Alia the other day that 'Ignorance is Bliss only for the Ignorant' and that is when it started to dawn on me... that is how I started to realize that we are partly to blame. 

We, the ignorant.  
The ones who don't know.  

I am a (lower-)middle class white woman, born and raised in a small agricultural Republican/conservative town.  Sure, we have race issues. Mostly they are based around immigrant workers and illegal aliens and gangs.  We have a lot of cultures in this area, but because of my experience, (Read: lack thereof) I really thought things had gotten better. 

I think they have. I hope so anyway... 
I pray that they have... 

But then we see #Ferguson and we think, "How can this be happening?" and it seems like it is coming out of the blue, if not out of the 1950's and it doesn't feel like real life.  

Not to us. The ignorant. The far removed. 
(The white.)

But we can think that it doesn't look or feel like real life because we are ignorant and we don't know.  We are segregated and we never even noticed. Did you see that I asked "How can this be happening?" when really the question is "How can this still be happening?" or "How can this be happening again?



A Book Review for What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days by Holley Gerth:
What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days - a Book Review

I had the honor of briefly meeting Holley Gerth last year at Allume. I had been reading her books and her blog and I was already smitten. She is so full of hope, and yet she is not at all cheesy or fake or head-in-the-sand clueless. No, she has had her own struggles and battles and she is authentic and honest in sharing her own Hard Days.  She is a sister, a life coach, a friend... she is inviting and strong and always offers coffee (and so I love her. That is all.)

Only not really.  That is not all... she is also wise beyond her years and what pours out of her, and into the reader, is Jesus... it is Hope, and help, and faith stirred up. It is a Light shining in the darkness and hers is the voice of a mother who lovingly lifts you up.  She is a releaser and will help you stand up tall in Truth and reach for those God-Sized Dreams that are hidden down deep.

"What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days" arrived in the midst of a difficult week.  I knew it was coming... (the book, not the tough times) but I didn't know how much I would need it until it arrived!  We had some unexpected battles, some heartbreak and uncertainty, we fought off some darkness and despair, and we suddenly lost a friend who, as her family said over and over at her Celebration of Life service yesterday, "graduated" to heaven.  She was ready; we were not. 

Through all of it, I slowly turned the pages of this little book and found hope... found peace... found again the Anchor that we cling to Who steadies our hearts and the One who beckons us to come and walk on the water.



So - as most of you know, October hosts the 31 Days Challenge and so there were A LOT of posts... 31 to be exact... This year, I wrote 31 Days of Resting in Him - It's Easier/Harder Than You Think!  Here is the landing page with the links to every post:

Here are a few of the most visited/commented on posts:
Really, Lord? I mean, Really?

imagine my surprise when I casually sat down to pray and asked God if He had a topic that He wanted me to write about or that He wanted to write with me this year... and His response was immediate.  So loud and clear, in fact, that it felt as if it was audible. (It was not.  I don't think?  But you get the idea.) 

You see, I have spent months not doing much, but only recently began to understand that not doing stuff and resting in Him are rarely the same thing! They can be... but simply cutting down your Bossy will not usher you in to Resting.  Sometimes we must work to enter into His rest. We must be intentional about it. We must be less rushed by busy and needy for answers, and more open to slower and embrace a little mystery.

Are You Serious? You are SLEEPING!?
Part 1  & Part 2

Diving in to Mark 4... with Jesus, asleep on the boat!

So... I love this story oh so much! I have read it and watched it and heard it retold too many times to count, and yet - as I was preparing to write this series, this is what the Lord highlighted for me: (this time.)
Jesus... was SLEEPING.
I know, I know... it's not really a huge revelation. I mean - we get it, right? But do we? Do we really? 
Because this is the thing... this is what God spoke to my heart:
"Jesus is asleep in the boat... Look closer.  He is at Rest..."
(wait for it... Then He said this...)
"Rest = the absence of fear."
I know, right? Mind. Blown.
(and oh no... if we're being honest here!)
So if Rest equals the absence of fear, then we can conclude that Rest also equals the presence of faith.
We know that fear and faith can not co-exist... they are opposite, powerful forces. One of them wins... and we decide which one.


A Modern Day Sabbath

"Rest... it just stirs up such an exhale, right?

In our Western culture, Rest is not valued. It is not set as a priority. It seems lazy, anti-American-Dream like, and counter-productive.  And yet...
We need it... we long for it and we simply -for our own good- must have it!  
For many, this is dawning on us and we crave to make room. To, as Bonnie Gray says, create some "Spiritual Whitespace"... to just breathe: inhale deep, exhale slow... to give thanks and reflect.  This returning to a Sabbath heart is a movement that is growing, but it's a quiet movement because it is the opposite of doing.  
In our overbooked, squeeze-too-many-things-in, always-running-late, not-enough-time-in-the-day world - we have forgotten the difference between Chronos time and Kairos time.
Both words are Greek and we recognize Chronos because it is familiar (chronological, chronicle, chronic)... it is time kept by clocks and calendars; it is bossy and demanding and never satisfied. (Can I hear an Amen?)
But Kairos... Kairos time is a gift!


LEAVE (A Five Minute Friday post)

much like in Autumn... there was something happening underneath, in the hidden parts and while it felt like death - there is a bit of glory in dying... 

He was teaching me all along about Rest and how He gives it to us, if only we'd just reach out open handed and receive it! He was showing me how Rest and Not Doing Stuff is not the same... how doing the first will refresh, but doing the latter will drain.  

He was letting me know that even as our season of hands-on, under-my-roof, tuck-you-in-at-bedtime parenting was winding down... through the fog - there was Rest and something New beyond the mist... something Next around the bend.  

There was hope, after all. 

I suspected it to be true.  I never really lost sight of it, but sometimes in the thick of silence, it can be hard to hold on to. We know it's there... but it feels a lot like it's leaving.  Like its' leaves that are slowly letting go and drifting to the ground... like it once held life and promise but now? Now the glory is lying around our feet and hope, it turns out, is somewhere deeper... somewhere unseen.

He taught me that in order to rest, we must stay present... we must lean in to Him, let go of all of our bossy lists and good intentions. We must breathe in deep... "inhale grace, exhale worry... inhale peace, exhale doubt... inhale faith, exhale fear... just breathe!"

We must learn to leave some things behind in order to move forward... to press onward... but in all of our leaving, He is singing over us... lovingly whispering:

"In all your leaving, 
Leave Room for Me!"

The first Five Minute Friday after a little time off post-31Days:

Stillness and Rest can go hand in hand and as this season of being set aside and not doing comes to an end, I am relishing in the blank calendar blocks and the absence of all the bossy lists - even though I know that they will fill up soon. 

Even if ministry doesn't increase, the holidays are here and in the past I would take this week to bask in the calm before the storm... however, there has been a shifting deep within. A Rest and a Stillness, if you will, that seem to be abiding... no matter how I spend my days.


Writing about Darkness:
Miracles in the Dark... Let Light Come

Maybe the thought of the coming season of Joy to the World feels like too much to bear. Maybe hearing another encouragement or platitude or well-intentioned comment about how things will turn out fine and how God is with you is not really making you feel very seen or heard or held at all.

I'm sorry for that. In some ways we are all in the dark. Sometimes we don't know what to say.  Sometimes we want to have the answer or be the answer or simply wave it all away and wish it gone. 

Instead let's pray for miracles... 

We pray for God to lighten the load 
and light the way and Oh My Goodness, 
how He already has, but we forget!  

We forget that God brings Miracles in the Dark... every day...
Miracles happen all around us and within us and we are unaware or unimpressed because we want the miraculous to be big and showy with lots of fanfare. 

But sometimes Miracles come slowly and silently... unfolding and unfurling like a reluctant smile.  It does no good to fight against it, for once we begin to take notice and give thanks one by one, we can't help but find miracles in the dark as we let light come.

Sometimes light comes in with cloud cover and rain, and sometimes it comes in with clear skies and the warmth of the sun.  

But it comes. 

Sometimes it comes in quiet time... when no words are left to pray. And sometimes it comes with the company of friends... kindred hearts and spirits who wrap warmth around us and pour out love.  

But, either way, 

Light comes. Miracles happen. 
Hope is restored.



A Letter to my Girlie:
Dear Girlie of Mine

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...

...always being the encourager and the one who sees the glass half full and always searching for the brighter side.  Some days it feels like too much.  Some days all that wanting to be independent and on your own feels foolish and like it's too hard --like you can't do it! (But you can! You are!)

Oh I know... you don't say that.  You are brave and even when it's hard, you know God and you have seen how He comes through, over and over and over again.

I know you know the end will be good, but sometimes it's the middle that can feel so uncertain!  It can be so foggy and it's hard to remember what the sun feels like and how the end will come around and it will all work out! (It will! It is!)

Things won't always be hard.  I know, even now - it's not all hard! It ebbs and flows because - Grace!  All is grace and God is good and Life... well, life is a mixture of hard and good and happy and sad... life comes at us fast and furious but we can stand tall and choose that... (the fast and furious) or right in the midst of it, we can choose peace and joy...

We can choose...


Where I write about Friendship:
When You Brave the Cold and Show Up!

These friends of mine...

We have been side by side for nearly 20 years now.  We have raised our girlies together... through good times and hard times! We have survived leaving churches and address changes and health scares and arguments and divorce and rebellion (some 'theirs' and some our own!)... we have loved and laughed and cried and sat beside when no words would come... or when no words were needed. 

Women can be mean... fickle... surface and gossipy and we are not perfect.  We have failed - ourselves and each other, but our connection started when we were new:  New Christians, (Relatively) New Wives, New Moms.  We were learning who we were and who we wanted to be and I love that for these friends... for these sisters in Christ... I love that there is not a season of my adult life... my married-life... my learning-how-to-mother life, that they are not included!  

And for them - and for my own girlie, I will brave the cold because year after year, that is what we do. 

We show up.

We show up when we're needed... when we're wanted... and sometimes even when we're one but not both of those things! We show up when it's fun... (think Bunco nights, Birthdays, and Beach Weekends Away!) and when it's not fun... (I don't think you need any examples here!)  We show up in the flesh, over the phone, and via text... We show up for each others' kids because for us - it really has taken a Village... and their girls are my girls, and mine is theirs.

We show up... and really?  We learned that from Him!  Him - who always shows up for us; Who braves the cold and the Cross, and who calls us friends of God.


What about you? How was your 2014?  

I just want to thank you for hanging out around these parts with me this past year! It has been full and good and hard and blessed... it has been real, and I so appreciate you being Brave and Authentic here with me!  Here's to the New Year!

May we continue on... living intentionally in 2015 to: Speak Life... to Be Love... to Shine On.

Happy New Year!

Check back a little later on January 1st... I'll be writing my annual post, after my date with God, where I share what I believe is a Prophetic Word for the New Year!


  1. I'm really enjoying landing on new to me blogs at the end of the year. In one easy place I am finding the best of their best to browse. Thanks for the roundup.

    1. LOL - Well, normally my posts are WAY way shorter! ;) I am well-known around here for my inability to pick favorites, so I thought it would be easier to pick posts that others seemed to favor but it turns out it was just as difficult! Thanks for browsing around! You are always welcome here!

  2. Coffee and gratitude are awesome recurring themes! :) Blessings and best wishes to continue onward and upward in 2015!

    1. LOL! I agree! I noticed those same themes and thought - 2014 really WAS a great year! ;) Praying for your 2015 to be filled with Wonder as well!

  3. Since I just met you via Myquillyn's 31 day write in October I really enjoyed this review! Your writing is excellent and I enjoy reading it a lot! Happy and Blessed New Year. And, by the way, we'll be home (probably) sound asleep when the ball drops! xo

    1. Susan, can it be true that we've only been friends a few months? Kindred hearts I guess make it seem like we've been friends forever! Good to know we are not the only ones planning a 'boring' night in! After battling sickness and it just being really really COLD today - I'm thankful for Netflix and take out and jammies! Yeah... we party HARD like that! Happy New Year, friend!

  4. I love the theme of gratitude in your most popular/commented on posts. My word for 2015 and I looking forward to what God is going to teach me, about being content. I complain way too much over silly things, and I do not want to pass that habit on to my children. I hope you have a lovely start to 2015. :-)

    1. Jo Rose, girlie - take it from me whose bent used to be one of negative thoughts and criticism and complaining... God can change your bent and gratitude will light the way! Praying for your OneWord to show up in all the best ways, my friend! Happy New Year!

  5. What a great idea to do a year in review! SUPERB! I loved seeing everything you wrote and seeing how you utilize guests and link ups. You're very inspiring as I am definitely newer to the blogging scene and all the possibilities that go along with it! Thanks for sharing your year.


    1. Thanks so much Christine! I have always liked to look back over the year on the blog but started doing it as a post a couple of years ago and I love it! So glad you found it inspiring! Many blessings to you in this New Year and welcome to the blogosphere! It's a world wide web out there, but there is so much Community to be found! You are welcome here any time,friend!

  6. Loved reviewing your year with you, friend. So glad FMF party brought you into my life this year. And maybe --hint-- we can meet up in person this new year!

    1. Thanks so much for browsing through it with me! I can't even believe that (1) we just 'met' this year and (2) we have not yet met in person? Don't even go teasing me about that! I am praying that we can fix this tragic truth this year! (Insert Subliminal Font: #JumpingTandem) ;) Love you, friend!


Thanks so much for stopping by! I always love to hear your thoughts! Remember to: Speak Life - Be Love - Shine On!

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