May 16, 2015

That Thing I Do Now - Vol 96

Happy Weekend, sweet friends!

How are you all doing? Do you have any fun weekend plans? Anything out of the ordinary or exciting? I'd love to hear what you are doing in your little corner of the world!

Featured today are posts by Shelly Miller, Deidra Riggs, Lori Harris, Emily Freeman, Allison Vesterfelt, Amber Cadenas, Scott Sauls, Tonya Salomon, Colleen Mitchell, a post from right here... and - of course - a video to wrap it all up! 

Happy Reading! (Ya'll know to click on the authors' names below to read the entire post, yes?)

* This one by Shelly Miller over at Redemption's Beauty with Why the Color of My Front Door Matters...
"London is a city of colorful doors and small garden spaces. A few weeks ago I snapped a photo of our front door and asked people to help me pick a new color for it. And I learned you are all some opinionated people with good taste.

When I sat on that park bench a year ago, I dreamt of what I didn’t have but longed for often. True community characterized by hospitality that transforms people from an address to real stories that matter in the Kingdom.

We want to be front door people. Inviting. Intentional. Relational. That’s why we chose turquoise for the color of our front door.

When my friend Kristin Schell started the Turquoise Table movement, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. She painted a picnic table turquoise and placed it in her front yard under a magnolia tree as a gathering place for her community.

Kristin says, “The turquoise table has become a meeting place—kind of like the old village well—for neighbors, friends, and even strangers, to hang out and do life together. The table has spurred a front yard revival in our neighborhood and had become a welcome place to gather and love.”

Turquoise tables are popping up all over the US and beyond.

H and I have talked long about how the turquoise table translates in the UK context because picnic tables and front yards are sparse in London, especially because they aren’t called yards, they’re gardens." 

* This post from Deidra Riggs over at A Holy Experience with When Relationships Feel Rough & Truth Feels Like Burlap... 
"Truth feels like burlap.


What I want to say feels like burlap on my heart and in my head and on my tongue, but it is pressing its way forward here.

In this space between us, where we don’t always see things exactly the same way. Or, maybe we are worlds apart on one thing or another.

Maybe we will never agree about a certain issue, and we will always have this thing about which we cannot see eye-to-eye.

Do you know what I mean? You’ve been there?

Have you found yourself surprised when a friend of yours — one who follows hard after Jesus — shares a viewpoint or a train of thought or a position with which you simply don’t agree?

Can’t ever agree?

When you realize my vote cancels out yours. You’ve been there?

Can we sit together, anyway?

Would you still save me a seat?"

This post by Lori Harris with First Thoughts Heard Before...
"Yesterday over plates of fresh eggs scrambled in butter and English muffins slathered in homemade blueberry jam, our tiny little church gathered round the farm table and told the truth about one other.

We do this at least twice a week, over a meal, and there is always lots of good natured ribbing and coming clean. We don’t plan to sit around the table and dump the junk but when broken people break bread together, confession just comes. So I confessed to my people that I have issues and because they know me, no one was surprised.  As I stabbed at the slivers of strawberries on my plate, these people spoke scripture over me and called my plate spinning what it is and my tummy literally turned over under the weight of all the truth I was trying to digest.

Truth is necessary, but it stings, even when the people who tell the truth love you. I guess you could say truth and love just go together."

* This post by Emily Freeman over at Chatting at the Sky with What Everybody Ought to Know About Self-Reflection... 
"I had never been to Portland before, never met many of the people I knew would be there. I thought maybe they would be young, cool, hipsters and I would be not those things. Maybe I’m the Kenneth Parcell to their Liz Lemon, the Jessica Day to their Nick’s-girlfriend-Julia, the Hallmark Channel to their HBO.

Maybe they write brilliantly about social justice and politics and living among the poor and other important issues. And I write from my home office in my quiet cul-de-sac about creating space for your soul to breathe.

On a good day I know what I write matters. But not all days are good days.

When I was invited to speak at the Faith and Culture Writers conference, I hesitated.

Is it possible for me – one person – to speak at both a conference hosted by the Proverbs 31 Ministries in the Bible Belt of Charlotte, North Carolina as well as the Faith and Culture Writers Conference in Portland, Oregon?

Where do I fit? What if I choose one group and they find out I’m not actually one of them?

What if I’m fooling everyone after all, including myself?

This post by Allison Vesterfelt over at Storyline with What I Learned From My Big Brother About Those Who Hurt Me...
“What about the driver?” I asked my brother as he told me the story.

“She had her head in against the steering wheel,” he explained, “just sobbing.”

What my brother did next doesn’t surprise me, because he is my brother, and I’ve known him to do similar things. But this is an image that will last in my mind forever, and that immediately shifted my thinking about what to do when someone hurts me. With all the traffic and people still swirling around him, my brother asked the instructor:

“What’s her name?” He pointed to the driver.

“Candace.” The man responded.

And with that, my brother left his broken bike and ripped bag on the sidewalk where they had moved them, and walked to the other side of the car. He knelt down next to the driver-side window, and said, quietly, to the still-weeping young woman: “Candace, it’s okay. Accidents happen. Mistakes are how we learn. Thank goodness everyone is okay. I’m okay. You’re okay. We’re all okay.”

* This post from Amber Cadenas with When I learn to fly...
"Something in me rose up to hush the dissenting caw of embarrassment. I needed to meld myself to these backgrounds, allow myself to become one with them, or part of them, because this is my not-yet-visible reality that I'm leaning into. I have wings and one of these days I will learn to fly. 

We belong to each other, these birds and I. This whole of creation and I. In ways I yet have no words to convey but know so much deeper and more primal than many of the things I claim to know. And any chance I get to participate in this reality, even in the form of a painting on a wall, I will. Because I must.

Because birds, for me, tell a parallel story of my own unfolding journey, and sometimes the most I can do is speak of myself in metaphors, mirrors of them.  "

* This post by Scott Sauls with Expanding Our “Us” In All Directions... 
"Once during a church service a very well-groomed man, who I will call “Church Guy,” tapped me on the shoulder during the singing. He pointed to a man that neither of us had ever seen before – a first-time visitor. “Do you see that man?” Church Guy asked. “Can you believe that he would come into the house of God with those dirty jeans, that ratty t-shirt, and drinking coffee like that? And when he passed me in the hallway, he reeked of nicotine. Pastor, what are you going to do about that man? He is a distraction to my worship.”

And all heaven started to weep.

My brothers, show no partiality…if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing comes in…(and) you say to the poor man, “You stand over there…” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has God not chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom?

A distraction to worship? This shabby-dressed, coffee-drinking, nicotine-stained man may have actually been Jesus in our midst.

Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.

Thankfully, after the service, another church member got to our visitor before Church Guy could. The church member, himself a recovering alcoholic – Remember Matthew from last week? Yeah, him – warmly welcomed him, got his name, and asked him about his story.

The man’s name was George. He was recovering from a heroin addiction and felt like being part of a church could help him with that.

What do you call a nicotine addiction for a man who is recovering from heroin? You call it victory. Progress. An upgrade."

* This post from Tonya Salomons with Lessons from the Sidewalk {An Open Letter to ALL Women}...
"I’m just a  (fill in the blank)” you quietly say with eyes that don’t quite meet mine.  

Just a mother, just a student, just a cashier, just a receptionist, just an old woman, just a twenty-something… just bedridden, just empty, just broken, just ugly… 


And if you say it fast enough you can hear the hiss of the lie that is those four letters. 

You are EXACTLY as we need you to be.  So please don’t change.  We are so desperate for your story, for the way your life makes ours so much better.
We want to gather around you and lay our hands on your raw and wounded places.  We want to touch those parts of you that you would rather we didn’t know about.

We want to lift you up and honour your beauty and the star-quality sparkle that you bring to this world.  "

* This post from Colleen Mitchell with To The Moms of the Almost Grown Up Kids...
"I wanted to gather all the mamas who have walked this journey with me and are snapping shots of these almost adults and shake them and say, “Y’all! We did it. I mean, not all the way, but we are doing this thing! This motherhood thing. And we are doing a darn good job too! Look at these amazing people we grew inside ourselves and then grew outside ourselves and who are now almost all grown! They are incredible. And we raised them!”

Yes, we will grieve for their growing up and growing away, but, mamas, this was the thing all along. And we are rocking it!"

* This one from right HERE with #SmallWonders... How They Add Up Fast! (A Mini Recap of How We Got Here!)...
"Here we are... the day after. 

{And honestly - after all the excitement and hype of our first Sunday, we crawled into bed last night happy but exhausted and were all, "Wait? We have to do this all again next week... like, for the 2nd Sunday... and so on...? ...AND SO ON!!!?  This is like a JOB?"  LOL! Yeah... seriously... we're slow like that sometimes!}

I know, I know.  I said this would not turn into the Church Plant Blog... and it won't, I promise. But this has all happened so quickly and our heads are still spinning a bit and there have just been all sorts of big and small wonders unfolding all around us and many of them were all leading up to yesterday."

Lastly, we close This Thing up with a video each week and sometimes it is funny and sometimes it is worship... this time it's a short clip of spontaneous worship with Brian and Jenn Johnson and Amanda Cook at Bethel... It's short and sweet... and true, my friend! It's oh so true... He is taking perfect care of you!

Happy Weekend! 


  1. The Storyline post excerpt is awesome. I love that Her brother went over to the driver of the car. I'm going to have to go read the rest of the post. And Colleen's good! I want to share that with my youth kiddos moms. You are taken care of too friend. Love Ya!!

    1. Yes... Colleen has also written a second post --for those who are not celebrating, that is very good as well! She'd love to hear that you are sharing her post!


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