June 6, 2015

That Thing I Do Now - Vol 99

It's June!  June, y'all!

Summer is upon us and around these parts, we are entertaining triple digits and trying to stay cool -which I suspect may include watermelon, iced tea, maybe a dip in a pool, and some reading time - because, of course!

Here's a little disclaimer... I picked a longer list this weekend because - gah! - there were so many amazing posts to choose from! 

Featured today are posts by Sarah Bessey, Kaitlyn Bouchillon, Shannan Martin, Emily Wierenga, Emily Freeman, Tammy Hendricksmeyer, Ashley Larkin, Lori Harris, Lisa Jo Baker, Elizabeth Marshall, Holley Gerth, and 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 Sarah Bessey with Hallelujah for the morning (or, how I pray)...
"Writing things down is my way of remembering them. In my memory, I don’t remember phrases, I remember the sight of my own handwriting and the words that I wrote down so carefully. The light is breaking through the forest right now as the sun is rising. It’s a tangle of heavy dark green growth but as the sun breaks through the trees, certain pockets are illuminated with the sunshine. My eyes are drawn to those corners of the forest, to the leaves that are glowing with the light before me, even if it is just for a moment, disappearing as the sun continues to move up into the sky.

Sometimes I write the names of my four tinies and then I write down a few words from Scripture that corresponds with what I am praying over them. For the one who has struggled with feeling rested, I write that God has promised his beloved sweet sleep (Psalm 127:2), that their body and soul rest and confidently dwell in safety (Proverbs 3:24). For the one who is struggling with over-sensitivity, I write down the words of Ephesians 6:10, praying for them to be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. I write the names of friends for whom I’ve promised to pray because even the act of scripting their names means I am praying somehow. I am carrying them for a while." 

* This post from Kaitlyn Bouchillon with The Spiritual Practice of Quiet: Savoring the Small... 
"It was some time back in February or March that I stopped listening to music in the car. My phone was always dinging, there was always someone to talk to, homework or words to intake, and a checklist to finish.

There was so much noise and my soul was begging for quiet.
So I turned the dial off. Not down, off. I don’t even know where I was headed but I do remember the odd, almost awkward minutes of silence.

I wanted to fill them with something. A phone call, text message alert, country songs, talk radio, anything.

But I sat there in the silence and quickly the twisting inside turned to sweet relief. I didn’t know how much my soul was craving a moment of silence until the noise disappeared.
I kept the radio off in my car for months and began to look for other ways to quiet my life.

I said “no” more often. I gracefully bowed out of a few opportunities. I skipped things I never would have missed – like an end of the year award ceremony. I missed receiving an important honor because I was sitting in the quiet of my room writing out a homework assignment.

I was still working, still doing. But there was a slow shift inside, one I’m still beginning to recognize.

I purposely chose the semi-dark of a room lit with white Christmas lights and a computer screen over an award, a stage, clapping and fluorescent lighting. And I breathed easier because of it.

Yes, there is a time and place for the noise. Believe me, I attended lots of things with lots of noise. I didn’t stop my life – I simply started to recognize a pull toward the quieter places."

* This post by Shannan Martin over at Incourage with A Plan for Freedom... 
"I want to hold life by the ears and live by the seats of our pants. I want art journals and smoothies for lunch, all-day swimming and road-trips on a lark. Hey, we can sleep in September. These long days are short in number, and I’m craving adventure with my favorite people. Come Labor Day, I want community to mean something even richer.

As usual, my common sense fails me. I wish some kids would run wild and unhinged while fearing  another will do just that.

I honestly don’t know how any of this freedom will play out. I can’t project into next year, or even into August.

There’s a good possibility the well-intentioned art journals will gather dust, and our whimsical “plans” for adventure will eat dirt. We might wear the jagged edge of Summer burn-out faster than a popsicle melts in July, or we’ll show early signs of brain cell atrophy, and I’ll put us all on lock-down.

This post by Emily Wierenga over at MOPS with 5 Ways to Fall Back In Love with Your Husband...
“Every marriage — no matter how strong — finds itself here, at some point: at a crossroads. It’s there we have a choice. If we stay on the same path, we’ll end up not recognizing one another in 10 years and arguing over who gets custody. It is a pivotal moment, this crossroads: of deciding — do I still believe in love, and if so, am I willing to allow it to transform this relationship into something they make movies about?

In other words, do I believe love is the most powerful force in the world? Can it overcome any obstacle —including indifference?

I believe it can. In fact, I know it can, but it means making choices. It means reaching the crossroads and choosing the narrow path, the one leading to a marriage so real and intimate it will make our kids want to get married.

Here’s how we did it...

* This post from Emily Freeman with Who Else Wants to Find Hope in the Dark?
"I had to crane my neck to see it, but I can tell you the sunset that night was stunning, all neon orange and pink light. The kids loved it. I did, too.

Mostly, though, I kept my eyes trained straight ahead in the direction opposite of that sun show. I watched the more gentle, unassuming, quiet rise of the moon.

Words from a Walter de la Mare poem came to mind like they always do, lines I memorized years ago:
Slowly, silently now the moonwalks the night in her silver shoon;This way, and that, she peers and seesSilver fruit upon silver trees.
As we drove beneath the invisible arc between them, sun sinking and moon rising, I thought about all the ways I tend to look for the brightest light. I want to capture it, hold on to it, keep it close when I sense it sinking away.

But the darkness can be a kind companion as well, comforting and still. The moon reminded me of that, how it’s important to find a way to live with both, to find a way to walk between them without only facing one or the other."

* This post by Tammy Hendricksmeyer over at Outside the City Gate with On Claiming Your Priesthood... 
"I want to know more. I want to know what God says about me, about us. I want to see it for myself, touch it, smell it, hold it in my hands. I seek Truth for my own sake. For our sake. I do not wait for a modern day Moses to bring back parts of God for me. If he wants to go, let him. But I’m coming too.

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9 HCSB

I am a living tablet. I am a house and the Holy Spirit, my permanent resident. Together, you and I, we are the Bride. Over coffee, or phone calls, or playgrounds, in Him, we are the church. And I need this kind of church in you. These are friendships of little scarlet ropes carrying Jesus to each other.

There is a spiritual exercise but it looks a lot like weakness. I want to go there. I want to run to the tomb and discover how He lives more today than He did on that cross."

This post by Ashley Larkin with Standing on the rim of summer...
"God is God of the sabbath and God of the carpool. God is God of the laundry and God of shared tears. God is God of the victorious and God of the destitute. God is God of the filled bowl and of the empty.

Some days our bowls hold manna, what-is-it flakes of daily bread, and not a bit more. Other days, our bowls fill with sun-soaked fruit so abundant we stumble over ourselves to share their juice. Some days, we behold the shine of another’s bowl and are mesmerized by the way it catches glints of promise. Other days, we find ourselves so struck by the beauty of her cracked one, holding sorrows and passion, life and loss and pain as it does — see how it is all her offering, and it makes the breath catch."

* This post from Lori Harris over at GraceTable with A KINGDOM BREAKING OVER BREAD...
"Wherever Jesus went, Love walked among the people and everyone was invited to the table called Grace.

And this is the model we’ve been given to follow, friends.

It’s not a six-point strategic method for winning lost souls or a four spiritual laws pamphlet or a seven night revival with eighteen stanzas of Just As I Am.

It’s a table, a meal, and Jesus in us.

That’s it.

A new kingdom is breaking, y’all."

* This post from Lisa Jo Baker over at Incourage with How to Recognize the Glorious Ordinary in Your Life...
"Their questions will surprise you and if you’re not careful you’ll find your mind wandering to the sink still full of dishes or the emails you haven’t returned.

But if you pay attention, you’ll find that you’re living the extra part of your ordinary. Right there at 9:15pm on a Wednesday night.

After getting back too late from the pool or the baseball game. There is music dancing down the hall and the baby girl blowing kisses from her bed and the nearly ten-year-old confessing to you that he worries people will make fun of him if he keeps sleeping with his blankie.

So you lean in close and tell him there are big strapping college boys who cart their blankies off with them, hidden in the bottom of their suitcases, and you hope that he never gets embarrassed by admitting the things he loves.

You watch as his hair falls just so across his eyebrows — it probably needs to be cut again. And how without his glasses his lazy eye wanders with interest across your face and you can’t even believe these tall, gangly limbs were once folded in prayer inside your belly.

And here it is — the real life living answer to those prayers. He’s lying across from you in the rumpled bed and you dared to think your life ordinary?

No, these are the moments for kneeling in laughter and mystery and delight as you absorb every nuance on that face that can split your gut in ridiculous jokes one minute and crunch your heart the next with disrespect and frustration.

This is living.

Not just the making room for it with clean floors and plates and toothbrushes put away and sinks wiped down (why on earth can’t they ever remember to rinse the sink? I mutter every night).

No this is what those spaces are made for.

They hold room for the people.

And it’s the people that make us extraordinary."

* This post from Elizabeth Marshall over at GraceTable with LABORS OF LOVE [BRINGING OURSELVES TO THE BANQUET]...
"We serve it up. On Chinette, on silver, on silver-plate, pottery or on a paper napkin. On what we have. Our offerings are prepped and presented. The art is delivered via social media and the Internet. And it is consumed.

But God. Once released, I believe through an amazing small miracle (are there small miracles) our offerings are ingested by the soul who needs our art. Today. It becomes the soul-food needed that day for that soul. One soul or many. Our poetry or our prose. The song, the painting, the teaching, the devotional all feed the body.

We are the new girl. The Southern girl. The post-menopasal, graying emptying-nester. We are the tired one, the one without a book or an agent. We are the hungry ones. The crying-out ones. The poet. And we come to the community with our work-in-progress selves. There is shrimp peel or eggshell in the salad on some days. But we have come with our covered dish. To the pot-luck. To the celebration.

And we do so hope you find something of ourselves to like. No–love.

We have brought you pieces of us. Every day you get to know us a little bit more. If you remain in community. The layers of self are peeled back. The authentic writer, blogger, artist becomes more HD and less flat. We invest in knowing each other. Sharing stories of our pain and despair, as well as our uncontainable joy.

We celebrate life. Our successes. Even our failures. As we constantly give Him thanks for the gifts and the bottomless outpouring of grace."

* This post from Holley Gerth over at Incourage with A Better Kind of Ambition...
"It’s in the quiet I can hear God whisper, “This is good, but not My best for you.”

It’s in the quiet my soul is restored.

It’s in the quiet I learn life is more about being than doing.

I need quiet and yet it never happens on its own. Life is loud. Maybe that’s why the Apostle Paul tells us to make it our ambition. We have to chase after it for there to be any possibility of it being part of our days.

Lately I’m finding quiet in little ways, like writing out one Psalm in a journal each morning, going on walks, stepping away from social media and doing creative work that will never be seen by the world. It feels hard and awkward. I have to fight thoughts like “You’re being so unproductive” the entire time.

But when I’m done, I serve better. I live better. I love better."

* This one from right HERE with The Gift of Quiet Stillness... A Five Minute Friday Post...
"With the low rhythmic hum of traffic, I closed my eyes and re-imagined it to be the steady sound of the tide, rolling in and rolling out. The birds songs lifted high on an ocean breeze that tasted almost salty on my lips.

I inhale deep... hold it in... 
lungs full of God's breath...
and slowly, I exhale.

I opened my eyes and catch diamonds sparkling in the grass. At first, just one, but it's amazing what you can see once your eyes are trained to look... droplets of water resting on stems, shouting praises to God.

I close my eyes again and feel the sun soaking in deep, stirring my soul to awaken to a holy hush... a moment of silence."

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 little motivational speech for you - because, I'm all about inspiring and encouraging you to...well, just do it! (Tip: Maybe don't crank up the sound on this one...)

Happy Weekend! 


  1. Oh so much goodness friend!! Love Ya!!

    1. I know! Even more than usual... but I couldn't narrow it down! ;)


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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