September 5, 2015

That Thing I Do Now - Volume 112

Can we just all avoid the conversation about how it is SEPTEMBER already? 

Y'all know how much I adore Fall... and yet... I'm not so sure I am ready for September, and yet - here he is - hanging out like he lives here already!  I know it's been a busy week, with many things starting anew! New classes and new routines, less chill time and more bossy lists of things to do! Still - you know how I love to hook you up with a little reading material... Posts from here and there that I think you just shouldn't miss!

Today, we are featuring posts by Crystal Stine, Kris Vallotton, Holley Gerth, Lisa Murray, Logan Wolfram, Alyssa J. Howard, Annie Barnett, Lisa Jo Baker, Jennifer Dukes Lee, 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 post by Crystal Stine over at Incourage with Finding Hope in the Humbling...
"God is taking what I considered to be my best and is shaking it free. My pride is being sifted out so all that remains is a humble heart and a body that can’t take a single step without the strength of the Holy Spirit.

I have spent the last several years climbing. Quickly. Piling up achievements, honors, glory, praise, rewards. I’ve earned degrees, promotions, raises, elite certifications, hugs from high level executives, and invitations beyond my wildest imaginings. I’ve felt invincible.

And I acted like it.

Until, by the grace of God, I lost it all.

I’ve been shaken to the core, rocked straight off that ladder I was so proud to be climbing.

And the sifting? Goodness, friends, it hurts. The tearing down of pride left me empty, emotionally drained, and questioning all I’d worked for, all I’d done, and what might be next.

My flesh wanted to lean toward anger. If I could choose, I would have pointed out everyone else’s flaws, faults, and failures to keep that last toe on the rung of achievement. This refining though? It rips away what I would choose and leaves me weak to anything but the leading of the Spirit.

And in the tears and prayer God revealed a plan..."

* This post by Kris Vallotton with 15 KEYS TO SUCCESSFUL PARENTING... 
"Kathy and I have raised four children in our 40 years of marriage. We have had our share of tough seasons. We know what it’s like to pace the floor at night in dread, crying out to God for a fever to break in our tiny baby. We understand the grief of disappointment, and the heartbreak of teenagers who fail. We have experienced the joy of first dates and the anguish of first rejections.

Raising children is exhilarating and challenging, clarifying and confusing, frustrating and freeing, but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. Although I don’t think there is any magic formula to raising kids, I do believe there are principles that really help a lot. Here are 15 keys that I hope will assist you in parenting..." (Seriously... this list, you guys!!!)

* This post from Holley Gerth with Friend, You Can Rest... 
"Dear You,

It’s okay to rest. It’s even more than okay—it’s essential. Even when it’s the hardest choice you can make. I know you can feel as if there is so much to do, and a moment of quiet can feel like something wrongfully stolen. There’s so much depending on you. How can rest be anything but selfish?

Yet rest is exactly what enables you to love well for a lifetime. I struggled with this for years until a friend gently laid her hand on my heart and whispered, “If you never get refilled, how will you be able to pour out?” You are not infinite. You are human. You have limits. Acknowledging that is not selfish; it’s worship. Rest says to God and to our wild world, “I know I’m not in charge. And I trust the One who is.”

Rest comes in many different forms..."

* This post by Lisa Murray with When You’re Struggling To Find Peace in the Messes and Mishaps of Life...
"We all have mornings, moments, even days, when nothing goes as planned. We feel caught off-guard, behind, frustrated. Everything in those moments begins to pull us away from our center. We begin listening to the old voice inside speak to us, not of our belovedness, not of His unmerited, divine assistance toward us, but the voice that speaks of our distinct lack —lack of time management, lack of thought, lack of intelligence, even a lack of genuine goodness, value, capability, and worth.

Whether big or small things, what we do in these moments is of vital importance if we are going to cultivate an environment of emotional abundance for our souls to thrive. There are three ways I’ve found peace in the messes and mishaps of life.


Some might think this sounds silly, unsophisticated. Yet breathing is the place where I prevent my body from going into a physiological state of distress. Breathing allows me to lower my heart rate, quiet my mind, and return home to myself, my center.

My body, mind, and spirit are intrinsically connected. My body is my internal emotional thermostat. I cannot be spiritually at peace if my body is a wreck, tense, or overwhelmed. Neither can I be emotionally at peace if my muscles are rigid with stress. Breathing allows me to monitor and adjust the temperature inside my heart and mind.

Exhale the worry. Release the thoughts that desire to drag you into captivity. Don’t hold onto them. Inhale peace. Let your breath fill all of the strained and shallow spaces in your body. Just breathe. Rest.


When I quiet my heart and mind enough, when I remove the clutter that leaves me scrambling for any external means to visit peace upon my soul, the funniest thing happens — I start listening within, deep inside my heart. And amazingly, I begin to hear."

This post by Logan Wolfram with The Tension of Adulting...
“I was supposed to have a meeting this morning.  But then, one person called and said he’d be late because his car wouldn’t start this morning.  Another one said her son had an emergency doctor’s appointment after a fall resulting in a split chin and a couple of cracked teeth.  And then on the homefront for me, our air conditioner went out and the service guy came to fix it right at the time of the meeting. 75% of us supposed to be in that meeting got all kinds of wonky beginnings to this week.

Man, adulting can be hard.

We celebrated my birthday this weekend.  I turned 37, and glory hallalujah, does this older skin feel good!!  Of course, it all sags and bags and wrinkles more than it did 15 years ago, because… AGE. But, despite looking like I opened up a zipper in said loose skin on my thighs to dump in a container of cottage cheese, the birthday suit I’m wearing these days sure does fit better than ever before.  The older I get, the more I like me.  The older I get, the more life’s curveballs don’t throw me for the same sort of dramatic loop they did years ago.  Adulting can be rough, but I’m growing into it I think...

This post by Alyssa J. Howard with Sabbath Rest: What Does This Mean for Christians?
“I’ve always been intrigued by the Sabbath. Growing up, I understood it to be the day we went to church. I was taught that I was honoring it by giving my Sundays to God. As an adult, however, I questioned this point of view.

I really began to ponder the true meaning of the Sabbath when my Bible study dove into the Law of Moses last year.  Is there more to the Sabbath than I realize? Is it possible that I have gotten it wrong all these years?

The Sabbath was obviously very important to God. Next to circumcision, it is probably one of the most important aspects of Judaism. Unlike circumcision, however, it wasn’t simply a sign of God’s covenant with Abraham. The Sabbath was ordained by God at the creation of the world when God rested from His work on the seventh day. It would also become one of the Ten Commandments. The Law is full of Sabbath laws where God required His people to rest from their work and rely on Him to meet their needs.

By the time Jesus came, however, the Sabbath laws had become greatly distorted. Jesus condemned the religious teachers of the day for making the Sabbath more about rules rather than rest.

Then Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath.” – Mark 2:27 (NLT)

The Sabbath wasn’t a holy day on its own; it was made holy by those who chose to honor and obey God with their time. God designed the Sabbath to be a gift for all mankind. He created us. He knows of our need for physical, mental, and spiritual rest. He knows we have a tendency to overwork ourselves, and He desires that we not be in bondage to our work.

The Sabbath has always been about rest...”  

This post by Annie Barnett over at GraceTable with When Art Tells The Truth...
These are the friends who are teaching me to live honest, to live outside the paradigm of perfectionism. They are teaching me that an open door need not lead to an immaculate home, and that answering the proverbial “How are you?” with tears is a gift of trust. We’re together to discuss a book, but we make food together and let the reality of our days and marriages and heartaches spill out unscripted. They’re not looking for perfect. These are women who value process over product, authenticity over image, dialogue over platitudes. 

They’re changing me, and they’re changing the way I create. I’m beginning to approach my brush and pen with the same vulnerability fostered by my Thursday friends: This is me right now, this is all I have to give, can we sit together here? 

When I return to the blank page and wet my brush, I paint a little looser. My paintings are less a testament to my skill and training and more a reflection of my story right now, imperfect but becoming. "

This post by Lisa Jo Baker over at Incourage with The Lost Art of Listening...
"Some days a friend is trying to share and instead of laying down all the things we’re mentally fiddling around with and focusing our heads, hearts, eyes, and mouths at our friend, we’re actually preoccupied with a sort of mental gymnastics planning what WE want to say next.

Sometimes I imagine those conversations like this:

Friend: Gah, I’m so sad today. I feel stupid and dumb at my job, and there’s this weird nagging loneliness I can’t seem to shake.

Me: (internally thinking: Oh man, I know EXACTLY how that feels — this week has been the WORST. Just wait till I tell her about how I blew that deadline and how I’m sure my boss thinks I’m stupid and why won’t my kids go to bed on time anymore.)

Friend takes a breath: —-

Me: Oh man, I know EXACTLY how that feels — this week has been the WORST. Just wait till I tell you about how I blew that deadline and how I’m sure my boss thinks I’m stupid and why won’t my kids go to bed on time anymore.

Friend: (stranded and without a way to steer the conversation back to the encouragement they so desperately need just feels even lonelier instead).

The thing is, sometimes it’s not our turn to talk.

“Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear.” {James 1: 19-21, MSG}

Sometimes, listening is the most powerful gift we can give a friend..."

* This post from Jennifer Dukes Lee with 
When God Calls You to Do Something Crazy? Go Ahead and Do It...
"Weird. That’s the second time I’ve seen that man in two days,” Jenn remarked.

We watched through my windshield as the man stepped out of his van. He had arms like sticks, shoved into an old navy suit coat with papers spilling out of the pockets. His hair was uncombed, a raggedy brown mop. He walked with a shuffle. His palms looked like they’d been blackened with oil.

I turned to Jenn.

“You’re feeling The Nudge, aren’t you?” I asked.

That’s what Jenn calls the prompting work of the Holy Spirit: The Nudge.

The nudge is what happens when a person feels suddenly compelled in her spirit to make a phone call, send a card, knock on a door, pay for someone else’s meal, walk to the altar, raise your hand in the crowd.

Can I confess something? The Nudge scares the daylights out of me. Sometimes, The Nudge compels us to do stuff that feels just plain bizarre. But my … how dangerous we would be for the Kingdom, if we always followed The Nudge. How beautifully dangerous.

Jenn and I sat in my car a while, watching that man. I vice-gripped the steering wheel with both hands, frankly a little scared of what Jenn might do. Our kids were in the back seat, silently, waiting to see.

They knew what we knew: God was up to something. We were about to find out what it was.

* This one from right HERE with The Rhythm of the Sway...
"I hallow Your Name, and give You room come in like a flood, let Your Winds blow.
And I Lean In, Swaying in the breeze.

When we are willing to sway,
we will not break!

The Wind blows and lifts up that which was
trampled upon and beaten down...
And oh how I have felt like that, 
from time to time...

And I watch the breeze
make waves of this tall grass,
and I see it's like fingertips or wings,
caressing and dancing around...
and I sense the Rhythm of the Sway.

The wind and the waves won't break me,
because You bend me and remake me."

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 commercial that I think we could all benefit from! Maybe even this weekend! Enjoy!

Happy Weekend! 


  1. I missed a few of these. I'll have to check them out still. Jennifer Dukes Lee's post was one of my absolute faves this week!

    1. Yes - That Jennifer! She always hits it out of the park!

  2. "The wind and the waves won't break me,
    because You bend me and remake me."

    Oh, I really liked this a lot! Bending and remaking can be difficult, especially when I'm being a stubborn and rigid little limb!! But yes, Lord, transform me.


    1. Oh friend... I can tend to want to be rigid and stubborn too! But His way is so much better!


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