December 30, 2016

I Am So Done With Change... a OneWord365 Wrap Up Post

I found this movement way back in 2012.  Since then, I have joined with the growing community where we pick one little word... or actually, we allow one little word come and pick us! It feels a little more long-lasting than those resolutions I make and forget about within a few weeks time. 

What I love about OneWord365 is how by simply inviting one simple 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 2016 was "Change" and if you remember, I was not so fond of that idea! I felt like I had already DONE that! #pleaseandthankyou #movealongnow

I wrote a bit about Change here and here and here --but really, a lot of the Change that I encountered was deep and quiet... and it hasn't really fully surfaced yet.

In reflecting over 2016, I realized that Change was super bossy this year. I think he sensed my initial hesitation, even though he'd been courting me for years. 

December 28, 2016

Ermagherd... Berks! An Annual What I Read post for 2016

Hey y'all... Here we are near the end of 2016 and, well, you know how I love me some books... (or 'berks!')

So now is the time to reflect back over the year and revisit some of my favorite reads! I'm linking up with Kate Motaung for a special Five Minute Friday link up on BERKS!!! 

Here is a random list of books I read and loved this year! I feel like I slowed down a bit in all the reading this year... growing a (church) family took priority over both blogging and reading a bit more in 2016 but there were still some amazing words that were devoured!

Here are just some of my favorites, in no particular order because you all KNOW how I can not pick a favorite!

We will start, however, with my TOP FIVE READS:

December 26, 2016

Fear Fighting: Do you Live Fear or Faith? - A Guest Post by Kelly Balarie

Listen,  if you have not yet 'met' my friend Kelly Balarie --well then, you are in for a real treat! If you have... then you already know!  Kelly has a new book coming out on January 3rd (pre-order now!) and I am honored to be on her Book Launch Team. I started reading it this morning and you guys--the timing is precious with a New Year and all the thoughts of Freedom and Fresh Starts and Do Overs and oh my goodness, if when we get Fear off our backs... we fly!

So, today, Kelly is sharing a bit about what Fear Fighting means to her. Enjoy!

Just yesterday, my friend told me her daughter has lice. 
I hugged that girl yesterday!

Would lice go from her hair to mine? Would I be cleaning the entire house, washing every sheet and stuffed animal, and pulling a thin comb through every inch of hair on my family’s heads from now until eternity? I can't handle this thought. 

Next time, fist bumps will trump hugs.

Fear is the plumbing of discontentment.

It is the spillage of hesitation and loneliness.

It is the brakes to love.

It is the bulldozer to close relationships.

It is the boundary holding you back from God’s unlimited plan for you. 

December 21, 2016

A Look Back... Our Top 16 Posts in 2016 and a little review...

We are linking up our Top 16 posts from this year over at Kate Motaung's place this week... 

I started doing this Year in Review about three or four years ago and I love it because it makes me gives me the chance to look back through the blog and see which posts got the most traffic and which ones stirred up the most conversations in the Comment section! However, last year got out of hand in the review... it was a mini ebook.

We're not doing that again... ain't nobody got time for that!

So this year, I am just picking the post with the most conversation and at the end, I will list the TOP 16 posts with the most traffic (which will mostly be from my 31 Days series this year!)

So... here is 2016 in Review:

December 19, 2016

Now is the Time... A Five Minute Friday Post

I missed out on the last #fmfparty of the year last Thursday, but our Seahawks were playing Thursday Night Football so... #GoHawks  (Still - you know I missed y'all!) ...and then, well - you know how it goes with the bossy lists, full schedules, and Christmas right around the corner... but I'm here now! (Ya see what I did there? Well... you will!)

This is Five Minute Friday (- a five minute timed free write) and our One Word Prompt is: NOW


Now.'s such a bossy word, right?  At least it can be! 

It's very decisive... maybe that is more like it.  

It sets a timer and hits start before you have a moment to settle in and prepare.  

Except... I can't say for you --but for me? I can still manage to put 'Now' off for a little bit... to push him aside, or ask him for grace because 'Now' is so often just a little more than inconvenient. He sneaks up on us somehow while being in plain sight. 

NOW... it can be exciting and full of adventure and 'Finally!' and 'Why did it take so long to get here?' OR it can be dreaded and it can stir up feelings of inadequacy and 'I can't yet!' and 'How is it time already?'

December 9, 2016

JOY -- A Five Minute Friday Post

I finally made it back to the party and while I didn't write last night, it was so good to jump in and connect with the tribe! This morning, we woke up to a Winter Wonderland and sipped on coffee as Christmas music played softly in the background while sitting side by side silently doing our own reading routine... ah yes... and this brings us to our One Word Prompt today...

This is Five Minute Friday (- a five minute timed free write) and our One Word Prompt is: JOY


Joy... I know it's all "Tis the Season" and Christmasy and all of that but sometimes, especially in this season, Joy can feel a bit elusive, right?

I mean... we can forget that Joy is available all year round and suddenly, here we are as another trip around the sun is winding down and we look back and we look ahead and we forget to choose Joy!  

We forget that we even have that choice in front of us. 

Instead we accidentally give in to the heaviness and the darkness surrounding and pressing in close and our thoughts wander to the edges of the unknown and convince us of the feelings of abandonment or at least of our own aloneness.

BUT God... But Joy... Unspeakable and full of glory...

We can choose this... 

December 7, 2016

When New Traditions Take Root... a Guest Post at Incourage

I have long been a fan of tradition and of celebrating the seasons. 

As much as I adore autumn, I love the changing of fall to winter… of pulling decorations to deck the halls on the outside, while realigning my heart to prepare Him room on the inside!

I’m fairly new to the practice of Advent and I love both the heritage of how it’s been done through the ages as well as the grace to make it work in modern times in a culture that is bent on busy.

My Honey and I, --we are empty nesters now and we’re finding the need to let go of some older customs as well as looking for new ways to make memories that last and that count...

I am honored to be sharing today over at Incourage.  To read the rest of the story, I'd love for you to join me HERE!

Also, I encourage you to Sign up here to receive free daily notes from (in)courage, sent right to your inbox! 

I'm also linking up with the lovely writer communities linked below:

Kelly Chripczuk  for #SmallWonders 

Holly Barrett for #TestimonyTuesday




December 5, 2016

Crave - A Five Minute Friday Post

I have missed my tribe... but Life, y'all! I am hoping to make it this week for sure! I'm even going to write it on my bossy day planner so I don't forget (theoretically!)

This is Five Minute Friday (- a five minute timed free write) and our One Word Prompt is: CRAVE


Crave... If you hang around this little corner of the interwebs much at all, it will come as no real surprise to you that when I first saw the word prompt, I immediately thought of what my soul craves...

It seems, always, in this season --my soul craves wide open spaces and room to breathe!

Because, no matter where you are or what is on your bossy lists, who couldn't use a little more of that, right?

December 1, 2016

What I Learned... Fall of 2016

I didn't necessarily mean to take a little Thanksgiving break, but it turns out that is what happened!  I pray your holiday was blessed and filled with warmth and love...

I meant to come back and officially congratulate Amy for winning the Gilmore Girls Giveaway... (which -- you know, will be on it's way to you in a day or two... because: apparent Thanksgiving break!) And OF COURSE I wanted to talk all things Gilmore... but (a little) more on that later... 

Right now, it is time for Emily Freeman's quarterly(ish) link-up on What We Learned, and it's my favorite... so you know I had to make myself sit down and reflect back over this fall (and scroll through Instagram) to remind myself of what we've been learning over the past couple of months! A lot of lessons have been heavy, right? But we will keep these mostly light!

I am not only an internal processor... but a SLOW internal processor... so often what that means for me is that I don't fully process the lessons until I've intentionally slowed down a bit and focused on remembering what they were! 

10 Random Things I Have Learned...

November 23, 2016

In Honor of Thanksgiving... and Gilmore Girls: a Giveaway for your Holiday Weekend!

I know... I'm in a bit of denial.

Can you even believe that Thanksgiving is tomorrow? TOMORROW, y'all? 

Since I am hosting, I should be all over this. 

While I have no idea where all my cloth napkins are or what time I need to start cooking the side dishes, I DID make some super cute little handmade Placecards for my table while watching binging Gilmore Girls yesterday so... I pretty much won Tuesday!

Still... we all know that as soon as the tryptophan wears off, the holidays come at us in a chaotic, hectic, glittery frenzy and before we know it we will be staring a brand new year right in the face wondering where our time went, reflecting on how things were simpler back when we were kids, and how life is going by so quickly 'nowadays'... Yes - because apparently we talk like we are OLD now, too!

In honor or Thanksgiving... and Gilmore Girls... and the holidays fast approaching, I have for you today a smorgasboard of Giveaway goodness. 
(See? we are OLD.)

November 21, 2016

A Spoken Word and a Time for a Little Communion --Real Preparation for Thanksgiving Week.

'Tis the season for slowing just a bit before all of the Rush, right?

Well - I used to play that game... but I got off that frenzied way of approaching the holidays long ago! No judging though. I remember how it felt so very necessary!

I am sure I have written about it many times around here, but I gave myself a deadline years ago to guarantee that I would actually get to enjoy the holidays too, and it has been my sanity, y'all!  

We can dive into that maybe next week... but for now... for this week --we are all counting gifts and giving thanks. At least I hope we are!

I know this has been a heavy and hard time for many... things feel dark and doubtful.  

So as I am counting gifts and crafting and binge watching Gilmore Girls (in preparation!) and making menu plans, I wanted to share a little glimpse into our weekend and our Sunday service yesterday at Dad's House where "Small Wonders" abound...

November 18, 2016

When You Need Permission to Enjoy Your One Life... a Five Minute Friday Post.

I actually remembered that it was Thursday last night... and managed to pop my head in to the twitter party for just a few but finding a bossy rhythm back in to writing has proven tricky this year after pouring out during #Write31Days in October.  (I am sure adding the election drama to it hasn't helped!) Instead... I have given myself permission to practice Sabbath and to --well, let's move on to what our prompt is today because I've been giving myself permission to do just that!

This is Five Minute Friday (- a five minute timed free write) and our One Word Prompt is: ENJOY


Wow.  Still, right? 

That is still my reaction to all that is going on in our world right now.

I'm at peace... even when I'm not loving what is happening. 

I mean, what breaks His heart is supposed to be what breaks ours too, right? I think He is less concerned with who won the election than He is with how we are letting Love shine.  

This begs the question, "How ARE we letting His Love shine?"

Life is heavy and hard and it just keeps coming straight for us head on and the fast-paced, no-holds-barred chaos can steal your breath and your sleep and your sanity --if you let it! (So don't you let it!)

In the midst of the darkness, the Lord whispered this to my aching heart:

November 8, 2016

A Prayer for Our Nation...

We made it, y'all.

Election Day... 
  (...and everyone releases a collective sigh!)

Man, I don't know about for you --but for me? This day seemed like it took FOREVER to get here.

And we all know now that it's here... well... it's not over! 
Our praying is really just beginning! 

Last month, during our 31 Days series (Life Happens... and so we pray!) I wrote a post that talked about the need for Healing in our Nation and it closed with a Prayer.

This audio clip is an edited version of that post and I would be honored if you would pray the prayer at the end with me!

If you are interested in reading the full post, click here.

Otherwise, lean in and listen... 

I'd love for you to add your own prayer for America in the comments below! Let's remember to 1Peter 2:17 our way through this today - and beyond!

And let's remember to:

I'm also linking up with the lovely writer community linked below:

Kelly Chripczuk  for #SmallWonders 

Holly Barrett for #TestimonyTuesday

Kelly Balarie for #RaRaLinkUp

Lori Schumaker for #MomentsofHope

Jennifer Dukes Lee for #TellHisStory

October 25, 2016

DAY TWENTY FIVE of 31 Days of Life Happens... and so We Pray! Praying the Psalms

I don't know about you but I know for me, I am sort of sad that this is our last Tuesday together this month!

I have really enjoyed praying the Psalms together with y'all!

As I said before, picking favorites is not my strong suit... but when it comes to talking about the Church... how could we not take on --and pray through-- Psalm 84?

September 19, 2016

When Small Wonders Make an Impact... #TheEncouragementDare

I'm not sure if y'all missed it, but for the first two weeks of September, Dayspring invited us all to participate in #TheEncouragementDare

I shared about it and participated in it more in real life and on facebook and instagram, but didn't really post much about it here.  I meant to, but I was busy writing less and encouraging more! (Ya see what I did there?)

When the dare was brought to my attention, of course I said yes! Encouragement is sort of my jam and even my tagline here (which is my life message) lends itself to taking this dare... this challenge... on a daily basis! 

I mention it every now and then (sarcastic font) that we have planted a church and with Fall and Back to School fast approaching, it was perfect timing for us, as a church, to take on this Dare immediately!

You see, our church has sort of 'adopted' the local public elementary school just down the road from where we gather on Sundays.  We began a relationship with the staff last year when we first opened our doors and it was important to us to love our neighbors well.  

September 15, 2016

The Danger of Being Too Busy to Listen... a Five Minute Friday post

I made it, y'all! I made it to the party and it felt so good to just pop in and reconnect and say hello! I truly am hoping to make this part of my weekly routine once again! We'll just call it self-care and block out the calendar on Thursday evenings! 

This is Five Minute Friday (- a five minute timed free write) and our One Word Prompt for the day is: LISTEN


I am like a broken record when it comes to how God is just always, always, ALWAYS speaking to us!

He is never out of words or giving us the silent treatment.

I know... I know sometimes it feels like that! 

I have written it myself --about my Summer of Silence and how God was less than chatty with me (and how I was not a fan of that!) but even during those months, He was speaking. 

I just had to learn a new way to listen!

It's been no secret lately that I have been tired.

September 13, 2016

When You Know a Good Trade... A Mile Wide Book Review Post

I originally applied to be on Jen Hatmaker's Launch Team for For the Love (because, of course!) Because, well -- I'm no stalker, but I do love me some Jen Hatmaker.  The Team would only consist of 500 people and quickly the thousands (literally) of us who didn't make the team went rogue (at least on Twitter!) and the hashtag #the4500 was created and we became the unofficial backup team.

So when her husband Brandon went to gather a Launch Team for his newest release A Mile Wide he invited us all to play along! With the subtitle of the book being "Trading a Shallow Religion for a Deeper Faith" --well, I know a good trade when I see one!

A Mile Wide: Trading a Shallow Religion for a Deeper Faith by Brandon Hatmaker should be required reading for anyone involved in ministry (which, by the way, is all of us!) 

It's so much more than just Kingdom vs. Religion. It's filled with actual how-to's and tips on how to deepen your walk and actually live out your calling! I finished my ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) and immediately ordered two hardbacks... which I am pretty sure I will be giving away and ordering more!

Brandon is the real deal. He is a straight shooter and as much as I stalk love his wife, I had to break it to my Honey and I was falling for Brandon, too! This Hatmaker team together? World changers! And this book? It's a Game Changer!

September 8, 2016

When He Comes to Heal... a Five Minute Friday post

You guys! I was all set. I even told the Hubby that I had plans of partying AND writing on Thursday night. Like in the olden days.  So he made himself a fishing date with a friend and I had the house to myself. I was early to the party on Twitter and while I waited for everyone to show up --well, I got distracted in all the best ways by a full house! (Read: my Mama... my girlie... and my grand puppy!)

But it's a step in the right direction. It is leading me back to (que heavenly choir!) a glorious routine! Maybe next week I will actually get to chat live. Maybe. 

This is Five Minute Friday (- a five minute timed free write) and our One Word Prompt for the day is: HEAL


I was sick last week.

Like - all week. In bed.

I am not 'good' at being sick, mostly because I have been blessed with good health and have not been laid out flat too many times. So I try not to complain.

Last week, however... I got slammed

It was most likely just a virus of some kind. Nothing really major --and yet, combined with the sneak attack on my emotions and mind too, I felt ransacked and violated by an enemy who just never, ever let's up or backs off.

(Read: Taylor Swift. "Like. Ever.")

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