March 2, 2017

What We Learned This Winter...

I keep meaning to not be so quiet here, friends! But Life, man... it is busy full and (mostly) great and God is being pretty bossy with me in staying true to my OneWord this year.  More on that below.

It is time for Emily Freeman's quarterly link-up on What We Learned, and it's my favorite! It gives me opportunity to reflect back over a few months at a time and process more fully what God is teaching me! (I'd love for you to join in, too!)

10 Random Things I Have Learned so far this year...

1. I learned that my OneWord365 is gonna be Oh So Bossy this year, but in all the best ways!

This means less talky and even less walky... it means I am holding my words and my thoughts close and allowing myself the time it takes to let them align with His words and His thoughts. 

Dwell... It's so good. But it can be so hard to actually DO!

It is like Self-Care, and this world we live in finds Dwelling to be a foreign concept... or maybe just something you do while on vacation... or maybe just a concept but not actually something you do at all... ever.

  Except all those Scriptures that tell us to Be still and know that He is God, or to Wait on the Lord or to Stand and watch the salvation of the Lord... except how He calls us to walk with Him and learn the unforced rhythms of grace... and how His yoke is easy and His burden is light... except how we tend to ignore all the whispers to come away and to slow and we just keep on going, full speed ahead, until we hit a wall and are FORCED to Dwell.

Except for all of those things.

We will rest and dwell and slow when we are forced to, but isn't there a better way?

Jesus says yes. 
  Yes there is!

And so I am following His lead and I am quieter in this season... learning once again to not get ahead or just try to keep up... but to yearn to walk, side by side, shoulder to shoulder, heart to heart, in step with God.

2. I learned how I am wired... and to be okay with that!

Last Fall, when writing the last What We Learned post, I wrote this: 
"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!"  
I am finding this is not such a rare thing and I am loving how encouraging others to do this is opening up more conversations and letting more of what God is doing be recognized and processed a little bit deeper... more fully. 

I am finding that knowing how I am wired releases me from trying to keep up.  I am wired Slow.  I tried to ignore that for a few months --which I tend to do, a couple of times a year, actually! It didn't work out so good, and I am learning to VALUE the way He wired me! (I wrote a post about that here.)

2. I learned Winter must be obsessed with me, because he just won't go away!?

I know... it's so pretty, right? Yeah --only in pictures, people! ONLY IN PICTURES!

It is MARCH and we have yet to have a Sunday this year without snow!

I will say... this happened today:

It was nearly 50 degrees and we saw the sun here and there, too! Of course, we are also on a Winter Storm Warning and we're supposed to get snow on Saturday and/or Sunday... again... some more. #nothankyou

3. I learned about more MUST READ books... 

I know! I do... some of these I was honored to be on the Book Launch team which usually means I was gifted the book before it's released, and others were books I stumbled upon thanks to friends and while I know I can be like a broken record... seriously, you guys, you need to read these books!

Fear Fighting by Kelly Balarie

  Listen, I love Kelly and she is adorable and such an amazing person/cheerleader/encourager so when I heard she had a book coming out, I knew I would want it simply to support her. God and I had kicked out Fear years ago, so I wasn't expecting a lot of 'new' information but fear is sneaky. He slips right in unaware and we all need the reminders once in awhile to not let him stick around! I have to say, though, that this book is a must read --even if you think you are already nailing it! I love that it comes with a study guide in the book and I also enjoyed the "Something to Chew On" segments at the end of each chapter!

Craving Connection - from the (in)courage community
  I'm still reading this one... but come on! How can you go wrong with the (in)courage community talking about friendships, right?

Change Your Home, Change Your Life with Color by Moll Anderson
  I can't tell you how excited I was to be on this Launch Team.  I mean --this book is GORGEOUS!  Breathtaking and so full of (...wait for it...) Color! But beyond the beauty of the photos, it's the words and the questions that will awaken you to the color in your own life! I am forcing myself to read this one slow, so I am only about halfway through it but it will be out in the open for a long time, just so I can flip through it when I need inspiration! (Plus - the fun recipes that go with every color... nice!)

Nothing to Prove by Jennie Allen
  I have to be honest here... I pre-ordered this one and got it right before the IF:Gathering and I have only read the first few pages so far. But it's Jennie... and I was part of her online Village as she was writing and editing this book and this message? Well - it's a message we all need!

Unoffendable by Brant Hansen

This concept of living an Unoffendable life is one my Honey and I have embraced for nearly 20 years... it's not always easy (ahem!) but it is ALWAYS worth it! This book is such a great read... full of truth and testimony (and humor too! Thanks for that!)  I can't recommend this book enough! Read: GO GET IT AND UNDERLINE ALL THE THINGS!

4. I learned that when you say yes to jumping off a cliff or taking a risk... sometimes the free fall is graciously slower than you expect!

I realize that we are already on #4 and I am just now talking about Dad's House church. (#sorrynotsorry) Trust me, I am learning ALL KINDS of things in planting a church, but this was an unexpected, oh so gracious, lesson!

Here's the deal: We are growing.  

Praise God and Jazz Hands and all of that, of course! What this means, however, is that we are outgrowing our amazing building.  We love where we meet and there are so many great things about it... but it is small. We have fewer and fewer open seats each week, and because we want to grow and continue on doing what we feel called to do, we began looking at other locations awhile ago.  

I won't get all into it here and now, but the search was short and God led us to where we will be moving fairly early on.  It felt GINORMOUS and way too big and way too expensive and would require way too much work and get the idea.  

But God, right? Yeah. Him.  We have no idea when we will actually move in but things are headed in that direction and everything was going fast until we said Yes. Then, for who knows why, God seemed to slow everything down while telling us to keep moving forward! 

The free fall has been graciously slow(er than we expected!) and we see His Hands all over it! I can't wait to fill you in more but until then, pray.  We feel His pleasure all over it --even though those "way too" statements may feel true. We jumped off... and the free fall is, for now anyway, in slow motion!

5. I learned that no matter how much work it takes, hosting an IF:Gathering is always, always, ALWAYS worth it!

As in, always!  This was our second time hosting an IF:Local at Dad's House and while my team grew a little, I realized towards the end of planning, we need to grow even more and I need to be better at delegating! #imstilllearning

I was blessed with a great planning team, and an amazing group of hosts and co-hosts who helped lead throughout the weekend and oh my goodness, as always, IF did not disappoint!

We met in small groups in homes across the Valley on Friday night, like they did in the book of Acts! (Because, of course!)

And then on Saturday, we all gathered together for Day Two!

The ladies (we had 42 sign up!) were all blessed and amazed!  
Friendships were created and strengthened and God moved in mighty ways --some, we could see right away, and in others, we are just beginning to see His hand!

Even after the event... I couldn't get enough!  I rewatched some of the sessions that I knew I needed to glean from from the comfort of my own home and let all the truth and love and power wash over me!

Plus, of course, I bought the downloads to watch and glean from again and again!

6. I learned that I am still in love with Ellie Holcomb!

I can't stop listening to this CD! It's just so powerful and timely and amazing! I have loved Ellie for awhile, but I hadn't listened to her for months and months! I had forgotten that her new CD was coming out and then there she was, leading worship at IF and singing Red Sea Road. 

Even though it was a brand new song and no one at Dad's House really knew who she was or knew the words to the song, they all joined in and sang with her in our little theater in the round and we all felt the impact of the words and the message!  I knew I had to have the whole album and let me just say, it's ALL incredible! And yes... it's still on repeat in my car!

7. I learned Hosting/Organizing a large church event and then going to a Leadership Conference with your staff* can tap you out... even when it is all good and all God. (Hint: Self Care is a thing!)

I had two days to recuperate from IF.  Two days! Two days, for this introvert, is not enough for a regular week. Two days of resting from a large event, and then transitioning to another event with lots of people --even your own people... is definitely not enough time! 

And yet... we knew it was God and the timing couldn't be helped and surely He knew this too and He knows me... so He would come to my rescue, right?

We headed out over the mountains in what was easily the worst winter storm watch we had ever seen.  

We made it over the Pass and to the house before anyone else from our Team and we were able to settle in, chill out, and introvert together before the others arrived.  The others, by the way, barely made it over the Pass before it closed, literally shutting down travel from one side of the State to the other for days... yes, days!!!

                                          Mmm  (Pretty!) Coffee!

We attended the PNW Global Legacy Leadership Conference and there were some powerful speakers, along with great worship and ministry times.

                                                  The View of Seattle from our Deck!

It was a fun few days and it was so good to just learn and hang out and bond with our staff!

Yes. That's right.
I said, 'our Staff!'

* - We have a STAFF, y'all! Did you catch that?  

We went from the Pastors and us (Assoc Pastors) to adding 5 more people! So now we have Pastors and Assoc Pastors, plus our Worship Pastor, our Dad's Heart Outreach Pastor, and our new Pastors of Finance and Kids Culture!

(See? Growing!)

8. I (re)learned that creating with paint feeds my soul... (it's just that sometimes I forget!)

We all do it... we push aside that thing that we think is 'just' a hobby, or just something we do for fun because Life, man! It's busy and bossy and really, who has the time?

But I (re)learned that doing those things help to refuel and refill us!  It is a form of self-care and it is oh so necessary to live a full and healthy life!

So whatever it is for you... figure it out and make time to do it.  Even if it is just a few minutes to start... start something and give your soul room to breathe!

9. I learned that my smart phone or blog or 'connection' to social media is not the boss of me... (Hint: It's ok necessary to unplug from time to time!)

In following His lead to pull away a bit, and in giving myself permission to learn and relearn the unforced rhythms of grace... I have found peace in leaving the phone behind or being intentional about not having any screens around me when I am trying to read or study or simply enjoy a cup of coffee or lunch with a friend.  There is freedom in not having to know everything, all the time, at the touch of a screen and a Google search. There is a deeper exhale when I realize that I have reconnected in all the best ways (with the Lord, with old friends, with myself and my own thoughts and feelings) while allowing myself to be disconnected for larger chunks of time.

I know it sounds dangerous and risky... but I challenge you to just give it a try! Maybe over the weekend... just try it and see! (#yourewelcome

Side Note: I also learned that I am in love with my MacBook Pro.  We just got our first Mac for church and oh my... I don't even know my way around it much yet and I am completely smitten! (So there's that!) #balance #keepinitreal

10. I (re)learned that everything is not your story to tell... even when you know stuff and it's really hard to keep quiet!

Yeah... so I know some stuff.  And that is part of the OTHER reason why I have been a bit quieter around here.  

I write about what I know and that usually stems from real life and I am not so good at being vague or skirting the issues... and yet, as bloggers, it is OH SO IMPORTANT for us to remember that everything is not our story to tell.

So, I know some things... but for now, I'm keeping quiet. 

(No... it's not a book deal. #notthattheresanythingwrongwiththat!) 

I will tell you when I can, and we will talk it out and give God all the glory, but for now... what I can tell you is that I found these extremely adorable shoes for $10.00 and I couldn't say no, even though they were not the boots I was shopping for!
See? Super cute!

What about you? What have YOU learned so far this year? New recipes, new Apps, new shoes, new ideas? I'd love to hear in the comments below!

As usual for this post, I am Linking up with EMILY FREEMAN

P.S.  I'm also inking up with these lovely writers:

Holly Barrett for #TestimonyTuesday

Lori Schumaker for #MomentsofHope

Jennifer Dukes Lee for #TellHisStory


  1. You always learn so much. It's been snowy here but now suppose to get into the 50s. That will be divine. I need to add several of those books to my list. I so need to grab Ellie's album. I loved loved Red Sea Road when she sang it at IF. I need to try and be better about disconnecting too. I also should try to write a What I Learned post too.

    1. You will love the entire album! xoxo
      So far --no snow. But tonight it's still supposed to show up... I am praying against its' unwelcomed arrival! ;)

  2. I enjoyed getting a glimpse into all that the Lord has been teaching you about Him and about yourself. Great testimonies. :-)

    1. Thanks so much, Karen! It's nice to have you stop by! He really is teaching us all the time!

  3. Great to read about the growth of y'all's church. I have learned to stop saying aloud that I am overwhelmed. I can only used that word if talking about God's love and blessings.

    1. Oh that's so good! Yes - I am only desiring to be overwhelmed BY HIM!!! So good! Thanks for sharing that little bit of wisdom! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  4. Teachable you. Great review. Just keep dwelling...xo

  5. You write like you are--exuberant, joyous, truthful, gracious, all while magnifying Jesus Christ--& I love it!

    1. Well now that is just the sweetest comment ever! (Insert blushing emoji) ;) I love it... and you! So good to 'see' you here, my 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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