December 29, 2019

Ermahgerd, Berks!!! (aka Books I Read - The 2019 Edition)

Hey Sweet Readers! 
      Do you even remember me? 

Here we are at the end of another year!  Chances are good that if you are still here, then you were probably with me through most of 2018 as well. You may remember all the issues I battled with my eyes.  So, we know going INTO 2019 that reading all the things was not going to happen! You may remember the surprise I found when counting the books I read last year... even with months of bed rest and no eye strain, I managed to read nearly 20 books! I was hopeful that number would increase this year post-surgery if all went right!  I am happy (Blessed, fortunate, thrilled!) to report that all went right... and now we come to actually count the number of books read in 2019 to see if it increased or not!  Still,  --either way, you know how I love me some books... (or 'berks!' as in, "Ermahgerd! Berks!")

So this is the post where I take time to reflect back over the year and revisit some of my favorites! 

So, here's the deal: 
  I really didn't know how this year would go! 
I mean... I spent much of 2018 on bed rest and unable to read but still managed to read nearly 20 books... well, a handful were listened to instead, but still! 2019 started off with back to back eye surgeries and I'm not sure how much of that whole thing I actually blogged about but let's just say the first eye was miraculous and the second eye --not so much! (At least not right away... not for weeks and weeks and weeks!) But after all my recovery, I am now seeing better than I have my entire life --without the aid of contacts or glasses! (Well - this is real life and I am turning 50 in 2020, so I do use non-prescription Readers... but that's all!)
Still, I thought this list would be shorter because there were a couple of months I was most definitely NOT using my eyes... but it seemed as soon as I could, I was back to having a book in my hand...

November 25, 2019

Count the Cost - A Five Minute Friday post.


I think most of you are well aware that Thanksgiving --well, Thanksgiving is my FAVORITE, Y'all! I love it... even in the midst of Hard and Heavy things... Thanksgiving is what it is all about! It's not always easy to give thanks... but there is always something and someone (read: Someone!) to give thanks for! Enough of that... 
This is a Five Minute Friday post... which simply means I set a timer and free-write for five minutes flat on the one-word prompt: COST... so let's go!


I see the word and my first thought
goes to the saying, "Count the Cost!"
(My second thought is more along the lines of "Oh, it'll cost ya!"
which is only slightly different and just a tiny bit more sarcastic. It's fine.)  

Count the Cost...

How many times have I heard this? 
  How many times have I said it myself?

It means to weigh the options... 
to slow down just enough to remember that
saying Yes to something also means
saying No to something, too!

One of the definitions I looked up
for this phrase actually said
'to start to understand how badly
something has affected you!' 

November 8, 2019

SETTLE - A Five Minute Friday post.


I figured it is WAY past due to sit here and talk about something OTHER than Colossians! (Not that there is anything wrong with that, of course!) It's just I have only been managing to sit here every other week as we dig into the Word... but there are lots of other words to share --and it seems maybe, just maybe, they are ready to start bubbling up and pouring out again!
This is a Five Minute Friday post... which simply means I set a timer and free-write for five minutes flat on the one-word prompt: SETTLE... so let's go!


I mentioned last time I wrote an FMF post that God had oh so gently
whispered something to me about being both
Anchored and Tethered... 
And my immediate thought was along the lines of,
"Isn't that just how it is?!"  
At that moment, I most definitely felt Anchored AND Tethered... 

Anchored to a Truth that grounds us 
  yet Tethered to a Hope that asks us to fly!

Anchored to earth
  yet Tethered to Heaven...

Anchored to Faith and Promises and Holding our breath
  yet Tethered to the Waiting... the Doubting... the Heavy Sighing...

October 11, 2019

DEEP - A Five Minute Friday post.


I don't want to shock you... but here I sit, ready to write. I know it's been a while -especially if you don't count the Colossians posts (which you totally should, of course!) In fact, the last FMF post that was written in this space was all about taking two steps forward, and one step back and included a prayer request for my sweet sister and her Jackson. It's been a week ago today that he took one step forward into eternity... and we took several steps back, grounded here without him. But --we'll get to that in a moment... 
This is a Five Minute Friday post... which simply means I set a timer and free-write for five minutes flat on the one-word prompt: DEEP... so let's go and let's see what spills out, shall we?


I got the call.  

I have been telling my oldest sister that all she needed to do was call me
and I could get to her in 2-1/2 hours!  
She called last Thursday with no words really to be said. 
It was the call we all dreaded and refused to see coming...
the call saying,  'If you want to come to say goodbye
-now is the time.'  

Only we didn't want to...  We didn't want to say goodbye... 

September 1, 2019

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back... -A Five Minute Friday post.


Hello, sweet readers! It feels like it has been forever! I have been keeping up with our first-ever, year-long, bible series on Colossians but other than that -I have not been sitting in this chair (or --to be honest-- writing in my journal!) much at all lately! But Autumn is almost here and that always means a season of restarting and resetting routines! And that goes along well with our One Word Prompt, so let's go!

This is a Five Minute Friday post... which simply means I set a timer and free-write for five minutes flat on the one-word prompt: BACK


I see the prompt and --yet again... I laugh. This time, however, I realize right away that the laugh is to cover the pull toward tears.  

I see "Back" and I feel the pull backward... 

In this season, in a few areas of our life, we are witnessing and feeling the whole, "Two Steps Forward, One Step Back"... but some days it feels like WAY more than just one step.

I can really pick among many things to focus on but really --the most urgent and back and forth pull is all around my sweet sister and her beloved husband, Jack.  

Many of you may remember that he battled Stage 4 Breast Cancer awhile ago. He lived a full and healthy cancer-free life for several years however we found out a few months back that cancer returned. 

August 4, 2019

A Random List of Last Fives... -A Five Minute Friday post.


Another post already? I know... but I accidentally saw the One Word Prompt even though I had no plans of writing again so soon.  Once I saw the word, however, I realized I had just been wanting to do a lighter post --something less heavy and more fun and this will work perfectly! So... let's go!

This is a Five Minute Friday post... which simply means I set a timer and free-write for five minutes flat on the one-word prompt: FIVE


I have been missing those What I Learned link-up posts and how lighthearted and fun they were! Coming out of a long hard season, I wanted to follow Emily P. Freeman's lead and write some lists, so let's see what Last Fives come to mind after hitting the timer...

A Random List of Last Fives...

August 1, 2019

The Middle Matters... a Five Minute Friday post (and Book review post --because, of course!)


August? It's already August? If you subscribe to the monthly NewsyLetter then you may have just read about how I feel like we JUST fell into the rhythm of lazy summer days and it's already August? (Not that I'm actually complaining because if you have been around this little corner for long at all, you know Fall is my favorite!)

This is a Five Minute Friday post... which simply means I set a timer and free-write for five minutes flat on the one-word prompt: MIDDLE


I have said it several times: Whenever Lisa-Jo Baker writes something, I'm gonna get my hands and my head and my heart all around it. (And more than likely, I'm gonna share it and tell all my friends to read it, too!) So it was no real surprise to find myself on the Launch Team for her latest book, The Middle Matters. I've been on all of her launch teams to date... I knew that going in this book was different in that it is a collection of essays and they are all based on the Middle --of life, of parenting, of marriage, of --you know, our middles!?

I love Lisa-Jo because she is real... she is honest and open and she just tells it like it is. She is full of grace and love and she makes room at any given table and scooches over on any given couch. Her message rings loud and clear: You are welcome here.  

There is something that is so needed for voices like hers --for hearts like hers-- in our world right now! She is an InCourager (--ya see what I did there?) and a Champion and, gah! We need more people to be people that love well and follow hard after Him (while being Oh So Real about our messy lives!)

I have found myself in the middle of oh so many things right now... 

July 18, 2019

Cup Your Hands & Position Your Heart... Willing - A Five Minute Friday post.


Oh, Summer! (Am I right?)

Let's just get to it! This is a Five Minute Friday post... which simply means I set a timer and free-write for five minutes flat on the one-word prompt: WILLING


I'm tempted to just wait... I mean... it's Thursday afternoon and I know a 'new' word will be released tonight. I already wrote two posts this week because --at least for a couple of things-- I'm letting my calendar boss me around.  Honestly - the only reason that is true is that I have felt, shall we say, uninspired as of late.  So while my heart is willing --my flesh is weak and I just haven't set aside time to sit in this chair and tap out words consistently for a while now.

Mostly, I'm totally ok with that.

I've been busy being present in my actual life and
while it is not easy or fun a lot of the time right now,
it is vital and it is a priority and I have no regrets...
well --other than these two:
#1. I miss Y'all tons! ...and
#2. This is how I process.

For real... writing here in this space helps me to unpack the things God has whispered to me along the way and gives me perspective and insight and hope that I may miss if I just try to keep it to myself! So here I sit... willing... and waiting... and remembering how my OneWord for this year is a Do-Over (or Do-Better) word and, My oh My...
Joy is a promise He just
keeps on giving me...

July 16, 2019

Light from Distant Stars by Shawn Smucker... A Book Review post.


Two posts... in one day? I know... Honestly, I do! But our Colossians Series is on a set schedule, and this is Launch Day for Light from Distant Stars, so...

Here's the thing... I was not going to do anymore Book Launch Teams for awhile!  I had long been saying that I needed to add more fiction into my stacks of books and so I had already decided to pass on any invitations over the summer.  And then I saw this upcoming novel by Shawn Smucker and signed up right away!  
I know!? I can't help myself! Plus --bonus!-- I was reading his non-fiction book, Once We Were Strangers, and I was loving it! So I had some high expectations for this new release! I had heard a ton of great things about his other fiction works but haven't read them... however, (spoiler alert!) they are now on my list for summer reading!
I made it onto that Launch Team and I'm here today to encourage you to order a copy of Light from Distant Stars for yourself --or order a couple so you can give one away! You just may want to do that --so you can talk about it with a friend when you're done reading it! 

I had started reading Once We Were Strangers, also written by this author, before joining the launch team for Light from Distant Stars. So I already knew I would enjoy the book. I had been saying for months that I needed to add more fiction to my reading list so this was perfect timing!

I was hungry for a book that would draw me in and make me put off sleep for all the best reasons! So I had high hopes for this one, and Shawn Smucker did not disappoint!

June 26, 2019

When Questions Still Linger... A Five Minute Friday post.


Hey there, Sweet Readers! Can you even believe that July is almost upon us? Slow Down Summer... Gah! We need to savor all of your long days and warm nights and the slower way of unwinding!

Let's just get to it! This is a Five Minute Friday post... which simply means I set a timer and free write for five minutes flat on the one-word prompt: QUESTION


Oye, with the Questions, right? 

I mean... they can seem to be on an endless loop
that never slows to a stop
or gives room for answers!

Listen, I think we are all 'prone to wander...' 
and we are all prone to wonder... 
to question and ask over and over...
to overthink or second-guess or obsess...
to fear and worry and doubt... 
to forget that God --as He likes to remind me
from time to time-- doesn't actually answer to us!

June 14, 2019

Our Weekend Goal... A Five Minute Friday post.


Oh, Friends!  I don't know about where you live, but here in my little corner of the PNW:

Summer is
HERE big time and, let me tell you, I am so FOR it!

I'm talking forego the hot cuppa and go for the iced coffee in the morning instead because it's
already sunny and warm but the patio is calling my name! You know how it is with me! #patiolife

Let's just get to it! This is a Five Minute Friday post... which simply means I set a timer and free write for five minutes flat on the one-word prompt: GOAL


Last week we nearly hit triple digits.
It's not that this is unusual, really!
After all - we live in a desert land...
where the sun beats hot and the heat is dry.
It's all I've ever really known. 
I grew up in this town and never left. 
I'm assured I would know the difference
between humid and dry heat and I'm sure it's true. 
Still... as long as I have access to my beloved A/C,
I'm good with long summer days that
start out warm and never fully cool off.

But again, it is desert land
so once the sun goes down,
it usually DOES cool off
--at least a bit!

Listen, while not all things are meant for the interwebs, 
and we have played many cards close to our hearts
over the past year or so, many of you have walked with
and prayed for us in this long, hard season
of living in the in-between! 

Many of you have traveled these
parched 'desert lands' with us...

June 10, 2019

It Is Well... A Five Minute Friday post.


Hey there, Sweet Readers! My, have I missed you! Something about when it rains, it pours... and yet, we're still here! This community is consistently where I run in good times and in hard times, and even though I haven't sat in this chair or tapped out words in a while I've been longing to carve out time and space to sit with you once again! 

So let's dig in... This is a Five Minute Friday post... which simply means I set a timer and free write for five minutes flat on the one-word prompt: WELL


I see the Word Prompt and my mind (and heart and soul) goes to:
"It Is Well..."
And it is... even (or especially!) when it doesn't look or feel like it! 

It IS well...  we know this to be true but even still, we find we need the reminder over and over and over again!

Because --as with many things... many truths...-- we tend to forget what we already know!

It's easy to allow this world... the enemy who roams around seeking whom he may devour... --it's easy to accidentally listen to the lies and let them slither right on in to our hearts and heads and before we know it, we are letting our emotions (or the manipulation of our emotions due to above-mentioned enemies' lies!) boss us around and dictate what we believe!

Let's stop doing that!  
It does no good and bears fruit we do not want!

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