Thursday, November 20, 2014

Notice the Thanksgiving Chair

We often keep ourselves far too frenetically busy.
We preoccupy ourselves with matters that mean little
and with activities that do nothing but occupy space and consume energy.
The energy we need to grieve.
To break away from denial and embrace the invisible, the scary, the uncertain path toward healing. 
To walk straight into what begs to be seen, heard, acknowledged, and validated.
To weep deep and hard and long, those messy beautiful bittersweet tears that lead to release.

And gratitude for the beauty of what was and is no more.
Pretending that nothing's happened doesn't work.
For in noticing our pain, our loss, our grief, we find glimmers of hope.
Hope leads to the healing path that winds long and far.
And traveling that path leads, one day, to peace.

We do not walk that path alone. 

He holds our feeble hand as He walks with us.

And carries us when need be.


300 seconds with Kate

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Yay, Yuko !

*      *      *
the lovely, creative artist
She mused ~ This book sounds like a must read for parents.  I struggle with this everyday.  While I refuse to introduce my 6yo to video games (I think many of his friends play them on an iPad, Kindle etc.), my boys watch TV everyday more than I'd like to admit.
Didn't win?
The next giveaway? 
A little devotional for couples.  Coming soon!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Living Out Our Sacred Creativity

'Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives.
That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better or worse.  We have far more interesting things to do with our lives.
Each of us is an original.
Live creatively, friends ...'
- Galatians 5, 6 {The Message}

Wow, Lord!
Thanks for every ounce of those creative juices that flow through our veins.  We're kind of in awe at the glorious rainbow of artistic quirks and limitless talents and distinctive abilities You've given each of Your children ... and the multitude of splendid, yet often subtle ways our own individual bent manifests itself.
Yes, this sacred creativity resides deep within each one us.
Free us from anything that would keep Your beauty from glowing vibrantly in our daily tasks, our winsome play, our artistic endeavours.  And for heaven's sake, please halt our fruitless comparisons with others because that waste of energy does nothing but stifle the specific grace-gifts You've so wisely placed into our lives.
Remind us that we are fearfully and wondrously made.  And increase our faith, our call to live out that wondrous truth in the unique person that you've shaped us to be.
In Jesus' Name ~
/  /
The job of the artist is to create,
to honestly offer what she has without
demanding a return on her investment ...

But there is freedom in making art anyway,
regardless of salary, accolades,
attention, progress, success,
or any other outcome
you might want.
~   emily freeman   ~
/  /

Friday, November 14, 2014

For When You've Had a Rough Week . . . or Two

Dear Friend ~

I hear you.  I know this has been a rough one.  Actually, it's been more than week, hasn't it.  More like an endless season, yes?
Your family seems to be careening out of control.  You've got decisions to make that will rock your world no matter what path you choose.  A growing frustration has become your steady companion, and you're more than a bit concerned about what's coming 'round the next corner.  God only knows how deep your gripping woundedness has become, how ever present the excruciating hurt that just won't go away. 
Work is the pits.  You're feeling marginalized and disrespected ... and are a bit startled at the swirling anger that has taken up residence inside your body.  Your boss has been avoiding you like the plague and you fear that a pink slip could be nailed to your door before long.  The bills are piling up ... and Christmas is coming soon.  You have no idea how you're going to make it.
You've been to the doctor and you're not at all sure about those meds he's prescribed.  You jump a mile high every time the phone rings because those test results are supposed to come soon and you're terrified at what they might be. Your prognosis is not looking too good right about now, and fear relentlessly gnaws someplace deep within you in the middle of the night.  There are days when you can't eat a bite, and others when you mindlessly, endlessly graze through cabinets and shelves, hoping to quiet the empty space within.
If that wasn't enough, your computer is making terrible whirring noises that seem to only get louder with each passing day. Your phone is on the fritz and you can't for the life of you remember those stupid passwords you so desperately need.

Oh yes ... the car.  It's on its last wheels for sure.  

In the midst of all the craziness, the holidays are just about here and you feel anything but jolly when you look at the calendar.  You still aren't sure what table you're going to be sitting at ... or if you're going to end up alone.  And if you do get together with someone, you can only hope that people are going to be talking to each other as they pass the pumpkin pie.

And you weep at the senseless way you've been cruelly abandoned by your church and betrayed by those who vowed they'd stick with you through thick and thin.  Wisps of depression and a clawing anxiety threaten to settle in forever, and your seeming isolation and the immensity of your grief threaten to swallow you alive. 
I'm hearing your broken heart today.  I won't begin to try to fix it and I refuse to lob endless Scripture verses at you.  All I can do is continue to quietly walk alongside, listen to you well, affirming all that is true about where you are and respectfully asking you the questions that might help bring some clarity to the chaos. 

And, most importantly, keep on bringing you to the One who experienced our fears, griefs, and sorrows when He walked on earthly soil. 

Do not be dismayed, my friend.  He whispers peace, be still.  Even, and especially, in the raging storm.
Mercy & Comfort ~


P.S.  This open letter is a response to a compilation of a number of conversations, in person and online, that I've been honored to share in.  It's not intended for any one person.  If it touches your heart in some way, I am grateful.

And please feel free to share these meager words with your friends.  Maybe they will give some much needed hope? 

The links are below.
=    visiting with Laura  .  Kristen  .  Holley   =

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

'Growing Up Social' : : The Giveaway
I can't help but be grateful that except for a big ol' bulky black and white TV, there were no screens around when my girls were little.  If you used the word 'screens,' someone was likely to turn around and look at the window to see if there were bugs getting in.

We're talking no DVDs, no streaming, no internet, no smart phones, no tablets. 


Back in the day, if you wanted to watch TV it was, most likely, a family event with 6, maybe 7 channels to choose from.  And if you missed a show, you were out of luck.  Maybe you'd catch it when it came back six months from now.  Or not.

If you wanted to see a movie, you went to the movies.  It was a rarity.

Play a game? Head to the closet and pull out the boxes with crushed cardboard corners held together with scotch tape and rubber bands. Scrabble or Parcheesi or Chutes and Ladders.

Travel for hours in the car? No problem. There was the license plate game {with it's very own Creekside post half a decade ago!}, a bag of books, or a deck of cards to keep you amused.

Times have changed. Let's not go back to the dark ages, but let's not hide our heads in the sand, either. Growing up social means something entirely different than inviting a friend over for a playdate.

I'm giving away one copy of GROWING UP SOCIAL: RAISING RELATIONAL KIDS IN A SCREEN-DRIVEN WORLD, written by Gary Chapman {of the 5 Love Languages fame} and Arlene Pellicane.  Simply leave a comment on this post by Monday, November 17th at 10 am {eastern} and you'll be in the running.  {US and Canada only, please.}
And, well ... if you're not sure you need to read this book, think again.  'Cause you're looking at a screen even as we speak!  And maybe that little guy said it well ... there just might be 'a digital road less traveled.'
"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):
Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own
and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.
Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

*  sharing this giveaway with Kristen  * 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Heart ~ Orchard

'What happens when we live God's way?

He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard - things like affection for others, exuberance about life. 


We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. 

We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.'
~ Galatians 5 {The Message}


Dear Orchard Creator ~

Keep on shaping us, creating something vibrant and alive that bursts into a lovely bloom deep within our awaiting hearts. 

And when and if You choose to prune the unwieldy branches, give us a patient grace to withstand the clipping that oft' times seems so sharp and painful.  And please heal those wounded places that remain tender to the touch.

Cause us to be expectantly wide open to the fruit that You long to nurture in the heart-orchard of our lives.  And may it be obvious to all who see that something delightfully healthy and awesomely sacred is going on deep within these fragile frames.

And always and ever, praise to Your holy name.


sharing fruit @ Courtney's
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