Friday, November 28, 2014

5 Exquisitely Random Late November Musings

1.  Just because you've sold millions of books and spent forever on the New York Times Bestseller list, doesn't mean you don't have a tender heart.  When I shared One Urgent Question You Must Ask Yourself Before the Holiday Season with Ann Voskamp and her readers, she took the time to respond in the loveliest, most affirming way.  Her post, How to Make a Plan So That Nothing Makes You Feel Worthless This Time of Year ... and those kind words, are here
And is it ok to let you know that when she penned, 'what a needful, helpful ministry you have, Linda - you just blessed my socks off today!' ... well it just made me smile.  Big.
2.  You don't need some church or board or committee or organization's permission to roll up your sleeves, get out there, and give someone a helping hand.  Too often we waste valuable time and energy cooling our heels and waiting for someone else's seal of approval, instead of just taking care of what so obviously needs to be done.
The best gift to offer someone in need ... any season of the year?  The gift of compassionate, judgement-free relationship.  Quiet, faithful presence.  And a bit of sweat equity.  Without making a major deal about it.
3.  Sometimes you just need to find yourself a quiet, dark corner and make a plan to have a good cry.  Especially at this time of year where winsome joy / deepest grief / broken expectations / sheer relief / unspoken loneliness / just plain exhaustion collide.  Other times your flow of tears will simply erupt on a moment's notice and spill out and over on to all who gather round.  Don't be alarmed if you're the cry-er ... or the compassionate one who keeps company with such. 

There's a reason He saves our tears in a bottle {Psalm 56:8}.  And some sweet day I'm going to ask Him why He took the trouble to show such tender love in such a bittersweet way.  Meanwhile, don't pass the tissues.  {It's a subtle way of telling someone that their tears make you uncomfortable.}  Simply have a box or two on hand for us weepers to grab hold of.
4.  My husband and I decided that if we were going to make our Thanksgiving as stress free as possible, we'd roast the big ol' bird the day before, slice it up, and cover it with chicken broth, and gently reheat it the next day. 


My father got a bit of a horrified look on his face when I told him our plans. 
The verdict?

I'd say my sister's China / Massachusetts / Macedonia / Pennsylvania tribe thought it wasn't all that bad!

5.  There are few presents lovelier than a gift card, crisp and hard and rectangular, a perfect addition to that little space in your wallet that's already crammed with receipts, store loyalty cards, and other random gift cards with all of $1.78 left on them. 
But this?  Pure genius.

Grab your Holiday Gift Exemption gift certificate here.
Comfort & Joy, my friend ~

every random musing and intentional word is all yours
when you subscribe here
what a lovely gift to give yourself!
randomly sharing with lovely party hostesses
Emily  *  Leigh  *  Holley  *  Kristen  *  Laura

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Awaken Love * The Giveaway

There have been love songs tenderly, passionately woven since the beginning of time.  Penned and sung from one lover to the other.  An all encompassing web spun of emotionally laden words that captures our hearts, our bodies, our minds, and every ounce of our affectionate attention. 

Intensely intimate, powerfully sweet, sometimes raging with crazed passion, oft' fearful of rejection and abandonment.  And yet, somehow, always interlaced with hope.
There was King Solomon's story, a whole book focused on desire and intimacy.  Part of the bigger story of love and redemption that we as believers claim, even though we're not quite sure what to do with his Song, those chapters that speak longingly, boldly, candidly right in the midst of Old Testament words.
And then a little movie quietly came on the scene this fall.  About love and marriage ... and adultery, reconciliation, and redemption.

Now the filmmakers have developed a 6 week devotional book for couples to work through together.
Based on The Song of Solomon, I know no better way to start 2015 with your spouse than spending time journeying toward something deeper and more substantial together.  It might be awkward at first if these kinds of conversations haven't been part of the weaving of your marriage.  But this is one stocking stuffer that could help breathe sparkles of life back into your relationship and add a much-longed for spiritual dimension to your commitment to each other.
I've got one copy of this slender little volume to give away to a reader who leaves a comment on this post by Tuesday, December 2nd at 9 am {eastern}.  US and Canada only.  And be sure to check out all the AWAKEN LOVE resources ... all kinds of cool curriculum, kits, outreach and event ideas to awaken some healthy marital love at your church.

*   sharing this devotional with Beth & Kristen   *
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.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

On Living with Abounding Gratitude

'Praise the Lord, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise His holy name.

Praise the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all His benefits -

who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,

who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,

who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.'
~   Psalm 103:1-5   ~

Oh God,

Since we're so obviously human and confined to this space and time we can't even begin to get a glimpse of Your most majestic sacred glory.  It's just simply beyond our earthly comprehension.

But we can tell you that we deeply adore You for who You are.  Holy.  Holy.  Holy. 

You are worthy to be praised with all that's deep within us, even if we won't ever be able to get our hands around Your awesomely supreme nature, Your perfect character, Your never ending loving grace and perfect judgement.

But we can see the blessings You've rained down on us ... You, the powerful Healer and Protector of our souls.  The faithful Giver of our daily bread and butter.  The discerning Provider of our endless needs.  The constant comforting companionship of Your sweet sacred Spirit.

And yes, Jesus, Jesus, the brutal sacrifice of Your life's blood shed so freely.

We are overflowing with a gratitude laced with peace-filled joy.

Accept the praises that we bring. You have been so incredibly faithful.

We bow the knee in Jesus Name ~


'When your mind is occupied with thanking Me,
you have no time for worrying or complaining. 

If you practice thankfulness consistently,
negative thought patterns will gradually grow weaker and weaker. 
Draw near to Me with a grateful heart,
and My Presence will fill you with Joy and Peace.'
~   Sarah Young, JESUS CALLING   ~

image creator

sharing gratitude with Candace

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  *  Kristen  *  Holley

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   ~
/  /
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