For Your Weekend

my corner office

Thinking of you this morning as I sit in my corner office (ha! I’m so funny) and share with you some favorite links from the Internet this week. I admit there are some days when I want to burn the laptop right up and become one of those people who doesn’t know how to spell “blog.” But today is not one of those days. Today, I’m deeply thankful for this space to connect with you, to talk about the gracefulness of the everyday and the sacredness of our inner lives.

Am I making up words by putting “ness” on them? I don’t even care! Thanks for sticking around here even when I disappear for a while.

Here’s something: I finished another book (!!) and you’ll be hearing about it soon. I don’t think I mentioned that here yet. Whoops. I turned it in this week and I’m all Look! It’s almost Christmas! I’m a human person! God bless us everyone!

So thanks to you for sticking with Chatting at the Sky even when there isn’t much chatting happening. Here are a few good reads (and listens) for your weekend:

How to Travel as a Highly Sensitive Person by Tsh Oxenreider – I’m all “Oh I’m not highly sensitive at ALL” and then I go and take the test she links to and score 19 out of a possible 27. Not off the charts but definitely sensitive. Very interesting.

Christmas: Not all Peace and Joy by Dr. David G. Benner – His words always remind me of what I already know but need to remember. Maybe they’ll do the same for you.

God Rest Us Merry Annie Downs on The Hope*ologie Podcast – Dad, Myquillyn, and I sit down with Annie and ask her how she got to be so merry. Her answer is more intentional than you might think.

Sister*ologie – Every month my sister and I sit down and record silliness, idiocy, and all sorts of ridiculation for Hope*ologie members in The Sister*ologie Podcast. This month Dad put together a two minute teaser where we share about The Best Christmas Gift In The History Of Christmas Gifts.

7 Little Ways to Live Art – Sign up to receive these posts and/or my monthly newsletter in your inbox and receive my ebook, 7 Little Ways to Live Art, for free. That’s a way a day for a week – might be a nice way to start off a new year.

9 Gifts to Encourage the Soul – Here are 9 simple things in my house right now that might make a nice gift for a person you love.

Choosing Connection Over Competition

morning

The trees on the left live in our front yard in North Carolina, as seen yesterday morning from our front porch. The trees on the right live in Fort Lauderdale, right outside my hotel window. I’m currently in South Florida for my last trip of the year, one I’ve been looking forward to for many months now – not necessarily because it’s my last, but because it’s here, among women I’ve been praying for for many months. It’s an honor to serve them and worth every bit of nervous twitching before I get up to speak.

Sometimes it’s hard to be with women, isn’t it? Growing up, people would have said that I make friends easily. My sister remembers a teacher telling my parents after we moved from Iowa to South Carolina that I make friends quickly with other girls because I was always complimenting them. (eye-roll) could I be any more annoying with my “I like your shirt!” and “Your hair is so pretty!” Sheesh.

In my defense, I don’t exactly remember doing that, but it sounds like something I would do so I believe it. Having friends was important to me. But that was back when the word ‘friend’ meant someone you’re comfortable sitting with at lunch or someone who will walk with you to the bathroom so you don’t have to go alone.

All that counts when you’re in seventh grade. But now that I’m grown, friend means something more than that.

When we consider the spiritual transformation of our lives, it often means being stretched beyond what comes natural and leaning hard into what is supernatural, those things that come from God. Learning to move toward community is often one of those unnatural-turned-supernatural things for me.

Nothing causes me to face my own humanity, frailty, and weakness than when I am in communion with others. Nothing causes me to see myself as I really am, to admit I’m not as great as I think, or to face my perceived entitlements than when I am in the midst of other people. I am easy to live with in a room by myself. But I don’t want to live in a room by myself. Except for when I do.

Chatting at the Sky

When I walk into a room filled with women, I recognize in myself a tendency to ignore what God thinks of them and obsess over what they are thinking of me. Oh, dear.

I once heard Shauna Niequist say, “With people, you can connect or you can compare but you can’t do both.” And I think of Jesus’ mother, Mary, and John the Baptist’s mother, Elizabeth. These two women could have compared and competed with one another in all the ugliest kinds of ways – You’re too young! You were chosen to carry Messiah?! Why not me? or You’re too old! Why couldn’t God have given me someone my own age to relate with?

But they didn’t do any of that. Instead of competing, these women connected. Instead of trading fear, they traded praise.

May it be the same for us.

For Your Weekend

for your weekend november

In a brokenhearted world, I want to remember God’s love in the morning and his faithfulness at night. Maybe you’ll join me. Maybe it will help. Enjoy your weekend, friends. Here are a few good reads along the way:

  • Favorite Indies :: Christa Wells shares some of her favorite Indie tunes. Love these!
  • Then Came Jesus :: A four-week Bible study for Advent written by my friend, Lara Williams.
  • Some of my favorite books :: Here is a list of books I recommend for home & family life, writing & creativity, and overall good living.
  • A Million Little Ways :: Only 8.50 on Amazon when you use promo code HOLIDAY30 at checkout. You can get 30 percent off any book through November 30.

Let’s share what we learned in November on Monday, okay? Hope to see you then.

A Simple Blessing to Encourage Hope

To end the week, I want to offer you an extended weekend blessing, one I shared at our Hope*ologie Live event last weekend. I wrote it over time, pieces of it come from years ago, other pieces I wrote specifically to remind us of hope in the areas where we are perhaps most often discouraged – home, family, and soul.

A Simple Blessing for your Home, Family, and Soul

In the regular rhythms of home and play, of work and washing, of listening and slow conversation, may we see God even though we can’t see God.

May our home be a place of quirky delight and may we open our eyes to the gift of living inside her because of all the ways we’ve made her our own. And if our home doesn’t yet reflect our own personality, may we have the courage and moxie to make it so.

May we be people who hang pictures, paint walls, light candles, build forts with blankets, and try new things.

May we save our apologies for when we do things that hurt people and stop giving them out over messy living rooms and outdated drapes.

chatting at the sky

Toward our families, may we be full of hope – able to move beyond our fear and insecurities into the lives of others, willing to release the right to control the outcomes.

May we be open to finding a gift in an unwelcome situation, hearing wisdom from an unlikely person, and receiving grace in an unexpected place.

May Christ be my security when I care too much about the small things and my salvation when I care too little about the big ones.

May my heart be soft enough to know the difference.

Of all the things we give to others, may we never forget to give them hope.

A benediction from Chatting at the Sky

In my soul, may I not be surprised at my own contradictions, how I long to be alone, yet crave community; wish for attention and also anonymity; want my independence but secretly wish for someone to take care of me.

May I stop trying to smooth out my inconsistencies by the strength of my own will, but may I bring them all like a child into the changeless and unmoving presence of Christ.

May we not despise the small space we take up on earth because it is this very small place where Christ delights to make his home.

May we not be surprised when we discover the fixed point from which he longs to move into the world is not from some nebulous place out there, rather it is from an intimate place within us.

May fear, discouragement, doubt, comparison, envy, and failure not have the final say in our homes, our families, or our souls.

Instead, may we live into our truest calling as people who give and receive grace, forgiveness, and love. May we turn toward hope on purpose and begin again today. And then, again tomorrow.

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in him, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom.15:13).

For Your Weekend

God Made Light

May this weekend be a time to . . .

“Sing songs ‘round campfires. Make marshmallow s’mores. Let Grandpa tell stories. Wage flashlight wars!

And if you ever feel scared in the darkness of night, remember the shadows are no match for God’s light.”

- from God Made Light by Matthew Paul Turner, a  lovely addition to your child’s library. And, truth be told, great for grown ups, too.

Enjoy your Saturday, friends.

for your weekend

home

Today, may I see the abundance of what is rather than the emptiness of what is not. May I learn to receive the simplest gifts as a daily grace and go with Christ as he brings me to his fulness, over and over again. Enjoy your weekend, friends.

Thanks for joining me this month as we celebrated Artists who Influence. I look forward to adding to the list in the weeks to come! Here are some good reads from the week:

What We Learned in October – We’ll be sharing on Monday what we learned in October. Hope you’ll come back and link up!

Jesus, Good Timing, and the Ministry of Mums

emily p freeman

Often I remind myself of the importance of speaking out and writing words, not because they’ve never been spoken or written before but because our saying or writing them may be the first time someone finally hears them.

I recently heard two simple sentences that had a deep impact on me, not because I’ve never heard anything like them but because I’m in a season where I needed to hear them now.

A few words Preston Yancey recently spoke came at just the right time for me, so right that when he said them, I had to block out everything that was happening around me until I could dig my phone out from the bottom of my purse, fumble with the notes app, and type frantically on the tiny phone keyboard these words, only partially remembered.

I’m sharing those words today at (in)courage.

For Your Weekend

For Your Weekend

May we find a way to gather up all the competition and comparison we carry in our hearts and toss them into the lap of God. May we have the courage receive what he gives in return – compassion, generosity, and a light heart.

Enjoy your weekend, friends. Here are a few good reads along the way:

  • New But Good by Ellen for The Sweetwater Blog because this short glimpse into her life as a mom of a new middle schooler reminds me not to be so anxious about my girls growing up.
  • I’m Sure It’s Fine by Shannan Martin for FlowerPatch Farm Girl because in the midst of this crazy, heartbreaking, confusing world, it’s good to remember that some days are for “kissing life on the forehead.” (A phrase like that you don’t forget. She’s full of them.)
  • Living Our Lives as a Work of Art, a podcast with Kathi Lipp because I enjoyed talking with her and her co-host so much and it could be some nice company and encouragement for you as you fold your towels.

For Your Weekend

for your weekend

“O God, help me to believe the truth about myself no matter how beautiful it is.”

Macrina Wiederkehr, Seasons of Your Heart

May we know all of our questions, insecurities, doubts, and disabilities are hidden with Christ in God. May we not dread the small beginnings, the little impacts, the slow results, rather may we finally stretch out into the fullest shape of ourselves  – a small, dependent child of God. May we allow our souls to be a spacious foundation for the building of the kingdom of God.

Enjoy your weekend, friends. Here are a few good reads along the way:

  • Silence by Dr. David G. Benner because he says Silence is our constant ignored companion and I think that’s important to remember.
  • Barn Update by The Nester because in two weeks we have a writer’s event here and it’s almost ready and we can’t wait to host more and more things in the barn!