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!

For Your Weekend

For Your Weekend - Chatting at the Sky

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. Enjoy your weekend, friends.

Here are some good reads and reminders:

  • Forgive Yourself by Seth Godin, because these may be my favorite 62 words on the internet this week.
  • How to Talk to Your Own Soul by Amber Haines, because her words always move me to stop and listen to the stirrings within me that make no sound but still cause a ruckus. 
  • The Bench because I’ve decided to name my monthly newsletter and next week I’ll begin sending it out once again. Sign up to receive it and you’ll also get a free week-long devotional ebook I wrote, Seven Little Ways to Live Art.
  • The Hope*ologie Podcast is available on iTunes, where The Nester, our Dad and I talk about our experiences with change, transition, and the hope we’re finding in the middle. We could all use a little hope on-the-go.

a million little ways sidebarFinally, the ebook sale is still going on in the US, Canada, Australia and Europe (maybe other places as well?)

You can get A Million Little Ways wherever ebooks are sold for only 1.99!

You don’t have to have a a Nook or Kindle – simply download the free Kindle app for your phone or computer.

Here’s to a lovely September Saturday.

When Your Dream Begins to Change

They had a dream to create a place where they could take the old, beautiful things – the wooden chairs and side tables and other broken pieces people tend to throw away – and give them new life. They wanted a place to do what they had always done: make the used into art.  

when your dream changes

I shared their story here before, how they wanted a shop, how they dreamed of a name and came up with Chartreuse, a word they thought of separately in the night and realized it in the morning, their oneness showing itself in the simplest, most surprising ways.

And they opened that shop and sold their wares, both the ones they made and re-made with their hands and the various finds and work of others.

Then, a month or so ago, they opened their doors for the last time, had their last big mark-down sale, and cleaned out the back rooms — both the crannies as well as the nooks.

Our community said goodbye to the shop called Chartreuse.

I can see how that might seem like sad news, that our friends who had a dream have now closed down their shop. If you only looked from the outside, you might lose hope. That story was too good to be true in the first place.

Steve and Paula at Chartreuse

photos from the Chartreuse Facebook page

But looking again, paying attention to the full story arc, I remember they had a dream and they didn’t let fear keep them from making it come true. The dream was about more than let’s have a shop.

The shop was simply evidence of a couple brave enough to move toward what makes them come alive. It was one piece of proof that these two are together becoming more fully themselves.

The art lives on simply because the shop is not the art. Steve and Paula dreaming together, moving toward one another, making plans for their future – this is the true art. The shop was just the proof.

They closed the shop for a reason. Now, they have a new dream. They found land just outside of town with space to host weekend sales of all their goods. This will allow them to not have to staff a shop for a certain number of hours a week but will give flexibility to their schedule.

This dream that fits them even better than Chartreuse.

the new dream

When you hold your dreams with open hands, you let them breathe, grow, and have life. This can be scary because living things move, change, and take shapes we can’t predict or control.

But what good is a dream if it doesn’t grow along with us?

Watching Steve and Paula make this newest transition, I’m reminded that the true art isn’t the thing we can point to – the shop, the barn, the book, the song. The true art is listening to a living God and relating to real people as the person I most deeply am.

And sometimes that means letting go of what I thought the dream was supposed to look like and opening up to a new idea.

I’ve been thinking a lot about change and transition recently as John  and I continue to watch his vocational landscape shift and move and take new shapes – some we planned for, some we didn’t.

I think about another dream, one our family has to work together to combine our unique passions into one voice. It started with our first Barn event last year and continued with the launch of Hope*ologie in April. Our theme for Hope*ologie in September is Change & Transition - and starting this month, we’re making some changes of our own.

Introducing The Hope*ologie Podcast!

The Hope*ologie PodcastStarting this month, The Hope*ologie Podcast will be available for free on iTunes. On this episode, Dad, The Nester, and I talk about transitions in our own lives. It’s light-hearted for the most part, a little silly, hopefully relatable. We’re thrilled to be able to share a piece of Hope*ologie with everyone.

To listen: We’re still working through some of the technical things (and when I say we I mean Dad). For now, you can find the podcast here on iTunes. Then click ‘view in iTunes’ and you have to click ‘subscribe’ to listen.

I think in a day or so you should be able to listen without subscribing but I’m the baby sister and too impatient to wait for those tech issues to be worked out so you’re welcome and I’m sorry.

hopeologie

Incase you haven’t yet heard, Hope*ologie is a membership site co-created by my Dad, sister, and me where we hope to help you overcome chronic discouragement by finding delight in your right-now home, family, and soul.

If you’re considering signing up for Hope*ologie but haven’t yet, here’s something you might like to know:

Instead of having the monthly collections expire after 30 days, we’ve decided to give our members unlimited access to the content. That means if you subscribe today, you’ll have access to nearly everything that’s been available since the first month. Visit Hope*ologie to learn more.

For Your Weekend

augustIn the warm close of summertime, may the colors of nature remind you that you, too, are created. May you find peace in your body and soul this weekend as you move about in your world wholly accepted, loved, and seen.

May you remember how Christ came down to be with you and makes your heart his home. And may your life be the kind that brings his presence near to others. Enjoy your weekend, friends.

Come back Monday where we’ll be sharing together What We Learned in August, a fun monthly community link up we practice, sharing the fascinating, ridiculous, sacred, or small things we’ve learned. For an example of pasts posts, visit the What We Learned archive. See you then!

For Your Weekend

For Your Weekend

May I stop dreading small beginnings and embrace the importance of my right-now work. May I understand the difference between good and best. May I remember to write down the gifts found today incase I lose sight of them tomorrow and may I be willing to be the gift for others, no matter what that may mean.

Enjoy your weekend, friends.

  • Who is Your Neighbor? (Kingdom Come) - by Alia Joy, who writes about the invisible kingdom in a powerful way.
  • The Best Yes Webcast Replay - I so enjoyed spending some time in Charlotte to celebrate the release of Lysa TerKeurst’s new book, The Best Yes. Here is the Webcast of her teaching and a fun Q&A with us at the end.

A Staying Prayer for Mothers of College Freshmen

staying prayer for mamas

The next few days may be marked with lasts,  but soon her grown-up child begins a new set of firsts. She helps him pack his bags with clothes and his boxes with books. But you see what the mamas carry in their hearts – anticipation, longing, love, regret, anxiety, nostalgia, and resolve.

They are a mix of excited, terrified, and closed-eyed hope.

As she watches her child look for a fresh start, remind her to make her home in you.

As she sends her freshmen off into the world, make her feet steady to stay behind – sure, confident, and at peace.

As she prays for her daughter to find good friends, may you bring prayerful friends to her own side, to remind her she is not alone.

If insecurity, fear, or disappointment knock on her empty-nest door, may she turn to you with her questions rather than get busy doing.

If she receives calls from her faraway girl, though there may be tears and heartbreak on the other line, may she not set out to fix, rather may she sink deeper into you. Weave your wisdom into the fibers of her soul, bearing the fruit of confidence, clarity, contentment and a light-heart.

a staying prayer for mothers of college freshmen

May she have the patience to believe even when the reports sound grim.

May she not be quick to judge, rather may she be patient and curious.

May she remember what her daughter needs more than answers is to know she’s not alone.

May she remember what her son needs more than advice is to know he’s got what it takes.

May she not despise her weakness, rather may she see how weakness brings a daily reminder to trust.

May she feel the freedom to feel what she feels without the pressure to be more happy, more sad, or more anything other than simply who she is in this moment.

If she is struggling to let go, in your time replace her fear with courage and her confusion with peace.

And if the not-enoughs haunt her in the night, the fear that she didn’t love, teach, do, or instruct enough while the kids were under her roof, comfort her with the assurance that you are the Artist who weaves together good from all things.

Help her release her children into your hands.

For the parents of college freshmen all over the world, may your grace surprise them kindly in this time of newness, waiting, and love.

Amen.

This staying prayer for mothers of college freshmen was inspired by a post I wrote last year around this time: A Sending Prayer for College Freshmen. May you find peace and joy in this season of transition.

A Free Night Out at the End of Summer

Here in North Carolina we have two full weeks left until school starts and I’m working hard to soak them in. If I’m not careful, I can have my eyes trained so carefully on our fall schedule that I forget to look down at where we stand today, hanging on to the tail end of pool days, long mornings, and late night movie times.

summertime

Another way I’m trying to soak in summer is to be intentional with some of our friends, as I know once school starts back it might be more difficult to coordinate schedules. In the past several weeks, we’ve had a few different families over for dinner as well as spent time with our community group from church.

A few weeks ago, my friend Kendra and I left town for a few fun nights away – oh the luxury! In the six years we’ve been friends, that was the first time we’ve taken a trip together. 

I love my girlfriends and long to have more time with them, but with families and jobs and life, it isn’t always easy to find the time (or let’s face it, the money) to do something fun with friends.

Maybe before the fall schedule kicks in, you’ll find a way to squeeze a little friend time into your weekends or your lunch times or your Sunday afternoons.

Might I even suggest a specific event? If you’re local-ish, you can grab your girlfriends and join me for a girls night out event in Charlotte!

charlotte ncI’ve never lived in Charlotte but sometimes I forget that for as much as it feels like home. This fall I’ll be spending even more time in the Queen City as New Life 91.9 has chosen A Million Little Ways as their fall book club pick. To kick it off, they’re hosting a girls night out and I hope if you’re local-ish you’ll be able to join us.

919 Girls Night Out

The even more fun part – and this is where I get giddy – is the artists who will be performing that night. First up, Dara Maclean. I met Dara last fall in Florida during Girls of Grace. I liked her instantly. She is warm and approachable and super talented.

Dara Maclean and Emily P Freeman

And then, THEN I found out a second artist will perform that night and I almost cried when I learned who it was:

ellie holcomb image by @texturephotophoto by @texturephoto

Ellie Holcomb! I haven’t met Ellie yet but I’ve been hoping to for a while now, ever since I bought her first album and listened to it on repeat for several months straight.

emily, ellie, dara
Seats are limited but tickets are free with a donation to Bright Blessings. All the information you need to know to reserve your ticket is on the New Life 91.9 website. Let me know if you plan on coming!

Hope to see you there. But if not, I hope you’re able to find some time to spend with friends sooner rather than later.

On Taking a Break From Being the Grown Up

We load up the car and drive half-way to Charlotte, straight to the crowded parking lot of a Chick-fil-A. It’s mid-July and that means it’s time for Grandy Camp. Years ago we decided this exit was the half-way point and so this is where we meet my parents, trade sleeping bags and children for an empty car and several days together, just John and me.

John and Me

Not used to this kind of spacious time, we re-aquaint ourselves with one another in the form of him taking a nap on one end of the sofa while I read a book on the other. We leave our empty house for an early dinner at a little Greek restaurant right near our house and marvel at the space and the quiet that has now descended upon us.

After dinner we go shopping for him some shirts, spend exactly 20 minutes in the store from the time we walk in to the time we leave, including dressing room time and checkout.

Man-shopping at its finest.

We browse through the Whole Foods, a place we rarely shop, and buy not one necessary thing – not one egg or gallon of milk. Instead, we leave with individual slices of over-priced dessert and a bottle of wine. We head straight to his Mom’s house to eat our fancy cake and watch Tiny House Nation on her cable TV.

When the kids aren’t around, we turn into kids a little bit.

john and meIn a way I don’t think about until later, I realize it’s good for the parents to have some time away from the kids for lots of reasons, not the least of which being so we can remember how to be kids ourselves.

And I think of how Jesus tells us grown people to become like little children, always inviting us downward with gladness, always pulling us closer to Him, welcoming us to the small places we sometimes forget to go when we are so busy being the grown ups.

“I would not choose to become a child again but I am looking to children and searching in them for a simplicity and ordinariness that makes being an adult easier to accept and miracles easier to see.”

Macrina Wiederkehr, Seasons of Your Heart