For Your Weekend

for your weekend april

Sometimes we get to see, know, and hear right away. The answers make sense, it all works out, and our hearts feel light as we celebrate over dinner.

Other times, though, we walk around with arms stretched out in front, feeling our way through the darkness. We have no answers, nothing works out, and our hearts are heavy with the burden of sorrow.

If the unknowing is bending your waiting into questions or the quiet into fear, may Christ be near to your broken heart today. May he show himself in a way you’ve not yet seen and offer comfort in a way you may not have noticed this time last week.

Enjoy your weekend, friends. Here are a few things that might make it better:

The Quiet Revolution – This is a website co-founded by Susan Cain, author of the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking (my personal favorite tagline ever written). The site hasn’t officially launched yet, but they have an active Facebook page and I dig what they’re doing.

The Gray Havens – Lately I can’t get enough of these two. I keep linking to Far Kingdom (one of my favorite tunes on their album) but y’all. They are giving away two of their albums for free until midnight Sunday. They said to share the link so I’m sharing the link. Download them now. You’re welcome, you’re welcome.

Songs in the Night – Speaking of music I’m into, this seven song album is stunning, written by local artist and musician Michael Van Patter. He is our worship pastor and friend at our church here in Greensboro. Writing these songs while his young son went through cancer treatment, Michael says this about them: “This is an album borne of long nights, impossible questions, fear, waiting, and hope. These are songs for the brokenhearted.”

For Your Weekend

ducklings at the nester's houseAfter days of clouds and rain, it can begin to feel like you can’t quite remember the feel of the sun warm on your back, the lightheartedness a blue sky can bring, or how hope shows up on warm spring breezes.

Sometimes faith feels like days of clouds, like you can’t quite remember what it feels like to believe without worry or doubt, like maybe you’re a hypocrite because you say you believe God but you still feel scared on the inside.

It helps to remember that hypocrisy does not mean acting contrary to how you feel. Rather, a hypocrite is someone who acts contrary to who they are.

In Christ, we have courage even when we feel scared.

In Christ, we are hopeful even if we feel uncertain.

In Christ, we are loving even if we feel unlovely.

In this, my feelings may cower and clamor against my actions, but my feelings don’t have the final say. Our foundation is first Christ, who holds all things together.

May we be believers who act out of who we are rather than from how we feel. Even if we walk on wobbly legs, even if we timidly place bare toes in the water, even if our voice cracks and our hands shake, may we move forward from our truest identity and refuse to believe that our feelings define us.

Enjoy your weekend, friends.

If you need some consistent reminders in your inbox for your soul to grab onto, you can receive these post through email by signing up here. Why sign up?

  • 2-3 weekly reminders to take a deep soul breath in the midst of your breathless world
  • encouragement, first-word news, recommended reads, and other hope for your soul when you choosing “notes from the bench”
  • free ebook I wrote for you, Seven Little Ways to Live Art, a week-long companion guide to help create space for your soul to breathe. You can start today.

For Your Weekend


Today is the waiting day.

We wait like schoolchildren for the final bell.

We wait with tapping foot, huffing breath, rolling eyes.

We wait like a mother for the gushing of birth water.

We wait like branches holding pink petaled secrets.

We wait with tears of frustration or eyes filled with anger.

We wait with tears of joy or eyes wide with wonder.

In the waiting rooms of life, our hope is mixed, our longings more so. But still, we wait. Forgive us for our impatience, Lord. We believe, help our unbelief.

We carry the sorrow of loss even as we hold on to hope of gain. We watch and we wait for your resurrection life. Even though we may not see the evidence, we wait with hope.

Because today is the waiting day.

For Your Weekend

for your weekend

Some days you have to slow it all down to a halt, spend two hours on the sofa with a book and a couple of companions – be they children, animals, friends, or all three. May today be that kind of day for you, where you remember who you are and who sits with you. May together be a gift. Enjoy your weekend, friends.

Here We Are Again by Sarah Bessey – Because she writes on mothering her newest baby, number four. And this is my favorite piece on the Internet this week.

Words and Sharing by Shannan Martin – Because she says writing her book is “like waking up line by line” and I know what she means and nodded my head all the way through.

The Masterpiece Mom Podcast by Anne-Renee Gumley and Amanda Bacon – Because I feel honored to join my two favorite Alaskan moms for their podcast this week. We talked about family, writing, my next book, and crazy road trips.

Brave on the Road by Annie Downs – Because its fun to see behind-the-scenes and she brought a camera along on a speaking event to share what it’s like.

2015 Reader Survey - Because you kind of know me but I want to know you, so this is your last call to weigh in. The survey will close at 9 pm EST tonight. Thank you to those of you who have responded!

For Your Weekend

for your weekend

May we embrace the courage to speak up, hold firm, and move forward without forsaking the wisdom of staying silent, letting go, and walking away.

Enjoy your weekend, friends.

Here are a few things my family and I have been up to lately:

  • We teamed up with some girlfriends to bring you The Hope*ologie Podcast! Because sometimes you need to take your cues from Tom and Donna and treat yo self by giving your future self a gift (Click the direct link to listen to the podcast or you can also listen here on iTunes).
  • My sister launched an online course! Because sometimes creating the space you’ve always wanted with the stuff you have right now feels impossible until you get a little help.

Take the Reader Survey

  • My husband has a job update! Remember when John quit his job 20 months ago? Many of you have asked what he’s up to now and I plan to share that in my March letter from The Bench. It will go out next week and you can sign up here to be sure you’re on the list to get it.
  • Have you taken the Chatting at the Sky reader survey? I’d love to get to know you better and these questions will help. Click here to take the survey and thanks so much.

For Your Weekend

for your weekend

May I learn a to practice holy indifference when it comes to others opinions of me. May I lose my sharp ability to discern disapproval, be it real or perceived, so that I may move toward others without fear or agendas. Keep my heart light like a sacred balloon.

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

Cultivate the Deep, Cultivate the Simple by Micha Boyett

Three Things We Need to Stop Saying to Youth Group Kids by Addie Zierman

Anne Lamott on Priorities and How We Keep Ourselves Small by People Pleasing by Maria Popova

How to Stay Alive by Austin Kleon

For Your Sunday

for your Sunday

Today let’s be people of the invisible kingdom. Let’s sink low to the ground, pick up our crosses and our shoes off the floor, eat the bread of life in the morning and serve it up at lunch with peanut butter, jelly and no trace of crust for all the people we love. Let’s practice silence in the pew and also over dinner as we listen before we say so many words. Let’s carry the mystery of God with us into the sanctuary of the church and the sacred corner of the living room. Let’s remember he carries us always in his heart.

Enjoy your Sunday, friends. Here are a few good reads for the afternoon.

Thank You For Not Believing in Me (It Was Just What I Needed) by Kevin Kaiser – Because it’s good to remember how the discouragements, criticisms, disappointments, and failures can become the very gifts we need but never would have asked for.

I Just Made a Fool of Myself by Seth Godin – Because the very thing we all try so hard to avoid may actually be what sets us apart.

The Hope*ologie Podcast Q & A Show! where Dad, The Nester and I answer listener questions about food, gallery walls, and making decisions.

The Home Survey by The Nester – Because everyone loves surveys and this one will help you think differently about your home while also helping my sister know how to better serve you. It’s a win-win all the way.

This coming Friday we’ll share What We Learned in February and I hope you’ll join in. I wrote a post about how I keep track of what I’m learning if you need some tips.

For Your Weekend

For Your Weekend - Chatting at the Sky

“There’s something beautiful and clarifying and terrifying all at once in being at the beginning . . . To be a beginner is to be full of hope-filled humility, to be overflowing with eager expectation that is simultaneously held in check by the obvious gap between your aspirations and current abilities. To be a beginner is to be pregnant with dreams but nascent with skill, and then to set about the work of cultivating the life of both.”

Michael Yankoski, The Sacred Year

Many things we could say after reading those words, many things we could fear and fight against and reason ourselves out of. Instead, let’s release our grip today, close our eyes in gratitude, and simply whisper this: May I be willing to be a beginner.

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

Every Ten Years You Have to Remake Everything by Anne Bogel

Quiet by Caroline Teselle

In the Smallest of Ways by Ellen for The Sweetwater Blog

The February edition of The Bench will go out on Tuesday, a secret letter written especially for you. Join me on The Bench for once a month soul encouragement and you’ll automatically receive a free copy of my ebook Seven Little Ways to Live Art, sharing one way every day to take a soul breath.

For Your Weekend

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

May we make time to travel alone along the silent pathway to our soul. May we not talk ourselves out of hope, but may we gather up the faith and love we find along the way and hand it out generously to others. Enjoy your weekend, friends.

Here are some good words and good news for along the way:

Surprised by Love by Lisa Leonard – Because sometimes the deepest concepts are best expressed with few words.

I Like to Be With You by Annie Barnett for Grace Table – Because really we need with-ness more than anything else.

Use Your Words by Shauna Niequist – Because we’re all still twelve years old a little bit and don’t even realize how much we need to hear each other say the truest things out loud.

Compassion Bloggers – Last year this very week, I was in Uganda with our Compassion Blogger team. They just announced the next team is headed to the Dominican Republic February 16 – 20.

For Your Weekend

for your weekend - january

May we find a friend who keeps our secrets, do the work placed in our hands, read a book that speaks our language, trusting all into God’s hands. Enjoy your weekend, friends. Here are a few good reads for along the ways

A Complicated Peace by Sarah Bessey – Because sometimes life takes turns you don’t expect and we need to make room for grief and joy to co-exist.

Home Is Where My People Are: The Roads That Lead Us to Where We Belong by Sophie Hudson – Because lately I want to read everything there is to read about home, about place, and about gathering with my people, and because Sophie weaves joy, comfort, and faith together so beautifully in this new book of hers.

Waiting for Ourselves by Laura Ortberg Turner – Because sometimes I’m lonely for something but I can’t place what, and then I realize I’m longing to acknowledge the person I’m becoming, to look her in the face and call her friend.

On Breaking by my sister, The Nester – Because it’s important to find time to watch cats sleep and take baths and ignore the email.

We’re nearing the end of the month and that means it’s nearly time to share what we learned in January. This month’s list will go up on Friday, January 30. Hope you’ll join in with a list of your own!