Exciting Changes Ahead!

Monday, February 10, 2014 — 3 Comments

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For quite some time now, I’ve been working on a book project. I’ve worked on it here and there, whenever the whim struck my fancy, fitting it in between work, ministry, commitments, and responsibilities. Which means I’ve taken way longer to wrap it up than needed. Shocking, isn’t it, considering my approach? (ahem.)

A friend has challenged me to make good on the opportunity God has placed before me by making space to create. An assessment of my weekly load proved that I have lots of little things happening that keep me from getting any one thing done quickly or to the best of my ability. My friend suggested that I make the hard choice to put lots of little things on hold for a few months to give space for my writing. Gulp.

This is why I am taking a step of faith and putting my blog on hold until mid-May. It pains me, as I love writing here and interacting with you all. But in addition to several other commitments, my blog isn’t a must-do. Taking a few months away from this venue to direct my writing on my book will help me be faithful there . . . and get that sucker done.

But honestly? I am petrified. The thought of hitting the PUBLISH button on this post is giving me fits, even in this very moment. It’s time for my big girl pants and some Brene.

Here’s my fear: What if I clear my schedule and still don’t get my book done? Lord, have mercy.

Now, you may be wondering how all this classifies as exciting new changes when I’ve just announced that my blog will be closed until spring. Well, here’s how:

When I open up shop again, I will have a fab new Web site. EEEKKK!!!

I already know it will be beautiful, because my designer (Josh Jeffrey) is incredible. In addition to the Web site redesign, I will also be ready to launch my e-newsletter that I mentioned in the fall. You can sign up for it here.

So that’s the deal. I’m taking a break but when I come back, it will be all spiffy and new around here. Which Word Wednesday will be back, along with plenty of musings and rants and thoughts and questions—you know, all the usual stuff I typically write about.

Change is good. But it is so very hard. I’m glad I have the redesign to look forward to. And a finished book. (Prayers, please!) I’ll be back just in time for spring.

Which Word Wednesday: Flaunt vs. Flout

Wednesday, February 5, 2014 — Leave a comment

2012-07-20-flaunt-flout.2013.08.23.10.11.56Have you ever repeated a word so many times that it becomes almost foreign sounding? I have. Just last week the word pleased threw me for a loop. I stared it down, trying to determine if it was spelled wrong or if I was actually using the wrong word. After obsessively repeating it within the title I was crafting, I finally had to walk away and trust it was an actual English word.

I have experienced a similar phenomenon with today’s word pair, flaunt and flout. Something about the sound of them make my brain get stuck on repeat until they turn to gibberish. Maybe’s featuring them in Which Word Wednesday will help? Continue Reading…

Million-Little-Ways-268x400Have you recovered from yesterday’s disappointing Groundhog Day results? Well, they aren’t all bad. With six more weeks of winter ahead, we have lots more time to cozy up with a good book. Like Emily Freeman’s A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live.

It’s the next pick for the Food for Thought Book Club. Together, we will take in Emily’s thoughts on how God has designed each one of us to bring Him glory and joy—and how we can uncover it, nurture it, and live it each day.

We’ll meet in February to discuss Part 1, in March for Part 2, and in April for Part 3. Let me know by February 10 if you would like to come! You can RSVP in the comments or e-mail me directly. Then I’ll include you on the e-mail thread to set the dates that work for the most gals.

For now, grab a copy of the book and start reading. Mark any parts that are especially meaningful to you.

This is best way I can think of to spend these last weeks of winter! Hope you can come. And by the time we wrap, spring will be here!

Hello, Foggy Path.

Thursday, January 23, 2014 — Leave a comment

foggy path

Next weekend I’ll be leading a workshop at the Community Women’s Retreat, “Treasured beyond Measure.” My topic? Understanding Your Life in Light of God’s Story. As I’ve prayed and stared at a blank page to collect my thoughts, willing words to miraculously form, I’ve wondered if my title was a little presumptuous.

Understanding life is a luxury, one I have experienced only in small doses, only after many days and months and years have burned off the fog from my heart’s eye. Understanding is rare in the moment but grows brighter with the added lights of time and distance. I’ve also found prayers and tears and journaling to help.

It just so happens that I’ve been reading Timothy Keller’s Walking with God through Pain and Suffering, and it has enriched my workshop preparation by reminding me there are no easy answers to life’s troubles and no short cuts through the foggy stretches. I love this excerpt:

“Yes, we do not know the reason God allows evil and suffering to continue, or why it is so random, but now at least we know what the reason is not. It cannot be that he does not love us. It cannot be that he does not care. He is so committed to our ultimate happiness that he was willing to plunge into the greatest depths of suffering himself. He understands us, he has been there, and he assures us that he has a plan to eventually wipe away every tear. Someone might say, “But that’s only half an answer to the question ‘Why?’ ” Yes, but it is the half we need.

“If God actually provided an explanation of all the reasons why he allows things to happen as they do, it would be too much for our finite brains. Think of little children and their relationship to their parents. Three-year-olds cannot understand most of why their parents allow and disallow what they do. But though they aren’t capable of comprehending their parents’ reasons, they are capable of knowing their parents’ love, and therefore are capable of trusting them and living securely. That is what they really need.”1

From this, I can stand firmly on the ground of understanding God’s love even when I cannot understand my life or the path I must continue to inch forward on. I guess my perspective on life all depends on what I’m most desperate to know. If I’m determined that my life should make sense to me and work the way that seems best to me, I will have to wait until the fog lifts and circumstances change. Looking instead to God’s love will give light to my heart, even in the foggiest of times, even when I can hardly see the next step on the path ahead.

I’m thinking that knowing half of the answer is better than missing out on all of it, so I’m going to relish in what I can know and ask God to teach me how to trust Him and live securely in that, even if the fog is heavy all around.

__________

Source
Keller, Timothy J. Walking with God through Pain and Suffering. New York: Penguin Group, 2013. 121. Print.

flowersintheattic

Considering the books I consumed in my preteen/teen years, I guess I should be glad I made it out as well as I did. First it was all light and airy with the Sweet Valley High books. Then it turned dark and twisted with the Flowers in the Attic book and its sequels. The reading fare alone confirms that I do not have any desire to relive those years.

Lifetime has released a TV special of Flowers in the Attic—from the clips I’ve seen, it’s better than the 1987 version. But I don’t think I’ll be tracking it down for a viewing. Just seeing the clips brought back a flood of memories about growing up and reading and needing a better story than either of these two series could dish out. I wrote all about it over at Christ and Pop Culture if you want to hear more. Here’s to reading with an eye set on the true story.

Which Word Wednesday: Because vs. Since

Wednesday, January 8, 2014 — 2 Comments

tumblr_inline_mntzr1Mwen1qz4rgpIt has been said that the pen is mightier than the sword. That’s because the pen writes words that convey thoughts and meaning. Words have power to build up and to tear down—and to send language lovers like me into fits of laughter (or anger).

That’s why it helps to know which word to use for the context. Today’s Which Word Wednesday duel is between because and since, which most of us use interchangeably. The assumption weakens our message, however, Continue Reading…

For when skies grow dark.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014 — Leave a comment

My latest post at the Living a Life of Faith blog.

ungluedSome days even a vat of superglue couldn’t keep me from unraveling. It happens on days when I have a ridiculous amount of things to do or when relationships turn rough or when my hormones have a mind of their own, one that’s more hostile than holy.

Days like these, I definitely feel unglued.

If you ever have days like this, maybe you’d like to join me and some other women to explore how we can handle our emotions in the midst of the very circumstances that cause our emotions to run wild. Lisa TerKeurst’s book Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions will structure our discussion. We’ll meet for six weeks on Thursdays, 9:30–11:00 a.m., beginning January 16. Books are $15.

Please join us! All are welcome. Let me know that you plan to attend so I can pass along our meeting locale and so that we can make arrangements for our group.

Let’s explore together how we can handle our emotions in ways that honor God and that lead to a much more peaceful life. Sounds more reasonable than a vat of superglue, huh?!

Words That Fluttered Skyward in 2013

Tuesday, December 31, 2013 — Leave a comment

Happy New Year, dear friends!

It’s been another year of wording, and I am so grateful, first to offer my thoughts and second to have gained your attention here-and-there along the way. Looking back at 2013, I see so many highs and lows, tough spots and smooth stretches. It’s been the usual of life, for sure, although some parts I prefer more so than others, if you know what I mean.

WordPress has a year-end infographic for all the activity filling my patch of sky in 2013—check that out here. I’ve also collected some of my personal post favorites, which are arranged by the categories I keep. Click about and enjoy; if I missed your personal favorite that has graced this patch of sky, feel free to add it to the comments. Thanks for meeting me here. More to come in 2014!

Faith

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Is This the Story God Meant to Tell?

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Figuring out My Post-India Life

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Seventy Times Seven: Punching Fear in the Face

Language

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Goofy Challenge 2013: Race 2

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My Big Fat Greek Definition of Work

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Inviting Change to Our Thanksgiving Holiday

Culture

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Which Word Wednesday: Trooper vs. Trouper

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Keep Our Grammar from Being a Hot Mess

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Which Word Wednesday: Bad vs. Badly

Elsewhere

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True Woman: Breathe Courage

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True Woman: When Your Vacation Bubble Pops

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Christ and Pop Culture: The Unthinkable Reality of Human Trafficking

Looking Back and Dreaming Ahead

Saturday, December 28, 2013 — 3 Comments

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Each year about this time, I get all excited for the New Year. January 1 is one of my favorite days, marking the start of something new. For me, that newness is related to an assessment of the year that is ending and a vision for the year that is about to begin.

As I look back at 2013, my breath catches. Lots of things happened. Check out this sampler:

celebrated my 40th year at the Goofy Challenge (39.3 miles of running) // started working for Revive Our Hearts // attended The Story conference at Spread Truth & met the shining Laura Karr // traveled to California // attended the Revive Our Hearts Revive Tour // started Snapchatting // enjoyed Beach retreat 2013 // ran the Champaign half marathon // survived a Cupcake Crawl w/niece Isabelle // created a Dream Map // celebrated the Hubster’s work in opening Immanuel Health Clinic // spent two glorious months in Boulder, Colorado & made precious new friends at The Well // started reading Brene Brown // found Lucky’s Bakery & Boxcar Coffee // ran the Boulder Heart & Sole half marathon // ate seven pounds of Swedish fish in a month // celebrated my parents’ 45th anniversary // discovered my personality INFP matches the Hulk (mean & green?) // cheered the Hubster in his first competitive half marathon at Indy (he won the Master’s Divison! we got to see his brother & our dear friends! and we ate Flying Cupcakes!) // traveled to Disney w/dear friends // started working for Naomi’s House // made progress on my book // enjoyed countless hours with loved ones

So much joy, so much blessing—and most of it was not listed as part of my 2013 hopes and dreams. But some of these things came about because my vision was set toward those goals. And this is why I keep on with New Year’s Resolutions.

So I’m on it for 2014, and I’m going with a theme. My dream for the new year is that my life would be fruitful:

By God’s grace, 2014 will be a year of fruitfulness for me as I yield my moments to the Lord Jesus and seek to live by His Spirit.

From this vision flow specific goals that I’ve arranged into seven categories:

  • spiritual: tending to heart & soul
  • relational: nurturing bonds
  • physical: training the flesh
  • professional: investing talents
  • mental: stimulating curiosity
  • domestic: creating a refuge
  • financial: growing in generosity

One thing I learned this past year is that when my goals are merely a to-do list, I get overwhelmed. This dreamer needs the vision to fuel the actions! For instance, motivation and attitude are greatly lacking when I need to do some cleaning; running it through the filter of creating a refuge makes all the difference for me. I want a refuge, and that would be one with clean sheets.

Most of my goals are typical, not too out-of-the-ordinary . . . but I need them on paper because this dreamy-girl forgets things. If my life is going to be fruitful, I need God’s power working in me and focusing my efforts. There will be lots of praying happening to that end! I’m so excited to see what comes about in the next 12 months—not only what’s on paper, but also all the extra things that I would never dream about.

What are your hopes and dreams for 2014? How do you organize your goals? I’d love to hear all about it—share in the comments or post a link to your blog post detailing it. Here’s to hopes and dreams and things unseen.