Author Archives: brendadewalt@hotmail.com

Holy in the Kitchen

It was a strange funny kind of Holy tonight. Good Friday was remembered around our kitchen table, instead of in a sanctuary around the stations of the cross. It is interesting how the hope of heaven and new life is magnified when one of our own’s mortal light has gone out. Continue reading

Commissioned and Scattered

 

The zipper closes on my suitcase. Flashes of memories of the past three days race through my mind like the landscape flying by a car at one hundred miles per hour.

Worship. The Living Word. Laughter. Tears. Heavenly strategic connection right here on earth. Disciple a generation echoing in our ears and resounding in our spirits. Faces and hands lifted high. Knees bowed low. Instant sisterhood upon meeting one another face to face. Online friends become in-the-flesh friends and hug each other for the first time. Leaders whole selves submitted to the weight of His Glory.

JESUS.

There is this sound. It’s ringing in my ears this morning.

JESUS.

My soul is rested and restless.

JESUS.

An army is being raised up and marching forward in formation, shoulder to shoulder guarding against any gap space. There is no regard for our individual lives. Footsteps. Hearts beating in unison.

JESUS.

Vision is cast and with all the strength she can muster, our general weeps. Sobs wretch her body. She wants to continue, but the weight of eternity and lives hanging in the balance destined for hell bears down on her shoulders.

JESUS.

A soldier stands, moves from her position in the ranks and steps to the front, to cover the general. A shield is raised in prayer over our general that could only be uttered from the mouth of a mortal by the power of the Commander of her own soul. A silent, “We are with you” echoes as if it had been shouted from the mountain top.

JESUS

Jesus, reclining at the table, looks into the eyes of his disciples, “Your LOVE for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

The band of brothers, alongside Jesus head to the Garden of Gethsemane. The roads they have traveled, the works they have seen Him do with their very own eyes are memories seared into their minds. His teaching, backward and upside down. Lay down your life to gain it. The servant is the master. The least are the greatest in the Kingdom.

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I don’t know what it is like to sit on the mount of olives under His teaching. I can not fathom watching Him heal the leper, raise the dead. These 12 of His, they did life together with one mission in mind: to know this Jesus, to follow him, and to be like Him.

Then He says the unthinkable. I am going to lay my life down. You will be scattered from the safety of each other’s friendship.  You will go into all the world and make disciples in my Name.

I wasn’t there with the 12, but this past weekend I was in a space with more than 500 disciples gathering to know and make known the name of Jesus as far as we can reach.

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Before He was arrested, Jesus prayed not just for them, but also for us. I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you.  And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.

He goes on, I am in them and you are in me.  May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. (John 17:20-21, 23)

And then the cross, the resurrection, the 40 days post-resurrection. The 12 knew what it was to laugh together, cry together, struggle together. Together, they were comfortable. Then God, in His infinite wisdom calls them to multiply the spread of the Gospel by scattering them in every direction.

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Those who had been scattered preached the Word wherever they went. (Acts 8:4)

How their hearts must have broken in the scattering, while simultaneously racing with the thrill of spreading the Word about Jesus, about Salvation. This was what they were made to do. Still, their hearts within them ached as they departed from one another; the bond of brotherhood submitting to the call to make known the Name of their Lord. I bet there were tear stains on their cheeks mixed in contrast with a deep game-day like heart-beat in their chest as they set their feet to the course before them, apart from one another.

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The zipper will not close and I sit on my suit case in hopes it will contain all it’s contents for the duration of my trip home. Tears well in my eyes. I want to stay. Here in this place with this bold sisterhood, I feel safe and seen and understood. Tears stream my cheeks and my heart begins to beat faster in my chest and I know that (of course) this not why we’ve come. We’ve not come to stay.

We’ve come together to scatter and multiply. We’ve come to find courage (again) to go and disciple a generation. Courage has been found and now it’s time to move out.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt. 28:18-20)

Unlike the disciples, we do not scatter as a result of any kind of persecution. Instead we scatter because of Christ’s love that burns within us compelling us to no longer live for ourselves, but for Him who died and was raised again (2 Cor. 5:14-15 condensed). It’s His heartbeat for the broken church, broken and hurting people, and a longing for His return that we hear and are sent running out commissioned again.


Where is He sending you out into? Have you found kindred like-minded souls pursuing His love to encourage you; speak truth to you; challenge you? I’m telling you, they are out there. I just met a whole ton of them. I want to encourage you to find them in your city. You can connect to IF which, turns around and connects you to a local church. You can connect to community around His word online and perhaps even right where you are through IF:Equip . I want to encourage you to jump in and connect, you will be so glad you reached out.


 

IMG_5118This incredible IFtern is so gifted and so generous-hearted and so smart!  And she made sure my newest favorite song got significant air-time. 🙂  Grateful for you, Melissa and all of you servant-hearted IFterns!

*All IFterns raise their own support and some are not yet fully funded.  Would you consider partnering to support the IFterns in the call God has given this this year alongside IF?

 

IF: In Just One Week

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In an attempt to assess my own anticipation and preparation I have been asking my friends, “How are you feeling and what are you sensing in these days leading up to being together in Orlando for the first ever IF: Leaders Gathering?” In just one week 550 of us will gather to lean in together to the whisper of the Holy Spirit.  We will listen and look for His Spirit to move in us and instruct us. We will come together as one church, as leaders in various cities, small towns, college campuses, and suburban neighborhoods, as lovers who desire to live lives laid down for the Gospel in our own local contexts.

Some of us are coming with a friend or two or fifteen. Some of us are coming alone. However we are coming, we bring with us our stuff–the good and the bad.  We bring our expectations– the good and the bad. Some of us are coming full of fire in our bellies and ready to storm the gates of hell. Some of us are coming dripping wet from the buckets of water –otherwise known as life–that have been heaped upon us in attempt to extinguish our fire and our fight.

In some way, I think all of us are coming with our souls full of hope and our flesh fighting insecurity, fear, and comparison.

Me? I wish I could adequately weave words around the state of my soul and my situation as I come into this Gathering. I’ll try.

I’m coming with the wildest excitement over so many things, not the least of which is that I will finally get to be face to face with a sister who has become the dearest, most precious friend. The story of Jama (that’s what I’ll call it when I write her post in my series on friendship… one day…) began through facebook; it became a weekly hour long (at least) long distance coffee date over the phone. This woman has come alongside me, cried with me, prayed faith into my dreams, and listened–oh has she listened! Jama is the kind of friend every girl imagines when she very first at a young age realizes what a true friend is and dreams she might have one of her very own. She is gracious and constant, loyal and generous. When God was giving out gifts, He gave her all the ones I didn’t happen to end up with: compassion, gentleness, empathy, sensitivity…which is why I am so thankful God knew I would need her to both soften and sharpen me! We’ve never had the privilege of being in the same location together and this will be one of the greatest thrills for me at IF:Leaders Gathering– to share it with her and to journey through together.

It seems incredibly apparent that this time together in Orlando is incredibly strategic on the Lord’s part for connecting lives and hearts that would not have otherwise, in any other situation been able to connect.

God is building bridges of relationship to further His Gospel and to flat-out tell the enemy that his time messing with competition and comparison in His daughters is done!

Melissa is my soul sister.  She is a gift straight from God’s heart to mine and she will be there. If you do not know Melissa, you can “meet her” through her writing here and if you’re headed to Orlando, I’m telling you– you’ll want to find her, hug her, and ask her to share her “purse cookies” with you (which she will readily share).  Ever since we first met 2 1/2 years ago in line at IF:Austin she has been a friend who will speak the truth in love (and spank me with it if necessary), encourage, cheer on, and flat out be my biggest fan. She leads with incredible boldness and humor and loves and protects her friends fiercely. Melissa has taught me the true meaning of being each other’s biggest fan and sharing…she’s big on sharing (more on that in a minute).

And can I tell you about Kelly?! Kelly is a Colorado girl I have had the honor of journeying with for nearly 6 years. I even got to design and arrange her wedding flowers (you can take a peek here)! This girl is spirited, loves adventure and the outdoors, and shies away from NOTHING! Mama to three teenagers and a tiny 2 year old, real estate agent, fly fishing enthusiast, hunter,  and wife to a skilled and creative builder/business owner are among her accolades. While I love all of those things about her, the thing that has drawn me into deep friendship with Kelly is her passion for living a life laid-down for Jesus with no excuses. This girl loves Jesus and isn’t quiet about it, yet the thing that preaches loudest is her very life.

And then there are these girls…

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IF: Colorado Leaders Gathering for the first time in October 2014

A small army of IF: Colorado girls are boarding a plane and headed southeast together on Sunday morning and some are coming in on Saturday. Some of the girls and I sat in a living room together months before IF 2015.  Most of us didn’t know each other, but I will tell you that when I walked in I felt like I had come home to dear friends who really truly understood me and each other. There was no hint of comparison, jealousy, pretension, or fluff. From the moment we met we became this incredible cheering section for each other in prayer and in action. To get to be in their space again, to hear what the Lord is stirring in their hearts, to be able to pray over and breathe life into each other’s God-given dreams makes my heart beat just a little faster.

This thing called IF that God is moving is so much wilder than I ever imagined it would be. (I bet Jennie and her team feel the same way times a million)! There is something that is shifting in our times … things are hard and perhaps they’ve always been this hard, but now we know and we can’t look away and do nothing. The church is realizing the divisiveness of some of her doctrine and denominationalization (I just made that word up).  She is coming together to begin/continue loving each other and to show the world who Jesus is in the way we love well all who we come near. There is something stirring; it’s this echo that is resounding in the hearts and minds of followers of Jesus and it sounds a lot like, “He who is coming  will come and He will not delay.” (Heb. 7:37) There is a new sense of urgency to drop our petty differences and rally around the one thing we agree on, JESUS and making Him known to all people in truth and in love.

Where there was competition, I see women promoting and sharing each other’s gifts and strengths and ministries. Where there was jealousy, I see women fighting for celebration of one another. Where there was insecurity that your gain means my loss, I see women giving away what could rightfully be their own gain (personally or vocationally) to another realizing that when you are on the same team, a win for you is a win for us.

You know my friend Melissa? Well, instead of hoarding all of her incredible friends (and she has incredible friends) to herself, she has graciously shared many of them with me.  Who does that?! She does. I met Alli because of a conversation I had with Melissa that went something like this:

M: “You have to meet my friend Alli.  You two need to know each other.”
Upon wrapping up our conversation, Melissa proceeded to text me Alli’s information along with a separate text that said, “Oh and You’re Welcome.” 🙂

I figure I love Melissa and (clearly) she has great discernment and wisdom in the friends she chooses…so I text Alli.  Next thing I know, we’re having a facetime conversation that lasts for over one hour and has developed into yet another precious long-distance, not yet met face-to-face friendship! In one week, I will get to hug my friend’s neck for the first time while we sit alongside the girl who will again remind us who made the moment possible by saying, “Oh and you’re welcome!”

Next week women from all walks of life, leading in our local contexts will gather.  We will be (to name just a few): career women, mamas of biological kiddos, adoptive mamas, married, single, leaders of large (in quantity) ministries, leaders of  intimate living room/coffee shop ministry, church planters.  Some will be passionate about cultural and racial bridge building while others are pulled to be advocates speaking out on behalf of the current refugee situation.  We will be fashionistas in all kinds of coordinating accessories and we’ll be yoga pants and comfort-first style makers. We will be extroverts, introverts, and (I hear) a whole slew of ambiverts (if you’re not sure what this is, neither was I — so Thanks Google!). Some of us will have met Jesus just recently; some of us will have known Him our whole lives.

This week women from all walks of life, leading in our local contexts will battle insecurity, jealousy, old fears, new fears, comparison, disunity, lies regarding who we are and whose we are, shame, guilt, inadequacy, brokenness in relationships, anxiety, depression.

This week women from all walks of life will be praying for each other for: God to have the victory in each one of our battles. We will pray courage, confidence in who HE says we are, truth, joy, peace, grace, faith, redemption, unity, celebration, freedom, and love for one another and for those God longs to know Him. We will be praying as we wrestle, for those preparing and leading our time; for the leadership, staff, and IFterns.

In one week, we will be stepping into this sacred space where we are going to ask the Holy Spirit to move in our midst and to have His way and we will lay down our desire to demand our own.

We will hear Him whisper and shout in the space that has been prepared for just that very purpose.

We will lean in together, press our ear up against our Father’s chest, and beg Him to let us all hear and feel and get in rhythm with His heartbeat.

We will worship in every expression imaginable; we will pray with one voice; we will share stories of how God has been faithful to us; and it will be the most faintest of faint shadow-glimpses of heaven.

I. Can. Not. Wait.

If you are are leading an IF:Local and if you are going to the IF:Leaders Gathering, as you are prepare to be together next week: What are your fears? Can we commit to pray over one another?! What are you expectant/excited about? What story can you tell of how God has used IF as a tool in your church, community or life to transform lives for Christ?

 

 

 

Thursday Picks Edition #4

Summer is in full swing, kids are sleeping in late, but not that late, breakfast happens sometime between 6:30 and 10 am, and there is a bit of unrest among the tribal harmony in our home. Sound familiar?

We are in the part of summer where we spend tons of time in the mountains and are perpetually packing and unpacking suitcases. This is the part of summer I absolutely LOVE because it is filled with lots of extended family, friends, and adventure!

So here’s a few snap shots of what that looks like for us!

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Hiking every chance we get!  This day Max did 2 of our 3 mile hike and then I packed his 36 lb little wiggly body into the backpack for the last mile!

4th of July Fun

Traditionally this includes an incredible small mountain town parade including getting to see the Deer Valley Ranch Wranglers (including this stud –my nephew– in the photo below) on horseback, candy, flags, and freeze pops being thrown at children; and (my favorite) Aunt Sharon and Uncle Bob’s annual (33 years running) 4th of July Picnic. The picnic is full of great grilling, incredible side dishes, pie, homemade ice cream, and lots of all-American games like the egg-and-spoon race, softball, and (my personal favorite) the cherry seed spitting contest.

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Here (photo below) you can see how proud my parents are that they raised two 1st place champion cherry seed-spitters! Hey, when you grow up as the only girl among three boys, one skill you learn to master is spitting. I knew all that practice would pay off someday! Look at those beaming parents over my “little” brother and me; they couldn’t be prouder, I’m sure.

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That’s been the excitement here lately and before I head off to our day’s adventure (which today includes shopping with three children) here are this week’s Thursday picks! To see previous weeks picks, simply either click the recommended link or the “tags” link under Thursday Picks at the bottom of this post.

Happy Thursday! Hope you get to practice your cherry seed spitting today, the cherries are in season and so yummy!!

BOOKS

ANYTHING by Jennie Allen

ANYTHING is  a book I read for the first time four years ago and it rocked me to the core.  Jennie has just released Anything in an updated version with an 8-week book/bible study included in the back section and I could not be more excited to be journeying once again through this book, this time with several other friends at 5am on Wednesday mornings!

I would attempt to wrap words around this book, but Jennie has provided a trailer that will give you a better picture than I could ever paint as to what Anything is all about.

If you choose to pick this up and read it, you can read it alone, but could I encourage you to find a friend, or two, or 12 and read and discuss it together?  This has been on my top 5 all-time favorite non-fiction reads since the first time I laid eyes on it and it is new every time I re-read it based on where I’m at in my journey of life on this planet.

FOR THE LOVE, Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards                    by Jen Hatmaker

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For the Love is a compilation of essays by a woman who is both deep and hilarious! Here is a great description of what the book is about by and advanced copy reader:

Reading this book is like sitting down to coffee with a friend. Jen pulls you close and whispers in your ear, “You are not failing. You’re doing great!” And because of Jen’s authenticity and her gift with words and with people, you actually believe her, breathe a sigh of relief, and feel empowered to go out and be a little gentler with everybody else, too. Jen moves effortlessly (and hilariously!) between the profound and the practical, sharing everything from how God shook up her neatly-tied-up theology to helpful advice on how to restore sanity to your schedule, build lasting friendships around your table (recipes included!), and make Jesus’ love real enough to your kids that they won’t walk away from the church. For The Love helps us set aside the impossible standards we use to evaluate ourselves so that we can breathe in Love, and breathe it out again.                                                                            Jennifer; Writer, Counselor, and Community-Builder. Chicago, IL

The book is not even out in real print yet, but Jen and her publishing team are doing something that is just awesome!  You can pre-order For the Love here  and while you wait for your hardcover book, you can read it in free downloadable pdf form!!!  If you order by July 15, there are a bunch of other freebies they are offering as well!  I just ordered mine last night and can not wait for a quiet moment to begin reading!

Podcast

Shauna Niequiest- Episode 318

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m slightly obsessed with Shauna Niequist words (both written and spoken) right now. Since her newest book Savor has come out, she’s been a guest on several podcasts I love, but I think my favorite interview was the one she did with the Catalyst Podcast and you can listen here or via iTunes on the Catalyst podcast.  There you will find it under Episode 318.

Shauna shares about her new book, new convictions, and a bit of her journey to where she is today as a writer, wife, mom, cook/hostess, and partner in a ministry called The Practice alongside her husband.

Music

There are some weeks you just need some new tunes. This is pretty much every week for me. I’m that girl who loves a song and plays it until the shiny wears off (6 months later).  There are some you may know in this list, but I’m hoping you find a new tune to carry with you from this list this week!

& More…

In the spirit of helping you save money, eat healthy(ish), and simple preparation I bring you the most yummy breakfast (or dessert, if you’re one of those who “splurge” on yogurt for dessert).

Chocolate Dust Vanilla Greek Yogurt
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My kids LOVE the Chobani Greek Vanilla with chocolate dust yogurt that only comes in the individual sized servings (more trash/waste) that typically cost $1.25 each so I decided to come up with my own more economical/less landfill waste version.

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I know, it looks so complicated, doesn’t it?

Vanilla yogurt + Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips + (optional) Raspberries (or whatever is on sale–these were 10 for $10) + (optional) Mint Garnish = Yummy

Pulverize 1 cup of chocolate chips in a food processor and store in a mason jar or other air-tight container.
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Add to bowl of Greek Vanilla Yogurt or yogurt of your choosing. Add berries (optional).

Complicated, right?  This has been such a great breakfast go-to for us both for the ability for the kids to make it themselves, as well as a great quick on-the-go breakfast if we’re heading out for a day of adventure.

Personally, I believe every breakfast should contain chocolate in some form, so this meets that criteria for me!


Happy Thursday to you! Would love to hear what it is you’re loving this Thursday!!

When We Miss the Ones We Don’t Get to Rock and to Raise

I could be anywhere and it could be any day. And it comes over me like a wave. Even now, 4 years later. I never see it coming.

This morning as I stood in my bathroom putting my make-up on, his name (well, the name we gave him) crossed through my mind followed by a rush of images and memories.

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I can’t explain it. I’m learning I don’t need to explain it.

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Who can understand the heart of a mother who loves deeply the child that is from another woman’s womb, even before she has met him? Surely, I can’t. Yet, somehow, I keep trying to explain it. To find some kind of logical explanation for this space in my heart. When you experience the kind of loss of a child but it is not death, how does one grieve?

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Continuously. Sporadically. Without reason or warning.

My mind says, “Why are you crying and sad? It’s not like he has died.”

My heart replies, “But it is almost worse. We will have known him and loved him, but he will never have known us this side of eternity.”

My mind retortes, “Still, you know he is safe and loved.”

My heart whispers, “Yes. But not by us. He will know love. Of this I have no doubt. His mother loves him deeply. But this mother loves him deeply too.”

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The mind can sound so harsh when it speaks to the heart with it’s sound logic. And the heart can seem overly dramatic to the mind who can not understand how to categorize these kinds of emotions and feelings.

The journey into and through adoption is not for the faint of heart. I never understood love to this degree until I fell in love with these precious ones of mine. And when it came time to choose to surrender and not fight –to take back a child to his biological mom– it was as if someone had asked for one of my girls that I had loved and known nearly since their birth and were now in elementary school. How does love happen that quickly?

Somehow as mothers,our hearts give

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can only speak of the kind of love I know as an adoptive mother, but I imagine it is the very same for the ones who carry your DNA and grow in your womb.  Somehow as mothers, our hearts give themselves away as soon as we know there is a child that has been entrusted to us. Even before he was born, as we sat in the room across from his birth mom, my heart gave itself away. It never asked me, it just leaped right out of my control and in love with our coming son. And then as the first cries escaped his lips as the cold of the outside world and the air filled his lungs, my heart gave itself away again.

That first night in the hospital I couldn’t have pulled his tiny little clear bassinet any closer to my bed without it being in my bed. He breathed in and out and with every other breath he uttered the sweetest little squeak.

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Miracle. A living breathing miracle lay right by my side.

And then he was home with us, squeaking and snuggling in his room so carefully prepared for him. Time slowed down as it does when your baby comes home. Hours go by staring at the miracle of your child, without any regard for shower or hair brush or any attire fancier than yoga pants.

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And then, it all changed.

The piratey-shark decorated room became silent.

Crib empty.

Door closed.

Hearts broken into a million pieces.

Shortly after bringing Fisher back to his birthmom I can remember well-intentioned people saying to us, “We are so sorry. God will bring you another child.” Implying (and some out-right saying) that our next child would somehow fill the void and the loss of this one.

One child can never replace another, no matter how many God may entrust to you.

Even as I write this afternoon, there is a precious, most handsome, two-year old blonde headed boy with eyelashes a mile long. With sucker in-hand he is begging for me to bounce him on my leg. This child, my second son, completely owns my heart.

Still, one child never replaces another.

As much as I wish the birth of a new child –a new miracle–could erase the grief of the one not rocked in my arms long enough, this just isn’t the way the heart works.

Mother’s Day is bittersweet for lots of mommas who didn’t get to rock and raise the ones they gave their hearts away to. Maybe that’s you.

Maybe you grieve the one taken before you could even see his face. Perhaps the delivery room was the place of both hello and goodbye. I know some of you never even left the hospital before having to say goodbye. There are brave ones of you who gave life and chose adoption, surrendering the one you’d come to know so well in the 9 months prior to birth.

Some days it comes. The grief washes over us and pulls us back in it’s powerful undertow. It’s on these days at this particular time of the year that I lean into Jesus and ask Him to remind me of the truth of His Word.

The truth that says, “He is good and His mercy endures forever.”

The truth that says, “He is faithful and sovereign.”

The truth that says, “Even what the enemy intends to use to destroy us, will only be used for my good and His glory.”

On these days when I’m struggling I turn up on the volume on songs like this one and put it on repeat. When my heart is weak my soul needs the washing of these words… of THE WORD.

Maybe you too, today, need to turn up the volume and allow the truth of these words from The Word to wash over your brokenness, your grief, your tired heart. If so, friend, know I am right there with you today; knee deep in worship and tears and Truth.

 

 

 

Thursday Picks Edition #3 (on Friday)

Thursday picks

Lessons I’ve learned in the past few weeks:

1. Never post a raffle-copter drawing when heading into a busy two weeks. I’m so sorry to all four of you that entered!
PS Winner announced below!!!

2. If you get a buddy pass and have to get up at 3 am to catch a flight that you may or (more likely) may not get on, be sure to have a bff who rises at that crazy hour to make you coffee and hug you goodbye.
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3. If a 5-year old asks you to play basketball in the driveway right after you roll out of bed, you should always say yes. You never know when he might be in need of fresh daily writing and art material for the school morning work. Also, he’ll make you look real lean in his rendering.

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“My Mom’s friend, Aunt Brenda, came to our house today. We played basketball.”

4. Slip-n-slides are really one of the best parts of summer

We kicked off summer old-school style with neighbors and the simultaneous triple and double (not see in photo) Slip-n-Slides! It was a perfectly hot afternoon for cold water and lots of crazy Slip-n-Slide maneuvers!
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Needless to say, I know that many of you are also experiencing the crazy joy that is known as the end of the school year. For us, besides the non-stop rain that just won’t quit, the end of school year festivities and the stubborn active 2 1/2 year old have owned any shred of focus I might have had at this stage in the end of school year/early summer.

So here we are at Thursday picks again and there is so much I’m loving right now, especially in books and music!  It’s going to be a short and sweet list this week due to reasons stated above.

So here are the top picks for this week!

BOOKS

I have been reading like it is the last day I have sight. Somehow we create space for things in different seasons of life that in other seasons we couldn’t find space for. I love books and I love reading bunches of them simultaneously.

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Lately I have become obsessed with Shauna Niequist’s writing.

I started reading Cold Tangerines nearly 5 weeks ago and found it to be such a great night time read. Shauna writes each chapter as a sort of stand-alone essay, which is good for this book-addicted mamma who tends to let children eat cookies for breakfast (not the worst thing, but not the best either) when caught up in a continuous chapter book. So this week’s book pick is Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist. Trust me, this is a great easy summer read by the pool or in the evening with a glass of wine on the back patio.

You can read more description about Cold Tangerines here and links to order are there as well.

Podcast

I know we’ve talked about Jamie Ivey’s podcast before and how I love to listen to it while cooking dinner. This is by far one of my favorites combining two of my favorite people Jamie Ivey + Melanie Shankle (author of Sparkly Green Earrings, The Antelope in the Living Room, and her latest memoir on friendship Nobody’s Cuter Than You) in one hilarious hour of podcasting.

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Click here to listen

Music

I am always looking for new workout music that is lyrically clean and has a great beat. So here are a few from my newest list

& More…

In lieu of my favorite blog this week, I wanted to share with you these shoes that I have had my eye on and cannot stop looking at! I actually bought a pair of the generic Bass Pro brand that are similar to these Sanuk brand (and 1/4 the price) but I’m thinking I still may need to go back and get me a pair of these!

sanuk

 

or these

sanuk 2

These are called the Boardwalk and look like they have a bit more cushion inside of them, which is always a plus, as far as I’m concerned!

If you are interested in either, simply click here to order.

*None of the above listed are not affiliate or promotional links. I simply want to share things I love in hopes to expedite your search for things YOU love!

What are you loving as we head into summer? Comment to share the love of the things and books, and music you love!

& the WINNER of Every Bitter Thing is Sweet book Giveaway is:

summer deals!

 

CONGRATULATIONS, Meredith!  I will email you to set up shipping! 🙂

Happy Thursday, everyone!

 

 

While It’s Still Thursday (Thursday picks continued…)

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Because when I wrote this week’s abbreviated Thursday picks it was late and I was tired.

Because I feel like there is so much more in the world I want to connect you to.

Because it’s rain-snowing outside and I have an air-pot full of Dunkin Donuts Coconut flavored coffee beside me in my new favorite writing spot.

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Because I’m trying to avoid more significant writing.

Because inquiring minds need to know.
I honestly don’t know who is inquiring.  Really, I just made that part up.

Because I’m learning CSS code through an online course and am dying to try it out on you. Ok, so truth. It’s a 6th grade code-writing course that my oldest is enrolled in that I found myself doing helping with homework the other night. I’m fascinated.  It’s like when you first learn how to do bubble-writing in middle school and you want to write everything (not just your name alongside you’re boyfriend’s name) in bubble words everywhere. Rachel is so tickled that i am learning so much from her class and actually asked me last night if I wanted to sit and do Code Academy (her course) together last night.

Fancy colored fonts or none, there are simply a few more picks I’m dying to share with you!

*If you missed today’s earlier Thursday Picks, there is a giveaway there you can enter to win Sarah Haggerty’s new, Every Bitter Thing is Sweet book.  Trust me, you need to read this book.  Even if you don’t need to read it, you absolutely need to run your hands over the beautiful honeycomb texture on the honey jar on the jacket cover. Don’t ask me how I know. Ok, since you asked, it’s because I love the cover so much I practically want to just keep it by my side and run my fingers over it on a regular basis. It’s that rich and beautiful and the words inside live up to all the beauty of the cover.

PODCASTS

jamie ivey podcast

This is a go-to podcast for me while I’m prepping food for dinner.  Jamie is an incredible communicator with a great sense of humor. Each episode is a conversation where Jamie talks with one of her friends (who happen to also be super interesting women) and you feel like you’re just getting to listen in.  This one here is where she talks with one of my favorite bloggers and authors, Melanie Shankle. Melanie writes at TheBigMamaBlog.com and has authored three books: Sparkly Green EarringsThe Antelope in the Living Room, and her brand new book Nobody’s Cuter Than You.  You will laugh hysterically while listening to this podcast as these two talk about everything from the new book, to talking to your kids and pre-teens about sex. Trust me.  It’s funny. You can also listen on iTunes here and it is episode #35, although once you listen to the Happy hour once, you’ll want to go back through the archives and listen to so many more!

MUSIC

needtobreathe livefromthewoods

I have not yet met a NeedtoBreathe song or album I didn’t want to play on repeat for months on end, and the latest Live From the Woods at Fonatel is no exception. It’s like sitting in a NeedtoBreathe show while still in the comfort of your living room, or car, or wherever it may be that you love to turn up the tunes! Reid and I are so excited to see their show live at Red Rocks this summer (tickets still available here) and this album is like an taste of what we look so forward to from this brother-band when they come to Colorado in July.

BLOGS

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If you like great writing, if you like free books, if you are a woman in the trenches of motherhood and ministry you need to go check out my sweet friend, Melissa Blair’s blog. This month she is giving away a free copy of Breathing Room by Leeana Tanersly and you can read about the book and enter to win here.

& MORE…

Because you NEED to know this.

If you forget everything else I’ve written, this you must know.

It’s better than a one day tax day deal. This deal is good until April 30th and it is from my favorite favorite coffee shop: Dunkin Donuts!
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The only thing you need is a Dunkin Perks Card, which is a re-loadable mobile Dunkin Donuts Card).

So follow these instructions:
Get a DD Perks card.
Load card with money.
Order hot coffee.
Pay with the card.
Get .99 ANY SIZE hot coffee all day long!
Repeat.

And that’s all.

You’re welcome!

Thursday Picks Edition #2 and a Giveaway

Thursday picks

BOOKS

It’s been a while since I’ve done Thursday picks and this will be an abbreviated list.  And by abbreviated, I mean…there will be one book mentioned here and that one book will be given away to one lucky reader. But there is a fun giveaway in it for you!

Last month I would crawl into bed earlier than usual in order to read at least one more chapter in Sarah Haggerty’s book, Every Bitter Thing is SweetI was given the book last October as part of the bounty given to Allume Conference attendees and was immediately drawn in by textured honeycombed jar with a honey dipper dripping honey on the cover.  It’s beautiful. I’m a sucker for a beautiful cover.

Sarah writes about so many things most women can relate to on a deep level. She has wrestled with God over unmet expectations, barrenness, spiritual busyness in the midst of soul emptiness.  In all this, she gives weight to the struggle and then sizes the struggle up next to a God who is still good in the midst of struggle.

“…our lives aren’t, in fact, a series of rewards for doing things ‘right.’ They are strung-together surprises that continude to speak more of who He is than who we aren’t.”                                           ~Sarah Haggerty

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In other news, I was helping Rachel with her technology writing homework and did you know that they are teaching our kids how to build web sites and write CSS code? I may possibly have completed ALL her homework for her…Just maybe.  That stuff is FASCINATING for a  super nerd like me!  You can thank Rachel and her technology teacher for the various text fonts and  you see in this here post!

Anyways…. there you have it for Thursday pickl and a Giveaway!  Enter to win and increase you r chances  below!  Happy happy Thursday everyone!

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