Tag Archives | loving

What I’m Loving: Fall 2017

What I'm Loving: Fall Edition

Before this season had ever lifted off the ground I had a word pinned to it. Launch. The word brims with action and indicates any sort of beginning. Our church launched a second campus, our kids started a new school, and I entered that long-awaited season of having all three kids in school a couple days a week.

I launched a new series this fall, and I shared how I love beginnings but hate admitting I’m a beginner, mostly because it means admitting I don’t have a clue what I’m doing. But I’m so thankful for the brave steps of ordinary beginners who take a risk and release something new into existence one shaky step of faith at a time.

Here are FIVE things I’m loving for fall… one for each of your five senses. All can be traced back to certain a place of origin, a simple dream, idea, or passion. Every beautiful one has its own precious beginning.

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Speaking Beauty blog by Julie Cassol

My friend Julie began this blog with one hope: to capture and communicate beauty. The images she collects from her everyday paths have quietly invited me to notice the beauty I pass by without a second glance. Her latest post on unity gifts us all a pair of fresh eyes. Her simple conversational style leaves me hungry for more of this beauty she seeks, then speaks.

To see

from “Pumpkin Beauty” by Julie Cassol [Speaking Beauty blog]

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The Next Right Thing podcast with Emily P. Freeman

Every Tuesday I exhale as I press play and soak in the audible words of the world’s most peaceful voice. Emily’s amiable honesty inspires me, and her willingness to search for the place her voice fits best blesses me. I didn’t realize until half way through the fifth episode that I was arranging my schedule around each new fifteen-minute increment of pure soul food week to week. It will become your favorite Tuesday habit, too.

TO HEAR

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Sparrow House Botanicals

The sparrows at Redeemed Ministries launched an amazing bath and beauty product line this year. Every gorgeous bar of handmade soap, every chic tube of lip balm, and every tub of whipped body butter is 100% organic and exploitation free. Not only will you enjoy the beautiful scents paired in these products, your shopping list will make a difference in the lives of survivors and simultaneously spread the word about sex-trafficking.

To smell

I never used to be one of those people who bought Christmas presents and Halloween candy at the same time. But when my youngest was due just weeks after Christmas, I figured I didn’t have much choice. When she arrived three and a half weeks early (exactly eight days before Christmas), I was surprisingly prepared.

You can make a difference and let these amazing fair trade products help you whittle down your gift-giving list long before the rush begins. Teachers, coaches, dance instructors. Neighbors, community helpers, and all the people who make your life a little brighter.

Here you go, and you’re welcome.

The peppermint lavender lip balm is one of my favorites and perfect for stocking stuffing. I’ve set aside some of my favorites, including the orange coconut body butter and handmade soaps, so I can give away a product I believe in on an everyday whim.

If you are already so far ahead that Christmas shopping is a big check mark for you, Sparrow House Botanicals has some amazing new pumpkin products perfect for the month of November. There are so many people in my life who deserve a little pumpkin spice pampering. Maybe that someone is you.

Pumpkin Spice

Sparrow House Botanicals Fall Favorites Gift Set

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Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkins

I’m all about “Team Pumpkin Spice,” but I hold the position that not all things need pumpkinizing. When you rip through the wrapper of a Reese’s Peanut Butter pumpkin, you taste nothing but chocolate peanut buttery goodness… all in a darling pumpkin shape. I can handle that. Oh, and because these aren’t jack-o-lanterns, you can go ahead and enjoy these for the whole month of November… or until you officially declare it’s Christmas season.

Reese's peanut butter pumpkins

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Homemade Play-dough

It began as a bribe on the days my tiny one cried all the way home after dropping the big kids off at school. I taught her to plow the huge mound of dough together with her palms, then squeeze it tightly into a ball. “Push then squeeze; push then squeeze,” I’d hear her say in a sing-song way as I’d slip off to the sink to rinse out my coffee cup.

I’ve come to enjoy our morning play-dough routine. As her tiny hands grip the rolling pin, her eyes light up when she realizes she’s flattened the dough all on her own. When I made this “play clay,” as the recipe calls it, I didn’t much think about the color. I grabbed the food coloring we had the most of: bright orange.

To feel

Feeling the soft play-dough take on a new form in my hands has reminded me that God is molding me and changing me and that new beginnings are part of His plan. Mornings at the kitchen table with orange play-dough have been the highlight of my fall. And witnessing my littlest soak it all up has been everything I’ve needed to embrace this season of beautiful beginnings.

What beginnings are you celebrating this fall?

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Why Memoir Is My Favorite Genre

WHAT I'M LOVING: Spring EditionWhat I’m Loving… About Memoir

Memoir story-tellers quietly invite us to examine our own stories in light of the one they’re sharing. The unveiling of universal truth is the essence of memoir. Listening to someone else’s story helps us better understand a piece of ourselves.

This past year, my HER STORY series has both stretched and inspired me. As I’ve practiced story-listening, God has given me a better ear to hear the melody of my own.

I’ve learned this crucial truth: my story is not about me. 

Marion Roach Smith, author of The Memoir Project writes, “Most people think that memoir is a story about me—or in this case, you. Most people are wrong. Memoir is about something and you are the illustration.”

Back in January, God led me to ONE VERSE for 2017…

But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15

God has wasted no time defining gentleness and respect; He’s revealed how far I fall from true humility. I’ve struggled, though, with the word defense. Preparedness is an integral part of my faith, but defense seems so defense-ive.

A defense isn’t an argument I defend my way out of, but a story I choose to tell.

According to Marion Roach Smith, the three essentials parts of memoir are:

  1. The answer to the question: “What is this about?”
  2. Your argument
  3. The scenes from your life that will be deployed to prove that argument

God uses our stories to communicate His character. Does your story illustrate His love, kindness, forgiveness, protection, provision? Which scenes from your life defend that argument?

What defense does your story make?

Jesus is Master over our lives, and He is the Master of our stories. When He rode into Jerusalem as King, Jesus didn’t enter as a mighty king ready for war; He entered in humility and in peace. Though a significant element in Jesus’ first coming, the donkey wasn’t much on its own. The spotlight wasn’t on the donkey; it was on Jesus.

God used the donkey as a vehicle for His glory. Our stories, like that donkey, aren’t much on their own, because Jesus is the hero of every redemption story.

God can use our stories as vehicles of His truth.

He is Master over all. Supreme. And yet He whispers to our hearts, “Loosen your grip on this. Trust Me with it.” We have nothing to offer that He has not given us. Our stories belong to Him.

Let your story tell God’s story,

Kelly

 

Something else:

I set a goal to read ten memoirs over the course of this year. Though my favorite genre, it’s the one I read the least. I’m making my list of memoirs to read next, and I’d love your help. If you have a favorite memoir, please share the title in the comments below.

I’d love to hear about your own reading goals, too. As always, you can check out what I’m reading over on my Good Reads page, or the What I’m Reading posts I update every season.

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Four Questions I’m Loving This Fall

Listening is hard.

Just take note as the conversation unfolds at your own dinner table this evening. In our house, one kid raises her hand the entire time her brother is speaking.  She waits her turn to speak at school, so she truly believes this is polite. The other one finishes his sister’s sentences and can’t seem to understand why this gets underneath her skin.

When conversation becomes waiting our turn to speak or finishing someone’s thought, I think we have lost something fundamental in the way we communicate.

Listening is a demonstration of how we value those around us.

I used to think I was a pretty good listener, but then God invited me on a crazy adventure called HER STORY, and I’m discovering how difficult listening really is. He is slowly turning this story-teller into a story-listener, and I’m loving it.

What I'm Loving: Fall Edition

When I began interviewing women who had a story to tell, I knew each one. I knew her story, too. Or so I thought. Listening unbiased to someone you know really well is so much more challenging than listening to someone you just met. This entire process has helped me pay more attention to the questions I’m asking.

Whether you’re conducting an interview or chatting with a friend or introducing yourself to a stranger, questions bring depth and purpose to ordinary conversations.

Questions allow us to tap into that sacred space beneath the surface.

In The Listening Life, Adam McHugh writes, “Listen to the voice of the Spirit while you listen to the other person. Don’t listen for what truth or insight you should speak to them. Listen for what questions to ask.” This is a slow and gentle process, but an important one, I think.

Since we could all use a little conversation make-over, I want to share four questions I’m loving.

Four Questions I'm Loving This Fall

These questions have added insight, depth, and beauty to everyday exchanges in my home and in my community. I am just now beginning to see how much I’ve been missing.

  1. Instead of “How are you?” try asking, “How can I pray for you?” This one even works well with strangers.
  1. When you think you know exactly what the other person is saying, ask this one: “Can you tell me more about that?” This question gently draws out what’s underneath that first layer of conversation.
  1. “What do you need right now?” has the capacity to completely alter our most precious relationships.
  1. Adam McHugh says a listener’s best friend is the “why” question. Rather than disagree, relate, fix, or solve, let a “why” question jump-start a better conversation. Here are some examples:

“Why do you hold that belief?”

“Why is that important to you?”

“Why does that bother you?”

“Why did that hurt you?”

“Why do you feel that way?”

As our questioning improves so will our listening.

Questions offer a simple way to communicate that we care while reminding us that we have so much to learn. Better questions will revive our dinner table conversations and breathe life into our everyday connections.

Do you have a favorite question you like to ask? I’d love to hear from you…

Kelly

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{GIVEAWAY} What I’m Loving: Summer Edition

One of the sweetest moments in life has to be when a friend shows up on your doorstep with an unexpected gift for absolutely no reason at all. The other day a friend gave me a bag of mint M&Ms—a whole bag, people. Her timing was perfect, too, though I’m not sure there’s a bad time to receive chocolate!

Think of this as an unexpected gift from a friend. I’m certain you’ll thank me later. Here’s what I’m loving this summer.

I know you’re going to love it, too.

What I'm Loving: Summer Edition

The same friend who understands my mint M&M addiction, plopped this pretty little gift in my lap a couple months ago, just because. Besides her endearing gift-giving ways, one of my favorite parts of our friendship is that we study the bible together. We don’t go to a bible study together; we just read the bible at our own pace and share what we’re learning. It’s pretty simple. And beautiful, too.

When she gave me Quieting Your Heart Six-Month Bible Study Journal created by the Time-Warp Wife, I fell in love for five reasons.

loving-summer-journal

I’m loving how it encourages God-centered application.

Whimsical text boxes on every page read, “GOD IS…” It’s a perfect place to start once I’m done studying a passage, because it reminds me that the bible is a book about God, not a book about me.

I’m loving how it evokes a thankful heart.

The “Three Things I’m Thankful For” text box helps me remember it is a blessing to read and study God’s Word. I love the way it launches me into prayer with a grateful posture.

I’m loving that it satisfies my artsy cravings.

When my mom was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year, I bought her an adult coloring book to take with her to chemo treatments. Until then, I was unaware that a colored pencil in hand could have such a calming effect on me. The playful illustrations in this journal are delightful whether they’re colored in or left black and white.

loving-summer-color

I’m loving that it will last me six whole months.

I need a new journal every couple of months, so six month’s worth of pages means less space occupied on my bookshelf. Though I don’t write something down every single day, I love the idea of having one journal that will last me half of the year.

I’m loving how it helps me embrace the mess of learning.

Bible study is messy. I’m learning to embrace dissonance as I wait on God to teach my heart at a pace that’s right for me in this season. Knowing I have a pretty place to collect my thoughts as I read God’s Word helps me appreciate the mess that’s necessary to get there.

messy-study

The winner of my August Giveaway is…

Eva Haier

Congratulations, Eva! Thank you everyone for all of your support in the launch of Carried by Love. Here is the link if you’d like to grab your own copy of Quieting Your Heart Six-Month Bible Study Journal.

Giving away something you love is just a simple way of saying thank you…

Kelly

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