Inspire Me Monday – Week Thirty Four

knotCan I tell you a secret?

I am tired.

I am wanting another week of Christmas vacation before going into the “reality” of schoolwork, working, the busy of it all.

I am wanting more of the rest, more of the wonder of it, more of something.

 

I don’t even know what that something is and it causes an emptiness that I cannot totally explain.

 

And my heart is breaking with the heaviness of it all.

 

Different things seems to break my heart every day.

 

The choices I make.

The choices my children make.

The choices complete strangers make.

 

And every day there are times when I want to do something over.

To make it more perfect.

 

As the babes sleep through the night or my little one stops asking me to marry him.

To realize that when that moment was happening, it was the last and I needed to savor it more than I did.

 

But then, I realize that is a world with me in the center of it.

 

And when we are the center of our days, when we stand first before the light, there is no room for illumination.

 

For when we look inward, there is no longing for the outward. 

 

And yet, there is still that broken heart.

 

As Ann so beautifully puts it:

“The secret way to heal a broken heart is to let love leak out like an ocean through all the cracks.”

 

To give until your grieving is dulled by the beauty of joy.

To hope until the wonder isn’t painful.

To love until the brokenness becomes a part of another.

 

Because maybe we were not made to be fixed right now. Maybe, just maybe, we are not called to help heal each other, but to join each other in the brokenness, because there is only One who was crushed so that He can heal us fully.

 

And He is just waiting for you.

To heal our hurt.

To help our doubt.

To forgive our yuck.  And if you think you are the only one with yuck, come back tomorrow when I talk about my yuck.

 

But for now, be inspired by the One who loves you no matter what!

 

And share your inspiration as well!

Here are a few tips to make this easy peasy:

Easy Peasy…1,2,3:

1. Link up ONE inspirational post, song, DIY idea, video, song, ANYTHING that gets us kick started into Mondays!

2. Visit TWO other contributors (the one right before you and another one) and leave an encouraging comment. We all like a little comment love!

3. Spread the inspiration and invite some friends! ! Share the post on Facebook, tweet something inspiring, pin it, or whatever social media outlet you prefer – let’s try to build this community in order to inspire another heart on this Monday morning.

And to add a little more amazing inspiration, here are the hostesses that will be joining us these next few months.  This summer (Yes, I am already dreaming of summer), we will have guest hostesses so stay tuned!

Angie {FacebookTwitter}, Cindy {FacebookTwitter}, Denise {Facebook,Twitter}, Anita and Carol {Facebook, Twitter}

Share the button – Share the inspiration:

 

 Angie Ryg

I cannot wait to read your inspirations!



Inspire Me Monday – Week Thirty – One

Good Morning! Another new week. A week filled with new things or maybe things that are very, very common. Maybe of work. Maybe of diapers. Maybe of carpools and crafts. Basketball games and laundry piles. It may be a week of new beginnings or maybe some ends. End of the term. End of school. Hopefully the end of the flu that is hitting.every.single.person.in.our.family.

When there is no more room on the nightstand because of all the Kleenex and medicine,

and feet are crossing feet and arms are laying across knees because the whole family is sleeping in one bed in all directions,

all you can do for inspiration is play a funny video that reminds everyone that saying something nice could sometimes be the greatest inspiration that one might have in a day.

 

 

Just click on that link above there and one day, I will figure out how to import it. I know. . .  I read it on Google, but it is just not working, and tonight if I am going to choose between reading it all over again or getting an extra hour of snuggles with my little one who is running a fever, I am choosing snuggles. Every time!

 

Please disregard that last paragraph. . . IT WORKED!!!

 

So be inspired to bring a smile to someone just by saying a few happy things.

And if you are more inclined to want to read happy things,

 

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…here is one of the most

inspirational places on the web!

I am sure you have heard of it, but if you have not yet had a chance to breathe deep with comfort, encouragement, and hope, you need to go visit this place that will welcome you to beauty and grace.

It is called in(courage) and it is just one of the most  places on the web. My dear friend Holley Gerth started it with Stephanie Bryant  and the writers over there are some of the most beautiful soul sisters that I have *met* both in real life and through this crazy thing called the web.

And those words in the blocks?  You can actually buy those!!!  They are called the Words Matter Letterpress Blocks and you need to race over there to see the amazing words that will truly inspire.

 

But for more inspiration. . . I need y’all to link up here and I cannot wait to connect!

Here are a few tips to make this easy peasy:

Easy Peasy…1,2,3:

1. Link up ONE inspirational post, song, DIY idea, video, song, ANYTHING that gets us kick started into Mondays!

2. Visit TWO other contributors (the one right before you and another one) and leave an encouraging comment. We all like a little comment love!

3. Spread the inspiration and invite some friends! ! Share the post on Facebook, tweet something inspiring, pin it, or whatever social media outlet you prefer – let’s try to build this community in order to inspire another heart on this Monday morning.

And to add a little more amazing inspiration, here are the hostesses that will be joining us these next few months.  This summer (Yes, I am already dreaming of summer), we will have guest hostesses so stay tuned!

Angie {FacebookTwitter}, Cindy {FacebookTwitter}, Denise {Facebook,Twitter}, Anita and Carol {Facebook, Twitter}

Share the button – Share the inspiration:

 

 Angie Ryg

I cannot wait to read your inspirations!

 



 

Inspire Me Monday – Week Twenty Nine

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Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,

I was running like a chicken with my head cut off or maybe a grouse;

The stockings were in a bin still waiting to be found,

And snow globes and ornaments scattered all around;

The children were all snuggled up in their beds,

And I was hoping the chaos was escaping their heads;

Chaos of Pinterest craft messes and school party fails,

Concerts with black pants, not khaki, because of many missed emails;

When then upstairs there arose such a clatter,

I quickly ran up to see what was the matter;

My kids are all shouting, “Christmas letters to Santa never got sent!”

Little boys wanting Minecraft, Frozen, and any Disney Event;

And then the teen girl who used to ask for all things glitter,

Says she will be happy with just joining Twitter;

So letters are written, promised to mail,

And I sigh as I think about another Christmas Fail;

The children finally settle down and now there are presents to wrap,

While “Mr. Claus” is already settled in for a nap;

Ripping off stickers and all the price tags,

Yet still knowing I will explain that Santa sometimes shops at Target and keeps all the bags;

I realize Christmas cookies were never made, the Advent Calendar box is still on thirteen,

And sweet Baby Jesus has been replaced with a Lego mini-figure in the Nativity scene;

And yet when I fall in my bed late that night,

Just barely missing the sun’s early light;

I am reminded of another Mama many years ago,

Who was up all night watching a Miracle given from Heaven to us below;

So for those Mamas thinking they have to make a perfect Christmas season,

And that creative cookies and magnificent mantels are all part of the reason;

Let’s join together in not one-upping and comparing,

But instead celebrating each other and find reason for sharing;

For those cookies I will try to make tomorrow and my mantle will eventually get done,

But let’s not let this beautiful time pass us without enjoying all the moments of fun;

The fun of a smile, a snowman or two,

a story to read, special time with you;

These are the things that our families will remember,

the traditions that show love will be what they will treasure.

 

Merry Christmas to all and to all a wonderful month of blessed MOMents with those that you love!

 

Now let’s link up some beautiful inspiration from you!
Here are a few tips to make this easy peasy:

Easy Peasy…1,2,3:

1. Link up ONE inspirational post, song, DIY idea, video, song, ANYTHING that gets us kick started into Mondays!

2. Visit TWO other contributors (the one right before you and another one) and leave an encouraging comment. We all like a little comment love!

3. Spread the inspiration and invite some friends! ! Share the post on Facebook, tweet something inspiring, pin it, or whatever social media outlet you prefer – let’s try to build this community in order to inspire another heart on this Monday morning.

And to add a little more amazing inspiration, here are the hostesses that will be joining us these next few months.  This summer (Yes, I am already dreaming of summer), we will have guest hostesses so stay tuned!

Angie {FacebookTwitter}, Cindy {FacebookTwitter}, Denise {Facebook,Twitter}, Anita and Carol {Facebook, Twitter}

Share the button – Share the inspiration:

 

 Angie Ryg

I cannot wait to read your inspirations!



Inspire Me Monday – Week Twenty Eight

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe speaker at the conference looks right into the souls of more than 1000 moms and daughters and asks the question that I wish I could erase from my little girl’s mind,

“What is the one thing that you don’t like about yourself?”

I see my girl’s head tilt to the side with crunched up eyes and then she smiles big as her face lights up because she thought of something and just as quickly her smile turns down just a bit.

She leans in and whispers, “I didn’t have anything that I didn’t like about myself at first but then I  thought of something, but now that is all I can think about.”

 

And just like that, my little girl went from complete acceptance into a questioning of her physical attributes.

 

And she was only eight years old.

 

And the whole kicker of this scenario?  We were at a conference that was supposed to build confidence into a girl’s heart and body image!

So this beauty thing is on my mind with that eight year old now a fourteen year old and we are dealing with body image, social media comparisons, and a world that tells you that it is beautiful to take off your clothes.

 

I will go into much much much more about all of this in future posts.  God is doing mighty things in the hearts of some young women both here and in India and I am excited to share their stories, but until then, today’s inspiration is a fun clip that I found about some mamas that are making this beauty thing into a whole lot of fun and a whole lot of character building!

 

 

These Mamas Are Teaching Real Beauty

(Click right up there!)

 

Fun side note: It wasn’t until I really looked at the moms faces that I recognized one mom who is a writer whose words I adore and would love to someday buy us a big plate of nachos we could share and two sweet teas and talk about kids, growing up, and this beautiful life God has given us!

 

If you have not ever visited her site, you must right now go check out Kristen! (She was the one with all the kids! We have that in common. So.many.fun.kids.)

Go ahead. I am fully aware that you may not come back because you will want to read everything she has written, but I am okay with that. She is just that good to read!

Consider her another gift of inspiration to light up your Monday morning!

 

But I hope you do at least come back to link up your inspirations for the week!

 

And now, I am ready for your words of inspiration. Link up your words, your craft ideas, your recipies, your cleaning tips…Anything to make this week one of peace, planning, and intentional goodness!

 

Here are a few tips to make this easy peasy:

Easy Peasy…1,2,3:

1. Link up ONE inspirational post, song, DIY idea, video, song, ANYTHING that gets us kick started into Mondays!

2. Visit TWO other contributors (the one right before you and another one) and leave an encouraging comment. We all like a little comment love!

3. Spread the inspiration and invite some friends! ! Share the post on Facebook, tweet something inspiring, pin it, or whatever social media outlet you prefer – let’s try to build this community in order to inspire another heart on this Monday morning.

And to add a little more amazing inspiration, here are the hostesses that will be joining us these next few months.  This summer (Yes, I am already dreaming of summer), we will have guest hostesses so stay tuned!

Angie {FacebookTwitter}, Cindy {FacebookTwitter}, Denise {Facebook,Twitter}, Anita and Carol {Facebook, Twitter}

Share the button – Share the inspiration:

 

 Angie Ryg

I cannot wait to read your inspirations!



Inspire Me Monday – Week Twenty Seven

This has been a weekend of rubbing backs. For some crazy reason each of my kids like to have their backs rubbed when they are sick. And by sick, I mean the Scottish definition of “sick:” throwing up. And they.were.all.sick.

 

 

I do not ever want someone with me when I am throwing up. Never. I may want someone to come check on me. . . ask me how I am doing, but to touch me while I am in the middle of “being sick”. . . never.

 

 

I realized once again that touch is such a strong sense. It conveys a sense of care and belonging. It gives comfort and communicates the stability of being there through runny noses and little voices questioning, “When will it stop Mama?”

 

 

But I have found that the sense of touch is not just found in the rubbing of a back. It is not just in the presence of a warm body. Sometimes this same kind of warm touch can be in a friend that feels the same way you do and shares her story in order for you to feel not so alone.

 

 

Today, I am super giddy to share a bit of news that is sure to inspire and make you feel as if you have received a sweet warm hug from a friend.

 

 

YOU are all invited to be on the book launch of a wonderful and inspiring Donkey. Yep, you heard that right… a DONKEY!

 

Flash-the-donkey1

 

 

Flash the Donkey touched a family and the author, Rachel Ridge, will be touching life upon life with her beautiful story of redemption, found faith, and the grace of second chances.

 

 

The launch date is May 2015!  And she is looking for bloggers to help her out on the launch!  And not only that, but she is giving away free art! Did I mention she is crazy talented with words and color?  So click on over  right here and join her in the adventure of inspiring others through the touch of hopeful words!

 

 

And now, I am ready for your words of inspiration. Link up your words, your craft ideas, your recipies, your cleaning tips…Anything to make this week one of peace, planning, and intentional goodness!

 

Here are a few tips to make this easy peasy:

Easy Peasy…1,2,3:

1. Link up ONE inspirational post, song, DIY idea, video, song, ANYTHING that gets us kick started into Mondays!

2. Visit TWO other contributors (the one right before you and another one) and leave an encouraging comment. We all like a little comment love!

3. Spread the inspiration and invite some friends! ! Share the post on Facebook, tweet something inspiring, pin it, or whatever social media outlet you prefer – let’s try to build this community in order to inspire another heart on this Monday morning.

And to add a little more amazing inspiration, here are the hostesses that will be joining us these next few months.  This summer (Yes, I am already dreaming of summer), we will have guest hostesses so stay tuned!

Angie {FacebookTwitter}, Cindy {FacebookTwitter}, Denise {Facebook,Twitter}, Anita and Carol {Facebook, Twitter}

Share the button – Share the inspiration:

 

 Angie Ryg

I cannot wait to read your inspirations!

 



A Welcome Back to Inspire Me Monday – Week 25

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The Lord is my Shepherd…I shall not want…

I had always pictured Psalm 23 describing these beautiful green hills with lush dew covered grass, but I learned this past month that “green pastures” can sometimes be just little bits of grass sticking out of the dirt covered roads of India. {click to tweet this}

 

 

And yet, when those pastures are given from the Lord, they become enough.

That’s the fullness of who God is! That is the Good Shepherd.

I am back from my travels in India.  As I shared the worth of a woman in God to women throughout the country, I found that the Good Shepherd was holding me and guiding me to different pastures than I have ever wanted to travel. And yet through each path, I found that I wanted to know the beauty of the good shepherd more.

I have found that it is better to be in the middle of God’s will on a dirt covered floor in a small Ashram in India praying with a woman to help her know what love in the flesh feels like than to be out of God’s will in my carpeted family room watching The Middle (Although I do love that show!).

I have found what living on prayer can do to a team, a church, and a community and I do not want to go back to the stagnant acceptance of complacent beauty.

I want the beauty of God.

People do not want any more sermons from strongly built soapboxes. They desire stories from broken places that are surrounded with open arms – welcoming them to the love of Jesus.

And although this month will be peppered with stories from my time in India just because India is a part of me now, this post is to kick off the joy that one small tip of inspiration can give to a soul.

One moment of inspiration can change one day for one girl, one woman, one family, one community, and ultimately the word to create hope where darkness lives.

I am so excited to introduce three communities that give inspiration and hope to others.  

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The first one is a place where healing words meet kindred souls and a sisterhood is being formed. And you are invited! Built on the beautiful dream of Denise Hughes, you are invited to sit and rest and join your story with others as we cheer for on another in a beautiful display of a celebration of every season of life.

Come refresh yourself over at Deeper Waters. Sit for a while and join this community of sisters who know just what you are going though.

 

The next community is one I have been watching quietly from the sidelines seeing the hope they bring and wondering what I can do to help. How can my one small voice make any kind of difference, yet then I remember:

It is when one small voice cries out for God that the mountains can move. {click to tweet this}

I am joining in the crying out and the praying and the hoping for change. I am blessed by the community of World Help and what they are doing for communities around the globe.

 

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This last month, I have seen women that have been persecuted for their faith in Jesus. I have hugged them, prayed with them, and been inspired by them. And World Help is helping women like these. And I invite you to do more for women like these.

To learn more about the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church and how you can help provide immediate aid to Iraqi refugees, simply visit worldhelp.net/prayer.

 

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The last community is one that I am excited to jump in and pull up a chair and sit at the table of grace. Grace Table is not just about food, but about fellowship. And when each of the hosts at the table is a person who makes you smile, laugh, or think deep, it is a table where I want to be. Join this new community as they launch a feast today where all are invited!

 

And one last inspiration for you…

My husband and I are celebrating 16 years this January. And this…I want to love like this:

Now for the super fun part.  We want to hear YOUR stories of inspiration. YOUR videos. YOUR songs. YOUR posts. Just pick one to link up and add it here.

Easy Peasy…1,2.3:

1. Link up ONE inspirational post, song, DIY idea, video, song, ANYTHING that gets us kick started into Mondays!

2. Visit TWO other contributors (the one right before you and another one) and leave an encouraging comment. We all like a little comment love!

3. Spread the inspiration and invite some friends! ! Share the post on Facebook, tweet something inspiring, pin it, or whatever social media outlet you prefer – let’s try to build this community in order to inspire another heart on this Monday morning.

And to add a little more amazing inspiration, here are the hostesses that will be joining us these next few months.  This summer (Yes, I am already dreaming of summer), we will have guest hostesses so stay tuned!

Angie {FacebookTwitter}, Cindy {FacebookTwitter}, Denise {Facebook,Twitter}, Anita and Carol {Facebook, Twitter}

Share the button – Share the inspiration:

 

 Angie Ryg

I cannot wait to read your inspirations!

 



 

 

A Prayer for the Busy Mom When School Starts

Door Left Open at Entrance to Home Foyer

Dear Lord,

She wakes up before her children, wanting to have one moment of quiet before the crazy of morning starts.  She will open the door to a new day of struggles, questions, worries, and joys she could never imagine. May you give her your calm peace before the chaos.

 

Or she will wake up to little ones crawling into bed with her and doing the Jolly Phonics *ant* song on her arm. May she laugh with the joy of snuggles and hopes of happy anticipation of her day ahead.

Or she will wake up to the alarm clock and once again wish that she didn’t have to work. That she could stay in bed and rest just a few more minutes. Wanting the life that didn’t include having to get herself ready as she tries to get the family ready as well. Move big in her heart and give her a feeling of purpose and the knowledge that she is serving her family in the way that you have called for this season.

She drops off little ones or not so little ones in the circle drive or beyond the playground. Give her the security in knowing that You will protect her little girl as she is swallowed up by the backpacks that engulf her on her first day of high school. You are already in that school. You are already there.

There are no surprises to you.

She has filled out questionnaires, physicals, and registration forms. Or she has filled out curriculum orders, lesson plans, and co-op papers. She will feel overwhelmed, out of place, and in over her head as she plans to impart knowledge to her child. Give her the wisdom to know she is right where you want her and that you are asking her not to go off on her own, but to follow You in what you are already doing in the lives of her children.

Remind her that you ask her to join you in this amazing thing called motherhood and that she needs only to show up.

She will plan out her family’s days using color coded markers to keep the schedules straight. She will drive carpools and caravans, she will buy new soccer cleats and ballet flats, and she will send healthy nut-free, gluten-free, red dye free snacks for the week. Call to her and say that you are her source of strength and help. You are all knowing, all powerful, and always there.

Replace her comparing with confidence.

Enlarge her sphere of influence.

May your Spirit grow in her soul so that the whispers of the enemy saying, “You are not enough” are silenced in the strong truths of her Creator saying, “You are everything to them and you are everything to Me.”

And when she cries at the dining room table because of a schedule that she allowed with all *good things* that threaten to overwhelm her family – leaving no nights for dinner together as a family, no Saturday lazy days of family time and no Sabbath rest  –  Give her that rest. Take her yoke of blame, and replace it with compassion for the present, and wisdom for the future.

May she treasure the blessings – however mundane they might seem – for to give thanks is the way to feel Your love even more. Lord, help to remind her that she is a treasured possession of You.

When this day seems to take away her joy, get it back for her.

May your joy take her breath away today. May it take away mine.

For I am this busy mama and I need to know your joy.

Thank you for a little child’s laughter, this life, and your love.

Amen.

 

 

Hey Y’all, I got such sweet feedback from this post, I thought it might encourage others, so I linked up with my very dear and uber encourager Holley Gerth for her latest link up:

 

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Come on over and join us for some refreshment and a place to bless and be blessed!

 

 

 

BEGIN – {Five Minute Friday}

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I am not sure what Christmas show it is…I think it is Rudolph…someone help me please, but the song, “Just put one foot in front of the other…” came to mind when I saw this prompt.

 

 

But that is always easier said than done. Especially for me.  For before I begin anything, I feel like I have to complete something else. When I sit down to write, even for five minutes, I look around and see that I really should clean up my room. When I pack for a trip, I decide that I need to clean the pantry first. It is if starting is not enough. There has to be some sort of final product that I can look back on in order to remind myself that there will be an end when I begin.

 

But now, I know that starting has to be enough. For in two weeks, Leah will begin her first year in high school.

I cannot finish anything to promise me that it will all “go well.”

All I can do is pray that she may finish well – that she remains strong in her walk with Jesus and that the things of the world do not distract her. And isn’t that the prayer for us all? – to begin each day by giving it right back to the One who gave it to us?

Just one foot in front of the other…

 

 

 

Here is the last Five Minute Friday that Lisa-Jo Baker is hosting. There is a one word prompt and five minutes to write. She has finished well and is passing off this leading of a beautiful community to Kate and if you have not joined in yet to read or write…Come join the fun!

 

Introducing…Inspiring People to Meet

I have been taking a break from Inspire Me Monday for the summer. But I am sharing a little summer inspiration for you today!

kate

My friend, Kate invited me to do this super fun Writer’s Bog Hop thing with her. It’s kind of like those chain letters you get about recipes or Bible verses but instead of bad things happening because you broke the chain, you get the blessings of meeting other people on this great big web and making it a little more cozy in the process!

And I am so glad I *met* Kate.  Well, I have not met her yet in real life, but I am waiting for the day that we get to hug in real life and sit and have tea and scones. I love tea already and apparently scones are a big thing in South Africa which is where she used to live.  Kate and I were in an (in)courage writing group together and her words bring hope and descriptions that make you really want to eat the a fore mentioned scones. She is working on two books right now and if you want to get lost in some good writing, go on over to her sweet little place called Heading Home. Ooh, and another fun little fact that is actually quite news breaking is that she is going to start hosting the infamous Five Minute Friday for Lisa-Jo Baker.

karen

Another writer friend who I am just waiting to meet is an encouraging woman who puts her heart into her posts with research to back it up! I am so jealous that she gets to go to seminary right now, but I am cheering her on! I know Karen from Redbud Writer’s Guild and she asked me to do the same hop. Karen  is someone that I immediately knew that I could live next door to and share cups of tea and parenting victories and wonders. She is a reason that I love social media because without it, I would not be able to see her sweet family and get amazing wisdom about writing!

 

Hop on over to their sites and prepare to be welcomed into beautiful writing and encouraging wisdom!

 

So in this fun hop, I am asked to answer four questions:

 

1. What am I writing or working on?

I have wanted to write a book since I first wrote The Story of Legend Lake when I was in seventh grade. When I started my first blog it was to share the crazy moments of motherhood and how they connect to joy and to Jesus. Then I went to my name as my address as I was writing more articles and thought that is what writers did. But to be honest, I still choke a bit when I call myself a “writer” as if it is not enough unless the crowds call you such. I am working on that. For a while, I lost what I was really working on. I lost my passion and my voice. Taking a break from the worn keys and resting in what God is teaching me, I am slowly getting my voice back. I am in the middle of reworking this blog to what I really feel like God is calling me to do and I am so excited about that!  It has to do with other projects that I am working on right now. One big thing is a message that I will be giving to some women in India about the worth of a woman. I am humbled and excited and my fingers tremble with all the goodness that God gives to his children.

 

2. How does my work differ from others of it genre?

My work differs because it is what I am living out.  My life. What I see. What I experience. But then I intertwine the gospel of Jesus and the amazing rescue story into the tiny details of the whisper of these moments hoping to remind myself and encourage others to find the joy and the beauty in everyday.

3. Why do I write what I do?

Because I honestly cannot NOT write. I tried. I really did. Some days it would be easier to shut the computer off, but I have tiny connections that God shows me and I have to write them down. Like little jewels, that are not hidden, but just waiting to be found about God. His story intertwines in mine and through this, I learn to feel. I see these connections so much better when I write them. When I write, I pray His glory may be shown through those moments when another one says, “Me too!”

4. How does my writing process work?

I sit and look at my children and a word will set me off to a dream of what God could do with me if I was as brave as my daughter or as kind as my son. I snap at my husband and realize that I sometimes snap at God when all He wants to do is give me good gifts. I take these moments in and let them steep, using journals, or my computer, or the backs of envelopes to keep my ideas until they are ready to be sent out into the world! And I pray. I am learning that more and more – to just sit and rest and pray.

 

So that is it!  And now for the super fun part. Here are a few writer friends that I have been blessed to connect with in different areas. They are women that I am so happy to introduce you to today! They inspire me in many ways and they have amazing words, ministries, and stories that will encourage you today!

 

I really got to know Michelle at Raising Generations Today conference when we were folding programs and then went out to dinner together. She has a heart for her kids and a heart to share Jesus through her writing and co-founding the Declare Conference. That smile? Yep…always there!

bio pic 2014

Michelle is wife to a wonderful, funny guy, who has been by her side since 1995. They have two ridiculously fun boys, and own a small business together, which is just the tip of the iceberg of their busy lives. Having given up on trying to do it all, she’s learned to focus on following God’s lead in her life. Michelle writes to encourage, teach, and equip women to learn to be still, to listen and follow God.

 

 

I have connected with Karina online and our paths have crossed in multiple online groups. Her encouraging words and authentic voice will capture your heart and mind.  She just joined the (in)courage writing team and it will be such a blessing!

karina

Karina – I am a devoted follower of Jesus! I love singing, writing, reading, acting and dancing. I am the artsy girl! I love teaching and mentoring the next generation, serving and missions. I love the local church especially the one I attend, Healing Place Church. I love ALL things Mexican…My second home is Monclova in Coahuila, Mexico. I love my Pastors and my friends. They are like family to me. And I absolutely LOVE concerts, conferences and retreats! But the most important thing to me is that I live out Isaiah 26:8. May Everything I do be For His Name and His Renown.

 

Angie is a friend that I met late at night – reading online posts. We messaged back and forth about prayer requests and praises from Jesus. She has a wonderful ministry in her family and encouraging mothers at Redeeming Childhood.

 

angie toplin

Angie has been married to Isaac for 15 years and have been blessed with six children ranging in ages from 4-14! She describes herself as an ordinary woman with an extra-ordinary God. Inspired by everyday life as a stay-at-home-mom, Angie writes on faith, parenting, marriage and relationships on her personal website, Leaving a Legacy. She is the author of Redeeming Childbirth: Experiencing HIs Presence in Pregnancy, Labor, Childbirth and Beyond and the Growth & Study Guide. One of her passions is mentoring younger moms through the childbearing season as they prepare for this life-long journey of motherhood. On any given day you can find Angie gardening, working in their families hobby vineyard, homeschooling her children, or out and about dating her husband and spending special time with each of her kiddos. She loves authentic relationships, girl’s nights out!

 

I hope you check these ladies out. Subscribe to their bogs if you want encouraging words. And you can thank me later for introducing you to thee great writers!

Have a Happy Happy Monday!

XO

It Matters When You Open the Door

It has just started to rain. I open the door welcoming the young family with my smile and the scent of grilled steaks intertwined with chocolate lava brownies.

The mother gives her name and sits down on the cushion waving her children closer to the father who is texting on his cell phone.

I take the name and put it on a waiting list in exchange for a beeping device that will bring hunger hope to these little faces in anticipation of a hot meal and kiddie sundaes.

The father still has not looked up from the phone and the mother is resting her eyes. I step closer to the children and I point out the “I Spy” animals on the menu. Little eyes light up as they find each animal. I giggle with them as we try to make the sound of each animal.

Their table is soon ready and I lead them and introduce them to their server who will receive the tip, the praise, the smiles, and conversation. The two little children smile at me as I go back to the door. Their parents do not notice. They have gone straight to their menus.

I am only the one who opens the door.

 

It is not growing like a tree

In bulk, doth make man better be…

In small proportions we just beauties see,

And in short measures life may perfect be.

~Ben Johnson

 

Door Left Open at Entrance to Home Foyer

 

 

 

 

 

Years later, with my hostess job at Chili’s well behind me, I open the door and welcome my little children in from their days at school. Stories of wonder and sometimes pain peppers the snack time. One classmate says that my daughter’s necklace is weird. My son gets in trouble because the boys were being loud and the girls got to go out and play. Each child sharing stories of the rain that fell on them through harsh words or anxious situations.

They are safe now. They will be fed. They will be refreshed. There will be giggles and hugs.

I get to be the one that opens the door.

 

The work of hospitality is not new to Jesus.

 

Behold, I stand at the door and knock

If anyone hears my voice and opens the door,

I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

Revelation 3:20

 

Whether you are welcoming patrons to a restaurant or family to your home. Whether you are welcoming children into your lesson plans or an audience into your dance. You are creating a place of refuge. You are giving them a part of you. You are joining into their story with your small proportion to create a more beautiful life story. Each detail will shine in small bits and pieces. Each bit bringing a smile to the One who created that work. Your work matters. My work matters. 

 

I finish listening to my children talk of their days and we snuggle down for a nap. Little drops of water are tapping at the door.

It has just started to rain.

 

This article was written for the High Calling. Every other week, they invite people to join everyday conversations of work, life, and God. Click on over to join the conversation!

photo credit: timemagagementnija.com