Thursday, July 31, 2014

Not A Morning Person? Evening Notes Are For You!



The Right to Write by Julia Cameron has been my constant companion over the past few months. It's a perfect fit for my purse while waiting for friends or appointments. Practically every page is dog-eared, underlined, or asterisked. Several weeks ago, I shared this post on Morning Pages as a result.

Today, I'm sharing a tool called Evening Notes. After all, not every one is a morning person, right? 

It goes something like this: Ten minutes before you fall asleep, jot down a few simple sentences about your day. Julia uses this as her example: 

"Today was productive but uphill. I seemed to be fighting a depression but I took good actions anyhow. I'm really stewing over my friendship with Michael. I wonder what better can be done on the project at work..."

From these sentences, extract a single question to consider before falling asleep. Julia chose What can I do about the project at work? 

Simply pose the question and don't worry about the answer. Thanks to our brilliantly and divinely designed minds (thank You, God) many of our answers begin to emerge at some point.

I've experienced similar circumstances when doing something "mindless" like walking, taking a shower, or taking my dog out for a potty break. Ideas and answers to questions long forgotten find their way to the surface when least expected. No doubt, a different part of the brain is at work here and it's awe-inspiring when it happens.  

Julia Cameron encourages those who try this tool to be alert, to notice and tabulate small, positive changes or answers.

Practicing both Morning Pages and Evening Notes is optimal but on those mornings when even a third cup of liquid caffeine refuses to rally a creative bone, it's nice to know we have an evening option. 

How about you? Are you a morning person? Do you tend to write more in the mornings or evenings? 



The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands (Psalm 19:1).



Monday, July 28, 2014

Sharing Life Together: Retire Your Regrets

 

Welcome!

Can you believe we're almost in August? 

I heard my entire life, and perhaps you did too, that the older you get the quicker time seems to pass.

A recent run-in with one of Brian's past co-workers who retired several years ago painted the picture of time in a whole new light for us. Brian commented that he still had fifteen years to go before retirement. Without hesitation, the man solemnly looked at Brian and said, "I'd rather be fifteen years younger and working." 

One, looking forward to not having to work 40+ hours a week, and the other, ready to trade that benefit in an instant to be Brian's age again. It was obvious the retiree had given much thought to his declaration.

I don't know about you, but too often I find myself waiting for that next benchmark in life to do, feel, or say something but none of us are promised that next reference point.  

Today is the day to do, feel, and say.
 
 

Heavenly Father,
Your Word tells us to number our days,
for when we do, we grow in wisdom.
Thank You for those who unexpectedly cross our path,
reminding us to take hold of life where we are today—
to enjoy it, and to thank You for it. 

Amen.

 

Father, will you steep Your Word deeply into our soul?

What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. James 4:14 
 
Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. - See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Life,-Brevity-Of#sthash.0hz3HHro.dpuf
 
 

Is there one particular word from the above scripture you feel 
led to "sip" on, meditate on, throughout this week?
   
-----------------------------------
I choose the word appears. It reminds me that I'm simply a sojourner, a mere dot on the line of eternity. Life is like a blink of the eye regardless of the years lived.

 

Before we bring our time to a close, you may want to consider one tangible way to "pour" out His truth in response to the word(s) chosen above.  

Thanks for stopping by today at Sharing Life Together...One Sip At A Time. Would you consider joining in the conversation by leaving your "word" in the comment box? Blessings!
He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He does not take pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD favors those who fear Him, Those who wait for His lovingkindness. - See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Delight,-God-Expressing#sthash.MnlQbRF6.dpuf


So teach us to number our days
    that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12




(A special thanks to Lori Roeleveld for her help on today's title.  Visit her insightful blog @ Lori Roeleveld.)


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Jon Bloom's "Not By Sight" Delivers



I've become a bit jaded when it comes to buying devotion books. There, I said it. 

I'm weary of girly-fluff and feel good remedies. Give me Truth and if you must add a human perspective, bring it fresh and creatively, like Jon Bloom's Not By Sight...A Fresh Look At Old Stories Of Walking By Faith. Jon is co-founder and president of Desiring God, and apparently, a very gifted storyteller:

"These meditations are not your ordinary exposition. These are stories. Really good stories." -John Piper

"Creatively and winsomely invites us into the realities of the Gospel accounts—to hear, feel, see, smell, and taste." -Nancy Guthrie

"Vivid, nourishing sketches of Bible characters learning to live with their sometimes startling Lord." -J.I. Packer

This book does not disappoint. Prepare to catch story-driven glimpses of what it means to walk by faith.   

“When the storms of life hit, they almost always appear stronger to us than God’s Word. It is crucial for us to remember that our perceptions can be deceptive. When circumstances strike fear into our hearts, the question we must ask ourselves is, where is your faith?” (p. 25).

 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sharing Life Together...One Sip At A Time


 

Welcome, friend!

Please, pull up a chair and make yourself comfy while I pour us a cuppa tea.

So, how was your weekend? 

I have to say, our Saturday was downright delightful. An entire day with two grands! We played in puddles, gobbled down princess-inspired Goldfish, and discovered new toys to enjoy. (We missed you Liv and Judah, our "soon" to be adopted grand.)  



I looked forward to having grandchildren long before they arrived, but my appreciation for this role grew by depths after leading a writing workshop for a local group of mom's who've lost children of any age. One mom eloquently summed up the experience by saying that when a person loses their parents, they lose a part of their past but when a child is lost, they lose a part of their future—including grandchildren. Talk about putting things into perspective.  




Heavenly Father,

Thank You for the blessing of children and grandchildren. 
Thank You for every child who skips across our path.
Our calling to be a godly influence is not limited to a particular role 
but rather, it is boundless with opportunity to bring You glory. 

Help us not to take this calling for granted. 

Amen.


 

 Father, will you steep Your Word deeply into our soul?

Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. Deuteronomy 4:9 NIV  


Is there one particular word from the above scripture you feel 
led to "sip" on, meditate on, throughout this week?
   

-----------------------------------

I choose the word "teach." Teach by living out, speaking about, and praying, especially for our children, grandchildren, and all children under our influence. What a blessing!


Before we bring our time to a close, you may want to consider one tangible way to "pour" out His truth in response to the word(s) chosen above. 

Thanks for stopping by today at Sharing Life Together...One Sip At A Time. Would you consider joining in the conversation by leaving your "word" in the comment box? Blessings!
He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He does not take pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD favors those who fear Him, Those who wait for His lovingkindness. - See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Delight,-God-Expressing#sthash.MnlQbRF6.dpuf


But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. Matthew 18:6





Thursday, July 17, 2014

4 Ways to Show the Love When Writing is a Trusted Friend

A few of my childhood friends


An only child, such as myself, is known for entertaining imaginary friends. With them we clinked tea cups, whispered at bedtime and played out back in the summertime. It was only recently, however, that I realized another trusted friend had hitched a ride to my adulthood. 

"Writing is a friend whose shoulder we can cry on. Writing is a confidant who listens and lets us sort things out. Writing is a comrade, marching with us through the steep days of sorrow and despair." -Julia Cameron, The Right to Write 

Writing has been a friend, a constant companion throughout my life. One letter in the above picture was handwritten to my grandfather when I was a young girl, maybe 8, asking if he loved me (using the reliable ✔ the box method, of course.) Another letter was to my cousin, Lisa, during a typing (yes, typing!) class in middle school. In high school I kept a daily diary and I've journaled my prayers for over twenty years. Over the past several years, God has also awakened a desire to write in ways I never imagined. 

Like any true friendship, love is to be reciprocated. Here are four ways I try to show the love:
  • Listen to the promptings within. Don't ignore them. Jot them down! I carry a tiny Moleskin wherever I go. My scribbling rarely lets me down. How I wish I could say the same for my memory.
  • Respond to those ideas. Pray over them, drink coffee, write a terrible first draft, drink more coffee. If you're not quite ready to explore the ideas further, that's okay. Keep them close by, ready for action. 
  • Feed the friendship. No one wants to take a friend for granted. If God has called us to write, it's our responsibility to hone our God-inspired skills to the best of our ability. We notice intricate details, the dialogue of a couple eating ice cream behind us, along with a host of other quirks. Let's return the love by reading, writing, and thanking God often. 
  • Rest. We wouldn't exhaust our friends by keeping them on the go for days on end, would we? Our writing deserves the same benefit. I've failed miserably in the past but now I'm taking a break from writing on Sundays. No getting-ahead-on-my-blog-schedule kind of writing for me. I refuse to give up the truth that if God can rest one day from creating, so can I.

Imagine. Long before I knew or appreciated it, God decided to tuck a friend in my pocket that would help see me through a myriad of situations in my life.

How about you? Whether you consider yourself a writer or not, how can you look back and see your God-inspired skills used in unexpected ways? 


You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways. 
Psalm 139:1-4


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sharing Life Together...One Sip At A Time

 
Welcome, friend.

I hope you'll pull up a chair and make yourself comfy while I'll pour us a cuppa tea. Imaginary tea, after all, is always special.

How was your weekend? 

We headed to the NC mountains, my favorite place to be. The cottage where we stay transforms to an oasis. The clock goes on strike, the cookies have no calories, the air goes easy on these asthmatic lungs, and I feel a little closer to God. Yes, He is with me at all times but perhaps it's the lack of distractions that gives me a greater sense of His presence.  

Is there a place -- in your garden, certain room in your home, or vacation spot where you sense God's presence in a different way?

 
 
  
Abba God,
We praise You as our ever present Father!
Your omnipresence ushers in the knowledge
that You are always present through Your Holy Spirit within us. Always.
Regardless if we "feel" You or not, 
You are here, 
for we do not live by feelings, but faith.
 
Amen.
 
 
 
 
 Father, will you steep Your Word deeply into our soul?
 
“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you” Romans 8:11
 
 
 
 
Is there one particular word from the above scripture you feel 
led to "sip" on, to meditate on, throughout this week?
   
-----------------------------------
 
This week, I'm focusing on the word "lives." What are both the benefits and implications of His Spirit living in me? 
 
 
 
 
Before we bring our time to a close, consider one tangible way to "pour" out His truth in response to the word(s) we've chosen above. 

Thanks for stopping by today at Sharing Life Together...One Sip At A Time. Would you consider joining in the conversation by leaving your "word," or a place where you feel closest to God, in the comment box? Blessings!
He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He does not take pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD favors those who fear Him, Those who wait for His lovingkindness. - See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Delight,-God-Expressing#sthash.MnlQbRF6.dpuf


 
In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Psalm 95:4-5
 
 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Breathing New Life Into Our Time With God




Are you a creature of habit?

Confession: I use the same coffee mug for my morning brew (it's 10 years old), enjoy almond butter toast every day by 7:30 a.m. and I use purple pens only for poetry. I also have the propensity to stick with the same routine when it comes to spending time with my Maker. 

The good thing about habits is that they provide predictability. 
The bad thing about habits is that they provide predictability.

On the one hand certainty brings stability, which inherently leads to comfort. We know what to expect and when to expect it. (I feel comforted already.) 

On the other hand some things can become so ordinary, so predictable, that its uniqueness wanders and wanes—including our time with God—if we're brutally honest with ourselves. (My comfort level is quickly dwindling.) 

Time with God can look different for everyone, as well it should. As for me, I've done the same thing for many years (surprise!), including journaling, reading His Word, praying aloud, and studying. In recent years, however, I've sensed a need to kick predictability to the proverbial curb by trying fresh ways to connect with my heavenly Father, such as: 
  • Taking a walk around my backyard, thanking Him for even the slightest hint of creative handiwork. 
  • Singing to Him. 
  • Journaling with instrumental music playing in background.
  • Releasing the "doing" part of the time (studying, journaling, etc.) and simply "receiving" what He reveals to me in His Word.
Most recently, I signed up with Christ Notes to receive a randomly selected daily verse. I write it in my journal along with answers to the following questions:
  • What word or phrase speaks to me? 
  • What do I need to hear today? 
  • How do I respond?
You may want to give it a try! It's not what I'll use every day, but varying my time with God breathes life in to the routine and renews an appreciation for the fact that He didn't create us to be robots, but rather, His children. 

And children are rarely predictable. 

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 1 John 3:1

How about you? Have you tried something new during your quiet time? Please share in the comment section!