I’m a hibernator by nature. I love all things cozy, flickering, warm, and quiet. How ’bout you?
Like flowers that take flight in spring after a time of gathering up God’s goodness beneath a dormant ground, we too have similar opportunities.
You may remember my post, “Hibernate in Prayer to Awaken Your Soul”. Today, we’ll consider four more small, specific ways to hunker down, quiet our souls, and draw near to God in preparation for blooming wherever He plants us.
Immersing ourselves in God’s Word.
Merriam Webster defines the word “immersion” like this: to plunge into something that surrounds or covers especially. One way to immerse ourselves in scripture is to practice Lectio Divina, which simply means divine reading. There’s nothing mystical or new age-y about it (or else you wouldn’t find it here). And it’s no longer seen as belonging to a particular sect. It’s for every Christ-follower who longs to slow down to a savoring pace. Here’s a PDF sample I created if you’d like to give it a try!
Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. (Psalm 63:7 NIV) This place, beneath the shadow of God’s wings, is one of comfort and protection. As we stay close to Christ, how can we not sing? Put this verse to your own melody or sing another song/hymn that resonates way down deep. Or quietly hum. Look up to the sky or close your eyes ⏤ whatever helps you stay focused on the One you’re praising. What a sweet, sweet sound in the ears of our Heavenly Father.
For God alone my heart waits in silence and quietly submits to him, for my hope is from him. (Psalm 62.5 AMP) What might seem like a simple act can quickly turn into a rodeo as we lasso distractions into submission. It’s why I created a system to help me remain still and silent despite the dodging of a noose. When a random thought or chore (supposedly in need of immediate attention) darts out while practicing the art of silence, I whisper the words not receiving. Maybe it’s just the way my quirky brain works but it helps me to differentiate the thoughts I want to set aside or discard and those I want to keep.
Talk about freedom! If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 ESV) Sometimes, when words are a struggle, I pull out my journal and spill out every thought, sin, or question onto paper. Then, I draw a line beneath the confession and write what I know to be true despite those times I don’t feel forgiven. Whew! Thank goodness our faith is never dependent on emotions, only God’s Word. These quiet moments of cleansing ⏤ they’re sacred, life-giving, and refreshing. I’d love to share this journaling practice with you.
“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.” – Vincent Van Gogh
A series of small things brought together, like soaking in God’s Word, worship, silence, and confession, bring forth great things for God’s glory.
Where do you “hibernate” with God in your home? We’d love to know! Share your answer in the comment section and you’ll be entered into a giveaway for a cup of your favorite Starbucks drink. Winter + a favorite warm beverage = pure delight!
Heads up! The January theme in our Creative Pauses Facebook group is “Hibernating in the Holy”. Each weekday, we’ll focus on a different spiritual “hibernation” practice. We’d love for you to join us!
Maybe you spotted our current gift for new subscribers, What to Pray for Room-by-Room? Together, we’ll walk through the rooms of your home as I share ideas on ways to pray for you, your family, guests, and even strangers. You’ll find the new subscriber box at the top of the sidebar. Of course, you can unsubscribe at any time, but we hope you’ll feel right at home here in The Tiny House on the Hill.
With that as my starting point, I thought it might be fun to share fifteen random things I’m currently lovin’. If you decide to do something similar on your site, tag me so I can enjoy yours in return.
(Some are affiliate links which simply means I may receive a small compensation but it doesn’t add anything to your cost.)
Now, let’s get started!
How We Love Study / Discover Your Love Style, Enhance Your Marriage by Milan & Kay Yerkovich. Brian and I are working through the book/workbook. We appreciate how the authors point out that marriages don’t actually begin at the altar but rather, in our childhood. It’s biblically-based and doesn’t bash parents (because what parent hasn’t made mistakes?). It does, however, open up communication and foster understanding.
The Creative Pauses Facebook Group. As an extension of the Creative Pauses from The Tiny House on the Hill community, this group offers a place to converse, encourage, and inspire. It’s a space to pause, catch your breath, and be filled with biblical truth through fun and meaningful ways. We’d love for you to join us!
Thymes Pine Needle Frasier Fir candle. This crisp scent of cedar drifts through our home year-round. Its fragrance so bright I can almost hear branches breaking every time I breathe in. Sweet mercy, where’s my flame lighter?
The Tiny House on the Hill. The last time I wrote a similar post, the tiny house was but a dream. In 2019, it became a reality thanks to an awesome husband and one and a half year’s worth of weekends. Now, it’s used for writing, reading, Zoom meetings, and so much more. What a blessing!
Travel with God Journal.I wrote about it here and mentioned it in a recent interview because God continues to awaken me to His work and ways through it.
Proverbs. The old adage may be, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” but I say, “A Proverb a day keeps poor choices at bay.”
Starbucks Iced Matcha Latte. This green powder cranks up the brainpower without the jitters.
Treadmill. Brian’s doctor recently reminded us that to move is to live so we set aside our space concerns and ordered an inexpensive but get-it-done treadmill. It sits as pretty as you please in our den but it can fold in half and be rolled into the hallway when needed.
“Ooly” Color Write Fountain Pens. This pack of pens is pure delight! The colors are beautiful, vivid, and the ink flows across the page like glass. The best part? I purchased them at my favorite shop in Black Mountain, NC. See #13.
Sassafrass on Sutton. This is my favorite gift/book shop, hands down. This hundred + year-old store sits in the downtown area and holds a floor of books, literary goodies, and items I’ve not seen elsewhere.
Zinc gummies. The blackberry-ish flavor tastes almost like dessert. Yumilicious + strong immunity = score!
Eucalyptus shower spray. This spray had me at the first spritz. Immediately, I transported back to the “eucalyptus room” in a ladies spa where my friends and I used to sit on tiny-sized ocean blue tiles inside a large glass room filled with billows of fragrant steam. Come to think of it, maybe it’s the mingling of eucalyptus and memories that make this shower spray such a delight.
Prayer was never meant to stay within four walls, or spoken from a well-worn chair, or coupled with coffee.
Don’t get me wrong, praying in my favorite spot with coffee in hand is a delight. But when I look at Jesus, I see how He prayed in the wilderness, solitary places, on a mountain, in crowds, gardens, and with children.
Jesus prayed with the same ease as His next breath, making the most of every opportunity.
As I look around, I see spring everywhere — in outdoor activities, flowers, trees, and on the labels of my sinus meds. The struggle is real. But every season offers its own unique opportunities for prayer, and spring is no exception.
So, where are some places we can make the most of every opportunity to pray this season? I’ll get the ball rolling with eight ideas:
Depending on the time we visit, we might see women running, children climbing on playsets, or couples circling it hand-in-hand.
We can pray God will bless the efforts of those taking the time to exercise. Are children climbing monkey bars? Pray they’ll come to know Jesus at an early age, for their protection (spiritually, emotionally, and physically), and for their parents. Also, seeing couples enjoying time together is a reminder to pray that they’ll be a good and godly influence on other couples (and we will too). So, let’s get to dusting off the devilish yellowish-green powder covering the park bench and take our seats!
Walks in Our Community
We walk in our neighborhood and pray for various families as we pass by their homes. So let’s stretch our prayer muscles and find other places in our community to pray. We can circle our children/grandchildren’s school in prayer or a small business that’s struggling. Let’s circle our church, praying for the pastoral staff and their families. We can also pray as we pass by the police station, fire department, and other places where dedicated men and women serve our community and country.
In the Garden
You know the old saying that we’re closer to God in a garden? Maybe it’s older than we think. After all, life began in a garden and the union with God was perfect before fruit was plucked and eaten.
As we dig into the earth, let’s consider those who need a holy heart tilling ⏤ for the Holy Spirit to begin preparing their heart for His Word, and that truth will sink deeply in their heart and mind. Pulling weeds? What a beautiful reminder to pray that we ourselves will also have a well-tilled heart.
At the Beach
Many southerners make their way to the beach during spring break, weekend trips, and early vacations. I have a feeling we’re not alone. (I hope we’re not!) While sitting on the beach, scoop up a handful of sand. Notice the number of granules, even in one pinched finger’s worth. Psalm 139 says God’s thoughts toward us outnumber the grains of sand. Do you, or someone you know, need to be reminded of God’s goodness, care, and attention? Pray and if you want to give them a tangible reminder, scoop sand in a Ziploc bag. Also, watching the mighty waves curl, crash and ease their way to the shore reminds us of God’s power and strength. Let’s pray for this power to move in our present circumstances, as well as others. A week’s worth of similar ideas is included in my devotional guide for the beach. (Not an affiliate link.)
The Farmer’s Market
We see a smorgasbord of fresh vegetables, flowers, jams, honey, and jellies⏤the fruition of hard work behind the scenes. It’s a great opportunity to pray for those who plant, water, fumigate, and can fruity goodness. Pray for their health, blessings on their work, and success.
At the Zoo
Who doesn’t enjoy a visit to the zoo, especially before the double-whammy hits ⏤ humidity and mosquitoes! Kids and kids-at-heart marvel at God’s creativity — the colors, habits, shapes, and their innate ability to survive. There’s no better place to praise God for surrounding us in His handcrafted beauty.
Maybe it’s hard to imagine being able to pray while whipping around curves and stopping for lunch at our favorite mom and pop cafe but thanks to breath prayers, it’s possible.
Intentionally “taking” our prayer life wherever we go opens our eyes to spiritual truths and opportunities we would miss otherwise. And no greater example of this is Jesus.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:9-11
Many believe the best ones are hidden beneath a lit-tree. But I think⏤especially this year⏤the best gifts will be shown, demonstrated, and offered, from intentional hearts.
In my last post, I shared specific ways to celebrate togetherness despite the separation many of us will experience this year. Some of our separations will be temporary but others will not. Whatever hurt we experience during the holiday season seems to weigh more, sink deeper.
And yet, our hope in Jesus Christ creates a buoyancy of joy that no circumstance can overcome.
As Christ-followers, we have the privilege of coming alongside the hurting and demonstrating this truth. The good news is that we can do this in simple but thoughtful ways:
Christmas Gift Ideas for the Hurting
Be present, as much as you and the recipient feel comfortable. If a physical visit isn’t possible, consider calling, or face-timing. Time, energy, and a listening ear are gifts no one will return.
Find practical ways to offer assistance. Perhaps a widow could use help decorating her home, addressing Christmas cards, or running errands.
Do you have special memories of a loved one missing this season? Write each one down, being as specific as possible. Mail, record, or share them verbally with the recipient.
Gift a beautiful Christmas candle. Keep the scent on the mild side for those who might have allergies. Attach a card: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” (John 1:5 NLT)
Donate a Bible in their loved one’s memory.Gideon International sends beautiful cards to the recipient and delivers their Bible(s) around the globe for the cost of a cup of coffee. It’s truly the gift that keeps on giving.
For those quarantined in assisted living homes or homes, consider caroling as a family outside his/her window. Or gift a bird feeder outside the window, including seeds on a regular basis. In a card, remind her of God’s intimate care for birds (Matthew 6:26) and how much greater He loves her. Every time you fill-up the feeder, seeing you will be another “gift” for the quarantined.
And Merry Christmas to You!
Does one idea, in particular, spark your interest? Or maybe you have a new idea to add! Either way, I’d love to hear about it in the comment section below. Share, and you’ll be entered into a giveaway for a $10.00 Starbucks gift card!
It will be a different holiday season. On that, we can agree.
No need to run down all the reasons why. We’re very much aware of each one, but Thanksgiving and Christmas will come nonetheless.
Neither set of my parents, nor my aunt and uncle, will gather around our farm table this Thanksgiving. Who will crack the corny jokes, or whip up the family dressing, or clap for the grandkids when they perform from the top step?
As we navigate the holiday seasons of 2020 together, maybe one of the following ideas can ease the disappointment and help make way for gratitude.
7 Ideas for Cultivating a Spirit of Togetherness This Holiday Season
Choose joy. Lately, we’ve been talking to our grandkids about the half-full or half-empty scenario. Now I need to talk to myself. Yes, the holiday season will likely look and feel different. But, who will be around our table? Will it be a spouse, sons and daughters, a pup or cat that feels like family, or the warm presence of the Lord? We can choose joy over disappointment.
Do those missing from your dinner table live nearby? Fill up plates with turkey and all the fixins’. Don’t skimp on the pie! Deliver with a smile and a holiday-sized air hug.
Plan a Facetime or Zoom session ahead of time. It will give everyone something to look forward to.
Donate. Give the money usually spent on additional groceries to feed those in need of a hot meal that day. (Bonus: Donate it in honor of those missing from your holiday table.)
Create a table runner. Ask children and/or grandchildren to draw pictures and write positive messages on a Kraft paper table runner, as seen here at Hobby Lobby. Drop it in the mail by November 19th, or drop it by their home. Loved ones will surely feel your presence as they enjoy their meals.
Create a “Why We Love You Jar”. Much like the “Gratitude Jar” recently shared in our Facebook Group, “Creative Pauses”, simply write the different reasons why you love a person (or couple) on slips of paper. Cut, place in a jar, and add directions asking her to choose one slip to read aloud each day beginning on Thanksgiving, and ending Christmas morning. Is there a better gift than knowing we are loved? (If your loved one lives out of town, mail the slips only.)
Will there be empty chairs around your holiday table this year? How will you choose to cultivate a spirit of joy and togetherness despite the disappointment?
Thank you for stopping by Creative Pauses from The Tiny House on the Hill!
Bi-weekly posts invite you to come in from the craziness of life, take a seat, and pause awhile, allowing your soul to be refreshed with God’s truth and promises.
Each month, subscribers of this community receive a letter from The Tiny House on the Hill that includes:
Practical but meaningful ways to draw closer to God
Creative ways to show God’s love to your family, friends, and strangers
The latest happenings at the house, my books, and ministry
What I’m reading in the Book Nook
A favorite (often family) recipe
A FUN giveaway…and more!
It’s pithy but packed with grace-filled goodness.
So, come on over and sit a spell. I’d love to get to know you!
Wait! Did I lose you at #1? Try this instead: Pack for a day trip. Find every back road possible, roll down the windows, (take your Benadryl), stick your arm out, and “ride” the waves of wind. See where the roads take you!
Hike in your nearest National Park.
Invite friends to pack picnics and join you at the park. It’s the perfect way to practice social distancing while munching on yummy food and laughing with friends.
Get a family picture made.
Go to the pumpkin patch and fetch a few pumpkins for you and a neighbor. This year has been one of distance, so simple acts of cheer mean more than ever.
Collect larger, whole leaves. Write the name of one person you would like to pray for on a leaf. Place a candle in the middle of your dining table and surround it with your “prayer leaves.” Light the candle before dinner (representing the Light of the World – John 8:12), choose a leaf, and pray for a different person each night.
Find a Fall Prayer Partner. I’ll blog more about this in a couple of weeks, but in the meantime, find a partner, set guidelines (how often to touch base), and share simple ways to pray for one another.
Go camping or glamping! Even if it’s in your own backyard.
Purchase canned goods and deliver them to your local food bank as a family.
Encourage-a-person-a-day through Thanksgiving. Handwritten notes, sweet treats, scripture, praise music, a book, written prayers, voiced prayers, and yellow mums on a front stoop. Just some ideas to get those creative juices flowing!
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