Meaningful Words Begin With Living A Meaningful Life

Live a great storyLiving a meaningful life is a worthy pursuit, wouldn’t you say? But exactly how does one define “meaningful”? For me, it goes something like this: Embracing the eternal {God, relationships, the gospel} so tightly, so fully, that the temporal {“stuff”, foolish arguments, stepped-on-toes} are gasping for air.

The desire to live more intentionally was the catalyst for a recent change — a reset if you will. Before making our move toward mountain views, life had begun to feel frantic. Deadlines, to-do’s, self-inflicted pressure, etc. Oh, and let’s not forget the bumper-to-bumper traffic just outside our front door⎯all culminating to create one frazzled female.

It was there, in the midst of chaos, that I sensed God telling me to focus more on living and less on writing. Not that my writing needed to decrease but rather, take its proper placement in my life. While I believe writing is a calling God has given me, I am certain it is not my only {or most important} calling. Now that we live closer to one set of grandchildren, I want to be available as much as possible for them. I also want to be available for family, friends, and neighbors, including my drop-by buddy of 20+ years, Becky {who now lives only two doors up the road!}. It feels good and right when I joyfully set aside writing to spend time with her when she drops by for an afternoon visit.

Before our move, I had a tendency to see most things as an interruption {sigh} when writing. It’s an embarrassing admission but embracing the eternal⎯living a more meaningful life⎯includes cultivating a teachable, pliable heart/mind, a willingness to not only face what the Spirit reveals but to also move forward {in His power} to turn in a different direction. And to turn in a different direction, one must slow down.

A cup of teaFew things in life feel slow especially if you’re a mother of young children or scurrying to build a career or a dozen other reasons. But I believe there are a few things we can do to slow down our inner pace in order to hold this God-given life in reverential awe:

  • Before the feet hit the floor, spend a few moments thanking God for the gift of sleep. Sometimes I also pray that God will help me be attentive to the eternal, meaningful things that day, and to release the rest. Because if you’re like me, you can sometimes take on things that are good {church work, helping at your children’s school, etc.} but perhaps they’re not the best choice for that particular day. Only God knows so staying open to His will automatically helps us to move through our day with more intention.
  • Schedule “rest stops” throughout your day. Many of us grew up believing that if we weren’t always doing something then we weren’t achieving anything. Wrong. Statistics show that those who choose to take brief respites in the form of a mini-nap, a savored cup of tea, or simply pausing to listen to instrumental music, are ultimately more rested and creative than those who choose to treat life more like a treadmill.
  • Harness the power of silence. Turn off the radio in your car when you’re driving. If it’s terribly uncomfortable, start with just a minute or two. Or escape to the bathroom {or better yet, the bathtub!}, take a walk around the block, curl up with a captivating novel. Learning to embrace silence is a gift we give to ourselves and ultimately, to others.

Learning to live a more meaningful life can fuel our calling {or callings}. It is choosing to live from the abundance of life rather than settling for the leftovers.

What does living a meaningful life mean to you? Do share!

I pray that you and yours will have a blessed Thanksgiving. Know this: I am ever so thankful for you!

3 Ways I Love to Celebrate Lent

“Lent isn’t about forfeiting as much as it’s about formation.” -Ann Voskamp

For those of you who, like me, didn’t grow up celebrating Lent there is much to learn, and much to celebrate. Jesus Christ’s 40 days of fasting in the desert are the spiritual foundation for the season that begins on Ash Wednesday.

Thomas Merton wrote, “Lent is not just a time for squaring conscious accounts: but for realizing what we had perhaps not seen before.”

Lent officially began February 10th, but we know it’s never too late to worship, or to discover new ways to worshipping, even if we didn’t grow up celebrating the Lenten season.

Below are three resources I LOVE and have used. I hope you’ll share yours in the comment section!

{A Free 40 Day Lent Devotional Journey, Ann Voskamp}


{Tim Keller, Redeemer Presbyterian Church}
Topical Daily Lent Readings
I’m using Ann Voskamp’s free 40 Day Lent Devotional this year. I wish I’d started on the 10th, but I didn’t, so I will begin where I am.
Here are some quotes on Lent to consider during this season, and every day:
“The goal of fasting is inner unity. This means hearing, but not with the ear; hearing, but not with the understanding; it is hearing with the spirit, with your whole being.” Fr. Thomas Merton
“Lord, have mercy on me! … I make no effort to conceal my wounds. You are my physician, I your patient. You are merciful; I stand in need of mercy.” St. Augustine
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23
Do you have a go-to resource for the Lenten season, or what is one way you choose to prepare your heart for Easter? 

A Season of Anticipation Begins


It’s the first day of Advent—a season of waiting, expecting, and hoping. Lit candles, Bible verses and times of quiet reflection sets our focus on the meaning of Christ’s birth.

If you’re not familiar with Advent, this is a great resource. In addition to Mark’s devotionals, I purchased Ann Voskamp’s new book The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas to accompany me on this journey to a more intentional, simpler, worship-filled Christmas. 

The Advent wreath is a nice addition to the celebration but keep it as simple as you wish. Lighting a candle while reading the devotion may be the place to start. It’s not about the doing of the season, but the being

Be still and know that I am God.
Psalm 46:10

Do you celebrate Advent? If not, do you plan to give it a try? 

5 Meaningful Things to Do In Preparation for Thanksgiving



Searching for ways to make Thanksgiving a little more meaningful?

1. Read the history of Thanksgiving. Here’s an option from The Christian Coalition.

2. Make a Thanksgiving Tree. This will be a must when the grandchildren get a wee bit older. One quick trip to Pinterest and we’ll have a plethora of ideas to choose from.

3. Include others in your celebration. Do you have a lonely neighbor, a recent widow, or a college student you could invite?

4. Put everyone’s name in a hat and share one reason you’re thankful for the person’s name that’s drawn.

5. Read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I remember reading this for the first time and being mesmerized by her lyrical form.


Everything God created is good, and to be received with thanks. Nothing
is to be sneered at and thrown out.  God’s Word and our prayers make
every item in creation holy. 1 Timothy 4:4-5

Thankfulness: Write it Down

Today, let’s focus on Thanksgiving! We’ll turn our attention to Christmas on Monday. 

Thankfulness: Write it down. 

So, what better opportunity to write someone who has left an indelible impression on your life? Be as specific as possible when sharing why you’re thankful for them. Tell them how they made you feel or how God used them to draw you closer to Him. An email will do, but nothing trumps a handwritten note for the personal touch.

Another way to share the gift of thankfulness in the written form is to give thought as to why you’re thankful for those who will be seated around your Thanksgiving table. Purchase white place cards or make them yourself (very easy!) On the front, write the person’s name. Inside, begin with “Why I’m thankful for you” and then share one reason you’re thankful for them. Take turns reading the cards around the table, inviting others to share why they’re also thankful for each person.

One last idea is to begin, if you haven’t already, a gratitude journal. A great place to start is by reading Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. I’m currently enjoying the devotional that goes along with the book. Inside, there’s space to jot down our own 1,000 gifts of gratitude. 

Simple but oh so meaningful. 

“I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,
that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you
a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having
the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope
to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious
inheritance in the saints…”  Ephesians 1:16-18

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