Favorite Posts of 2015

Years ago my friends and I would have an Oprah style “Favorite Things” party at Christmastime to exchange gifts. We’d purchase our favorite candies, lip glosses, books, kitchen gadgets, etc, to share with one another. We learned so much about each other as we’d each share the whys and wheres and hows of each item. Today, “My Favorite Things” posts are my all time favorites. {Profound, I know.} Favorite books, favorite gifts, favorite blog posts. It’s a little peek into the windows of people’s hearts and minds.

I haven’t had much to say this year. It’s been a year of listening to my life and learning how to lean into the darkness. There have been some rays of sunlight, as well, but as I’ve listened to the world around me, it’s hard to not get discouraged by the dark. This year, my heart has been torn for my neighbor. Black, white, Christian, Muslim, American, refugee & immigrant. So much injustice and wrong. So much war and evil. But glimmers of light, too, if we take the time to notice and do good. My heart has been hurting this year for how torn our country is over welcoming our neighbor. So my all time favorite post of the year is….Our Syrian Neighbor {Amy Peterson}

As I read it, I was transported to my childhood days of reading Betsy-Tacy books, and while I had forgotten this story, I realized how the stories of our childhood influence and help to form who we are as adults. This made my heart melt and inspired me to keep pursuing good children’s literature that continues to encourage children to love others and do good.

I had other favorites this year as well. You’ll see a noticeable trend, as my heart was wrapped up in stories of immigration, especially.

Here’s a little window into my heart as some of my favorites of 2015:

A Love Letter about Beautiful People & Living & Loving Large in a World with Terrorists: A Movement of #Giftivists {Ann Voskamp}

The world is scary as hell. Love anyway. {Jeremy Courtney}

The Saint-Like Legacy of Mister Rogers {Jonathan Merritt}

What We Learned in 2015 {Emily Freeman}

Tried & True Gift Guide {The Nester}…love any and all gift guides!

There were others, too, for sure. But this is a start.

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for you & yours

A prayer and a blessing~

May God root you deeply in Him. As you look to Him for your nourishment, may you find life that is truly life. And may you grow. If He chooses to prune you, may you trust in His unseen hand, knowing that this is the only way to grow fruit. Good fruit that lasts. And as you sink into Him, may your head and your heart be lifted in praise. Be blessed this weekend.

for you & yours

IMG_0438A prayer & a blessing~

May you know–beyond a shadow of a doubt–that God is with you and for you this year. May the Lord bless you and keep you. May His face shine upon you and be gracious unto you, as you stumble towards Him this year. And may your hearts rest in His perfect peace in 2015.

good things

Here’s what I’m loving these days…

I love these letters. Decorate your home with your word of the year.

Love this list and all book lists floating around the web this time of year. Note to self: make a book list in 2015.

If I did have a favorite book list, this book would be at the top! It was the best part of our Christmas. Each day we unwrapped an ornament to color and hang on the tree as we read aloud. I love new traditions…

new beginnings

When I feel like all the written words have been taken and there’s nothing new under the sun, I wonder why, why, why. And after a year of wanderings and wonderings, I come back to the same place and a resounding response: Because writing breathes life and hope and helps me to make sense of this crazy world and sometimes stories just need to be retold and recaptured to birth new life into cold, dry hearts. Because over and over and over again, we are called to remember. And when we we remember, we lift our heavy hearts, heavy heads, heavy hands to our Creator and we find our why and our words and our voice again. As I lift my empty cup, I begin to whisper, “Come, Lord Jesus. Fill me.”

In the silence of the year, I’ve read others’ words as I’ve questioned and wrestled and wondered about my life as an artist. Wise words have pushed me through the doubts and breathed new courage and new life into my questioning heart. So here’s to another year of new beginnings.

“Maybe instead of coming up with something new, I’m here to honor the truth of old, to hold the timeless realities close and live like they’re true for me.” ~Emily Freeman

“Always we begin again.” ~Saint Benedict

the most wonderful week of the year

The stockings are down and the presents unwrapped. It’s time to undeck the halls, and while many struggle with post-holiday blues, the week after Christmas has truly become one of my favorite times of the year.

The calendar is {mostly} empty. School is still out. My crazy December to do list is complete, the shopping and wrapping and packing and traveling is over, and it’s completely glorious, in my honest opinion. Some people live for spring, others love the new routines of the fall. Me? I’m made for January. Something about the New Year brings out the best in me. It’s time to reset, renew, and reconnect to the things most important to me. December is wild and loud and fast and crazy. But January? January is slow and steady and quiet and calm.

This week I’m praying about my word and praying over my goals for next year. I’m trying to be realistic but also be focused and disciplined. 2014 was a long, hairy year. 2015 could be just as wild, but I’ve had a week to catch my breath before it takes off. Ready or not? Here I come, 2015.

What about you? Do you have goals for the New Year?