Friday, September 30, 2016

You Being You Is Enough


I have a friend who is going through a really tough time right now. It seems as though the world is crashing in around her. I know the feeling - I've been there done that - but there is nothing I can do to help the situation. I do what I can to help her and let her know how much she is loved.

In an effort to show her how much we love her, a couple of us took her out to lunch. I chose a local place they hadn't been to yet.

When we were seated our server greeted us. In typical Ed-fashion, he asked the server what words of wisdom he had for us. This catches most people off-guard, but this guy was on top of his game! "I don't have any words of wisdom, but we have great coffee! Can I bring you some?"

It's rare that Ed is speechless, so my friend and I were already laughing as he sat with his mouth open and no response!

We had a fabulous time at Anna's House (please go there if you live locally!) and Tim was one of the best servers I've ever had! We laughed - a lot!

We were amazed at how God placed us in that restaurant, on that day, at that time, with that server, who was perfect for what we needed - lots of laughter!

A few days later as I was thinking about Tim and the timing of that day, I was still amazed at how God arranged it all.

I thought to myself how Tim, being Tim, was all we needed. He didn't have to perform or do something perfect. He didn't have to do something he wasn't good at to be great. He didn't have to put on a front to be a blessing. Tim, being Tim, bantering and joking, was exactly perfect for us in that moment.

I'm asking you to remember that for yourself: You being you is enough.

It's perfect. It's exactly what someone needs at the location and time you meet them. Use what you're good at to bless others and that will be enough. Don't perform, don't strive, don't even be perfect - just be you, and that will be enough.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Free Music for You!

Photo: The Clearing, Philip Stephen Allen

“These are great popsicles! What flavor did you get?”

“I’m not sure. It’s orange, but doesn’t taste like orange. The flavor is familiar but I can’t put my finger on it.”

“Cantaloupe?”

“Yeah, that’s it!”

Thus began my relationship with Philip Stephen Allen, during a popsicle break at the Tribe Writers Conference in Nashville last August.

My favorite questions to ask all weekend were, “Where are you from?” and “What do you write?”

I asked Philip where he was from and what he wrote, and from there we twisted into a discussion of music. (I later thanked my son for teaching me about movie and video game soundtracks because I was able to carry on an intelligent conversation! I was even able to suggest music Philip hadn’t heard of. Winning!)

Philip told me a story of his step-daughter, Chloe; it’s one I will never forget. Because he is a musician and has a sound studio in his home, he was able to adjust the voice of this special needs young lady and made her sound amazingly beautiful! (Read her story and listen to her song here: Fixing Chloe)

When I got back to my hotel room that night, I checked out Philip’s music and loved it. When I complimented him the next day, he was kind enough to send a link so I could download it!

Philip’s instrumental, ambient compositions are calming, peaceful and are great to listen to on the way home from work when I’m stuck in traffic, it’s nice background music at dinner time, it’s perfect for listening to through earbuds at bedtime, really, it’s great to listen to any time!

Philip and I have stayed in touch since the Tribe Writers Conference. Because my husband and I love his music so much I asked him if he would be willing to share it with you, my fabulous friends, and he has agreed. 

You guys, I am SO excited about this!

You can check out the recently remastered album here: The Clearing

To download your free copy, send me an email and let me know you want it and I will send a unique code with the link to redeem it.

In his email to me Philip said, “I hope your whole list grabs a copy.”

Yes! Me too! Do not miss this!

And if you love it as much as I do, or even if you just find it mildly enjoyable, please contact Philip to thank him and connect with him. I know he'd love to hear from you.

Connect with Philip:
Twitter: PSACreates
SoundCloud: Philip Stephen Allen (to hear his works in progress)


PS: I'm hope to get to blogging again very soon! Stay tuned for more in the future.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Why This Isn’t Goodbye

Photo: Viktor Hanacek

Last week I had the opportunity to attend Storyline Conference in the Chicagoland area. I went last year and it was life changing; it was again this year.

We heard from so many amazing people who are living incredible stories. Please check out I’ll Push You (inspiring 5-minute video) and Jeremy Cowart (oh man, watch his TED Talk at the bottom the page!) and Bob Goff (and more) - you’ll be inspired too!

One of the breakout sessions I attended was with Joshua Becker. You’ve heard me mention him before. I had the privilege of having lunch with him in Nashville in August, I’ve talked about his blog becoming minimalist, and he has just launched The Hope Effect. (Don’t forget I need your help with that! I’m trying to raise $1200 for orphans.)

While Joshua didn’t really say anything I haven’t already heard him say, or have read on his blog, his story struck me in a deeper way this time. 

Living minimalist isn’t just cleaning the clutter out of our houses, but also out of our lives. I’m cleaning apps off my phone, unnecessary events from my calendar, relationships that don’t build me up or encourage me.

(I’m also cleaning out closets and drawers!)

The conference, paired with discussion with my traveling buddy, Nancy Bouwens from An Intentional Life, makes me believe God is leading me in a new direction.

While driving to church last week I thought about how the trees let go of their leaves in the fall, but it’s only for a season. The leaves will come back better and more beautiful in the spring. But if the trees don’t let go of the leaves, there’s no room for something new - there’s no growth.

For a season I need to let go of some “leaves”. They’re pretty leaves and I love my leaves, but just for a season I need to let them go. In the spring they can bud and be beautiful again. The only thing is, I don’t know what they will look like.

What I’m saying is, I’m going to take some time away from blogging.

One year ago after the Storyline Conference, I set out to write once per week, every week for this blog. I’ve accomplished that goal. I’ve told a story in 2015 that I wanted to tell, and I’m proud of myself for doing it!

Now, after Storyline 2016, I don’t know where God is taking me. I don’t know what story He wants me to tell this year. But I do know that my calendar is too full. My self-imposed schedule is too much for me to maintain. I’m making myself nuts with things I wonder if are really the most important things in my life to focus on right now.

So, for a season, I’m taking time off. I’m going to read the stack of books that I haven’t had time for. I’m going to coffee and lunch with people who love me the most and mean the most to me. I’m going to spend extra time with my princess granddaughter.

I’m going to be less of a slave to social media and spend more time connecting in real life and making memories for myself and my family and friends.

I’m going to take time to really listen to what God has for me and which direction He’s taking me.

I’m just going to slow down and rest.

I love writing and I will be doing lots of that as well. Maybe some of it will end up on this blog or in your email on occasion. Maybe I’ll be back with an entirely different blog in the new season. I don’t know.

So, this isn't goodbye, just a see you in the figurative spring.

Thank you for being faithful friends in this little community. You can still always reach me via Twitter and Facebook - I would LOVE to hear from you. ANYTIME!

Now go live your life and tell a great story!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Take Time: Be Thankful

Photo: petradr

It’s November already! When did this happen? 

Because of Thanksgiving, November is always a month to think about how we can be thankful.

As we now enter the holiday season, take time to think about where you can be thankful. Maybe it’s been a great year with lots of positive things happening and thankfulness comes easy for you.

Maybe it’s been a hard year with heartbreak and being thankful takes more effort.

Either way, take time to write down the things you are thankful for and rejoice that whether in easy or hard times, God is always good and He is always faithful, and you have more blessings than you realize.

Here are a few things I’m thankful for this year:

  • My new granddaughter, arriving on-scene July 12!
  • My daughter who is an amazing mom so far.
  • My son-in-law who takes good care of his wife and baby.
  • My son who is doing great while away at school. (And grateful he’s close enough to come home every couple of weeks!)
  • My husband who works hard to provide for all of us.
  • My friends who are always there for me, in hard, frustrating times and the joyful, exciting ones.
  • Pastors who support me and encourage me to chase my dreams.
  • You, my faithful, encouraging readers who have become friends in this little community.
  • All of my needs are met. 
  • I’m thankful for the ability to see, walk, breathe, hear, drive, eat and a thousand other little things we take for granted every day. Because we’re healthy!
  • And I’m thankful for coffee, cheesecake and Quincy M.E.!

My list could go on and on, but I’ll spare you too much boredom. I’d love to hear what’s good in your life this year! What are you thankful for?

Share below what you are thankful for this thanksgiving season. Or share via Twitter and Facebook.

Don't forget to help my team with The Hope Effect! Less stuff for you, more love for orphans! Read more about it here and here.