Lavish Hospitality 7

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Sorry for the delay, we have been fighting with our internet reception at home.  But, I’m still here.  An update: I want to use this month to get the quotes and start the stories for Lavish Hospitality.  Then use NaNoWriMo to really write it.  I’ll keep you posted.  Thank you for reading.

This past weekend we celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary.  I have found in marriage it is very easy to show grace for the big things, but so much harder for the small things.  One area that my husband and I need to both work on it love: not being easily offended.  When one or both of us have been offended, we are not hospitable to each other.

The other night I just didn’t talk – that is my normal mode of response when I’m hurt.  So, we watched Bull in bed without saying a word.  Turned off the computer and went to bed, all without saying a word.  That is not hospitable.

That is not how we are supposed to act.  Love doesn’t act this way.  I’m not very welcoming to my husband when I don’t even talk to him.

God always need to radically work on my heart when I am offended.

Quote from Tim Keller, The Meaning of Marriage.

Lavish Hospitality 3

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When we are in relationship with other people, the main way we communicate lavish hospitality is by the words we speak.

I’ve learned in marriage that it is more often the little things I say (and how they are said) that cause the most damage.

As a Mom, usually when I am tired and not feeling like I’m in charge, is when the anger comes out and I lash out at my children.

Usually with friendships and relationships, I’m more in control of when and how these things happen and I can back out of the situation to regroup, but I’ve learned so much over the years about how my words (and other’s words) can affect our ability to love well.

I can think of three specific relationships, as an adult, that were totally broken by words.  One was letting a misunderstanding get in the way and cause years of silence.  One was silence instead of fighting for a friendship. One was condemning and has just been healed to the point of being able to talk every now and then.

War of Words is such a helpful book by Paul Tripp, about using our words to communicate the Gospel.  As we invest in those around us, take stock of our relationships, and use our mouths to be instruments of grace, let us first look to our role as reconcilers – not those who destroy.

Write31: Lavish Hospitality (Day 1)

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Day 1

Day 2 

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Day 8

Day 9

Day 10

Day 11

Day 12

Day 13

Day 14

Day 15

Day 16

Day 17

Day 18

Day 19

Day 20

Day 21

Day 22

Day 23

Day 24

Day 25

Day 26

Day 27

Day 28

Day 29

Day 30

Every October comes around and there is group of women who set out to write a blog a day for the entire month.  Every year I try to do it, and every year I fail.

This year, I’m trying something new.  I’m working on a book (Lavish Hospitality) and want to use this space, this month, to work out the 31 short chapters of the book.

This is not going to be a book about food and blankets and setting up guest rooms.  Yes, partly, there will be some recipes and stuff like this.  But, hospitality is more than just setting a pretty table.

I want to “prepare a space for lavish grace”.  Here the the sub-headings:

To my heart.

To my husband.

To my children.

To my neighbors.

In my home.

In my church.

Grace was poured out lavishly on us.  We need to be ready to pour it out lavishly on others.

Hospitality has a southern ring to is.  You may think of cozy reading corners, mums in the Fall, tea and coffee, flowers and guest rooms.  It can be those things.  But, just because you have coffee set out doesn’t mean you have a welcoming home for others.

So, in the next 30 days I’m going to be sharing 30 quotes and thoughts on them.  These quotes will help me formulate thoughts on this topic, and I hope they will encourage you to practice lavish hospitality in your world.

31 Days: The God Who Dwells in Steadfast Love

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God who Dwells in Steadfast Love

The longer you know a person – the more you know their character.  You can normally predict how they are going to act in or respond to a situation before it even happens.

I’ve only known my husband less than five years.  I suspect that when twenty years pass I will know him even better than I do now. Same with my children – how their little personalities are taking shape – how they will be even when they wake in the mornings.

David had walked with God for quite a while at this point in his life. David had known the Lord while David was a boy, a shepherd, a warrior, an animal-wrestler, a king, a husband, and all the while a sinner. In my thought, the greatest attribute or character trait of God that covers everything is his steadfast love.  This is especially true for how He relates to sinners.

David calls on this early in this heart-penetrating psalm.  He pleads for the Lord to act according to his steadfast, constant, unchanging, never fading love. The reason I think he does this is because he has truly experienced the steadfast love of the God. He has known that never-changing love of His Shepherd King.

Amazing how this works. And so telling to think of how much I’ve experienced this love and then how I often I fail to love others in the same way. Whether it is to friends who have hurt me or my sons who have disobeyed – how I’ve not shown an unconditional love in response.

The gospel has given me this love.  This gospel will allow me to persevere when I fail in demonstrating this love. This gospel will keep me at the feet of Jesus – having my wear head covered in this unfailing love.

Psalm 51:1

More reading: Genesis 15; Songs 2.4


31 Hymns: There is No Sin that I Have Done

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31 Hymns: There is no Sin

This hymn that I feature today was such a pivotal one in my ability to worship back earlier this year – and I poured it into my husband as well.  Thankful for our friend, David Ward, who brings this text to life!

All of the words of this hymn are pure gospel – so I didn’t know which ones to choose – but these waft over me with such purity and surety knowing that I don’t have to be perfect to gain an audience with my King and Savior.



Ephesians on Kindle (SO EXCITED)

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Big announcement: Prayers for the Journey: Ephesians edition is finally on Kindle!  That’s right – I have a self-published book on Amazon!!!

Here is a review of it on the CBMW site via my friend Courtney Reissig

If you haven’t heard of Prayers for the Journey – it is a kindle book devotional with journaling pages that literally walks through specific verses in Ephesians (or other books of the Bible) and helps wives know how to pray the word for their husbands.  I’ve been writing these since I got married, but have been learning about praying for my husband for two decades.

There are so many people to thank:

My parents and in-laws : thank you for always being an encouragement and my greatest fans

My Mister: thank you for being one who sanctifies me and prays for me – and also my first editor

Amy Torcasso: My designer – who also did the work on Treasuring Christ when I was writing it – but now we stay in touch through this!  Super talented and selfless

Sarah Popovczak: My editor for this edition of the Prayers for the Journey – she’s about to be a mom too!

Amelia McNeilly: A great publicist and encourager and the one who got this worked out for Kindle

Phyllis Robshaw: Amazing mentor and the one who lives out this act of praying for her husband and family and me – by praying the Word.

My Little Misters: Dudes that will make amazing husbands one day – and I’m already praying for them as they will be husbands to precious wives.

Margo Bowen: a mom of many and grandmom to many and a wife to one.  Thank you for loving my Mister as a son and for writing the introduction to this edition.

Future Editions: Nehemiah is available now on the blog for free.  Colossians is being typed up now and getting ready to be sent to my editor before she has her baby.  James is being written and prayed.  1 Peter is the the next one in the works.

Thanks all.  Please feel free to get the word out.  2.99 is a great deal and its for your kindle!

Letter Writing: supporting the USPS and making someone’s day!

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This year has definitely been one of writing many thank you notes!  From the wedding showers to the baby showers and all the gifts, birthdays, and traveling in between, we are definitely keeping the USPS in business!

Lindsay, over at Passionate Homemaking, one of the best blogs I read for Christian women, wrote today:

How often do I take a moment to write a thank you note to one who has blessed me recently? This practice is such a edifying habit to get into. Why should we write thank-you notes? It is to acknowledge our appreciation for the love of others! It tells others we are blessed by their fellowship, the way they served us or others, their giftings, etc. It encourages them to continue in the calling that God has placed on their lives. It is so easy to become discouraged and overwhelmed, this is true especially for those who are in places of authority in your life (church, parents, leadership). They need a little note now and then just letting them know you are praying for them or that you are blessed by their service.

My desk is now in our living room with all of my stationery and pens.  I do love writing notes and sending packages!  It blesses me to get them and I hope in turn it blesses others when they receive something in the mail other than a bill. 

If you think about it Paul the Apostle wrote in letters.  He would send the letters with others.  There was not postal service back then.  The letters were cherished.  He didn’t use email or twitter to get the Word of God to the churches.  He loves those churches.  He wanted his letters (breathed by God the Father through the Holy Spirit) to be read, kept, and obeyed. 

In  a similar vein, I have every note or card that my husband has given to me – and have all of our texts.  I enjoy looking back at those and to see the journey that God has taken us on over the last 18 months or so.

If you need some great writing notes, I sell my photos as notecards.  You can choose from any of my FB photos or ask me for a particular set or photo card.  Wanna set up a photo session with your family then you can turn that into your Christmas cards – let me know.  You can find some of them already posted at

Whatever you use to write a note…just WRITE!

Who God is For Us in James…

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James is such a little book, only 3 pages in the ESV Journaling Bible I use, but it is rich and full of practical wisdom and full theology.  As E and I have been studying/memorizing/praying through it in 2012, it has become something that just comes out of our mouths anytime we need a wise word or an answer to a problem we are having.  I now see the benefit of meditating on a certain passage of Scripture for what – 6+ months now. 

This week I had the opportunity to give a lunchtime devotion to a group of senior ladies at my church.  I chose to go through the book of James and pull out all the descriptors of God – or what James tells us God does for us in this tiny epistle.  I got more than I thought.  I just gave them a bulleted point overview, but I have determined to turn this list into a women’s Bible study that can be used individually or in small groups in local churches or coffee shops!  Here is the list with a brief synopsis of how God is those in the book of James. 

James: God For Us

1.  He is our Sanctification (1:4; 1:12; 1:21) – pair these with Philippians 1:6 and the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

2.  He is a gracious Giver (1:16) of both wisdom (1:5) and more grace (4:6)

3.  He is NOT our tempter (1:13)

4.  He is the Father of Lights (1:17)

5.  He is eternal and unchanging (1:17) by looking at men of old such as Job (ch 5) and Elijah the Prophet (ch 5)

6.  He is the Giver of the Perfect Law (4.12)

7.  Our Friend (2:23) – I randomly sing “I am a friend of God” in my head each time I come to this verse in chapter 2

8.  He is the Creator (1:18) and we bear His image (3:9)

9.  He desires us! (4:5)

10.  He is the Opposer of the Proud (4:6)

11.  He is near to the humble (4:8) (I think of the psalms that says the nearness of God is my good)

12.  He is our Righteous Judge (4:12)

13.  He is our Compass – He is our Personal Sovereign (4:13-15)

14.  He is our Coming King (5:7-8)

15.  He is merciful and compassionate (5:11)

16.  He is our Healer (5:15)

17.  He is our Justification, our forgiveness (5:15)

18.  He is our prayer answerer (5:17-18)

19.  To close the book and study – how we see all of this lined in the person and gift of Jesus – the greatest of all of His gracious gifts to us, His “indescribable gift”.


What would you like to have in a group or personal Bible study that I could include?  How has God ministered to you in these ways?  I look forward to interacting with you all on this!

My Favorite Tools: Pencils

posted in: writing | 5

I need to be more diligent in writing on this blog.  So…on Tuesdays for a while you are going to get a look into some of my favorite tools: whether they be writing or cooking.

Pencils.  I love the smell of pencils, feel of pencils, the erasers, the famous line in You’ve Got Mail about fall in new york – it makes you want to go be pencils, the colors, the designs, or just the plain yellow #2. 

I used to hate using pencils: they reminded me of standardized tests.  I DESPISE those things.  I am not very good at them – I’m surprised I got into college, though I would never have been allowed in to UF.  Oh, well, Flagler had to do.

But, now, they take me back to a simpler time.  I love sharpening them – oh the joy of pencil sharpeners – one of the most modern-less pieces of office equipment, now almost extinct.  We have one in the copy room next to my office.  I may need to invest in one for me office, especially if I move offices. 

I love the smell of freshly sharpened pencils.

I love the mistake factor already built in.  Did you know Sharpie came out with a permanent mechanical pencil?  Well, mechanical pencils are fine – but that takes away the simplicity, smell, and beauty of a slim line and fine point that a freshly sharpened pencil can leave on a paper.

What do you like to write with?

Come back next Tuesday to learn about my love of fountain pens!


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One of the reasons I love traveling is the time in the car or the plane gives me time to think, ponder, focus, and definitely sing along with the radio.  Yesterday I had a two-hour drive from Raleigh to Charlotte.  It had been a hectic week at the office and I was very glad to get in a car and just sing some country music.

While I did do that, I also had good thought time.  Quality time with my thoughts, my prayers, and my dreams.

Most of you who know me know that I tend to be:

1.  Busy

2.  Ambitious

3.  Perfectionist.

So, I am trying to guard against 1 and 3 and hit 2 square on the head!

I got an email from a photographer friend and it spurred me on (after it made me realize that I’m not really good yet…, I only like to pretend I am)

“Never let the fact that it may not be your current career stop you from diving in and figuring out stuff that you want to work on to get better.  It’s not about being great it’s about being proud of your work and producing work that others enjoy! That can happen at all levels of work and talent. 🙂  Keep at it.” – Said Friend (thank you said friend, and I mean that)

Currently, I have so many dreams.  When was I ever a dreamer?  I think I’m getting the knack of it in my old age.  Reading much and seeing other people’s dreams spur me on and then a friend, Jess, gives good ways to accomplish those dreams.  My reasoning behind dreams:

1.  I have a life to live to its fullest – God gave it to me to live for His glory, so I should take advantage of it, right?

2.  I am single and MUST use this time to its fullest.

3.  There is too much I want to do to not be out there every day living it up and being good at what I do live.

4.  Dreaming keeps me entertained and I press on…never knowing what is on the other side of that dream. 

5.  Must work toward making that dream a reality.

So…here is to some refocusing

1.  I have my dream writing job – and I want to be the best curriculum writer I can be.  This will take much work.

2.  I want to be the best social writer, speaker, and book writer – this also will take some work.  I think these three go hand in hand, that is why they are all linked.

3.  I want to be the best at yoga and running that I can be (this will require me running when it is cold outside, brrrr)

4.  I want to be the best food photographer I can be.  This is still in the big dreaming session but this covers two passions: food and photography.  My Mom helped get me started because she bought me my first food styling book for Christmas.  Thank you parents – dream motivators!  And I had a good conversation with a great wedding photographer who spurred me on.

That’s it.  4 things. 

If any of you have suggestions on how to accomplish said dreams – please let me know.