• Faith Reflections

    My Word for the Year

    If you’ve known me at least a year or more, you may know I do a word-for-the-year rather than resolutions. It works much better for me to think big picture about the journey I want to walk in the year ahead rather than mapping out a final destination or a sense of arrival points along the way. You can read about past words here, here, and here. For me, resolutions tend to function like blinders. I end up missing many of the surprising ways God wants to show up in my life. A word, however, tends to function more like a filter or lens. I look around with some intention, but I’m much more open and free to respond to the ways God and my word may show up as I live each day. My word for 2020 is FOCUS. I have a tendency to coast in a lot of ways. Don’t get me wrong – I’m a hard-worker, and…

  • Faith Reflections

    Puzzled Lessons

    This past weekend we received an abundance of snow. While nine inches fell at my home, some nearby were blanketed with over 14″ from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning. It is a winter wonderland here and I love it. We weren’t surprised by this storm, so I took the opportunity on Friday to go to my parent’s house and borrow a couple of puzzles from my mom’s stash in the basement. She has a collection of puzzles she purchased for her mom when she was in the senior care center and I’m cheap. Free puzzles! I decided a potential snowstorm was the perfect opportunity to tackle one of the larger 1,000 piece puzzles. Yes, I live an exciting life. Full stop with the jealousy, friends. Choosing Joy My word for 2019 is submit, to abandon outcomes to God. One practice I’m attempting is to do more things that bring me joy while abandoning any outcomes or expectations. (I decided this…

  • Faith Reflections

    Planting Seeds

    “The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” Nelson Henderson I’ve always loved this quote. I have a deep affection for trees even if I don’t go around sniffing them like my friend, Heather. Hoisting my hammock among the trees and resting in the cool, comfort of the shade is one of my favorite activities on a warm summer’s day. Give me some chocolate ice cream while I sway in the wind and I’m in heaven. Maybe my tree-love is why I love this quote, but I think it may also be the hope that things we do now can make a difference for someone else long after we’re gone. It is the beauty and power of a life well-lived – a life on whose shoulders others stand, a life that plants trees under whose shade we will never sit. What better way to spend your one wild and precious life? But trees…

  • Faith Reflections

    When Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect

    A brand new planner is a beautiful thing. Clean, crisp pages full of potential and possibilities. Everything is neat and clean and begging to be made into memories and moments. What will March 2019 hold? What adventures will I take in September? What will I reflect on in December? Who knows? All those stories have yet to be lived and told. While exciting, a new planner is also intimidating. I purchased a new planner for 2019 and it took me about two weeks before I wrote anything in it. I looked at it nearly every day but I didn’t know where to even begin. This planner is not just for calendaring. It is the Joanna Gaines of calendars. The last half is full of blank pages where you can dream, sketch, and track your passions. One search of #pashfam on the internet will overwhelm you with beautiful layouts and designs. Some invest a small fortune in stickers. Others have the…

  • Faith Reflections

    Why I Hate My Word for 2019

    I’ve blogged before about my annual tradition of choosing a word/intention for the year rather than making resolutions. It has been a game-changer for me in my pursuit to continually grow and learn how to become more like Christ each year. Here are my past words of intention: 2014: Courageous 2015: Freedom 2016: Today 2017: Health 2018: Awake This is my sixth year and usually, the words I choose are inspiring and positive – words I can find on shiny jewelry or flowery, hand-lettered prints for sale on Etsy. But not this year. I can’t imagine it will ever be cross-stitched on a pillow or etched into silver, hanging around someone’s neck. My word for 2019. My word for 2019 is …… submit. I hate this word. I hate it for the abuse associated with it over the years. In relationships. In the church. In the work place. It has been misused to justify oppression and, if there is one…

  • Faith Reflections

    Christmas Year Round

    A confession: A few years ago I started decorating for Christmas before Thanksgiving. Don’t hurl snowballs at me. I wait as long as I can, but I never last until after the fourth Thursday in November. I adore Christmas. I love decorations and twinkling lights. I delight in music and holiday food. I have a real obsession/addiction with Hallmark movies. December is my jam. But it’s easy for me to camp in the shallow end of the holiday, missing what I really love about the season. More than other times of the year, I believe Christmas finds us closest to living the way Jesus calls us to live. Despite the holiday commercialism, people tend to be more generous in time and resources, giving to causes and serving their neighbors. We tend to be more thoughtful of others and cherish special moments with family. There seems to be more hope, peace, joy, and goodwill – not in fullness but more than…

  • Faith Reflections

    My 2018 Word-for-the-Year

    For the past five years, I’ve done a “word-for-the-year” rather than new year’s resolutions. I wrote about it first in 2014 here. I wrote about my word for 2018 here. Many of you have joined me in this new approach to embracing a new year with a single word and I love it when you share your word with me. I love a single word so much more than resolutions. Resolutions tend to make me focus on behavioral changes which don’t always last and often result in more guilt rather than growth. But a guiding word for the year makes me hopeful and excited, like the beginning of a scavenger hunt where the things awaiting discovery this year are unknown to me but I am gleefully optimistic they will lead me to a more grounded, content, healthier (in multiple ways) me. What my family, friends, and world need most is the best version of me that I can possibly be, accomplishing the most good with…

  • Faith Reflections

    Sacrificial Love

    I never dreamed I would one day love attending basketball games, but a boy named Blake changed this for me. My nephew is passionate about basketball and, as a six-foot-two eighth-grader, he gets to play a lot of it. I’ve taken him to the gym to practice drills. I’ve watched him go outside for hours, practicing shots and ball handling. He loves basketball and because I love him, I attend his games and cheer like crazy. It is my duty and, even more so, my joy as his aunt. Loving Christ means we take on Christ’s passion. Out of love for our Savior, we follow his lead, his heart, his mission. Often, this requires a sacrifice – a sacrifice of our time, our resources, our desires – in order to choose that which is better – the way of Christ. We understand this sacrifice when it comes to family. So many parents and grandparents live this out each and every…

  • Faith Reflections

    Morning by Morning New Mercies I See

    I don’t drink coffee (yes – I’ve tried everything. No amount of sugar or cream or milk or pumpkin spice helps.) As much as I want to be one of the cool kids addicted to liquid energy, I’m destined for uncoolness in all areas of my life. But despite this, I do savor the richness of this liturgy for the ritual of morning coffee. As you read and, hopefully, pray this prayer below, remember yesterday is not limited to 24 hours. As I prayed this morning, my yesterdays expand far beyond twenty-four hours on the clock. The wounds can feel raw even if inflicted months or years ago. Each morning I am in need of the God who brings life from death, who turns wounds to scars, who extinguishes darkness with the light of hope. And I love that the liturgy ends with awake. Awake is my word for 2018 (I wrote about it here) and I have seen God do…