Fresh Air for Your Friday

SnowySpring

As you wave farewell to another week and usher in another weekend, may you receive special encouragement that speaks to your particular circumstances and your unique life. May you be gifted with the presence of others who build you up in such powerful ways you can’t help but nod in belief. And may you know that Christ offers you the sincerest of invitations to dwell in him because he loves you and loves to be with you.

What I’m Reading (And My Family Is Reading):

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Jack Staples and the Ring of Time by Mark Batterson and Joel N. Clark. I was gifted with a copy of Jack Staples and the Ring of Time, a book geared toward tweens, earlier this year. Over spring break, my teen son saw it on my bookshelf, thought it looked interesting and picked it up. He read the whole thing in just a couple days and was kind enough to give me an official review of the book:

Jack Staples and the Ring of Time is an entertaining book with entertaining characters and a compelling storyline. While some such characters were kind and lovable, others were quite the opposite – but were still interesting. Also, the storyline is a masterful work, and keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. The story stayed entertaining throughout, and is definitely worth a read!”  ~ Ethan, age 15

So if you have tweens or younger-ish teens, the Jack Staples series (Yes! There’s more than one!) would be an age appropriate and exciting series to consider. Read more about it here and find it wherever books are sold.

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For Girls Like You: A Devotional for Tweens by Wynter Pitts. My daughter and I began reading this together at bedtime just a few days ago. It’s the perfect bedtime devo because it’s short but substantial and talks about issues relevant to tween girls today. Wynter kindly sent me this book, and I am thrilled to let it be a part of our evening routine. You can read more about For Girls Like You here (including Priscilla Shirer’s endorsement!) and find it wherever books are sold.

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(photo credit)

What I’m Buying:

A few weeks ago I came across this post by Kristen Welch of We Are THAT Family in which she told the story of these handmade clutches. I am not a big impulse buyer, but when I read the story–that the clutches were made by former Muslim women and smuggled out of a Middle Eastern country–I bought one on the spot. Mine looks exactly like the middle one pictured above, and I love it. Not only is it beautiful, but it helps support a Christian woman who lives where it could be dangerous to follow Christ.  While these snazzy clutches are sold out, you can still find other wares just as beautiful and also support women living in desperate situations.

This clutch was a part of Fair Trade Friday, a monthly membership club that delivers a box of beautiful handmade items to your door. Also available are one-time boxes that you can purchase so you can check it out or give to someone as a gift. Fair Trade Friday is associated with Mercy House Kenya, and all their products are fairly traded and purchased directly from the artisans, who are paid fairly. Click here to view fair trade items from jewelry to handbags to scarves.

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What I’m Doing:

I just turned in the last last of the last book edits. Insert flitty butterflies and happy dancing all at once!

Also, my blog just got a little sprucing up! Not a total makeover, mind you, just a new haircut. I hope you like the changes, because I sure do. And many thanks to my favorite web design gal Erin for making them happen.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend, friends. Much love to you!

When Making Friends Feels More Like Work Than a Party

Tea

I scanned the familiar room looking for someone with whom I could converse. While I’d been with the good folks in the room before, I was still new enough I didn’t yet know everyone. As my eyes swept from one end of the room to the other, I noticed everyone huddled in pairs or trios, talking intently with one another. So I plopped down in the seat nearest me and placed my purse beside my chair.

I scanned again, looking for a comfortable break in a cluster where I could easily and nonchalantly saunter in and say hello. Coming up empty, I wrung my hands, one over the other, like I was washing them without soap and water.

Like I’m trying to wash out that nervous feeling creeping up in my soul.

After some time, no conversation appeared approachable, so I became overly invested in the contents of my purse. Every whipstitch, I glanced up to see if I could make eye contact with anyone, but I couldn’t.

I’ve been here before — more than once.

Most times I handle being a wallflower just fine, but this time it got to me. So, I stood up and walked calmly but purposely out of the meeting room to the bathroom. I darted into a stall and slammed the door. And because I’m particularly lady-like, I proceeded to kick the door. Twice.

Crossing my arms and breathing heavily, I looked toward heaven and said, “Why can’t I just enjoy myself here and not feel like the loser at the party?” 

I cried like a woman who was heart-weary from the work that getting to know people entails.

Join me here to read the rest?

When You Need to Give a Name to What Troubles You

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Spring is breaking out in Colorado Springs left and right, and every week that passes without a late freeze (like the one that chased down all the new spring growth last Mother’s Day)  is a week I gleefully clap my hands. New buds keep unfurling and new life keeps growing. These are the days for eyes and hearts […]

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The Curious Incident of the Plant in the Parking Lot (and the Power All Hope-Bringers Have)

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A few days ago I dashed into the grocery to drool over their flowers and grab some gala apples that were on sale. (Okay, I’ll just fess up and say my main motivation for the trip was cupcakes, cupcakes that weren’t on sale but still made their way into my cart.) Our grocery always has a garden selection of […]

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Month of the Military Child :: In Praise of Military Kids

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He said it more in passing from the seat behind me in our minivan as I drove him to his friend Landon’s house. “Ya know, mama…” he begins. I look in the rearview mirror at his handsome profile, his eyes staring out the window. “When people ask me where I’m from, I’m never quite sure […]

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If Your Good Friday Arrived After a Long, Slow Week

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This week has been a difficult one for me, one whose events have stacked up and lined up forcing me into a slow-paced plod toward this Good Friday. So, I treated myself to a little flower therapy. The blooms remind me to take heart because indeed, Sunday is coming. “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, […]

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What I Learned This Month

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  Did you ever take a family vacation and no sooner after walking in your front door afterwards, you were met with the decisive message Vacation is officially over and real life is back? Well, that was us last week. Sometimes my neck hurts from the whiplash of life’s changes. Since I’ve been on a blog […]

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Postcards from March

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It’s been one of those weeks that flew in a blur, scenes whirling by as if I’m watching them from the passenger side of a fast moving car. But at the same time, I am bone tired, like I’ve been running next to the car rather than sitting inside it. Has it been one of those weeks for you, […]

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If You Think Who You Are and What You Do Are Nothin’ Special

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On a lazy, feet-up Saturday night, as my husband and I flipped through family memories together, my mind settled on an occurrence that frequented our house ten years ago. When my now-big kids were then-little, my good man would walk through the front door after work and ask how my day was. We would talk for […]

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It’s Show and Tell Day for My New Book

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When you’re a girl with Irish blood running through your veins, you naturally have an affinity for the color green. And this girl born an O’Neill put that affinity into practice last week. As a treat for turning in my next round of book edits (!!!), I got my nails done at a real deal, bonafide nail salon. […]

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