Peace: Walking Through November

~ week one ~

There are a thousand reasons to lose your peace this time of year.  There is the juxtaposition of serving real need straight through the holidays and feeding/buying/satisfying me.  Go ahead and be honest.  Go ahead and laugh out loud if you need to.  Both laughter and honesty are good for the soul.  The truth is wherever you land on the spectrum of self and other centered, you will be fighting the good fight of peace from now until January 2, 2016.

The reality is most of us will have a two sided list.  One side looks like supplies for shoebox stuffing parties, love bags and food pantries.  The other side is filled with gift lists, holiday menus, decoration ideas and party plans.  Between both lists, we have the capacity to lose our peace and purpose in the midst of so much to deliver.  But, I think, instead, we can choose to breathe in small and simple.

Small living is something that has been working its way into my soul for awhile now.  Small living, in part, means simplicity.  Think of spring cleaning of the mind, body and soul.  Think about organization; mental clarity, like first things first; clear purposes; financial order and internal peace.  These are basic truths.  I have learned to bring these things to the forefront of my life planning and decision making.  I can say things like I have a plan, I (think) I know where I am going.  Simplicity helps me stay on the course I believe God has planned for my life.

The other bend of small living speaks to living and moving and breathing as if every single moment and encounter matter.  This means knowing my poeme – – or the poem that God has put in me to express in this lifetime.  To know the sound, feel, space and touch of my poeme.  To know that poeme can direct and breathe right into your planning and decision making.  I think this is where peace begins.

Peace is something that grows within.  It’s a reservoir to pull from when life kicks, screams and yells in your direction.  It’s also a quality that permeates your daily grind.  It comes from a deep sense of knowing on the inner spaces of your self that you are loved.  You are perfectly and wonderfully designed.  Peace comes from the knowledge that your imperfections have the potential to bring out the miracles in you.  Peace frees you up to believe in dreams, passions and hopes for yourself and others. Peace lets you choose from what is better to best.

Peace is something we have to fight for these days.  Especially as the season calls Game On.  The season is committed to making your list and budget twice its natural size.  Before you unknowingly commit yourself to the madness, draw from God’s peace.  Find your simplicity.  Find your way of living small.  Find your simple path with the full knowledge of God’s desire to do far more than we can hope or imagine.  That way, we will see more of Him in this season than we could ever have hoped or imagined.

By Sasha Katz


~week four~

In the summer of 2014, God made a request to me.  He put it on my heart to spend every Friday with Him in the summer months.  This meant putting aside other things, taking off work and being faithful for a season.

For those of you who know this story of my life, you know that I didn’t take off one single Friday that summer.  After confessing what I missed, I haven’t thought a lot about June, July and August of 2014.  I did take off this past Friday though.  A friend of mine traveled very far to spend a week with me.  As a result, my thoughts of the summer past came back to me.

Over that week with my friend, there were many days that I did things I normally do not do.  We sat at the beach and talked about the details of our lives that get missed when there is distance between two friends.  We smiled about age that continues to creep up on us.  We talked about the complications of love and relationships.  We ate out and shopped some.  We shared dreams, aspirations and hurdles.  We walked arm in arm in the warm sun and finally said our goodbyes for another six or more months.

As I headed back to normal life.  Having missed a few mornings and nights with my kids and husband.  Having missed some time at work.  After getting one good night of sleep back in my bed, I reflected on time spent with her.  I saw a few things differently.  It’s good to see beyond your own views.  I had some renewed enthusiasm for my daily grind.  Being away makes home better.  I said goodbye looking forward to next time.  Time spent with a good friend is good for the soul.

I see very clearly now what God was saying to me that summer.  He wanted to speak into my life so I could see a few things differently.  He wanted to renew me so that I could be a better woman.  He wanted to spend time with me because that is what friends do.  It would have been good for my soul.

I’m going to leave you with a call to action as I wrote it in the fall of 2014.  I am not sure that I could have meant it more than when I wrote it one year ago.  What is different now?  The call to action is lathered in love, quality time and friendship even more so now than then.

So, all of this about me, to say to you, that I am sure that there is something you are holding on to.  I am sure of that because we are not in heaven.  You have a lot of excuses like I do. Some come across as very justified, but they are not.  I know for a fact that you are braver than me and can let go of the thing, go do the thing, step out into the thing . . . before the thing expires.  You don’t need to wait anymore to do the thing you are supposed to do.  Please do it.  And, after you do, tell me all about it.  I’ll be encouraged to the thing He calls me to do.  At the very next redemptive opportunity. 

What hogs your space?

I was driving my morning route today, and I was feeling pretty good.  Driving in on time, not too much traffic, nice blue skies, good music . . . but, the embarrassing, vain part is that I was primarily feeling good (i think) because I liked the way my make-up came out.  I have been fighting with this black Bobbi Brown eye liner gel . . . and I somehow decided that I got it right today.  After a few minutes, I have the feeling that I am feeling a little too good about the make up scenario.  I am starting to laugh at myself.  God knocks on my heart and says . . . Is that all it takes to make you happy?  So if you like your physical appearance, you feel good?  But, if that’s not the case, then what?  Right God, You are right this morning.  That’s when I smile and feel the real kind of happy in my heart.  The truth in love feels good.

We are so easily swayed.  The flesh is always right there waiting to drop in and hog the space in which your spirit resides.  I am thinking about my very private friend whose name I will not mention (except that she lives in Florida so as not to confuse her with any of my other very private friends living elsewhere).  She told me recently how she struggles with her mind going in directions that eventually cause her to question her purpose in this life.  As I watched her talk, I connect with her struggle and think about how often our flesh draws us away from the Spirit of the Living God.  Think about how powerful the coupling of the flesh and the human mind can be.  A thought leads to a thought leads to another thought and you, who are so closely connected to Jesus, are now questioning the purpose of your life.

Now, think about how powerful the coupling of the spirit and the human mind can be.  A thought leads to a thought leads to another thought and you, who are so closely connected to Jesus, are now scheming how you can minister to children on the other side of the planet.  Planning to send a note to a friend with an encouraging word.  Figuring out how you can give to a ministry more than you planned.  When my mind is in accordance with the spirit, I am overwhelmed with lists and lists and lists of good works that I can do in my home, in my community and for my friends.  My thoughts and lists of thoughts are so uniquely God that I am entirely confident none of it comes from my own silly brilliance.  My own silly brilliance is flattened by God ideas and thoughts.  So, why is it so hard to keep the mind and the spirit on the same team?

There is no doubt that you and I have enough to do to keep us busy until our final date with life on earth.  None of our to-do lists will squeak out even a moment for spiritual things.  The answer is intentional feeding of the spirit.  I rely on email devotions and note cards on my office wall throughout the day.  If I find myself veering away from the spiritual things that come my way, then I know that means I need to take a moment to read that verse, quote or devotion.  I need to remain intentional about feeding my spirit if I want to keep my mind connected to the spirit.  The alternative is losing my spiritual space to a hog called flesh.  The alternative is missing out on a whole spiritual world of opportunity.  God has keys to an extraordinary number of doors that we will never get to open unless we are intentionally letting Him into our mind.  So He can lead our spirits far away from that stinky hog called flesh.  Need I say more?

FF Aug 22

Thanks to Kaitlayn Bouchillon for this inspiring illustration of the word.

Kicking Off Your Master Plan

By AbbyA

January 2011.  The Daily Grind continues.  The Master Plan does not.  In other words, the Daily Grind will rock on.  But the Master Plan won’t kick off unless you plan for it.  Think not about the categorical boxes or time lines that tell you where you are.  Dig up the good stuff that seems far off.  Are you a talented CPA but used to dream about basketball?  Are you working 9-5 in a cubicle but design beautiful wedding cakes?  Are you changing diapers while thinking up a book on nutrition?  Wherever that dream went, find it, grab it.  Make it a Master Plan.

Think Big.  Start Light.  Grab a bound notebook and give it a date – – January 2011.  Jot down locations where you can start up your sport’s league.  Think about who would allow you to design their wedding cake.  Start collecting articles on the kid’s food revolution.  Add to it every week, every night, every month.  Once you have a handful of entries, write an outline of surfacing themes, tag your guiding principles and put action to the Master Plan.

Be clear, the Daily Grind is loud and the Master Plan is quiet.  The Daily Grind will Eat your Notebook in your Exhaustion.  It will Hide your Notebook in its Busyness.  The Daily Grind will Soak up your Dream like a Coffee Filter.  Dreams lost look like deflated balls.  Smooshed cakes.  Sluggish days devoid of backseat lightning to keep you moving.

Daily Grind keeps the world spinning round.  But it doesn’t set the spin in motion.  The Master Plan is the origination of the momentum.  It is the Steady Hand that gives you the dream.  It is the Voice of the Spirit that says you are capable and called to do one thing, but you were made to dream and do another.  Daily Grind and Dreams are Counterparts.  Both sides were drawn into Time.  Both Counterparts were Crafted into you.  No doubt, you can Occupy yourself Full Time with the Daily Grind.  But, without the Master Plan, the who you are will suffer loss in the long term.

The Even Greater Loss will be to the stale lives of those to whom you were meant to deliver your dream.  Someone who really needed to be part of something will not have a league to join.  Someone won’t have the chance to know you as a cake designer.  Someone won’t be enriched by your book bound wisdom.  If you already have lost a few Dreams, know that the Master Plan covers all sides.  The Master Plan will lead someone else’s ripe dream into the life of someone in need.  And, the Master Plan will give you yet another dream to construct into reality.  So, pick up your Notebook, your Cake, your Ball and your Book and venture into your Master Plan.  January 2011.