Winter can feel especially long in the Midwest and I’ve learned that scheduled breaks and weekends away bring joy to my soul.   True rest begins by putting aside your daily routine for quiet, soul filling moments.

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“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31

At the end of January I hosted a small, intimate retreat for my bible study at our cozy cabin in Michigan.  We spent time together exploring the topic of rest, knitting, coloring, snow shoeing and cooking fabulous food.

I am blessed beyond measure by this group of ladies and their hearts for the Lord, here are a few snap shots and reflections of the weekend.

 

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Giving gifts is totally my love language.  I’m currently doing the Contentment Challenge to save for some big goals and cultivate a heart of gratitude.  But, grace not perfection friends.  For a few dollars in the Target Dollar Spot I picked up some cute notebooks, pens and used craft supplies I had on hand to create a little treat. Sometimes we can focus to much on getting “the perfect look” that we miss out on the joy of the moment.  I had a blast assembling little goodies for the girls and wanted them to feel pampered and welcomed from the moment they entered the cottage.

 

 

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“Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come away with me.” Song of Songs 2:10

My favorite part of spending time at Koselig Cottage (a swedish word for “cozy”) is our morning routing of digging into the scripture.  The early morning light on the river, cozied up by the fire with coffee in hand.  We spent time digging into the theme of rest over the weekend and it was just the reminder my heart needed.  In Winter it feels easy to rest, to set aside time to be still and pause, but one of my goals for 2016 is to claim a spirit of rest, in the midst of every season.

 

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Snow shoeing has become one of my favorite Winter activities.  It’s a great workout and way to explore God’s beautiful creation.  We took several hikes through the surrounding area.  I collected pinecones and birch bark for crafts and we talked and laughed the whole way.  For several of the gals it was their first time snow shoeing and they had a blast.  I’m constantly reminded by these ladies about the necessity of community.  Authentic community pushes you out of your comfort zone, it gives you courage to try new things and encourages you the whole way.

 

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It was a life-giving weekend with dear friends.  Winter can be a beautiful time, if we purposefully include times of quiet, refreshment and community. I’m looking forward to Spring but for now, I’ll take joy in the rest, coffee and beauty of this season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

cultivate-gratitude-lara-casey-goal-settingHi friends!

I can’t believe we are a month into 2016!  I’ve deemed 2016 the year of flourishing.  Keeping that word front and center (along with my theme verses Psalm 1:1-3) has been the encouragement I’ve needed to thrive in every season.  God is teaching me so much lately but a theme that keeps coming up is the idea that “You can’t do it all, and do it all well.” or as my friend Lara says “If it matters to you, cultivate it”.

An abundant, flourishing life begins with taking a hard look at what is in your life and letting go of the control. Digging deep into what matters most to me makes room for others to use their gifts and shine.

 

 

January Goal Update

 

  1. Join #NancyRayBookClub and read “How to Win Friends and Influence People”

-I’ll be honest, out of the 12 books “How to Win Friends and Influence People” was the one I was least excited to read.  Boy, was I in for a shocker.  Dale Carnige’s quick with and tell it like it is point of view is refreshing.  My number one take away has been to notice people & be truly present.  We are ALL in the business of people, and a little bit of thought and kindness goes a long way.   If you want to learn more about Nancy’s book club, visit nancyrayphotography.com

2. Contentment Challenge-Month One

This is my second time doing a contentment challenge.  I’ve learned that having a larger goal (saving for a home of my own) does wonders to help with my discipline.  There are countless small things I’m now willing to sacrifice to save for a bigger reward.  God is doing a work in my heart teaching this target-loving girl that joy and contentment is found in Him not in things.

One thing though, giving gifts are my love language and I’ve allotted an amount in my budget to support hand-made businesses and love on my friends. It’s all about grace not perfection friends!

3. Fill out prayer journal.

Preparation is key here.  My small group shares prayer requests every week but I’ve set a reminder in my planner at the end of each month to purposefully text/call friends and family to see how I can pray for them.

I’ve also began doing an “Alphabet Prayer” (using the alphabet as a prompting on what/who to pray for), it has been a great way to keep my mind free of distractions. Praying in the car and while washing dishes has become a new favorite habit.

 

4. Create a “Beat the Winter Blues Bucket List”

-This has been a life saver during our Wisconsin winter.  See this post for more information :-) 

5. Plan Come Away Retreat for Small Group Ladies

We had an absolute blast playing games, exploring the woods, learning to knit and drinking countless cups of coffee. We ended the weekend with a heart to heart talk about the real meaning of rest and what it looks like to rest in Christ during the busyness of each day.  More to come as God spoke to my heart through these ladies.

ZA Goals:

Create a daily and weekly workflow for ZA. (This habit has been life transforming!)

Intentional plan ZA garden with volunteers and team. (Yes, we involved the kids this year and it made the planning time that much more fruitful…Spring is coming friends)

Create a list of podcasts to listen to while I do administrative work. (Done, Nancy LeighDemoss’s series on Prayer has been a great encouragement to me)

 

 

 

IMG_4630February Goals: 

 

  1. Read “Ordering Your Private World” by Gordon MacDonald and “Culture Making” by Andy Crouch
  2. Consistent, weekly writing time at Mission Cafe.
  3. Contentment Challenge Month #2.
  4. Turn off my phone on evenings off and read, rest, bible journal, pray.  Find TRUE rest in Him.
  5. Prayerfully consider how to increase my saving and giving.  GIVE. SAVE. LIVE.
  6. Delegate tasks to qualified volunteers who are passionate about using their unique gifts to serve
  7. Visit the YMCA on Tuesday/Thursdays with my workout buddy.
  8. Encourage a friend over coffee or a meal. Speak truth in love.

Cheers to a fruitful month!

 

 

 

#365daysofgraceandgratitude

#365daysofgraceandgratitude

Winter can be a long few months in Wisconsin.  This year I’m determined to embrace the season and find joy in every day.

“In winter, the frozen fields are bare and the soil is still. Winter is a time when we are drawn inside. It’s a time of stillness, slowing us to reflect on our lives and how we can life them more fully in the seasons ahead” – Lara Casey

This Winter I want to be proactive agains the dreaded Winter Blues.  I’ve been recording

#365daysofgraceandgratitude via Instagram and my encouragement calendar but I thought a Winter Bucket List would add some much needed fun to the season.

 

A Season of Stillness & Deep Joy – Winter 2016 Bucket ListWinter Bucket List 2016

  1. Sit in front of the fire and knit a new project.  Try cables?  (accomplished over Christmas/New Years at the cabin!)
  2. Powersheet Prep for 2016 (accomplished over Christmas/New Years!)
  3. Visit the Milwaukee Farm Market at the Domes.
  4. Can jam with Mom using the frozen peaches & raspberries from the summer.
  5. Host a Crafternoon party.
  6. Go taboggonning at Waukesha’s Winter Janboree
  7. Try a new class at the YMCA.
  8. Explore the Art Museum on “Target First Thursday”
  9. Bake a yummy treat and share with a friend.
  10. Attend a candle light snow shoe event.
  11. Make soy candles for gifts.
  12. Go ice skating and hit up Collectivo coffee afterwards.
  13. Spend an afternoon Bible Journaling and beingmessy.
  14. Get lost in a good book.
  15. Send happy mail to dear friends.
  16. Spend time dreaming of Summer with my seed catalogues.
  17. See a show at the Skylight Theater or Florentine Opera.

 

How about you friends, what do you do to keep the Winter Blues away?

Image: MOPS

Image: MOPS

I was talking with a friend recently and shared the struggles and hardships of 2015.  It was a year of great joy, celebration and deep growth.  But it was also a year of busy.  Each season felt more full than the last and there were countless days (and let’s be honest, months) where I just was trying to make it through.

I want 2016 to be a year of thriving, bravery and flourishing in every season.  I desire to not just “make it until midnight” each day but to put down roots, grow, make brave choices that compel each day to be full of purpose & beauty.

 

 

 

One of my favorite passages in the bible is Psalm 1

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.

 

I want 2016 to be rooted in truth, in His promises, and in contentment. I don’t want to get to December 31st this year and say “Whew, I survived another crazy year!”  I want to be praising God for His guidance, provision and growth in my life.

 

My most fulfilling year would be using MY unique gifts, let go of comparison, embrace how he created me to be (all those quirks and failures too!) and celebrate the accomplishments of others.

 

A year of purpose would mean saying NO to what doesn’t matter, focusing in on my unique tasks and influence and delegating so others may shine brightly.

 

A year that is rooted in Christ would begin with truth and end with thanksgiving.  I want 365 days marked with grace and gratitude.

 

A year of bravery is making choices that scare me and push me to step out in faith.

 

A year of flourishing begins with being well rested.  I want to make time to cook nourishing food, swim laps at the Y and work hard so I can embrace margin & rest.

 

My 2016 is a year of flourishing-it’s full of truth, margin, grace, gratitude, nourishment, laughter, community, joy and strong coffee.

 

How about you friends?  Do you have a word for the year?  What would your most intention, fulfilling year look like?

 

 

Hi friends!

IMG_4738Just popping in to share my goals for January 2016!  I’m using Powersheets from Lara Casey this year to intentionally plan a year that is rooted in truth and purpose.

 

Monthly Goals:

  1. Join #NancyRayBookClub and read “How to Win Friends and Influence People”

-One of my goals for 2016 is to expand my non-fiction reading.  I am a total bookworm but tend to gravitate towards similar books (christian living, women’s interest…).  I’m excited to join Nancy Ray in reading some of her favorite books.  If you want to learn more, visit nancyrayphotography.com

2. Contentment Challenge-Month One

-This past fall our church did a sermon series on finance and I was convicted about how easy it’s become to spend mindlessly at Target.   Life is to short to waste money on things that don’t matter.  So, I’m doing a second Contentment Challenge and giving up shopping for January-March.  For the next three month’s there will be no binge shopping at the dollar spot at Target or late night on-line shopping.  Contentment and peace comes from HIM not things, and I need that reminder.

3. Fill out prayer journal.

-I love Val Marie’s prayer journal for accountability.  This year I want to PRAY BIG and pray faithfully for those I love.  I’m also going to intentional reach out to friends and family members and ask for specific prayer requests.

4. Create a “Beat the Winter Blues Bucket List”

-Winter in Wisconsin can seem like it goes on forever.  I want to embrace this season and savor the stillness.  I’ve already had fun snow shoeing, baking Challah bread and learning a new knitting technique.  Stay tuned for more Winter fun and adventure.

5. Plan Come Away Retreat for Small Group Ladies

-At the end of the month I’ll be hosting a small, intimate gathering for my small group at my family’s cottage in Northern Michigan.  We are keeping things pretty simple but I want to intentional plan a few craft projects, devotionals and meals so we leave feeling refreshed and refocused.

ZA Goals:

Create a daily and weekly workflow for ZA.

Intentional plan ZA garden with volunteers and team.

Create a list of podcasts to listen to while I do administrative work.

 

 

Weekly Goals:

Weekly writing time at Mission Cafe

Monday goal refresh.

Visit Sunday Farm Market and plan nourishing meals.

Clear the clutter in one area–GIVE AWAY!

#socialmediafreeweekends

Turn of the radio in the car and PRAY!

Visit the YMCA for a class or to swim.

 

Daily Goals:

 

PRESENT

Prayer, Read. Express. Schedule. Exercise. Nourish. Track. Taking a cue from “The Better Life: Small Things You Can Do Right Where You Are” and starting each morning with intention.

Wake up before 7:00 a.m.

#dressinhappinessdaily

Prayer walk or journal

30 minute reading break

No Instagram from 8-5

#365daysofgraceandgratitude

 

Image: Lara Casey

Image: Lara Casey

Refreshment Days: 

When we are planning a life of intention it can be easy to focus only on the goals and forget to have fun.  One of my favorite parts of the Powersheets is filling out my Refreshment Days and dreaming up how I’ll refuel in my down time.

Ways I’m going to recharge:

Unleashed Soul Care Retreat

Massage! (use one of 3 gift certificates from Christmas!)

Knit in front of the fire

Meet friends for wine

 

Adventures I’m going to have:

Candle light snow shoe.

Cook a meal from “Forest Feast”

Wine and Canvas Class

 

How I’m going to love others:

Host “Come Away” Retreat

Bake a treat for N, J and Boys

Create intentional gifts for B & E

Send a card to Nanna

FullSizeRender (9)Hey friends!  I took a much needed morning off and spent time digging deep into my goals and big dreams. The holidays may be right around the corner but I don’t want to get so busy that I forget to live my life 😉

 

I’ve been using Lara Casey’s Powersheets for the past several years and they have been truly more than just pretty paper (though the gold foil helps;-) ) The Powersheets have helped me to live with purpose and intention and tackle those big dreams and goals. There are still SO many I’m working on but over the past few years I’ve cultivated my prayer life, paid off debt, developed a morning routine, memorized scripture, started a blog (though it’s SO neglected), completed a 5k, read countless non-fiction books and invested deeply in relationships. Powersheets have been an amazing tool to help build a beautiful & purposeful life.

 

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Powersheets Refresh: November 2015

 

The Last Few Months:

This Summer & Fall was an absolute whirlwind. However, I’m finding that as I focus on MY unique calling my days become more focused, grace-filled, dependent on Him, purposeful and free. There were deep moments of struggle and growth but God used my weakness to show His strength.

 

Lessons I learned:

  • You have a unique and beautiful story and NOW is the time to claim it, live it and stop apologizing for it.
  • Let FAITH be greater than fear.
  • You are chosen, beloved and enough because you are already seated with Christ. Be rooted in Him an, not the opinions of other’s.
  • Be honest with others about your needs, dreams, desires and wants. You never know how God will use them to bless you.
  • Taking 10 minutes to plan & prepare for the day makes a huge difference.
  • Embrace who God created you to be—all of your quirks, failures, mistakes, triumphs, strengths are on PURPOSE!

 

 

I’m saying No to:

Doubt

Fear

Excess

Comparison

Competition

 

 

I’m Saying YES to:

GRATITUDE

BRAVERY

Finding my unique voice

Strength

Waking up early

Confidence in who I am in Christ

Dependence on His Grace, not my strength

Delegating tasks

Living at 60% NOT 99%

 

Refreshed Goals for 2015:

 

I will make time for daily self-care and spend my free time with what fuels me and fires up my heart!

 

I will be a good steward of the resources I’ve been given. I will maintain a budget so I can save for a down payment on a house!!

 

I will prayerfully seek out ways to use my unique gifts and talents at church. (God has already answered this one is some awesome ways…I’m praying for discernment)

 

I will live an active life (even in the midst of Wisconsin Winter) through daily walks, swimming laps at the YMCA or doing a Revelation Wellness Video so I have energy to be the best me!

 

I will find my unique voice as a writer by making time to write consistently. (Share MY story on the blog, just for me or on Instagram)

 

 

Okay friends, those are a few of my goals for the rest of the year. What about you all? Do you have goals for the next few months or are you already dreaming up 2016 dreams and plans?

 

 

 

 

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A dear friend asked me a few weeks ago “So, Em where do you see yourself in 5 years?” I stumbled over my answer, because honestly I never thought I would be entering into my 30’s as a single woman. I’ve always imagined that a husband, kids and the “white picket fence” was right around the corner. The desire to be a wife & mamma has been near and dear to my heart for as long as I can remember, but for now that is not apart of my story or season.

 

Planning for the future is good (ya’ll know my love for Powersheets right??) However, I’ve learned that when my heart gets too focused on that what the next five years could bring, I miss on the gifts of today.

 

I may have not met my Mr. Right, but God has blessed me with time to deepen my relationships with friends and family.

 

I may not chasing my kiddos around the house, but instead I’m chasing precious kids around the strawberry patch at work or around the baseball field at the local YMCA.

 

I’m not meal planning and cooking for my own family, but that doesn’t have to stop me from canning fresh peaches and gifting them to family & friends!

 

This season is longer than I expected and so different from how I ever imagined. But, through His grace, it’s full of beautiful and unexpected gifts.

 

My sweet friends Bailey from Brave Love Blog and Katie from A Place To Dwell are hosting a series called An Inspired Season over the next few weeks. The series is all about taking joy and delight in your current season. This week they encouraged us to create a visual collage of our season & write a “bucket list”.

 

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I had so much fun pouring over and selecting photos for this collage, it was such a great reminder of the full, vibrant life I’m living. Highlights of this season include: farm fresh veggies & a new found love of gardening, gathering friends around the table, quiet mornings filled with truth, chasing my dreams, adventures with friends and the opportunity to use my gifts exactly where I am.

 

 

As I’m turning the big 3-0 in less than a month I thought it would be appropriate to make a list of things I want to do in this next decade of MY life. I’ve heard from so many people that the 30’s are some of the best years and I can’t wait to see what God will do over this next season! I desire my 30’s to be marked with beauty & bravery. So here is my list folks…

 

30 Brave & Beautiful Things in my 30’s

 

  1. Travel to Africa or China with Visiting Orphans
  2. Plant a fig tree!
  3. Learn the art of hand lettering.
  4. Get a tattoo 😀
  5. Be completely debt free!
  6. Host “An evening to Bloom”
  7. Weekend adventure to Nashville with girlfriends!
  8. Attend a farm to table dinner.
  9. Write an e-book (Bloom where you are planted)
  10. Go blueberry picking.
  11. Finally visit the Country Living Fair!!
  12. Send a special care package to my sponsor kiddo in Haiti
  13. Take an art class and let go of perfection! (pottery, calligraphy, painting..)
  14. Speak at women’s conference.
  15. Complete the Bravado (run/walk, bike, kayak).
  16. Go to concerts on the square with a picnic dinner!
  17. Take a cooking class at Sur la Table.
  18. Own my own home.
  19. Complete whole30 challenge.
  20. Gather farm fresh eggs!
  21. Try Stitch Fix for a special occasion outfit!
  22. Visit a fresh lavender farm.
  23. Host a girls weekend at the cottage.
  24. Visit APT for outdoor theater experience!
  25. Purchase a really comfy, squishy reading chair.
  26. Learn to flip a pancake (seriously people, it’s BAD!)
  27. Have a day at the spa.
  28. Attend a weekend craft retreat.
  29. Make lemon-basil gelato with my lemons and basil.
  30. Attend Making Things Happen Conference again and be encouraged to live on purpose and make what matters happen.

 

 

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A few years ago I was over at a friends home and I noticed that above every doorway there was a different scripture. Penned above the bedroom door was Jeremiah 29:11 and above her mantle a large barn wood sign proudly displayed, Micah 6:8, their family’s favorite verse. The passage from Deuteronomy six came to my mind…

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. I Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

I left inspired and encouraged. That very afternoon, I broke out my modge poge and created a simple, humble scripture plaque.  During a particularly tough season, this little plaque was a reminder that true joy comes from the Lord.

My friend’s commitment to God’s promises and commands, continues to inspire me today. When someone walks into my cozy little cottage they are bound to stumble upon an inspiring verse, print or scribbled out scripture. My hope and desire is that everyone who enters my home is pointed back to the hope and truth we find in Christ. I want every area of my life to reflect my love for the Lord, especially my home.

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One way we can actively be a woman of the word is by letting our homes reflect God’s heart. Hang a scripture print above your bed so it’s the first thing you see when you wake up, tape a favorite verse in the bathroom mirror to meditate on while you are brushing your teeth, or tuck a much needed promise in your planner to think upon during the day.

Now, here is the most important part. It doesn’t have to be pretty to be a perfect truth! I’m all for beautiful hand lettering or gorgeous printed paper, but God’s promises and commands rings true whether they are scripted in beautiful golf foil or scribbled on the back of a napkin.

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Imperfect picture, perfect truth

 

Friends, I want to encourage you to not only hang scripture in our homes but to live it out. When you are choosing verses, pick the ones that make you a little uncomfortable or call you to lean into God’s grace. Let’s become women who are not only hearers of God’s words but who choose to obey it!

 

Grace Notes:

Stop right now and grab a piece of paper and pen. Write down THIS powerful verse and hang it up somewhere you will see it daily.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9 

Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful or true.

 

Scripture Serving Tray by Burly Chic

Scripture Serving Tray by Burly Chic

 

A few of my favorite places to grab scripture art and support some amazing women!

 

 

Gracelaced by Ruth Simmons

Ruth’s beautiful watercolor prints are simply stunning. I love how she intertwines God’s truth with His beautiful creation.

 

Scripture Cards by Lara Casey

I use these as tags for gifts, tuck them into cards or clip them to the inside of my planner when I need an extra dose of encouragement. Lara’s shop also has some amazing scripture prints!

 

Holly Holt Designs

Gorgeous hand lettered truths by one of the sweetest gal’s you’ll ever meet. Holly’s designs are beautiful, classic, and rooted in purpose!

 

Burly Chic

Dana is truly gifted at combining rustic with elegant chic. Her rustic crosses and scripture plaques are truly statement pieces for your home. Also be sure to check out her amazing wrist truths for truth you can wear!

 

Naptime Diaries

I love Jess’s work and it’s been fun to see her style evolve over the past few years. I’ve gifted her vibrant prints to many newly married friends or as a house warming gift!

IMG_4513A few years ago I read “Kisses from Katie” by Katie Davis who is an missionary in Uganda and mamma to several beautiful orphans. I read her story right before a mission trip to Haiti and her example of complete trust in God transformed my heart. Years later, the one line I can’t get out of my head is “All I need is a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of Jesus”. The slogan has popped up on Pinterest, Etsy shops, mugs, embroidery hoops and prints everywhere. As trendy as the phrase may be, the truth is that nothing will transform your day like starting it off with coffee and Jesus.

“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life”. Psalm 143

 

The scriptures are filled with reminders to be relationship with the Lord any time of day, I can’t shake the part of this verse that says “Let the MORNING bring me word of your unfailing love…” In college I remember being so frustrated when I was told you needed to get up at least one hours earlier to study the bible every day. I have always jokingly called myself a “mid-morning person”. I don’t enjoy getting up particularly early and I’m in no way a night owl. Maybe I just like my sleep, but I’ve always functioned best mid morning.

 

Over the past two years I’ve made a priority to start my days reading God’s word, praying and being still.   There are days when I can wake up and head right to the coffee maker and enjoy a morning soaking up the scriptures. My heart is quieted with His truth and I begin the day with a focused and intentional heart. Then there are days (many more than I care to admit) that before my feet hit the ground I reach for my phone to check e-mail or scroll through Instagram, and before I realize what is happening my thoughts are filled with comparison, discontentment, envy and the endless to-do list.

 

Starting my day with truth has lead to such a transformation in my heart. I think it has more to do with consistency than time of day, but I’ve like it says in Psalm 143 starting my day with truth (whether 5 or 50 minutes) reflects that my trust is in the Lord.   When my first thoughts are in line with HIS thoughts and truth, my priorities shift from my own agenda to God’s. I’ve been learning lately that instead of praying “Lord, bless my work today” the bigger (and faith-filled) prayer is “Lord, what do YOU want me to accomplish today?” Beginning my day with scripture and being in his word daily give me the strength and grace to accomplish exactly what he has for me that day.

 

How and when you choose to get in the word is entirely up to you but I encourage you to make commitment to get in God’s word daily and allow him to guide the way you should go.

 

Grace Notes:

Do it daily!

Block off time in your planner or iCal. Set an alarm on your phone every day to read God’s word! The She Reads Truth App has a built in reminder you can set to remind you to get in God’s word daily! Give yourself grace here, some days a worship song on repeat can be more powerful than reading three chapters.

 

Find a plan that works for YOU!

There are 100’s of daily reading plans from She Reads Truth (my favorite online community of women committed to being in the word daily), to First 5 with Proverbs 31 Ministries, Hello Mornings, Read the Bible in a Year plans or devotionals on the YouVersion Bible app.

 

Be in community!

Find an accountability partner to remind and encourage you. Find a daily what you are learning. Gather a group of girl friends and go through a study together. We are created to grow together and encourage one another on this adventure of life.

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Our family’s cottage in Michigan is a place of rest, rejuvenation and great conversation. When we are on cottage time it seems like everyone has extra time to chat with a cup of coffee or glass of wine on the porch.  I remember a particular conversation with my mom about two years ago.  We were sharing about what God was teaching us and what we were reading in the bible.  I remember sharing that although I knew the bible had studied it and was familiar with many of the stories. But that day I realized I had a deeper desire to learn more and develop a greater understanding of truth.

I’ve had a personal quiet time (a set-apart time to pray, read the bible and talk to God) since I was a teen, but if I’m being honest with you, it was never very consistent.  There would be times, especially right after summer camp, where I would come home fired up and with a renewed interest to get up and read my bible.  In college I made getting up early to read a habit but I found myself reaching for a devotional book or topical study instead of God’s word.  Devotionals are wonderful ways to enhance a quiet time (I particularly love Jesus Calling by Sarah Young or Savor by Shauna Neiquest) but nothing can substitute the truth found in the New and Old Testament.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 says that “All scripture is God-breathed & profitable for teaching, reproof, correction and training for righteousness.”  We have everything we need in God’s word.  There is wisdom to be uncovered in Proverbs, stories of redemption and love found through the prophets and the most miraculous and grace-filled story of them all found through the gospels as we discover more about our God and savior.

Friends, we are called to be women of the word.  To not just read scripture for five minutes every day and check it off our list but to study it, wrestle with it, hide it in our hearts and apply it to our daily lives.  To live out James 1: 27 and care for orphans and windows or Philippians 4 when it say to let go and bring your troubles and lay them at His feet and trust.

The bible has truth and wisdom about a variety of topics, from hospitality, to finances or work but we miss the most important truth of all if we only focus on what the bible has to say about us.   A dear friend shared with me several years ago that “The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed”, each chapter you read and book you study points back to Christ.  If we are called to be women of the word let’s begin by opening our bible not to see what we should do, but to know God more.