Welcoming Advent

blog advent

I have this dreamy mindset of Advent.

I think of warm socks, lots of homemade cookies, sipping red wine and watching the lights twinkle on the tree.

I might be watching the lights twinkle right now.

I think of gathering people I love in our home around our table, breaking big loaves of homemade bread and dipping it into soup.

I think of walks outside admiring neighbors decorations, even when it's cold. I think of wrapping my hands around a warm mug of tea.

I think of dark chocolate.

More than food, I think of talking to God more. I think of sitting with Him as I would a good friend and asking Him all the many, sometimes conflicting questions on my heart.

I think of choosing to rest in the peace of not understanding all of His ways verse choosing to fight. Sometimes, it's really hard to choose rest. I think of trusting that His ways are good even with fists clenched tight and struggling to surrender. I think of thanking Him for the many blessings and expressing my deepest most sincere gratitude for the gifts He has given me.

The gifts He has given all of us.

I also think of sitting with Him in the pain and suffering of all that's happening in the world. Because I have to believe it must break His heart too.

Advent has never stood still long enough for me to really breath it in deep. It's as if I blinked and the season showed up again. Do you feel that way?

Last year we tried to slow down and take in the season but I kept giving God my leftovers.

And if I'm learning anything, it's that life isn't going to just stop turning and stand still for us. It's going to keep moving - really fast. We have to carve out space for the stillness and sit in it, even as the world tells us not to.

Truth is, I've never fully embraced the season. And more than anything this year, I want to hold on to Advent a little tighter. I want to understand what it means and why it matters. I want to be quiet and just listen.

I want to love bigger, better and crazier than before.

This endeavor required assistance. And even more, this little space on the web isn't really about me but it's about all of our voices. So I've asked a few women to share words or pictures about what this season means too.

I am really excited for them to share what's on their heart. Because while this season has a common theme woven throughout - a steady heartbeat, what it means and how it's celebrated looks different for each person.

And I think that might be my favorite part.

So join us as we hold on a little tighter. Sit in this with me a little, will you? And please, tell me what you're learning too. What might you be wrestling with?

What is your God saying to you?

I am so grateful for this season because it feels fresh and brand new. I need a fresh start once in a while. I need to know that our character and story is evolving and ever changing. I need to know that if parts of my most authentic self have been in hiding, it's okay to shake things up and bring those into the light.

Bring your whole self into the light dear one. We need your light.

I hope this season so far has been sweet. And if things have been hard or messy or not quite what you imagined, I hope you know you aren't alone in this. I hope you know there are people rooting for you.

I am rooting for you.

Happy Advent my friends. I can't wait to celebrate this together.

xoxo

More with less

IMG_2979 There's been a common theme lately, a constant word and phrase hovering above my conversations. Sometimes the word is said loud and clear, other times it's merely a head nod or look; a shared, quiet language that says, "You’re feeing that way too?"

Less.

We want to commit less.

We want to say no more.

We want to make room for God to shake things up and open our eyes to the people we've been planted beside.

We want to lighten our loads and not feel an ounce of guilt for it.

I think that's the tug of war here, the constant fight in our hearts. Can I grant myself permission to say no even when someone or something wants me to say yes?

And I think there is power in listening to that fight within, the roar or grumble beneath. There is power in recognizing our own limits and boundaries and choosing to honor and celebrate them, rather than apologize for it.

We won't be it all dear one. We just can't. We won’t be the best wife or mother or friend or coworker, all the time.

We won’t always have the right words to say. I have to say this one on repeat.

And reminding ourselves of this, gently, is a good thing.

How freeing is it to let go perfection? To put our measuring stick away and trust that someone else's successes means good things could be coming our way too.

It just might not be today.

Today, your more might mean being faithful in the little.

It might be simple and quiet. It might be without any glamour or shine. But it’ll be good; it’ll be full of purpose and meaning.

And it's so hard to wait. It's so hard to unclench our fists and surrender control. I struggle with this one daily because we live in a world of more. We live in a time of excel, achieve, build your platform, work over time, wake up early.

Walk really fast.

And sometimes these things are good. There is a season for early mornings and late nights. There is a season to be challenged and stretched to new limits. It's energizing and empowering to dream big and wide, to constantly be looking for ways to be better, to love more fully, to extend more grace, to open our home.

But I think a really important question to ask is this: am I using "busy" as a crutch?

Do I surrender, bow down, lift up my hands to "busy"?

Put plainly, do I measure my own worth by how full my calendar is? Have I let "busy" become an idol?

If I am being honest dear one, if I really let you in to the deepest, insecure parts of my heart, I’d say yes, I do those things because busy is comfortable.

It's all I've known and seen.

It's more comfortable to fill every square inch with something, anything, rather than sit alone at a coffee shop with a journal and phone turned off.

But busy comes at a cost, right?

When we say yes - always, when we open our door - always, when we commit and volunteer and raise our hand first - always, we fail to give our body, mind, and spirit permission to practice mindfulness and intention.

And I know those words get tossed around a lot. They sound pretty and sweet but what do they even mean?

To me, they mean savoring the cup of coffee in my hands, feeling the warmth from the mug press into my palms, the softness of the rim as I take a slow, steady sip.

It means looking at another person, really looking at them, and honoring the space you are in - a coffee shop, waiting room, or grocery store checkout line and recognizing that this moment is big, it's huge, it isn't small and insignificant.

It means listening with all that I am so you know you’re story, all the bits and pieces matter. That it’s a story worth sharing.

It means doing less to leave room for creativity. The best ideas need space to breath and foster. They need long walks and evenings at home making soup and stories around a campfire.

I don't want to miss what could happen because I'm too busy planning what should.

What about you friend? Are you in a season of busy? How are you finding ways to practice intention and being present?

xoxo