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Manna for your Monday: Doughnuts + Dancing

It was a full weekend & Monday came too soon! There was some heavy in my heart + but my feet felt light. We celebrated with dear high school friends going to prom, college friends expecting twins, & an end of the year bash full of doughnuts + dancing!

Sometimes even when sickness, financial struggles, or any unexpectedness hits… we can still feel JOY in the midst of it all. What a gift it was to walk around our town on Saturday and soak in the goodness of the green leaves, music, and food wafting through the air. Even though a friend was battling some hard news, we were able to simply be in it together. It is as if God knows just what we need and points us to the simple things of life to ease the pain. Our pastor spoke about his daughter’s upcoming heart surgery on Sunday and how even Joseph in Genesis was bound by brokenness but thrived because of God’s nearness. We can face anything, the waves will not overtake us, we can rest in Him.

I pray this manna for your Monday provides even an ounce of goodness for your soul today! 

Sometimes we can delight in the sweetness of the moment, even when everything seems out of reach.

Need some Manna for your Monday?

1- Just go check out these weimy puppies, I may or may not be in the market

2- Mama friends, this collection of interviews is for you via GraceLaced Motherhood series

3- Ann V on how right Jimmy Kimmel was to speak out about funding for tiny heart(s)

4- “Rest in You” by All Sons + Daughters based on Saint Augustine’s quote:

Our hearts are restless until we find rest in You

this is where my Hope lies
this is where my soul sighs
& i will always find my rest in You
you cannot change
yet you change everything

Manna for your Monday: May Mantras

Those April showers have brought all the May flowers + here we are beginning the most bustling month of the calendar year! Graduations. Weddings. End of year everythings.

Need some mantras for your May?

Craving some fresh air & peace to wash over you?

I know I do. I want to soak in every second of all the goodness without my whiplash.


This past weekend my family went up to Family Camp at Young Life’s camp Windy Gap in Asheville. I feel like it was the calm before the storm of a series of very full weekends coming up with multiple events happening until June! Many times I find myself at the end of the month of May wondering where the time went and wishing I could take a slow meander back through all the celebrations that passed me by. This year I want to intentionally attempt to be fully present at each event. I want to breathe in deeply the beauty of the people we are celebrating and the culmination of another school year.

 

 

May brings all the emotions. We watch high schoolers commit to colleges, college students take jobs. Young couples get married. We celebrate motherhood. We say goodbye to teachers who have invested deeply in our little ones. We end chapters. We begin new seasons.

So much transformation happens in the span of just 9 months. Babies can grow. Toddlers learn to walk and speak. Children becomes readers and writers. Teenagers drive. Couples unite. May is the fruit of labor.

photo by Michelle Shott at Windy Gap

 

May we slowly soak in all the upcoming celebrations that tend to leave our heads spinning + exhausted and savor the fleeting nature of this full, yet rich season this spring.

Manna for your Monday: When it Rains Hard

It has been raining hard for the past few days in our town. Usually when it rains a lot the clouds will part and some light will crack through, but we are going on 48+ hours straight of nonstop heavy downpours. The trees and flowers are soaking up every ounce of water + are flourishing in the steady stream from heaven. I am sitting here listening to the rhythm on our roof as our kids run wild inside taking deep breaths as I look at the week ahead.

Here is some Manna for your Monday (& the week ahead):

An explanation of the spiritual & physical aspects of Depression: Gloom to Gratefulness

Drawing to Music with kids + exploring art & the soul by Jean via the Artful Parent

Bethel Music playlists echo in my head most days, the latest from the Johnsons:

 

Have a wonderful week, praying it is full of all the things you love + people you adore.

 

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Manna for your Monday // Easter Hangover

Anyone else wake up with what felt like an Easter hangover?

It might have been all the extra sugar, or the pollen floating through the air, but I think it was mostly the FULLNESS for me. 

Easter just packs a lot… it’s all of life in a nutshell:

birth to life, to death, to life.

 

 

We had a lovely Easter weekend here in our town in North Carolina. Sometimes it just feels good to settle in and stay home and be with your people doing the simple things. We spent the beginning of the week at the beach unexpectedly and the salt water soothed our souls and skin. Then we had a few days as a family to unpack, rest, and prepare for an egg hunt + brunch. The Lent study on Isaiah from SheReadsTruth was coming to a close and I felt a sense of heaviness as we approached Good Friday. We shared the Garden to the Grave narrative with our kids throughout the week for the first time in more depth this year. With the help of the Jesus Storybook Bible we had lots of images to help us reveal the full story. I found myself teary eyed watching them absorb it all again.

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Sunday we had a delicious brunch with our parents and our kids grandparents. We enjoyed the company and easter treats and just being together. I then took my annual slow and quiet stroll by the flowery cross in the front yard of a methodist church nearby. I grew up attending a methodist church and have always loved this tradition. There is something about the the way the colors weave together and bring beauty to the mess of the cross that takes my breath away. The older I get the more I feel like my heart might explode as I realize more every year the depth of His love for us & how we deserve nothing, but He offers us everything. It is a lot to process & my heart can’t contain it all. Oh the questions that 8 & under(s) have about life + death, whew.

 

Saturday was spent with dear friends hunting eggs, eating macaroons, and chatting about the enneagram. I have been re-reading The Road Back to You and listening to podcasts over the past few years to try to better understand my ‘type4wing5’ personality. It was fascinating to watch friends take the assessment and gain insight into how they tick. It has been a huge source of understanding for my husband Ben and I lately. Instead of fighting for the right ways to do things, we are learning to embrace loving each other better, just as we are & were made to be.

So friends, after a full weekend I am sure we are all a little bit disoriented today as life goes on. These are a few places around the internet that met me right where I was today. I hope and pray they cultivate some goodness in your soul as another week begins!

 

Here is some Manna for your Monday:

The Road Back to You book/podcast + FREE Enneagram online assessment

Are My Kid’s on Track by counselor Sissy Goff + Surviving Sarah podcast interview

Jenny & Tyler’s song about Easter that swells my soul ‘See the Conquerer’

Tsh of The Art of Simple‘s new book that releases tomorrow At Home in the World

Ruthie’s Story a Nashville native’s transparent story about the curated images she portrays

+ a few people to follow on instagram who bring life to the scrolling:

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@joyefuljourney

 

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@chanlawing

 

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@verityvaree

 

Lastly, stay tuned this week for my counseling practice milk + honey  ‘s

3 year anniversary giveaway!

It always includes some of my favorite things that are ‘manna’ for my soul. xo

Manna for your Monday // Holy Week

It has been a few slow & soothing days down on the coast of North Carolina for my family. The weather this time of year is always a bit unpredictable falling somewhere between a high of 50 & 80. So we have found ourselves in layers with a cool breeze in the mornings and in tank tops basking in the sun by midday. Life itself feels like it teeters between these extremes many days. Sometimes we can feel the warmth and sometimes it’s blocked by the wind cutting through. Holy Week is upon us & today on Palm Sunday we celebrate the coming of Jesus by waving palm branches & singing Hosanna! I remember having actual palm branches in my little methodist church growing up & waving them with my friends to signify the coming of Christ. It was such a tangible way for me to put my feet on the sand of the people lining the roads awaiting our humble King on a donkey. We are all expectant of what He does on Easter, yet we anticipate the heavy, dark days of the end of the week as well. As I looked out onto the stillness of the sun setting over the sound, with ombre shades of orange & pink, I felt an ache and a sliver of JOY on the horizon. Both-And. The SheReadsTruth Lent study of the book of Isaiah has demonstrated this tension so beautifully over the past 30+ days. So as we await what is to come & remember what happened 2,000 years ago here are a few gifts that have provided ‘manna’ for me this week that I pray will do the same for you as well. SheReadsTruth has a free Holy Week daily reading right here: http://shereadstruth.com/2017/04/09/palm-sunday-introduction-to-holy-week/

1. Slowing down & delighting in a treat.

My daughter & I share a similar love for flavors so dreamsicle & coffee icecream it was for us to kickoff Spring Break. Spend sometime slowing down this week & enjoying the people around you a little more deeply. Icecream can’t hurt. 

2. Coloring words that matter. 


This week I had the opportunity to take some high school friends of mine to hear Emily Freeman read from her book & color It’s Simply Tuesday at our local Barnes & Nobles bookstore. What a gift to sit and soak in the sweetness of her words being washed over thirsty souls as we colored and ate chocolate at the tables together. Do yourself a favor and go grab one today! 

Also, what fun to hug some Hope*Writers!

3. Watching Steph Curry sing Moana. 

I cannot think of anything better to ease the pain of a Monday morning than the Moana soundtrack ala our very own Davidson College Alum Steph Curry. This is the best. https://youtu.be/Wdj-jTioKcg

So there you have it folks, week 2 of Manna for your Monday, pardon my typos because I am on Spring Break with my people & my iphone can only handle so much tonight. 

Manna for your Monday // Debut

FullSizeRender-44Manna for your Monday is here // A new weekly weekend edition that arrives on Sunday

 

Friends, for the past few years I have been drawn to the concept of modern-day Manna. I guess it started 4-5 years ago in the thick of having young kids, when most days I was felt like I was not enough, and that enough was enough! With the combo of hormones, little sleep, and lots of transition I was forced to tap into something beyond myself to survive each day of mothering 3 little ones 5&under. I found myself flipping desperately through the words of the Bible to find something I could cling to.

Usually I would land in the Gospels or letters to find that one verse that would just bring all the happy thoughts and warm fuzzy feelings, but that day I found a more lofty concept that struck me. I noticed that God rained down an odd substance called manna from the heavens for the Israelites who were weary and wandering around in the desert. I could totally relate to their grumbling and aching for food and drink because in my own way I was craving something that would fill me up too. I love how they asked “what is it?” because a lot of times we are so unaware of what God is gifting us with because it might not be what we have in mind. So I started taking a closer look at the book of Exodus where God provides over & over for His people. I was blown away when my eyes opened to the ways God was doing the same for me everyday. I wanted to start hunting for these “manna moments” so that I wouldn’t miss His love. I didn’t want to miss it.

So, I started tracking all the ways I feel like God meets me in my mess. I am a documenter naturally so to have a landing place for all these big and small happenings made my heart swell. I have captured moments that sometimes make me laugh and sometimes take my breath away. You can find 500+ of them from the last year under the hashtag #mannamoment.

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Will you join me in starting to discover the “manna moments” that God is providing you? I already have some friends who have joined me in tracking theirs, will you join us? What a JOY it will be to look back over this hashtag in the years to come & trace His hand!

I stand in awe at all the ways I’ve found Him in the darkest of days & happiest of times.

I mentioned a few months ago that I have become more consistent with my writing personally over the last couple years, and that my morning pages have been centering around a more focused theme. Well, I am happy to share that as of tomorrow morning, my book proposal will be in the hands of an editor for review! This process has been raw and refining for me as I have prayed and truly asked God to have His way with this idea.

Tomorrow I will hit send and release the art that He has been cultivating in me for years. It is a humbling and vulnerable thing to present something that is so close to my heart. Would you join me in praying that I would fade to the back of this process and that our Creator would stay in His rightful position in the driver seat? I would so appreciate that.

I will keep you all up-to-date on all of that jazz over the next few weeks and months…

But for now, here are a few offerings for you to enjoy & indulge in that I hope feed your soul as they did for me. Welcome to the 1st Debut Edition of: “Manna for your Monday”:

tues coloring book

I must start with this article about Unhealthy Hustle 1 because Emily Freeman does such an intentional and kind job of “creating space for our soul to breathe” & 2 because her coloring book is coming out this week and I cannot wait for all my people to see it! I got to flip through it this weekend at her sister’s barn & y’all, you need to get this in your hands fast. So, go enjoy her post that will breathe some life into your Monday & pre-order her coloring book tonight, because you can probably still get it by Tuesday on Amazon Prime.

 

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Next, y’all have got to hop over to my dear friend Melissa’s refreshing blog: www.melissahirshburg.com We “met” on an Artist Bench led by Emily about this time last year and her tender voice on voxer soothes my soul. We have kept up and encouraged each other along in our writing and creative pursuits regularly and I know you will feel some goodness flowing from her blog and her artwork. Please go check her out!

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Last, but not least, but definitely the farthest away is my kindred spirit Anjuli in San Diego. We also “met” on the Artist Bench about this time last year and have kept up too. We have a lot of overlapping interests in psychology, photography, and writing. If you want to follow along and be encouraged in the messy + mundane go find her on instagram. She is using the hashtag #stayawaketolove which I usually tag along with my #mannamoment because the two tend to go hand in hand in my mind most days. xo

 

I hope you have gathered some goodness from the very 1st “Manna for your Monday” friends! I will be back here next week with some more goods for ya! 

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See you next Sunday, if not before then y’all. 

& in case you missed it, I posted my first Facebook Live video on my writing page:

Peace in Writing

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This past weekend I had the opportunity to spend a few days coffee-shop-hopping in Raleigh, NC. The weekend was planned months ago before I knew how much I needed a weekend away to sit, process, think, sing, wander, breathe, and WRITE.  I kicked off the weekend with a dear college freshman who did YL in our town. We had dinner, I met her boyfriend, & then we headed off to the Sandra McCracken and All Sons & Daughters Poets + Saints Concert. It was a rich and restorative evening to spring board what was to become a blissful weekend of writing & wandering that I have been craving for quite some time.

My journey of writing has ebbed and flowed over the years. I have always loved to write and my stacks of diaries turned journals from my adolescence is a proof. It wasn’t until my creative writing class my senior year in high school that I realized how much of a gift it would be for the duration of my lifetime. I tend to always have a million thoughts and ideas swirling around in my mind, so putting pen to paper brings a peace only writing can offer in calming my headspace. When we first found out we we pregnant with my oldest eight years ago I started a family & lifestyle blog to document the pregnancy. Over time it became a free form of therapy for me during nap time to use my brain and hands. I started sharing songs, books, and my heart. A couple years ago when I started my counseling practice I made a more professional space that was more focused with a loose filter. I was initially disoriented in a more public space trying to find my bearings in the unfamiliar territory of writing for a wide variety of ears in addition to family and friends. One day I was fumbling around the internet trying to find a place to dig in with other writers in a similar season. Somehow I saw Emily’s post about the Writer’s Barn that she was co-hosting at her sister’s place in south Charlotte with Christa Wells. My friend Reeve had been singing the praises of her dear friend ‘The Nester’ for years and I decided to sign up!

A friend and I traveled down to the barn together and my heart almost exploded when we arrived. Everything was beautiful from the woods we drove through to the barn’s simple elegance nestled under the trees. I was expectant but had no idea how much would shift in my heart as we listened to one of my favorite authors and a new-to-me singer and songwriter share about their unique processes of writing. I found myself looking around at all the earthy and delicate details while we listened to each artist speak, sing, and we even took some time to write ourselves. I knew the Lord had arranged for me to be there that day.

After months of being “stuck” in my writing I felt like new creative life was breathed back into my soul again. This was the jumpstart, in addition to Emily’s book A Million Little Ways, about “uncovering the art we were made to live” which caused my creative juices to flow freely once again. I decided to jump into another year of writing 31 Days in October, this time about our yearning for more on this side of heaven. I was coming out of a few years of internalizing all my feelings and the grueling process of writing about it daily woke me up!

Although my new blog has been sporadic over the past 2.5 years, my personal writing has been consistent. I began the ritual of Morning Pages where you wake up daily and write 2-3 pages without an agenda. I started working out my writing muscles behind closed doors and slowly themes began to emerge. With yet another year of #write31days under my belt, I can honestly say it has over time formed the book I hope to one day write, even if it is for an audience of friends of friends & family. There’s a burn that only keeps growing inside!

So this past weekend I embarked on my more focused project of writing a book proposal. I am not sure what will come of it in the years ahead, but I have at least started a document that is organizing itself into chapters and arranging all the themes that have bubbled up.

So when I packed up to head to Raleigh, I had a list of places to check out, a few people to see, my Artist’s Manifesto (pictured above) written by Emily, and my laptop & notes. Then I found my new favorite coffee shop in Boylan Heights at Yellow Dog Bakery & Co.  It isn’t an ideal gluten free friendly bakery for my celiac needs, but the autumn spice latte was the best I have ever tasted, by far. The staff was kind & the atmosphere was peaceful, even in the midst of their Saturday morning rush on the last weekend of October with a local 5K. It also helped that Standard Foods grocery & restaurant is just a few storefronts down, which was delicious. I hope to head back down with my friend Jen, to enjoy dinner since their pimento cheese + local veggies are calling my name everyday. What a cute corner it is!


I camped out in this up and coming neighborhood for most of the morning and wandered it’s streets. I enjoyed both breakfast and lunch (down at Person St. Pharmacy) solo. Since I’ve been working on a more focused project & finishing up the Create + Complete course through the School of Creative Direction, I slacked off on my final week of my write 31 Days of October of Finding Peace in the Chaos. Thank you for following along this month! Even in my sporadic posting and sometimes wordless picture posts, I have enjoyed it. I do hope to go back to fill in the most recent posts with my favorite books, music, & podcasts!

Speaking of podcasts, lastly I must share the home community for writers & creatives alike that I frequent online to find the most inspiration and hope in a corner of kindred spirits. Hope*Writers is an online group led by sisters, Emily P. Freeman (Chatting at the Sky) & Myquillyn Smith (The Nesting Place). It includes rich resources, a private FB group, etc.

Learn more & sign up for Hope*Writers … I can assure you it is worth every penny & more!

If you are interested in the sold out workshop this weekend happening in Charlotte you can also purchase a recording for an inside listen to all the things that will be discussed.