Weekend Care Package

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Welcome to the weekend care package where I gather gentleness & inspiration from around the internet to share on my blog.

Last September

Last September we just moved into a new home. Little did we know we would move out 7 months later. Also,  I am pretty sure only my best friends knew I had a blog at this point. It was my first month of blogging. Thought it would be fun to share my blogging beginnings with you today.

September Journey 

First Day of Autumn?

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This is a photo of Oliver making the painting you always see at the top of my website behind the peonies. Thought it would be fun to share.

Links I Love

What Your Heart Needs for the Next Steps by Carolyn Watts

I find Carolyn’s words to be healing and kind.

3 Ways to Know if Your Soul is Stuck in Hustle by Emily P Freeman

A September-ish post that is helpful and practical.

Joy, Sadness + Spending My Life Sharing Hope by Trina McNeilly

Because I have a soft spot in my heart for both my Grandmas and so this post about Trina’s Grandma resonated with me. Beautiful.

Instagram Inspiration

@jonesdesigncompany

pretty fall-hued ranunculus

Cheers to Friday. And pretty fall-hued ranunculus. ūüćā #jdcathome #bouqlove

A photo posted by Emily Lex (@jonesdesigncompany) on


@abigailhalpin Autumn art

Things I like about autumn.

A photo posted by Abigail Halpin (@abigailhalpin) on


@jessaconnolly

“Everything in our culture is begging us to take a stance right now. So here’s the stance I want to take: humble, soft towards others, listening, quiet, hopeful, prayerful, repentant, loving justice, and crazy merciful towards the hurting. Healer, heal our land!”


@katrina.berg

pretty painted hummingbird

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On Finding Quiet Strength

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We look small

standing next to the tall columns

at the St. Louis Art Museum.

 

She snaps a picture

with the angled rays of sun

shining on me and my brother’s son.

 

Inside,

I momentarily linger in front of

the layered strokes

of oil paint,

a cadence of colors

on canvas

draws my heart into a gentleness;

a quiet strength

 

the museum is spacious,

with a distinct place for each piece of art

framed and contained within

margins of white wall

displayed in connecting halls.

Everything clearly labeled.

Inside the rectangle frames

emotions smear together

in lines and color.

 

I like the paintings of clouds

or lily pads

or especially

the room of Degas ballerinas

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My sister-in-law is ahead of me.

Her stroller glides across the cold floor

with her daughter Coco Mae inside it.

Her toddler is romping around them.

His red curls collecting smiles from people passing.

 

Oliver is strapped into an Ergo carrier.

With my own hands free, he rest close to my heart.

The feeling it all brings is art too.


‚ÄúSin has unraveled the world, but art is one of the ways we reweave.‚ÄĚ‚Ä® Sally Lloyd Jones, author of the Jesus Story Book Bible

Sometimes God uses art to take our unraveled hope or the fabric of our heart worn thin and reweave it together again.


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Do You Underestimate the “Update”?

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My Uncle Mike sitting on the bench at the Broken Arrow, Oklahoma Rose District

It’s become a Wednesday tradition that my Mom takes her brother Mike out to lunch. Often Oliver and I come along.

Currently Mike lives in a group home for adults with special needs. Since he cannot drive he looks forward to Wednesdays, to seeing his sister, to a change of scenery, and especially to the good food.

While¬†getting ready to leave, probably switching Oliver’s shoes onto the right foot, yet ignoring the inside out socks, I noticed my phone lighting up and buzzing with new messages on Voxer.

If you haven’t heard of Voxer, it’s an app that makes having group conversations and staying in touch more convenient.¬†I don’t use the app much except with a group of women I took¬†a creative course with last Spring. These women live all over the US ¬†from California to Florida.

It had been a while since hearing from any of them on Voxer. That morning the leader and some of the other women gave updates on how they were doing and what projects they were working on (or taking breaks from). I was happy to hear their voices;  encouraged by their stories, insight and wisdom.  I continued getting ready and slipped my phone in my purse, as  we set off for lunch.

Instead of our usual lunch spot we decided to venture to the downtown Broken Arrow Main Street because I keep hearing about it from friends. Broken Arrow is a suburb of Tulsa.  In the last few years someone with a new vision for the area took the risk to invest time and money into restoring this street, and probably convinced others to join along.

Now it is called the Rose District. The brick buildings house unique shops and restaurants.  Flower baskets hang from the street lights and roses are planted in raised beds down the middle of the sidewalks.

When we arrived my Mom dropped¬†Mike and I off in front of Andolini’s Pizzeria, so he wouldn’t have to walk as far. We sat on the bench and waited for Oliver and my Mom. Then I got out my phone and started taking pictures of the area. I enjoyed capturing the renovations and the roses.

I recently came across the term “hometown tourist” describe by a favorite author of mine, Emily P Freeman,¬†¬†and I have totally embraced it for myself. I am learning to appreciate all that is local, even getting out my phone to take photos of inspiration found in my own hometown.

The whole morning brought along with it a feeling of refreshment; being with family, discovering local charm on an restored “Main Street”, connecting with my creative friends, and snapping pretty pictures.

Often it is easy to¬†underestimate the “update”; whether with a friend, with a space in your home or a renovated part of your city.

I remembered one summer my sister-in-law, an interior designer and beautifier/stylist of all things, suggested I paint my backyard deck. So I did. But the whole time while down on my knees sanding and sweating in the hot Oklahoma sun, I thought surely this is not worth it.

Well, I was wrong.  I loved the end result. The whole next year before we moved, it made being in my backyard 10 times more wonderful and lovely.

And recently I have found joy in picking up an old hobby that I used to practice back in high school; calligraphy. Except there is a new spin on it. It’s called “modern calligraphy” or “lettering”. ¬†A family friend even sent me a book in the mail about it, when she heard I was working on calligraphy again.

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Maybe you need a little nudge toward the “update” today? ¬†Maybe you need a little refreshment; a newness springing up from something old? ¬†Or maybe you just need to stop and take time to notice the new things God is doing in your life?

Let us not underestimate the update.

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19

Love and Hope in Christ

Melissa 

Weekend Care Package

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Oliver and my mom at the Rose District in Broken Arrow, OK. #hometowntourist

I am loving what I have gathered to share with you in this weekend’s care package.

I found trust to be a theme expressed in much of these.

Podcast

Happy Hour #76: Sally Lloyd Jones

Sally Lloyd Jones, author of The Jesus Story Book Bible is interviewed by Jamie Ivey on the Happy Hour Podcast.

This is an older episode, but I am so glad I stumbled upon it. Sally talks about creativity, writing, trust, the Holy Spirit’s provision, and her childhood experience in boarding school. LOVE!

“Sin has unraveled the fabric of the world and art is one of the ways that we reweave.” -Sally Lloyd Jones, the Happy Hour Podcast by Jamie Ivey

“So I trust the things that move me”….(for writers/artists) Trust that if it moves you, it is something you need to write. ” Sally Lloyde Jones, the Happy Hour Podcast by Jamie Ivey

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Links I Love

Burnout Recovery; Honoring Your Unique Design by Aimee Kollmansberger

A post on personality tests, Sacred Pathways, and childhood rhythms.

“Are you living by the “should” or by the voice of the spirit living within you?” ¬†-Aimee Kollmansberger

How a 92-Year-Old Women Taught Me the Real Value of My Right-Now Work by Marian Vischer

“I’m trusting that the God who knows me better than I know myself will supply what I need.” -Marian Vischer

Honoring Nourishment by one of my best friends Molly Smith @ mollysmithyoga.com

For When You Think You Might Be Doing Silence Wrong  by Emily P Freeman

Instagram Inspiration

@sallylloydjones because five minutes after I happened to listen to her podcast and write a quote from the interview about trust in my journal she posted this on her instagram!

 

@penelope_dullaghan

some pretty butterfly art; because I keep seeing butterflies everywhere lately.

When Harshness Tempts You To Hide

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Holding onto hope and aspirations has never come easy or without struggle for me. The despair shows up often; sometimes subtly and sometimes like a strong blast knocking me over.

This weekend I went on a getaway with two of my best friends. Three Oklahoma gals, with bags packed in the trunk, Starbucks coffee in our hands, and a cooler filled with food set out on the highway toward Table Rock Lake in Missouri. ¬†Besides spending time together, our main intention was to plan and to listen for ¬†God’s leading about specific goals and dreams.

On this blog I write a lot about gentleness. As it pertains to working towards goals or projects I am learning a lot.

The last month I have kept coming across the parable of the talents over and over again ¬†in books, blogs, and devotionals. It’s the story in the Bible of a servant who was given the least amount of talents/money to begin with compared to the other servants. Then he has to decide what to do with the amount he has been given.

Instead of moving forward with hope & courage, he lets fear & despair lead.

Instead of investing in his talent, he hides it.

The ¬†voice of fear says to him “You have so little to start out with; it’s not worth your effort or your time. Your hope is foolishness.”

Where as the gentle voice says “Your meager offering is enough. It’s not to small to invest in.”

As we were driving on the highway my friend Erin pulls a gift out her bag for me. It was a bracelet inscribed with the phrase “One day a time”.

Erin knew this is a mantra I hold dear. I have mentioned before on my blog that several years ago I went through a period of chronic pain. It lasted seven years. I did not know if it would ever go away. I remember feeling such a heaviness wondering how I was going to handle years upon years of physical pain. It was a daunting thought.

My close friend, Princess, then gave me a key chain that I still have now, which says “One day at a time”. She reminded me that I did not have to carry the weight of the future; I only needed to take it a day at a time during that season which was more about surviving than thriving in my life.

However, now things have changed. I have healed and recovered. I am able to do more! Thankfulness. And so with a different season the phrase takes on new meaning. When I look at the bracelet, it reminds me to continue to take steps forward towards my dreams and goals. It reminds me to me gentle with dreams and hopes too!

I look at the white and gold bracelet, and the gold reminds me of the one golden talent the servant was given. It reminds me how we must not compare what we have to what others have been given. It reminds me to have hope and faith in small beginnings and take steps forward a day at time. It reminds me to see things through the lens of gentleness and hope verses a critical harshness and comparison.

While we were at the lake house I also found some cute vintage books on the shelves there. They contained messages about moving forward toward goals or hopes by embracing the gradual small way dreams often take shape.

The books and bracelet were yet another reminder for me to be gentle toward hopes and aspirations. Maybe you need this reminder too?

Love and Hope in Christ,

Melissa

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Table Rock Lake, Saturday sunrise