Welcome to the weekend care package where I gather gentleness & inspiration from around the internet to share on my blog.
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.
A photo posted by Abigail Halpin (@abigailhalpin) on
“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!”
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.
oliver eating ice-cream last summer on our back porch
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.
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
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?