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Posts Tagged ‘Ann Voskamp’

It’s Friday and that means another installment of “Five for Friday,” my version of my favorite things. Today I’m listing my five favorite blogs.

Five_For_Friday

There are thousands of blogs in cyberspace. Maybe hundreds of thousands. I love to read, but I only subscribe and regularly absorb only a handful, because it would be sooooo easy to spend all day and all night reading other people’s insightful (but sometimes downright stupid) writings. The following is a list of my favorites…in no order and in no relation to one another.

The Leadership Freak blog arrives in my email inbox every single day. Dan Rockwell is a leadership genius but the reason this blog is one of my favorites, which I read every day, is because he writes this blog every day. Without fail. Even on Christmas and Easter. And each post is encouraging, uplifting, enlightening, insightful, educational, and best of all, short. Dan has committed to keeping each post around 300 words. Short, to the point, and makes me think. Every time.

Jeremy Affeldt is a former major league relief pitcher, retiring last year with the San Francisco Giants. I forgave him for pitching for one of the Cubs’ competitors when I first started reading his posts. Jeremy is a strong Christian who not only believes in Jesus, but follows through with obeying the words of Christ. His blog is about grace and justice and the true meaning of following Christ. Wisdom from a Giants pitcher. Go figure.

 I probably don’t have to say much about my next two favorites. Ree Drummond (aka The Pioneer Woman) is known to most people because of her Food Network program, but I knew of her long before she hit cable television. And she is certainly more than just a great recipe. Ree was a city girl, transplanted to ranch wife, when she married her Marlboro Man and moved to Pawhuska, Oklahoma. She began blogging many years ago, before I even know what the word “blog” meant. She is a homeschooling mom, photographer and humorist…and each blog is a vulnerable look into her life. One of my favorite’s is a conversation with her husband. Hilarious.

Ann Voskamp is the author of a little book called “One Thousand Gifts” – a little book that has its own website and sat on the New York Times’ best-selling list for 60 weeks. A little Christian book about being thankful, finding joy even in the midst of incredible suffering, written almost like a poem. 60 weeks. Her blogs are similarly written – beautiful, flowing script full of wisdom and integrity and bravery. Ann is a wife and mother who was surprised at her little book’s success but has stepped into the role God has given her as a voice for embracing brokenness and pain to find healing in Jesus.

Sean_McGarveyLastly, I love, love, love my own son’s blog. Sean is my second son, a young adult who writes honestly about struggles with love, disappointment, despair, success, and hope. He writes both fiction and non-fiction but each post reflects his sensitivity and wisdom. I am so proud of him. Cannot quite wrap my brain around this young man who would cry crocodile tears when I gave him a writing assignment as a middle school student. You’ve come a long way, baby.

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Hello, long lost readers! I’m back. Once again, for the third year in a row, I’m going to attempt to write a short (promise) blog for each day of Lent (minus Sundays – cuz Sunday is a day of rest and most Sundays, I’m pooped by the time I get home from church).

Today is Fat Tuesday. I’m not going to explain it because it’s easier to just use Google. Go ahead…I’ll wait. (tapping toes, humming tunes, taking a short stroll to get in my steps)

So by now, you also know that tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the traditional start to the Lenten season. Once again, I’m not going to explain Lent so check it out on the search engine of your choice.

Lent is a season of preparation. Many denominations have their followers “give up” something for this 40-day period of time. I did that two years ago – I gave up some bad attitudes, behaviors, mindsets…see year 2015 if you are curious. Last year I “added” some things – good mindsets, food, routines, attitudes.

So what to do this year?  I’ve decided to take the 40 days of Lent and be intentionally grateful. If no one but me gets anything out of it, I’ll have accomplished what I set out to do…because truly, my blog is, first and foremost, for me. I need to be disciplined (at least once a year) and writing during Lent is my attempt.

bigstock-gratitude-37954498Intentionally Grateful – I’ve been greatly influenced in the last few years by author Ann Voskamp. Her book “1000 Gifts” caused me to write down my own list of 1000 beautiful gifts for which I’m grateful, but that was a couple of years ago and it’s time to revisit the discipline…because that’s what it is….I wish I was the type of person who was just naturally grateful, but I’m not. And you probably aren’t either. We take so much for granted. When I whine about my bad back (hallelujah – I’m healed!), I forget the years of great health I’ve enjoyed, and enjoy today. When I lament about being tired, I forget to rejoice that I have a job which pays me a pretty decent wage, tutoring students I enjoy, and a church family who loves and supports us.

In the last month I’ve read a book called “The Happiness Dare” by Jennifer Dukes Lee. I’ve tweeted about it, but Jennifer’s book (and subsequent Facebook book club), showed me that by increasing my level of gratitude, I naturally increase my level of happiness. She published a chart called “30 Days of Gratitude” which I’m going to use to direct my blog focus…starting tomorrow. Don’t hold your breath – it won’t be the best writing you’ve ever read. May even be pretty cheesy most of the time…but it’s my way of being intentionally grateful as I prepare throughout Lent for the greatest day on the Christian church calendar – the celebration of the resurrection of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Now, that’s something to be grateful for!

See you tomorrow.

Kris

Hebrews 12:28 – Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken,let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.

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dirty socks

I am a blessed woman. I know it. I’m a “there’s always a silver-lining” kind of person. Makes my kids crazy sometimes. I’ve always said things are never as bad as they seem. But there are still times when I’m overwhelmed, when I can’t see anything except the chaos around me. And I let myself get sad. I start thinking “poor me.” I begin to believe the lies – you know the ones…”I’m alone, I’m going to fail, I’m not good enough, I can’t do it.” In this case – I – is the operative word. I’ve become self-absorbed.

It’s in those moments when I desperately need to look outside of myself. When I feel the pull to look inward, I fight it…with everything I have. I go to my “Gratitude Fix.”

Ann Voskamp calls them gifts. In her book entitled “One Thousand Gifts,” she challenged me to live fully right where I am. I read the book a few years ago and took her up on her 1000 gift dare. I opened a brand new, clean notebook, ready to fill it with beautiful expressions of my heart’s cry of gratitude. I decided to come up with 10 to 20 new entries each day. It started out pretty easy. I could think of a lot of things I was thankful for…air to breathe, a house to live in, a husband who loves me, clean water to drink. But after the first fifty or so, it started getting a little tougher. That’s when I began to look at the smallest of items as blessings, as gifts, in my life.

My notebook began to fill up. A thousand gifts takes a while to compile. I began to really look for things to be thankful for. My senses became more attune to the blessings all around me. My eyes got sharper. I saw my mundane life in a new way. I viewed circumstances in a different light. I heard smaller sounds. I tasted more clearly, felt more deeply, inhaled new aromas.

Thank You, Lord, for the dirty socks left in the living room (which means my kids have enjoyed their day and have feet to wear socks on).
Thank You for garbage to haul outside (meaning I have more than enough food to eat)
Thanks for toilets to clean (Thank You God for Indoor Plumbing!)
Thank You for that first daffodil in the spring and the sounds of cardinals in the trees.
Thanks for bunnies who race with me down the trail in the wee hours of the day.
Thank You for the aromas of lilacs, and baking bread, and burning leaves, and freshly-laundered sheets.
Thank You for the taste of peppermint or that first pungent sip of freshly-roasted coffee.

You should try it sometime. If a list of one thousand seems overwhelming, do half of that or a quarter. The point is to look beyond the obvious and see the hidden hand of God. You are blessed. Now it’s time to realize it.

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