And the Winner Is….

 

My apologies for not posting this earlier like I had originally planned. Life got in the way.

So now, without further delay, the winner of a preordered copy of Simply Tuesday is…

 

 

I made Noah pick a random number, each number had a name but he didn’t know that.

 

 

Georgia Hattan-Bennet!! Congratulations! I’ll be contacting you for your address! My hope is that Simply Tuesday is a blessing that ministers to you! Lots of love!

Mount Boxes

2 years ago this summer we moved from Ocala to Ormond Beach so Jim could go to RT school. The move was prayed over, calculated and planned in every way possible. We transitioned from our 3/2 house of 16 years to a 2/2 apartment. We lost a considerable amount of living space. Though we did gain walk in closets, linen closets and large bathrooms we lost room for each of us to be able to get away. To find our own space to just be.

As the two years have gone by we’ve done like every other family. we accumulated more stuff. School stuff, craft stuff, kitchen stuff, video games and even books (despite Jim’s attempt to keep my book collection to my kindle but I like holding a book).

With the knowledge that our time in Ormond was limited to Jim’s school years we started collecting empty boxes for our move back home. These boxes were just being stacked in our room for later use. We essentially had a wall of boxes next to a bookshelf because… well just because I love books.

I began to hate our room. A space that I should love I couldn’t hardly be in longer than it took to go to sleep. I didn’t know why, I knew it had nothing to do with Jim, it just was uncomfortable for me. Finally I asked Jim to help me move the bookshelf into my study area in the dining room and break down the empty boxes.

Can I just tell you it was an instant relief! I felt caved in on and I had no idea! Mount Boxes is gone and I can relax in my room again!That’s why I was unsettled in my room, I wasn’t using the space properly!

Suddenly I feel an urge to purge. Clean out all the closets of the old and unused. Empty the cute wicker baskets of the unneeded. Even my soul is getting a deep cleaning!

Apparently Simply Tuesday impacted me more than I realized.

The corner that held Mount Boxes is being transformed into my bible study place. My heart’s desire is to create a space like the one Jesus refers to in Matthew 6:6, a secret place.

When you pray, go to your room and close the door. Pray privately to your Father who is with you. Your Father sees what you do in private. He will reward you.

I’m looking for a small, used, inexpensive desk for the space. In my heart I see a small area that houses a lamp, my journal and bible. It doesn’t have to be flashy; actually I’d prefer it isn’t flashy at all because that’s nothing but a distraction to me. I’d like to get a ribbon board to put some pictures in that space too so I can see the faces of those I love, those I am praying over. 

It’s like removing those boxes from that space removed blinders. I’m learning to pay attention to what bothers me. What distracts me. What calls me, the good and the bad. Seeing those things I am hoping will remind me to find Him in the middle of them too.

I’ve proven on countless occasions that I can’t do this life apart from Him (and neither can you). He doesn’t need me, he wants me and I need Him. I am the woman at the well needing of a water that only Jesus can give. I am seeking the living water right in the midst of my chaos because I know He’s not scared off by my mess. In fact, I don’t think He’d recognize me if I wasn’t a mess because I am SO loved (John 3:16).

 

Simply Tuesday Book Review

I’m a busy mom, wife and student. I have a to do list on top of my to do list. Like right now I should be cleaning out the closet, doing laundry, making important calls, organizing the kids closet (again because a bomb surely went off in there) and about a million other things before the masses ascend on the house, masses being Jim and the boys. But a rare summer occurrence happened! Everyone is gone but me! The boys are at Nana’s, Jim is at a meeting and I, I am making room for my soul to breath rather than being overcome by my to do list and productivity.

I recently finished reading Emily P. Freeman’s newest book Simply Tuesday. I’ve renamed it my coloring book because of the multicolored highlights that now shine brightly on each page. Little beacons of wisdom mixed with love and a desire for me (and you, too, but this is my blog so it gets to be “me”) to find and cultivate my smallness. 

SimplyTuesday

If you are a fellow Emily fan then you know Simply Tuesday is not actually on the shelves yet. I was chosen along with an amazing group of (mostly) women to be part of the launch team for Simply Tuesday. Let me stop there and reflect on the fact that I was chosen. Me. I am not ever chosen for anything that so seemingly big, but by being chosen a piece of me unlocked to my inner smallness that I so badly want to rest in. Not to mention an a prayer was answered. Not a prayer to be picked, but a prayer for guidance as to how to share my art with others. How to be a better bench dweller though I didn’t know that was a thing yet. But it is a thing that Jesus taught me and Emily reminded me.

I laughed, I cried, I highlighted, and I constantly said to Jim “oooh! Let me read you this!” My soul found a connection to Emily’s words in a way that I did not expect! If my record for fastest read of a 200+ page book is less than 8 hours (MockingJay) then Simply Tuesday gets the award for the long it has ever taken me to read a book, 3 weeks. I didn’t want it to end so I was afraid to let loose and read like I normally do, I was afraid I would mis something that I needed to hear.

I’ve always loved Tuesdays. Jim and I for years have referred to our random acts of kindness as Tuesday gifts because Tuesdays are gifts. They are the normal in my mess, the gift of a new week without the chaos of a Monday, they are my friend.

I am a bench dweller and hopefully a bench builder. A lover of simple, meaningful relationships and moments though they aren’t always wonderfully perfect moments or relationships. Messes are part of all of our lives. Did you notice that most of my to-do list items involved messes? Well, my soul gets messy too because I am too busy doing and not busy enough protecting myself from what Emily refers to as “hustle, produce, and ship”.

Simply Tuesday magnified my inability to be still and find my smallness but it also gave me space to learn to slow down and breath. I’m not going to lie the first few chapters were a struggle for me. Not because they were poorly written or not true, but for the very opposite reason. Returning to times when I felt the “good” kind small meant returning to some childhood memories that while they are good are also difficult to settle into and remember because they weren’t just about me and my smallness but also about who I shared those moments with. The summer between 5th and 6th grade I went to visit my Pennsylvania family. To say I didn’t feel very welcomed would be an understatement so I hid most of the summer in a tree reading and writing (does this surprise anyone?). My home state is breathtakingly beautiful. You cannot help but to relish in being a small part of it, even as a tween you know you are in the midst of one of God’s most perfect creations. Often during that summer my brother would join me in the tree and we would just talk. Chad passed away a few months ago, I found while reading Simply Tuesday how hard it was to attach myself to my smallness when I knew that I shared a bench with my brother that summer.

“People need us to embrace a relational smallness, accepting we are not the star, the counselor, the convincer, or the fixer. Instead, we are a companion, willing to keep company with the soul of another. We need not compete, we need only to connect.”-Simply Tuesday, page 129

The good news is once I allowed myself to see the benches in my life and those that I share them with I found myself in love with the book even more! Who knew I needed this?!

Heres what I’m thinking: I’m not the only one that needs the message of Simply Tuesday. I’m betting that you are needing it too. To be reminded to let your soul breath, to build benches and to be a Tuesday friend.

So, how about a giveaway? I’m going to giveaway one copy of Simply Tuesday to one person. What do you have to do? Simply reply to this post. For an added chance to win simply click the follow button at the bottom page on the right hand side. Then, Tuesday at 2pm I will have Jim randomly draw a name out of a bucket. So make sure you check back Tuesday for the results. Good luck!

Simply Tuesday will be available on August 18th at your favorite bookstore.

I suggest if you haven’t already to follow Emily on all social media. You don’t want to miss the #itssimplytuesday stream she encourages us all to participate in. To find our benches where we can embrace our smallness and to give our souls a needed deep breath. Come join us!