Maybe the Greatest Wish

I think about all the high school graduates in my town. I find myself writing a card that simply prays that this graduate would “keep in step” with God’s spirit. I quote Galatians 5, and I remember from a lifetime of experience that following God leads to peace, joy, hope, freedom, and the life we’ve always wanted but couldn’t even imagine for ourselves.

What better thing might I wish or pray for someone than to walk with God, keeping in step with the Holy Spirit? I can think of nothing better, nothing more important, and nothing more meaningful than this.

 

 

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Ancient Pleasure: The Watermelon

I absolutely love watermelon. In summer, the refrigerator nearly always holds a big bowl of freshly cut watermelon. Today, while standing in the kitchen, I consider, like anyone living with flair, the where and why and how and when. I learn about the 5,000 year history of the watermelon. I read origin stories of this delicious fruit; watermelon comes to us by way of the Kalahari Desert in Africa and then Egypt, spreading next via merchant ships on the Mediterranean Sea.

I read how Mark Twain once wrote that to taste a watermelon was to know “what angels eat.” I read how the Hebrews tithed watermelons as something pleasing to God.

Indeed!

I also know that people pickle watermelon rinds. I will add this to my collection of pickled things. I learn of recipes with mint and feta, of popsicles and cool drinks, of sorbets and salsas. Oh, the watermelon!

All summer, I’ll enjoy the ancient pleasure of watermelon.

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Why We Tell Our Stories

Someone recently asked me why it’s so vital to tell our stories of God’s great work in our lives. Why talk about it? Why write it down? Why share it? Can’t we just keep these stories between God and ourselves?

I think about the words God used to send me on a journey of proclamation:

Psalm 40:10 I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and your saving help. I do not conceal your love and your faithfulness from the great assembly.

Psalm 40:9 I proclaim your saving acts in the great assembly;
    I do not seal my lips, Lord,
    as you know.

Psalm 78:4 We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.

I tell of the faithfulness, love, and saving help of God. I proclaim. I tell the next generation.

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You’re Going to Love This: Moody’s FREE Digital Study Pack for Included in Christ

Friends! I’m so happy about the Digital Study Pack to serve as a beautiful companion to Included in Christ. Free Moody commentary on key verses in Ephesians, a worship playlist, cute invitations to print out, sharable images, and lock screen and desktop art for encouragement! ENJOY!!!! Click on the link here: http://moodypublisherswomen.com/included-in-christ-study-pack/

Included in Christ Study Pack

 

 

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A Curious Verb and New Perspective: Fledge

We peer into the Robin’s nest to find that the strong little birds have fledged. They developed their wings for flight. A fledgling is the strangest phenomenon: it’s the word for that transitional stage between hatching and leaving the nest for good.

How exciting! How wonderful to observe fluffy birds hopping about, testing their flight feathers and feeding on their own.

When I began Live with Flair, I would have seen myself and you as the fledglings and challenged us all to test out our feather, to risk it all, to fly. I would have talked about expanding our worlds and kicking against that tangle of a nest that held us back.

But today? I see myself as the mama bird. I see myself as the one left on the branch who watches and encourages and then moves on to care for the next brood. She keeps building new projects. I see myself as a feeder of the young. I see myself as fluffing other feathers to encourage that beautiful, brave flight.

My daughter and I pull back from that empty nest. She’s looking carefully at the hopping Robins on the lawn. I’m back at the nest, and I keep thinking, “Well done! Well done!”

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Still Baking: Morning Fruit Pastries

We find a recipe for these! So easy and delicious if you need to host folks for breakfast: 

We use this recipe from Just a Taste: https://www.justataste.com/fruit-and-cream-cheese-breakfast-pastries-recipe/

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Missing Psalm 18

Psalm 18 is missing from my green Bible (the one Elizabeth gave me at Camp Greystone in 1995). It looks like someone took a giant bite out it, like they literally ate Psalm 18. When I turn to Psalm18 in my green Bible, I remember that I read it so many times in the 90’s that the pages became withered and worn and ripped out. Psalm 18 contains some of the most beautiful and powerful statements about God, and so, when I turn there, I must hunt it down in another Bible.

David sang this Psalm to the Lord after He delivered him from his enemies and from Saul. Here are my favorite parts of this Psalm that have sustained me all these years. Here, I learned that God is my strength, my deliverer, and my security.

I love you, Lord, my strength.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
    my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

In my distress I called to the Lord;
    I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
    my cry came before him, into his ears.

16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
    he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
    from my foes, who were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
    but the Lord was my support.
19 He brought me out into a spacious place;
    he rescued me because he delighted in me.

28 You, Lord, keep my lamp burning;
    my God turns my darkness into light.
29 With your help I can advance against a troop[e];
    with my God I can scale a wall.

As for God, his way is perfect:
    The Lord’s word is flawless;
    he shields all who take refuge in him.
31 For who is God besides the Lord?
    And who is the Rock except our God?
32 It is God who arms me with strength
    and keeps my way secure.
33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
    he causes me to stand on the heights.
34 He trains my hands for battle;
    my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35 You make your saving help my shield,
    and your right hand sustains me;
    your help has made me great.
36 You provide a broad path for my feet,
    so that my ankles do not give way.

46 The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock!
    Exalted be God my Savior!

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Stability Shoes, Hydration, and Taking My Time: Things I Love So Far About the 40’s

Today, I laughed about how my entire shoe collection has everything to do with support and stability. I want to protect my ankles and knees, and with all the walking around I do, I value stability so much more in my 40’s. I even have very thick European walking sandals that look, well, sort of medical and something for precious older folks. Who cares? I can keep up in those shoes! Those shoes! I love them!

I also laughed about my new glamorous accessory. No, it’s not a Birkin handbag or a new bracelet. It’s a water bottle. I carry around my water bottle everywhere, and the day’s goals include hydration. Back in my 20’s and 30’s, I don’t think I ever once put on my list of things to do and grand goals the word hydration. But I don’t want another kidney stone.

And I laughed about how much more I delight in taking my time, savoring the moment, and turning every so slightly from efficiency to enjoyment of the task at hand.

These don’t register as losses or regrets. Instead, I love the way it feels to saunter, sip, and savor.

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Greater Joy Than This

At the beginning of each month, I start the Psalms afresh and read five a day. If you are wondering what to do with your Bible or how to begin learning from God through the scriptures, the Psalms are a beautiful place to begin! You will finish the book of Psalms in one month if you read in this way.

They never get old. It’s a miracle that I read the same Psalms over and over again, and God never fails to encourage my heart in new ways. Already, I consider how God prospers us (Psalm 1), blesses us as we take refuge in Him (Psalm 2), shields us (Psalm 3), fills our heart with great joy (Psalm 4), and hears us and surrounds us with favor (Psalm 5). What a wonderful way to begin the new day!

I focus on what I find so curious in Psalm 4. David writes in verses 6-7:

Many are asking, “Who can show us any good?” Let the light of your face shine upon us, O Lord. You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wind abound.

I think about writing this sentence to God:

You have filled my heart with greater joy than when _______________.

Then I think about what I believe (or have believed) would provide my heart with the greatest joy possible. And then I realize that God puts greater joy in my heart than even this.

I also think about the question, “Who can show us any good?” Can you imagine being so despondent, depressed, and discouraged that you would ask this? Maybe you feel this way right now. I have felt this way.

The answer comes: In devastation, God can still bring His joy.

Oh, to be set free from longing and fear and jealousy and grabbing for more of this and that experience, person,or object. God is greater joy. When we look around and find no good thing, He is the Good Thing.

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