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Card Games, Recipes, Walks

The summer days are upon us! I’ve learned after all these years that the good life, the abundant life, and the life full of joy and adventure happens internally; it’s never about where you are or how much you’re paying for an experience. When you don’t want to spend a lot of money, you can still enjoy leisurely days with your children and include activities that cost you very little if nothing. Today, we discover our love of card games, recipes, and several walks a day–some in new locations. We laugh and connect and enjoy the day. We sit in the sun, drink smoothies, and think about a fun dinner to make.

Living with flair means you bring the vacation with you; the relaxation and sense of adventure can happen right in your kitchen, living room, or neighborhood.

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Bring a Little South up North

I just discovered that you can grow a potted gardenia in Pennsylvania! You bring the pot inside during the winter, but then you can bring it back out to bloom in the summer.

I never thought I’d have gardenia in Pennsylvania, and it’s truly one of my favorite smells. I also love the contrast of the dark green and white and the sturdiness of the bloom.

So I have a little bit of the south right here up north.

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Digestible Spiritual Food

This morning, as I read Hannah Whitall Smith, her phrase “undigestible spiritual food” struck me deeply. As she discussed what’s going wrong in our lives and how we often feel out of sorts or under God’s wrath, she likened the real problem to having consumed undigestible spiritual food.

Something we’ve consumed has harmed, increased toxicity, and damaged. Something undigestible–or something whose byproduct doesn’t nourish at all–has entered the system.

As someone so attuned and so daily concerned with what I put into my body, I’m always asking if what I’m eating truly nourishes me. Why don’t I ask the same of what I’m feeding my soul in terms of media, my thought life, or anything I let myself hear, see, and think about? Does this nourish? What byproduct will come if I did digest this thing?

Consider Philippians 4:8: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Today, I recalibrate to nourish the soul with a fresh and joyful commitment to feed on God’s word and fill my mind with lovely things. I find myself listening to worship music with new affection and praying more wholeheartedly. I find myself feeding my soul just as I munch on the wholesome nuts and berries in my hand.

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Stop and Smell

The climbing roses smell particularly sweet this year. I stop and smell every morning and every afternoon. I pick some for the neighbors. When I hold the bouquet in my hand, I smell the beautiful roses and smile that I live in a world where little pink roses climb up a trellis.

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Some Louder. Some Softer.

My husband gently reminded me today that it’s not good to dominate meetings. I know I have this tendency. I can talk too much. I boldly and loudly share all my ideas! I become so passionate! So today, I realize that living with flair means I sometimes must take a softer approach.

Some of us need to move into a softer role. Others need to become more loud. Some of us need to speak less; some now more.

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The Lavender Harvest

My daughter planted lavender in our garden this year, and today, I notice the fragrant, deep purple buds. Apparently, it’s time to now harvest them and make tiny bundles to dry the lavender in a cool, dark closet. In a few weeks, we’ll then decide how we want to use our lavender.

I’m so excited for darling little sachets to put in drawers or for lavender baths. Once we gather more of our harvest, I’d love to make a lavender wreath to dry and hang in my bathroom or by the front door.

I walk around the house smelling of the lavender I’ve just cut from the garden. It’s such a wonderful and soothing smell. Each year, I love trying something new in my garden, and this year, I’m so thankful for this beautiful little bouquet.

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A Firm Place to Stand

I love how, in Psalm 40, we learn how God answers our cry and lifts us up to set our feet “on a rock” and give us a “firm place to stand.”

The image of standing on a firm place helps ease my anxiety, especially over speaking engagements, teaching seminars, or anything I’m doing that breeds uncertainty, confusion, or fear. My emotions or my ability to think everything through isn’t my firm place. Everything going my way isn’t my firm place. Success isn’t my firm place.

Jesus is my firm place.

In Him, this unsteady situation becomes a firm place to stand. If He is the rock and nothing else (not my emotions, planning, certainty), then I can breathe easy and move forward in confidence.

I list out in my journal everything that feels shaky or uncertain. I pray over it all. I ask God to become my firm place to stand.

It’s wonderful to know that I’ve prayed and invited God in. As I recently read a quote from Dr. Myles Monroe: “Prayer is earthly license for heavenly interference.”

“Prayer is earthly license for heavenly interference.”

Yes, God, interfere here! I give You full permission! Take over and turn these shifting sands of uncertainty into a firm place to stand.

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Tasty Little Morning Bowls

During the summer months, I hardly want a steaming bowl of oatmeal. Instead, it’s so delicious to layer frozen blueberries, a sliced banana, walnuts, almonds, flaxseed, chia seeds, and some pumpkin seeds in a big bowl. Enjoy! You could even add some almond milk to eat it like cereal.

I love the sweet, cool, fresh bowl of fruit, nuts, and seeds. I’ll return to oatmeal in the winter.

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A Prayer and Blessing to Treasure: Psalm 20

I love the powerful blessing of Psalm 20 that I imagine David speaking out over his men in battle. I picture someone praying this over me, in my own daily battles, and find such encouragement and hope. It’s such a beautiful psalm. David writes:

May the Lord answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you. May he send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion. . . May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests.

Can you imagine a day when you knew God would answer; when you knew He was protecting you and sending help and support, when you knew He was working to not only give you the desire of your heart, but to also shape those very desires; when you knew God was making all your plans succeed? Let it be today!

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