Hello, dear friends!
Whew, it's been a hot minute since we've sat down together. How are you?
This little site has gotten a facelift and a new framework, and there will be other little fancy bits and bobs popping up here and there in the weeks to come. Keep checking back, and let me know how I can make this blog better for YOU!
A few things... - I GRADUATED. Hallelujah! Thank you, so much, for your encouragement and patience. - I'm writing this in IKEA. Because IKEA makes me feel alive. And poor. - This weekender bag was my Christmas present from my parents. It's swell. - Do you know Lara Casey? You should. She's a genuinely lovely person and she loves Jesus so much. She makes things happen, celebrates marriage, and she just wrote an utterly marvelous book.
...and I'm giving a copy away! HOORAY!
A couple months ago I teetered out on a limb and sent Lara an email, asking if I could read her book before everyone else and write a review for it. I told her my (itty-bitty) blog numbers, nervously trying to prove that I was worth the book and the post.
Wouldn't you know, Lara didn't care one bit about my numbers. Instead, she cared that I had encouraged her and that I cared about her words. She was genuinely excited to have me read her book, not because I'm a fancy famous blogger, but because I'm a person and Lara really cares about people. She sent me a sweet note and an Advanced Readers Copy a few weeks later.
The day it arrived, the skies of Kansas and of my marriage were dark and stormy. I curled up in bed and cried buckets as I read the first chapters. I was full of fear, dread, and that particularly inky black brand of hopelessness.
God used Lara's words to loosen the coils of fear and plant seeds of hope (oh, tiny seeds!). Her story isn't perfect. It's messy and ugly at points, and she shares it with unhindered honesty.
He made something beautiful out of those broken bits. Lara's desire, from cover to cover, isn't to make her name famous, but the Name of Jesus. In this book, she raises a banner and says, "Look and see what God has done!"
Because we forget. We need to be reminded that this God of ours? He's in the business of making broken into beautiful. It's His jam. We cannot "make it happen" on our own...we need to trust Him and follow His purposes. He's the One that makes it happen.
Something I really appreciated about the book? Lara asks questions and gives you space to answer them. The book is written to be interactive. The final section - Your Guide to Make It Happen - is divided into five parts intended for you to cultivate a life of purpose. There are tons of questions for you to think over and an equal ton of action steps that Lara urges you to take. It's sort of like an amped up version of the PowerSheets. (PowerSheets - six months of intentional goal planning and action inspired worksheets. I've used/loved them for a year and just got my 2015 set :)
Overall, I think Lara's use of her own story, powerful advice, and the guided action steps all combine to make this potentially the best book you will read in 2015. Lara's voice is gracious, honest, kind and full of solid wisdom, and her first book was one part warm bear hug, one part kick in the pants. You're going to love it.
Some excerpts from Make It Happen...
"The fear of God is a positive fear that refines our hearts, pushing us to make what really matters happen. It's a fear that inspires good choices and bold leaps of faith. The fear of God enables us to live a life of purpose. I need daily reminders that God is God. He is in control so I don't have to be. He has a plan. My role is to follow Him, saying, I trust you. I surrender my fear and my ways. I take You at Your Word. His ways free me from paralyzing fear and the chase for perfection."
"Following God doesn't make us perfect; it makes us purposeful, filling our emptiness and equipping us to take focused action on what matters."
"God wired us to be something for Him. Not for our own gain or praise, but all for Him. The restlessness you may feel is there for a reason, calling you to step into the truth."
"When the purpose of your work is aimed at God's heart, it mays you want to work a whole lot harder."
"There is boundless growth and freedom waiting for you when your distractions no longer own you. Distractions are enticing and lure us in when we don't want to surrender our fears, let go of control, and face reality. Distractions hold us back from lasting contentment and growth."
"I only allow three to five things to be on my to-do list each day, or I get completely overwhelmed."
"What is it that God wants you to make happen? What does He want you to grow to fulfill His purpose for you? What does He want you to cultivate to share with others? What seeds has He already given you that need watering? He may not reveal these answers to you right away, but He has given you some tools and wisdom to help you walk on His path and find clarity. He wants you to seek answers from Him."
Surrender your fear. Take the leap. Make it happen.
Love and gratitude, friend! I hope YOU win!