5 Things I Learned in March

1. I’m a cold-weather lover. Well, within reason. I’ve always lived in the south, so this probably affects my perception of “cold”. But still, the creative part of me thrives on and loves the short days and coziness of winter. But apparently even I have my limit. Enough with the cold. Enough with the snow and ice and freezing rain. It’s the end of March, and I am SO beyond ready for spring this year!

5 things i learned in march

2. I have been reminded this month of the goodness and graciousness of God in providing me and surrounding me with good friends that I connect with on a deep soul level. He knows He created me to need that. I do not take friendships lightly, and the Lord has blessed me beyond what I could ask or imagine. And this week has been packed with meals and movies and car rides and Bible Studies and coffee dates and phone conversations with my people. My cup is full to overflowing! Such a precious gift.

3. I am actually capable of trimming my own hair and not messing it up royally. Win!

4. The new Vanilla Macchiato at Starbucks didn’t impress me. At all. I’ll stick with my usual Caramel Macchiato, thank you very much.

5. And finally, this. Because y’all, I barely have words to explain how powerful it is that in John 17, in His priestly prayer, Jesus Christ says His desire is that WE may be with HIM, so that we would see His glory and know His love. This is HUGE and continues to blow my mind a full week after recognizing the sheer beauty of this truth:

“Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me,
be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me,
for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.”
John 17:24 (NASB)

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*linking up today with Emily P. Freeman at Chatting at the Sky as we all share different things we learned in March*

This is the Art I Live Everyday

Have you ever had one of those moments when you were just completely and utterly overwhelmed by the Gospel?

By its truth, by its fullness, by its richness, by its completeness, by its beauty, by its perfection?

Last night, I had just such a moment.

Yesterday was my birthday (yes, my birthday is on Halloween), and it had been a pretty wonderful day full of life-giving words and thoughtful blessings from friends and family. I mean, my brother wrote me a poem. In Middle English. More-or-less about the Sovereignty of God. Which I love! And he mailed it to me on stationary. He also included a Starbucks gift card…he knows me well.

I’m a words girl. Word of affirmation is my love language. My heart was full!

this is the art i live everyday

But as I arrived at Bible Study last night, I had no idea how my heart would be so full to overflowing by the end of the evening.

To begin with, my Bible Study group of women that I love dearly surprised me with a cake…complete with candles, y’all! And when I say I was surprised, I am so not kidding. I did not see that one coming!

But then as we continued our study of John (we’re on our third consecutive semester, Precept style), as we looked carefully at John 14 and how through Jesus Christ we have full and total access to God the Father, I was literally blown away by the truth and the reality of the Gospel.

I know this sounds ridiculously simple and basic, but this Gospel is just so eternally complete and perfect.

And to realize that we can’t DO anything to be saved through this Gospel, that all that is required of us is to ask and believe, yet it compels us, out of pure love and devotion, to know Christ, to trust Him, to please Him, to obey Him (because obedience is HIS love language)?

I can barely even begin to wrap my mind around it! It’s just THAT good!

So I found myself praying this prayer…

God,
We know You are good, and You are faithful, and You are true.
Thank You for loving us first.
Thank You for providing the way of confident and sure access to Your throne.
And thank You for that way not being an accident nor a surprise to You.
You have a purpose and a plan from beginning to end.
And we know it is perfectly complete … carefully crafted and thought out and executed.
And we praise You for that!
Thank you for Your presence that goes before us and walks with us.
Help us in our everyday as we lean into You, as we trust You, as we follow You, as we obey You.
Thank you for Your radical grace. Thank You for Your presence. Thank You for the new covenant through Your Son, Jesus Christ, the spotless Lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice.
May the truth of Your Gospel never cease to overwhelm and amaze!
Lord, we believe. Help our unbelief!
In Christ’s Name,
Amen

This Gospel.

THIS is the art I live everyday!

“Every step we are breathing in Your grace.
Evermore we’ll be breathing out Your praise.
You are faithful, God, You are faithful.”
– Never Once by Matt Redman

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we-will-make-art

*linking up with Emily P. Freeman of chatting at the sky for we will make art*

Photo of the Week: Forty Two & Forty Three

This is what an early Saturday evening in November looks like after a physically draining, but spiritually refreshing worship ministries retreat Friday night and all day Saturday to prepare/rehearse for our Christmas concerts.

And yes, since I’ve been absent from the blog since the end of the 31 Days series, this photo is pulling double duty as photo of the week 42 and 43, so that I can finish the photo of the week posts on December 30th with photo 50. I know … that’s not technically a full year. But close enough. And hey, it’s my blog, so my rules. Grin.

And since we’re on the subject of being absent from the blog, I really haven’t even been writing much (or involved in social media much) since I wrapped up that series. Life on this side of the screen has been full, and my mind has welcomed the break.

But be on the lookout for a real post later this week.

Until then, the Compassion bloggers are heading to Peru in a couple of days, and you should plan to go follow their stories here … you will not be sorry.

Hope your weekend has been full of good rest and much joy!

“…why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer. But this I know with all my heart: His wounds have paid my ransom.”

All Things Fall

When Melissa at The Inspired Room announced that her Fall Nesting Party 2011 was right around the corner, the first thing that popped into my mind was something to the effect of:

“Umm…I’m pretty sure since it’s still pushing 90 degrees around these here NC parts, I won’t even begin to think it’s fall until late October.”

But since fall is by far my favorite season, I decided to join in the celebration of all things fall after all!

So in the spirit of fall, over the past couple of days…

…pumpkin made its first official appearance of the season in the form of these pumpkin cupcakes with a cream cheese topping thanks to my awesome roommate.

…the weather actually decided to join the party and the highs have remained in the sixties for two. whole. days. With temps like that, I don’t even mind the clouds.

{and if you only knew what I went through for that picture} 

…I decided to pull out the fall decorations for the coffee table. To see other fall decorations (and non-cellphone photos) that will likely make an appearance later in the season, check out this post from last year. You can just ignore the part about Koine Greek. It hurts my head, too.

…and I enjoyed my first Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks, which is typically a sure sign that fall has, indeed, arrived. And to make this particular latte even better, when I pulled up to the drive-thru window, the barista informed me that the car in front of me had already paid. Apparently, this paying-for-the-order-in-the-car-behind-you had gone on for quite a while, so I gladly joined in the fun and paid for the gentleman in the car behind me as well. Unexpected blessings in early fall are simply the best!

Are you ready for fall?