Tag Archives: Summer Bible Study

How to #HAGS (Have a Good Summer ;) )


Happy First Tuesday, sweet sister friends! It’s FINALLY summer break!  I’m so, so happy about this for, like, a million and fifty-seven reasons. But Reason Number One is (drumroll please):  this beautiful family of mine needs a break.

Yours does, too? I thought so.

Don’t worry. We aren’t the only ones.  It’s been an issue for millennia.

mark 6

He knew we’d all need a break at times.  Thank you, LORD!

So here’s the practical application and importance of this – at least in my world.  For me, summer break means a break from the “control” of school days because it’s totally structured FOR us, but not necessarily BY us.  The school system decides when the kids will be in school.  The coaches and activity leaders decide when practices and games and recitals are held.  The tutors decide what hours they are available.  The teachers decide what homework is due and when.    The moms at pick up decide who is playing with whom afterschool and where…AHEM.

The order of our days is predetermined by the forces around us and, for the most part, we need to get in line with it in order for there to be order, if you know what I mean.

Graciously, summer dances to a different beat.

And so today, at the start of what is summer break for many of us, I am giving you a little advice on how to have a good summer. It goes something like this:



 Peony 1 Talmud

Is that awesome or what?! So often, we think of indulging in things we enjoy as something we will judged for.  But God (don’t you just LOVE Him?!) basically turns that thought on its ear and says, “Girl, if it’s permissible  –  and tons of amazing and fun things in this life are – you might as well enjoy it because I made it just for you.”

I don’t know what it looks like for you because He wired each of us so beautifully different. For me, it’s a big girl glass of wine on a starry night sitting by the outdoor fire.  Or maybe it’s just an extra half hour by myself at the pool with my Bible.  Or hey – it’s even ordering pizza two nights in a row just because I don’t feel like cooking.  But whatever allows you to have some seriously permissible fun this summer, I say GO FOR IT!

Bring Me Wine

(Photo from Pinterest)

Girlies, let’s shake things up for a couple months. Change your schedule and include something new you’ve been wanting to do.  Try taking after dinner walks with your spouse, or maybe early morning coffees on the deck.

Ask your boss if you can shift your work schedule to come in an hour earlier for a week or two so you can earn a little flex time and take a few extra days off to just kick around in your garden or in the city. Get creative with your time.

Let your kids “drive the boat”, so to speak. Have them choose activities that allow exploration of their passions and interests.  Let THEM choose their playmates and embrace their own choices and decisions (within reason 😉 ).  Consider ditching those dreaded “summer skills books” in favor of comic books and silly novels and even Netflix (did I just say that out loud?!). Volunteer at the food bank and make blankets to distribute to those in need when the cold weather returns (because  – SPOILER ALERT – no matter how hot it gets this summer, that Chiberian chill will be back).

Go get lost on a road trip. Swim in a lake. Wear cut-off overalls.  Go to a concert.  Call your college roomie. Hang out with your mom. Show up at your best friend’s house with some flowers and iced tea just because you can.  Talk a walk with Jesus.  Smooch a puppy on the lips (this one might be my favorite!)!

Have your own church service in the park. Eat a humongous cheeseburger, for Heaven’s sake, and wash it down with a cold beer or soda in a glass bottle.  Have a popsicle at breakfast and ride the Ferris wheel…three times in a row!  Eat sweet cherries and spit the pits on the ground.  Embrace simple things that bring mega-doses of joy.

Yeah. These are the things I wish for you AND for me this summer because even the smallest, simplest things reveal God’s great love for us.  And we are blessed to be able to experience them. Be aware of your gifts and use them to better this world.

I guess what I’m saying, love bugs, is that I wish you the happiest summer break ever. Like, EVER.

Stop making your summer bucket lists and just go do all the things you were going to put on them. Sometimes the spontaneous stuff is sooooo much better anyway.

Okay. Enough screen time.  Go on now. Get on out there.  The world is waiting.

What are you still doing here?!?!? I mean it – GO!  Get outta here!  I triple dog dare you.


Peace, love, and JOY!


PS – See you back here on July 4th for the next First Tuesday post…!

PPS – If you are local to the Chicagoland area, I encourage you to check out a great resource:  “Glen Ellyn Moms Village”!  They have awesome social media sites for ideas and inspiration for your summer… AND year-round!! Be sure to follow them so you can  keep updated about local happenings and musings regarding Glen Ellyn and the surrounding communities; the sites are run by one of my favorite sister friends!!!




The Best Way to End Things


The ending of something wonderful is never easy, is it?  I mean, when something sweet has run its course, how do you bring closure to it without feeling a wee bit depressed?

Well, you throw a party, of course!

Last week, we wrapped up our Summer 2016 series, easy, with a super fun, progressive Pop-Up style party!  We send out email invites a few days in advance and announced our secret locations!

We started the night at Camey’s house for drinks, appetizers, and lots of catching up and giggles!  (And Camey’s dog, Dodger, stole all our hearts!)

16 Candles Collage 1

16 Candles Collage 2

16 Candles Collage 3

16 Candles Collage 5

An hour or so later, we meandered through a candlelit path to Alicia’s, to find a spot to sit, relax, eat our picnic dinners, visit the popcorn and candy bar, and watch a silly movie from the 1980’s – “Sixteen Candles”!

16 Candles Collage 6

We spent out night enjoying each other’s company, eating delish food, and just plain ole’ took it easy!  My thanks go out to everyone who came and especially to our entire pop-up party team for your generous support of the night!  We had a BALL!

16 Candles Collage 4

And of all the wonderful things about Alicia, I have to say I was super impressed with her ability to pack my car so expertly at the end of the night!  😉

16 Car Packed

I hope you had as much fun walking through this easy summer as we did!  Stay tuned for our announcement next week – RIGHT HERE – for our big unveiling of our Fall 2016 series, “Wonder-FULL”!!!!  It’s going to be GREAT!!!


Peace, love and joy!




The ONE Thing You Need to Know About Living “Easy”



It’s a Sanskrit word with origins in India and is a key concept in several religions, including Hinduism and Buddhism. And according to these wisdom traditions, you can acquire good karma, or bad karma.

Basically, good karma refers to the belief that good intentions and good deeds lead to a good future coming your way. Conversely, bad intentions and bad deeds will attract bad karma and bad things in your future.

In other words, what goes around, comes around.

NTW Week 8

Jesus gives us that very same advice in this week’s final scripture selection of our summer series, easy 2016.  And I think he perfectly sums up all our series’ mantras in this one, matter-of-fact verse.

Think about it. When you’re open and loving and compassionate and generous and kind and accepting of people AND in life and it’s circumstances, don’t you find yourself (for the most part) receiving the same in return?  And when you approach people and life and situations with judgement and pessimism and skepticism and haughtiness, you find yourself most often inundated with anxiety, anger, misfortune, disappointment and paranoia.  And that is certainly NOT the abundant life Jesus wants us to live.

Jesus reminds us today that the best way to live an “easy life” is to approach every day with good intentions and lovingkindness to everyone and everything…including ourselves. Approach life with the intent to encourage people, not knock them down.  Make a conscious effort (and I KNOW it will sometimes feel like EFFORT…) to build people up, notice their positive qualities, and focus on their gifts.  The energy you release into the world when you do this is supernaturally and exponentially multiplied.

Couldn’t we all use a little good karma these days? Yeah, I think so, too.

So here’s the scoop. As we wind down this series (and I pray for each of you that God has ministered to you in new and fresh ways this summer), why not spend the next few weeks cultivating good intentions? Why not CHOOSE to see the good in people instead of ruminating on the bad?  Why not CHOOSE to be an encourager instead of a critic?  For some of us, it may be a challenge to change the way we see this world and how we react to it.  But scripture assures us in that doing so will change our lives, and the lives of our people, for the better.

It’s a simple mantra: “Today, I will encourage my people”. Say it to yourself when you get up.  Say it to yourself at breakfast, at the grocery store, at lunch, and in traffic.  Say it in those witching hours of 4pm to 6pm when things start to fall apart (especially if you have kids under 6…).  Say it as your grace-prayer before dinner.  And say it at bedtime before you drift off to sleep.  See what that might do to change the energy around you and in your people.  And then sit back and enjoy it as it comes back around to you.

little more easy

It’s been such a great pleasure to “surf” through these last eight, easy weeks with you.  I hope you’ve found a little wisdom, a great new recipe or two, and some good books and music to enjoy.  As always, I get just a smidge of melancholy as we end a series.  But even more than that, I get SUPER excited to get going on the next study God has inspired us to choose!  (More on that in the coming weeks, but for now, simply mark your calendars for a mid-September start date!  It’s a great one and you won’t want to miss it!)

Here’s the link to our very last week of easy goodies (mantra/scripture card, and a recipe for chicken and waffles!!!)

And here’s the link to our last song for the summer series!  It’s a great way to end, sweet friends:  Matt Maher’s “All the People Said Amen”!  LOVE it!

AND…get excited to read our August book by the incredible Shauna Niequist, Present Over Perfect!  I AM SO EXCITED TO BE GOING TO HER BOOK RELEASE PARTY TOMORROW NIGHT!!!  EEEEEEEEKKKKKK!!!!! I’ll blog about it next week! I encourage you to order it now – it comes out August 9th!

AND, if you’re local, don’t forget to RSVP for our end of series wrap up party!  We’ll post pictures and a recap from it on August 11th!

Thank you so much for joining us this summer! I pray the rest of your summer is fantastic and that God keeps your precious self in the palm of His precious hand until we meet back here again.

Much love,


PS – Be sure to check back here at the toward the end of August for our REVEAL of our Fall 2016 Series!  It’s wonderful… 😉

Five Things You Can Find Today for More JOY!


“Nature is one of our greatest spiritual teachers.” Oprah Winfrey

Good lord, I LOVE Oprah. She is one wise sister friend!  And that quote right there is one of my favorites because I think she is spot on – all the lessons we need to learn about life can be found by observing the wonders and rhythms of the world around us.

We learn the character of God in these wonders, don’t we? I mean, who else but a loving and creative God could design and make such diversity, resiliency, and beauty and put it on display for all of us to experience?

NTS Week 7

From the gorgeous flowers that bloom each spring, to the powerful weather that races across oceans, we can see and learn the value of appreciating amazing moments AND riding out the storms.

From the wide range of races and languages and dialects across the globe, we can learn that the goodness of God’s love is universal.

From the resiliency of the changing seasons we can experience that, even when things look bleak, a new season of growth is around the corner.

From the gentleness and grace of a sunset, we can plug into a peace that is unlike anything else.

All of these life lessons are ours because we have a Father in Heaven who loves us so much he wanted us to be surrounded by a natural world that would remind us of His goodness and care.

Earth from Space

Take an easy hike outside this week and find things that meet the  criteria listed below!  Take pictures of them (you could even record them if you are more auditory than visual) or simply make of note of them in your notes section on your phone or journal.

  • Something beautiful. (Colorful flowers, a blazing sunrise, a hawk in flight, a moving song, etc.)
  • Something unique. (Individual shells along a beach, your child’s smile, the night sky tonight, a bird chirping, etc.)
  • Something resilient. (Ivy growing on a brick wall, a bird rebuilding a nest, WEEDS in your garden ;), cicadas humming their end-of-summer tune, etc.)
  • Something powerful. (Storm clouds, rushing water, a bonfire, thunder claps, etc.)
  • Something peaceful. (Gentle waves, wispy clouds, leaves rustling in a soft breeze, a prayer whispered in the chapel, etc.)

Thank God for all the amazing “miracles” he created for your enjoyment and for the lessons we can learn by simply taking it all in and experiencing the ebb and flow of the seasons and all the wonder they bring. Regardless of the season, let him remind you that he is always good.

If you are following along with our easy 2016 summer series, we have reached our second to last week! Can you even believe it?!  Only one more week to go!  But never fear as we are already cooking up what’s coming next!  We will announce our fall study in a few weeks.  In the meantime…

Click here for the following easy goodies:

  • Link to this week’s mantra and scripture card!
  • Link to this week’s yummy menu and recipe cards!
  • Link to purchase/find out about our July book, Giddy up, Eunice, by Sophie Hudson!
  • And click this link for another great tune this week by MercyMe, “Flawless” – one of my all-time favorites!!!

Have an easy week, sweet friends! See you next week when we wrap up the easy summer series!

Peace, love, and JOY!




Try it, you’ll like it!


Someone needs this word today.  Maybe it’s me preaching to me, or perhaps it’s the Holy Spirit working his awesomeness right here just for YOU.  Regardless.  Whoever you are, this one is for you. 😉

At the tender age of 23, I was a newlywed bride who somehow found myself on a transatlantic flight to England with no return ticket in my pocket. My husband of six months had been offered the opportunity to transfer to the northeastern region of England for his job.  Never ones to turn down a challenge, we jumped at the chance to take the leap over the “pond”, and it was one of the best decisions we have made as a couple.  It was SO awesome for us individually and as a couple…not to mention it was a totally cool, God-filled, three-year adventure!

Of course, we’re back on American soil and have been for over twenty years. But almost every time people  hear our story, their reaction is generally something like, “Wow!  I could never do that!”

I get their initial reaction. It sounds daunting, scary, new, unfamiliar.  And, sure –  most of the time, we all have a tendency  to want to just “play it safe”.  Take the same route to work, shop at the same stores, eat at the same restaurants (ordering our “usual”),  wear our favorite sweatshirt, use the same technology (even if newer and better tech exists), etc.

We want to “bloom where we’re planted”. We find comfort in routine and in the “known”, right?

But what would happen if we had the faith and courage to bloom where God took us?

Don’t misunderstand me; I’m not saying He created us to be major adrenaline junkies and thrill seekers who just jump at every opportunity that comes our way! But I do think He  intends for us to step outside our comfort zones in order to to help make this world a wonderfully adventurous place to grow and share Him in it.

I was at my parents’ house in Sarasota this past week and I saw the most curious thing. An orchid “baby” off one of my mom’s many yellow orchid plants had made its way from a pot all the way to the joint of a pigmy palm tree.  Take a look:

orchids in a palm tree

Isn’t that the coolest thing?

Do you know what’s even cooler?  It’s thriving.

That orchid didn’t say, “Well, this isn’t where I thought I’d end up! I wasn’t planted here!  This doesn’t feel very familiar and it’s sort of uncomfortable!  Get me outta here or I’m going to wither on the vine!”  Instead, it took up residence in a brand new place, using its roots as an anchor to thrive and live and add a little beauty and color to an otherwise dull-looking tree trunk.

What if we used our faith as an anchor that allowed us to venture a little bit away from our planted places? What if we trusted in God enough to try on a little courage and muster up the bravery to try something new?

I don’t know what that looks like for you, sweet friend, but I do know something is waiting.  Maybe it’s a new hobby or sport.  Or maybe it’s a new neighbor waiting for someone to knock on her door.  Perhaps a different job opportunity or even a new church has presented itself to you.  Or, yeah, maybe even an across-the-world move beckons that requires you to rely on your faith and trust in God just enough to give you the courage to take the first step to a new adventure and spread the beauty of Jesus wherever you find yourself.

NTW Week 6

What’s tickling the tips of your adventure spirit these days?  This week, I encourage to spend some time with God talking about it, consult scripture and wise counsel.  It may not be easy, but it sure will be worth it if God has brought it to you. As you explore the possibilities, you’ll find God showing up  right next to you, waiting to grab your hand, and take you somewhere you never expected that will be worth every “butterfly” you feel!

Following along with our easy 2016 series? Can you even believe only have TWO MORE WEEKS LEFT?!  Click here for the following goodies:

  • Link to our “Note To Self” mantra/scripture card
  • Link to a printable copy of this week’s easy meal and recipe card
  • Link to find out more about our July book, Giddy Up, Eunice, by the hilarious and insightful Sophie Hudson
  • And click here to listen to this week’s easy, breezy tune by Blanca, “Different Drum”!

Have a great week, sweet friends!

Peace, love and JOY!


Up next week: Take a Hike (what nature teaches us about the rhythms of God’s goodness)

Play Like a GIRL!!!


I know what you think this post is about.  You’re wrong.

It’s NOT about “Girl Power” in sports or school or the working world, or even about feminism in the gender equality sense.

You need to know I wholeheartedly support those agendas; it’s so important for our voices to be heard, our accomplishments to be recognized, and our contributions to be valued just as much as anyone else’s.

But this post, sweet girls, is about the power of gal pals and our uniquely special friendships.

Last week, I had the amazing and super awesome privilege to have lunch with two of my college roomies. These are girls I love; as in LOVE LOVE LOVE.  I met both of them the very first day on campus at Butler.  And there hasn’t been a holiday, birthday, special event, or heartbreak we haven’t walked through (or belly-level crawled) side-by-side since.  Thirty years, ladies.  It’s a beautiful thing.

Kappa Al-Potatos!

( Junior year…I’m the ADORABLE brunette farthest to the right on the bottom row.  While I love ALL these ladies, my lunch girls (Chappie Sue and Reenie) are the beauties just above my right shoulder.  Blondes.  Yep.   I had to throw the hair color thing in.  Because you NEED to know we all had the SAME amount of fun, regardless of hair color.  Just saying.)

What’s our secret?

We play well together.

We get along famously. We finish each others’ sentences.  We love on each others’ children and reprimand one another’s husbands (and we adore them, too…!).  We show up for milestones with bottles of champagne and heartfelt presents/presence.

And, conversely, we sit quietly, holding hands, in grief or fear.  We’ve shared clothes, pizzas, money, tears, giggles, bedrooms, viruses, recipes, lip gloss, beers, vacations, card games, and even argued a time or two along the way.

I pray you have some “same age-same stage” friendships like ours. I love these girls to the moon and back, infinity times infinity times!  There is such great camaraderie and comfort in these crazy friendships…and a WHOLE LOTTA FUN!

But you know what? I’m equally in love with cross-generational sister friendships.  The ones where we not only are loved on and brought up by ladies a bit more experienced and seasoned than we are, but ALSO the ones in which we are doing the bringing up!

Maybe she’s an aunt, a neighbor, your mom. Or maybe she’s a niece, a younger sister, a daughter, or even a new tennis partner.  It doesn’t matter how you are connected, you know?

It just matters that you connect.

sister friend selfie

Me and She

God places special people in our lives as an extension of His love for us and our innate need for relationship. Regardless of age, stage, circumstance, and standing.

It’s how we are meant to do life.

NTS Week 5

Girls, if you don’t know the story of Naomi and Ruth, I urge you to stop what you are doing and read it right now in the short, but power packed book of Ruth. Click here. No worries; I’ll wait here while you do…!

Where you go, I go. Where you stay, I stay.  Your peeps are mine.

Yep, that’s good stuff.

Sophie Hudson (author of our July book, Giddy Up, Eunice) reacts to that kick butt verse by saying this:

“It’s one of those passages that takes my breath away a little bit, because it’s a level of commitment we don’t see modeled often in our current culture.” (Sophie Hudson, Giddy Up, Eunice)

To play like a girl means to demonstrate that “LEVEL OF COMMITMENT” to our treasured friendships.  Whether through mentoring, discipling, walking alongside, or just plain and simple “gal pal-ing”.

Let’s make that model a bit more mainstream, okay?


That’s how we stick together. That’s how we do LIFE.

My prayer for you this week is that you take the time to appreciate the Ruth’s and Naomi’s in your own life. Call them up.  Tell them how much you love them.  Share a pizza (or some sushi, or whatever your thing is)!  Thank God for their presence in your world and your presence in theirs.  If you are having trouble identifying a true sister friend right now, ask God to open your heart and mind to the possibility of making a new one.  He will not disappoint you, sweet one.

Following along with our easy 2016 series?! Click here for the following goodies:

  • Link to the FABULOUS book, Giddy Up, Eunice by Sophie Hudson!  It’s what we’re reading this month!
  • Print up/display our scripture and mantra card for this week!
  • Hungry? Print up our menu idea and recipe – veggie sandwiches!  Super yum!
  • And click here for a link to our fun song and video for this week: “Breathe” by Johnny Diaz (it’s a fave for many of our girlies!)!

Come on back next week and read about our ideas on trying something NEW! TRY IT…YOU’LL LIKE IT!  😉

Peace, love and JOY!


P.S.   Thetas rule.  (Mic drop…)

P.P.S.  We love our guys, too.  Thought I better throw that in.  Smoochies, Bo!  😉





Be Mindful (Get Your Mind Out of the Gutter…!)


One of the most unsettling noises a homeowner can hear is the drip…drip…drip of a leak, especially when that dripping noise isn’t happening in a sink or near a faucet!  On a recent rainy morning, as I was rushing to get out the door, I was suddenly panicked to hear that noise from not just  ONE place in the house, but THREE.

Water was dripping in over the fireplace in our family room, seeping through the floor from the deck into the kitchen, AND managing to find its way down the insides of the windows in the dining room. It was a bit of a mess.

Good times.

The rain eventually stopped and so did the leaks. After some inspection, we were relieved to find out the leaking was due to clogged gutters, NOT some other structural issue.  We called out the Gutter Squad and were very excited, when the next rain storm rolled around, that we were completely dry and leak free.  We learned the valuable lesson on keeping the gutters clear of junk so the water can flow freely through the gutters, keeping the house clean, dry, and well, “healthy”.

Sometimes, we can get our minds all cluttered up with junk, you know?  What we think about is affected by everything we take in: television, radio, internet usage, conversations with others, our senses, our worries, what we read, and so on. If we are not careful to run all that “input” through a filter, our minds can get clogged with things that dampen our spirits and skew our perspective in some pretty negative ways.

So, what’s the spiritual equivalent to a Gutter Squad clean-out?! Check this out:

NTS Week 4

THAT is the “gutter guard” of the mind, sweet friends. I don’t know about you, but THOSE are most definitely the kinds of things I want to be focusing on!!  We know from this scripture from Paul that it pleases God (and therefore good for us!) when we think about things that are:

  • True (reality based – as defined by God/Bible)
  • Noble (worthy of respect by God and those you personally respect)
  • Reputable (lawful and just under the jurisdiction of where you live AND most importantly, by God)
  • Authentic (pure, untainted, natural)
  • Compelling (attractive – morally and ethically speaking!) •
  • Gracious (admirable, you can honestly recommend this idea/thought/concept to others as Godly)
  • Beautiful (it is an exceptionally special thought/idea/place/person/etc. in the eyes of God)
  • Worthy of praise (God will be pleased with this thought/idea/circumstance)

Therefore, when we sense we are taking our thoughts into muddy waters, we can meditate on (…meaning “to be mindful of and think on”) these eight themes to unclog the blockages and replace them with free-flowing water (the kind we talked about last week! ).

This week, to take a few moments out of each day to clear your mind. To unclog the pathways of junk in your soul and fill your spirit with Truth.  Find a quiet place where you can breathe deep, let some things go, and find God.  Be present in the moment, away from to-do lists and tasks that would normally occupy your mind.  Give social media, television, and even radio a break and in their place fill up on healthier mind food – scripture, prayer, and focused time with God!

Following along with our summer series, easy 2016? Click here for the following items:

  • Printable note to self with our mantra and scripture for the week!
  • Printable copy of this week’s EASY recipe! (Kabobs – YUMMY!)
  • Link to amazon.com to find out more about our SUPER FUN book for this month: Giddy Up, Eunice by Sophie Hudson (I mean SERIOUSLY – how could you NOT want to read a book with a title as awesome as that!)
  • And if you like music, you can click this link which will take you to another great tune from our summer song list! This week, we’re dancing along to” Nobody but You”, by Dara Maclean!

Have a great week! See you back here next Monday for some seriously FUN talk about how to play like a girl… 😉 !!

Peace, love, and JOY!!!


Speak Kindly. Please.


“If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Sound familiar?! I think this phrase may have been on a continual loop in my house growing up…especially over summer break!  You, too?!

My sister and I are two years apart. (I’m younger, by the way. Just wanted to be clear about that.)  Here’s a fun little ditty from our youth.  (I’m Miss America with the goofy grin and crown, of course; my sister, Kristin, is the gorgeous ballerina princess!)):

Kiki and Me

Now, this age difference was both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because we were developmentally close enough to play together and entertain one another growing up. It was a beautiful thing!  But sometimes,  we were ALSO mentally similar enough to cause some chaos with our words to one another if we so desired.

(Just so you know, we no longer say mean things to each other.  We’re actually quite kind and loving and have been for years.  So, for those of you wondering if your kids will EVER get along, hang in there.  It’s just a phase 😉 , I promise!)

But, man. It isn’t just siblings that use words as weapons against one another, right?  We, even as adults who know better, are capable of hurtling word daggers at anyone, given the right circumstances and atmosphere.  And contrary to that old adage about “sticks and stones”, words can cause significant harm to the spirit of another when we aren’t mindful to use them kindly.

NTS Week 2.jpg

I love how James just tells it like it is, don’t you? But I also sit in a little bit of shock as James schools us on the fact that, not only can our venomous words cause a firestorm, THEY WILL THEN TAKE US UP IN SMOKE RIGHT ALONGSIDE THEM.

In other words, we take ourselves down the same number of notches we are attempting to take another person down.

Every time we use words as weapons, our own demise is tied to (and equal to) the demise we try to inflict on someone else.

Like most other Americans, I’m bracing myself for the fall 2016 campaign season, especially as it relates to the presidential race. Regardless of which candidate you favor (if any…), I think we can all agree on this:  we will see some fiery words, accusations, and rhetoric fly.  I pray those bluntly wise words from James somehow manage to knit themselves into the hearts and spirits of all associated with the campaigns; join me in that pray?

Now, as much as James totally nails it with his truth on negative words, I’ll leave you today with a sweeter taste about the importance of what we say from the writer of Proverbs:

prov 16-24.png

(copyright French Press Mornings)

Let’s all be mindful this week of the importance of how we speak to one another. Let’s choose to be encouragers and not critics.  Let’s speak kindly, not only to others, but also to ourselves.

This week’s easy 2016 tips (click the link and you can print your own copies of everything listed below):

  • Find and display your own copy of this week’s note to self! Read it over each time you see it; talk about with your kids, your spouse, and your pals!
  • Getting a little hectic at mealtimes right now?  Pull out our list of mealtime conversation starters and get everyone talking about GOOD things!
  • Looking for a meal to serve while you’re talking kindly?  Check out this week’s delish meal suggestion and recipe !
  • Want a song to liven up your easy summer days?  Click here to listen/watch this week’s song suggestion, “Press On” by Building 429!

See you here back next week when we talk about the importance of staying hydrated… it’s easy 😉 !

Peace, love, and JOY!




Share Your Stuff (it’s easy)!


Welcome to Week 1 of easy 2016, our Summer 2016 Spirituality Series!  You can click here to find out about everything we’re doing and how to follow along with us for the next eight weeks.  This week, we’re tackling the issue of hospitality and learning to make it just a little easier to share… 😉

It’s probably the first “life skill” lesson we are taught as children: “Share your stuff.”   Learning how to share is hard work for our littles, tho!  All those bright and fabulously textured toys that fit perfectly into chubby little fists are almost impossible to give up, even if just for a few minutes!  However, with repeated reminders and opportunities to try the skill, the reward of seeing someone else happy because of a little generosity in sharing wins out over stubborn attempts to control possessions.

As we get older, sharing becomes a bit more intangible and extends beyond simple possessions. We start to learn how to graciously share space, experiences, emotions, time, and people with others.  As adults, we commonly refer to this kind of sharing as hospitality.  And to get good at it, we need to practice it, too!

NTW Week 1

Isn’t that the BEST advice: “Stay on good terms with one another, HELD TOGETHER BY LOVE”?!

How do we do that?  Hospitality.  In other words, be at the ready to extend a hand, a meal, a bed, a seat, a hug, a moment, an encouraging word…an ear. Scooch over just a smidge a make room for someone who could use a little less hard and a little more easyShare what you’ve got in the moment.

Hospitality isn’t about hosting a great party (although that IS a fabulous gift if you happen to have it!). It’s about embodying the welcoming and healing attitude of Christ when we sense the need. It isn’t about consulting Pinterest for recipes and décor ideas, making sure the house is clean, and preparing for days ahead of time before extending an invitation (even though these are good things!!!). It’s about being present and mindful in everyday moments in order to easily meet the need of another when it presents itself.

If we spend too much time preparing and waiting around for the big moments in life that we think will make the “difference”, we miss the countless opportunities God places in our everyday world to simply just get at it.  There are a million different ways to use love and kindness to change the trajectory of someone’s day and, in turn, bless your own.

Today, try living with the mindset of true, easy hospitality.  Make room on your bench for someone to sit a spell with you.  Lend a book.  Pour a drink.  Share a toy.  Hold a hand.  Whatever feels right in the moment is what you should do.  And, on those days when it’s YOU who needs a seat on the bench, trust that the angels you have helped along the way will, in turn, love on you.  That, sweet friends, is hospitality…Jesus style.

little more easy.jpg

For more on true hospitality, read Simply Tuesday, by Emily Freeman! Looking for an easy meal for tonight?!  Click here for this week’s recipe (front of recipe, back of recipe)!  Want a fun tune to get your day going?  Click here for one of our faves, “Hold Me” by Jamie Grace; you’ll be tappin’ your toes in no time!

See you right back here next week for some thoughts on using our words… for good!

Peace, love, and JOY!



We’re still taking it easy!


Did you get it yet?  Did you? Oh, I hope so!  For all you local ladies, you should’ve already received in your hot-little-hands our summer series goodie bag full of everything you need to have a faith-filled, fun, and EASY summer!  😉

Goodie Bag

Today, we are going LIVE with our Easy Page that gives you an all-access pass to pretty much everything in the goodie bag, AND tells you even more about our book suggestions, song list, and dates for our summer get-togethers!  ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS CLICK HERE!!!!

And, if you’d like to ask friends or family to join in the fabulousness of easy, just send them right here to the blog and have them click on that link above!  They can print up everything they want, as many copies as they want, until they’re walking easy street alongside us!

Don’t forget:  we start up our summer blogs on Monday, June 13th!  The blog posts will be short and sweet little ditties designed to help you understand the “Notes to Self” mantra and scripture for each week and give thoughts on how to apply God’s word to your life in easy and common sense ways!  How cool is that?!

So, what’s a good Bible study girl to do between now and then?  Well, if you have school-aged littles (or bigs!) at home, breathe deeply and hold on while you enter the end-of-year chaos!  It’s almost over… 😉 !  We’re in the throes of it with you.  The great news is God’s got your back and He’s got all this stuff covered.  If your kids are grown or you live in a kid/chaos-free house, say a prayer for us (!)!  We’ll be back here in three weeks from today with the series KICK OFF!!!

In the meantime, download your playlist, order your books (if you’d like to join us in our summer reading – remember it is totally voluntary), find a great spot for your “Notes to Self” card, and get ready to start taking it easy with us!  Enjoy the day – He created it specially for YOU!

THIS is the day the Lord has made; let’s rejoice and be glad in it TODAY!  Psalm 118:24

In other words, don’t wait for tomorrow or vacation or even better weather.  Look around and enjoy God’s goodness – his GREATNESS – today!!

Put that magnet on your car and start waving at all the other easy ladies around town!  😉  hee hee hee!

Peace, love, and JOY!