New Year Simplicity

The first month of a new year is almost history. How are your New Year’s Resolutions working out for you? Yeah, mine too. I always tend to overcomplicate things with lists and goals and checklists. I’m already longing for simplicity in the new year. Fortunately, I had the privilege of hearing my amazing sister and best girlfriend, Rev. Christina Hildebrand, preach on January first. I love what she shared and I wanted to share it with you. (She said I could!) If you’re weary from working on your resolutions, rest in the embrace of God’s grace instead.

New Year Simplicity, from Resolution to Rest

New Year Simplicity

The New Year is upon us! It is the biggest – “I’m starting my diet today” day of the year.

Treadmills are on sale at sporting goods stores. There are coupons for low-fat yogurt, brown rice, quinoa, and chia seeds, and I have officially received my postcard in the mail inviting me to join WeightWatchers for a special January discount price.

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Most Popular Posts for 2016

As 2016 draws to a close and 2017 approaches, it’s enjoyable to watch our highlight reels from the year we’re wrapping up. This has been another incredibly busy year, but even with all the flurry of keeping a family of 10 on the rails, I’ve managed to post 65 times in 2016. Not too bad! There would have been more, but I’ve taken several breaks from blogging to concentrate on my book.

Most Popular Posts 2016

I found it interesting that most of the Top 10 from 2015 are still some of the most popular posts with my readers. For this list, I only included posts I published in 2016. So here are your favorite posts from this past year. Enjoy rereading the ones you liked and catch up on the ones you missed.

Most Popular Posts of 2016

#1 I wrote How to Help Your Teen Become a Responsible Adult for the Life of a Homeschool Mom blog. In it, I share about balancing boundaries and freedom with your teen. We currently have two teenagers and one almost-teen in the house, so this is a relevant topic for our family. Our oldest has successfully navigated into adulthood.

#2 Which leads me to the second favorite, When Your Boy Becomes a Man. I wrote this on the eve of my eldest son’s 18th birthday. It was another post I never meant to write. I’m always surprised how the spontaneous posts are the ones the readers like the best. (The ones I invest my whole self into often go mostly unread. There’s a lesson for me in there somewhere!)

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The Wonder of Christmas

Have you lost some of your wonder of Christmas in the busy-ness of your preparations?

The Wonders of Christmas: Rescuing the Holy from the Ho-Hum and Redeeming the Miraculous from the Mundane

We’ve all heard the Christmas story before, and our familiarity with it can cause us to be complacent. If we’re not careful, we will rush past the nativity and plow through our holiday preparations, forgetting to make room for the One we’re supposedly celebrating. Sadly, somewhere in the midst of the wrappings and lights, we’ve allowed the holy to become the ho-hum and the miraculous to be reduced to the mundane.

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Building Relationships That Last

In any interaction with other people, hurt feelings, disagreements, and personal failures are inevitable. The key to building relationships that last is not avoiding conflicts or problems, but knowing how to respond to them.

Three simple keys to building relationships that last

As a family of 10, we have plenty of opportunities to practice skills of reconciliation and recommitment. It is a normal part of our everyday life, but I am amazed at how many adults lack these basic relational skills.

The model we have taught our children, though simple, is very effective for restoring damaged relationships. If you can learn to communicate these three messages with sincerity and love, you will be better equipped to develop and maintain meaningful relationships in your life.

I’ve written an article for Wisdom Ninja today. You can read the rest of this post here

See Also: Meant for Community

3 Keys to Lasting Relationships

It’s Your Turn!

Wow! What an incredible month this has been. My keyboard has been on fire trying to keep up with writing every day for 31 days straight.

It's your turn! Tell us what you think.

Thank you for joining me on this adventure. Kudos to those who stuck with me til the end! I appreciate you allowing me to speak into your life and encourage your walk with God.

We’ve spent a whole month digging deep into the meaning of The Lord’s Prayer and we have only scratched the surface. I have learned so much about prayer since I started this project. How about you?

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My Prayer Playlist

Music to Inspire Your Prayers

Music is a gift God has given us to facilitate our communion with Him. Many songs are actually prayers paired with a melody. Today, I want to share my prayer playlist with you.

My prayer playlist ~ songs to accompany prayers

I have chosen several songs to accompany each section of your prayer guide. If you haven’t downloaded your copy yet, you get yours here.

These songs are all meaningful to me personally and I regularly use them as part of my personal time with God. Listen to the playlist and see if you find a few new gems you haven’t heard yet.

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Pray Continually

Do you ever wonder what God’s will is for you? Here it is! He spells it out plainly. Rejoice, pray and be thankful all the time no matter what. Easy.

Rejoice always. Pray continually. Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 5:26-18

Well, easy to say and understand. Difficult to do and completely impossible without His grace and power. Like chess, this trio of responses takes minutes to learn and a lifetime to master. Better get started today!

While You Wait for God

We live a fast-paced world of instant internet and drive-through dinners. When we cast our deepest longings heavenward, we want to see God start making everything fall into place immediately. But He refuses to submit to our schedule. His timing is perfect, but often confusing to us. We only see a tiny part, like looking through the keyhole. He sees the whole room, the building it’s in, and everything beyond that. It can be frustrating when we have to wait for God.

While you wait for God, hear His heart for you.

We must keep in mind that He always has excellent reasons for asking us to wait. We are the impatient child wanting to eat our cake now. He is the loving parent who refuses to serve us something half-baked. God won’t present us with what He’s prepared for us until it’s just right.

So, if you’re in a time of waiting for God, please don’t entertain any thoughts that He’s holding out on you. He just has to make sure the center is done on the big batch of awesomeness He’s cooking up for you. Instead, listen to His heart for you while you wait:

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“Amen” is not “The End”

Pray Without Ceasing!

When you pray, leave it all in God’s hands knowing this is not the end. “Amen” doesn’t mean “the end”. It means “so be it”. This is your word of relinquishment. You’ve given your concerns over to Him and you no longer need to carry the burden of them. But don’t stop praying! Your morning quiet time is just a springboard to launch into a prayer-filled day.

Amen is not the end. Keep praying!

Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.
~ Isaiah 65:24

This is what you’re really saying when you say, “Amen”:

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Forever

We are wrapping up with the final section of the Lord’s Prayer today. “For yours in the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.” I could write so much about those four key words: kingdom, power, glory, and forever. There are TONS of rich verses on each of these. But we are running out of time and space for this particular series, so I’m going to keep it short today. Here are seven awesome verses about forever.

God is infinite. Praise Him forever!

We cannot even begin to wrap our minds around what forever really means. Our thoughts can’t stretch that far without snapping. Don’t just plow through these verses and move on to the next cool thing on the internet. Take some time to really THINK about how huge God is and how small your problems are in comparison to Him. Praise Him with His own words!

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