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striving for a more intentional holiday season

in inspiration

striving for a more intentional holiday season | heartnatured.com

I have already heard it from a handful of friends, Here comes the busy months! or Our calendar is already so full. or How will we do everything?

All good, beautiful things! My heart is feeling this tug, though, as I look ahead to our own holiday plans, to be more intentional with my choices and my attitude.

What are a few ways I can make it a little simpler? And with simplicity, even sweeter?

Focus on the real meaning of the season

Thanksgiving – gratitude for all of God’s many gifts. And if it’s been a season of hardship, then thanks for His person, life in Christ, and the fresh mercies for us every single day. Jesus born as a child, a beautiful image of humility. Coming to live a perfect, sinless life, to then die on a cross, taking God’s wrath in our place, to later rise from the dead, giving us new life in God. Father, help me not get caught up in the spending and decorating, the planning and rushing. Give me eyes to see Your beauty and glory. 

Plan simpler gifts

I am not that great of a gift giver. You need encouragement, prayer, or a pep talk? I’m your girl. Gifts? Not my strong suit. But, in this aim for simplicity, I’ve already started a list of gift ideas for family members and friends. Thinking a little more in advance give me freedom, and time for creativity, and also time to save and set aside money for said gifts. On the other hand, I’ve found how much I love to create unique things for people…  giving small pieces of myself, your time and energy and joy.

Be thoughtful and honest with our schedule

For me, a full schedule says lots of time with the people I enjoy — not at all a bad thing. But maybe we give ourselves grace, and choose to attend only the parties, events or gatherings that mean the most to us. Give ourselves permission to slow down and stay in with a cozy blanket, a crackling fire and our favorite Christmas movie once in a while. While sometimes I find myself wanting to do everything, be everywhere and see everyone during this time, I remind myself, and you, it’s also okay to say no.

Read more…

words: sabbath

in inspiration

words: sabbath | heartnatured.com

We strongly need to see the manifest hand of God in what we are and what we do. We need to be sure He is pulling the load, bearing the burden—which we are all too ready to assume is up to us alone. We must understand that He is in charge of the outcome of our efforts, and that the outcome will be good, right. And all of this is encompassed in one biblical term, “Sabbath.”

Sabbath is a way of life. (Heb. 4:3 & 9-11) It sets us free from bondage to our own efforts. Only in this way can we come to the power and joy of a radiant life in ministry, a blessing to all we touch.

Dallas Willard
photo via unsplash

What I’m Listening To | No. 4

in inspiration

Happy Wednesday, friends! It’s still high of 84 here, but I’m pulling strong for cooler weather. Below are a few things that have been filling my car on commutes, earbuds during workouts, speakers while I work.

ESV App Audio Bible

I have started listening to the Bible when I drive or walk around the neighborhood, and it’s been amazing! Refreshing. Like a blanket of God’s words around me, filling the air and breathing new energy.

Burnt Toast – Food52 Podcast

Favorites: What We Cook When We Don’t Feel Like Cooking and Fat Isn’t Bad, Stupid is Bad

Bethel Music – You Are My One Thing

I have been inspired and drawn to worship of God with these videos of their live music set.

Let It Out – Katie Dalebout

Her podcast is like talking with a friend; she is relatable and friendly and gives good advice. She’s also a journaler, so it was a quick ‘in’ for me.

I Am Second – Chip and Joanna Gaines

Not necessarily a listen, but I loved this look into their upbringing, life, and love for the Lord.

What I'm Listening To | heartnatured.com

words: holiness

in inspiration

unsplash“What immediately leaps to our mind when we see the word holiness?” asks Dane. “Austerity. Coldness. Grim-faced. Jaw-set. In one of his early sermons Edwards says, ‘Holiness is a most beautiful, lovely thing. Men are apt to drink in strange notions of holiness from their childhood as if it were a melancholy, morose, sour thing.’ But Edwards says there is nothing in holiness but what is sweet and ravishingly lovely. Sin is mire and filth. Holiness is sweet, lovely, delightful, serene, calm. That corrects me. Holiness is calming. It is the only route by which I can actually enjoy my life, because I am not delighting in the world’s fraudulent offers of happiness. Holiness is quietly thrilling. Where else would you want to live but in the brightness of holiness?” Desiring God

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