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…

falling for autumn

in creative

Autumn is my time. I am most radiant and full of energy when the leaves are falling and there is a ghost of change in the air. The Iris Diaries

I compiled a “happy Fall” mood board for myself and decided to share it here. Hope you are excited for the season also, friends!

falling for autumn | heartnatured.com

Food | Accessories | Colors | Cookies | Decor | Candles

television is losing its lure

in faith

“Idolatry is when you become the source of your own joy. Poverty of spirit is a wonderful thing.” Paul Washer

I’m pretty sure I’ve been slightly addicted to television. Or maybe not television, but the comfort of having my attention satisfied.

I could hardly be in silence.

Whether I was exercising, cleaning, creating, I almost needed a movie or show going. Or thought I needed. I had to be entertained.

It was almost like I couldn’t survive in the quiet, or the seemingly boring.

This, in turn, if I’m honest, made me mentally weak. In exercise, when I was tired, in making disciplined choices. It caused me to be distracted more easily when I was cleaning, to stop and watch for a few minutes at a time.

The worst part was that my mind became consumed with images of tv shows or movies, and I didn’t have much clarity of thought. Then, Holy Spirit started working something beautiful in me: a real treasuring of God, a real admiration for humanity.

Slowly, worldly entertainment began to lose its luster. I would turn on tv shows, get 15 minutes in, and be bored with the show! I’d even grumble about it.

Before, I thought the tv was a solution to my boredom. Now, I’m almost bored watching the tv!

There is a longing growing within me for deeper things. For sweeter things. I yearn for that which fills me up and refreshes me. Books, prayer, music, time outside, conversations with friends.

Isn’t it amazing? God has changed me.

I still have shows I enjoy watching. And movies are a way J and I unwind. But the unnecessary tv noise? It numbs me. I don’t like how I feel afterwards.

There is a quote by Paul Washer that I found relevant…

Avoid trivial pursuits. You are a child of God, destined for glory, and called to do great things in His Name…. Do not throw away the precious moments of your life on entertainment, movies, and video games. Though some of these things can properly have a ‘small place’ in the Christian’s life, we must be careful not to give undue attention to temporal and fruitless activities. Do not waste your life. Employ the time of your youth in developing the character and skills necessary to be a useful servant of God.

These are strong words. I definitely don’t think entertainment is bad in and of itself, but I had made it an ultimate thing.. an activity I turned to first for satisfaction and inspiration.

The more I sought His face, the more I asked for Him to change the desires of my heart, He did. Conviction set in, why are you looking for a seemingly constant but actually very flat joy in this television entertainment? When you know exactly Who the source of all true and never-ending joy and happiness? 

It’s just me though. If you love watching Netflix for hours, and you and Jesus are rocking and rolling, I’m happy with and for you!

But I needed a change. A change that greatly affected my soul, and my intimacy with my Father.

Praise Him. 

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

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