An Inspired Life: One-Day eBook SALE!

booksandcocoa

I don’t know about you, but when the days start getting colder, my reading list starts getting longer! Here’s what I’ve been adding to the list lately:

In celebration of books, the coziness the winter months bring, (AND to kick off your holiday week with a little extra inspiration), I’m offering a special discount today on my book An Inspired Life. Enter the code GETINSPIRED at checkout to save 25% off your purchase.

eBookCover

An Inspired Life will encourage you to reflect on the past year, be present in your current moments, and dream big with Him in the new year ahead.

KH.B.44

So, snag your copy today, grab your favorite mug and cozy beverage (lately, I’m partial to peppermint mochas!), and join me on an adventure to live fully and creatively for the Lord.

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

Advertisements

On My Bookshelf: Bread & Wine (A Review)

The heart of hospitality is about creating space for someone to feel seen and heard and loved.

I love that Shauna Niequist’s words do that — that they create a space of warmth and honesty for her reader, a place to feel understood, connected.

bread&wine_cover_art

Shauna’s newest book, Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table, is another beautifully written collection of stories that are an honest and true reflection of the way God works in our hearts and the ways in which we discover more of who He is and who He created us to be.

I read Bread & Wine in much the same way as Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet — cozily curled up with a pen or a pencil, so I could underline and star and make little notes.

Reading Shauna’s words makes me want to be braver and more vulnerable in my own writing. Her words inspire courage and a true love for life. And they softly carry grace, too, which is a gift.

As I read my way through each story and recipe, I was reminded of my own desires to live with gratitude, to nourish and nurture the community I’ve been blessed with, and to trust — really trust — this story God is writing for me.

One of my favorite paragraphs in the book comes from the chapter entitled Enough, where Shauna writes these inspiring words:

I want to cultivate a deep sense of gratitude, of groundedness, of enough, even while I’m longing for more. The longing and the gratitude, both. I’m practicing believing that God knows more than I know, that He sees what I can’t, that He’s weaving a future I can’t even imagine from where I sit this morning.

I read those words, and with a sigh, thought, yes, exactly.

How wonderful it is when an author pens the very words our own hearts could have written, the very words our own hearts need to read.

And then there are the recipes.

I’m already excited to bless my women’s group with Shauna’s Breakfast Cookies, when we gather on a Saturday morning soon with our coffee, hot chocolate, and open hearts.

And I’m making plans for some of the others, as well.

I can see myself making the Blueberry Crisp, as I finally welcome spring — a sweet taste of the summer to come. I’m sure the Breakfast Quinoa will become a staple (both for breakfast and dinner), and I’m quite looking forward to adding a few goat cheese crumbles to the pan the next time I whip up a batch of scrambled eggs.

I’m also certain this will be a book I read again and again — just like Shauna’s other books. A book that’s scribbled in and underlined and well-loved — the very best kind of book, if you ask me.

* * *

Bread & Wine goes on sale April 9, but you can pre-order your copy, here.

P.S. If you read Bread & Wine, I’d love to hear what you think (and what you cook!).

shauna1

Shauna Niequist is the author of Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet, and Bread & Wine. Shauna grew up in Barrington, Illinois, and then studied English and French Literature at Westmont College in Santa Barbara. She is married to Aaron, who is a pianist and songwriter. Aaron is a worship leader at Willow Creek and is recording a project called A New Liturgy. Aaron & Shauna live outside Chicago with their sons, Henry and Mac. Shauna writes about the beautiful and broken moments of everyday life—friendship, family, faith, food, marriage, love, babies, books, celebration, heartache, and all the other things that shape us, delight us, and reveal to us the heart of God.

* * *

{Many thanks to Zondervan for providing me with an advanced reader copy.}

Insta-Moments From My Week

{1.} Took myself on a little coffee shop/bookstore date on my birthday.
{2.} This scripture’s been speaking to me. He’s teaching me how to be fearless.
{3.} Bright and happy birthday flowers from a friend.
{4.} Hot pink shoes + polka-dot pants—perfect attire for celebrating the upcoming wedding of one of my closest friends.

I’m delighted tomorrow is Friday. I have plans to do a little antiquing this weekend, but I’m also just ready for a little rest + coziness. I’ve been collecting some yummy fall recipes, here, and I think it might be the perfect weekend to make soup.

What little moments have made you smile this week?

29 Things

{ photo credits from left to right, top to bottom: 1. mosaic by Designlovefest 2. Elizabeth Kartchner 3. A Beautiful Mess; photo collage design by me }

I’m about to begin the last year of my twenties (eeek!). And I have a pretty ambitious 29 Things list! ;) But I really want to embrace this year. I feel like I’m at such a good place right now…confident in the direction I’m heading, in the prayers I’m praying, and the growth I’m seeing.

I want to keep being brave and bold in my pursuit of the Lord and in my pursuit of becoming even more of the woman He created me to be.

Now…on to the list! ;)

  1. Write, design, and publish my eBook.
  2. Be an active participant of She Reads Truth.
  3. Begin each day in prayer (on my knees). Pray for increased faith every day.
  4. Continue to pray boldly. Commit to another 40 days of prayer.
  5. Read Kate Morton’s new book, The Secret Keeper.
  6. Visit a dear friend in California.
  7. Eat brunch at a local French cafe.
  8. Take my artwork to the local coffee shop who said they’d be interested in displaying/selling it.
  9. Start doing more hand lettering.
  10. Attend a creative conference like Luminous or Alt Summit. Take a Blogshop class.
  11. Purchase vintage-inspired specs.
  12. Read Blog, Inc.
  13. Further develop my brand: Create a media kit for my blog, and pursue some new partnerships/opportunities/collaborations.
  14. Pitch my writing/artwork to a few publications I’ve been dreaming to work with.
  15. Start using the manual settings on my camera.
  16. Learn how to shoot and edit video for my blog.
  17. Save for and invest in a new laptop.
  18. Be more involved in the local art/design/writing community.
  19. Attend Weapons of Mass Creation again. Go to more sessions. Hear more music.
  20. Participate in a 5K like this one.
  21. Wear polka-dotted pants.
  22. Serve the local community with my church through art/creativity.
  23. Learn how to create in Illustrator.
  24. Eat fewer processed foods and more fresh in-season foods.
  25. Try at least one new recipe every month.
  26. Watch the first season of Mad Men—AND finally host that Mad-Men-inspired soiree?
  27. Explore my city more — visit one new place (restaurant/shop/area) every season—and take plenty of pictures/videos of my adventures for the blog! ;)
  28. Go on a fall picnic (with hot apple cider, of course!).
  29. See more live music shows! (Fingers crossed The Civil Wars will come back to the area!)

Lots of creating to come in this next year (and lots of travel, too!). :)

I’m excited to see all God has in store, and I’m excited to continue learning and growing even stronger in my walk with Him.

I want to live this life as fully and creatively as I can, giving thanks for each and every beautiful blessing. 

Inspired City: Fall Library Date

I love library dates.

I love wandering around, row after row, searching for new books to read. It’s one of my favorite ways to spend a slow, relaxing Saturday. I think I might be happiest when I’m surrounded by books. ;)

I don’t know about you, but even though it’s only Wednesday, I’m already thinking ahead to this weekend. If you have the time, I encourage you to treat yourself to a fall library date. Pick up your favorite fall-inspired drink, and head to your local library. Take your time. Look at all the books on display for reading inspirations, wander up and down the rows, and see what you discover. You never know, you might just find your new favorite author or book!

Happy searching! :)

P.S. 

I’ve already been compiling my fall reading list.

Here’s what’s on it so far:

Love Does by Bob Goff (currently reading!)

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

Blog, Inc. by Meg Mateo Ilasco and Joy Deangdeelert Cho

What about you? What’s on your list?

{photos by LuSarah SEAS}

She Reads Truth ~ On Prayer & Surrender

I’m on Day 11 of the two She Reads Truth plans I’m working through: Prayer and Living the Surrendered Life. So far, I am taking away SO MUCH good stuff. Being a part of this online community has truly impacted my morning time with the Lord.

AND the two studies come at a perfect time for me, since this summer I was already focusing quite a bit on prayer and surrender in my life. :)

I wanted to share with you all some of the things God’s been laying on my heart, as I’ve read through the selected scripture and spent some time journaling each morning.

A few thoughts on prayer and surrender:

  • God wants us to come before Him honestly, sharing our hearts with him and telling Him how we feel and what we need.
  • God wants us to pray BOLDLY and PERSISTENTLY.
  • God gives His Best to those who leave the choice up to Him. (Whew! That’s a hard one for me to wrap my heart around sometimes. I have to actively surrender and stop trying to control everything!) ;)
  • True surrender begins with TRUST. I’ve been asking myself this question: How deep is my trust in Him and in His plan for my life?
  • God is glorified through our times of waiting. He will receive glory if we do not waver in our faith. This spoke so much to me, as I’m right in the middle of my 40 Days of Prayer. I felt encouraged to keep praying boldly, honestly, and passionately for those things I believe the Lord has laid on my heart.
  • God will always give us The Holy Spirit when we ask, and the Holy Spirit guides and directs us in prayer. It allows us to be God’s witnesses and helps us to know who and what to pray for.
  • One of the scripture passages in the Surrender plan was Proverbs 3:5-6 (some of my very favorite verses!). Each day, I read both the NIV and Message translations. Here’s the Message translation for those verses: Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the One who will keep you on track. This is a promise from the Lord. We can be sure of this: If we first trust in Him, listening to His voice and not trying to manipulate our own paths, He will keep us on the right path, the one that’s in accordance with His will. That brings me a lot of comfort.
  • It’s important to keep trusting and following Him, even when we don’t understand where He’s leading. He rarely reveals more than a step at a time, but we can bravely follow wherever He leads, because our trust is in Him.

Honestly, I could keep writing and writing on these two topics, but this is becoming a book, so I’ll wrap it up. ;)

As a result of these plans, I’ve been finding so much encouragement to keep growing in the areas of prayer and surrender, and I’m so thankful for that. If you’re a part of She Reads Truth, I’d love to hear about what you’ve been learning. And if you’re not already part of the She Reads Truth community, check it out and think about joining in! :)

I’ll be back later with a few photos from my weekend and a few short updates on my e-book (yay!). It’s been a really good weekend of refreshment, renewal, and creative brainstorming. I really needed it.

Hope your weekend has been wonderful!

Women Praying Boldly: 40 Days of Prayer

It’s been quite a while since I posted a Women Praying Boldly update.

And honestly, I’ve debated quite a bit about whether or not I should post this one, because sometimes, sharing honestly and openly is scary. It’s hard to be vulnerable and transparent about what’s going on in our hearts.

But then I thought, if this can be an encouragement to even just one woman, then it’s worth being brave about. It’s worth sharing and writing truthfully.

So, here we go… :)

As I’ve been reading The Circle Maker and growing in my prayer life, I’ve felt challenged to devote 40 days to prayer—specifically for my future husband/desire to be part of a marriage that brings glory to the Lord.

Beginning on June 25, I made a list of prayers/scripture that have been heavy on my heart, and I started circling those prayers and promises from God.

So far, every single day, I’ve prayed through them.

Even when I’m tired.

Even when my doubt feels bigger than my faith.

And those prayers have already affected my heart.

They make me feel more connected to God and to the unexplainable hope I have for marriage.

And I like praying for my future husband, because it makes me feel closer to him, even though I have no idea who he is! ;) I want to be a prayer partner for him when we get married, so it makes sense to start now, to be lifting him up every day and praying for him, his dreams, and his walk with the Lord.

I want to be a blessing to him even now.

It is my hope that these prayers will begin a foundation for us, and that the Lord will use them for His glory.

And one last little thing just for fun…

I recently stumbled upon these adorable “My Better Half” interviews over at Amanda Jane Jone’s blog. They are so sweet and quirky and cute, and they really reflect my own hopes to marry a man who will be my best friend.

A man I’ll be better for the Kingdom with.

A man I can be silly with and creative with.

And a man I can grow with, learn with, and create a life story with — one that we’ll fill with our own unique traditions, moments, and memories.

Amazing Things

{artwork by Mary Kate McDevitt}

I’m reading The Circle Maker, and one of the things I’m learning is the importance of trusting in and praying over God’s promises.

One of the promises He’s placed on my heart recently is what He promised through Joshua:

Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.”

So, so good, right? :)

Something I used to think about, journal about, and pray about often is this: I am living every day in anticipation, ever thankful for His faithfulness.

God’s promise in Joshua is just the reminder I needed to keep living life that way.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I do know that God is good and He does amazing things.

A Heart That Trusts

I’ve been reading a lot lately — taking in as many beautiful words as I can.

And in the midst of all those words and stories, God’s been speaking to me.

His main message? Trust.

I finished One Thousand Gifts this weekend, and I feel like I could keep going back and rereading so many of the pages (which I’m doing a bit of this afternoon, as a matter of fact, as I write this blog).

The author, Ann Voskamp, writes such challenging and inspirational words about trust an area of my faith that I feel God is really challenging me in this season. It’s tough work — this pruning, this teaching that He’s doing in my heart and in my life, but I believe the fruit of it will push me even closer to Him and give me bold courage to follow wherever He leads.

I liked that in One Thousand Gifts, Ann talks about trust being work, taking action, taking discipline: Believe is a verb, something that you do. Then the truth is that authentic, saving belief must also be? The very real, everyday action of trusting. Then a true saving faith is a faith that gives thanks, a faith that sees God, a faith that deeply trusts?

And she says that our daily work must be to trust, referencing John 6:29 AMP — Jesus replied, This is the work (service) that God asks of you: that you believe in the One Whom He has sent [that you cleave to, trust, rely on, and have faith in His Messenger]. She then writes: To trust in the Son, to trust in the wisdom of this moment, to trust in the now. And trust is that: work. The work of trusting love. Intentional and focused.

I think about how my trust in God has ebbed and flowed during the last few months. How I’ve questioned Him and wrestled with Him a bit over various circumstances I’ve found myself navigating.

But like Ann, I believe this, too:  I know my supreme need is joy in God, and I know I can’t experience deep joy in God until I deep trust in God.

Trust is everythingshe writes.

I think she’s right.

Her main focus of the book is the practice of eucharisteo (giving thanks), hence the book’s title One Thousand Gifts. And in her chapter specifically about trust, she connects the two beautifully.

I am changing, deep changing, and I am giving thanks, doing eucharisteo and eucharisteo is eureka, and I know why there’s no fear and why had I never seen it before?

Thanks is what builds trust.

Such a simple sentence with such immense meaning. Thanks is what builds trust.

She goes on to write:
How do you count on life when the hopes don’t add up?

The hopes don’t have to add up. The blessings do.

Count blessings and discover Who can be counted on.

* * *

I’m going to continue to count my own blessings and share them, here.

And as I abide in Him, and He in me, I look forward to discovering more of who He is and more of what He has planned for me.

{Imagine the Possibilities artwork by Penelope Dullaghan from the book Desire to Insire}

Giving Thanks

This week, my heart is thankful for:

Adventuring in New York City
Delicious chocolate samples (and that heavenly chocolate smell!) at the Brooklyn-based chocolate factory Mast Brothers
Dining outdoors (cute, quirky cafes are my favorite)
Visiting the Brooklyn Art Library (and reuniting with my sketchbook!)
Coffee and pain au chocolat (Le Pain Quotidien is amazing!)
The grandeur and timeless charm of the New York Public Library
Finding THE PERFECT pair of new specs—fingers crossed I can find them now that I’m back home! ;)
Scribbled notes while reading
Waking up to sunshine
The often hard, but very necessary practice of eucharisteo (giving thanks) and what it’s doing in my heart

P.S. These are the dream specs mentioned above that I found during my travels. I’m currently checking to see if I can order them now that I’m back home… What do you think? :)