Blooming + The Art and Discipline of Simplicity (GIVEAWAY)

Processed with VSCOcam So, there are few things on the internet that I love more than a good, solid quotation. But like that old school game of telephone, sometimes in the pinning and re-pinning, tweeting and retweeting, the truth can morph a little bit. Words get mixed up, and even the origin of the quote can get confused (John Green can tell you all about this here).

That is what is said to have happened with this quotation, originally spoken by José Micard Teixeira, and made popular by Meryl Streep:

“I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me.

I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate. I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise. I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I do not adjust either to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparisons. I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities. In friendship I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement. Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals. And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience.”

As a pretty voracious reader, I have loved many quotations over the years, but when I read this one for the first time, with Meryl's picture, my jaw dropped. What must it be like to move through life with that kind of confidence?

I'm learning that my ability to maintain a life of simplicity is directly correlated to my confidence. 

The truth is, I've never seen myself as a very confident person, but I crave a more simple life -- simplicity in my house, in my closet, in my body, in how I choose to spend my time, in my online space, and in my soul. And just like learning to play the trumpet, learning to live simply is a discipline. It takes practice.

And who has time to practice? 

Confession: I am not a color coded day planner wielding kind of girl. But with the month of March being filled to the brim, and my tendency towards anxiety, I figured now might be a good time to start.

I've been reading Lysa TerKeurst's book The Best Yes, where she writes that there are 168 hours in a week, and how God's call on our lives isn't to cram our calendars, but to slow down so that we can discern what is truly the best use of our resources.

It really isn't difficult to say no to what we know is not a good use of our resources -- what's difficult is saying to to the good things so that we can make room for the best things. And there are a lot of good things that we can fill our days with. But Lysa writes that "never is a woman so fulfilled as when she chooses to underwhelm her schedule so she can let God overwhelm her soul.”

Sure, there are some nonnegotiable things that need to get done that don't necessarily bring us joy or fulfillment -- but I've found that I have been lazy with the rest of the resources that I've been given. In my painful lack of confidence and discipline, I have blatantly chosen things that don't bring me joy.

We've been going through a study on wellness at church, and in true God fashion, he has used it to reveal the things in my life that really prevent me from claiming wellness in my soul. In my haste to do so many things, I have been broken.

We hoard and become anxious because we fear that God won't provide. And the truth is, there are not enough hours in the day to do everything -- but there are enough hours for everything that really matters. Lord, help us to be mindful of the things that matter. 

So every Monday in March, I'll be writing about simplicity in a different area of my life, and I hope that you'll consider joining me.

And now, a giveaway!

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Come as you are (and a GIVEAWAY).

I've been learning a lot recently about hospitality. My friend Lindsey and I often joke about how we are not "pin-able." We don't post DIY projects or have home tours on our blogs. We work with words, and at the end of the day, we just pray that the dishes get done. Last week, I had to wash the same load of laundry three times because I had let it sour -- and don't even get me started on the ring around the bath tub, because it seems to be here to stay. home We have this idea that in order to be hospitable, everything must be perfect. There must be garland and a gallery wall and the aroma of fresh baked goods. We think that we must be perfect. But I'm discovering that it really doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful.

I look around my sweet friend Amy's home. Two decades worth of marriage and babies, one of which has been spent nestled in our sleepy north Georgia mountains. Tonight she has stoked the fire and opened her doors to a group of women for the second time. There is red velvet cake on the island in the kitchen, and the kettle whistles anxiously. I watch and listen as Amy speaks, her voice dripping with sweet grace, and I can't help but feel a sense of peace whenever I'm around her. I can feel her warmth, her joy, radiating from across the room.

And at one point, I gather up my courage and ask, so you just decided to do this for all of us? Her eyes sparkle. "Yes." She tells me that she loves having people in her home, and that if she had her way, she would never leave.

What I've realized is that true hospitality isn't about how many times your home tour will be pinned. It isn't even about red velvet cake (although, we could probably make a pretty compelling argument for this one).

Hospitality is creating space for people to come as they are.

Over coffee and crafts, Amy tells me that she still struggles with wanting to be all the things. Lindsey chimes in about the inevitable disappointment that takes over when she is overlooked for something -- even when it comes to the things she knows she doesn't have time to do. Leaning into the moment, I said that it must be God's grace that we are not chosen to do all the things.

It was His mercy, His loving-kindness, that sent Christ to hit the mark in our stead -- and yet even the physical person of Jesus did not heal every sick person. Sometimes He simply gives us strength to bear our crosses with grace.

He invites us to come as we are and and find rest for our weary and busted up souls.

He is still Emmanuel, God with us. 


With the coming of December, we've entered the season of advent. The word advent simply means the arrival. As we anticipate His coming, our hearts are heavy. We yearn for the day when every tear will be wiped away. We have learned to survive in a culture of scarcity. We live every man for himself, slaving away to build the tallest towers. We try to do enough to make enough to be enough. We want to be all the things.

And Christ offers us rest. He offers an invitation to cease striving. He offers us a life of that which we were made for. All of Him is more than enough for all of us.

That, my friends, is revolutionary.


Some dear friends of mine made this for you, and I'd love to send it to you, all wrapped up in time for Christmas.


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A Release: Coming to the Altar

I first met Aliza when she became a writer for (in)courage. I'm so thankful that out of the hundreds of applications submitted, hers was among the group selected. Aliza is an aspiring artist, dreamer, and adventurer who is learning the grace that she is enough just as she is, and believes that you are enough, too.  In 2013, Aliza traveled to Rwanda, where she fell in love with blogging, Africa, and Jesus. Now, she is spreading cheer and sweet caffeine as a barista, and making the prettiest words you ever did see. She is a gorgeous hope spreader, an encourager, and the dearest of friends to me. I'm thrilled to welcome her to the blog today, and honored by her words.

Text by Aliza Latta:

I'm preparing myself to come to the altar, and a mixture of fear and apprehension sit in the pit of my stomach.

As I ready myself to begin the journey, my offering tucked tightly within my folded arms, I'm aware of the knowledge that a sacrifice is looming shortly ahead, and the truth of the matter is, I've never been one to find surrender easy.

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I place my offering on the altar that has been built for me - my disappointments, my shame, my feelings of not-enough. They all get plopped down with a heavy thud.

I'm wary, looking at them. I'm wondering if maybe these offerings aren't...right. I'd like to give Jesus my talents or gifts or glory, but at the moment, these measly insecurities are all I have to extend heavenward.

In Coming to the Altar, with a way that is both elegant and refreshing, Erin gently explains and assures us that we are home, we are safe, and we are loved by a Father who accepts us as we are. There is no need for striving, nor perfection, nor having it all together. Erin says that "even in our mess and waywardness, [God] longs to commune with us. He is jealous for our affection, spread thin in so many other places."

As I read Coming to the Altar, I felt a sense of utter rest. Erin talks about how this is the word she has chosen for her year, and how ironic it is that we must choose to take rest. But Erin makes this choice easy, with her poetic and enlivening prose.

Erin encourages us to find "deep, soul joy," and after reading Coming to the Altar, I believe that I can.

So now, I look at my altar, my offerings displayed vast and large across it. And I know that my altar is unnecessary now. I don't have to sacrifice myself, because Jesus has already sacrificed himself for me. And in that sacrifice, he displayed the greatest act of love ever known, and with that love I can rest in this: I am home, I am safe, I am enough.

Read Coming to the Altar. You won't regret it.


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