Top 5 Blogs of 2017: Reader’s Choice

What a year 2017 has been! It was a year of changes and celebrations for our family. With the birth of our first grandson, Phil and I became GiGi and Pops. And with the High School graduation of our youngest son and his move to college, we also became empty nesters. Talk about big changes!

When I think about this past year and the changes we’ve seen, I am thankful that one thing will always be true from year to year – the faithfulness of God. He is so good!

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And you know what else I’m thankful for? You! Maybe you have been joining me here on the blog for a long time, or perhaps we’ve only recently begun having java together. Either way, your presence here is a gift and encouragement to me. So together, my java friends, let’s take time to look back on the blog posts that you shared most in 2017.

And if something you read today inspires or encourages you, pass it on to someone else who may need it. Simply click on the title to read the post. Ok, sister, here we go!

Sip of Christmas Java – Plus My Wassail Recipe

Well, hey there! Instead of a venti size of java, I thought I would serve up just a shot this week. I just wanted to share some love with you – plus my favorite Christmas recipe!

So, I paused from munching on some dark chocolate-covered pomegranates and sipping some Harry and David’s Chocolate Peppermint coffee to hang out with you for a bit. Thanks for pausing to join me for some Christmas java!

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I’ve been wrapping gifts – actually, I’ve stuffed them into the crumpled gift bags I saved from last year! And, girl, I’m loving Christmas songs by Kathy Troccoli and Michael O’Brien while I breathe in the warm cinnamon fragrance of the wassail simmering in the crockpot. Sister, it tastes as good as it smells.

A Prayer to Help Your Heart Prepare Him Room

I bet your world is full of holiday hustle about now, right? Christmas is just a few days away and your life may be crammed with parties and wrapping and baking and caroling and shopping and traveling… and… uh…. deep breath… and more wrapping and more baking and… okay, that’s enough!!

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I need to stop and breathe. Do you? I mean, I – we — need to stop and breathe in the beauty, the meaning, the radical impact of Christmas. So, I wrote a simple prayer to center me, and maybe it will help you, too.

Why You Can Stop and Smell the Roses This Christmas

I’ve got an old mason jar tucked away in my jewelry chest. Some of my most precious possessions are inside.

Now, if you saw it, you may think the jar is full of dried up, tired, mismatched potpourri, all different shades of faded brown and gray — not very attractive! But I’ve been intentional about what I have put in this jar for the last 30 years.

To me, this old mason jar is beautiful.

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Within the antique blue glass are the petals from the first roses Phil gave me on Valentine’s Day when we were dating. Mixed in with those are rose petals from my bridal bouquet along with petals from the roses he gave me on our first wedding anniversary. They are joined by petals from the dozen roses he brought me when our first son was born.

The Courage You Need for the Journey You’re On

It happened when I was flying to Houston alone. The older I get, the less brave I feel flying alone.

I have to be on high alert, always listening and keeping completely aware of my surroundings. The airlines change gates and delay flights. And there I sit at a gate, alone and having to find a way to adapt. Girl, it is flat out draining.

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I didn’t use to, but now I fight anxiety every time I fly alone. (Oh, in case you are a new reader, I am blind. That’s why flying alone is more challenging.)

When I landed in Dallas to change planes, an assistant from the airlines walked me to my gate. There I sat — eating some string cheese I had tucked in my backpack. As I waited, I sipped from my water bottle and prayed for bladder grace. (When you’re blind, you can’t just walk to the ladies room any old time you need to!)

How to Calm Your Anxious Thoughts

“If you’re struggling with anxious thoughts, your Savior sees you.” That’s what my friend Suzie said, and I said, “Yes! Tell me more!”

And, she did. So, I invited her to coffee today because I want — need — to hear her encouragement and I know you do too. We can all let worry lead us to all the wrong places. So today, let’s put the worry behind us and the hope of Jesus before us – it will lead us to the peace we all need!

Pour your coffee, and I’ve saved you a seat, so pull up a chair. Lean back, relax — we’ll let Suzie Eller do the talking!

I wanted to make it all okay.

The problem is that it wasn’t okay.

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I was doing all that I knew to do, and it wasn’t working. We were fighting together as a family, yet there was no formula. There was no set pattern to success. There wasn’t an “I’m out of here” option, because it was someone we loved.

One morning I tried to pray, but I couldn’t sit still long enough. My legs matched my anxious thoughts as I paced the carpet.

Jesus, help me.

How to Dream Big (Like a 6-Year-Old)

When my son Connor was six years old, he wrote a hilarious Christmas wish list.

I still remember his creativity and boldness in choosing the many, many, many, many items. I smile when I think back to the wintery day he asked to get out my laptop and type out his Christmas list for him. He stayed serious and thoughtful as he dictated each item.

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When I found it recently, I laughed out loud and thought you may get a kick out of it too.

Big Hearts, Big State, Big Blessings – FGF Highlights Pasadena, TX

“Hey Ya’ll!”  That was what was painted all cute and crafty on a big burlap bag in my hotel room when I arrived in Pasadena for our last Fresh Grounded Faith of this year. What a way to be welcomed, and what a way to wind up a great seasonI tell you, that bag was bigger than I was, but, what did I expect?  Everything really is bigger in Texas!  That meant the blessings were big, too.

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Thank you to Daniel Rivera for the beautiful photos! To see the entire Facebook album, click here. For those of you who joined in the photo booth fun, you can access your photos here.

3 Habits of the Happy Woman

Forgetful. That’s me! The thing that drives me crazy about being forgetful is that I can’t remember what I forgot! How about you?

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I forget my kids’ names. I forget phone numbers and appointments and birthdays. So, I write down all that important stuff (not my kids names, I really do know those) and then I forget where I put the paper. Girl, it’s bad sometimes!

You Are Safe with the Shepherd – FGF Highlights, Springfield, MO

Fresh Grounded Faith Springfield, Missouri has come and gone – for the 10th time! God showed up big time and our cups are still overflowing with joy and laughter. He is so good!

Thank you to Allen Hudson for taking such beautiful photos for us! To see the entire album on Facebook, click hereIf you joined in the fun at the photo booth, find your pictures here.

I opened the weekend with the phrase, “You are safe with the Shepherd because He’s got your back, He guides your steps and He’s on your team.”