Faith, Flourish

Grace-Full Rhythms – My Rule of Life 2021

The week between Christmas and New Years I spent time at our family’s cottage in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, we lovingly refer to as Koselig Cottage as it is truly the home of all things cozy. This year, I made time to cozy up in our built in swedish bed with a hot cup of coffee, reflect on 2020, and craft a Rule of Life for this new season.

I shared more about Rule of Life on this post, but as a refresher:

A rule of life is crafted with prayer and discernment and is the trellis we build our days upon.

It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussing and frettings; coming in out of the wind.

C.S. Lewis

Your Rule of Life is not another list of “shoulds” or “tasks” or “disciplines”, instead it is grace-filled rhythms that allow you to slow down, quiet the hurry and connect to our Creator.

My rule of life can be broken into a few core areas: Spirit, Body, Mind, Relationships, Home, Work, Resources/Finance. I crafted an intention for each area for 2021 that related to my goals and also rhythms of daily (d), weekly (w), monthly (m), quarterly practices (q), or yearly (y).

A few questions to consider as you ponder creating your own Rule of Life:

When you think about who you want to be, who God Created you to be, what do you choose to give attention to?

What is the current rhythm of your daily, weekly, life? What season are you in?

What brings delight and purpose to your days?

How do you connect with your Creator?

What does it look like to be in relationship with others? How can you live and learn alongside others?

My Rule of Life – 2021

Spirit:

I will live my life fully embracing the natural seasons God created and rhythms of the church calendar.

Grace-Full Rhythms: journal & scripture (d), Sabbath & examen (w), prayer cottage (q)

Body:

I will care for my whole person (mind, body, and soul) without guilt or shame.

Grace-Full Rhythms: Nourishing whole food (d), get outside (d), swim/yoga (w), message or salt room (m)

Mind:

I will prioritize rest & margin especially in intense ministry or personal seasons.

Grace-Full Rhythms: unplug from phone by 8 p.m. (d), read non-fiction (w), grow in community at a conference or class (q)

Relationships:

I will invest in my local community and love my people well (family, neighbors, cousins, co-workers, and friends)

Grace-Full Rhythms: listen & respond with grace (d), face to face (w), family vacation (y)

Home:

I will create a sanctuary of rest & beauty for myself and others who need a safe place to land.

Grace-Full Rhythms: tidy up and savor (d), check-in with neighbors (w), seasonal gathering (q)

Work:

I will step into each situation confident that God’s grace will work in me & show HIS power, not my own.

Grace-Full Rhythms: prioritize people (d), ece.com post (w), team connect (w), celebrate (q) Powersheets (y)

Resources:

I will be generous with my time, talent, and treasure. Sharing of the abundance of what I’ve been given and being wise with the rest.

Grace-Full Rhythms: mint track (d), no-shop sabbath (w), tithe+ (w), contentment challenge (y)

Flourish, Flourish in All Seasons, Goals

A Year of Grit & Grace – 2021 Goals

2021 Anchor Verses:

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Galatians 6:9

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

2 Corinthians 12:9

2021 Yearly Goals:

Embrace the rhythms of the church calendar and spiritual disciplines (daily office, weekly examen, sabbath, rule of life)

I have always been a “planner girl”. Excited to try the newest organization tool and am giddy at the fresh start of a new month, year, or page.

Yet the last few years, I’ve moved to a primarily on-line planner for the ease of having my schedule “on hand at all times.

But this last year with all the uncertainty and change had me craving trying something new. I wanted a planner that was different than I could find at Office Max and cultivated my heart and soul as much as my calendar.

The goal of incorporating the liturgical calendar into my year, lead me to Sacred Ordinary Days. After downloading and LOVING their monthly sample, I took a leap and ordered a hard copy of their yearly planner.

It’s simple, clean, flexible, and centered on what matters most: my relationship with God. I’ve been using it over a month now, and I particularly love the weekly & seasonal examen and Sabbath day page. A consistent reminder each week to check-in with my soul and look back on where I’ve abided in Him or tried to accomplish things on my own.

Nourish my body with whole foods, movement, and soul-care.

I don’t know if you have been feeling it too, but so many of my conversations lately have been centered around feeling the weariness and weight of this world. With everything going on in our country, nation, and community it’s so important to care for our bodies, mind, and soul.

My rhythms have been thrown off track over the last few months and I’m committing to re-establishing healthy habits in 2021.

For me that looks like:

  • simple, nourishing meals packed with plenty of protein
  • enjoying whole, seasonal foods
  • weekly yoga and daily stretching
  • swimming laps at least 2X a week
  • getting outside as much as possible
  • committing to a screen-free evening once a week to journal, read, and rest
Abundant tomato harvest–is it Summer yet?

Courageously speak and write truth.

When I think of a year of grit and grace, I see a year that is full of brave words. That might look like sharing a cup of tea with a friend, taking a walk and asking the hard questions, or sharing what God is teaching me here on this little corner of the web.

This recovering people-pleaser has struggled to find her voice and not just say what others want to hear. However, I’ve learned that with a whole lot of prayer prayer and plenty of God’s grace, it is possible to share words that are brave, true, and full of grace.

A women of gentle grace earns respect.

Proverbs 11:16

Love my family & local community well.

Looking back on my most treasured memories of 2020, they all involved my family and local community. In the year of Safer@Home, I found the joy of local friendships and having my family close.

Time with family at the cottage, gatherings on the deck/porches with friends, Emily’s Safer@Home bake shop, and life group game nights brought a deep joy to my weeks. I tangibly saw a long awaited prayer answered last year and I want to steward this gift well.

Some of the ways I will love my people in 2021 is:

  • continue porch drop off of Emily’s Bakeshop
  • celebrate birthdays and milestones of family and dear friends
  • host outdoor celebrations in each season
  • savor time with family at the cottage
  • send snail mail to friends and family far away

Celebrate and rejoice in each Season.

Working in an agriculture based ministry, I can’t help but see how God wired us for seasons. Winter is a time of Rest, Spring a time of planting, Summer is tending, and Autumn is the harvest.

I’m always learn, process, and grow when I spend time reflecting on God’s creation. This year I want to take it even further to embrace the celebrations/seasons of the church (Advent, Christmastide, Lent, Easter, etc.) AND also the seasons of nature.

One way that I’m walking through the year is joining Lady Farmer’s Almanac. It’s a group of farmer, nature, slow-living, like-hearted ladies with monthly classes, articles, and a book club each season.

This Winter we are focusing on REST and how it looks in our home, closets, use of technology, etc. The class this month shared about creating a “cozy cocoon” space that is full of things you love and a place to just rest and enjoy. To be honest, sometimes my whole house feels this way, but then I see the unwashed dishes or remember that I never sent an e-mail, so my brain clicks into overdrive again. I spent 15 minutes this week to take down my “upstairs Christmas decor” (a small tree and one sign) and refresh for Winter. I cleared off my bedside table and left the fairy lights up for a cozy, restful space.

Updating my bedroom for a cozy, winter cocoon.

Challenge my mind, body, and spirit with new adventures.

“Enockson girls have adventures” is a motto that I share with my sister (and now sweet niece) on a consistent basis. For Christmas I created them each a photo book and short story about how Enockson girl’s have adventures on a daily basis. It’s my biggest hope and prayer for them, to remind them that they are brave, courageous, and kind.

I want to model the adventure-filled life and push myself outside my comfort zone to try hard things. This year it might be cross-country skiing instead of the familiar snowshoe, cooking new recipes, seasonal “bucket list” adventures, reading books outside my usual genre, trying projects, and saying YES even when I’m afraid.

A full life isn’t meant to be lived in our comfort zones. A full and vibrant life is full of mistakes, hard things, joy and LOTS of adventure.

Kicking off 2021 cross country skiing for the 1st time in 10 years!

Grow beautiful blooms at ZA and home.

If you know me even a little bit, you know my love, okay obsession, for flowers. My wardrobe in the Spring consists of 80% floral pieces and a handful of neutrals, my kitchen table always has a bouquet of blooms or potted bulb, and my favorite time of the week at ZA is when we stock the farm cart with blooms for the community.

So, NOBODY was surprised last fall when I decided to participate in Floret Farm Cut-Flower workshop. Erin has been a role model for farmer-florists everywhere and I love how she continues to cultivate beauty and purpose through her IG feed, family and farm.

2021 holds so much possibility for my home gardens and ZA. I can’t wait to see how this goal literally grows over the next 12 months.

A vibrant mid-summer bouquet of blooms.

Cultivate a heart of contentment and give generously.

A heart of generosity and contentment continues to be one of the hardest and humbling goals. I want to be quick to give and be generous with what I’m given, and yet so often I think about my needs before others.

This year I’m joining Nancy Ray for the contentment challenge. Three months of purposely NOT shopping or spending on frivolous things. After the excess of Christmas, it feels refreshing but also reveals how quickly I click “add to cart” or “purchase now” before actually thinking if I need or truly want something. This year I’m joining her again and choosing not to purchase clothing, books, or home decor from January – March.

She recommends having a hobby or habit you want to cultivate and replace the time you would have spent at target or on-line shopping. For me that is watercolor and hiking outside. I want to cut out the habit of pursing the isle of target after a long week and instead go outside and soak up God’s amazing creation.

Flourish, Flourish in All Seasons, Goals

Celebrating the Good of 2020!

This week between Christmas and New Year is one of my favorite times. While we can easily fall into the black hole of not knowing “what day or time it is” and post-christmas sugar high, there is a beauty to a slower pace, with a little of the Christmas sparkle left in it.

I stumbled upon this quote yesterday and it’s the exact sentiment I want to step into the New Year:

“I don’t know exactly what’s next but I’m stepping forward with grit, anchored in grace.”

Julia Graham

When the calendar flips on December 31st at midnight, all the pain and hardship won’t just go away. 2020 has been a year of numerous challenges, growth, and letting go.

Friends, with a little bit of grit, a whole lot of prayer, and big leaps of faith we can step into the fresh start of a new year anchored in His grace.

To me, a life of grace & grit begins by celebrating & marking the challenges, good things, and growth of the previous year.

January

Carlson Lefsefest and Crock Pot Wars! Family Time Pre-COVID
Snowshoe Adventures & Stillness of Winter

February

Snowshoe and Sauna at Koselig Cottage
A Restful Retreat in the Northwoods with Friends

March

Soul-filling time in Sanibel before the world “shut down”. Beach walks, honest prayers, and marvling at God’s amazing creation.

April

First Garden Blooms and last memories with my sweet pup Belle
The Start of “Emily’s Safer@Home Bakeshop” 😉

May

“You Don’t Choose the Lilac Life, The Lilac Life Chooses You.”
An outpouring of love and hope in the form of blooms and beauty.

June

Berry picking and Enockson girl adventures
Enockson trip up to the UP for kayaking, campfires, naps, and “beast” rides.

July

Canning the fruit of the garden!
Kayak Adventures all over WI and The UP!

August

The launch of EmilyCEnockson.com !
Blooms and friends to celebrate 35!

September

Bike rides in the crisp fall air.
The great pumpkin hunt of 2020 at Zachariah’s Acres.

October

Garden blooms, gorgeous weather, and watercolor reminders of truth.
Winterberry harvesting and a Fall getaway with friends.

November

Laughing and playing in the leaves with Livy-Lu. So much joy being an Auntie
The first snow…at Koselig Cottage

December

Powersheet planning and heart to heart chats in the treehouse
Hikes on snowy days and reminders of God’s faithfulness
Flourish in All Seasons

Grace-Full Rhythms: Silence and Solitude

This ENFJ, Enneagram 2W3, Extrovert girl LOVES to process and learn along-side fellow believers. I can often get in the “bad habit” of signing up for to many studies or conferences because I just get excited to dig into Scripture with my people, it’s what sets my heart on fire.

But, the good heart work of listening to our souls begins with cultivating a practise of silence (time spent in quiet) and solitude (time spent alone).

The soul is like a wild animal-tough, resient, resourceful, savvy, self-sufficient. It knows how to survive in hard places. But it is also shy. Just like a wild animal, it seeks safety in the dense underbrush. If we want to see a wild animal, we know that the last thing we should do is go crashing through the woods yelling for it to come out. But if we will walk quietly into the woods, sit patiently by the base of the tree, and fade into our surroundings, the wild animal we seek might put in an appearance.”

Parker Palmer

I’ll never forget my first introduction to the practice of silence and solitude. I was in college attending a discipleship training course put on by the Navigators. Time well spent learning, growing, serving, and deepening our faith with fellow believers in one of my favorite places in Northern Wisconsin.

Towards the end of our time together, we had a 3 hour “Time alone with God” (or TAG as we called it…insert eye-roll here). I was curious and a tiny bit anxious.

We were each told to go find a place alone, apart from anywhere else and just be with God. There were no questions to walk through or topic to cover. Only me, God, my bible, and the great Northwoods.

I found a comfy spot outside (no surprise there!) to read scripture, pray, and listen. I was excited and expectant to what God might reveal to me during that time.

I wish I could tell you I had some great earth-shattering revelation, but my mind would not shut off. I kept thinking, dreaming, and planning. My thoughts ping ponged between ideas and trivial concerns. Before I knew it my time was up and I felt like I never really spent time just being with God. I quickly jotted a few things down to share with my team, but there was not a depth there and the experience felt lacking.

When I look back on that experience, I see a girl with so much to learn but one who truly wanted to “get it right”. And here is the truth my friends. There is no perfect formula or prescription for silence and solitude. It will look different for everyone and it will change in each season.

In the years since my 3 hour TAG, I’ve learned to let go of expectations and just enjoy the time.

Our hearts, minds, body, and souls live at a frantic pace. There is always more to learn, consume, do, intake, or make happen. Our culture thrives and pushes us to be constant consumers or creators. The practice of silence and solitude forces us to put aside our inner voice telling us to “do, go, produce”, and forces us to just be. It humbles us to realize that HE is the ultimate Creator and author of our lives.

Silence and solitude it one of the most life-giving rhythms in my Rule of Life, but it is also one of the most difficult to keep. I live alone, am unmarried, have no children or pets to care for, and yet I struggle to make time for silence and solitude in my days.

When I choose push aside the to-do list, light a candle, and just be still my soul is renewed and my heart recentered on my Creator.

A life that is full of God’s amazing grace begins with quieting our souls to hear our Father. There are countless examples of Jesus stepping away to lonely, quiet, and desolate places to pray alone.

And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone.

Matthew 14:23

And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.

Mark 1:35

This practice will take time to cultivate in your day. It will feel akward and challenging to begin with. But friend, it will be so so worth it.

I would encourage you to take just 2 minutes today to sit and be still. Turn your phone on airplane mode, get away from people (lock yourself in a closet or bathroom if you need), and be with your Creator.

If you find your mind anxious or full of hurried thoughts, hand them over to your Father. I like to make a practice of beginning my time in silence and solitude with praying out-loud or writing down any concerns, worries, or anxieties that I’ve been carrying.

The tangible act of speaking my concerns help shift my heart and focus into a posture of letting go, and prepare my heart to listen.

I will often light a candle to signal to my soul that it’s time to rest and settle in. When my brain starts tip toeing into overdrive, I take a few breaths and focus on the flickering light.

Friend, God desires to be with us and hear our hearts cry. The one prayer God will always answer with a hearty yes is “Lord, be with me.” After all, during this season of Advent we are reminded that He is our Immanuel, God with us.

Grace Notes:

Tips and resources to help you on a grace-filled journey.

Invitation to Solitude and Silence by Ruth Haley Barton

Pause App by Jon Eldridge

John Mark Comer’s Guide to “Un-Hurry”

Episode #3 “Noise vs. Silence on Jennie Allen

Uncategorized

My Cozy Christmas Home

Welcome my friends to my cozy, imperfect, and simple Christmas Home. I’ve had a few people ask for some cozy Christmas styling tips and so I thought I would share how I’m decorating this year.

Disclaimer, my home is far from perfect but it’s full of love and memories. If you look closely you might see pine needles on the floor, wrinkled cushions, or dust on the cabinets. My hope is that by sharing my home in it’s every day, lived in state you will be encouraged that creating a beautiful home is attainable.

Christmas Wreath That Welcomes all to my home.

Let Nature Be Your Guide:

My number one tip for a cozy Christmas home is to use what God has given us. Bring the beauty and color of nature inside your home. Adding evergreen garland, a few pinecones, or branches of winterberry are a simple way to spruce up your home without spending a lot of money.

I look forward to my traditional Winterberry Hunt each November. This year’s harvest was smaller than years past, so I’m treasuring the branches that I do have and putting them on display proudly. As a bonus, getting outside on a sunny Winter day can be invigorating and inspiring. If you can’t find Winterberry near you, check out your backyard (or a friends…just ask permission first) and gather a basket of pinecones, evergreen, dogwood, dried flowers or whatever looks lovely to you!

Create A Cozy Hosting Station:

I’m convinced that everything is better with a hot drink in hand. This month while out adventuring, I discovered a sign I just “had” to have that states my sentiments exactly

“Would you like an adventure now, or would you rather have tea first”

J.M. Barry

Creating a cozy drink or hosting station in your home is a great way to not only bring some festive cheer to your every day rituals, but be ready for those last minute visitors.

I have a quirky little cabinet that I store linens, cookbooks, baking supplies, and my mug collection. This year I gave it a holiday make over popping my nespresso capsules in a red tin, adding Christmas cookie books, stocking it with a tin of Swedish Pepparkor, gathering dried oranges to add to mulled cider, & purchasing some festive cocktail napkins.

Shop Your Home:

2020 Chalkboard (in my kitchen)

There was a time when I would hit up the Target dollar section each holiday season and buy them out. I would stock up on all things trendy and fill my cart with items that were cheaply made and honestly just didn’t bring me joy. These days, I tend to make a few wise choices from local shops or small businesses and walk quickly past the “dollar spot” or holiday isle at Hobby Lobby.

Each year I look for ways to repurpose an item and use it in a different way. This year I’m hanging a felt wreath on my chalkboard. Last year I used the same chalkboard and decorated it with a German Glass Glitter Garland.

Do a quick walk through of your home. Is there a plaid blanket scarf you could repurpose as a table cloth. Do you have a pair of old ice skates you can place by the fireside? Is there a treasured ornament you can display on a beloved cake stand?

By finding new ways to use what we already have, there is less stress and more JOY to decorating for the Season.

2019 Chalkboard (in my living room)

When in Doubt, Add Twinkle Lights

To be honest, this is my true Christmas Decorating style…twinkle lights everywhere. I love the coziness of reading by the Christmas tree or the extra sparkle of lights on a shelf or in a mason jar. My favorite twinkle lights are relatively inexpensive and bring so much joy.

There you go friends, a few ideas to spark a simple and beautiful holiday home. May your Christmas by Cozy and Bright!

Goals

A Calm Christmas & December Goals

Happy December my Friends!

This year I’m choosing to simplify my expectations for the holidays, so I can truly be present for the delights of the season. I want this month to be peaceful and cozy, not hurried and harried.

And for me, that begins with choosing less.

Present over perfect. Quality over quantity. Relationship over rushing. People over pressure. Meaning over mania.

Shauna Niequet

It’s the exact sentiment I want to cultivate for Christmas 2020.

It’s with this heart I share my November Goal Update & December Goals with you.

November 2020 Update:


Set My Christmas List and Budget

This Guide from Cultivate was so incredibly helpful in planning for a joyful Holiday!

Decorate for a cozy Christmas

Sneak Peek of my Holiday Home. This Book shed light to decorate your home first for Winter and then Christmas…game changer!

Spiritual Self-Care Series Posts (2)

Well friends, life got the better of me this month and my posts were few and far between. However, I did share my heart on Sabbath here and it was the most beautiful reminder going into the season of REST this Winter. More goodness to come.

Clean Up Leaves and Final Prep Garden for Winter.

This little pumpkin helped me finish up the last of the leaf raking and yard clean up!

Pot up Paperwhites.

Here are my paperwhites in full bloom last year. This year I tried a new variety that doesn’t have as strong of a smell and has double the petals. Beauty in the midst of Winter.

December 2020 Goals

Monthly

  • 2021 Powersheet Prep Day with my Goal Gals.
  • Cultivate a CALM Christmas.
  • Simple and meaningful gifts for family and friends.
  • Host Book Club: Welcome Home by The Nester

Weekly

Flourish

Grace-Full Rhythms: Sabbath

Growing up our family prioritized church and family on Sundays. I remember the house being so quiet and still after Sunday lunch, because everyone was napping. It was the perfect time for me to sneak away into my room and devour whatever book I was reading at the time. I would look forward to those Sunday afternoon “binge reading” sessions all week long.

There was also a season in the Enockson household where we all were asked to spend at least two hours in the living room on Sunday nights. We could read a book, play a game, or talk. The point wasn’t what we did, but that we spent time together.

I didn’t know it then, but my family was incorporating the rhythm of a weekly Sabbath at a young age.

 Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work,  but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Exodus 20:8-11

Sabbath keeping has been one of the most life-giving rhythms and an anchor in my rule of life. My name translates “industrious” and true to my name, I find it can be hard hard to quit the cycle of “do the next thing” and practice Sabbath. Yet when I regularly practise Sabbath, I’m reminded that the world does not revolve around me (no surprise there!) and that God wants to BE with me more than just have me do things for Him.

Sabbath is more than just going to church twice in one day, long naps, or enjoying a big family meal. Yes, your Sabbath can include all of those things, but it’s more than just a day off. Sabbath is a day that orientates our hearts and minds towards worship. The rhythms of our hearts and weeks should be orientated towards the Sabbath, either preparing for, anticipating, or delighting in our Creator.

Your Sabbath as a single mom, retired Grandma, mamma with grown kids, or single lady will look incredibly different than mine. But, there are a few ways that we all can remember to center our hearts around rest & worship when I practice Sabbath.

Stop

Sabbath means “cease from work”. From creation, God developed the rhythm of work and rest. For six days He created, breathed life, and sculpted creation and then on the 7th day he rested. It was a day like none before, a day to enjoy and savor the work of creation.  A Sabbath heart begins by stopping our regular routines and declaring one day or 24 hour period to be set-apart and look different from the rest of the week.

Grace Note: Pull out your calendar and look at the week ahead. Is there a day or 1/2 day that you could mark as a Sabbath Celebration?  Mark it down on the calendar, invite your family or friends to join you, and guard that day and your commitments fiercely. 

 

Rest

In the Jewish tradition, people observed the sabbath from sundown Friday evening to Sunset Saturday.  The Sabbath literally begins & ends with sleep.  What a beautiful picture of complete surrender.  When we are sleeping we are not in control.  Rest reminds us that we can trust in God and that He is the one who guides our path.

One thing I learned in studying was that in Jewish tradition the weeks were orientated around the Sabbath.  The first three days after the Sabbath were meant to reflect on those special days and then the following three days were preparation and anticipation to the Sabbath.  I loved this picture of orientation my week and time around the Sabbath. In order to rest well on that day, we need to prepare the other days.  If you choose to not go shopping on your Sabbath, you’ll need to find another day to get groceries and run errands.  One habit I’ve adopted is to use Saturday’s as my household chore and “work day”.

Grace Note: What are 2-3 things you could do today in order to prepare for you upcoming Sabbath?  Maybe it means running some errands over the lunch hour or picking up paper plates so you don’t have to do dishes.  Do those things now and prayerfully prepare for your Sabbath Celebration? 

Painting scripture is one of my favorite Sabbath rhythms.

Worship

Sabbath is a day set apart not for us, but for God. Sabbath without worship is a vacation 😉  True rest and contentment can only come from His presence.  Worship might mean visiting a favorite coffee shop for an extended time of quiet reflection and journaling, meeting with a community of believers, or even putting on worship music and belting it out with your kiddos.  Worship isn’t a prescription, it’s a way we connect with our Savoir and give him the glory and praise.

Grace Note: Think about the last time you felt intimately connected with God.  What was going on? Where were you?  Was there music? Where you alone or with other people.  Are there a few elements of that experience that you could incorporate into your Sabbath this week?  Write them down and put them into practice for your Sabbath rhythm. 

Play

Ceasing from work doesn’t mean Netflix and all day.  For me, puttering in my flower garden or taking a long hike can be incredibly life giving.  A few years ago I had someone recommend that on the Sabbath you cease doing the “work” you spend the majority of the time doing. If you are a landscape designer and spend your time digging in the dirt 5 days a week, Sabbath might mean curling up with a good book or watching a movie with loved ones. What is life-giving for one person may be training for the next.

Grace Note: Take a few minutes right now and write down 5 things that inspire and uplift you.  Consider incorporating just one of these playful activities into your Sabbath.

One final note.

“Sabbath was made for the man, not man for the Sabbath.” Mark 2:27

Sabbath is a beautiful command, but it can easily become a day of rules and regulations that ultimately distract us.  Questions of “Should I drive a car on the Sabbath?”  or “Can I make bread on the Sabbath?” have been topics of debate over the years.   Yet, when we focus only on what we should or shouldn’t do, we miss the heart of the Sabbath.  Sabbath is going to look different for people in different seasons.  I know that my Sabbath, as a single woman, looks vastly different from my friends with kiddos.  But when we begin with the intention honoring God’s command and choosing one day to set apart for Him, the activities don’t matter as much as our hearts.

Friend, I close this little post with the encouragement to give yourself grace.  Sabbath doesn’t have to look a certain way to honor the Lord.  If you listen closely & obey to Him, you’ll encounter the true rest and peace that He can bring. And discovering the heart of God is what Sabbath is all about.

Faith, Flourish

Grace-Full Rhythms: Rule of Life

Self-care is more than green smoothies, long baths, and massages. Those are all good things, but they are not everything. Our self-care rhythms are not what fix us, instead they help us push aside distractions and open our hearts to our Creator.

In my previous post I defined grace-filled self-care as:

Grace·filled self·care //  rhythms we engage in on a regular basis to restore and deepen our relationship with our Heavenly Father so that we can use our gifts fully for the Kingdom. Comprised of spiritual, emotional, physically, intellectual, and relational.

We are whole beings with a mind, body, and spirit. God created and called us to love Him with our whole selves.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

Matthew 22:37

Before we dive deeper into the different aspects of grace-full self-care, I want to share a framework with you that has been incredibly helpful to me over the past several years.

Four years ago I met with my mentor at a local coffee shop to swap stories of God’s blessing, provision, and the struggles of leading an “out of the box life.” I shared with her the tension I was feeling of doing much for, and never yet feeling like I never had enough time to just be with Him. My quiet times were more like “get it done times” than true connection with God, and I deeply missed a true relationship with him.

She graciously listened to me and towards the end casually mentioned “The Rule of Life.” Our time was drawing to a close, so we didn’t get to a deep dive into what it was. But, she said just enough that when I did go home, I did the next logical thing…I googled it.

The concept of “Rule of Life” was new to me, but it is an ancient practice dating back to the third century AD. The first examples of a Rule of Life came desert fathers, a community of monks looking to live a life that Jesus spoke of in John 10:10.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10

The world rule might conjure up negative images of a black and white chalk board, stern teacher, or parent with a long list of restrictions. However, what is truly meant here is the rule being a guide or trellis on which we allow our lives to flourish and grow .

If I were to just let the tomatoes grow without staking them up or using support, they would grow but not flourish.

There would be disease because of limited light and air flow. There would be overcrowding without pruning.

There would be broken branches because the plant can’t support the weight of the fruit all on it’s own.

So, every Spring I construct an elaborate trellis that supports my little tomato plants, encourages to grow towards the light, and creates space for health.

That is exactly what a rule of life is.  It’s a series of daily, weekly, quarterly rhythms that ultimately bear fruit for His glory.

When we start with the foundation of His love, He will produce much fruit in our lives: Love, joy, peace, patience, goodness…

Typically a rule of life is split into body/physical, mind/mental, soul/spiritual, and people/relational.

Each category spend time listening to the Holy Spirit to discern your unique rule of life. The Rule of Life is not meant to be black and white or set in stone, I infact revisit mine twice a year (My birthday and New Years) to ensure that it’s working for my current season and allowing me to truly connect with my Creator.

If you are interested in creating a rule of life, some of my favorite resources are:

  1. Discern and Decide Guide by Emily P. Freeman
  2. Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Pete Scazzero
  3. Creating a visual Rule of life by Stephen A. Macchia at Crafting a Rule of Life
  4. Episode #2 of Work and Play with Nancy Ray “Rule of Life”

Over the next few weeks as we learn more about grace-full self-care, I’ll be using the Rule of Life as our trellis. Our support to guide you towards a life that flourishes. I’ll be sharing some of my favorite rhythms, walk you through crafting your own rule of life, and maybe even have a friend or two chime in.

Goals

November Goals

It’s the last Friday of the month, and I spent the morning reflecting on the past month and working on November goals. It’s been a month full of uncharted territory, change, surrender, and unexpected gifts.

I stumbled upon this quote from William Virgil Davis this past week and it captured my exact sentiments for this month.

As we watch leaves fluttering to the ground in fall, we are reminded of nature’s cycle are mirrored in our lives. Autumn is a time for letting go and releasing things that have been a burden.”

Change has never been my favorite, but one of my core values is growth.

Here is the thing friend, we can’t grow without change. Growth and change go hand in hand, and it all begins with letting go. When we surrender our expectations, fears, and desires we make room for God to work.

Surrender can look like trusting God to care for your loved ones when you are not with them, journaling out your fears and concerns before bed so you can sleep well, or saying no to a wonderful opportunity when your plate is already full. Letting go looks different for everyone, but the foundation is trust. Trust that our God is a good Father who will guide and direct our steps.

When we trust that the Lord has good instore for us, we can step into the unknown with confidence and courage.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6

I’m heading into this new month with a surrendered heart and trusting that my Father will continue to direct my steps towards Him and His plans for my life.

October Goals Update

Make elderberry syrup.

Simple Elderberry Syrup Recipe:

  • 2 c. dried elderberries
  • 3 c. filtered water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp. cloves
  • 1/2 c. raw honey

Simmer for 45 minutes (or until reduced by half), strain with a fine mesh sieve, let cool and and add 1/2 c. raw honey. You can also add a few drops of Young Living Thieves Essential oil for an added boost. Store in fridge for 3 months or freezer for 1 year.

Create a “Koselig Cupboard”.

We are entering into the cozy season and I have been dreaming up some fun ways to enjoy this time instead of just live in fear of the dreary gray days. I turned my corner cabinet into a “Koselig Cupboard” complete with favorite magazines, books, tea, cozy socks, note cards to write to friends, knitting projects, and other fun things to keep the winter blues away and embrace all things cozy this year. I can’t wait for the first chilly night to cozy up.

Personal Prayer Retreat (October 23rd, 2020).

I typically plan a 1/2 day retreat each quarter. I block out the morning and head to a coffee shop, local park, or my favorite prayer cottage to journal, read, reflect, and listen to where God is leading me. In years past I’ve been pretty consistent at scheduling time to get away just to pray, but 2020 has been a weird year for so many reasons. This was my first retreat for the year and it came at the perfect time. I’m currently reading “The Deeply Formed Life” by Rich Villodas and it has provided a challenging and truthful perspective to reflect on our current world and political climate. A read I would heartily recommend.

Clean up my home gardens, yard, and porch.

Preparing my home for Winter is one of my Fall goals and that includes cleaning up the garden, planting tulips, mulching leaves and winterizing my home. Sunny October days lent themselves to lots of yard work, and I even snuck away to Little Women Flower Farm for a pop up tulip planting workshop. I can’t wait to see these beauties bloom in Spring.

November Goals

Prepare for Christmas Season

  • Order SRT Advent Study.
  • Pack Operation Christmas Child Box.
  • Prepare my Christmas list and budget.
  • Make garden inspired gifts.

Practice and and share about Grace-Filled Self Care.

  • Monday Soul Care nights.
  • Lap swim and yoga at the Y.
  • Take my vitamins and eat nourishing foods.
  • Grace-filled self care post(s) on ECE.com.

Faith, Flourish

Grace-Full Self-Care

I’m a classic ENFJ, extrovert, Enneagram 2W3, and personality test geek;-) I think that personality profiles can be amazing tools to help us grow. Sometimes I read the profile, mems, or articles and feel truly seen and understood. Other times I have no idea what they are even talking about. Regardless of what the latest hot personality profile may say, I know that God created me to be encouraging, giving, compassionate, and people focused.

When I’m with people I give 110%. It’s been one of the most beautiful and challenging parts of my personality. I’ve deepened relationships, made life-long friends, and have had such adventures. But, the flip side is that I often find myself retreating because I’m trying to give to others out of an empty well. In short, I need quiet and time to reflect to be the best version of me.

I’ve wrestled with the concept of self-care. The word made me cringe, it seems selfish and to innerfocused. As Christ-followers, isn’t our calling to deny ourselves? Yes, X 1,000. My prayer is to live a poured out life to Christ, showing my love for Him through loving His children.

But when we look at scripture, Jesus modeled a life that was was so rooted in deep connection with the Father that he was able to pour out continually from a full well.

He got up early and stayed up all night to pray (Luke 6:12-13), he invited his disciples into a place of rest & restoration (Mark 6:30-32. ), and frequently snuck away to a place of quiet (Luke 5:16. ).

How do we look at the concept of self-care and incorporating nourishing rhythms through lenses of truth and grace? That is exactly what I hope to uncover over the next few weeks as we dive deeper into the topic of Grace-Filled Self-Care.

Over the next few weeks, I am digging deep into the five areas of self-care.

Spiritual – deepening our relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Emotional – cultivating healthy thought patterns that allow us to love others and God well.

Physical – taking care of our physical body so we can live fully.

Intellectual – growing in knowledge, wisdom, and discipline so we can love God with all our heart, soul, and MIND.

Relational – investing in relationships and learning to live healthfully in a community.

Grace-filled self-care is one way to become people who spill out God’s hope, joy, grace, and peace into the world around us.

Grace·filled self·care //  rhythms we engage in on a regular basis to restore and deepen our relationship with our Heavenly Father so that we can use our gifts fully for the Kingdom.

My AHA! Moment about how to practice self-care rooted in grace came when I was reading John 4. In this passage, Jesus is going about his everyday life, and tired from travel he sat down at the local well where he encounters a Samaritan woman. I can just imagine him dusty, tired, completely poured out, and yet fully present in that moment.   When he encountered the Samaritan woman, Jesus was able to provide her exactly what she needed, because he was rooted in the Father.

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4

Jesus is the only one that can fill up our empty and dried-up wells. No amount of bubble baths, hot tea, or yoga flows can provide deep, soul-filling restoration and nourishment like He can.

Do you remember what happened right after the Samaritan women tasted the deep, nourishing water Jesus was offering? His grace compelled her to take action and go and tell others. When she encountered someone fully present and replenished, it inspired Kingdom action.

If we are called to go and spread the good news, we need to first become people that are filled with the hope, joy, grace and peace of the GOOD NEWS!

So let’s get rid of the guilt that says we don’t have time for self-care. Let’s kick off the stigma that self-care is for the selfish and embrace grace-filled self-care that fuels us towards Kingdom living.

Until next time friend – rest well in His grace.