Flourish, Flourish in All Seasons

Rhythms When You Need a Fresh Start. (Say No!)

Happy Spring my friends, the world has officially come out of hiding and the season of growth and hope is HERE! The sunshine and above freezing days are BALM to my soul after this harsh winter.  

While the Magnolia trees bloom and the crocus bud, my calendar is experiencing a new season too. Invitations to events, trips to plan, decisions to make, thousands of seeds to plant, work events, celebrations, and family gatherings. So many good and beautiful things that I have missed dearly over the past year.

While I’m excited to step into Spring, it can also be an overwhelming time of change and new growth. I feel like our world went from Safer at Home to Social Butterflies overnight. All around me I see glimpses of life returning back to “normal, and I don’t want to forget the deeper truth and lessons that I’ve learned from the past year.

So today I’m sharing my first of a new series: Rhythms When You Need a Fresh Start.

Do you feel it too? The desire to clear the calendar and start again. Let’s walk together through what it looks like to sow the seeds of a life of beauty and grace.

May we continue to cultivate a strong NO in our lives so that we can say more life-giving yeses.

Emily P Freeman

The Hardest Place to Start: Just Say No!

I’m a yes girl, recovering people pleaser, and big dreamer. It’s easy for me get excited about new and fun things, say YES to it all, and just as easily get overwhelmed and want to quit it ALL. I’ve learned when those nagging feelings creep in to step back and make a list of what I’ve said Yes to. And then I look at the list through these questions

Does it align with my big picture vision and this actual season?

Each year I make a vision board and set goals using my Powersheets. I usually do this at our cozy cottage in the Winter when I have extra margin. On a snowy December day, all the dreams and ideas seem possible. My head is clear and there is hope for the future.

BUT, when a new season begins (a literal season like Spring or a big life transition). I pause and make sure that my YESES align with my calling and vision. For me personally that is living a life rooted in God’s grace and using my gifts to bring beauty to those around me. Anything that falls outside of that vision is put aside. There are seasons and times for everything but not anything my friend, trust that if God has truly placed that in your heart it will come to be.

Morning quiet reviewing my 2021 vision board.

What are my non-negotiables?

Faith. Community. Margin. Beauty.

Those are the core values on which I live my days, weeks, seasons, and years. The phrase “I can do it all” is just a myth. As my wise friend Lara would say “We can’t do it all and do it all well. But we can choose to cultivate what matters.” In full seasons it looks like tightening my circle to family & a few life-giving friends, getting up early for a yoga class, and making sure I have nourishing food in the fridge (thanks Hungry Root & Daily Harvest!). I begin by filling my time with non-negotiables and then if I have the margin (emotionally and physically) I consider saying Yes to something new.

Is this actually my priority or someone else plan?

As my mamma often says, everyone has the perfect plan for your life. When we dare to say NO (or say the brave & scary YES) we are defining what we want in our lives. Saying NO can feel selfish, but what if we looked at it through a different lens. What if you saying NO actually allowed others to step in and shine. Wouldn’t that be worth it?

Say Yes!

Say NO can be one of the most life-giving tools…but so can saying Yes! When we say NO to something, it ultimately creates space in our life to say YES.  I end my time by creating two lists. One list of things I’m saying NO to in this season and the other that I’m saying YES to. Writing out what you are saying YES to in this next season can give you the confidence to actually do it. 

I’m Saying Yes to….

  • Nourishing meals and snacks.
  • Swim and Sauna.
  • Morning pages & artist dates.
  • Greenhouse therapy.
  • Early morning walks.

I’m Saying No to…

  • Toxic thoughts and “what-if” thinking. (so long anxiety!)
  • Binge watching (or scrolling!)
  • Over-scheduling my evenings.
  • A “quick yes!”
  • Unclear boundaries.
  • Having a perfectly clean kitchen.

Flourish, Flourish in All Seasons

Fresh Start Spring & Instructions for Life

This past weekend I picked up a Mary Oliver book at Fabeled Bookshop when my mamma and I were on our dream girls trip to Waco, TX. I’ll share more about our amazing trip soon, but today as I was reading slowly through her poetry and writing, these instructions for living life jumped out at me.

Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.

Mary Oliver

I don’t know about you, but so often my weeks are spent living out of habit instead of intention. I wake up, get dressed, eat the same breakfast (two scrambled eggs, toast, and berries), go to work, come home, make dinner or meet up with family/friends, read a book, & go to bed only to start over again the next day. Suddenly it’s Friday and I wonder what in the world I did with my week that was worth telling about.

The days can feel mundane and monotonous if I don’t stop & pay attention. Life is not what happens one day when we “grow up” or “graduate” to the next stage of life. We are experiencing this beautiful and precious gift of life right now.

Each day brings the fresh start to begin anew, be present, and be astonished by the beauty.

  • Crocus peeking through the newly uncovered soil.
  • Robins strutting around in the morning looking for breakfast.
  • Neighbors walking by and stopping to say hello.
  • That particular shade of blue the sky turns only in the Spring.
  • A gentle rain on your roof & knowing that it’s nourishing the ground.
  • The smell of the first BBQ on a 50 degree Saturday in March.

Small and wonder-filled gifts of this season that we miss when we are just going through the motions.

Spring is the season of fresh starts and making time to notice.

The world is shifting and changing in front of our very eyes.

The snow melts and bulbs begin to peek through the soil. Barren trees come alive and bloom with color. The quiet hush of Winter is repreplaced with birdsong. A season of rest and coziness is replaced with the hardwork and hope of Spring.

Part of me wants to stay in my Winter cocoon. But, I know I would miss out on so much goodness if I chose safe & cozy over the fresh energy & new start of Springtime.

There are many good and beautiful things in this Season and yet, even good change can feel uncomfortable.

So my friend, if you find yourself waking up alongside the world around you and eager for a fresh start: stop, breathe, be present, and notice.

This life you are living right now is good, beautiful and true. Choose to see the goodness in this day and embrace the season you are living.

Spring at the Silos

Flourish, Flourish in All Seasons, Goals

A Poem to Inspire and March 2021 Goals

Dust If You Must by Rose Milligan

Dust if you must, but wouldn’t it be better
To paint a picture, or write a letter,
Bake a cake, or plant a seed;
Ponder the difference between want and need?

Dust if you must, but there’s not much time,
With rivers to swim, and mountains to climb;
Music to hear, and books to read;
Friends to cherish, and life to lead.

Dust if you must, but the world’s out there
With the sun in your eyes, and the wind in your hair;
A flutter of snow, a shower of rain,
This day will not come around again.

Dust if you must, but bear in mind,
Old age will come and it’s not kind.
And when you go (and go you must)
You, yourself, will make more dust.

Last weekend I discovered this simple and poignant poem. It’s reminder that as much as I enjoy a beautiful home, I would rather spend my time creating a beautiful life.

And yet, it’s often the little acts of preparation and work that help us prepare well and enjoy a season. Small actions done with intention and consistency free us up to live a life we love.

My goals for this upcoming month center around preparing well for Spring. Spring is a busy time for me with travel plans (finally!), planting all the seeds in the garden, hosting friends for IF: Gathering and so many other fun things.

In order to flourish and truly enjoy this Spring, there are some house-keeping things that help make my life run smoothly. Even as a single woman, I find when I make time on Sundays to prepare healthy meals, tidy up my home, reflect on the week prior, and invest in my physical and emotional health. I’m so much more present with the people in my life.

February 2021 Recap

First Seeds of Spring Planted (and they are growing like wildfires…I mean wildflowers 😉 )
Olivia came to stay and is now taking over my office…there is a new boss lady in town.
I did a closet DEEP DIVE and sold or gave away 5 bags of unwanted items! I feel so much more free.
I gathered with a few friends to celebrate “Galentines Day” and exchange our favorite things.
$2.99 roses were a gift after a long week of illness and cold dreary WI days.

March 2021 Goals

Monthly Action Items:

Plan home gardens

Complete Floret Workshop!

Host If: Gathering at Koselig Cottage

Contentment Challenge Reset

Clean up (2) areas of basement (canning and seasonal home decor)

Soak up MAGNOLIA vacay

Weekly Action Items:

No TV Monday-Saturday!

Share a meal with local community.

Meal prep on Sunday.

Weekly reflection (examen & Next Right Thing Journal).

Faith, Flourish

Grace-Full Rhythms – Lent (and living church calendar)

When you hear the word Lent, what image or experience comes to mind? Formal Ash Wednesday services and foreheads donned with the cross? Friday night fish frys? A season of somber reflection during the depths of Winter? Giving up chocolate or soda or Netflix (gasp!) for 40 days? Lent, I have no idea, Em!

For those (like me!) who didn’t grow up practicing the liturgical calendar, let me share the basics with you. Lent is a season in the liturgical calendar that includes 40 days (excluding Sundays) leading up to Easter. While Lent is not specifically mentioned in scripture, this season is modeled after Jesus’ 40 day fast in the dessert (Matthew 4:1-11).

Lent begins with Ash Wednesday and continues right up until resurrection Sunday. The season is typically marked with fasting, giving or charitable acts, and reflection. While lent is a somber time of reflection and remembrance, it is most importantly an invitation to draw near to our Father.

I’ve always viewed this 40 day season with a mix of relief and curiosity. Relief that I could eat my favorite cadbury mini eggs without guilt and curiosity of what might happen if I too say no to something good for 40 days.

This year, I’ve put some extra thought into my lenten practices (thanks Sacred Ordinary Days!) and desire to enjoy God more instead of just doing things for him or rushing through my quiet time to check it off the list.

Lent is a call to renew a commitment grown dull, perhaps by a life more marked by routine than reflection

Joan Chittster

Whenever I would think or pray about lent, I kept coming back to viewing these 40 days as a retreat and set-apart time investing in my relationship with my heavenly Father. And you know what the number one thing stopping me is…TV (I think Instagram is a close 2nd though!).

I’ve traded the richness of his presence for shallow entertainment. Now, don’t get me wrong I love a good baking competition, historical mini-series, or laugh until you cry comedy. But, my go to during the past few months when I’m tired or lonely or had a long day has been to turn on the TV and just veg out. And friends, as soon as I realised that I knew that one of the hardest and best things I could do for this season is to turn off the TV.

A life that is grace-filled begins with a deep knowledge of who we are in Christ, His beloved children. For me during this lenten season, I want to anchor myself in the knowledge of WHOSE I am.

In true Emily fashion, I made list of 40ish different things that bring LIFE to my days.

Create: water color, knitting, baking…

Connect: family dinner, tea with a friend, bible study, or online class.

Worship: be still, worship music, listen to a sermon, prayer walk..

Rest: take a nap, long baths, hike outside, journal and read…

These are more than just “screen free activities”, but are the rhythms in my life that connect me to my Creator. I want to spend the next 40 days not just living life but to savor a long walk and see the sunset or sketch a little watercolor reflecting on that mornings Psalm so that I see Him more clearly.

My Lenten Practices

Ash Wednesday Bread Making Class by Edible Theology

A Lenten Quiet Day by Black Barn

No NETFLIX or TV (except Saturday dusk to Sunday dusk…my Sabbath)

P.M. Journal and reflection time (Currently reading this book! and it is bring LIFE to my soul!)

Select 2 organizations or individuals to bless during this season.

Flourish, Flourish in All Seasons, Goals

Making Time for Rest & Adventure: January Recap & February Goals

We had an unexpected snow day this past week. A day where the storm rolled in over night dropping inches of fluffy snow. It was magical to wake up to a Winter wonderland and take a few minutes to pause and savor the scene.

But then, the realities of the snowstorm upended my idealic morning. Messy roads, snow removal, slippery driveways, canceled plans, and delayed celebrations. Yes, my day now held extra margin, but it also meant holding plans loosely and letting go of expectations. A theme I’ve been learning on repeat these days.

Winter reminds us that everyone and everything needs some quiet time.

Katrina Mayer

Winter is a time to rest, be still, and quiet our hearts. For me, that conjures up koselig scenes of snuggling up by the fire with a hot cup of tea, cozy blanket, and an inspiring book or magazine.

And while that is LOVELY and a rhythm I savor extra in the Winter, true rest comes not from a single moment but walking daily in rhythm with our Creator.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

This last month held heartache & hopes deferred. However, the goodness of an easy yoke overflowed in countless mundane moments. When I choose to acknowledge the good gifts alongside the challenging ones, I’m reminded that our Father is at work through every moment of my life.

That is my prayer for you in this season. The you would find rest for your weary soul and recognize the good gifts from your heavenly father.

January 2021 Recap:

Celebrating Epiphany (The Season of Light) by candlelight most mornings.
Skiing for the first time in SO MANY years!
Snowshoe adventures with forever friends
Bundled up walks in the Winter sunshine at Koselig Cottage
Floret 2021 Workshop Launch!
Abundant bowls of honey bells from Tree Ripe Fruit Company
Liv talking over my office…future assistant in the making!

February 2021 Goals:

Monthly Action Items:

Winter Home Declutter (clothes, books, basement, office)

Read: Curated Closet, Beginner’s Pluck, Start with Why, and The Gift of Being Yourself.

Dream day for ECE.com

Plan Home and ZA gardens

Weekly Action Items:

Screen Free Evening

Weekly Examen and Sunday Prep

Yoga/Swim

Salt or Sauna

Floret Workshop Homework

Face to Face with local community

Daily Habits:

Contentment ($ and <3)

Soak up a Psalm

3 Things

Rest/Delight

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

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.