Archives For for the love

For The Love of Community

August 17, 2015 — 8 Comments

FORTHELOVEpicThere are few things in life that end up working out the way we envisioned them or had hoped they’d turn out, right? I mean think about it; did marriage, parenthood, complete financial freedom by the age of 40 work out the way you expected & dreamed when you were 18 and knew it all? How about that waistline? If you still have your 18-year-old-body after birthing several children, you’re a freak of nature. I mean, I love you, but you’re barely human.

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m a big dreamer. It’s gotten me into more than a few pickles in my life… because reality often wins out over dreaming big… and blah, blah, blah… whatever, man. I think I’m finally figuring out how to dream without being devastated when reality happens in the midst of the dreaming.

A few months back I prayed a big prayer for God to enlarge my territory & that His grace would empower me to be who He created me to be… to create hope & inspire others to know Him simply by loving them. earth-shattering, right? 🙂

Welp, the Lord answered that prayer but in exactly ZERO ways I thought He would. Of course. Yet His plan worked SO much better than my dreams! Imagine that!

I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in Jen Hatmaker’s Launch Team for her new book:

‘For the Love’. Y’all it releases TODAY, the 18th.

As part of the Launch Team, I knew there would be perks like an advanced copy of the book, the opportunity to write an endorsement, getting to be in a private FB group with the other #499 Launch Team members & Jen herself, but what I didn’t see coming has perhaps been the greatest gift…

Community. Authentic & Grace-filled Connection. I mean, as close as you can be to people online, that is what our band of #500 have become… a tribe, a community, a safe haven in which to blossom & be messy. No religious requirements. No hoops. No judgments. Turns out, it’s possible. 

And it’s crossed from just being online to truly developing friendship in ‘real life’ through meet-ups & such… for many of us I believe we’ll be friends long after the Book Launch dust has settled.

Rebecca Beckett said it best: “Jen didn’t just write a book; she wrote a community.”

These ladies & Jen have opened their hearts to each other. It’s a place to practice what the book itself is all about… giving grace, removing the impossible standards we place on ourselves so we can truly love our neighbor as ourselves… no matter how different we may be from one another.

This book is a melting pot of hilarity & practical wisdom. I’ve often talked about how funny it is, but one quote I want to leave with you, that I believe sums up not only the point of the book, but the point of the Gospel:

“Maybe we can lay down our fear and criticism, self-directed and otherwise. Maybe if we let ourselves off the hook, we can let others off too, and discover that God was in control all along, just as He tried to tell us. He is good at being God! Hooray!” ~ Jen Hatmaker, For The Love

Give it a whirl… the book AND laying down the fear & criticism… there’s so much freedom & peace in grace, y’all. So much.

If you haven’t already purchased your shiny new book with shiny new words, in honor of the book launching today, I’m giving away one of my ten copies (hey, no snickering! yeah, I ordered TEN! hush it!) Entering is super easy because complicated giveaways give me a headache and multiple instructions are sometimes hard to follow! Bless our hearts. 🙂

Share this blogpost. Then comment below OR on my Facebook/Twitter post telling me that you shared it! #BOOM you BOSSED it! 

Contest starts NNNNNN…NOW & runs through next Monday, the 24th. 

Thanks for sticking with me, readers! Thanks for letting me be a dreamer… sometimes a flaky one… okay, a lot of times a flaky one. I’ve received so much grace and you know what it feels like? It feels like Love.

Shine On… For The Love! 

Danielle 
Ps. Now go share this post with your friends, then let me know you shared it by leaving a comment here OR on my Facebook/Twitter post. Then, you are entered! Capeesh?

Celebrate with Me

July 7, 2015 — 6 Comments

Celebrate with Me!

No, I’m not having another baby. Gotta clear that up right away, because heaven help us.

You’ve probably heard me mention here & there that I am a part of the 500 member launch team for Jen Hatmaker’s New Book, For The LoveIn May, I briefly wrote about it in For The Love of Audacious Prayers. In that post I referenced a few things were sorta big deals. Okay, big deals for a gal whose hobbies include shopping for belts and avoiding nature at all costs.

Anywho, turns out I really, really enjoyed the advanced copy of book (thank heavens! wouldn’t that rot if you were supposed to be promoting a book and you think it sucked? shew.) One of the perks of being on the LT was the opportunity to submit a genuine (pronounced JEN-U-WINE, thank you very much) endorsement that may or may not appear in the book.

Outta 400 submissions only 20 got chosen and mine is one of them! Not only that, it’s the 2nd one on the inside cover! What the what?!?!?! Cue the girlyest, goofiest, giddiest snaughter – snort/laughter – you can think of. That’s exactly how I acted when I found out my endorsement got chosen to be in the actual, literal book. And finally I can share with you what I wrote, as if it’s going to end world hunger or something…

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Obviously, I was given a revelation from heaven.

This is only a snippet that fits in the book. My full online endorsement reads…

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{Also the way I’m acting you’d think I’d written the book myself. Geez. Y’all pray for my humanity.}

If you go to Jen’s website you can see all 400 of the real-talk, real-women endorsements. They just wouldn’t all fit in the book, but they are delightful & I hope at least a few will resonate with you enough that you’ll go buy it.*

You know what’s great about this Launch Team, it’s not all about me. It’s not even all about Jen. Y’all it’s about loving Jesus & loving each other & doing life together without fear of being who I AM created to be! It’s okay that I’m celebrating the fact that my endorsement’s in the book. The rest of the LT is celebrating it too – there’s no jealousy, no ‘poor me’, no ‘I’m chopped liver’ attitudes. It’s just all love. All the time. I don’t even understand how, but it is.

We are a very diverse group from all different backgrounds & religions & cultures. The book has brought this group of 500 weirdos (I mean this with the most sincerest of loves) together and caused us to reflect & let Christ’s love flow through us. I pray that you are able to get a copy of the book when it drops on August 18th and that it has the same impact on you.

In fact, you don’t even have to wait til August 18th. Stop the presses.

I’m as serious as a squirrel is about his nuts.

*You can go to this link, order a copy, or 5 or 10 before July 15th and get all sorts of freebies.

**PRE-ORDER HERE & NOW Jen Hatmaker’s New Book, For The Love**

The best freebie is the FREE IMMEDIATE FULL PDF DOWNLOAD OF THE ENTIRE BOOK! So stop reading this & go get your book… For The Love! Then we can actually discuss it and I can stop being all 007 secret-agent like when I talk to you about it. We can snaughter together like good friends should.

Thanks for celebrating with me!

Shine On!

Danielle 

I’m a bit giddy over this guest blogger, y’all. I sorta have a blogger-crush on her. Andrea & I have become fast friends through the Launch Team for Jen Hatmaker’s new book, For The Love, coming out in August. We are thoroughly enjoying all aspects of this journey within the Launch Team of 496 gals & 4 guys we call the #bandoffour (bless ’em, Lord for they are indeed strong, secure men!). I’ll be talking more about all that on another post. But for now, read this incredibly insightful, inclusive & sincere post that had me saying, “ABSOLUTELY, GIRL, AMEN!” a few times. Thank you Andrea! Shine On! 

hypocrite

This morning I woke up in sort of a panic. I usually have my best ideas, most important thoughts or take care of unfinished brain business from the night before right as I wake up. This morning the unfinished brain business panicked me a little.

I started this blog just a few days ago and am feeling a bit insecure about it all. I’m writing stuff here that I know is true, but I woke up wondering if I really believe it… if I really live it. You know those people you live with who really see you ALL the time and then read what you write or listen to what you say and shake their heads wondering who you are because you’re not the same person they know? You know those people?

Well, that’s how I felt this morning. Like a big ol’ smeared mascara-eyed, bed-headed hypocrite. Because… well… I am one. So I felt like I needed to put this out there for anyone reading. Well, if anyone is reading, I try not to write what I don’t live out or at least try really hard to live out. I try to tell a part of my story, what’s going on inside of me, and it not seem like I have it together and or know it all because I certainly don’t. Just ask the people I live with. They’ll be happy to tell you I don’t have it all together. On second thought, maybe don’t ask them… just take my word for it.

I’m a professional mask wearer at times and in certain situations. I rarely let my guard down. My vulnerability braveness level is incredibly low. I’m a perfectionist in a lot of areas and wearing my mask is one I quite competently excel at with very little effort. Most of us do. Isn’t that what a hypocrite is? The word hypocrite comes partly from the Greek word, hypokritḗs, referring to a stage actor, hence one who pretends to be what she is not. Oh, did I step on some toes there? Yeah, mine hurt too.

A former pastor, who shepherded us so well in our early years and who we still love dearly, has given us some of our best quotes and sayings over the years. One time he was preaching about being called a hypocrite and he boldly said in his Texan accent, “Well, we’re all hypocrites! And I’d rather be in heaven with ’em than in hell with ’em!”

Let’s face it (pun intended), we’re all hypocrites. It’s a human condition for which there is no cure this side of heaven. Thank you, Eve… We’re all fig leaf wearin’ fakes. Hiding behind something. Not wanting to be seen or fully known. But wanting so desperately to be seen and fully known at the same time. Yeah, thank you, Eve… Some of us have our masks plastered on so tight that it would take a high-pressure power washer to get it off. So… if we’re going to do it, let’s do it together. Let’s be hypocrites together, shall we? Authentic, call it like we see it, mask wearin’ hypocrites.

But let’s at least be hypocrites who try. Hypocrites who love other hypocrites. Hypocrites who love Jesus. Kind hypocrites… always kind! I’ll write what’s on my heart. It will all be as true as I know it to be. I will try to live it out as best as I can and I hope that you will too. If you catch me being a hypocrite, point it out to me in love but expect that I’ll do the same for you because after all, it takes one to know one. Oops… did I get your toes again?

On wearing masks… I recently started reading a book by Jamie George, Love Well. He wrote this in the introduction,

“Stuck, unsure, and without direction, we live out a masquerade, hoping desperately that someone will love us and accept us when we pull the mask off.

Until we tell the story of the mask, we will never take it off.

Until we find someone who is fully present, who listens to understand, we will keep hiding.

When we tell our stories, and when we are truly heard, we begin to clean out the compost of our souls. We then begin a journey of subtraction. We courageously begin to take off the emotional armor that we have collected until we can find childlike wonder again.”  ~Love Well, Jamie George 

If we are going to be hypocrites, if we are going to wear masks, then we are still better together. But let’s also work towards pulling them off. Together. Let’s empty our plates and tell our stories. I think, no I know, that there are hearts out there that need a fill-up. I know this because mine is one of them.

Empty. Fill. Repeat.

~Andrea

Please read more from Andrea here —> Empty Plate Full Heart

In light of recent public events surrounding the Duggar family, I encourage you to also read this beautiful, gracious post by Andrea’s daughter. These girls can WRITE! —> Grace and Social Media

 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one. Romans 3:10

andreastunzI’ve been a wife for 26 years. My husband, Tommy, and I did some of our best work in our 3 amazing gifts from God. I’m a mother in law of 2 stellar humans beings and a Gimi of one adorable little dude. I’m a homemaker, a traveler, a seeker, a writer, a pilgrim. I love cooking and sharing good food with others who love good food. I take pictures that tell a story, my story, God’s story. An almost empty nester. A fellow struggler. A fellow stumbler. In need of God’s grace. Oh, and coffee. Grace and coffee. Then I’m good. Oh, and a sunrise. Grace, coffee and a sunrise. THEN I’m good. Oh, and my grandson. Grace, coffee, a sunrise and my grandson. … you get the picture. 🙂 I have many favorite scriptures but my “go to” scripture which seems to encompass all I may be stumbling through or rejoicing in is always this: “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:17

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 10.50.45 PMLots of heavy, heavy talk in the Christian blogosphere this week. Rather than weighing in on all the drama, of which I have no business pretending I know the answers, I’ll use this little blog to put something light-hearted in your newsfeed. Come along with me down a little path we’ll call ‘For The Love.’ Stay with me, we’re skipping along the path at break-neck speed.

Several months ago, a thought just popped into my head. Like, out of nowhere!

Most of the time, I think it’s the Lord doing the popping, except for maybe that time I listened to the popping thought and ended up accidentally drunk at a Hibachi Steakhouse because the entertaining chef, whom I thought was shooting a ketchup-like bottle of water into my mouth was actually filling me with POISON (also known as Sake!) Holy Moses, Grammar Nazis, yes I KNOW that was a Guinness level run-on sentence! Heel. A couple ‘shots’ later and this never-had-a-sip-of-alcohol girl was blurting out ‘why does my fork feel so heavy???’ and crying because well, I’m an idiot.

Whoa there, Sloshed Sally. That was indeed a rabbit trail. Back on the “For The Love’ Path.

A few months back, a SMART thought popped into my head. I was reminded about a guy named Jabez. No, he’s NOT an old boyfriend, but a guy from the Bible (OT) who was born to fail. I mean, his mom decided to name him ‘Pain & Sorrow’. Let’s just say he didn’t have a lot of hope toward becoming a happy-go-lucky, successful, trusted guy. Imagine introducing yourself to the ladies, ‘Hey girl, my name is Pain N. Sorrow {get it?}. Wanna go out to pasture with me?’ I’m sure his dating life suffered. Thanks a LOT, Mom.

But you know what he had besides a super sad name? He had boldness. He had AUDACITY! So much audacity, he prayed to the God of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob. With incredible faith, he prayed against his birth name,

Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, ‘Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain {not cause pain}.’ And God granted his request.” 1 Chr. 4:10,NIV

I remember when the The Prayer of Jabez became really popular among the Christian community around the turn of the century. The premise was wonderful, but soon it was everywhere… on books, bracelets, flannel boards, and baby onesies… It became the Genie-in-a-bottle prayer. ‘If I stand on my head and simultaneously repeat this prayer 245 times a day, God will HAVE to hear me and BLESS ME INDEED with everything I ever wanted… I mean so I can turn around and give it back to God’s people, of course… and maybe even some to the helpless orphans in Africa.’

I’ve been a Christ-follower for a long time now. Oh about 40 years, give or take the 10 months I was in the womb… #sarcasm {I have to hashtag that because sometimes people take the things I say way too seriously. sometimes.} Anyhow, I get weary when the Body of Christ overuse a verse. It usually is taken out of context & used for self-gain. I had long put the Prayer of Jabez out of my memory.

When I re-read it this time, I saw Jabez with fresh eyes. You guys, he just wanted to please the Lord and BE A BLESSING. And you know what, it’s hard to be a blessing when everyone thinks you’re a doof, and you feel like you have no voice because you’ve been labeled a doof since before you were even born.

I found the balance between the Genie-in-a-bottle prayer & dismissing the guy completely. And as I studied about Jabez, I fell in love with him and his heart. I began seeing him as a man with audacity & strength of character & as a man who wanted to glorify God. There was NOTHING selfish about him! He wanted to know God & make Him known.

Guess what? Me too. I’ve found myself scared of success, scared of telling people my experiences with the Lord, as if I have any right to think I know God’s heart better than the next guy. I don’t ever want to give pride a foot in the door. I stopped worrying so much and decided it’s okay to pray, believing God can and will enlarge my territory of influence, to keep me from harm to myself and to others. I prayed He would expand my desire to bring Him glory and bless me to be a blessing, whatever form that would take.

I began praying this prayer on March 7th. I know because it’s in my prayer journal. 

No joke, three days later my territory got expanded big time. Jen Hatmaker is an author, speaker and crazy-funny person. She has a new book coming out on August 18th called ‘For The Love’. GO PRE-ORDER IT!!! Over 5,000 people applied to be a part of the Launch Team. Only 10% got in and to my utter shock, I’m one of them! You may have heard me shouting it from the rooftops. I received an early copy of the book and it’s such a refreshing mix of down-to-earth comedy & heavenly encouragement. I was greatly relieved when I actually liked it. It’d stink to promote a book if it was no good. #bless

11062554_10205996882788713_8839148486045733658_nThis Launch Team has its own Facebook Group, of which Jen actually gets involved in the conversations that range from religion & parenting to crotchless yoga pants. (oh Lord, don’t google it! CYP are simply maxi skirts. Seriously don’t google it. Trust me. I may have had one of those ‘thoughts-popped-into-my-head’ moments that ended in horror & the need for a shower.)

*Jen has casually invited all 500 of us to her Texas farmhouse for a Launch Party. Also she’s nuts. But this means we’re BFFs now. What else do BFFs do besides get together to giggle & wear matching clothes? So that’s what we’re gonna do. Our T-shirts, designed by my amazing SIL, Melissa will be arriving in the mail in a few weeks! {Insert giddy girl scream!}

*We’ve also been given the chance to enter an endorsement for the book. I have it on good authority that mine has been chosen and will be IN the book!!! I can’t tell you what I said and it’s CRUSHING ME!!!! AHHHHHGGGGG!!!!

~~~~~

Okay, so I shared that story because God has indeed expanded my territory and given me a bit of a new sphere to experience His grace through, of which I’m learning so much! Though I’m not allowed to share content yet, the book, For The Love is all about fighting for grace in a world of impossible standards.

Right up my alley, because like Jabez, I’ve never quite measured up to what I thought I needed to. I’ve always been so hard on myself. Thank God, because of His grace, I don’t have to! I can keep right on being me – my accidentally-drunk, sometimes flighty, run-on-writing self. God is so good like that. He takes our labels, our mess & turns it into a beautiful grace-filled path, if we’ll trust Him enough to just keep walking.

Today I encourage you to pray audacious prayers, like Jabez – that seem beyond what you could fathom.  You just never know what path they may lead you on & who will be encouraged by your journey! #ForTheLove

Shine On!

Danielle

*Read these paragraphs using your best Valley-Girl voice! Seriously, it’s like TOTs better! Also GO BUY THE BOOK!!, it’s like TOTs better than this blog!