Friday, November 25, 2016

Bright Friday

Yesterday my sister wrangled all of us out of our Thanksgiving-day stasis for a family picture. She's prone to this sort of thing. Meanwhile, I'm prone to feeling like I'd rather not fix my hair, I'd rather not move away from the wood-burning stove or the book in my hands. It's windy outside. The ground is soggy, et cetera. I'd rather not.

But she's right about this just like she's right about a lot of things, and I want to get better at looking past how I feel in up at the surface and fixing my eyes on the long view. This is just one more example of how I tend to trade the eternal for the temporary, or miss out on moments with real value because, well, I like my cozy pants.

I threw on some earrings to make up for the rest and the wind whipped them around as I walked to the edge of my parents' acreage. Voila. A time capsule woven of years and surprises. A freeze-frame of gifts we would never have had the guts to ask for. I could tell you family stories that would singe your heart and I'm certain you could burn me back. We have lived full lives, haven't we? And aren't they all forged from flames?

I don't have to convince you we're strong or faithful, because mostly, we aren't. But we hold on to each other when the chips are down. We shake our heads at what an unlikely group we really are, and then we eat more pie. Together.

We usually stay home in Indiana for Thanksgiving to huddle up with the people drawn into the misshapen circle of our family. On one hand, I can hardly bear the thought that life pulled us out of our routine this year. On the other hand, we desperately needed the slow motion, the giggling kids, the zero responsibilities unless you count the Brussels sprout salad and minor clean-up duties. I spent most of the day lulling myself into a pre-meal coma through sheer inertia, so I don't really want to talk about the full spread my mom made for dinner, or my commitment to trying all of the desserts.

Along the way, I prayed for friends by name who sit in windowless cells, who run the streets, who run the scams, who run toward pain because, like the song says, sometimes that's all that's real.

The lesson for me here, again and again and dangit, will I ever really learn? is that sometimes I get to invite my people, all of us misfits who need to know we belong, around my table. But other times, I just don't. (I always think the easiest one is the one I'm not doing.) I like being served as much as the next girl, but what keeps me warm in the winter is the lie that I make other lives better. That quiet pride still creeps up around me, so God benches me for a minute while he governs creation and transmits his mercy in humbling ways. Rather than gulping left-over regret straight from the gravy boat, I'll be thankful instead.

Because through God's famous trick math, I am always exactly enough, particularly when I'm busy screwing stuff up.

Happy Day After Thanksgiving, homies.


Weekend Links: Mini Edition


::  I wrote at (in)courage today about the intentional practice of hospitality my family is building into our December. Join me? "Every Friday this season, my family will be intentionally seeking ways to come together so that our hearts might remember the heart of Emmanuel."

::  This Confession For the Church written from the soul by Rebekah Lyons has been circulating for a while, but I just found it. And it's beautiful.

::  Dads Behind Bars Hold Their Kids for the First Time {and we all sob.}


I haven't been a Black Friday shopper since I went once in Junior High with my Aunt Wendelin and was so tired and overwhelmed that I almost puked. TMI??

BUT...I can appreciate some crazy-loco deals from the handful of retailers I love to support! 

::  Amazon is offering $10 off a book order of $25 of more using the code HOLIDAYBOOK. Basically, two books for fifteen bucks! For a girl who keeps a "books" line item in our squeaky-tight budget, this means something. If you haven't already ordered your copy of my new release, Falling Free, now would be the time! I also suggest Kris Camealy's Come, Lord Jesus - a 25-day Advent devotional (the one I'll be using this year) and to round out your order, one of our favorite wintry kids books, The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.

::  Canvas People is offering 85% off all canvases. I have ordered many canvases when they drop the prices like this and I love them. You can't find a more personal, high-impact gift.

::  Tea Collection is offering loads of adorable, global-minded, high-quality kids wear for under $15!

::  FashionABLE is offering 20% off their ethical leather goods, handcrafted jewelry, and and hand-woven scarves along with free shipping with the code HOLLYJOLLY

*Affiliate links used.