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Where's Jesus on Summer Vacation?

Posted on June 16, 2015 by Sarah Brown | 1 Comment

For me, summer is a hard time for quiet, alone time with the Lord. There is no consistent schedule provided by school or church programming. Many people take numerous trips or vacations during the summer. I also tend to do quite a bit more, soaking up those long summer days, so I am just not inside as much.

It seems like YEARS ago since I made my New Years Resolutions and set some spiritual goals for the year. Some things have been working okay (some things not at all), but the change in the summer schedule sure doesn’t help my consistency in reading my Bible or praying.

So how do you keep Jesus in summer vacation? How do you find time to spend with the Lord, when your life feels without structure or you’re constantly traveling? 

Here are some things I have tried before that could work for you:

1. Just try for a Daily Ritual. I talked about this back in January, but instead of feeling like you have to complete this HUGE list of spiritual accomplishments each day, figure out one thing you can do this summer, that no matter how chaotic your day, it stays consistent. For you, it might be reading a chapter of the Bible before going to sleep. Or, praying a verse for your husband every morning while drinking your coffee. One thing you do each day that doesn’t change.

2. Put your phone to good use. When traveling, I feel like I would have to pack a separate bag for all of my quiet time stuff (Bible, journal, books, concordance, etc.) Because it can feel like a pain, I often leave them at home and put my phone to good use. I will take a picture of the verses I am praying over in my Husband journal. I will use a Bible app on my phone to read through Scripture. I will have a Christian audio book on my Audible app so that I have something to listen to while on the road. My phone ends up helping me stay focused on vacation when I don’t have other resources available.

3. Use your active time as a way to pray. Summer is a natural time to be more active, as lots of people will walk the dog, take a bike ride, or run on the beach. I’ve talked about Prayer Walking before, and using your active time for prayer is a great idea. Out for a bike ride with the family around the neighborhood? Change it into a time to pray for your neighbors. Watching your child play on the playground for the 100th time? Try praying for your child’s different body parts as ways to serve the Lord (his hands to be giving, mouth to be encouraging, head to be wise). 

4. Add some good books to your list. I read a lot less during the summer months, but many people read a lot more. If you’re snagging a book to read this summer, try one that is about or points you towards the Lord. You can check out some Christian books I have read this year and last year to get some ideas.

5. Give yourself some grace. I also don't put too much pressure on myself...I am going to miss a few days here and there, and you know what? No big deal. Give yourself a dose of grace!

What ways do you remember Jesus during the summer? Any suggestions for the less structured, care-free summer days?

Posted in Books, Daily Ritual, Jesus on Vacation, Prayer, Prayer Walking, Praying for Your Husband Journal, Praying Scripture, Summer

Easter Coupon

Posted on March 24, 2015 by Sarah Brown | 0 Comments

I just love Easter and everything about Easter. It feels like such a fresh start - a new beginning, a feeling of rejuvenation and rebirth. And, what a great time of year to take a good look at how your year is going and what is ahead.

I know I made many goals in January, and I have been working hard on my Daily Ritual (I’ve loved doing this!). But, I have let so many things slip, so many things that are very important to me. Easter feels like a great time to start again, give myself grace, and refocus on what is important in my life.

If you are looking for a new start in your prayer life this Easter season, I am sharing a coupon code on our Instagram account today, so head over to snag it. Committing to pray for your husband over the next 6 months is such a great way to start fresh, praying scripture for your husband and drawing near to God this spring.

Happy upcoming Easter and happy coupon-code-day from Glowing Local!

Posted in Coupon, Daily Ritual, Praying for Your Husband Journal

Doing Something Everyday...Like Prayer

Posted on March 06, 2015 by Sarah Brown | 0 Comments

I am in the middle of reading Manage Your Day-To-Day, a book I am really enjoying that shares some really interesting insight from multiple creative minds on using your time wisely to do your very best work.  

Gretchen Rubin of the Happiness Project mentions in her chapter that she keeps a long list of “Secrets of Adulthood”, which are a list of lessons she has learned as she grown up. One of her best secrets is, “What I do every day matters more than what I do once in a while."

I love this, and can’t help but think about how it relates to our spiritual growth.

So many times I put off doing certain “God things” because the situation is just not right - my child woke too early, my child is being too loud, the dishes are overflowing, the dog hair covering my entire house is out of control. Until I can get the perfect situation, I can put off the task…and many times that includes prayer.

I love Rubin’s advice - doing something every day is what is important. A belief in this is partly why I organized the Praying for Husband journal like I did…giving you a verse to pray every day. Praying is important, and doing it every day matters so much more than doing it once in a while.

What things matter so much to you that you do them everyday?

Posted in Daily Ritual, Prayer

Daily Thanks or Daily Praise?

Posted on February 05, 2015 by Sarah Brown | 0 Comments

I think most of us have heard about the famous hashtag #1000gifts. Ann Voskamp wrote an incredible book about how dramatically your life will change when you can see everything around you as a gift from God. 

She asks, “how do you open the eyes to see how to take the daily, domestic, workday vortex and invert it into the dome of an everyday cathedral?…Praying with eyes wide open is the only way to pray without ceasing."

Through her book, women everywhere have been taking the mundane, the everyday, the ordinary, and offering thanks to God - seeing the everyday (dirty floors, soap bubbles, a rising moon) as a gift…it has been very powerful in my own life.

BUT...

I have found over the past 2 years that I do a much better job of thanking God for the everyday and ordinary, but very rarely spend time thanking God for who He is. 

Something I have been praying since August is for God to reveal himself to me. I want to know who He is. I want to know His character. I want to be able to think on his attributes and gaze on his beauty.

I recently finished Timothy Keller’s book Prayer, and boy, were my eyes opened.

Keller says, “We cannot merely believe in our minds that [God] is loving or wise or great. We must praise him for those things…if we are to move beyond abstract knowledge to heart-changing engagement."

And isn’t that what I want, when I have been asking God to reveal his character? To have “heart-changing engagement”?

You hear all the time about how we become what we love and we become what we worship. And gosh almighty, do I love and worship some pretty awful things…my work, my organization, myself. And, I sure do long for so much more than merely myself. I want to worship something so much greater than me.

After reading Keller’s book, I have been really drawn to praising God for who He is - taking what I am learning about Him, and turning it into an opportunity to speak awe, amazement, and praise to God. I have started by reading through a Psalm each day, going verse by verse to see what it says about God, and speaking praise to God for what I learn and know about his character.

For example, the other day I was reading Psalm 32. As I read verse 7, I was able to praise God that he is a place in which I can hide, a place that is safe when I feel surrounded by things that are not going as I want them to go. After reading verse 11, I was able to see how God gives us a reason to be glad and shout for joy despite our circumstances, which I was then able to turn into praise.

I have also been using the monthly adoration from Every Bitter Thing is Sweet, reading the day’s verse, and praising God for who He is. It is my one Daily Ritual for the year…highly recommend it.

Turning what I am learning about God into a statement of praise about who He is has renewed so much within me this month, and really brought what I am learning into new understanding.

So, instead of JUST speaking our #1000gifts for the blessings in our life, let’s all speak PRAISE for who God is and what his character says to us.

Do you spend time praising God for who he is? If so, how do you go about doing it?

Posted in Daily Ritual, Praise, Thanks

Daily Rituals: The One Thing I Can Count On

Posted on January 08, 2015 by Sarah Brown | 0 Comments

I recently (and reluctantly) read Rachel Macy Stafford’s book Hands Free Mama. I loved so much about the book (it made my top books of the year) and have found that it has changed my perspective on how I can live FOR the things that are important to me (instead of living BECAUSE of what’s in front of me.)

In the book, Rachel encourages you to set up Daily Rituals with your children, so that “no matter how chaotic the day is, your child can always count on that one period of meaningful connection.” She gives examples such as morning snuggles, or after-school snack time, or walking the dog together. A time to connect daily in a meaningful way. What a great idea to implement with your kids.

And what a great idea to implement in your time with the Lord

The New Year is always an exciting time of renewal and hope, with feelings of starting fresh and really accomplishing something great. But, it always kind of fizzles for me…my resolutions feel like another to-do list that just can’t compete with my real to-do list. One has to give, so my idealized view of how I’d like things to go gets pushed aside for the reality of my situation.

I usually come up with this great list of spiritual “things” I want to do each year. For example: 

• Read through the whole Bible
• Memorize __ number of verses
• Pray every day
• Find a new way to get involved in ___ ministry
• Read the Bible with my son every day
• Use Scripture in parenting
• And more...

    My spiritual resolutions become this HUGE list that sounds awesome, but let’s be honest, it ain’t gonna happen.

    So, this year, I’ve decided instead to try out a Daily Ritual…I want to do one thing that no matter how chaotic my day is, I can count on this one meaningful connection with the Lord. It is something I can come to expect daily, to count on, despite what else is going on.

    For this year, I’ve decided my Daily Ritual is going to be to read and think about a Scripture verse before starting my work time each day (planning to use this list as a guide). I work fervently and intensely during my son’s afternoon naps, to get everything done in that short, glorious amount of time. But, I’ve found myself charging so hard and fast into the work that I forget WHO I am really working for. 

    So, this year, I want to add that one Daily Ritual. To have one thing in my life that no matter how chaotic my to-list can feel, or how much work I need to accomplish, I know that before it all, I am going to stop, pause, and pray over a Scripture. I want this to the be thing I can count on. The thing I can expect. The one thing I can add to my routine that will make me pause.

    What do you think about starting a Daily Ritual? What would you add this year?

    Posted in Books, Daily Ritual, Prayer, Praying Scripture, Start Fresh