Tag: inspiration (page 1 of 2)

Spring It Up!

Going to college in Texas absolutely ruined March for me.

All of a sudden I discovered the secret that had been diabolically hidden from me all my life: In most of the country SPRING COMES IN MARCH!!

It is bluebonnets and cherry blossoms, lemon bars and strawberries, and the sweet aroma of honeysuckle drifting in through open windows, and THERE IS HOPE STREWN EVERYWHERE LIKE CONFETTI!

In Minnesota, March is the cruelest time of the year. It brings to mind a totally different spin on the phrase “March Madness”.

WE HAVE MORE SNOW IN MARCH THAN ANY OTHER MONTH.

WE  GIVE UP ALL HOPE OF EVER SEEING THE SUN AGAIN IN OUR LIFETIME.

via GIPHY

March is a perpetual month of Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Days, which is why I decided we need a dash of inspiration and a pinch of sparkle. How about a Spring It Up Challenge to get us through March?

There are no rules, just a prompt for every day. Do one day or all. Do alone, or with friends. Get creative! Have fun!

Share on Instagram with the hashtag #springitup if you want.

Spring It Up Challenge!

  1. Wear something pink – bright pink or blush pink, lipstick or scarf, shirt or tie…anything counts.

2. Celebrate! Invite friends over for a “March will NOT defeat us!” potluck. Ask each person to bring a food that reminds them of spring (or summer) and have them share why. Choose the date today.

3. Clean out one closet, drawer, or bookshelf. Make room for Spring!

4. Be a joy-bringer. Smile at every stranger you pass. Let others go first – through doors, in lines…

5. Write a note of affirmation to someone. Add some confetti before you seal it up 🙂

6. Go shopping for one warm-weather item – sandals, swimsuit, new top, outdoor entertaining items…

7. Hug at least 3 people today.

8. Buy yourself a bunch of flowers.

9. Put on music and dance!

10. Write out Isaiah 58:11 and reflect on it. Which words do you need most?

11. Take a flower bulb to a friend who needs hope to grow.

12. Wear something the color of sky and sea.

13. Splurge on a donut with sprinkles.

14. Take a walk at sunrise or sunset. Breathe deeply.

15.   Bake something fun and springy and bring it to share with your colleagues or staff at church or a non-profit.

16. Surprise someone with a bouquet of helium balloons

17. Make a new recipe with a green ingredient – avocado, lettuce, asparagus, mint chip…

18. Find 10 things to be thankful for today. Say them out loud as you notice them. Write them in your journal.

19. Put a happy, colorful screen-saver on your phone.

20. Take a picture of one thing/person/experience that brings you joy and post it online.

21. Grab a friend or your spouse and go out for an ice cream cone.

22. Make hamburgers on the grill for dinner (no matter how cold it is!)

23. Get out colored pens or pencils! Letter and/or illustrate Psalm 36:5. Post a picture!

24. Buy a funny card to send someone.

25. Plan a dream vacation or weekend getaway. Even if it’s a hope for the future, get online and look at pretty pictures.

26. Make/eat something with strawberries today – yogurt parfait, green salad with strawberries, strawberry smoothie…

27. Create a Pandora or Spotify station of summer tunes.

28. Call a friend who is life-giving.

29. Buy a beautiful magazine on one of your passions with images that spark your imagination.

30. Buy coffee for a stranger.

31. Google  the song “Knee Deep” by the Zach Brown band featuring Jimmy Buffet – play and sing along!

Click here for a shortened version of this calendar of inspiration to print up and put on your fridge!

If you’re reading this on email or on your phone and want to comment, just click on the title and then scroll down!

Now go for it! Share on Instagram with the hashtag #springitup.

 

 

 

 

 

Soul Food in Small Bites

If you’ve been reading this blog for long you know my delight with Zechariah 4:10 that cautions  “do not  despise the day of small things.” so this week I thought I’d share some “small things” that have inspired or delighted me.

Twice in the past two weeks we’ve spent time in D.C. and every time I’m here I’m distressed by the many homeless people on the street. I bring a supply of McDonald’s gift cards to give to those in need, but it’s such a small thing for such a big problem.

  1. I was inspired to see this story about someone else doing a small act of kindness that is so thoughtful.

IMG_1817

2. Can you tell what this is?

IMG_1597

It may sound crazy but it is the trail of a worm who made it from one end of a clay tennis court to the other. I absolutely marveled at the courage and resolve of this little guy.  

Did he get lonely? Discouraged? Scared? Did he consider that his efforts might end in failure or death? I know, I know…it’s a worm. But still!

This small picture of bravery made me think of small, but powerful efforts to resist violence in the Middle East.

This week John and I have been privileged to attend a leadership gathering hosted by The Telos Group, a remarkable organization committed to being pro Israeli, pro Palestinian, and pro peace. They have drawn together many of my heroes.

  • Robi Damelin, and Israeli mom who lost her son to a Palestinian sniper, working side by side with Bassam Aramin, a Palestinian whose 10-year-old daughter was gunned down by an Israeli soldier.
  • Daoud Nassar, a Palestinian Christian farmer surrounded by Israeli settlements and subjected to repeated persecution whose message is “We refuse to be enemies” and continues to respond to oppression with love.
  • Roni Keidar, a British Israeli living on the border to the Gaza strip, building bridges between people of all different faiths and political leanings.

Might you take a minute to pray for these hidden heroes who are doing small but courageous acts of love in hard places?

3. I’ve been reading a book with a small word for a title. 

Mark Batterson wrote IF to unpack Romans 8, the chapter about God’s unshakeable love, verse by verse.  I’ve been reading this devotionally, one chapter a day. Mark is inspiring and challenging as always. This is a book about possibilities!

IMG_1843

4. A small dessert – Mini Caramel Apple Cheesecakes, a recipe I pinned from Cooking Classy. Check it out!

caramel-apple-streusel-mini-cheesecakes2-edit2+text.

Summer Reading and Resources in a Hard Season

 

IMG_0431As most of you know, this summer has been an emotional roller coaster for our family as my little brother battles cancer. Honestly, I’ve had all the crazy irrational thoughts like…

“If I don’t think about David in pain, it’s not really happening.”

“If I don’t go see him he’ll continue to live.”

I’ve had some precious time with David, and am so grateful for faith-filled family and friends who have leaned in with us. I’ve prayed and prayed til I think if God was lesser He’d tell me to get lost and stop bugging Him. But He doesn’t.

Tuesday David was moved to home hospice.

Bottom line is that I’ve craved a mixture of meaningful and soul-strengthening stuff to read, but most are escapist, with themes of redemption and happy endings.  As I mentioned before, I get a lot of book suggestions from my friend Joanne’s reading blog.

The first isn’t a book, but a great new app I found called Abide. It has guided prayer for many different situations. You’ll quickly find some voices you like better than others (somehow, the men bug me, but I love the women). It’s been a lovely, quiet guide.

Also, most nights John and I watch an episode of the West Wing. This is nothing new, but if someone in our family hasn’t gotten you hooked on this inspiring show, you haven’t talked to us in the past 8 years. Watch the episode, Shibboleth from Season 2 anytime you’ve had a rough day. Here’s a clip.

Then there are some lovely (and fun) books I’ve been reading also…

Joy in the Journey: Finding Abundance in the Shadow of Death

510X5utyC2L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

Last year we walked alongside our friends, Steve and Sharol Hayner from a distance as Steve battled pancreatic cancer. In February he went from life to Life. Perhaps it was God preparing us for this season with my brother. We “walked” this with Steve and Sharol through their Caring Bridge posts. Because those posts ministered to so many, IVP has created a book from that content. I re-read it yesterday and it was a gift all over again.

unnamed-1

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan – Such a guilty pleasure! American twin, Rebecca Porter goes to study for a semester at Oxford and ends up falling in love with the future king. Although it depicts a debauched lifestyle, there aren’t lurid details and it’s a really engaging read.

41HiZ6hLlDL

Water From My Heart – Classic Charles Martin, one of my favorite authors. This is the story of Charlie Finn, a former drug dealer whose devastating life choices lead him to Nicaragua where he finds redemption through a relationship with an old man, a young woman, and her daughter.

51H2a5ab5+L

The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain “He was about to commit a forbidden act. A transgression. For a man should never go through a woman’s handbag.”  This is the story of a bookseller in Paris who finds a woman’s abandoned purse. When he empties it, there is no phone or contact information, but there is a red notebook with some clues as to who the owner is, which he begins to follow. Meanwhile, the owner, who has been robbed of her bag, lies in a coma. This is a quick, clever, delightful read.

51O0uwjK+RL

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Kruger. I loved this book! A beautifully written, compelling coming-of-age story of mystery, tragedy, love and redemption set in a rural Minnesota town in 1961. You can read Joanne’s full review here.

ordinary-grace

Your turn! What are you reading that you’d recommend?

 

 

One Thing to do in August we Promise You Won’t Regret

John and I really don’t endorse many things. We don’t endorse political parties or candidates. We don’t don’t recommend realtors we know, and rarely endorse movies. We’re kind of like Switzerland.

But there is one event over the years that we have enthusiastically, unequivocally endorsed and guaranteed as a “sure thing”. We have said, “If you do this, we pinky swear promise you won’t regret it.” (Gulp.)

Every year we have invited folks from our church to attend the Global Leadership Summit  at Willow Creek Church in Barrington, Illinois. And we have promised them that it will be well worth the sacrifice of time and money it will take to make it happen. That’s a big promise, but we have never regretted it, and neither have those who come with us.

FullSizeRender-18

Each year, Bill Hybels, along with world-class leaders from around the globe, speak on teamwork, vision, significance, conflict, motivation and more. We take notes like crazy, but more importantly, we gather to process and contextualize.

This isn’t just for church leaders. It is for business people, soccer coaches, soccer moms, and influencers in every environment. We have friends in business who bring their whole management teams.

The investment in this time of equipping, inspiration, worship, and fellowship has paid off big time for our church.

It has changed our vocabulary. “Umbrella of grace”, getting from “here to there”, “crucial conversations”, and “true north” are part of our shared leadership language.

It has changed our sense of ownership. When we process as a group, we don’t ask, “What should John do?”, but “What can we do in partnership with God to be more effective kingdom-bringers at CPC and wherever we are?” We all become share-holders in kingdom vision, not just the senior pastor.

It has changed our yearly rhythm. Each summer we look forward to this time, knowing we will get a re-charge that will energize us for the upcoming year.

Here’s the thing…This year, August 6-7, for the first time ever, we’re not taking folks down to the GLS. Instead, we’re going to be a satellite host church. If you are in the Twin Cities, this is your chance, for a smaller time and money investment, to take advantage of this amazing opportunity.

Global-Leadership-Summit

Our church site, CPC, is located at 70th and 100 in Edina, Minnesota. Sign up now! Or if you live elsewhere around the world, you can find a satellite site near you.

You won’t regret it. I guarantee.

For those of you who have attended the GLS, what have been some of your “take aways”?

Why I Love Instagram

I’m pretty cynical about social media these days. Facebook and Twitter, I’ll throw you a bone now and then, but you really make me tired.  But Instagram??? LOVE!*

I love Instagram because…

  • It helps me be pay attention to God’s everyday graces.
  • It is positive, and uplifting. No one is bashing anyone on Instagram.
  • It is a creative outlet. It gives space to communicate what we’re making, the environments that are moving us, and the relationships we value.
  • It’s visual and I’m visual.

For me, Twitter is mostly information sharing. Facebook is where I post links to the blog and try to affirm others, but Instagram feels like a smaller, more personal, more inspiring world.

I’m really picky about who/what I follow on Instagram. If you put up all pictures of your kids, friends, or family, I figure I’ll see them on Facebook.

But if you want some suggestions of feeds l like, check these out:

1. benjaminhole – the ebb and flow of farming life on the Isle of Purbeck, England

IMG_0239

2. wranglertoday – the Today Show’s puppy with a purpose. These pictures chronicle Wrangler’s journey to becoming a guide dog.

IMG_0240

3. earthpix – amazing pictures of places, people, animals, and nature

IMG_0241

4. thedailyst – The Daily Saint – “By saints I meant people who behaved decently in a strikingly indecent society.” These are pictures of people doing random acts of kindness.

IMG_0242

5. bobgoff – uplifting words and pictures from the indomitable Bob Goff, author of Love Does.

IMG_0244

6. usinterior – beautiful pictures from state and national parks

IMG_0243

What Instagram feeds do YOU like that I should check out??

*If ANY form of social media feels like too much to you and you just don’t want to go there, I get it! Good for you if this is a healthy boundary…one thing you want to say “no” to.

Movies and Two Questions to Help You Live a Better Story

I, like 99% of Americans am bracing for my post-holiday diet.  This will include all the dis’s – discipline, discomfort, and disappointment that I let things get so out of hand.

I’ve been eating like a bear preparing for hibernation. But it’s not only food that’s been filling me up. With all the new holiday releases, we’ve had a bunch of titles on our “want to see” list.

We saw three movies over the past couple weeks and they filled me up in different ways.

In all three the main character faced pain, conflict, drama, and intense challenges.

I thought that all three were compelling stories well-told on the screen.

One left me sleepless – tossing and turning trying to process why I felt so sad and heavy from the watching.

The other two, although very different from each other, left me informed and inspired.  I walked away feeling stronger, more resolved to live a better story.

As we discussed the first movie around the dinner table I said I didn’t like the main character much. I didn’t like her values or her language.  Mostly I didn’t like the lack of redemption or the trajectory of her life I saw.  As I said this I probably sounded like uptight “Movie Mom” but it was honestly what I felt.

My twenty-somethings responded that this is real life.  This is the way most people live and talk.

Well, yeah, of course it is. I get that.  And I see value in authenticity and exposing ourselves to truth that may be hard to watch because life is sometimes hard to watch. We need to understand a world where not everyone grows the way we’d like them to.

But here’s the thing.  I aspire to something different than most of the “real” world.   Continue reading

Three Scathingly Brilliant Ideas and Two Words

My nickname in our family is “Idea Woman”.  Often I am mocked with the refrain “God loves you and Laura has a wonderful plan for your life.”

It’s ok.  I’ll own it.  I can’t help the way my mind works.  Ideas just kind of spurt out like fireworks.

While they were growing up, the girls and I used to watch the old movie “The Trouble with Angels” about Haley Mills causing mischief in a catholic boarding school.  We often repeat her line, “I have a scathingly brilliant idea! with a gleam in our eyes.

All that to say, in the past couple years I’ve been struck by three things that friends have done that seem scathingly brilliant and I want to share them with you.  These are not my ideas.  I just wish I had thought of them! Continue reading

Dear Movies About All of the Things in the Real World,

Dear Movies About All of The Things in the “Real” world,

I’m writing you to put you on notice.

I’m taking away your stars and giving you a rotten tomato.  You may get critical blah blah  for being “authentically raw”, but so what?  It’s too easy.  It’s like saying we need to hear Lindsay Lohan is behaving badly.  Again.

I don’t think so.

UnknownYou’re down and dirty, but I’m gonna take you out with a Ninja kick to your mojo and call your bluff.  Your world is not all there is.

Reality without redemption, you are dead to me.

Greed, sex, drugs, lies, betrayal, selfishness?  I know you’re everywhere, not just in the kingdom of Wall Street. I don’t need to be reminded.

I need instead, to see glimpses of another kingdom. Continue reading

Why my Daughter is Crying

As I may have mentioned Most people within a five hundred mile radius know that our daughter Maggie is getting married.  34 days, 9 hours and 27 minutes from this moment.

0-1

I’m not gonna kid you.  We’ve experienced kind of a perfect wedding storm of crazy that totally caught us off-guard.  And there have been quite a few tears (also unusual).

The other day, daughter Katy passed along this tumblr that a guy started – Why My Son is Crying* – recording pictures and the reason why he was crying with each shot.  Maybe some of you know about this and I’m just late to the party (as usual).

Some of my favorite reasons for his tears are:

  • Buzz Lightyear’s knee is bent.
  • It took me longer than 0 seconds to take off his shirt.
  • I touched his foot with my foot.
  • We wouldn’t let him drink whiskey.
  • We wouldn’t let him open the hotel door and run naked through Times Square.

If you have been a parent for more than the time it took me to write this sentence, you can relate.

2 months old, 2 years old, 25 years old.  Our kids cry.  And sometimes when they’re little (rarely) it’s hard not to laugh at the absurdity.  But mostly tears break our hearts and we just want to fix whatever is wrong.

Continue reading

Dance. Just for Today

I’m tired of significant and meaningful and reflective.  I’m tired of seriousness and sin.  I’m weary of North Korea, and Congo and terror in Boston.  I want someone else to be responsible for today.  And I feel like a terrible human being admitting that.

Just for today I want to dance in the kitchen and hug my kids, and write a thank you note and eat fresh berries.

A friend of mine who works tirelessly for justice in the ugliest parts of the world was, at one time, on a sailboat in a lovely tropical port.  She said she wrestled with the incongruity, the unfairness of the situation.  Why should she get to enjoy such a lovely respite while so many are fighting for survival, enduring violence, and oppression?  How could she accept the gift that is her relatively privileged life?

Continue reading

Older posts

© 2017 Laura Crosby

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑