What If

Ready, set and we’re off! The holiday season is in full swing. Expressions of gratitude, tidings of comfort & joy and shopping deals abound. But for some of us there is only stress and trepidation. The goodness and beauty of the season are eclipsed by neverending to-do lists and unrealistic expectations.

So what if we changed our perspective? Minimized perfection and magnified grace. What if we decided to simply opt out? Opt out of traditions and expectations that weigh us with dread and mask us with insincerity. What if we dared to do something different? Let our “yes” be genuine and purposeful. Let our “no” be firm and free of guilt. What if in the midst of it all we took time to just be…Grateful.

Endless Thanks

Unable to contain in just one day,

A lifetime of profession.

A daily exercise of appreciation,

For this life uniquely my own,

For the glorious triumphs,

For the disheartening defeats,

For the gift of grace,

For mercies renewed,

For everyday blessings,

For the difficult journeys,

For the smallest joys,

For the sting of self-reflection,

For the hope in growth,

For love unfettered and unconditional,

For the joy of family,

For the solace of friends.

Thanks to a God so Magnificent, so Wonderful, and so Good.

Humbled by His presence and in awe of His care. -LAS

“Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. Sing to him; yes, sing his praises. Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.”

Psalms 105:1-2

Give a Little Grace

On this ?? Day of social/physical distancing and isolation I’m checking in…How are we doing?

Well, over here, I began eager to maximize this time…”I’m going to write! And write some more!” But my creative juices didn’t get the memo, so most days it felt like trying to squeeze water from a dry sponge and on the days I was suddenly awash in ideas and words, I’d sometimes lose half of it before I could put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. *Sigh* What is it they say about best laid plans? My expectations have been realistically adjusted. I also learned early on my anxiety around this virus was real. Although my brain didn’t register it, my body certainly did. My remedy? A whole lot of prayer and turning off the news, filtering the talking heads and limiting my scrolls through the Wild West of social media.

These days…Takeout is a highlight of the week. Weekly early morning store visits are as much an indulgence as they are a strategic maneuver. Music is vital, each day has a soundtrack that calms and energizes. I’ve talked to more distant family and friends in the last few weeks than I probably have all of last year. I’ve Zoomed, FaceTimed, Duoed, HungOut and I’m pretty sure I’m nearing video chat burn out. I’m also convinced we all could use mega doses of patience and grace right now…

Grace for the spouse grappling with unemployment
Grace for the child hitting the keyboard in frustration with virtual learning
Grace for the lonely family member or friend sending random texts in the wee hours of the morning
Grace for every essential & front line worker, the visible and not so visible
And grace for ourselves, just winging it one step at a time.

Be safe, be well and write on, my friends.

Sandwich With a Side of Romance

You can’t help but to love Maddie Buckner, the heroine of Krista Phillips‘ debut novel Sandwich, With a Side of Romance. You will root for this sassy tough girl from page one, as she lives out her new faith in Jesus while struggling to make a new life for herself and the little brother she desperately wants to get out of foster care. Her move to small town Sandwich, IL marks a new beginning and as her heart eventually accepts, so does Reuben-the-Jerk Callahan.

This novel is engaging and humorous yet seriously deals with the realities of life. Universal themes of grace, forgiveness, acceptance, and unconditional love are woven throughout the story. The characters are memorable and endearing, especially the Callahan clan, a family so rich in love that one can’t help but to cheer on a Maddie and Reuben romance. Krista writes in the novel’s Acknowledgments that “no man is an island” and this novel speaks loud and clear to how God uses the people around us to bless and enrich our lives.

Sandwich, With a Side of Romance reminds us that life is best lived with a whole lot of faith and a little help from friends.

On a personal note:

I have followed Krista’s blog for a couple of years now and though I’ve never met her personally,  it is so exciting and encouraging to see prayers answered and dreams fulfilled. God is nothing short of amazing!