community brew

Community Brew / Vol. 5 - a peek into our living room (video)

I am really excited about this post today. I have actually been really struggling on what to write for this month's community brew. I have been so overwhelmed in so many areas of life lately, that I could write about a lot of things. But I want more than anything for this to be a space of positivity and encouragement for you, as well as vulnerability for me...and that is a balance. 

I am grateful to be joining with

Madison

for another round of Community Brew, and am thankful for all of you that will be linking up with us! :) Rules are simple, and listed below. Most importantly we want to create space for honesty and encouragement! 

Let me introduce you to our co-host, Jenna from

A Mama Collective

. Jenna is a wifey and mama to three girls, and she blogs over at A Mama Collective about the beautiful imperfections of life. She believes in chasing your dreams, no matter what phase in life you're in, and that coffee and a good book can fix anything.

jenna-a-mama-collective

Many of you many not know this but Ben and I both LOVE music. I have grown up singing my entire life, from being Maria in the Sound of Music in high school to leading worship at our church. Ben also grew up in a musical home and plays the piano, guitar, and banjo. Music was a huge part of our relationship early on, and we spent evenings in our Campus chapel regularly huddled around the piano singing together. 

So for this Community Brew I wanted to take you into our living room. We sing together often and really enjoy relaxing together as Ben plays hymns and we sing together. This particular song spoke soo deeply to me last week at our church meeting. I knew I had to share it. It is rich with meaning, and resonates so deeply with me. 

Poor sinner, dejected with fear, 

Unbosom thy mind to the Lamb;

No wrath on His brow He does wear,

Nor will He poor mourners condemn;

His arm of omnipotent grace

Is able and willing to save;

A sweet and a permanent peace

He’ll freely and faithfully give.

Come just as thou art, with thy woe,

Fall down at the feet of the Lamb;

He will not, He cannot say, “Go”,

But surely will take out thy stain

A fountain is opened for sin,

And thousands its virtues have proved

He’ll take thee, and plunge thee therein,

And wash thee from filth in His blood.

The soul that on Jesus relies,

He’ll never, no never deceive;

He freely and faithfully gives

More blessings than we can conceive;

Yea, down to old age He will keep,

Nor will He forsake us at last;

He knows and is known by His sheep;

They’re His, and He will hold them fast.

I am moved by songs so often, and find the Lord speaks so clearly to me through the words of songs and hymns. This was a new song at church and I found myself really focusing on the words because of it being so new.  

The line that says, "

No wrath on his brow He does wear"...

wow, so much freedom in that line. The Lord doesn't look down wagging his finger at us. Our righteousness as his children is secure, we can do nothing to add to it or take it away, and there is such relief in that reality for me. 

Also, the fact that the song talks about how the Lord will not, cannot, turn us away when we approach him with our woes. Relief number 2. The Lord loves to carry our burdens, and guys, these past few months I have been carrying SO MANY burdens. To know I can dump these out and the Father will receive me, and know me, and see me, and comfort me...ah, it is like fresh, cold water on a hot day. This truth is so soothing to my weary and beaten down soul. 

I hope you enjoy "hanging out" in our living room with us. We are not professionals, and we have a camera that likes to cut off before the 3rd verse, and a puppy that feels the need to move every 5 seconds, but we love singing about Jesus and pray this song brings joy to you today!

An InLinkz Link-up

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Community Brew / Vol. 4 / Gratitude

Friends I am so excited about this month's Community Brew topic. Madison and I have so deeply enjoyed getting to know each of you and hosting this link up. It truly is a joy for both of us. I feel as if thanksgiving and gratefulness have been two things the Lord has been teaching me for several months lately and I am eager to share some thoughts with you today. 

First, we want you to meet our co host this month, Martha Kate of Seasons with the Strattons. Love Martha Kate, and fun fact, we both went to the same college and even had a super fun English class together in which we sat by each other and loved every minute of the super boring class...remember that MK? Meet Martha Kate!

Seasons with the Strattons is a lifestyle blog focused on bringing Glory to God while living out the Minor League Baseball lifestyle.  You will find stories from my adventure of being a Minor League wife, recipes, home projects, and faith posts.  Mostly, Seasons with the Strattons is a creative outlet for me to share glimpses of our life and the way God uses it. 


The rules for the link up are the same as they have been...
1. Follow your hosts and co hosts
2. Comment on at least 2 other blogs
3. Share your heart on the topic we provide for the month!

So gratitude. Where do I even begin. I feel as if lately the Lord has pressed the slow motion button on my life, and been patiently showing me how to slow down and notice the smallest moments in my days. It has been so easy for me to just blaze a trail every day full speed ahead ready to tackle anything and everything in my way. I hit the pillow at night wiped out emotionally, physically, and mentally...I am so empty. Yet, I arise the next morning with the same goal...get everything done as quickly as possible. 
I fly through my days and fail to notice the beauty of sun rays pouring in through the bedroom. Or the way that it seems like magic to smell bread baking that has taken three days to get prepared for the oven. Gratitude means so much more than saying thanks for physical items. or the big things in life. In fact, I feel as if I am seeing in my own life that I simply cannot be truly grateful for the big things if I do not have the ability to express thankfulness for the small things. 

So now I name things. I take time daily to write in my journal, take pictures or document things in my phone and count the little moments, and speak them. If I do not speak my joy, awe, and thankfulness for the yellow leaves falling life gold to the ground, I will forget and blaze my selfish trail without stopping. 

Here are a few things on my list from the past few weeks. 

Homemade whipped cream
Movies that make me cry
projects using my hands alongside my husband
Wind that whips my hair 
relaxing days that end with naps on the couch
lunch with friends that is not awkward
the beauty of onions becoming caramelized
sourdough bread...how does it become bread?! Magic!
Air that is easy to breath and cool on your skin
muscadine wine that reminds me of summer
baby messes and drool
I love these lists. Some people may think they are silly, or shallow, but they mean so much to me. They truly do teach me how to practice gratitude. They remind me of moments I would normally storm on by and forget before they are even over. They remind me to rejoice in the Lord daily. 

What does gratitude mean to you? 

PSA- if you would like to purchase one of my handmade crochet headwarmers I am having a Flash Sale on my @ohsimplethoughts instagram account today until 3:30 pm CST. It is Auction style so everyone has a chance to win a headwarmer! 





Community Brew #3 - Thoughts on Rest

It is time yet again for Community Brew! So excited to create space for all your ladies to share your hearts and lives with one another. Most of you know this by now but if you are new, Madison and I are the hosts of this little monthly get together! 
Madison of The Wetherills Say I Do // Rachel of Oh Simple Thoughts 

Each month we have a co-host as well! Some months we post topics and others will be a free topic to talk about whatever has been on your heart. There is only one rule to what you post...this link up is a place for vulnerability. So whatever you write about, we hope that it helps us to get to know you better and for us all to grow in fellowship and our walk with the Lord.


This month was a free topic month so we are excited to read about what the Lord has been teaching you and doing in your hearts and lives. Before I  dive into my post here is our lovely co host for this month. Christin of Quirky Anthems. She is a super awesome gal and has a heart for the Gospel. She loves coffee as much as I do (which is big) and even as her own coffee business with her husband and a few others called Sweet Aroma Coffee (you should all check them out!). 

I'm Christin Eastman and I'm so excited to co-host with my sweet friends, Madison and Rachel! I started Sweet Aroma Coffee in October 2013 after I'd traveled around the world on an 11 month mission trip called The World Race. The brokenness I experienced in each country was unlike anything I'd ever encountered. During this time, the Lord planted a dream in my heart of starting a coffee company that would fund ministries who work with survivors of sex trafficking. Sweet Aroma Coffee raises awareness through social media and by partnering with folks who have a heart to see the captives set free. We share about our monthly coffee subscription at Sweetaromacoffee.org and we donate 36% of the gross profit to ministries working with sex trafficking victims in Kenya and The Philippines. I blog about life, coffee and missions at quirkyanthems.com and I'm so looking forward to hearing everyone's heart today! Thanks so much for having me!

So we are just sitting down and chatting now, and being really honest. So friend, honestly, August has kicked my little tail thus far. It has been a whirlwind from starting a new job, Ben having some big deadlines to meet at work, Piper having surgery, and I have been working a ton on a secret project that I hope to share soon. But I have felt like I have been barely able to keep up. 

Ask anyone that knows me and they will testify to this. I have taken more naps, responded to fewer text messages/emails, and hardly had time to read my favorite blogs...It has been crazy

So in light of all the crazy, I have been thinking about the idea of rest a lot. One thing the Lord has shown me is that rest goes much further beyond the boundaries of sleeping and laying in bed. Rest encompasses much more. I found myself just trying to take another nap, or go to bed earlier, but found I was still in need of rest. (I will speak on Ben's behalf and say he was feeling the same way). We were so tired, so empty, and so overwhelmed with the feeling of being behind. 

I kinda felt like I was watching myself from above, like I wasn't really myself and unable to really live into the moments in which I found myself daily. Does this make any sense?! I pray it does. 

So what is rest? And how have I begun to practice it?

Well I know what rest is not, or at least what it is not only. Like I said, it is not only sleep, and it is not only being still. It is stopping to thank the Lord for sunlight streaming in and making rainbows on the wall. It is saying a prayer as I begin to work on a long to do list for my secret project, it is slowing down, while still working efficiently. Sometimes it has even been saying no to some things like TV, Pinterest, Instagram, and blog reading so that I can say yes to fully listening and loving my husband at night when he gets home. 

Another things that rest is...it is God ordained. Sounds crazy huh? Well one thing our pastor has pointed out to Ben and I in the past few weeks (when we have been at the end of our ropes and ready to crumble) was that the Lord instituted patterns of rest for his people. He created the Sabbath day, the Passover feast, and other yearly, monthly and weekly times of rest. Times that everything stopped and the Lord's people rested. 

So if the Lord wanted his old testament people of Israel to practice this, why would we think it would not apply to us? We are called to rest. We rest so that we can work harder for the Lord during the week. We rest so that we can pour ourselves out more fully and intentionally. Without rest and being refilled how can we pour out? We rest so that we can love well and not selfishly. 


I can think of so many times when I came home from a sleepover party in elementary school, middle school and even in high school, and was just out of my mind tired. More than likely I had stayed up way too late with friends doing silly things like prank calling the boys in our class or playing truth or dare.My mom would always say the same thing when I would come home cranky, ill and tired..."You need sleep"...I tell this story because I think this is what happens to us in life when we do not rest. We turn into that cranky and delirious middle schooler that cannot love selflessly if they wanted to because they are so sleep deprived. 

So friends, I was so discouraged last week, and so worn down. But now I feel more relaxed and at rest because I am simply stopping during the day and resting in the Lord and all he has done for us. I am working hard but trying to make time to stop and set everything aside. 

How are you doing today? How is your heart? 

Big thanks to Nikki Mckenzie Photography for these lovely shots. They are a part of her Coffee Project. Check out more of her work here




Community Brew Vol. 2 // MARRIAGE

Welcome to the second Community Brew link up! Madison and I so deeply enjoyed reading everyone's posts last time so we are excited to hear your thoughts and hearts today!
First off, a big thanks to our co host this week, Sarah of Seriously, Sarah?. Make sure to show her some love today! 


Hi there! I'm Sarah! I love to read, write, and create. My blog is to share my passion for life while living with chronic pain. I hope you'll enjoy this journey with me and all that God has brought me through. 

To link up:
Follow your hosts and co host
Comment on at least two other blogs
Grab the button and link back here so everyone can join in on the fun! 

So today's topic is marriage...and if you are engaged, or single do not think this is a topic you cannot jump into...we want to hear where you are at in whatever season you are in. I recently shared my story of singleness and it reminded me that even though I am married now, I still remember well the days of engagement and being single! 

I wanted to spend some time reflecting on some things that I have been thinking on lately in regards to my marriage. So Ben and I just celebrated our one year anniversary in May, and it was awesome. One whole year of marriage...wow. Well I guess the biggest thing I am seeing now, is after year one there are several temptations I have to fight really hard against. 

1. The temptation to speak my mind in a dishonoring way.
After a year of marriage, I have found I am so much quicker to just say whatever I think...whether that is correcting Ben in the middle of sentence, critiquing his driving, or just being rather snappy. I have to guard so much more intentionally against the temptation to just speak. I do not think that means I cannot be who I am...but Proverbs 31:26 says, "She opens her mouth with wisdom, the teaching of kindness is on her tongue." So I am learning so much about what it means to open my mouth with wisdom rather than with carelessness...I should be bringing my husband goodness with my words, not negativity and harm. 

2. The temptation to settle into life. 
Can any other wives out there relate to this? It is SO EASY for me to go throughout my days...just checking one box after another without giving consideration to studying my husband, learning his needs, and pursuing him wholeheartedly every day! This has been a struggle for both myself and Ben. It is so easy to just turn the TV on after dinner, bury ourselves in our computers or cell phones, rather than really seeing each other, and being together. 

3. The temptation to be too jealous of alone time. 
If there is one thing the Lord is teaching me right now it is about how to truly be the body of Christ in our small city. I have found that without trying Ben and I have built walls around our home...people do not feel the freedom to just swing by and visit or join us for dinner without calling first because we have guarded ourselves. We have built up barriers to keep our alone time protected, and in an effort to pursue a healthy marriage, we have pushed people out. Don't get me wrong, I think every married couple needs alone time...but never at the sacrifice of reaching out to the body of Jesus. You see, to be married is to partner with someone else is carrying the Gospel out. So Ben and I are to picture the Gospel in our marriage, and then labor alongside one another to share that same Gospel in our home. It is hard to share that Gospel when it is only Ben and I around our table and in our living room every evening. 

This is something I am praying and striving to change. I do not want to miss opportunities to invest in the lives of others, and to welcome people into our home! 

These are just a few of the many things stirring in my heart and mind when I reflect on my marriage. I am so deeply grateful for my husband, and his leadership in our home. He works so hard, and is always pushing me to sanctification. 

What is the Lord teaching you where you are at right now? What steps can you take to walk in obedience to him?

Don't forget to link up with us next month (August 13th) for our first OPEN TOPIC Community Brew Link Up! You can just share your heart with us, and we will do the same! Cannot wait until next time! 

community brew link up






Community Brew Link Up // Community

Words literally cannot express how overjoyed I am about this link up! Many of you linked up with Madison and I for our Coffee Date, and we loved getting to know so many of you, that we decided to take things a level deeper. We have spent a lot of time praying over this link up, and brainstorming what would be the best for us all! We wanted to create a link up that welcomed vulnerability, honesty, and transparency. So Community Brew is all about knowing each other more, and pushing each other to loving the Lord more! The link up will happen once a month, and some months we will have prompts like this one, and others will be open for you to just share where you are and what you are learning!


So grab a button for your page, if you'd like, link up below and we have one more treat for you! This month we have a giveaway sponsored by Sweet Aroma Coffee. This coffee shop offers monthly coffee subscriptions AND a large portion of the proceeds go towards organizations that fight against sex trafficking. Enter below to win some goodies from Sweet Aroma!

We are also opening up this link-up to one co-host each month. This is a great opportunity to gain exposure for your blog and grow in community. If you'd like to be a co-host please click here and look for Community Brew Co-Host.

Let me introduce you to this month's co-host: Holly from Holly's Joy!


"Hi, I'm Holly! First and foremost, I am a Jesus-follower. He has totally transformed my life and I would be completely lost without Him.  I'm also wife to Derek, an absolutely lover of all things DIY, and a private childcare provider by day/entrepreneur by night. Holly's Joy is my creative outlet where I get to share my passion for people and encourage others. From customized invitation designs to motivational prints to organizational tools, each item in my Etsy shop was created with love to inspire and bring you closer to what matters most in life. I spend most of my time over on my blog talking about DIY home projects, organization, and life's adventures as we strive to live a life filled with joy, simplicity, and balance."


Today's prompt is community. Some questions to go along with the prompt, and a passage of scripture-

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
What does community mean to you? 
Why is it hard to pursue community or open up to others? 
What does it look like to "live in community" with other believers and non believers? 
Why is community important to you? 
What does it look like to love your neighbor?

Community is a tough one. All of us are wired for community. We see in Ecclesiastes that two are better than one, the Lord designed community to be enjoyed and pursued. So why is it so hard? Well, I think I could write 17 different posts on this topic because it is so packed full...but for me, community is hard because it is not cut and dry. Friendships, relationships, and community are not all the same...so there is no system or method that can be put into place when you are trying to pursue community...you have to invest. And you cannot just invest a little bit. To really live life in community you have to jump into other people's lives, and messes, and heart aches, and let them jump into yours, and then attempt to navigate murky waters together. Y'all that is scary!

I think the hardest thing about finding community is really pressing into the reality that community is not always pretty. You have to open up, and let others in, and see you for who you really are...and that is really uncomfortable sometimes. BUT, while it is uncomfortable, it is worth it.


It is worth it because true life on life, deep in each other's messes kind of community looks unique. It is counter cultural, and so it draws attention to itself by just being different. This attention then gets to be directed to Jesus. So to me I think that "living in community" should be done with other believers, for the purpose of loving each other well and bringing non believers in. When those that do not know the Lord step into a community that loves each other in the messes of life, they become curious because this kind of community is not common. So praise JESUS, community gives us a chance to make his name known!

I know that since I have been married, pursuing community often just means opening the doors of my home. It means inviting college students in, and not just for one meal, but for people to come into our home, and into our lives on a regular basis. This is a struggle for me. I LOVE hosting people in our home, but often I view it as that..."hosting". I am viewing it as a production. House clean, food ready, dessert, and my hair all curled and looking good...but this is not real life. The Lord has really shown me lately that community happens is the moments when Ben calls from work and asks if a single guy from church can come over for dinner because he is having a rough day (and it means me being okay with that last minute change, even though I haven't showered, cleaned the house, or have a great menu planned out).


I am learning to live in community in real life...not just during the coffee dates, church meetings, small groups, and cook outs...but in the little moments of last minute dinners, drop in guests, meet strangers in our city, and loving people well in the midst of a messy house or less than clean kitchen. Does that make sense? Can anyone else relate? Where are you in your journey to "living in community"?

For all future dates and prompts go here!
community brew link up