Friday Faves :: 5 favorites from my week

Friday FavesHappy happy Friday!
Here are 5 favorite things from this past week o’ mine…

|| ONE ||
Last week, I mentioned that I was heading to a ladies retreat. What a refreshing {& FULL} time we had!

I originally used the word full to describe the events that took place in 24 hours. But upon further reflection, we can also apply the full word to my stomach. So much good food & drinks happened during that time.

Early Saturday morning, I snuck away to the coffee shop to snag a little quiet time for reading and prayer. Although the late Friday night made it painful to get out of bed the next morning, I’ve gotta say this was one of my favorite moments from the weekend. Alone. Quiet. Woods. My Bible & a spiritual book. Delicious coffee. And after this time, I headed in for more good spiritual food during the morning session with Denise Cunningham. What a blessing!

faves2

 

|| TWO ||
Saturday afternoon found me stealing away in between 2 workshops to ride a zipline over some waterfalls. I wasn’t sure if I’d even be able to considering my pregnancy, but it turned out to be a very smooth, safe, and non-scary experience. I took this picture below to send to Jonathan and my kiddos. Crooked hat and all, there I am – still very much alive after the zip-lining experience. Huzzah!
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|| THREE ||
I’ve been experimenting with smoothies a lot lately. Here’s proof from yesterday. Sometimes my experiments turn into something my kids and I love. Sometimes it’s something I drink alone. But usually, Nate will always declare it to be yummy and drink it right along with me. Train ’em up. 😉

 

|| FOUR ||
We had family visit this week! My brother-in-law, his wife, and their little guy stayed with us for a couple days and we just loved our time with them. It was the first time we had seen them in over 2 years! This pirate moment happened the day they left and is, sadly, they only picture I managed to take of all the kids together! We’ll get to see them again tomorrow, so I’ll try to be a little more attached to the camera on my phone and snap some pics for posterity.

family

 

|| FIVE ||
I am still going strong in my 90 day Bible reading goal. And by “going strong” I mean I’m only 2 days behind. #fistbump

The Bible Gateway app is my BFF right now and we spend a lot of time together. When I’m reading through something my kids will be able to follow along with, I usually play it out loud during our breakfast time. I’m almost entering Psalms, so I anticipate lots of Bible listening during breakfast over the next week.

 

other items of note:

  • I’m halfway through this pregnancy. unbelievable. (here’s my 20 week pic!)
  • My new-to-me clothes arrived! (I mentioned them in #2) There are a few things I’ll send back, a couple pieces I want to get Jonathan’s opinion on, and a couple others that are keepers for sure. I’m hoping to get pics of the keepers this week and share them in next week’s Friday Faves!
  • Did you catch this week’s Dwelling Richly interview with Mardi Collier?

mardi collierHere’s a snippet:

“I knew that spending time in God’s Word was important, but the busyness of ministry and being a Mom with young children would often win out and I would constantly feel guilty because of my failure.

…eventually I realized that the purpose of having devotions was to show my “devotion” to God and to grow in my relationship with Him. That realization changed everything! When I began to look for Jesus and God in the pages of Scripture, I had a hard time putting my Bible down.”

Find the rest of the interview here!

Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

Interview with Mardi Collier :: Dwelling Richly

Dwelling Richly Series

Do you remember last week’s interview with Kelly Collier? Today’s interview is with Kelly’s sweet mom-in-law, Mardi. Talk about a lot of spiritual wisdom in one extended family! 🙂

One of the things I so appreciate about Mardi is that she has a deep commitment to God and His Word while also being very real. She readily shares not only life struggles, but the way God is working in her through those difficulties. An excellent example of this is in Mardi’s book, What Do I Know About My God? If you want to find out how knowing God can impact your everyday life, I heartily recommend this one (currently $6.99 for kindle!).

I know you will glean a lot from today’s interview and be blessed by both the graciousness + relatability of Mardi’s testimony.

 

What's your regular routine for Bible study-

When the alarm goes off at 6am, my husband, Ken and I, do something that we read in a book -“Begin our day with God.” We each tumble out of bed to our knees and begin our day by telling God that we need Him and talking to Him about the day.

After our normal morning routine, I spend whatever time I have reviewing Scripture memory and studying my Bible. If something comes up and I get interrupted, I try to have a “plan B,” some other time during the day or evening.

 

How do you personally cultivate a desire to be in the Word-

To be honest, it took a lot of years to become consistent and to actually look forward to my time in God’s Word. I didn’t grow up in a Christian home and didn’t even realize that I was supposed to have devotions until I was in college. Since it wasn’t an established habit in my life, I was up and down (as far as consistency was concerned) for a number of years. I knew that spending time in God’s Word was important, but the busyness of ministry and being a Mom with young children, plus my own tendency toward being distracted and not making priority choices would often win out and I would constantly feel guilty because of my failure. I think that some of the problem was I had been taught to look for principles from God’s Word to help me grow spiritually. This is definitely part of it, but eventually I realized that the purpose of having devotions was to show my “devotion” to God and to grow in my relationship with Him. That realization changed everything! When I began to look for Jesus and God in the pages of Scripture, I had a hard time putting my Bible down.

Something that has really encouraged me is the thought that because I am God’s child He will always love me. I don’t have to live in constant fear and guilt over my performance. He knows my heart and knows that I desire to know and please Him. If I have a growing relationship with God, I will love Him and will want to know Him and keep His commandments, and that increases my desire and commitment to spend time with Him in prayer and in His Word.

 

What has been your driest time spiritually and how did you overcome that period-

I don’t know that I can give a specific time, but I have found that when I get out of my normal routine I can tend to get off track. Some examples would be: During the holidays or when we have company; on vacation when visiting relatives or on a busy “doing” vacation; or during a “crunch” time at The Wilds. It’s strange, (or is it?) but those are often the times when I need my time with God even more because of the stress and interaction with more people. And, I miss it!

When I don’t consistently spend time in prayer I feel dry and distant from God.

 

Are there any non-essentials that you love to have during your study time

I love my hot tea and a cozy fire in the fireplace (when it’s cold.)

I have also found that having all my study books and notebooks in a basket near my chair is very helpful and keeps me from hopping up and down and wasting time. I also have a drawer and a little chest right by my rocking chair that contain the pens, pencils, colored pencils, etc. that I might need.

 

What resources have influenced you the most in giving you a desire and tools for dwelling in the Word-

 

Is there a favorite Bible study method you use-

I personally like variety – I don’t think you should ever be bored with God’s Word!

If I had to choose, I would have to say that my all-time favorites are studies that help me to know God and Jesus more. I love using simple loose-leaf notebooks to record specific Scripture verses about Who God is. Also, I will often go through the gospels looking for answers to a question about Jesus – for instance:

  • How did Jesus spend His time?
  • How did Jesus treat people?
  • Who is Jesus?

I also participate in our monthly ladies’ Bible study at our church, and spend time doing my lessons for that. I’ve been “stretched” and have grown a lot through those in-depth studies that our pastors’ wife so kindly and diligently prepares for us. They can be “plow” studies (topical or a general study) or “trowel” studies (in-depth digging into a verse or passage).

 

Do you have ways to make your time in church more personally enriching-

YES! I am more and more convinced that Bible memorization is a super important part of walking in the Spirit. My husband, Ken, has this little phrase that has really impacted me. He says that it should be our goal to: “Think Bible.” Whenever anything happens to us, we should know enough Scripture to be able to respond biblically to the situation or person. Colossians 3:16: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom.”

When we have God’s Word in our brains, the Holy Spirit can use that truth to convict us of our sin, to give us wisdom to know how to act or respond to any given situation in life, and to be able to help and encourage others. It’s like carrying around a Bible at all times.

We have found that what works best for us is to memorize passages or chapters of the Bible instead of individual verses. That way, the verses are in context, and it’s also easier to know where to find them when you need them.

Years ago, a friend told us about a “painless” way to memorize Scripture. As a family, we would read a passage out loud together once a day. Surprisingly, it only takes a few weeks to memorize the passage. Once you have memorized it, you start on a new passage and review the old passage. Each day, you are reading two passages, a new one and one of the old ones. It only takes 3 to 5 minutes, and if faithful, you can memorize a good many passages.

 

How did you encourage a love for God's Word in your children- Did you have a method for helping them learn how to study for themselves-

We tried to make the Bible a major focal point of our home. We used the Bible as our “How-to” Book for life and tried to live by it. Instead of just giving our opinions, our goal was to find out: “What does God say about _______?” (whatever topic we were discussing.)


mardi collier

 

 

Mardi Collier has been active in ladies miinistries for many years, both in her church and at THE WILDS Christian Camp and Conference Center in Brevard, NC, where her husband, Ken, serves as president. The Colliers have 4 children & 15 grandchildren.

Find Mardi:

What Do I Know About My God?

Find the rest of the Dwelling Richly interviews here!

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Friday Faves {& gender reveal!}

Happy Friday, lovely friends!
Here are some of my favorite things from this week…

1. It has been mid-80’s here in North Carolina and I am loving it. I know it will get to the 90’s soon enough and I’ll likely be holing my large pregnant self inside with ice chips, but for now I’m just incredibly thankful for the warm weather where my kids can run around outside in shorts and tee shirts.

2. I just (as in, 10 minutes before writing this) ordered this dress in a blue floral print. The dress is originally from LL Bean, but I snagged mine from ThredUp because #cheaper. I have incredibly high hopes that it will both fit my growing belly and be perfect for summer because of the sweat-wicking material. I’m cautiously excited because I feel like my hopes might be a bit too high. In which case I will return it with great tears.

dress3. I tried out Grove Co. for the first time last week. I originally looked into it because I enjoy shopping from my bed. But I actually hit “BUY” because of the $10 off my order. And after hearing good reviews on their lip balm, I grabbed this mango + ginger one. The jury is still out on this lip balm since I’ve only been using it for 48 hours, but so far it’s my favorite ever – even better than Burt’s Bees pink grapefruit [gasp!]. I just really like how easily it glides onto my lips. How’s that for over-analyzing lip balm?

mango ginger4. The very BIGGEST piece of news from my week happened right here when we found out that our sweet new little baby is a GIRL!

PINK!

I took a video (find it here!) of the whole proceedings when we discovered the gender. I’m so glad we documented it. It will be a treasure to watch for years to come, I’m sure. And how fun to be able to show our little girl when she’s old enough to understand! (Here’s my 19 week bump via instagram.)

5. Today I’m heading to a ladies retreat with a couple friends from church. Denise Cunningham is the speaker for this weekend and I’m really looking forward to the extra time in the Word! I leave today and come back tomorrow, so it’s not a super long time, but I always miss my sweet husband and kiddos when I’m gone. I made sure to snag some easy + fun foods for them while I’m gone. That translates into frozen pizza and mac & cheese. Some of their favorites. 🙂

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Interview with Kelly Collier :: Dwelling Richly

Dwelling Richly Series
When I finished reading Women of the Wordone of the first people I shared it with was today’s contributor, Kelly Collier. After having previous conversations together about the importance of God’s Word, I knew Kelly would be interested in hearing about a new resource to aid believers in their study!

I’m so thankful that Kelly is able to share about her personal Bible study journey with us today. I’ll tell you upfront: this is the longest interview so far in the series! But she shared so many things that were a help to me when I read them so I wanted to pass as much as possible along to you. Read it over a couple days if you need to! Or bookmark it so you can refer to it later! But make sure you read all the way to the end: I’m especially grateful for what she shared in the last 2 questions about making time to study God’s Word & encouraging a love for God’s Word in children.

I trust this will be a blessing to you as it was to me!


How do you personally cultivate a desire to be in the Word-

Some people believe that desire is the foundation of all our choices. Although I do agree that desire – what we want – determines what we do, I do not believe that desire is the ultimate source of our actions. There is something deeper still: what we believe. What we believe actually informs our desires. This is why Christ consistently points to faith/belief as our main need (see Mark 16:14, John 8:24, John 16:7-9; Col. 2:6, 2 Cor 5:7, Heb. 10:38, Heb. 11:6)

The problem with this teaching is how man-centered it is. It puts man’s desires as the core. So even if you are seeking to change a wrong desire it is still your desire that is utmost- your pleasure, your experience of God. If you really think about it, that motivation for change (my desires aren’t good for me) is pretty selfish. It is true that God created us to enjoy Him (i.e., Christian hedonism), but His glory is even behind that. God is the center- not us. God’s glory – who He is as we see Him in the Word – ultimately changes and forms our desires. It has that transforming ability. So much more powerful and lasting than our selfish reasons for changing. This is deeply encouraging, because desires can feel like they are ruling and directing me when, actually, desires can be changed and cultivated by God’s truth.

Personally, there are many times that I don’t really desire or feel like being in my Bible. I want to sleep. I want to get something on my “to do” list done. But years of putting truth into my heart informs those wrong desires, and I choose to live by faith instead of by how I feel. When I obey God and open my Bible even when I don’t feel like it, it is not hypocrisy. I am living true to what God has told me in His Word, rather than by the feelings of my flesh. This is living by faith. The really neat thing is that as I take that step of faith, God changes my desires. When I “taste and see that He is good” it satisfies like nothing else can. It makes me long for more. And with David I can say, “one thing have I desired that will I seek after to behold the beauty of the Lord.” The best way to cultivate this desire is to act by faith – open my Bible, ask God to let me see His beauty, and seek for Him. Seeing the King in His beauty will become the biggest desire you have.
What has been your driest time spiritually and how did you overcome that period-

ALL believers have dry times spiritually. The difference is in whether we give up when it is “dry” or we keep faithfully obeying in the dry times. It is incredibly hope giving to know that other people have times of spiritual drought! We are not alone in the struggle!

Personally, my hardest times have been during the newborn and toddler years. Everyone is needy, including Momma! I had to fight hard for time with the Lord. And so many times I was struggling to stay awake when I did find the time…even with coffee! But looking back, it was really good for me to have to fight for that time with my Lord. It became even more precious to me. And at times when I’ve felt like I was just on auto-pilot and I wasn’t sure what truth was sinking in, I would look back and see that Christ had truly ministered to me through His Word. It was making a difference!

 

Are there any non-essentials that you love to have during your study time

Coffee, or something else warm to drink, helps that early morning time be a little more doable. A good cup of coffee and my Bible and I’m ready to “get glory from God.”

 

What resources have influenced you the most in giving you a desire and tools for dwelling in the Word-

As a teenager I was introduced to Kay Arthur’s precept ministries. Our church offered an inductive Bible study training course. So as a 14 year old I learned how to take a passage of Scripture and dig deeply. This literally changed my life. Our youth group did her inductive studies for teens all through high school. That became my default for my own personal time with the Lord.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ first book is A Place of Quiet Rest. I used this book to introduce the inductive study method to the ladies at my church. She not only explains the why of Bible study, but teaches step by step the “how” of Bible study. I use this method for any passage of Scripture that I study.

I don’t think you can get better heart than Mardi Collier’s book What Do I Know About my God? This is an excellent resource. I’ve taken this concept to my Sunday School class (3rd and 4th grade) and every Sunday we look for what we know about God in the passage of Scripture we are studying. They get it! Because it is simple. They are learning to see the Bible in these terms: it is all about a Person, and that Person is knowable!

Probably the book that had the most impact in changing my view of the Bible was Changed Into His Image by Jim Berg. This is where I heard for the first time that the Bible is a book about God. I really had approached it most of my life up to that point as a book about me. In my opinion this is the best book ever written on Christian growth. It is one of those books that I try to read every few years. Good stuff!

Another good resource is Dig Deeper: Tools for understanding God’s Word by Nigel Beynon and Andrew Sach.

Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin is very good too. We’ve been doing one of her studies this year – and my ladies who are young in the faith are encouraged that they can study!

 

Is there a favorite Bible study method you use-

I like to have both a “plow” and a “trowel” study going on simultaneously. I may not do both each day, but switch between them or do one for a time and then take a break and do the other.

I just started doing the chronological read through of the Bible in January (this is one of my favorite ways to read through Scripture). I’m keeping track of the theme “suffering” and “glory” as I read – this comes from Jesus’ talk with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. He opened their eyes to this theme in Scripture about Himself. I’m excited about it!

 

Do you-have you ever used accountability in the area of time in the Word-

I have the blessing of a built-in accountability with my family- my husband and my kids know when I am not walking in the Spirit! But it is even harder to tell someone outside my family that I’m not walking in the Spirit. Ouch. We say in our family that accountability isn’t just for people in trouble. It is for all Christians. It’s because I don’t want to be in trouble. So I do open myself up to others. For many years I had a list of “hard questions” that another friend in ministry and I would share our answers with each other once a month. This was a very helpful spiritual review.

 

Have you ever taken time for a personal spiritual retreat-

Years ago, when my first son was a newborn I asked my husband for a special Christmas gift. I wanted to take a spiritual retreat once a month during the coming year. We didn’t quite make it monthly, practically it ended up being more like every other month. But it was so beneficial, so special, so needful…that Matt continues to give me this gift 10 years later. I would just take my Bible, hymnal, whatever I was studying at the time, my prayer journal and go to his office (with my coffee of course) and spend about 4 hours alone with the Lord. This is essential in my spiritual life. So thankful that my husband makes it possible!

 

Any recommendations for Scripture memory- Meditation-

Do it with a friend!  Memorize chunks of Scripture rather than isolated verses. I love to memorize whatever I am studying in depth at the time…that helps with meditation throughout the day.

A neat book I read about this a few years ago was called His Word in My Heart. The basic idea is to use the times when your hands are busy and your mind is not to memorize. I carry my Scripture memory with me on walks, in the car, at the sink, in the bathroom, laminated in my shower. Right now I have the entire book of Colossians on my shower wall. 🙂

 

How do you make time for Bible study when your children were little-

I’ve learned along the way that there is ALWAYS a way to please God.

If you want to be in the Word, there is a creative way to do it. It takes time and it takes intention, and it takes saying no to a lot of other things. Even now, with a 3 year old and a 5 year old, I can look at nap time as my time to get a lot of business done (i.e., counseling prep, church needs, etc.). But I committed to set the first part of nap time aside for my time with God whenever it got cut short in the mornings.

Often that means my truncated prayer time from the morning has to happen at 1:30 instead. That is actually harder for me to surrender than getting out of bed in the morning. It’s the tyranny of the urgent. I asked a number of older women last year what they wish they had done differently. Every single one of them said “I wish I had prayed more.” That has stuck with me. And I’m asking God to help me remember that, and actually do something about it.

 

How did you encourage a love for God's Word in your children- Did you have a method for helping them learn how to study for themselves-

I think the greatest way to encourage this love for God’s Word in them (aside from exposing them to the Word) is to demonstrate that love yourself. We seek to be appropriately transparent with our kids. We talk often about what God is teaching us as adults, we talk about our failures (which they already know about!) and how we are seeking to change by God’s enabling. I told Gabe just the other day as we sat and talked about an area we were both struggling to obey God in – there isn’t an adult way to change and a kid way to change. God has given us one way – and it is simple. Not easy to do, but it isn’t complicated. I have to grow the same way I’m challenging him to grow. As he sees us being real, and not fake in our Christianity, it makes him desire to “own” it for himself. Kids and teens can see straight through adults – I don’t want to give them any reason to forsake God because of duplicity or insincerity on our part.


kelly collier

Kelly Collier is the wife of Matt Collier, pastor of Bethany Baptist Church in Brevard, North Carolina and director of CampsAbroad, the mission’s arm of The WILDS Christian Camp. Kelly had the privilege of traveling with Matt for many years to help establish and assist camps all over the world. She now stays-at-home with their three sons Gabe, Jeriah and Levi. She enjoys helping with the counseling needs at the WILDS and is also involved with the ladies’ ministries in her local church. She is passionate about knowing God and helping others come to know Him.

Find all the Dwelling Richly interview here!

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7 books I want to read

A few years ago I remember seeing lots of Summer Reading Lists floating around the ‘net. Inspired by the idea, I began collecting ideas for my own summer reading list. Until I realized my summer schedule with small children looks fairly identical to my fall, winter, and spring schedule and free reading time doesn’t automatically appear with the entrance of the summer season.

However, periodically I get a handful of books in my head that keep floating to the top of my “to read” list.
Here are 7 books I want to read:

7 books i want to read

one | two | three | four | five | six seven

ONE | by Jen Wilkin. You already know how much I benefited from Jen’s first book. After hearing Jen overflow with love for God in her teaching, I’m guessing this book will be one where I spend a lot of time worshiping Christ.

TWO | The subtitle of this book is Treasuring God by Enjoying His Gifts. Sometimes I feel like I constantly struggle with the right perspective towards God’s gifts – adoring the ones I have, despising what I don’t, and a host of other options in between. Therefore, this book immediately interested me.

THREE | I listened to Sally Clarkson talking about this book when it first came out. It sounds like a practical, purposeful book. You already know how I feel about a home having purpose.

FOUR | I’ve received countless (okay, probably 7) recommendations to read this book. Touted as a must for homeschooling parents, I’m hoping this book will cause me to think deeply about the way I educate my children.

FIVE | I just really want to work through this book. I think it would be entertaining in addition to helping my writing skills. This is the Young Writer’s Edition, which I’ve read is cleaner than the edition for older writers. I’m all about the clean edition.

SIX | Written for children, this is a book aimed at teaching little ones to protect their bodies. I just requested that my library purchase this book, so I’m looking forward to borrowing it. If I love it as much as all the reviews say I will, I plan to buy this to use as a teaching tool with my own precious littles.

SEVEN | From the back of the book: “The Hidden Art of Homemaking will appeal immediately to anyone who believes that the place in which we live needs to be a center of meaningful living and personal enrichment.” I am in the first chapter of this book and loving it. Don’t let the horridly ugly cover fool you. The cover is indeed ugly. But so far, I’m loving the content.

And there you have it. 7 books I want to read.

What are you reading lately? Have you read any of the titles above?

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