A New Journal: Be Filled with Joy

I'm a big fan of journaling. In fact, I've been writing in a diary or journal since I was in the fifth grade, and I've kept each and every one of them. They're precious to me—an integral part of my spiritual life and essential to my sanity. Writing things down helps me to remember not only where I've been, but also where I'm going.

A few weeks ago, we went to Starkville for Super Bulldog Weekend, and as I strolled through the bookstore on campus, I was smitten by this journal by Katie Daisy. I've long been a fan of Katie's work, and her etsy shop is one of my favorites. When we get settled into a new home of our own, I fully intend to fill up my walls with some of her gorgeous and uplifting art.

But all of that's beside the point.

blank-journal-pages-pen-empty-diary

There's something about the blank pages in a brand new journal that makes me want to sit down and write for hours. I love the freshness and the newness—the blank slate—the clean start. It's one of the simplest pleasures in life, and it's one I enjoy immensely.

As for this particular journal, well, I chose it because I need the daily reminder to be filled with joy. If I'm not careful, I can skate my way through an entire day...or week...or month...without stopping to count my blessings or truly experience the joy of the little moments that make up my life.

I know that as far as resolutions go, the beginning of May is a little late to be making one, but oh well. Who says that resolutions are just for new years, anyway? I'm resolved that 2013 (the rest of it, anyway) will be a year of great joy.

"Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit."

Psalm 51:12

This verse is my anthem. I'm looking for wonder and praying for joy in the everyday moments that make up my life.

What about you?

Until next time, grace and peace.

ec Mag: Authentic Faith

It's always a pleasant surprise to receive advance copies of my work in the mail, and Saturday was no exception. I opened a package containing three copies of the February 2012 issue of ec magazine. I love writing for ec, not just because my friend Mandy is a its fantastic editor, but also because it's a great devotional resource for teens who are serious about their faith. Enter February's issue.

ec magazine faith life teen

If you can't tell from the cover, the issue's theme is living out the faith we confess. I contributed the introduction on Authentic Faith, which compares surface-level Christianity with the kind of faith that changes lives.

devotional magazine for teens

Here's a little excerpt from the article to whet your appetite:

"We live in a Christian nation. At least, that's the label we've given ourselves, but in many cases, we are Christians in name only. In no area is this truer than the Bible Belt, where good boys and girls faithfully attend church with their parents and say grace over Sunday lunch every week. They go to church, sing hymns, and even pray on occasion, but it's all a façade. Their faith is practically nonexistent, and it's evident in the choices they make."

authentic faith christianity

You may purchase the February 2012 issue of ec online from LifeWay. If your church has a subscription, you should see some copies in magazine racks soon.

Until next time, grace and peace.

Writing Project: LifeChange Ephesians

small group bible study on the book of ephesians

The other day, I mentioned that I just wrapped up a major writing project, but I never shared any details about my latest work. In January, I commenced writing eight lessons for the LifeChange Ephesians series, published by NavPress. Basically, NavPress enlisted me to write group sessions to go along with a previously published Bible study on Ephesians {pictured above}.

I really enjoyed this project because it allowed me to walk slowly through the entire book of Ephesians. I realize that I'm biased, but I think it's a fantastic resource for a small group that wants to dive deeply into Scripture together. The study divides the book of Ephesians into 14 sessions, with a learner's book for participants to work through at home and lessons to work through as a group. I worked on the latter part, and now it's available for purchase.

life-change-ephesians

If you're searching for a study that takes a focused look at individual books of the Bible, the LifeChange Series is the way to go, and, of course, you should definitely start with Ephesians.

Until next time, grace and peace.

ec Mag: Stash Some Cash with a Summer Job

how to get a summer job

Look what arrived in my mailbox the other day. Proof that I actually DO work from home! As a writer, there's nothing more satisfying than seeing my name in print, especially when my article makes it onto the cover. Love it!

I wrote this summer jobs feature for the May 2011 issue of ec magazine. I've written for ec several times before, and it's always fun to get an e-mail from Mandy (a sweet friend who also happens to be the editor) in my inbox.

The article includes tips and stories on how to land a summer job, from the application to the interview to the money. The top 10 list of jobs for teens to avoid {not pictured below} is an added bonus. I was really pleased with the way the article turned out, and I hope you'll check it out. Here's a little sneak peek for you:

You may purchase the May 2011 issue of ec from LifeWay Christian Resources, or, for all of you Southern Baptist folk, you'll probably see some copies on a literature table at your church pretty soon.

Happy reading!

Until next time, grace and peace.