Whatever is Lovely - Vol. 2
the monthly newsletter
Welcome to my monthly newsletter available to all subscribers where I invite you into my HOME and share with you current Happenings, Obsessions, Musings, and Encouragement.
Happenings | What’s going on…
Almost every summer, Matt takes the month of July off. It’s a good reset for our family and for him. He runs hard during the rest of the year so we are incredibly grateful to TVC for the time away.
We spent the extended Fourth of July holiday weekend at our river cabin. You’ll see plenty of posts in the future about that little slice of sabbath and the storied river it sits beside. The water was a frigid 60 degrees and provided natural air conditioning for the near 100-degree air temps! The river was up high enough for the kids (and the kids-at-heart) to jump off the boulder on the opposite shore. Around the bend, our little “white rapids” were in full force providing hours of adventure and entertainment (for those who watched). Thankfully, we only lost one pair of sunglasses. Sadly, they were Matt’s favorite.
A few weeks later, Matt and I enjoyed a long weekend in Whitefish, Montana with dear friends. We heard great live music, ate way too many calories, and soaked up the rugged beauty. Despite the lesson learned on the Brazos, we floated the north fork of the Flathead River and lost another pair of sunglasses. They were Matt’s. And they were his “next” favorite.
To close out July, I made a quick trip to the Nashville area to celebrate my friend Meshali’s birthday. She’s an incredibly talented photographer and home renovator, but that’s just the tip of the ice burg. Below the surface, she dives deep and strong. I met her years ago through a mutual friend and shared time at IF Gathering. How I get to call her friend is still a wonderful mystery to me. I count it a blessing to know her and to join her dearest friends in ringing in a new year.
Lest you be deceived, our summer hasn’t been a full-on highlight reel (minus the sunglasses). We’ve had problems with one of our mostly new A/C units and likely will need major work on the other (thank you, Texas summer). I am fighting a losing battle with the clumps of dog hair shed daily by the three Australian Shepherds that shake and scratch constantly in our home. If you have Aussies, you know about “the shedding.” This seems like an unusually long shedding season. To top it off, I’ve come down with a summer cold. The good news is that I haven’t been sick in two years. The bad news is that my body must have stored it all up. This one is kicking my butt!
Obsessions | What I’m loving…
I have recommended this book to everyone I’ve seen since I started (and quickly finished) it. Alicia Britt Chole has written a beautiful book on “the dark night of the soul” and how the night isn’t just “normal” for Christians, it’s necessary for our formation.
Sunflowers. When it’s too hot to go outside, bring the outside in! They’re bright and sunny without the scorching heat!
Nathan Nockels’ new album. It’s perfect to listen to while writing, journaling, spending time with the Lord, or just “being.” No words. Just soothing and beautiful music. (Find it wherever you listen to or stream music! It’s called “Everywhere the River Goes.”)
Musings | What I’m writing about…
With travel and illness, July has been a tough month for inspiration, but I’ve tried to keep the Substack posts coming. I started a new series on Psalm 107. The Dwell App featured a two-week plan to memorize the psalm and used images from the Bible study I published with Lifeway. The plan was originally meant to be a companion to the study for those who chose to memorize it with me. It’s a rich psalm that tells the story of four groups of people in distress and how God delivered each one by His steadfast love. I’ll continue the series through the psalm with occasional breaks (as inspiration may hit a little differently).
If you’d like to come along on our journey, you can always upgrade to paid below…
Encouragement | What I want you to know…
If you stole my journal, you’d see the last week has had the same prayer to the Lord: “Father, would you release us from this unrelenting heat??”
Seriously. I am praying for a break in the heat with a healthy side of torrential rain. Few things remind me of my inability to determine outcomes as parenting and the weather do. Sure, I can love them, teach them, pray for them, discipline them, and set the thermostat to 72 degrees, but I can’t change my kids’ hearts or the forecast on my own. I need Him to do it.
But that’s not why I bring the heat dome up in this space today. Besides filling up the prayer pages of my journal, the seemingly unrelenting heat brings to mind “the end.”
No, I don’t mean it like the backwoods church sign that reads, “If you think it’s hot here, imagine hell.” (Although it is wise to take eternity and our neighbor’s futures seriously. Maybe just not as impersonally as a billboard.)
I mean it this way: just as we are one day closer to the beginning of autumn and cooler weather, we are one day closer to the redemption and renewal of all things. The day that we finally get to see our Savior face to face.
Four times in the book of Revelation Jesus says that He is coming soon. Although it can feel like an interminable season, it will not always be so. There is an end to the enemy’s ruthless reign,
to death and disease,
to confusion and chaos,
to the battle against our flesh,
to divisions and disappointment…
With each “I am coming soon” there’s an exhortation attached. Something for us to do or to keep in mind as we wait.
“Behold, I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.” Rev. 3:11
“And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.” Rev. 22:7
“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.” Rev. 22:12
“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” Rev. 22:20
While we wait for Him to come soon, we hold fast to Him, to the gift of faith He has given us, to the love with which He loves us, so that the crown of life and victory sits steady upon our heads.
While we wait for Him to come soon, we build our lives on the enduring truth of Scripture—the inspired word of God.
While we wait for Him to come soon, we remember that all our righteousness comes from Jesus and what we sow now will bear fruit then.
While we wait for Him to come soon, we ask Him to come soon. We look for Him to come soon.
Amen! Come, Lord Jesus. Come.
The heat won’t last forever and neither will this life as we know it.
He is coming.
Until next month…