Share Four Somethings—May 2022
—Grace & Truth Linkup

We’re all in grief. And anger over the latest mass shooting.

We were already in mourning from May 14 when a white supremacist took away 10 Black lives at a Tops Friendly Markets store in Buffalo, NY.

Then on May 24 an 18-year-old killed at least 21 people and wounded around 16 more at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

I pray that God will lead me to TAKE ACTION in some positive way to help stop these massacres.

Ask yourself: what can I do to help prevent another mass shooting?

Then do it.

One suggestion is to call your two senators and ask for a “yes” vote (if you’re so inclined) on the two background check bills H.R. 8 and H.R. 1446. These two bills have passed the House but have yet to come up for a vote in the Senate (as of this writing). They would expand background checks (as most Americans consistently say they prefer) on who is able to purchase or transfer guns. Read more about the bills here

Now for today’s post and linkup.

Near the end of each month I share four somethings with others at Heather’s.

And here’s my latest One Second Everyday monthly video . . . 

[click here if you can’t see the video]

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Something Loved

  • COMPANION ILLUSTRATED BOOK

While I’m reading the full-text book of The Happiness Trap, I’m also following along in a pictorial version, The Illustrated Happiness Trap. It’s an easy-to-follow, cartoon-like summary of the original book.

Illustrated Happiness Trap

After hearing each chapter in words in the big book, it’s been helpful (and fun) to see the material in pictures. I would love for even more books to offer this option.

 ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Something Gleaned 

  • PANDEMIC WISDOM FROM ECKHART TOLLE

Jeff and I went to Atlanta on May 12 to hear Eckhart Tolle speak.

Well, to hear Eckhart on Thursday night was *my* primary reason for the Atlanta weekend. Jeff’s main goal was to see the the Atlanta Braves play baseball on Friday night. Both events were very entertaining.

Atlanta Braves baseball game

One thing (among many) that I gleaned from Eckhart’s talk is that the world has a lot of residue of fear/anxiety and/or anger from the past two years with the pandemic. Our first step in overcoming this residue? Acknowledge it.

I do realize that living through a pandemic has changed me in certain ways. Has it changed you, too?

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Something Braved

  • BARBRA’S 30-DAY CHALLENGE 

I signed up for a paid 30-day challenge with Barbra Drizin from June 1-June 30 on “The Choice Is Yours.”

The Choice Is Your Challenge

Barbara will take us through daily lessons, exercises, and activities along with a private Facebook group and occasional Zoom gatherings about brain training, neurolinguistic programming, somatics, and more.

Barbra is a great teacher who puts a lot of work into effectively sharing what she’s learned into visual and bite-sized pieces. Her work pushes me, which also prompts growth. I’m looking forward to what I’ll learn (and be provoked by) through this challenge.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Something Achieved

  • COMMITTING TO THE NEXT BIBLE MEMORY CHALLENGE

I’ve been struggling to re-memorize all 39 verses of Romans 8 (it’s been 10 years since the first time) with a group alongside Janet Pope.

So I decided to supplement it with a simple 8-verse challenge in Romans 8 for 8 weeks with our Hide His Word fellow memorizers.

I’ve already printed out the 8 verses, 3×5 cards, journal pages, etc., so beginning on June 5 I’ll be ready to dig in.

Sometimes just making the commitment is an achievement in itself, so I’m counting these first steps as a win.

If you’re interested in memorizing 8 beautiful truths together about God’s love for us, it’s not too late to join us. Details are here

Sign up to memorize highlights from Romans 8

Grace & Truth Featured Post

We all have a river of thoughts that runs through our heads 24/7. Amy Jung offers wisdom in this week’s featured post on how to tame that river, guiding our thoughts into more productive and godly streams.

Read all of Amy’s post here at her blog, then link up your own blog posts below..

How Am I Regularly Caring For My River of Thoughts?

What was a highlight of your May? Share your thoughts in the comments.

I’m linking at these blog parties


1. Share 1 or 2 of your most recent CHRISTIAN LIVING posts. (No DIY, crafts, recipes, or inappropriate articles.) All links are randomly sorted.

2. Comment on 1 or 2 other links. Grace & Truth linkup encourages community.   

3. Every host features one entry from the previous week. To be featured, include this button or link back here on your post (mandatory to be featured, but not to participate).

Grace and Truth_Meet Hosts

We encourage you to follow our hosts on their blogs or social media.

MAREE DEE – Embracing the Unexpected
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

LAUREN SPARKS
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

LISA BURGESS – Lisa notes
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

TAMMY KENNINGTON – Restoring hope. Pursuing peace.
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

Now Let’s Link Up!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

The Two Things Your Friendships Need to Survive (And Is Texting One of Them?)

I’m currently in a love/hate relationship with texting.

Texting can be good for a relationship. But ONLY texting can be a killer.

If it’s at all possible, we also need to hear voices, to see faces.

So when I read Chapter 8 on the two most important needs of friendship in Eric Barker’s wonderful new book, Plays Well with Others, I immediately resonated with it.

Need 1 – Time

Barker says,

“So what produces deep friendships? . . . The experts agree on two [signals], the first one being time. Why is time so powerful? Because it’s scarce, and scarce = costly.”

We need to invest time together, not just words. Words can be cheap. But time is an expensive gift to give and receive.

Granted, if you don’t live close, it’s hard to literally be together in the same space. But you can still spend time together through phone conversations or video calls.

A good rule of thumb from research analyzing over 8,000,000 phone calls is this: touching base via voice or face every two weeks is a good target to shoot for. (Of course our individual situations will vary.)

This also clarifies why we have only a limited number of close friendships—we have only a limited amount of time. 

Need 2 – Vulnerability

But simply being together isn’t enough. This second factor has to be included because we can spend hours and hours in shallow conversations with someone, and still not be close friends.

To really connect with another human, we must break through to the next level, which involves vulnerability.

Vulnerability feels risky. We don’t want to chance exposing our weaknesses only to have them exploited.

But vulnerability isn’t always as dangerous as we think.

“Psychology has documented the ‘beautiful mess effect‘—that we consistently overestimate how negatively our errors will be perceived. We think we’ll be seen as a moron and exiled to a distant village, but when surveyed, most people see the occasional screw-up as a positive. You make an error and are terrified you’ll be seen as inadequate. But when others make the same error, you’re rarely as judgmental, and it often warms you to that person.”

Barker explains that in trusting another person with our weaknesses, revealing our “beautiful mess,” we signal to the other person that we are trustworthy ourselves. And thus grow closer.

The Scary Rule

Want to practice deepening a friendship? Barker suggests following The Scary Rule:

“If it scares you, say it.”

Of course you need to start slow and build up. Carefully choose the recipient of your vulnerable side.

But through hours and hours spent together, true friends inevitably discuss uncomfortable things. And they discover acceptance and emotional safety with each other, if the relationship is healthy.

On the other hand, want to kill a friendship? Stop being vulnerable. Don’t speak the scary things out loud. Stick to small talk. Research shows that more small talk in a friendship produces a drop in closeness.

Time + Vulnerability

Thus I return to my dilemma with texting. While texting only may be better than nothing at all when life is normal, it feels like an insufficient bandaid in times of real need.

Thanks to this book, perhaps I now understand why: while we can meet Need #2 through texting—we can get vulnerable in a text if we choose—and texting is a great supplement for in between face and voice times (please don’t stop texting your friends), using texting as our only way of communicating with each other fails to meet Need #1, time together.

Willing to spend time together really matters, and what we talk about when we’re together also really matters. 

Vulnerability without time doesn’t equal closeness. But neither does time without vulnerability.

But together—time + vulnerability—with a dash of gratitude thrown in? This can be a recipe for a close friendship.


This book, Plays Well with Others: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Relationships Is (Mostly) Wrong, contains SO much helpful and scientifically-based information on relationships of all kinds, written in a very relational and easy-to-read format. I highly recommend it.

What tips would you add for maintaining healthy friendships? Share in the comments.

My thanks to NetGalley and HarperOne for the review copy of this book.

sharing at these linkups


One Word Linkup for May + More Ideas to Engage Your One Word
—One Word Linkup

Share Your One Word Update

Are you creating movement in your life with your one word?

Link your blog post below about your One Word and share an update about your One Word in the comments.

3 More Ways to Engage Your One Word of the Year

1. SHARE A QUOTE ABOUT YOUR ONE WORD

When you plan to share your word with others, you’ll discover it in more places. Find a quote or image with your word (or its concept) and share it with someone in person or online.

2. BULLET JOURNAL WITH YOUR ONE WORD

For 30 days, jot down a few bullet points about your word in a notebook or a digital file. Maybe it’s a synonym you’ve thought of; maybe it’s an activity you can try later; maybe it’s a scripture or a prayer request; maybe it’s a person who comes to mind.

3. CREATE A MIND MAP WITH YOUR ONE WORD

Can you create a mind map with your word? Brainstorm new ways of interacting with your word. Here is an example with EMPATHY.

mind-map-example-empathy

And here is another example:

What Is a Mind Map and How Do You Create One?

This One Word linkup will remain open through Tuesday night, May 31.

The next One Word linkup will begin Wednesday, June 22, 2022 (every One Word linkup in 2022 opens on the 22nd).


Leave a comment here about your One Word.

Link Up About Your One Word!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


Decide in This Season for the Next
—Grace & Truth Linkup

Cut Down the Tree?

I didn’t want the tree cut down, of course. I never do.

But last fall when I finally understood the damage the tree’s roots could cause, I agreed. [The story is here: When It’s More Than an Empty Hole.]

And now that it’s spring, I’m glad we made the decision.

The daylilies that had previously been under the tree’s shade have bloomed more this year than they have in years. One clump bloomed for the first time in ages. The marigolds we planted are actually looking healthy and thriving when in years past they would quickly wilt and die there.

The flowers no longer have to compete with the roots of the water oak tree.

They no longer are in the shade.

They’re getting full light again.

We All Need Light

Sometimes I feel like too many needs are competing for my limited resources, too. Occasionally in my mental and spiritual life I need to get rid of a harmful tree that is sucking the life out of everything around it.

Sometimes projects and even relationships have served their purpose in this season. And while they may not have to be totally cut down and taken away, they can be gently pruned back and given less attention, so that other priorities may be given more attention. 

I don’t thrive in the dark. I need to be able to spread out in the light for optimum growth.

I’ve had a decision to make the past few months to either accept a difficult circumstance in the light, or try to distract myself from it and shove my feelings about it into the dark.

Every morning I have to decide anew: face it. Every morning I say to myself, This is really happening. Even though it eats up a lot of my emotional reserves to confront it, it would eat up more to ignore it. 

Because I know this: the decisions I make today can affect the outcomes I’ll face tomorrow.

Uncomfortable feelings don’t need to stay hidden in the dark.

Even sadness and pain deserve an audience in the light.

Grief Work Is Sacred

Our grief work is sacred. I’m trying to tend to mine with the compassion that God shows to each daylily and marigold in my front yard that no longer have to fight the thirsty tree for the resources they need.

I am allowed to feel what I feel without trying to ignore it, beat it into submission, or distract myself from it. God gave me emotions for a reason.

And I’m trusting God to give me wisdom to learn from my emotions and to make the right decisions, one day at a time.

Working through my pain instead of trying to skirt around it is a daily decision. I don’t always handle it properly.

But the more I practice making this decision, the easier it should become.

Just like our decision to cut down the water oak last fall paid off this spring, my prayer is that the decisions I make in this season will pay off for good in another season down the road.

Featured Post

Lois Flowers had a gardening decision to make, too. In our featured post, she reminds us of this truth:

“The decisions we make today affect what things will look like in five or 10 years. This applies to life in general, as well as to gardening.”

Read all of Lois’s beautiful post here at her blog, then add your own links below.

TIME TO MAKE A CHANGE (OR NOT)?

Are you facing a tough decision in this season, too? Share your thoughts in the comments.

I’m linking at these blog parties


1. Share 1 or 2 of your most recent CHRISTIAN LIVING posts. (No DIY, crafts, recipes, or inappropriate articles.) All links are randomly sorted.

2. Comment on 1 or 2 other links. Grace & Truth linkup encourages community.   

3. Every host features one entry from the previous week. To be featured, include this button or link back here on your post (mandatory to be featured, but not to participate).

Grace and Truth_Meet Hosts

We encourage you to follow our hosts on their blogs or social media.

MAREE DEE – Embracing the Unexpected
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

LAUREN SPARKS
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

LISA BURGESS – Lisa notes
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

TAMMY KENNINGTON – Restoring hope. Pursuing peace.
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

Now Let’s Link Up!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Stop Protecting Your Reputation

It’s My Look

The food line was long. As a volunteer, I needed to break through to the front. I needed to pick up another ten boxed meals from the workers in the kitchen at Manna House. Jenna and I didn’t have enough meals loaded in her car already to hand out for our Monday afternoon delivery, but ten more would do it.

I gently nudged my way through those who were in line to receive meals for themselves.

I saw other volunteers along the line handing out vegetables, toiletries, and milk.

I was almost to the kitchen when a volunteer handing out milk looked at me. She asked, “Would you like a gallon of milk?

It took me a second to realize why she asked.

She thought I was one of the unhoused people in the line to receive free food for my family.

Outward Approval

I hate being misunderstood. I’ve sometimes gone out of my way just to explain myself, to clear up a misunderstanding that may or may not have been relevant to anyone but me.

But insisting on always being understood by others forces a limited scope of living.

Outward understanding—and approval—is fickle, after all.

Deserved or not, sometimes people think worse of us than we are.

Or sometimes better of us than we are.

And truth be told, if God revealed what God knows about us, down to our very thoughts, none of us would have any friends.

Nobody’s reputation would be spotless.

Live Right

Releasing the need to defend my reputation isn’t easy.

Actually, what people think about us does count for something. A good reputation is a valuable thing to own.

We want to have a good reputation among our family, friends, community. We want to be trustworthy and reliable in our relationships.

But in the end, we can’t control what other people think about us. We can barely control what we think about ourselves.

If we want a clear conscious, our best approach is to live openly and honestly and lean hard into God’s grace.

Focus more on living right instead of being seen right.

Release My Stand

My mistaken identity at Manna House had happened to me before. Because I wear a t-shirt and jeans to pick up the meals for our food deliveries, I blend in. It’s often hard to distinguish the volunteers from the non-volunteers.

The first time it happened I was a little offended. I’m sure I overexplained—with way too much haughtiness—that I was a volunteer myself.

But last Monday, I just looked at the young volunteer offering me milk and said “No thank you.” No explaining this time. She had done her job well to ask. I no longer minded being confused as a non-volunteer.

If I want inner peace with who I am, I just need to do what I think is right, ask for forgiveness when I fail, and keep holding God’s hand through it all.

I don’t have a story that needs defending. It’s safe to release my stand.

It matters more who I really am than who others think I am.


This is my monthly journey with my One Word RELEASE. Do you have One Word for 2022?

Share in the comments.

sharing at these linkups


A Scripture Memory Lite Challenge for the Summer: 8-8-8

Even though all of Romans 8 is beneficial to memorize, let’s take on a Memory Lite challenge for this summer: 8-8-8.

For 8 weeks, we’ll memorize 8 verses in Romans 8.

SCHEDULE
June 5-11, Romans 8:1
June 12-18, Romans 8:15
June 19-25, Romans 8:26
June 26-July 2, Romans 8:28
July 3-9, Romans 8:31
July 10-16, Romans 8:37
July 17-23, Romans 8:38
July 24-30, Romans 8:39

If you’d like to join in this no-pressure challenge and highlight these truths about God’s love to keep in your heart and your life, sign up today.

You’ll receive links to our resources to help you memorize the verses, including 3×5 cards, 1st letters, journal pages, and more.

Beginning June 5, you’ll receive an email reminder for 8 weeks about our verse of the week.

From June through July, we’ll memorize helpful scriptures about freedom in Christ, help in our weaknesses, and the love of God that never leaves us.

We’ll then carry these valuable principles with us for a lifetime.

Sign up here.


Share your thoughts in the comments.