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Surrender, Pray, Listen {7 for 31}

This month I'm writing a new post each day about my own version of Jen Hatmaker's 7 experiment. For more posts and an introduction, head hereToday's 7 topic is stress.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned the concept that each area of excess leads to a corresponding deficit (after all, we only have so much attention to give). When I was journaling through that idea at the end of September, I listed seven pairs, a 7 topic with whatever it was overshadowing, and next to Stress I wrote Prayer (in part because that's the Good Christian Answer).

I've been keeping up with a few other 31 Days series(es?), one of which is 31 Days of Resting in Him over at Abiding Love, Abounding Grace. While I highly recommend all of her posts thus far, the ones that have stood out the most for me are on listening prayer. That's not something that I'd ever heard of before - to pray, asking specifically to hear from God, then journal through whatever happens next (and check it against Scripture afterwards). While I've definitely read through a passage of Scripture (or some other book), jotting down words and phrases that stood out, and looking at my list afterwards as a method of personal introspection, writing down thoughts and attributing them to God seemed a bit... iffy. Like something that would have a lot of potential for coming up with the answer I wanted instead of the answer I needed.

However, a side effect of stopping and praying every three hours is that I've begun to run out of things to pray about (after I go through my nice little list, and the default topics, my imagination fails and my mind begins to wander). So after yesterday's sermon on worship I took my journal onto the balcony to work through the notes I took, and decided to finish with listening prayer. Because I can focus better on paper, I wrote out my prayer, pausing to consider possible answers before beginning. Read more. Memorize Scripture.  Doing-y things. Then I started writing. Please reveal to me specific steps that I can take in order to grow closer to You. Before I was even finished, three words pressed themselves firmly into my mind: Surrender. Pray. Listen.

Not necessarily what I wanted to hear (as a recovering legalist, I kind of like doing things and those are very non-do-y things) but undoubtedly what I needed to hear. It's true - I do need to let go of both my hopes and my fears, actually pray (instead of whining in God's direction), and then pause to hear His reply (you know, like, a conversation).

So I've been trying to actually apply the steps that I was given, since I asked for them and all - I'll write more about how that's going later this week. It's only day two... I wonder what the next five days will hold?

Do you take pauses in the midst of your busyness? (Head here for Karrilee's post on listening prayer - it's a perfect pause!)


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31 Days of Unraveling Designs

It's that time of year again... the 31 Days writing challenge starts today! Bloggers from all over will be writing every day of the month of October on the topic of their choosing. This will be my fourth year participating - the first year I did 7 for 31, and spent a month going through Jen Hatmaker's book 7. The second year I did 31 Days of Sustainable Dwelling, and wrote about local and fair trade living. Last year I was busy but still wanted to participate, so I went the easy route with 31 Days of Everyday Beautiful.

This year I'm diving into my greatest passion: knitting! I'll spend this month looking at past designs and talking about the inspiration behind them, so there will be plenty of regular life mixed in with the stitching - and there may be discount codes for the patterns that I write about. You'll just have to read and see!

Pattern index:

Pageturner Mitts
Hogwarts House Tie
Urban Artemis
Graffiti for Humanity
Love Out Loud
Strange Jacket


In order to change your knitting, you must first change yourself. I've lost track of how many times I've said that, or how many people I've said it to. Frustrated new knitters wondering why their work is loose or tight or uneven or really anything less than perfect. But something I love about knitting is that it's a record of your inner dialogue. That swatch knit at the yarn store table with a cozy cup of coffee and a helpful (and more experienced) knitter nearby is going to be a lot more relaxed than the sweater begun a week later while sitting next to a hospital bed - just like the knitter.

Unfortunately, this also applies to my own knitting. For years, I was apparently unaffected by the shifts and turmoils in my own life, so I assumed that I was exempt from the rule - when the reality was, in fact, that I wasn't really experiencing any of those on anything deeper than a surface level because everything was deadened by depression. When I finally started to really…


A few years ago, I was introduced to the concept of replacing the traditional list of resolutions with a single word. It appealed to me - I am not a big list person, but I love language and words and meanings and etymology and metaphor and... ahem. Ennyhoo. I liked the idea.
I've never chosen the word. It's always presented itself to me - and last year was no different. Pacific was very insistent, even though I tried to argue with it. Pacific? What does that even mean? What am I supposed to do with that?
But I accepted it, and I'm glad I did. I learned about depth and calm, about storm and nurture, about faith and adventure - and about the unstoppable ocean of God's grace, that overwhelms to fill and cleanse and bring blessings unasked.
So I'm bidding pacific a very fond farewell, and welcoming spark and whatever lessons it would like to bring. I invited it in with a copper wire punctuated with tiny lights and wrapped around my mood board, and I've got an empt…