Have You Seen? {December 14, 2014}

Welcome to Have You Seen?  We’ll review last week and share other posts from around the web, plus a peak at what’s ahead. Enjoy rest and renewal while you cozy up for some soul-food reading.

Last Week’s Theme: Rejoice

Portable Expatriate Holiday Traditions by Rachel Pieh Jones –“But my favorite, absolute favorite Christmas tradition is not the decorations or the cookies or the music or even the fabulous meal we make on Christmas day. Nope, my favorite Christmas tradition is something that we can bring with us anywhere we go…We wrestle.”

The Practice of Carrying Water {Book Club} by Amy Young –“We know how to carry water. Oh yes we do. What we might need to work on is not trying to out-do each other in the water we’ve carried. How is it sharing stories can turn into one-upmanship both quickly and insidiously? Paradoxically, we don’t honor the water we’ve carried for the holy work it is.”

Making Music in the Rubble by Jessica Leigh Hoover –“I’ve got my own rubble. It looks like loss and fear. But I’ve learned that the echo of emptiness is a beautiful sound. When we dare to make music in the empty space it rings from here clear on to eternity. It is a long sustained note of deepest praise.”

What I Learned From Thai Christmas Caroling by Karissa Knox Sorrell –“The Thai way of Christmas caroling may seem absurd to Westerners. Yet it taught me that sometimes fellowship is more important than time. No one there cared about counting the hours or rushing back home by a certain time; all that mattered was that we were together. In our rush of busyness, I think we can benefit from learning to slow down and spend uncounted time with our loved ones.”

Farewell to Shadowlands Music Giveaway! {The Grove: Rejoice} by Danielle Wheeler –“You know that feeling you get when you have a Christmas present that is just right for someone you love? That happy excitement you have as they pop through that first piece of tape?  That’s how I feel right now. I feel like you’re opening present that you are going to LOVE.   Today I’m introducing you to the gorgeous music of Erin and Caleb Paxton and their band Eine Blume.”

Congratulations to the winners of our music giveaway!  (They have been contacted privately). You can purchase Farewell to Shadowlands here.  Their cozy Christmas album is now available in digital version!

Christmas Project Update –As a brief reminder, our one-time donations goal is $2500. Guess what? You have shown what a vibrant, loving community this is and over 70% is raised! If you haven’t yet, will you join us as community in saying to the least of these, “We see you.”? See the live update and donate here.

From Around the Web

5 Bits of Wisdom for Surviving Singleness Overseas by Taking Route –“Now, if you are like me, and single, living overseas, you’ve got a story like that – or worse. I’ve seen the things posted on Facebook from my single expat friends – if you can imagine it, we’ve probably heard it. It’s a wonder we are emotionally healthy with what’s said to us about our life status.”

One Morning by Joanna Swart –“I have been waiting for this night, for this morning. It is the last full moon I will see at Omo, for a time, at least. I am trying to not think of lasts, but thoughts of all undone chase my dreams, and I am in danger of letting grace slip from my fingers. But every morning I exhale gratitude, for another chance, and this, too, is only grace: to awaken, and be thankful. And so I make a vow …”

My Big Fat American Christmas Let-Down by Denise James –“I like Christmas better overseas. Saaay what? Are you kidding me? No, I’m not. I hate being away from family…in fact, the perfect Christmas would be if my family could magically transport into my living room on Christmas Eve. But since Star Trek technology is still not possible, I have learned to enjoy…nay, love and embrace the Christmas season abroad.”

A Settled Heart by Danielle Krouch –“As we’ve begun to make this place home, I can’t help but be reminded that a settled home does not make a settled heart.”

And Now for Next Week

The Theme is…

81H (1)

When we asked Erin Paxton to share at last week’s Grove, we didn’t know that the word “rejoice” was something so meaningful to her.  We also had no idea that she would so beautifully weave the idea of birth into her story.  She didn’t know that “Birth” was our theme this week.

She’s already set the week up for us.  With the deep imagery of birth.  That birth is the pain and mess that precedes the joy.  That birth is new life.  That perhaps there is something stirring in you waiting for the courage to be birthed.

So let the holiness of birth settle over you this week, this Christmas season.  Bring your thoughts, your words, your art to The Grove.

And rejoice with us over the BIRTH of Ashley Felder’s new baby girl!  Naomi Elizabeth born beautiful and healthy this past week.  Congratulations Felders!

Naomi Elizabeth


Photo Credit : Gratisography

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