Have You Seen? {February 22, 2015}

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

Don’t miss our announcement about Connection Groups below!

Last Week’s Theme: Comfort

Idolatry and Comfort In The Home by Ruth Felt — “But let’s not kid ourselves: living in a foreign country with ugly towels certainly doesn’t make us exempt from idolatry.”

Getting Used To The Happiness You’ve Got {Book Club} by Amy Young — “This book does it all. I laugh out loud, I want to scream words of warning to Ingeborg or Robert, I relate to being an adult woman in a foreign land trying to make your way, marvel at the sentence construction and want so much for basically everyone in the book.”

 Apples of Gold That Don’t Rot In Our Mouths by Beth Everett — “Those words couldn’t have been written more clearly to speak to me in this situation. It was just what I had done to my friend … confused encouragement and comfort.”

Peace For Our Hearts When Life is Anything But by Jessica Hoover –“When our friends and family cock their eyebrows at us or unload twenty questions about the why of taking their grandchildren overseas or living in unsecure places sometimes our answers can seem trite or ill-conceived. Sometimes the only place we have to go is into our prayer closets to hear the truth of the Spirit singing over us. Our callings are affirmed and re-affirmed in the quiet of those moments.”

Bending Into the Comfort Stripping {The Grove: Comfort} by Lauren Pinkston — “We’re being transformed from women of perfectly packaged belief systems into women who aren’t afraid to admit we don’t have all the answers…We’re being transformed from women of monotonous lifestyles into women who are living, breathing, and tasting the Kingdom Come.”

From Around the Web

 An Open Letter to the Friends I Left Behind by Whitney — “WE HAVE FACED THE FIRE OF CROSS-CULTURAL LIFE, AND WE HAVE PASSED THROUGH IT TOGETHER. I don’t know if we’ll ever be on the same continent at the same time again. But I want you to know this: …”

Those Little Things That Make a Big Difference by Lysanne — “I am a huge believer in identifying what exactly causes the most stress in our lives – and then finding a solution for it. Here’s two of my favorite solutions that make village life just a bit easier. My number one every-day stress: trying to cook over a charcoal fire with a one-year-old into everything.”

“Welcome Home” by Ruth Lemmen –“Overall, becoming a person with two homes is a good thing.  But on a day to day basis it has challenges.  I want to invest in people and relationships in both homes, to be rooted in two places.  But that’s really not very practical since I haven’t learned the secret to being in two places at once yet.  And so I’m figuring out how to have roots and wings, investments in two homes and still be a whole person.”

The Reality of it All by Laura — “This is really happening. I’m moving back to America. As I cleaned windows and dusted shelves this afternoon, I found it symbolic that I was alone with my thoughts. Alone with my God. Because a lot of the past two years have been spent like this. Alone.”

And Now for Next Week

The Theme is…

va community grove

It’s a big week around here.  We’re launching registration for our spring session of Connection Groups!  Because we believe in the power of community.

When we started Velvet Ashes in November of 2013, the idea of online Connection Groups sat in the heart of our team.  After we got the site up and running, we knew it was time to take our idea for a test drive.

So last spring we ran a small pilot session of Connection Groups.  We had two big questions:  1.  Is this something women want?  2. Will it actually work?

We learned a few things from our pilot groups, and in the fall we were ready to launch our first official session.  Or at least we thought we were ready.

The groups filled up within 27 hours and we were flooded with requests to open more groups.  We had our answer to question #1. Women want this.

Women were thrilled at the idea of having a small group of other overseas women to connect and share with on a weekly basis.  They loved the idea of having a mentor come alongside them to listen and encourage.

But question #2… does it actually work?

Well, here’s what women have said:

“My connection group has been fabulous for me. I felt like I was actually getting a real visit with friends every Wednesday.”

“Meeting with my Connection Group this fall has been the best part of my week.”

Stories like this and this confirmed, that yes, women are actually experiencing the connection they are hungry for in our Connection Groups.  They are finding life-giving community in their groups, and they’re loving it.

Sound like something you want to be a part of?  We thought so.  That’s why we’re more than doubling the number of groups we’re offering this session.  We’ve got video chat groups that meet at a certain time each week, and Facebook groups that share online if committing to a time is a problem for you.  (And one email group for non-Facebook users).

Plus, we’ve got a group especially for people preparing to leave the field (for home assignment or permanently returning) and groups for those who are adjusting back to their home countries (on home assignment or permanently returned).  You don’t want to walk through that alone!

Head to our Connection Groups page to check out the details and the different group formats we offer, then come back THIS TUESDAY, 6pm EST (time zone converter) to register.

And a word to the wise… groups fill up quickly, so come get a spot when registration opens!

It’s going to be a great week as we dig into the beautiful and messy topic of community. Join us at The Grove beginning Thurs 6pm EST, and bring your link ups!


Photo Credit : Gratisography

Photo Source : Unsplash

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