Have You Seen? {November 29, 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.

Three Updates from Velvet Ashes

1. Can you believe that $4,066 has been given towards the $13,975 goal? Since this is a matching campaign, that actually means $8,132 goes towards weekly posts, life giving images, Connection Groups, planning for Velvet Ashes’ future, book club, this website, and more. Thank you if you’ve given! If you haven’t, would it be possible for you to invest $10 in Velvet Ashes? We’re 29% of the way towards our goal, and you can help us get to 100% by the end of the year.  We are humbled by the ways God is moving in and through Velvet Ashes.

2. As a community we have talked several times about observing rhythms. We found out last summer that saying something is a value and then not protecting it is a struggle for us too :). We have the rhythm of slowing down by one post a week every July and August. Out of  eight weeks last summer, guess how many we actually cut back by one post a week? One. Yup, seven times we acted in contrast to our stated value and plan.

We really do want to be a community that not only talks about rhythms, but implements and lives them along side of each other. With this in mind, we are going to slow down during Advent knowing that for most of us this can be a busy season. So, when you don’t receive a post on Thursday morning (Asia time)/ Wednesday afternoon (North America time), may it remind, encourage, and refresh your soul as we lean into seasonal rhythms together. We’ll gather at The Grove as normal!

3. Book Club will resume next week and for a change of pace and because December can be full, we’re going to read four short stories you can get online. No need to read ahead, you can read the day of the post. If you want to read ahead, here’s the plan:

December 1A Burglar’s Christmas by Willa Cather
December 8: A College Santa Cluase by Ralph Henry Barbour
December 15: How the Captain Made Christmas by Thomas Nelson Page
December 22: The Other Wise Man by Henry Van Dyke

Last Week’s Theme: Enlarge

Do I Have to “Rejoice Always”? + Apple Crisp Recipe by Ashley Felder—”Always? But how, God? How can I rejoice when my expectations are unmet? Over and over and over. How can I rejoice when my kids haven’t stopped bickering since the moment they got out of bed? How can I rejoice when I want to be part of ministry outside the home, but there’s little time outside my Mama duties?”

Getting Smaller to Get Bigger by Kylie Barker—”When you move overseas, it is generally in either love for the people or obedience to God. Most people don’t move overseas just for the novelty, or if they do, they don’t stay for that. Because novelty wears off and culture can get really hard. Culture can make you feel really small. Culture can threaten that love and obedience in a way that not much else can.”

The Joy of Having More Friends by Laura McLain—”Discussions concerning the need to network in order to raise funds can be common in our communities. As important, if not more important, are discussions about networking in order to share ideas with and provide support (not the financial kind) for each other. Some of my safest friendships are with others who have lived or are living through similar circumstances. These are friendships where I can be honest about the difficulties I’m facing.”

Is Your God Good Enough? by Jodie Pine—”When you think about a time that God let you down and didn’t come through in the way you hoped, did a part of you die too? Has that deep disappointment caused your worship and service to become a joyless obligation? Phillips offers a second view of God, which is not actually that different: God as a Negative Force.”

By Faith {The Grove: Enlarge} by Patty Stallings—”So, when God invades my nice little zone and disrupts my nice little plan … Well, I don’t have to tell you. You have your own story. And it probably starts with ‘by faith’.”

From Around the Web

A fun way to start the sharing: A Much Too Long (like This Title) List of Place- and Culture-Themed Coloring Books for Adults and Colorists of All Ages (but It Could Be a Whole Lot Longer).
“I haven’t blogged about marriage in a while. Because we are still trying to figure out this thing called marriage in the desert.

When a country is etched into your soul.

When Spouses Travel: A Survival Guide for Marriage.

Finally, The Beautiful Other Side of Culture Shock.

And Now for Next Week

The Theme is…

tradition

Today marks the beginning of Advent, the season of waiting for our Lord’s birth.

Thankfully, we don’t wait alone, we have each other. We know what it’s like to have nothing around you feel normal for a host of reasons. Kids on the other side of the world, teammates gone for medical reasons, a visa denied, the internet spotty.

We know what it’s like to wait expectantly for a heart to open to the good news, for a teammate to open up, for a financial burden lifted.

We know.

And yet, we still need each other! This week we launch our Christmas month with the theme of traditions and all that word can evoke within us.

We look forward to this week and for the culmination of our chats at The Grove. You know the drill,  bring your own blog post link ups to The Grove beginning Thursday at 6pm EST. We can’t wait to see what’s stirred in you this week.

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