Have You Seen? It’s time to PARTY! {January 3, 2016}

Have You Seen what the LORD has done? 

We know we shared at The Grove, but in case you missed it . . . our Dream Big fund is completely funded and then some. In general, we overseas workers don’t celebrate well. We give thanks and then move on because there is always more to do.

But we are Image Bearers and part of what God does well is celebrate. Look at the wine Jesus made. Look at the party the Father made for the prodigal and the longing he had for the elder son to join in the festivities. Look at all the good flavors, colors, sights, sounds, and textures. So, though we’ve celebrated, we don’t want to rush through the generosity, the provision, the sense of coming together, the joy.

Let’s lift our glasses, clink them, and say “This is fun! Thank you VA friends, but most of all, thank you God!”

Last Week’s Theme: Oneword

I Regret to Inform You That You Will Be Humbled by Karen Huber—”We can fit any word we want into the story of our life. This year could’ve been the year of Grief, the year of Rejection, the year of Income Shortfall, the year of Eczema. And any word we choose can dissipate with the first thaw of Spring. I regret to inform you that in choosing any One Word, you will be humbled. We can start strong and trip over our good intentions, hiding those words away with all our forgotten plans or crushed hopes.”

Is Our Dream Too Big?—”The dream of community, of a group who celebrate packages that arrive (and don’t have extra fees attached) and mourn in missed weddings and births. Who understand the way a soul can stir in an airport and ache when a Skype call is dropped. Where community and connections can come through many channels (Shout out to Karen the Image Magician, Jessica and Twitter, Tawni and Instagram, The Facebook Team, Carryn the intern, all the writers, all the mentors, all the commenters, all the prayers).”

10 Books I loved in 2015 {Book Club} by Amy Young—The title says it all. 🙂

It’s Never What You Expect, But It’s Always What You Need by Jessica Hoover—”Each year I pick my ‘One Word’ (or God picks it for me I am convinced these days) and I think I know what it might mean at the outset of the year. There is a tingle of anticipation at where the year might lead and how the word will play itself out in my life. It always seems to be a different story at the end of the year and this year was no different.”

Keep Your Soul Well by Gina Butz—”Keep your soul well. That has been my word, or phrase, rather, of 2015. God led me to it through a plant. A year ago, I bought a mint plant. I’m not even sure why because I never use it, but I’m sure Pinterest played a part. I brought it home and placed it outside on our front porch and then promptly forgot about it.”

A One Word for All of Us {Plus Save the Date!} by Danielle Wheeler—”Four important things are happening here at The Grove today. For all of you “cut-to-the-chase” people, here are the bullet points:”

  1. This is the grand finale for our Dream Big fund!
  2. We’re announcing a One Word for our whole community, a Velvet Ashes One Word. (This may or may not involve me spilling my guts, fair warning.)
  3. We announcing a Save-the-Date for Velvet Ashes Online Retreat (THE highlight of the year at Velvet Ashes!)
  4. We inviting you all to link up and share your One Words for 2016. (My personal favorite link up of the whole year!)

va_retreat_2016 save the date

From Around the Web

I Believe, Help My Unbelief.

When dreams come true and life gets uncomfortable.

Unplug: Un-teathering ourselves from technology in the New Year. (And I highly recommend his book Embracing Soul Care.)

20 questions for a New Year’s Eve reflection.

THIS IS THE YEAR: when New Year Resolutions feel hopeless — & you want some SOULutions [Free 2016 Printable].

From a grown TCK to her parents: Dear Mom and Dad, If I Suffered, It Was Worth It.

Finally, for a little levity: 46 Signs China is Permeating Your SoulWhat are signs from your soul is being permeated?!

And Now for Next Week

The Theme is…


Eden. Where humanity walked with God in the cool of the day. Where Adam was given creative space to name all of the animals. Where laughter was heard instead of tears.

Eden was a place of

  • communion
  • fun
  • learning
  • worship
  • connection

A friend is in language school, learning Chinese and in a recent update sent this fun quiz:

Can you guess what animals these are?

  1. long neck deer
  2. bag mouse
  3. ocean piglet
  4. bear cat
  5. standing goose

This seems so Eden, doesn’t it? Descriptive. Playful. Informative. Unfortunately, it also seems distant and foreign.

It’s where we’d like to gather as a community this first week of the year. Huddling like Eden Refugees and warming ourselves on the collective fire of God’s loving provision for us here, outside the garden.

Bring your comments and your blog posts to link up this week at The Grove, beginning Thursday 6pm EST.


Answers: (1. giraffe  2. kangaroo 3. dolphin 4. panda 5. penguin) Thanks Becky! And we’d love to hear animal names from your countries of service!

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