The Grove – Gift (Plus Sneak Peak and Year-End Wrap Up)

Today’s time at The Grove is going to look a bit different. First, an exciting sneak peak at next week! Then an informal, cozy, post-Christmas, year-end chat.

Here’s your sneak peak…

Next week Velvet Ashes is ringing in the New Year by partnering with a global-movement called “One Word 365.

OneWord365_logo_blackHere’s the premise:

“Forget New Year’s Resolutions. Scrap that long list of goals you won’t remember three weeks from now anyway.

Choose just one word.

One word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live. One word that you can focus on every day, all year long.

It will take intentionality and commitment, but if you let it, your one word will shape not only your year, but also you. It will become the compass that directs your decisions and guides your steps.

Discover the big impact one word can make.”

I can’t tell you how excited I am for Velvet Ashes to do One Word. For the last two years I’ve participated in One Word myself, and I’ve experienced the power of it.  I’ve had God plant a word in my heart and then transform my year and my life with that word.

To be able to do that alongside all of YOU and your words?  I sense greatness, ladies.

So start thinking and praying about what your One Word might be (Surrender?  Shine?  Grace?  Trust? See more word ideas at .  On Monday, the oh-so-wise Patty Stallings will lead us with some reflection questions.  Tuesday we’ll announce our new book for Book Club.  Then Wednesday and Thursday two of our very own Velvet Ashes authors will be sharing their One Words with us.

Then Friday at The Grove, the founder and visionary of One Word 365, Alece Ronzino, will be guest posting for us!  She is a former overseas lady herself, and she’s excited to have Velvet Ashes join the global tribe of One Word.  I know you’ll be moved by her incredible story.

You’ll all be invited to share your One Word on Friday at The Grove. Link up with us or share in the comments.

Such a great week ahead!!

But before we move forward, let’s just pause here and gather round for a Velvet Ashes year-end wrap up.  We’re only a month and a half old (Can you believe it?).  But the newborn community that is growing here is already something to behold.  We want to hear from you!

What have you loved about Velvet Ashes?

What has been a gift to you?

What words here have touched your life?

As we look to the New Year, what would you like to see more of here at Velvet Ashes?

And finally, share your thoughts/posts on the prompt “Gift.”

You, ladies, are a gift to me.  So thankful to be journeying together with you into 2014!

Word Art by Amy Davis Art Design




  1. Kristi December 27, 2013

    I must confess that I wrote the “poems” below back in May as I was ending my first successful year in China. They immediately came to mind when I saw the word prompt earlier this week. When I think of gifts I think about how some of the best material gifts I’ve received have come in small, less than perfect packaging. The biggest most outwardly beautiful gift isn’t necessarily the best. As far as spiritual gifts the most wonderful have often been the ones that wound or the ones that I tend to overlook because they are so, well, ordinary. That’s what I hope my “poems” communicate.

    Who from Sorrow
    Your pain is a gift
    Unwrap it, take it out
    Examine the handiwork
    Made by tears of sorrow
    Splashing upon
    The Hope that is in you
    Lift it high, offer it up
    Let your tears rain down
    Adding drops of praise to
    The pool of testimony
    Forming at the feet
    Of the Man of Sorrows
    Refreshing the hearts
    Of the saints
    Assembled at His throne
    To worship the One
    Who from sorrow
    Brings forth
    Joy, faith, and peace

    Ordinary Moments

    Life is built of ordinary days
    Each moment a gift
    That becomes a stone
    Part of the temple
    That God is making of my life
    At the same time they become
    Sacrifices of love and praise
    That I can offer back
    To the God who wraps blessings
    In life’s ordinary moments

    1. Danielle Wheeler December 27, 2013

      Each new poem of yours is my favorite! 🙂 The imagery in these takes the breath away. “To the God who wraps blessings in life’s ordinary moments.” Love this. Going now to have an ordinary moment with my three-year-old. Thank you, Kristi.

      1. Kristi December 27, 2013

        Thanks. I learned the priceless beauty of “ordinary moments” when the pleasure of them was taken away for a season. I’m still learning to unwrap them with thanksgiving expecting a beautiful new blessing.

    2. Patty Stallings December 28, 2013

      Beautiful, Kristi!

  2. Carolyn December 27, 2013

    I’m really enjoying the community of hearts here – for several years now I’ve been thinking and writing about sojourning, and how to make it into an art instead of a stress or a burden, and I am so thrilled to find a community of kindred sojourners to learn from and discover with!

    And I’m excited to join OneWord365 with you all – I didn’t even know it existed, but for the past several years I’ve adopted the practice of choosing a word or phrase to meditate on (introduced to the idea through Ann Voskamp), so I’m really looking forward to hearing about your journeys with your word for 2014!

    At Velvet Ashes in 2014, I’d love to see our community grow and grow and grow! I’m committed to posting on Facebook and my blog as often as possible (without spamming everyone!) about the wonderful things going on here… can’t wait to see what God does in this lovely place!

    1. Danielle Wheeler December 27, 2013

      “A community of kindred sojourners,” that’s exactly what we are! And yes, to make it an art! Thank you for your enthusiasm, Carolyn. So glad to have you here. Looking forward to journeying with you and growing to know you more.

    2. Patty Stallings December 28, 2013

      Carolyn, if there is anyone who can take something ordinary and make it beautiful and artful, it’s you!

  3. Jennifer December 27, 2013

    Ordinary moments… seemingly unimportant or significant yet in God’s hands a gift that is both powerful and significant. An opportunity for God to move. An opportunity for us to recognize that to God, nothing not even ordinary moments, which fill our everyday lives, are insignificant or a time that God is not with us.

    Ordinary moments… each one a stone, which build our lives one stone at a time.

    Ordinary moments… A blessing from God. A challenge to us too to be a blessing to others, in the ordinary moments

    1. Danielle Wheeler December 27, 2013

      Such a needed reminder that not one ordinary moment is insignificant to God, that he is with us in each and every one, that each one is a gift. Thanks for taking an ordinary moment to bless us with your words, Jennifer. Did Kristi’s poem spring board you to this, or were great minds thinking alike?

      1. Jennifer December 27, 2013

        Kristi’s poem definitely was a springboard to what I said

  4. Liz K December 27, 2013

    It’s been so good to know I’m not the only one. The only one to know this is where God wants us but at the same time to have it be one of the hardest seasons of my life. Thanks for being real here!! Oh, and I just linked up with my thoughts on gift 🙂

    1. Patty Stallings December 28, 2013

      Knowing this is where God wants you even when things are hard – I like your perspective and wisdom, Liz!

    2. Danielle Wheeler December 28, 2013

      You are definitely not the only one! So glad to have you here, Liz.

  5. Patty Stallings December 28, 2013

    What I’ve loved about Velvet Ashes is seeing a group of strangers becoming like-hearted friends. And I’ve loved seeing Danielle’s dream become reality and watching her lead with such insight and perseverance!

    1. Danielle Wheeler December 28, 2013

      Strangers becoming like-hearted friends, I love that! And I couldn’t do this without you, dear mentor-friend. Thank you and Amy and our writing team for walking with me in this from dream to reality.

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