Summer Discovery: How to Curate a Colorful Fall

Summer Devotion – August, Week Two Recording

I recorded a reading of the post entitled Reflection. It’s short and sweet and gets you straight to the Discovery Questions where the real vision for Fall is formed.

My Responses to the Discovery Questions

Truly, I could not be more confident that Reflection is the way to curate your next season with intention, understanding and resolve. Let me give you a few examples so that you can get a feel for this exercise.

Last Fall, I planned a family trip for my son’s 18 birthday. In my defense, I asked him in advance but he didn’t really hear me. This trip was miserable; he didn’t want to be there. Ugh. I concluded that, when you have adult kids, everyone has to be on board for a family trip. This is a new family rule.

In the same season, I didn’t stick to a decision I made to resign from a role. I rolled back in and was hit with the reasons that I resigned in the first place. I have concluded that it’s best to step in or out. The middle is an unclear space that I don’t need to be.

Last, I remained hung up on a few failures. I was living ground hog day in the worst way. No more of that. I don’t have all the answers on stopping that broken record, but I will not go down that road again.

On the other hand, I will continue

  • Supporting Leila. She has aspirations and I enjoy helping her.
  • Connecting with Quinn while abroad this Fall; making him feel loved.
  • Attending galas, concerts and plays with Eric and/or friends
  • Enjoying several beach walks a week plus yoga
  • Making bucket lists and writing
  • Serving the community, my Devoted sisters and the church

I am taking with me the mantra below. It may sound bland. I’m sorry for that! Lately, it keeps me moving towards the woman I would like to become in the seasons ahead.

CONSISTENCY OVER PERFECTION

Love you always,

Sasha

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Summer Discovery: How to Know the Meaning of Summer

Welcome to August!

We are here. It’s the last month of summer.

I have no idea how to punctuate that. Choose for yourself whether it’s an exclamation point or question mark.

This month in the Summer Devotion, we’ll be taking a stop in the Word and how it may be speaking to you in the midst of summer.

In Week 2, we’ll take time to reflect in order to curate a Fall that is colored with intention, understanding and resolve.

Next in Week 3, we will consider how abundance and scarcity impacts our faith.

Last in Week 4, I will tell you more about why I wrote this summer devotion for you.

Summer Devotion – August, Week One Recording

I recorded a reading of the post entitled The Meaning of Summer. You can listen if you’re on the go. But I still recommend that you find time alone in quiet this week with a reading of your choosing.

My Responses to the Discovery Questions

Has a verse ever chosen you? Think back to a time that you kept seeing the same verse over and over. Or maybe that is happening right now? Write down the verse below.

This summer in Cappadocia, Turkey, my sister in law and I took a sunset yoga class in the sky (that’s what it felt like) with soft volcanic terrain panoramically surrounding us. A white dove flew down toward the end. The rain gently sprinkled at one point. The sky was blazing orange and pink. It was breathtaking.

At the same time, my personal faith doesn’t line up exactly with yogi philosophy. Nevertheless, this is where I was with only myself to share. I have the love of Christ and the character God has built within me. So, I participated in the Om and the incense and moved through the vinyasa.

During Om, I asked the Lord for a verse to meditate upon. He gave me I am Who I am. Later, I found out that the Om was named “I am”. My wink from God.

When our yogi asked us to bring a question to our practice, I asked, “Lord, how can I wholeheartedly serve you in this season?” She later passed me a tarot card that said my gift was “sharing”. I know my gift is sharing and I am touched that the Lord was with me as I yogied through the sunset.

I am who I am.

Exodus 3:14

Now, answer these questions:

What does this verse say about God?

God is sovereign. He exists beyond time and is eternal. There is no where else to search for him, except him. The Trinity is unchanging and won’t become something different in the future, past or present. God reveals himself. God is present and he will continue to be as he always has.

What does it tell you about yourself?

This verse tells me that where I am plus the facts of my life are well written into his hands. He holds all things. He reveals who he is in the tiny facts of my life.

What is your response?

While I wish everyday could be a Red Sea moment, I will take this verse into my daily struggles, hopes and worries. Can I build upon the truth of I am who I am such that my challenges shift to deeper moments in his presence?

If you haven’t yet taken a summer vacation or even a day off, plan to do that in August. Brainstorm your vacation or day off below and pick dates.

If you haven’t taken a day off, here are some ideas:

I googled resorts who have a pool/beach day pass in Fort Lauderdale. There are a ton. For $30 – $100, you can have towels, a comfy lounge chair, umbrella and beach and café access.

Google thrift stores and find a local cluster. Thrift and have lunch with a friend.

Buy tix to go snorkeling at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and bring a cooler for a picnic afterward.

Do you have a hard time taking a day off? Why or why not?

This is a loaded question for me. I have struggled with working mom guilt which should cause me to take days off. Instead, I fight to value presence over productivity. On top of that, I feel bad if others are working when I am not. So there. My mess is revealed. It’s a miracle I take vacations and days off. I will boil it down to age and painfully earned wisdom.

Love you always,

Sasha

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Summer Discovery: How to Find Your Passion Again

Week 4 of my Summer Devotion is titled Go Where God Is. I didn’t need a ton inspiration to write this post. I am writing about what is most familiar to me: The pursuit of my calling and yours.

I am somewhat narrow minded when it comes to this topic. I deeply believe every woman has a passion and a calling. However, that’s not the narrow-minded part of my belief. I have the additional belief that every woman has a very special part of her life set apart to pursue with God  – – outside of her many roles of mother, wife, bread earner and/or caretaker.

For Example

If you tell me your kids are you passion, I would say, yes, me too! But what’s hidden in your heart to discover between you and God?

If you tell me your work is your passion, I would say, yes, I get it! But what’s the thing you are called to do that doesn’t center upon your responsibility to earn money? Make sense?

Your Life Points the Way

Knowing the thing that is set in your heart by God isn’t an easy endeavor. Life, life and more life gets in the way. At the same time, life, life and more life is the key to pinpointing the sometimes hidden work of your soul.

July’s Week 4 devotion is a reminder of how to identify your passion by looking at your life. Below are my answers to the Discovery Questions & Exercise below.

This is as hard for me as it is for you! My brain spends a lot of time being afraid of failing, getting it wrong, wasting time and questioning whether the outcome will be worth the endeavor. I get going with this so quickly that I sometimes shy away from digging into the very things God has put in my heart.

I am going to answer despite myself. If some of my responses sound like conclusions, know that I have had a long time to think about these questions. Explore from whatever stage of self-discovery you are in.

Tears

I occasionally cry in the dark of my room. Sometimes in the dark of the yoga room. At times, I cry in the daylight when I walk at the beach. In those places, my tears are most often for the knowledge of God’s compassion toward us. My tears are full of compassion for the hard space between the burdens we bear and the relief of His presence.

Questions

I sometimes have questions about my dad’s life and early death. When those questions rile up, I remember to focus on my dad not as he was on earth, but as he is living life to the fullest in heaven. I think the hardest questions are those of unfairness in life and death.

Heartbreak

My heartbreak took me through about five years of anxiety, depression and panic. Frankly, I didn’t expect so much fruit to be on the other side of tremendous pain. Although I was a hopeful person before the pain, I now understand what it means to have hope in the pain. Currently, I wish to pass that on to someone who needs to know more about hope.

Ordinary Life

Ordinary life can be a series of crazy ideas (see below). We don’t need permission to live an exciting life. It’s right here in front of us to live out with our friends and family.

Crazy Ideas

I get so excited by my friend Melissa’s idea to launch a nonprofit out of our bible study that has been doing good in the community for the last decade. Similarly, I get crazy excited for writing/blogging projects and choosing books for our bible study. I love to plan get togethers. I love to deliver love baskets to anyone under the weather or in need of encouragement.

There you have it my friends. I shared my stuff, now you share yours.

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Summer Discovery: How to Find Beauty Again

Week 3 of my Summer Devotion is titled The Pathway to Desire. My inspiration came from the book The Soul of Desire by psychiatrist Curt Thompson, MD.

It’s a challenge for me to summarize the science that makes perfect sense in the book. But I understand and feel the truth of his words.

What I Learned About Beauty

From his book, I learned that it’s human to desire to be known. Part of that desire is to create beauty in the world. However, when we are strung out, burnt out, exhausted, bitter, lost or broken, beauty and desire become far off worlds outside of our reach.

This week’s Summer Discovery Questions (click or see below) are important because they are an invitation to gaze at beauty. The questions help you to find space for imagination and creativity. Gazing at beauty will help you believe again that Jesus’ words are true: Beauty can come from ashes. As you gaze at beauty in the presence of God, beauty and desire begin to do their resurrection work within your soul. My journal entry for Week 3 Discovery Questions are at the bottom of this post.

Jesus’ words are true: Beauty can come from ashes.

My response to the Discovery Questions:

There is so much more beyond the worries and limitations in my mind and in my life. This season of one event after another will eventually pass. I have designated September 2022 as my Best Yes (resign/decline/rest) month. I am passing my concerns into the hands of the Lord. I am asking him for favor for the things of which I don’t yet know the outcome. I will be proactive and timely, but not beyond the leading of the holy spirit. This way is not easy for me.

I will remember that my mind is clear when the sun is soaking into my skin and the ocean blue is within sight. I will continue to carve out space for this A1A walking. I will continue to carve out space for the dim room of Vinyasa. There is healing for me here.

I will remember to go where the beauty is. I will remember that I am most fully known when I am sharing. Consistency is better than perfection in this season. I have a spark in me to know what may be on the other side of consistency. I have a weed of doubt too. Even so, I will walk with God toward the beauty.

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Summer Discovery: What To Do When Winter Snows Down in Summer?

July/Week 2 Download The Devotion

Yes, that’s what happened last summer. In my favorite season of the year, the snow came down upon my summer, my life. God invited me to decline, resign and wait for a while. A year later, I feel rather peaceful about the whole thing. Last year, however, it took mighty strength to be obedient to the call of winter.

Had I not entered into my winter season with a sense of awe, the stillness probably would have etched away at my value and worth (i.e., decline in productivity=decline in worth). Melting into the take away hurt. Moving into this new way of living opened up space I didn’t know I could have.

In the stillness. In a different pace. I leaned into a simple truth of the Christian faith.

Spiritual disciplines.

Or as Jennifer Dukes Lee calls it, living the ancient way of Jesus.

I chose to live calmly. I took seriously what I call The Four S’s. I decided to stop spinning the globe with Jesus. If fact, if I had to say there was any sin or untruth I was living before winter came, I was working hard to be the conductor of my life and the ones I care so much about. While I may think I am good at globe spinning, God has higher and better plans that I don’t yet know about.

What’s your sense of season this summer?

Is it a vibrant, hope filled, energetic season? Is it a shade of winter? An earth tone feeling? It’s okay to be in winter during summer AND it’s okay to be in summer during summer. Let God show you.

You can read much more about the season of winter in my Summer Devotion. The rest of this post includes my responses to the Summer Discovery Questions for July/Week 2. Next week, I will continue with July/Week 3 discovery questions. Download the 12 Week Devotion if you’d like to join us.

Discovery Question One

Where are you from? Did you experience seasons growing up? What about now? What is your favorite season and why? My answer is in the Devotion.

Discovery Question Two

Pick one of The Four S’s (Sabbath, Silence, Solitude and Sleep) that is most appealing to you. Google the word and come up with one or two practices you can adopt in your life. Write your thoughts and plans below.

To be authentic, I am struggling with sabbath which I am associating with attending church. We all know this is not the same thing. I am going here anyway.

I had already begun watching church online prior to Covid. The pandemic sealed the deal. Now, I can’t decide what to do. I’ve lost a good habit of in person church and I am not sure if I’ve replaced it with an equally good practice or not. Ponder. Ponder.

Discovery Question Three

How do you feel about the reality that the earth can and will spin without your efforts? Look into the mirror that James speaks of and let God help you choose something you can let go of. Journal below.

This is a hard question. Surrender is hard. In term of letting go of globe spinning, I would like to further cultivate the relationship between “doing” and “being” on the path of God’s will. Lord, help me walk that out every day. Help me be proactive and timely and equally sensitive to the Spirit’s leading.

Discovery Question Four

This week, meditate on Hebrews 12:28-29. If you can, memorize it in your own words.

I wrote this verse down as my mantra this past February and it will remain. It’s a reminder to rise up. Gratitude and awe is where I wish to rise up from. In his fire is where I wish to be.

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Summer Discovery: How to Revive Your Heart in the Sunshine – 12 Week Devotion For You!

It’s Summertime!

There is no other season that tells you it’s time for rest, relaxation, and renewal.

No other season gives you permission to choose a different pace.

This season tells you to take off somewhere. To have fun.

No other season welcomes a break from the grind without condition or guilt.

This is your summer! This devotion will help you reflect on your gifts, feel the warmth of God’s love and help you grow beyond where you are today

Each week for the twelve weeks of summer, you will be inspired to

  • Create a collection of summer memories
  • Soak in the sun with a good read
  • Share a simple homemade summer recipe
  • Be Grateful with a monthly list
  • Read 12 weekly devotions
  • Topics include discovering your convictions and God’s timing, stepping back and finding your desire again & choosing a mindset of abundance over scarcity.
  • Every devotion is scripture based and includes Discovery questions and Growth exercises

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