Summer Discovery: How to Keep Your Inspiration

In my view, inspiration is necessary. If I am tunnel-focused on the work at hand — whatever that life work may be — I lose the beauty of this life. My hope slips away. My passion exits. The color disappears. Inspiration is a way to revival. It’s a rebellion against all that holds you back from creating the beauty the Lord planned for you to release into this world.

If we don’t intentionally live in a place where inspiration is possible, the joy of living fizzles away. That’s really what this summer devotion is about. I shared with you a project to memorialize your summer. The purpose is to let the sacred be sacred. Namely, crystallizing the time you spend with people doing the things that make life sweet. The aesthetic craftiness of your summer memory book makes no difference at all. Treasure the summertime with your loved ones and remember this season a long time from now.

Be Inspired by Reading

I shared with you a few things to read. It’s not a race or contest to be the most well-read. There are thousands of intellectuals and book lovers out there who will read all of us into the ground. Books ignite thoughts in our minds to ponder and share with friends. Words spring questions to talk to God about. Books multiply our ways to think about life and solutions to our problems. Reading puts your creative mind to work and often gives you plenty of ideas of how to bless others. Choose books, blogs, and articles to read that cause inspiration, change, and connection in your life. The experts say that twenty minutes a day is all you need to create a reading life. It’s my good challenge for you.

Be Inspired by Sharing Food

I shared a few recipes with you. Not because we are on our way to becoming the next food influencer on Instagram but because it’s another way to create and share. It’s a way to discover what brings you joy and lights you up. Making things to eat for my family, their friends and my friends brings me happiness and fulfillment.

Be Inspired to Share Yourself

I shared with you my thoughts through the weekly devotions. Sometimes I believe it’s too bold to think that you really want to read about this complicated, up and down, yet thriving little life I am living in my thoughts and in my actual days. Vulnerability is a hard choice. I am learning, through many of you who are reading this and living life with me, that there is no real heart and soul, or gratitude, or colorful living without choosing vulnerability. I am learning that there is no valid reason to hold back the winning combination of truth and love. It’s hard to express and sometimes even harder to receive, but it is the way of Jesus.

Be Inspired to Use Your Time Wisely

Finally, I shared with you questions and exercises. The purpose is not to overload your to do list. No. Never. Please. Let that never be the case of the things you are choosing to do with your time. If it turns out that you chose something that isn’t lightening your load and lighting up your life, quit. I am a recovered perfectionist and a hard-core finisher. But no more do I continue with stuff that makes me weary or grinds my soul. My desire is to go where God is and join Him in His work. If the questions and exercises inspire you to reflect, grow, and revive your desire to join God in His work, please do them. If not, choose something else that takes you to your first love.

Fall is Upon Us

We are here at the end. Fall is upon us. Yet, for me, sisters, it’s the beginning of summer. I look out my window at the net my husband put up to catch the mangoes falling off the neighbor’s tree into our yard. I read exciting messages of families landing in Greece to celebrate recent grads. I read texts of a husband and wife leaving on a plane for a sabbatical that we actually prayed would happen for this beloved pair. I see my son and his girlfriend savor the last few weeks before they each set out into the next stage of their new adult lives. I see one of my best friends move out of our neighborhood into an upcoming season of empty nesting.

For the Love of the Seasons

Seasons my sisters. My tears stream. For the love of the seasons. My breath is taken away by the thought that we are loved so deeply by God and others. We actually get to live these seasons. This is the wondrous feeling of gratitude. My streaming tears do hurt as I ponder these things. This is a sign of living and loving and doing our very best to be where God is.

May this summer revive your heart.

May you let the sunshine soak into your life.

May you reflect and be inspired to grow.

May you go where God is and join Him in living the story of your life.

Continue Reading

Summer Discovery: How To Operate from a Mindset of Abundance

There is always more than enough. Most of the time, however, I don’t think that way.

  • Did I make enough food for that family gathering?
  • Will I have enough money to pay that bill?
  • Will I have enough time to finish the important things on my to do list?
  • Will I have the right words for my friend or my family member?
  • Will I have enough wisdom to navigate difficult situations?
  • Will I have done enough by the time my kids become adults?

We can be consumed by a mindset of not enough. We can be crippled by a scarcity mentality. Even though God’s promises drip with abundance, our culture pulls us towards lack and worry. We allow the narrative of not enough to draw us away from the story of abundance that God is writing in our lives. Let me give you an example from my life.

The Stress of Scarcity

After my husband Eric and I took the step of faith of signing a five year commercial lease for our business, I spent years three to five worrying about the renewal of that lease. As the end of the lease approached, we still could not decide what was best for our business.

Around mid-March of 2020, the pandemic began. We equipped our employees to work from home and we closed the physical office. During that time, we decided to allow the lease to end and share space with a colleague about thirty minutes from our home. Not the best option for quality of life but it was a reasonable option.

One day in March, Eric and I were walking the dog outside—like the rest of the homebound people in sunny South Florida. The broker for our landlord called. I was not the least bit excited because all of our previous negotiations went nowhere. I passed the phone to Eric. We learned that the landlord, now in pandemic mode, did not want to lose a tenant, and made us an offer we could not refuse. We agreed to the best terms imaginable.

Headline: Global pandemic solves Sasha’s commercial lease issues. Really God? That’s funny. Your abundant ways far exceed my small minded, scarce ways.

From a mindset of scarcity, difficult circumstances are solved in human ways with human thoughts and resources. From a mindset of abundance, we have all that we need even if we don’t know the outcome yet. To that point, we don’t have a grasp on how God is going to work out all of the things that we worry about. With scarcity, we believe what we can see. With abundance, we have faith that God will make not just a way, but a good way ahead for us.

I worried and lost sleep over a detail in my life that God worked out through a global pandemic. In all my worry, I could not have imagined that our lease would be expiring at the same time commercial space became somewhat obsolete. Let me be clear, this was not my worst or only worry of 2020. It’s just great news for those of us who have a tendency to operate from a mindset of scarcity.


“Scarcity thrives in a culture where everyone is hyperaware of lack. Everything from safety and love to money and resources feels restricted or lacking. We spend inordinate amounts of time calculating how much we have, want, and don’t have, and how much everyone else has, needs, and wants.”

Brene Brown

In contrast, God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8)

Here is one more story of scarcity and abundance.

Abundance: The Unexpected Outcome

In March of 2021, we learned that my son needed surgery to put his shoulder back together. The back story is that we had spent the greater part of the prior three years planning his college experience based on his athletic gifting. He was at the top of his game nationally in 2019. We had big hopes and confirmation from his coach that track in college was on the table.

There was no track season in 2020 but we drove out to a remote park in Palm Beach County so he could practice with his coach. In 2021, track season came around again and so did the shoulder surgery. The outcome was excellent, but not perfect. College sports were no longer on the table. The tension between scarcity and abundance was hard for me. The eye of the needle narrowed for my son. God pushed out an opportunity that appeared lifegiving and viable. I spent most of his senior year in a pliable space moving with the shift in his future. But I also spent a lot of time hearing about my friend’s kids moving into the space of college athletics. Scarcity squeezed my chest.

When good dreams die, there is space between the orb being emptied and the orb filling again. That is the space between scarcity and abundance in God’s kingdom.

Will you allow the emptying to lead you to abundance? Can you?

My son will have an exciting freshman year studying abroad and then he’ll come back to a great campus in our home state of Florida. The orb filled. Trust God to walk you through the squeeze of scarcity. God has plans. It’s okay that we don’t know the details or understand the steps God takes in our lives and our loved one’s lives. Can we tighten our grip on Jesus and loosen our grip on the way we think our lives should work out? Can we decide in our hearts to be grateful even when it’s hard to breathe?

Yes, in the times of emptying, there is obvious scarcity. I felt the squeeze. My chest hurt. The shift hurt. The removal hurt. I wanted a Red Sea moment in the way that I envisioned a Red Sea moment. But. Abundance is not a story of human ways or human thoughts working out difficult circumstances. Abundance is a story of faith where God is gracious in His gifts towards us.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

James 1:17

Girls, God really does care about the details of our lives.

He has already—past, present and future—done enough. Even so, He still does more. Me and my boy did get a Red Sea moment. Right before the end of his senior year, God allowed his shoulder to throw shot put (his second best field event). He placed fourth place at districts and even had the honor to throw at regionals. He did that with a light heart and with no practice at all. His shoulder hung in there and we both rejoiced at the closure God allowed.

If we are willing to let time plus God’s kindness do its work, abundance will show itself. Abundance doesn’t rise in its full form immediately. We will have to trust Him in the emptying. Abundance peeks out of the empty orb in glimpses of glory and beams of light. Abundance works itself out in unimaginable ways beyond the expectations we have for ourselves and loved ones. We don’t have to worry about not enough or good enough. God works out His plan of abundance as He fills the orb of our lives.

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading