Friday, November 29, 2013

Thrilling Guest Thursday Reprise {and Moving Day}

Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.
(Philippians 1:3 NLT)

A little over a year ago, I made a commitment to blog on a regular basis. One of my favorite features has been Thrilling Guest Thursdays! I went back through the archives and gathered the first posts of each guest to thank them personally for sharing of themselves and their journeys with us here at Nourishment for the Soul. Some were one time visitors, who I hope will return again next year, and others have become regulars that we look forward to greeting in this place. Click on the guest name to revisit their words and their hearts. If you would like to find other posts from Thrilling Guest Thursday, just use the handy search gadget at the top right hand side of the blog and plug in "Thrilling Guest Thursday". 

I am thankful for words and this place to feed on them, for readers, for comments, for guests, for blogger and for God giving us the ability to form friendships through words and common journeys. 

Here's the guest list from 2012-2013:

Kelly Greer

Lynn D. Morrissey
The Urban Hermit
Juniper Gillian
Rachelle Parezo
Marijo Blair
Elizabeth Anne May
Jody Lee Collins
Jeanie Kelley
Tracy Flori
Dawn Paoletta (Random Journal Day)
Karen O'Connor

I have decided to move Nourishment for the will now find me at I was ready for a new look and a new format. Please follow me over there. I will keep the archives up here for now. And I have transferred them to the new place, too. I am looking forward to seeing where God takes us this new church year, as Advent begins on Sunday. See you over at the new place, where we can continue the dialogue about words and the WORD! 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thrilling Guest Thursday: Jeannie Kelley

Take delight in the Lord, 
and he will give you your heart’s desires.
(Psalm 37:4 NLT)

Please welcome my friend and fellow dreamer, Jeanie Kelley, as she contemplates her dreams, the lost ones and the ones hoped for. Brave woman!

Here's Jeanie...

If money and time were not an issue, what would I want to do ? The problem is that it is an issue. It has and always will be. I will be plagued from now on,but that is not where I am at. Today I am day dreaming of what could have been.

What could have been are the times of travel. I would love to visit Ireland, Scotland and Israel, but not in that order. To learn about the culture and to see some breath taking scenery. Since my favorite music is Celtic, I would like to see some of the places and towns that the music really brings out. Israel, for me, would be the best trip of all to see Jerusalem and The Mount of Olives.

Click here to see what else Jeanie dreams of...

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thrilling Guest Tuesday:Karen O' Connor

 Praise him with tambourine and dance;
    praise him with strings and pipe!
(Psalm 150:4 ESV)

A little surprise for you today. I would like to introduce a special guest and friend of Lynn D. Morrissey. Karen likes to dance, too. Enjoy her story. Please feel free to leave her a comment.

Karen O'Connor is an award-winning author of 75+ books for children and adults, a popular speaker, and writing mentor for the Christian Writers Guild. Karen was named Writer of the Year for 1997 by the San Diego Christian Writers Guild, in 2002 she received the Special Recognition Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference for writing and mentoring, and in 2004 she accepted the International Reading Association Award for her article for children in Highlights magazine on Kurdish refugees.

A Time to Dance!

Karen O'Connor

The year I turned seventy I was determined to do one thing—if nothing else that entire year. Dance! So one night as my husband Charles and I watched a televised musical tribute to the great Ella Fitzgerald I suddenly felt young and carefree again. 
"How High the Moon," "Dream a Little Dream of Me," and "The Man I Love," sung by such notables as Nancy Wilson and Natalie Cole, took me back to the 1950s when I was in high school and college and a devoted fan of jazz.
Right then I wanted to hold the man I love, dream a little dream with him, and gaze out the window at the moon high above. But it didn't seem to be the right time for such romantic activities. There I sat without make-up and dressed in my old sweats, hair askew, and eyes squinting through glasses that needed a good cleaning. I'd restored my house that day after weekend guests had gone—but I hadn't yet pulled myself together.
Meanwhile, Charles was in the kitchen putting away food and dishes from dinner, scrubbing pots and pans, and commenting here and there on the music and the memories they evoked. "That was a great era. They don't write love songs like those anymore," he said.
Suddenly I knew it was time––a time to dance.
I looked at Charles and smiled. "Dance with me?"
"Mmm." I held out my arms and swayed to the music.
"But I'm in the middle of––"
"I'm in the middle of something, too—of a longing––to dance."
"Okay." He walked out from behind the half-wall that divided the kitchen from the living room and took me in his arms, a sopping dishtowel over one shoulder, and an apron around his waist.
I put my left arm on his shoulder––the one without the wet towel––and fit my right hand into his left one. He pulled me close, sweatshirt-to-sweatshirt, and danced me all over our new hardwood floor, just made for dancing. The faux flames in the faux fireplace licked the faux logs as we whirled and twirled in front of them, I in my Ugg boots and Charles in his. 
In my mind, however, I was wearing silver strap stilettos and a close-fitting black dress with pearls around my neck, and Charles was clad in a navy blue suit with a white shirt and cuff links, black Ferragamo loafers and a smashing red and blue striped Robert Talbot silk tie.
"We won't forget this night," I teased. "When one of us is gone the other will remember the time when we danced the night away just the way we were, and didn't care a hoot about it––as long as we were holding each other close."
He nodded in agreement and smiled behind eyes wet with tears. I realized that for Charles too, it was a time for dancing. He just hadn't realized it until I held out my arms. And so we danced and danced––the year I turned seventy.

 Dance is the hidden language of the soul.
Martha Graham

Excerpted from The Upside of Downsizing: 50 Ways to Create A Cozy Life by Karen O'Connor (Permission from Harvest House Publishers 2011).

Visit Karen on her website:

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thrilling Guest Thursday: Lynn D. Morrissey

Let the name of the LORD be praised,
both now and forevermore. 
(Psalm 113:2 NIV)

Please welcome, my friend and passionate lover of God, Lynn Morrissey. She waltzes through words with ease, always keeping us in step with the tune of God's gracious invitation to live life fully no matter which season we find ourselves embracing.

(Lynn D. Morrissey, is a Certified Journal Facilitator (CJF), founder of Heartsight Journaling, a ministry for reflective journal-writing, author of Love Letters to God: Deeper Intimacy through Written Prayer and other books, contributor to numerous bestsellers, an AWSA and CLASS speaker, and professional soloist. She and her beloved husband, Michael, have been married since 1975 and have a college-age daughter, Sheridan. They live in St. Louis, Missouri. You may contact Lynn at

(Lynn D. Morrissey)

Autumn is the season of urgency, the season that beckons us to behold breathtaking beauty and kaleidoscopic colors—now—before shifting winds and colder climes send leaves shimmying from limbs. They dance with abandon in the breeze before falling to the ground, where they’ll soon decay.

Autumn bespeaks glory, but especially glory that fleets.

Autumn proclaims,
            “Wake up.
Take note.
Time is short.
Life is short.
Live with gusto until a gust of wind blows you, too, to the ground, to your place of final rest.”

Now that my husband Michael and I have begun dipping into a decidedly autumnal decade, I have wondered if, like those vibrant falling leaves, we are dancing too—shimmying and shimmering with glory, relishing every magnificent moment, living colorfully and daringly; or are we clinging tenaciously to the status quo and to stifling stagnation? Our time here, our time together is evanescent. Are we making the most of our days?  Like autumn’s glory, I want us to go out in an audacious glow!

So, that brings me to the apple orchard. Two autumns ago, Michael and I were picking apples at a local orchard for luscious pie-baking back home. This has become an annual ritual, and while we could probably buy apples cheaper and certainly easier at the grocery, we love the thrill of driving carefree along the Mississippi River to the orchard and wending our way through a tangle of top-heavy trees, over-bent with bobbing crimson globes.

This time, and I can’t explain it, a sudden urge swept over me. I don’t know if it were the invigorating air, or the apples’ pungent scent, or the rows of trees queued up like a line dance, but I had to enter in. I had to dance—just dance, oblivious to how I looked, unintimidated by who was looking, uninhibited by what I feared. I longed to grab my partner’s hand and weave a waltz through a trellis of trees.

But Michael, my husband, by beloved life-partner through thick and thin, just wouldn’t dance. He wouldn’t enter into the moment, because he thought he couldn’t. And despite my coaxing, and my “It-doesn’t-matter-whether-or-not-you-think-you-can-dance-or-who-might-be-watching” plea, he was immovable.

Mike would. not. budge.

And it’s at that moment, that I knew this was more than an invitation to dance. I was daring him to enter a reckless adventure, to kick up his heels in delight, to abandon rules without thinking, to move without knowing the steps, to risk looking foolish when people gawked, to live far away from the guidelines and sidelines of life.

But Michael said no.

Then he was silent.

And in that pregnant pause, that muted moment, I heard soundless words crescendo like a clarion call from a buried heart-place:

I am your Partner. Will you dance with Me?
And I knew.

I knew that I had been sitting on the sidelines—at first, because God had called me there, away from a fruitful ministry, when it made absolutely no sense to me. I had obeyed; but at that moment in the orchard, I realized that I had stayed too long—longer than God had intended—and the sidelines had become barricades to growth, adventure, and joy. God had been calling me back into life’s dance some time before, and I was waiting like a wilting wallflower in the shadows. At this moment, He was extending His hand like a lifeline, beckoning me back onto the dance floor before autumn faded to winter. It was time to act now, or miss this opportunity forever.

I also decided to extend the opportunity to Michael one more time, and wrote this poem for him that Christmas.


Last Dance

“I don’t dance in apple orchards,” you say,
with a straight face, then a smile,
but all the while, my hand extends to yours.

“Come,” I say, “please dance.”
But you won’t bend.

 “I don’t dance in apple orchards,” you stress.
And then, you wink.

But dare I ask again?
I know that you are resolute,

and I know that life will end
in an absolute blink, in the time it takes
for these apples, weighty with August’s wine,
to loosen from limp stems in a gust of ruthless wind
and fall and bruise and roll and roil                                       
into bubbling decay.

“I don’t dance,” you say.

But if not now, then when?

And if not here, between these choreographed rows of
red-lanterned trees, festooned for plein-air dance
(like Sargent’s lanterned garden all aglow with twilight),
then where?

The painter highlights the evanescent hour,
and daily, feverishly dances transient light onto canvas,
knowing magic soon will end.

Is it possible to compress beauty?


He does.

We must.                    

I dare to ask again:
Will you thrust yourself into my arms
and commence this pas de deux?

Don’t fret about the steps.                 
Let the magic lead . . .

All life’s a dance
begging you to enter in,
to move in its embrace.

Take your cue:
Trace how the apples dance from breeze-swayed boughs,
before they fall.

They whisper,
Please, now.

Please now.”

To what dance is God beckoning you to join Him
now—before it’s too late?

(Copyright 2013. Lynn D. Morrissey. All Rights Reserved.)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thrilling Guest Thursday: Tracy Flori

Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will].
(1 Thessalonians 5:18 Amplified Bible)

Please welcome, my friend and superb life coach, Tracy Flori! She has some wonderful insights regarding the value of gratitude. 

Tracy Flori is a professional coach, speaker and trainer. She is the founder of TrueWay LLC, ( a life and leadership coaching organization. Tracy is professionally trained to administer and debrief various behavioral temperament and emotional intelligence assessments. Her passion is equipping leaders, teams and families with understanding and skills to advance their lives.

She can be reached by emailing,

Please visit Tracy at her newly launched website, which is chock full of inspiration and free resources to advance your life, your family and your walk with God.

And now, here are her timely thoughts as we contemplate God's goodness this month:

Gratitude: The Transforming Power of Being Thankful

Gratitude, if practiced consistently, can transform lives. 

Gratitude may be the single strongest predictor of life satisfaction.

Gratitude turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow." -- Melody Beattie

I wasn’t always a grateful person myself. Years ago I could be described as a perfectionist with high expectations. I was frequently disappointed in life, always looking at how things could be different or better. I wasn’t approaching life with an attitude of gratitude. Then my world was suddenly turned upside down with a tragic family situation that changed everything. The things I used to take for granted were now a daily reminder of what I almost lost. It took years to accept living from a new normal, but God delivered, healed and redeemed the darkest period of my life. I don’t take anything for granted anymore. I don’t see life the same way. I look at everything through a lens of gratitude now.

What does gratitude look like for you?

Some may define it as…
Being thankful
Counting your blessings
Appreciating simple pleasures
Pausing to recognize beauty
Being aware on a continuous basis of how much you have been given

For me gratitude is a natural outflow of thanks from my heart for the astonishing daily grace and love of God in my life.

In the Bible it states, “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God…concerning you”

As children we are taught to say thank you out of respect. We seem to understand, as children, that the good things we are blessed with are because we are dependent on a gracious giver. I experienced this as a child. However, as I grew up and become more self-sufficient, I often forgot to say thank you like I did when I was kid. As adults we often miss the opportunities to express gratitude. Even our thanksgiving holiday seems to be more focused on football games and being the first at the mall than on being thankful.

A client shared with me this week about a loss of something in her life. It seemed insignificant to her, almost a burden at times, but when it was no longer there, it was clear to her how much she missed it. It is often in the loss of something that we finally realize how much it means to us.

What keeps us from seeing things from a grateful heart?
Disappointments- I can’t believe this happened
Pride- I’m pretty happy with what I did
Forgetfulness- Just not thinking about it
Entitlement mentality- I deserve more
Complaining- My life is a mess and it will never get better
Burdens – This is too heavy a load for me

How do we recover a sense of gratitude and the ability to appreciate the gifts of God in our lives? We do it by remembering the benefits of being grateful and practicing being thankful. When I intentionally focus on applying this mind set to my life I am almost always happier and more optimistic. And it seems to be almost immediate.

What are the benefits to being grateful?

It is widely known that people who live from a position of gratitude tend to be more:

Is there room in your life for more gratitude?
Don’t miss the wonder of God’s blessings and presence all around you. Observe all there is to be grateful for by pausing to journal, practice, and share gratitude.

Journal Gratitude
A great place to start is with a gratitude journal. A few years ago, Ann Voskamp wrote a book, One Thousand Gifts. In it she invited her readers to embrace everyday blessings and focus on the transforming discipline of recording God's gifts in our lives. She challenged us to write a list of 1000 things we are grateful for. Will you take the challenge? Buy a journal and start focusing on your gifts.

Practice Gratitude
To experience the greatest benefits, gratitude must be a consistent part of our lives. Practice being thankful for someone, someplace or something in your life every day. Recall everyday pleasures, people you care for and places you love as a gift from God.

If you need a visual reminder for this then make one. In the bible God often encouraged his people to make visual reminders so they wouldn’t forget his blessings. It could be a picture, the background on your laptop, a piece of jewelry or just a reminder on your phones to pause and look for the good. Be creative. Live from a position of thankfulness in every situation and you will add value to your life.

Share Gratitude
Add value to others lives by cultivating a culture of gratitude. People who have supported and invested in us deserve our thanks. Speak a word of appreciation. Send a thank you note; give a hug or a smile or the gift of time. You can be creative in expressing your gratitude. Don’t hold back. Your actions can cultivate a culture of grateful people who will never be the same.

Gratitude has the transforming power to change lives, yours and the people around you. This year don’t let the Thanksgiving Holiday be your only expression of gratitude. Choose today to live a life of gratitude and watch the amazing things that will happen. Instead of waiting for something to be grateful for, ask yourself:

What’s one thing I can do today to experience and express more gratitude?

Tracy will be sharing her thoughts and insights with a group of international students tomorrow during a Thanksgiving dinner and program to help the students better understand the history of our American celebration. She hopes to challenge them to cultivate gratitude in their lives. Please pray for her talk to impact lives for the Kingdom of God. Thanks-Kel

Here is a link to a video on Gratitude that she will be sharing with the students.

After viewing the video, consider this question:

At the end of your life what will your legacy of gratitude look like?

Copyright 2013. All Rights Reserved. Tracy Flori.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Weary: Lacking Strength, Energy, or Freshness Because of a Need for Rest

The Sovereign Lord has given me his words of wisdom,
    so that I know how to comfort the weary.
Morning by morning he wakens me
    and opens my understanding to his will.
(Isaiah 50:4 NLT)

Just as a tree drops its leaves to rest for the winter, from time to time we need to shed a few things in order to rest and renew ourselves. Each month this year, I have been listening to hear the voice of the Shepherd.

For November, Jesus is calling me to rest. To lie down in the green pastures of silence and solitude. To be led in paths for His name's sake. To have Him prepare a table before me. So that I may return with mercy and goodness at my heels, and fresh words for the weary.

Stay tuned for a brand new series in December . . .

Advent{ures}:The Favor of God

I really enjoyed putting together and participating in the 31 Days of Quiet series. I will leave the page up in November, in case, you'd like to revisit some of the "ways to wake up your quiet time." I hope you have been refreshed. That was my intention. I see the posts and Pam Farrel's ideas as a great resource to infuse life into our devotional time with God, because we do get weary and stuck some times. 

Please visit on Thrilling Guest Thursdays in November, as I have a few of my favorite guests lined up to feed your soul with their lovely words!

For this mini sabbatical, I will be resting, reading and relying on the Holy Spirit to rejuvenate and realign my focus as we near the new year, which liturgically speaking begins with Advent. See you in December!  

Linking with Soli Deo Gloria Party!

Remember: To Think Of Again

Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love,
    for they have been from of old.
Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
    according to your steadfast love remember me,
    for the sake of your goodness, O Lord!
(Psalm 25:6-7 ESV)

On this 31st Day of Quiet, I had the pleasure of returning to "my garden," our local botanical gardens, which I joined back in February. I have enjoyed going every so often alone or with a companion to see the seasonal garb. 

Today was an unseasonably warm, yet rainy day. I put on my walking shoes, carried the umbrella and strolled with my camera phone to my favorite haunts. The Victorian garden, the English woods, the Japanese pond and surrounding foliage. And just before I left, a stop at the small Chinese secret garden to sit in the gazebo. 

I take photos to remember. The palette of autumn colors were so rich and varied. For our last day together, I will share the colors I captured and some of the textures, too! Enjoy the quiet and remember to mark the goodness of God in your lives.

I also want to thank Pam Farrel again for giving me persmission to share generously from her book: 30Ways to Wake Up Your Quiet Time. In the last chapter, she reminds us that the Israelites built altars to recall God's goodness and faithfulness in their lives.

And here are some ideas for us to mark our journey to pass on a legacy of faith:

Consider a yearly tradition of writing a Christmas or Thanksgiving poem.

Make a heirloom gift such as a quilt or...a piece of furniture to commemorate an event...

Plant a tree...

Create a tangible marker like a fountain or a verse etched in wet cement.

She leaves us with this question:

What can you make that  could become a remembrance of your walk with Christ?

©Pam Farrel from 30 Ways to Wake Up Your Quiet Time (IVP). For more devotional books by Pam

 To read all the post in the 31 Days of Quiet series, click here.

Special thanks to the Nester for hosting the 31 Days of Challenge this year!