9780310328353_imageJoin us at 6:30 p.m. (Eastern) today?

We’ll be chatting on Facebook with Jeff Manion, author of Satisfied: Discovering Contentment in a World of Consumption, and you’ll have the chance to ask your own questions.

I’m telling you, this guy is full of wisdom and full of ideas that challenge the way we think in our society.

I know some of you are meeting in homes and coffee shops with friends. Please snap a few pictures and post them on the Simply Faithful Facebook page so we can all wave hello! Others are gathering for the chat at Alpha and Omega Parable Christian Store, 1601 Penfield Road in Penfield, NY. I’d be honored if you’d meet us there.

Thank you for reading and learning along with us.

May you be blessed today!

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I sent the oldest out after dark to gather branches in the cold. Sent him with his coat and a vase and instructions to fill it with what looked dead – but would soon be made new.

He wandered back in, the branches still dripping from the melting snow, and I arranged them. Tallest in the back. The one that bent gracefully on the left. Then, I fussed some more.

I wadded up grocery bags and put them in the bottom of the vase and began arranging again.

Still awkward. Still sticks in a vase.

So, I set that aside and started in on the ribbons that would symbolize our prayers. First, the ones in all shades of brilliant blue and then the ones that looked like rainbows had swirled themselves across the threads.

How do you know how many ribbons you’ll need? How many prayers will be whispered between now and Easter?

I put the first one on, one in blue for a little boy in Buffalo with a tumor gaining ground in his brain. Then, one in pink tipped with yellow for a friend with breast cancer. Jessie added one for his teacher who resigned and is struggling. And Benjamin grabbed a ribbon for the people in Oklahoma and in Joplin, Mo., who have picked through the rubble of tornadoes and pieced their lives back together.

I’m not sure who Colt, our youngest, prayed for. I didn’t ask. My husband just lifted him up so he could drape a silent ribbon on a branch.

Throughout the days since, I’ve gone and slipped other ribbons on the branches, tied them with a simple knot and left my heart’s request in the steady hands of God. With the addition of each ribbon, the sticks in the vase look less awkward, somehow transformed by the prayers that are covering them. And what was once a bit of an eyesore in our dining room has become the centerpiece.

I’m hoping the same is true for those we’re praying for – that the dark places in their lives are filling with comfort and peace and even colorful joy. In fact, I’m hoping love and hope tie themselves in knots and cover us all.

Remember: We’re hosting a Facebook chat with Jeff Manion, author of Satisfied: Discovering Contentment in a World of Consumption. The chat starts at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 25, and it will be held on the Simply Faithful Facebook page.  Some of us are meeting in person for the chat at Alpha and Omega Parable Christian Store, 1601 Penfield Road in Penfield, NY. I’d be honored if you’d join us.

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"Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth." -- Psalm 124:8

“Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” — Psalm 124:8

Can you trust God — maker of heaven and earth — with your finances? With your well-being?

That’s the central question in the final section of Satisfied: Discovering Contentment in a World of Consumption.

I think  it’s an incredibly important question. And I think it’s one we have to ask often.

So, any last comments on the book? What will you remember most from this study?

Thank you so much for reading with us and please join us March 25 for a chat with Jeff Manion.

Be blessed!

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I’ve always had an issue with textures. No chunky pecans in my cookies, please. No whipped cream in my hot chocolate. And, even though I love lemons, no slimy seeds in my drink.

IMG_6849Somehow, the other day, a lemon seed slipped past me. I didn’t notice it until I took a sip of my water and saw it bobbing up and down near the surface. I poked my finger in but barely missed it. I must have touched the edge because it plunged toward the bottom. When it came back to the top, I tried the same thing again – and got the same disappointing result.

Of course, I thought. I needed to come at it from the side and then move underneath it so I could scoop it up.

One swift movement and it was out. Lemon seed crisis averted.

I had known better than to move in from above. It wasn’t like the seed had a way to reach out to me and grab hold. But that’s the first approach I used – and the second – and it’s one I use far too often when dealing with people.

You didn’t pick up your toys? You didn’t finish your homework? You forgot to call the electrician?

Poke. Prod.

We’re fond of saying we should only look down on people when we’re helping them up but maybe we’ve got our directions all wrong. Maybe looking down on people wouldn’t even be a temptation if we were walking side by side or if we were making it a habit to humbly lower ourselves in service to others – to be close enough to listen to one another.

Perhaps the 6-year-old is overwhelmed and doesn’t know where to start cleaning the Lego-scattered floor. The 15-year-old might not have understood that math assignment, and the husband? Well, if I bother to ask, I might find that there are things besides rewiring the ceiling fan that are priorities in his life right now.

Instead of poking and prodding, I can always choose to come alongside. And from that angle, it’s much easier to lift someone higher.

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A project for Lent: Since we’re still working on reading “Satisfied: Discovering Contentment in a World of Consumption,” I tried to come up with a Lenten project for this year that was simple, yet full of meaning. So, my family and I will be taking pictures wherever we see God and his work. I’ll be sharing those pictures on social media, and you are more than welcome to join us if you think it might help prepare your heart for Easter, too. We’ll be using #seeGod on Twitter and Instagram to make it easier to follow along.

 

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When I started reading a book about learning to be satisfied and content, I didn’t expect a lesson on generosity. But it makes sense, doesn’t it?

Jeff Manion, author of Satisfied: Discovering Contentment in a World of Consumption, writes:

“… the intended end result of God’s provision is not that we amass wealth or accumulate more stuff but that we continue to grow in goodness and generosity.”

How does generosity help us become more content?

Are there ways that you could be more generous with your time, your talent, your money?

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