My People plus Bread and Wine Discussion Guide for Part One

My People

My trip to New York last week was more than just a week with family (which was wonderful). It was a time to be with my people, as Shauna Niequist would call them. The Ideals, my Bible study group from when I lived in California, decided to have a Fall retreat at my parent’s place and there was no way I was going to pass up the chance to a. go to New York again and b. spend time with some of my favorite women! It was refreshing to laugh, study Psalm 31, and do autumnal things together, even if it was just for a few days.

I’ve never been one to have a large group of friends, just a few really tight ones. Maybe that’s why I really resonate with Shauna when she talks about “her people” in Bread and Wine. They are the close ones. They are in the muck and mire of your messy life – cheering, crying, correcting.

My People 2

Since I like consistency, I struggle with the fact that some friendships are seasonal. Not seasonal in a flaky way, but seasonal because life circumstances change. Aside from my one life-long friend, I met my first people in college. Kayla, K, Nat, Brit – these women did life with me in a very formational time. One of the worst parts of graduating and moving back to California (I attended William Jewell College) was knowing they wouldn’t be  daily part of my life. Even though I keep in sporadic contact with them, I know God gifted them to me for a specific season.

Getting older doesn’t make the seasons in friendship easier. I’m thankful that despite another geographic gap, my California people are still my people from afar. I could call (most likely text since I hate talking on the phone), or email them for any reason and I know they’d be there with prayers, ears, and a virtual hug. However, it’s important to be known where you are, too. Finding your people isn’t easy. And it takes time. I fee like I’m in the in between, loving and missing my people (who will always be my people) and in praying for people in the present.

Bread and Wine1

Here’s an expanded discussion guide for Part One of Bread and Wine. (Read the original post if you were wondering why the heck I’m writing a discussion guide for this book).

PS: Shauna talks a ton about her people, especially in What The Table is For.

Digging Deeper into Bread & Wine – Part 1 

And, in case you missed it: Digging Deeper into Bread and Wine- Introduction

Happy chatting!

Who are your people? Have the seasons of your life influenced who your people are?

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New York Bound

I realize Primitive Roads has been pretty quite lately. I’m still trying to embrace the seasonal side of blogging, although I wrote that post thinking I was trading consistent blogging for hiking, training for a half-marathon, and fixing up our new house instead of being pregnant. Not that pregnancy has kept me from writing, per se, but my mind and body have been super occupied adjusting to our growing little one (the size of a lemon this week!).

The lake

Tim and I are leaving for a much needed vacation today. We’re trading Lake Coeur d’Alene for another, much smaller, lake in Central New York. Not only do we get to revisit our honeymoon spot, we get to spend time with my parents and brother – a mondo treat for me!

I’m praying this getaway is the time and space I need to refocus and reconnect spiritually – something I’ve felt slip a little the past few months. A sweet friend reignited my passion for women and community recently and I’m excited about connecting and collaborating with her. I couldn’t ask for a more beautiful place to pray and think and hopefully come back with renewed purpose for Primitive Roads.

In the meantime, more blogging silence from me as I soak up the next week!

Intentional Love Stories

Four months ago, I got a thoughtful Facebook message from someone I had never met. Now there’s only two months separating us from grabbing coffee in person. Today’s post is written by sweet Katie of A Thousand Little Choices – author of that Facebook message. Turns out she hails from Coeur d’Alene and is family to the worship pastor at our church. World’s collide. I love having her heartfelt voice on Primitive Roads!

Intentional Love stories

Our various experiences are meant by our Heavenly Father to furnish fresh viewpoints from which we may see the loveliness of Jesus.

Charles Spurgeon

Has your heart been troubled lately? Have you been plagued by blustery seasons? In the midst of them have you wondered and asked the question, “why?” “Why, God, why would you let this season of life plague me now?”

You’re not alone if you’re asking such questions.

I have had many outpourings of my soul during difficult times. I wondered what my King was thinking while I cried each night during my years and years of singleness. I had struggles in college and after graduation, when my family was being torn apart and even now, a difficult season is on the horizon. Though I hate to admit this, I often asked the question “why, God?” A normal question, but unfortunately my heart had the wrong glasses on.

In the midst of asking “why” and beating our heads and hearts against the waves of pain, we often lack seeing the many details that come with unwanted seasons. What if I told you they are love stories? The times of tempestuous storms are all stories written in love. What would you say then?

I laughed at first, but then beautiful Emily told me her two words this year were community and intentional. I love those words and my heart started praying for ways to incorporate them in my own life. Community, thats a tough one being a transplant in Philadelphia, but Intentional captured my soul. I sat down and started writing all the ways I could be intentional in my life. Unfortunately, with our move (you can read about it here) and lack of community, I couldn’t come up with much. Then it hit me. This current state, this unwanted season, it is much more.

When we start to look at God in all that is happening around us, you see how intentional and loving He is. For years, I’ve known that He has been writing my life, chapter by chapter. Now, I’m not facing trials – no, life trials are really intentional love stories, written by a Great Author.

This is the first unwanted season of my life that I have looked at differently. I finally see that God knows exactly what I am dealing with. Though our eyes are misty and our souls are tired, we can rest in the intentional loves stories of life. Time is never wasted, experiences are never forgotten, and God has walked the path of this story before.  He hears your hearts cry. He is constantly there with you, and you shall never walk alone.

He has been the Author this whole time, writing gorgeous stories with courageous characters and the most beautiful of settings. Think about the last time your tempestuous season came. You might have thought, “I can’t do this anymore”, but look at you now, getting ready to face the hardest moments in life. He thought you were strong enough, brave enough and courageous enough to face them.

With His writing, love, and grace, we can get through the storms that are soon to come. I hope you can turn them around and look at them as great, passionate, intentional stories of love.

Oh child of God! If you could only see your sorrows and troubles from the other side; if instead of looking up at them from earth, you would look down on them from the heavenly places where you sit with Christ; if you knew how they are reflecting in prismatic beauty before the gaze of heaven, the bright light of Christ’s face, you would be content that they should cast their deep shadows over mountain slopes of existence.

Selected

KatieKatie Sjogren is a twenty-something living in Philadelphia, PA with her sweet husband Jordan. Katie is an avid choice maker, Starbucks consumer, chunky sweater wearer, blustery weather lover, and deep conversation maker.  You can read more about Katie & Jordan’s life on her blog, A Thousand Little Choices, where they choose joy, follow Christ and live fearlessly for love.

(photo credit–Pamela Moore, Getty Images)

 

The Seasonal Side of Blogging

The Seasonal Side of Blogging

I’ve been waiting for this for six months. Summer has arrived in Northern Idaho! Well, that’s a bit optimistic – let’s just say Spring is in full swing with it’s sudden showers, new growth, and increase in sunshine. I’m okay with that.

On this brighter side of our four seasons, I’ve become more appreciative of the weather’s ebb and flow over the past nine months. I look back at the Winter with some fondness for the pretty, fresh snow and the chilly wind as an excuse to drink hot cocoa and make soup. (Please remind me of this come November…)

As I’ve begun acclimating to Idaho’s seasonal changes, I’ve begun to notice some personal habits morph with the seasons as well. The warmer weather has a powerful influence on how I spend my time. Where Winter prompted me to hibernate with books and movies, Summer has pulled me outside with walks and projects around the house. Those seem to be natural shifts, but I was a surprised to note a shift in my blogging habits too.

Writing isn’t just a hobby, it’s a necessary means for me to process life. So, to see my main outlet for writing drop in frequency made me pause. It was hard not to feel like I had failed somehow – I wasn’t on top of my blog schedule or keeping up with social media outlets as much. How could I call writing a passion if it didn’t consume me regardless of the season?

The truth was revealed in the very definition of a season: a period of the year characterized by a particular climatic feature or marked by a particular event or activity. Just like I’m beginning to see the beauty of our changing weather patterns, I’m also beginning to see the importance of changing rhythms in my personal life. Some periods of my life will have different priorities and activities; I need to make space in my life for those natural changes to occur.

The electric green of new growth in Spring wouldn’t be possible without the frost of Winter nights. Autumn’s deep hues are a lovely contrast to the technicolor landscape of Summer come October. Letting words flow for hours during the long evenings of a cold winter breathes life into my soul just as much as working in the back yard on a warm summer afternoon. I need both the feast of writing and famine of silence to keep my passion alive and healthy.

Making space in these shifting seasons requires grace. It means having open hands with the way I spend my time, allowing God to direct those priorities and activities as He sees fit. As much as I like to, I can’t allow my expectations or a previous routine dictate the standards of each new season.

What does that mean for Primitive Roads? I’ll still be navigating this unpaved path with you, just on a less regimented basis. I have two writing projects (an ebook! and this year’s 31 Day Challenge posts) that I’ll be focusing on this summer, but Primitive Roads will not be forgotten.

How are you embracing the rhythms of this new season?

photo credit: pedrosimoes7 via photopin cc

Friend {Five Minute Friday}

Seasons in Friendship

I’m just beginning to understand the multifaceted concept of seasons.

After 26 years, I can see the mini-seasons that have already come and gone in my life. I entered into a new season – marriage – almost a year ago and know there are plenty more ahead. Though I don’t adapt as well as I’d like to the transition between seasons, I am starting to see the beauty and nuances of each one as it molds and shapes my life for a time.

I’d like to say I’ve totally embraced all of the seasons in Idaho, but Winter still challenges me a bit. Fall brings riotous color and crisp air. Winter has freshly fallen snow and Christmas. Spring is glorious with its new growth and blooming trees. Summer is full of sun!

Transitioning from high school to college, back home to on my own, single to married has taught me that friendship is also seasonal. Forever friends do exist. I’m fortunate enough to still be good friends with my grade-school best friend, but that’s not the case for all of my friendships.

I look back over the past 10 years and marvel at the amazing people God has placed in my path. Friendships were formed over coffee, in foreign countries, at the cafeteria table, in Bible studies. Some lasted for years, others only months.

It took me a while to realize that was okay. Each of those people held a ray of hope, love, and joy for me when I needed it most.

Instead of mourning the reasons those friendships have gone dormant, I see the beauty of each season, the special purpose of each relationship. Friends should be cherished with open hands and a heart willing to see them change with the seasons.

~~~

Linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker for Five Minute Friday