Clutter and Farts

Clutter and Farts

Yes, I just published the word “fart.” On purpose. Read on…

“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” Albert Einstein

 

I love this Einstein quote because I like to write at an organized desk, and the implications of that are clear.

I also find this to be true: when my desk is cluttered, so are my thoughts. I can never decide: Is my desk cluttered because my mind is cluttered, or is my mind cluttered because my desk is?

It’s sort of a chicken and egg thing….

So, here’s how my desk looked before we moved:

pre-move desk

And… here’s my writing space this morning (and this is after major improvement!):

Cluttered Mind

And so goes my mind…

One of my kids’ instructors actually sent my child an email last week asking if I was OK, because I’ve let so many things slip through the cracks over the last two months.

I’ve spent hours and hours working on the next part of the relational wisdom series we’re working through here… and have nothing coherent to show for it. This morning, as I prayed in preparation for writing, I looked up and saw my desk/office for what it is.

A complete mess.

So goes my mind.

And in the midst of cluttered thoughts, Albert Einstein’s quote jumped to the front of my mind and I finally realized why I can’t settle into writing clearly. I (along with my desk) am a mess!

So I decided it’s time to peel back the veneer and let you see a little bit of the cracks within.

One of my husband’s seminary professors made a profound observation at one point:

Everybody farts.

 

I’m not sure he’d want to be on record as the originator of this comment, but Zack Eswine had lots of other profound & formative thoughts for us that had nothing to do with hydrogen sulfide gas and mercaptans, which are the components that make farts stink. (There’s your science lesson for the day. Ha!)

That’s become a favorite quote in our marriage, because it reminds us that people are just people. It frees me to be human. Everyone stumbles on something. No one is perfect, no not one. We all still need Jesus. We need grace, mercy, forgiveness, and endurance. Even the most organized and intentional people flounder at times. So here’s me floundering.

Let’s just not camp out here, okay? Because, honestly, it stinks (pun fully intended).

So, I’m going to sit a the cross for a minute. I’m going to settle my desk (and my heart and thoughts) and get back to you next week. Lord willing, it’ll be the next part of the relational wisdom series.

Until then, maybe you need to remember how the gospel applies to your current mess, too? Come sit at the cross with me, remember the great dignity and shame of your humanity. Rest in Christ to cover this, too. Put on his righteousness instead of a veneer of “perfection.” And then let’s keep running the race set before each of us.

See you all next week!

 

I am SO Sorry!

I am SO Sorry!

Hi friends!

I owe you a huge apology! I messed up… twice.

Today.

And it’s only 5 am.

I’m not off to a very good start!

Earlier today you received TWO emails from The Blog @ JuliaQuillen.com, but neither are actually published on my website. Yet.

I’m not sure how I did it, but somehow incorrect links to a post that’ll come out on Wednesday and another one scheduled for early April ended up in your inboxes this morning.

I am so sorry! Please forgive me.

I’m checking into where I made the mistake now (to make sure it doesn’t happen again!). It may have something to do with the fact that we made the second stop on our gypsy journey to our new (though as yet undisclosed-by-God) home in Upper Darby, PA this weekend. And though the mayhem may explain the error, I know it doesn’t excuse it, or change the fact that you have now received THREE emails from me, two of which don’t work. {Potentially FOUR emails, if you are subscribed to Redeeming Easter: A Resurrection Day Study.}

If you are irritated by the number of emails this morning and want to unsubscribe, I understand. Especially if you are new to JuliaQuillen.com (which used to be CultivateGrace.org) and don’t get that this doesn’t usually happen. But please don’t check the “SPAM” option when you unsubscribe. That suggests I got your email unethically and am sending you something to which you never considered subscribing – and it affects how the nether-world treats my emails in general.

Again, I am really sorry. Please accept my apology and let’s still be friends. And, hey, now you have a sneak peek at Wednesday’s post. See you then!

By his grace ~ Julia Q

A Time for Everything

A Time for Everything

Hello sweet friends!

I’ve missed you.

Life has been an absolute whirlwind since I last posted. Last you heard from me I was headed to Spain in July to work at an English Camp.

I came home to the beginnings of conversations between our family in Tennessee and a church in Pennsylvania. Between July and October our family, the session of our church in Tennessee, and the search committee of Crossroads Community Church in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania talked and prayed through a difficult and exciting decision. The end result is that my husband was called to join the 100+ year ministry of Crossroads as their new Senior Pastor. He was officially installed on January 10th, but our family is still transitioning between Tennessee and Pennsylvania.

The necessary confidentiality during the decision-making process, and the resulting preparations for transitioning our family of nine to a new context *obviously* interrupted my blog. Well, that and the total site redesign I’ve been working on since September.

All that to say – I’m back! BUT, CultivateGrace.org is no more.

At the same time my family is moving to Pennsylvania, Cultivate Grace is moving, and not just physically. So, while our family does not yet have a physical place to call home where I can invite you to come spend time with me, I hope you’ll visit my new digital home: JuliaQuillen.com and know me better there!

I’d love to hear what you think of the new site! Come on over and take a peek. Leave a comment. Send me an email. Visit with me on Facebook. I really miss connecting with you all! I look forward to the new adventure in our new home and on the new website.

By his grace,

Julia Q

Some technical info:

I will no longer be posting three times per week. You can expect a post on Monday or Wednesday (or occasionally, both) each week. Topics are the same, just the frequency is changing.

If you’ve been a subscriber to CultivateGrace.org, you DO NOT need to resubscribe to get the blog posts from JuliaQuillen.com. Your email address has been moved with the site. Of course, you may easily UNSUBSCRIBE by clicking the link at the bottom of the email. If you’ve already re-subscribed, don’t worry! I’ve set things up to make sure you don’t get two of everything to the same email address, though you may get this first email twice. If you used a more than one email address to subscribe, I won’t catch that. Just send unsubscribe from the email you want to eliminate.

You are Invited! {Plus, It’s FREE!!}

I don’t know about you, but spring is a busy time and I have spent a lot of years rushing through school activities, yard work, playing outside, and planning & participating in Easter egg hunts only to arrive at Easter Sunday worn out and ready for the whole “event” to be over. But I need Easter! I need the message of Easter every day – and a special reminder at least once per year so I don’t miss it in my day-to-day experience.

I don’t like missing Easter.

Part of my plan to redeem Easter from the “event” it has become is to deliberately focus on Scripture in the weeks preceding Easter. This thought is not original with me – several denominations already observe a season called Lent. I think they are on to something… so this study corresponds exactly to the days in Lent.

Redeeming Easter: A Resurrection Day Study is an Advent-of-Easter Bible Study I wrote to focus myself (and my kids) on the gospel through the weeks leading up to Resurrection Day.

I’ve tried a lot of different “Advent traditions” over the years – and it all comes down to one thing: is it doable? See, with seven kids ranging from three to fifteen, the busyness of the church calendar, the school calendar, the special events calendar, the sports calendar, and all the other things that crowd into the room during spring, if we don’t have something short and simple, it won’t get done.

I tried to make it manageable, with 2-5 minute scripture readings, song and hymn suggestions, fun memory tools, and activities to consider doing as a family.

This year you can join us in our quest to redeem Easter from being merely an event on the calendar. This year you can join us as we dig into scripture to understand, in a deeper way, the wonder and mystery of the gospel of grace – a sinless savior crucified and resurrected to redeem us!

Redeeming Easter Details

 

I’ve added a Bible Study and devotion for the moms, derived from the verses we’ll read as a family each day. I made some cute printables with a couple of ideas for how to create your own advent calendar. I’m still working on including sound files for the hymns and carols so you can sing along if the tunes are not familiar. And in 2015, you are invited to enjoy the whole package for FREE!

Enrollment begins February 7.

If you subscribe to Redeeming Easter: A Resurrection Day Study you’ll get:

  • Daily email with a brief devotion and directed Bible study for moms to dig into the scripture for the day.
  • FREE printables and instructions for creating your own Advent of Easter Calendar
  • Daily Reading Plan for the whole family
  • Suggested hymn or carol tied to the reading for the day
  • Ideas for activities for the kids (and adults!)
  • Memory verses and principles to learn from the whole counsel of Scripture regarding the Messiah

You’ll also have access to the Facebook group to share ideas, photos, encouragement, and prayers as we study together.

**Please note, subscribing to the Redeeming Easter Study is different than subscribing to Cultivate Grace. If you subscribe to the study you’ll receive daily emails from February 18-April 6, 2015, and then they’ll stop. It will not interrupt or replace your Cultivate Grace subscription. You’ll continue to get my blog posts as scheduled, year round, if you are subscribed to Cultivate Grace. You will not get the Redeeming Easter Study emails unless you subscribe to the study itself.**

Enrollment opens today, Saturday, February 7, 2015. The printables and instructions for creating your advent calendar will come via email on February 14, so that you have *a little* time to prepare before the study begins on February 18. Please feel free to join any time! It’s never too late to jump in. 🙂

I also encourage you to share this study with others! Share on Facebook, forward the email, pin it on Pinterest! Let’s get busy Redeeming Easter: A Resurrection Day Study

Exciting News!!!

Big things are happening at Cultivate Grace these days!

  1. September 1st, I started leading my first online Bible study through Facebook.  My study group for this session is closed now (sorry!), but keep your eyes open in November to sign up for an Advent study through Cultivate Grace!

  2. After weeks of laboring during my “off duty” hours as a mom (lol ~ like I’m really EVER off duty!), last night I finally re-launched the Cultivate Grace website with a whole new look!  I’d love it if you have time to check it out and let me know what you think.  🙂

  3. And if you are interested in other great content, check out  TheAquilaReport.com on Sunday where one of my articles (Are You Half-Baked?) will join a lot of great authors in their web magazine.

Looking for my usual Friday post?  It’s called: Negatives (and you can click here to read it).