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.

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).

Sometimes She Whispers (Impressions from She Speaks)

Late at night, my little girl tiptoes into our bedroom, frightened by a scary dream. She waits a moment, and then quietly whispers, “Daddy?”

Why do we whisper when we are scared?

I have to admit I am terrified to write this post. Just like I was terrified to go to She Speaks.

The good news is, being brave starts with being afraid, so here I am, knees knocking, heart pounding… I’ve got all the necessary components to be brave. 🙂

Sometimes, when I’m afraid, like my daughter, I begin in a whisper.

She Speaks was an awesome weekend connecting with other writers and speakers and learning a lot about both crafts. A month later, my mind is still spinning!

I was fed spiritually, relationally, and practically. I was also given this awesome opportunity to link up with Courtney Defeo this week as we connect to talk about the things we learned at She Speaks.

There were three things God impressed on my heart through She Speaks.

  • It all begins with loving Jesus
  • I’ve got to study my audience as much as I study the scriptures
  • God’s grace is on display when I let my imperfection show

It all begins with loving Jesus

It all begins with Jesus

In one of her workshops, Sharon Glasgow quoted John Wesley, saying, “Catch on fire and others will love to come and watch you burn.”

My mind has been stuck on the burning bush every since. See, Moses was drawn to go see what was happening because the bush burned, but was not consumed. If I am going to love others into the kingdom, it starts with catching myself on fire. And that begins and ends with knowing and loving Jesus.

I’ve spent the last month digging into the word with renewed vigor. In God’s providence, before I went to She Speaks, I’d written enough posts for my blog to run on auto-pilot for three months. I haven’t written a word (until today!) since early July. I planned a break so that I could digest what I learned at the conference by going into and out of my little cocoon changed.

Spending all that “writing” time in the Word is already shaping the words I will begin writing next month. Now more than ever, I want His words to be in my heart, for out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks (or fingers type…) Luke 6:45.

Truly, it all begins with loving Jesus.

I’ve got to study my audience as much as I study the scriptures

Writing and speaking is a little bit like matchmaking. For years I’ve made a habit of understanding my audience before I led a conference, retreat, or devotional. I’ve worked to understand where their hearts are so that I can apply scripture in a meaningful way ~ which means I have to know scripture pretty well, too. So that I can make a good match, if you will.

Since I started writing, I’m not sure I’ve taken the time to study my “audience,” the very people to whom I write. At She Speaks, God convicted my heart of my failing in this area.

It’s not unlike my desire to learn to cook.

Some years ago, as a single gal, I decided to learn to cook. One night, I followed my grandmother’s recipe for chicken-n-dumplings to the letter. They were delicious! The aroma drew my roommate from her studies in the back of the house to the kitchen. And the best part is they were good for us! They smelled and tasted great ~ fed my body good things, but they looked… well, to be completely honest… they looked like somebody had thrown up in my bowl.

It took some work, but I make beautiful, tasty, and nutritious chicken-n-dumplings now.

Learning to blog has been a little bit like my Chicken-n-Dumplings experiment. I get lots of good feedback on my content… when people hear me speak, they are drawn to know Christ and to know him more deeply.

Those brave souls who have ventured onto my blog have (in their own words) understood God’s grace more fully and been built up and strengthened to do life with grace as a result.

I offer something that is tasty and good for the soul. But my website looks… well, to be completely honest… not quite like throw up, but…

So, I’ve also spent the last month working my tail off learning what my hoped-for readers value and need from me ~ visually and in content. I’ve been working on a complete redesign of my website. {Before you panic: this is not it. This is still the chicken-n-dumplings-experiment site.}

Which brings me to…

God’s grace is on display when I let my imperfection show

I really, really, really wanted to get my new site up and running before this link up.

I thought I’d be ready to come out shouting, but in God’s providence, I’m close, but not ready to “go live.”,

Something about it being 17 years since I wrote my last piece of code has set me back more than once. I’ve had people helping, praying, advising, and cheering me on… and I’m really excited about the whole new face of CultivateGrace.org. But at some point, I needed to spend time on the things I am primarily called to do… love my husband, love my kids, and be involved in our church.

So today, you get to see my imperfect face, because it’s either show up for the link up with tasty, nutritious food that looks not-so-good, or hide until I think I’ve got it all together.

And since the entirety of my blog is about resting in the grace of God, learning to apply grace to our own lives, and giving grace to others, it would be more than a little hypocritical to skip the link up because I can’t do it “perfect.”

Lord willing, by this time next week, CultivateGrace.org will have it’s new look. And a few weeks from now, when I begin writing again, it’ll have Jesus written all over it.

Until then I’ll whisper.

{{UPDATE:  This is the new site!  It’s not perfect, but it doesn’t look like… well… I hope you enjoy it anyway!}}

Welcome to Cultivate Grace!

WELCOME cropped

I am both excited and terrified that this day has arrived and that CultivateGrace.org is now “live.”

I have to say that this blog would not be up and running today if it were not for the prayers of some faithful friends – and for Darlene, my awesome technical guru.  God provided each of these behind-the-scenes women and prayer warriors at just the right time.

Check in tomorrow for my first official post – Living in a Barn (an introduction to the Experiencing Grace blog posts).

Posts will be updated on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of each week.  You can subscribe to CultivateGrace.org as an RSS feed or through e-mail by clicking one of those options in the sidebar to the right.  Facebook and Twitter options are coming soon.

Meanwhile, I hope you’ll read our mission and the short version of my story which are found on the other pages in this blog.

I look forward to growing in grace with you.  I am praying for the readers of this blog – that we would all grow in grace as we seek to live in ways that reveal God’s character to others.

Welcome!

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Photo by Prayitno (Flickr: WELCOME) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons