cookies and cocoa

the best gifts are experiences. the ones you can't wrap up or put a price tag on. well, maybe you can, but the value far outweighs the expense. 

years ago we crafted cookies and cocoa as a way for our family to give something tangible, yet profoundly intangible to our neighbors. literally the one on our right and the one on our left. i'm not a baker or a chef, but can stir a sweet cup of swiss miss and follow directions on any recipe. 

when the kids were in those snug-as-a-bug-in-a-rug pajamas and when thomas the train was far superior to screen time, cookies and cocoa was born

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how i am writing a book

it's lonely and i like it. it's lonely and i kinda don't like it. i have days where i set myself up for a day at the office with an ambience that doesn't have to meet anyone else's approval. it's just me and the laptop. i've got my goals for the day, the week, and the month and i'm ready to get after it. 

every morning i'm praying about some aspect of the book, but typically the big picture. ben pauses to pray with me. i know i've stepped into a dream much bigger than i can accomplish on my own. through prayer, i engage with the Holy Spirit who is the One speaking as i pen His words. 

i thought this process would be different. i imagined i'd feel like i had arrived into this glorious circle of writers who have gone before me and are currently best-sellers. (yes, i see actual faces in this circle and i'm figuring out in my humanity that they are real people with crumbs on their floor, too) rather...

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travel guide: vienna

a city is better explored with gelato in one hand after a full belly. 

note: we walked vienna on the two hottest days in june 2017. we were visiting friends who gave us the grandest tour. when we put the fork down, we were walking a few blocks to pick up the spoon. 

here is day one itinerary:

take the train from the airport to the city center. super clean and easy. 

lunch at figlmuller. known for amazing schnitzel. eat downstairs in the cellar. 

gelato at castelletto. no sampling allowed. go with your gut. i'm certain you won't be disappointed. 

demel for melange coffee and apple strudel. melange is the german word for the viennese blend. similar to a cappuccino. the desserts were on display. it's an art here. and you are expected to sit and enjoy. it's a good thing. we had literally finished up our gelato outside this place to throw away the remnants and step into this dessert place. 

you keep eating, but allow me to pause and say we need more "sweet" places to meet up at rather than happy hour and meal time. places to sit down with chandeliers overhead and talk long over coffee and sweets without being rushed.

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have a cup of tea and let's talk why i write in lowercase

my dad and my writer friends wonder why. my kids correct me when i sign their field trip forms. i've been writing in lowercase for years. for two reasons, but one reason that just makes and i'm learning to be more me than ever before. 

reason one. 

He must increase i must decrease. 

what do you see?

the only words that i write in uppercase are the ones that pertain to God. you figured it out, eh? i love how it looks. everything lower and His Name higher. it's that simple. 

then i read what jeff goins and michael hyatt say about voice and i have locked in to this being the way i use my writing voice. taking what makes me me and letting it speak to you. 

reason two. 

to use my writing voice to exalt Him. 

they are one in the same, these reasons, aren't they? yet one is using my voice creatively and the other is magnifying the Creator. 

when we can't be in each other's presence for me to hear joy and struggle in your voice and i share the same vulnerabilities, i use this writing voice to convey that He is everything and He is where we look. we look up. to gaze upon Him and only glance at our circumstances. to fix our eyes on Jesus rather than being fixated on the temporary. 

i want the words of my mouth and the mediations of my heart to be pleasing to God. i want you to hear that when we are together, but more often than not, we're here on this blog and you read my writing voice. and the same is true here as if we are enjoying that cup of tea. i want my voice to lift Him up so that is what you hear the most. 

what is uniquely you that others can clearly hear you say? if you're not sure, ask a close friend. have them tell you what makes you uniquely you. 


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turning 40

40 is not a big deal if you've already passed over. it's no longer a big deal to me either. i'm crossing over today. 

but if it's on the horizon -- if it's still in front of you -- ah, yes, you're the one i'm writing to. (40 year olds and up, stand with me as the COUNSEL of THOSE WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE) 

treat sleep as a gift rather than something you have to do. 

have a set wake up time and bedtime. your body will rejoice with each passing year that you don't spring on surprises. 

make up your bed when you get out of it. 

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