Beauty for Ashes

August 24, 2017

I had big plans for summer. I was going to write a LOT, work on expanding and implementing my goals for this website, organize my entire home, do Pinterest crafts with the kids, take them to the library every week, go swimming and enjoy family time. Bwahahahahahaha! I was precious and naive. Several weeks into summer I realized my full-time job was going to be referee, chef and housekeeper and not blogger, writer and speaker.  Sometimes life just laughs at our big plans and we have no choice but to roll with it. Thanks for allowing me the time away while I cared for my kids.

School started yesterday, so now I’m able and ready to get back to it. I’ve missed you guys! I’ve tried to stay with you on Facebook (Did you all know I’m on Facebook? Find me HERE!

I’ve missed clicking away on the keyboard. I missed spending time together. Before I dive back in, I thought I’d give you a little update on what I’ve been up to the last couple months.

This summer was a big home maintenance summer. All of the things we had neglected when my husband was sick needed to be addressed. Tackling these big jobs relieved my worries but also created new ones since the investment was large. Overall though, it feels good to have these necessary things taken care of. In addition to the creation of the memory garden, I had the outside of the house painted, the deck stained and I converted the dining room into a home office. I had some siding repairs done, tackled some painting on the inside of the house and sold a bunch of “things” we just didn’t need to help pay for it all. I feel more secure knowing these things are done and that I’ve taken the steps needed to maintain our home.

Speaking of summer projects, would you like to see the dining room-turned new Extra Grace Required office? Rather than post pictures, how about a Facebook LIVE video tonight at 7 central? Would you like to see where I write? Where I study and pray? Where I try to keep up with the kids’ schedules? Usually I prefer typed words to video because words on my screen don’t have a double chin. Words on my screen don’t have a weird voice. Words on my screen don’t require cleaning. And words on my screen don’t require makeup and cute hair. But I want to show and tell you in more detail. So what do you think? Will you join me tonight at 7:00 p.m. Central on Facebook to see the new digs? If you can’t make it, the video will be available after the fact on my Facebook page. I’ll provide a link to it later this week too. But please, don’t make me talk to myself tonight.

I hope you’ll join me. There’s so many new people joining us lately. I’m so grateful for each and every one of you and I hope you know you’re invited too. I really think God is doing a Matthew 18:20 with us here and I’m so excited about that!

Our individual stories may have different details, but our hearts seem to understand one another. Some of you have lost children, some parents and still others spouses or friends. Our stories aren’t the same, but we share in the experience of love lost. We are NOT alone! I know this because I’ve had the honor and privilege of reading some of your stories. Thank you for sharing your hearts with me. Thank you for being part of the “when two or three gather” in His name thing. And thank you for being there for each other. I didn’t realize when this began that we’d be building an actual community. I’ve seen you jump into action to support and encourage other readers. You’ve done so with gentleness, kindness, love and EXTRA GRACE! Thank you!!! Just look what God is creating from our pain….BEAUTY!

Isaiah 61:3
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion— 

to bestow on them a crownq of beauty 

instead of ashes,r

the oils of joy 

instead of mourning,t

and a garment of praise 

instead of a spirit of despair. 

They will be called oaks of righteousness, 

a plantingu of the Lord

for the display of his splendor.v

 I’m coming up on the first anniversary of Extra Grace Required and I’m so excited to see where God takes it in year two. Thank you for being with me on this road. I don’t know where it leads, but that’s part of the faithful adventure, right? I’m so grateful for this growing EGR squad.

Matthew 18:20-22 (NIV)

20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

Extra grace,


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