One of the deep secrets of life is that all that is really worth the doing is what we do for others
— Lewis Carroll

It's late, and the house is silent. Even though the sun is halfway to the other side of the world by now, this is my golden hour that I've been waiting for all day. My hopes of writing out this post over the weekend quickly faded when I came home Sunday afternoon from a delightful weekend with friends and crashed on my bed while watching The Great British Baking Show (have you seen it? I love how different their terminology is from ours...I never knew a pudding was basically a volcano cake!!). While the thought of bed is so enticing, I couldn't go to sleep tonight before writing this post. 

Friends, I want to say thank you.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for supporting our blog for seven years. I can't believe we've been around that long! When Raleigh urged me to start writing on a blog in 2009, I had no idea what I was doing. My first post could have easily been written by a third grader, but I am forever grateful to have written it. My life changed seven years ago and I'm so incredibly thankful to share that through your love, my life continues to change.

The number one thing that blogging has taught me is to write for others, not for myself.

If the words on this page are not helping you grow, then I'm not serving you. But, if the words written from my heart resonate with your heart? To God be the glory. 

Earlier today, I was reading 2 Corinthians 12 where Paul writes about having a thorn in his flesh. He says:

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
— 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Friends, let's be honest. We all have thorns in our flesh, things that make us stumble and fall. When it comes to blogging, the thorn that continues to poke in my side is comparison. The world is saturated with female Christian bloggers and I often wonder if the words that I write matter. Comparison has led me to some pretty dark places where I have questioned who I am and what God's purpose is for my life. I have not always delighted in my weaknesses but I am learning to give God the things that my heart covets. He continues to give me his confidence and strength to carry on. Blogging has taught me not to look to the left or the right, but to instead fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith. So, I'll continue to write - not for the people who might read this blog one day - but for you. You are my people, and I want to celebrate you today!!! 

In honor of our blog turning seven, I'd like to offer you seven days of discounts to our Studio!

We will be marking down and having BOGO sales on our wood art, printables, Practice Hospitality, and our new Prayer for Students poster and bookmarks. Go ahead and get started on your Christmas shopping with these amazing discounts! All you have to do to receive the discounts is subscribe to our encouragement e-mail list  (the sign-up form is at the bottom of the website!)

Also, everyone who signs up for the encouragement e-mails this week will enter into a drawing for Vicki Courtney's book, Move On.

Move On is all about how you can say good-bye to the person you've been pretending to be! Once we face our messes, God, with his sweet mercy, can help us get real, deal, and truly move on. Vicki offers great advice in this book how to rid ourselves of shame, broken dreams, and the need for approval (these all seem like thorns in our flesh, right?!). 

Friends, I want you to know that this space is yours. While the name has changed over the years, the goal is to celebrate you. Raleigh and I want to encourage you in celebrating your people, place, and purpose. Here's how that will work this year:

  •  Weekly blog posts where I share resources for you about living well. We will talk about how to love our people through the craziness and how to celebrate them through parties. We'll talk about our place - our home, our place of work, our environment and how that has such an impact on the way we live. We'll also talk about God's plan for our lives, and how our purpose is to serve him by loving him first and others second.   
  • My first book, Invited,  is set to release in spring 2017. Eeek!!!! I've just turned in my first draft of the book and am now starting to edit it. Y'all, I already feel like I'm standing naked in front of you so I'd love your prayers! I'm excited to continue to share this message with you in some creative ways over the next year!
  • New items in the shop. We want to provide lovely items for your next party, Bible study, or home. Our shop features party packages, devotionals, and art that we hope will inspire you to celebrate your people, place, and God's plan for your life.  
  • Our goal over the next year is to get our new podcast, The Creative Mess, up and running, as well as begin to offer you classes on being creative. While I love to dream big, I've learned that big dreams start with one small step at a time and patience is a virtue!!!
  • I'd also like to work with you on coaching calls or as a ministry consultant. If you need someone to talk to about spiritual or ministry growth, these one-on-one sessions are for you. 
  • When I'm not writing on this space, you'll find me over at Undivided Women. This website will continue to serve as a tool for online Bible studies, perfect for you to do each day when you have some free time or with a group. If you are new to Undivided Women, you can check out my 21 Day Prayer Challenge

Friends, thank you again for inviting me into your space. I know you are busy and time is precious and I pray that you leave here feeling a little lighter and brighter. May we continue to let our lights shine as we celebrate our people, place, and purpose!

Oh, what a happy day! 

Celebrating you,

Christen

ps: don't forget to sign up for the encouragement e-mails to receive your discounts and enter into our giveaway for Move On!

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