day 21 Main Street had just opened up on the start of our last day in Disney World. Our first stop inside the magical gates was the Chapeau Hat Shoppe where we picked out three felt hats with black ears - one even with a princess crown - and monogrammed each of our children's names on the back. While waiting for the hats to be embroidered, we ate breakfast sandwiches and chocolate croissants from the bakery down the street and watched as the crowds slowly began to trickle in. Mary Poppins was off to our left, taking pictures, and Minnie and Donald Duck were in the middle of the town square. Soon enough, our hats were finished and we sat the kids just in front of the theater to take the picture that will forever remain in my heart.



We sent this picture to our family and friends this year for Christmas with the words "Hold on to the Magic" swirled across the front. It was fitting because our trip to Disney World was so very magical for our young family. It was our first official family vacation for the five of us and I want to hold on to the memories that we made. From Maralee meeting Ariel to Adeline smiling next to Rapunzel, to Ridley's first carousel ride, twirling with the girls on the teacups and their brave sense of adventure on the rollercoasters....I want to remember all of it. I want to hold on to those smiles, that laughter, and the feeling of living in the moment with my family. These are the things that made me love my people more (and I didn't even know that was possible).

Friends, as we wrap our our New Year's 21 Day Prayer Challenge, I want you to hold on to the magic that you experienced each time you spoke to God. May you remember how still the world was around you as you walked in circles and how sure you felt God with you in those moments of silence. Hold on to the hope through the nasty tears of despair and instead of asking why, believe in the why not. Dare to believe the dreams you whispered out loud - they are no longer silent cries of your heart. Now spoken, your dreams will move you forward this year. But when roads seem blocked or paths dimly lit, might you still think that there is purpose through any pain?

Hold on, dear one, hold on. 

Hebrews 3:13-14 shares that we should encourage one another daily. It says, "We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first."  I pray that each day you participated in the challenge you were encouraged.  Today, on your final day, go back to those original prayers that you circled. Reflect in the progression of those prayers on this final day. Shoo away whatever doubts that might try to surface and hold firmly to the requests that you swirled in ink on your paper.

Hold on to the magic. Keep circling. Never stop praying.


Coming Up Next Week:

I'd like to explore how we show love and who we show love to over the next few weeks with our February series, "Love Your People."

love your people

In February, we'll be exploring how to love our children with a post from Lori Wildenberg, author of Raising Little Kids with Big Love, and I'll be giving away one of my favorite new books, Mothering From Scratch. I'm also excited to offer some practical ways to love your neighbor this Valentine's and how I love to love my husband. It should be fun!

Also, if you haven't received your free copy of my e-book, God's Love for Me, it will be available for download all month long. Back in 2012, nineteen lovely bloggers contributed their own stories about what God's love means in their lives to my first e-book, God's Love for Me. If you haven't received your free copy already, just follow the steps below to download yours today!


So, here are the steps to get your FREE copy of God's Love for Me:

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It is literally as easy as 1-2-3. The book can be viewed on any digital reading device and can be saved as a PDF on your computer. Please, instead of sending a copy to your friends, will you send them to our website instead to fill out the form? This will help us track how many downloads the book receives. If you have already signed up for the newsletter before today, a copy is already being sent your way. Thank you!

Let us love our people today.


New Year's 21 Day Prayer Challenge

 Missed a day? Catch them here:

Day 1    Day 2     Day 3    Day 4   Day 5    Day 6   Day 7  Day 8  Day 9  Day 10  Day 11  Day 12   Day 13  Day 14  Day 15  Day 16  Day 17   Day 18 Day 19  Day 20

Want to go deeper?
                                      • Complete the weekly prayer challenge sent to you by e-mail
                                      • Read Chapters 16-18 this week in The Circle Maker
                                      • Follow along with the New Start 15 Bible Reading Plan.
                                      • Listen to today's song from our playlist as you circle your prayers