Happy July 5th, friends! Hope everyone had a happy fourth full of fireworks, yummy food, friends, and family. Who agrees that summer is such a sweet season to start a new book? Whether you are traveling, on the beach, at home, or at the pool, taking time to dive into a new book feels so right during summertime. Below is a list of 7books to read this summer including pages we have read and loved, ones we are reading as of now, plus books that are our own to-read list this summer and beyond.
Disappointments. Frustration. Trials. Fears. Worries. Doubt. We all have them and if we don’t have them now, we will have them soon. We have talked about these tough emotional spots before on the blog in several faith-based posts on handling stress, becoming fearless, trusting the Lord, and so many more. In these tough times, our faith will be tested and holding on to Jesus will be a necessity! Today, though, we feel called to address the easy trap that we can all fall into when things aren’t how we want them to be, and that trap is something we are going to call emotional quicksand. You know what we mean…those pity parties, that everything is horrible forever type of thinking, and the general downward spiral of doom and gloom. Don’t go there! However, if you find yourself slipping, keep reading for my tips on how to get unstuck from emotional quicksand.
1. Process Emotions Properly
Letting yourself feel your emotions is a healthy start. Don’t hold on to emotions, but rather acknowledge them, feel them, and let them pass through you so you don’t get stuck reacting from a place of emotion that is void of rational thinking, sound counsel, and good wisdom.
2. Take Space
In order to react well, sometimes a deep breath or fresh air will be necessary. Give yourself permission to take space, both physically from someone or something, and definitely mentally for a moment or two so you can center yourself, fix your eyes on Jesus, and handle the situation as best as possible.
3. Have Necessary Conversations
Need to have a hard conversation? Talking about it face to face is always a good idea, once you have had time to process your emotions and take space. Speak out of love and from a place of Truth, with a peaceful voice and ears open to hear. The phrase “listening to understand” is always so helpful in a confrontation.
4. Release Control
Is a situation out of your control? As frustrating and scary as that may feel, release your desire to control what you can’t. Give it to God and thank Him for handling what you cannot. You will hopefully find the freedom that comes from the release and in turn, trust that He has your life in His complete control!
5. Move Forward In Prayer
No matter the situation, it is important we move forward and don’t stay stuck where we are. Say your prayers, ask for God’s wisdom, and take the next step forward in faith while embracing your current reality. God knows our needs before we express them, but we are called to ask! It’s pretty cool. Not to mention, this further develops our relationship with God.
6. Count Your Blessings
Focusing on what you have to be grateful for is such an important step to get unstuck and pay attention to the positive. Trust and faith open up the door to counting your blessings, which enables you to appreciate where you are right now (despite what is happening) and bloom where you are planted.
As we all know, life gets pretty busy. Am I right or am I right!? God is so gracious, though, and has given us an amazing, restful gift as a tool to navigate the busyness of life and that is PRAYER. No matter what we go through, prayer is always ours to practice and it is a direct connection to our Father. In a moment of stress at work? Put the phone down and pray. Unable to make a decision? Turn your eyes upward and pray. Overwhelmed by your to-do list at home? Step away from the pad of paper and pray. Frustrated with someone you love dearly? Excuse yourself momentarily and pray.
It sounds easy, right? Yes, except for the fact that in the moment we can sometimes forget to pray. No matter how much we love the Lord and trust Him wholeheartedly, as humans, we can get caught up in life and seriously forget that we have the amazing gift of prayer, of direct communication with our Maker, available to us at all times. All we have to do is remember whose we are and call out to Him.
Jase and I have been extra busy with the home renovation we are doing, so prayer has been an absolute blessing to help handle the task. We were both a little in over our heads the other day, and we got so caught up in the frustration that we forgot to pray. I was driving in the car, and it hit me! What peace it brings, almost immediately, when we pray in the midst of feeling overwhelmed. Prayer releases us from the cycle of frustration (or the feeling of wanting to control something) and reminds us that God is sovereign over all the things and he’s with us! We are not handling this alone- He is supporting us, comforting us, and guiding us every step of the way. PRAISE JESUS!
We recently heard a sermon on security and it really got our minds thinking. We have talked here on the blog about handling stress, guarding our hearts, trust, comfort, wisdom and so much more, but almost every faith-based message ends up focusing on the necessity of finding refuge in the Lord. It’s no coincidence!
In the sermon, the pastor speaks about how insecurity drives our fear. How true is this? When we don’t feel secure, safe, and firmly rooted, fear starts to take off. However, we have a forever, faithful, trusted safeguard against insecurity when we are are only putting our security in Christ. When we try to put our faith in something or someone else other than Jesus (be it your house, a person, job security, money, praise, possessions, health, our looks, abilities, or anything….) it doesn’t work. However, when Jesus is our rock, refuge, and fortress, we have a peace and security that is sure, guaranteed, steadfast, and true no matter what our circumstances are. This security allows us to stop striving, rest in Him, and be free of fear.
If you feel that you need a perspective shift when it comes to your security, hold the below verses from Psalm 18 close to your heart. Memorizing scripture is so powerful when insecurity, fear, and doubt try to worm their way in. Stand strong and use His word as your armor!
I love you, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock where I seek refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I was saved from my enemies. (CSB)
We are so excited to have Jessica Honegger with us today. As the founder of Noonday Collection, author of Imperfect Courage, and wife and mother, Jessica’s schedule is busy, but busy with things that enrich her soul and bring the Lord so much glory! We first heard Jessica’s name through friends who talked about the Noonday jewelry they owned and loved. Then I had the joy of hearing Jessica speak at IF Gathering, and then listened to her episode on a podcast that is close to our hearts- Thriving Beyond Belief! When we got connected to Jessica, we were seriously overjoyed to ask her a few questions about life, courage, jewelry, family, balance, and so much more. Keep reading to get to know Jessica and hear all the goodness she has to share!
-Tell us about the heart behind Noonday! What inspired the company and brand mission?
Before we launched Noonday Collection in 2010, my husband Joe and I were parents to two and decided to grow our family through adoption. We were running a house-flipping business right when the Austin real estate bubble popped (great timing, I know), but Joe and I had made up our minds about adopting. So, we set out to raise funds to bring our Jack home from Rwanda.
A friend of mine connected me with a jewelry maker in Uganda named Jalia. She was also in need of additional income to help support her family, so my friend suggested that I purchase some paper bead necklaces from Jalia and sell them to my friends and family in the U.S. I had no clue where it would lead, but I found myself with a ton of jewelry and decided to invite my girlfriends over to my house. I sold Jalia’s pieces at what ended up being the first-ever Noonday Collection Trunk Show. It’s been almost a decade now, and this little fundraiser of mine has grown into a global business that supports over 4,500 Artisans across the globe. Today, our son Jack is home and kicking a soccer ball like nobody’s business. Jack even considers himself the “true” founder of Noonday!
-What do you love about traveling to other countries and meeting the artisans of Noonday’s items?
Every time I travel abroad to visit Artisans, I’m reminded of my why. I’m reminded why I do the work that I do, and I’m inspired by the knowledge that we’re really all a lot more alike than we are different. I’ve met hundreds of people around the world whose families have been positively affected thanks to orders from Noonday, and nothing sparks a fire in my belly to keep at it like seeing that impact first-hand.
And then there’s the little things, like Vietnamese coconut coffee and scouring the markets in Delhi. Just last month I was in India with my business partner, Travis Wilson. He knows me well and even brought an empty suitcase along just for me to fill with all the best market goodies!
-What are your dreams for Noonday in the future?
More Ambassadors and more impact. It’s as simple as that. Every time a new Ambassador decides to join our Noonday community, we’re able to widen the marketplace we’ve created in the U.S. for the amazing work that each Artisan Business creates. With more Ambassadors comes more orders, with more orders comes more Artisan partnerships, and with more partnerships comes dignified work for thousands of people in need. Our team of Ambassadors is truly incredible, and I can’t wait to walk with them as they continue being the change they wish to see in the world.
-We love the title of your new book. What does leaving comfort look like to you?
It’s scary, comforting, and beautiful all at the same time. Whether it’s starting a business or trying the wide-leg pant trend, getting out of your comfort zone is exactly that – uncomfortable. But the fruits of that discomfort are well worth it. Growing our courage muscles is like growing any other muscles—you have to actually use them to make them stronger.
-Has writing a book always been something on your heart? What was the writing process like for you?
I’m not sure I’ve always considered myself to be an author, but I’ve long considered myself a storyteller, and I thought about writing this book for a long time. Imperfect Courage took years to put together, but I just knew that my purpose in life is to catalyze courage in others to help them leave comfort, go scared, and make their own impact footprints in the world! My teammates helped me sort through my thoughts in several brainstorming sessions, and we were making final edits right up until the print deadline! I’m an enneagram 7, so I’m always wanting to add something new—having a hard print deadline was definitely a challenge for me!
-I recently heard you at the IF Gathering say that you try to be fully present at work when you are working and fully present at home when you are home. We LOVE this perspective. How do you practically implement this practice on a day to day basis?
Lately, it’s been unplugging from my phone at various times throughout the day and practicing the art of just being. When I’m in an important meeting, I might leave my phone in my office. And when I’m home, I might even give it to my daughter, Amelie, to make sure I’m not randomly checking my Instagram messages.
But overall, these days I’m practicing the art of slowing down and embracing that “good enough” is actually plenty. With the release of a book last year and lots of international trips this year, it can be hard for me to slow down and be. Taking the time to be present at home with my family for an impromptu dance party or taco night, is often just the antidote I need.
Thank you, Jessica, for taking the time and energy to do this Q&A with us!
With Good Friday being today and Easter Sunday just around the bend, our hearts are feeling the weight of Jesus’ sacrifice for us and we feel called to share a little Holy Week message with ya’ll.
When we say the weight of His sacrifice, it encompasses the unimaginable suffering that He went through on our behalf, as well as the complete faithfulness of God toward us, the endless love Jesus has for us, and the outstanding gift of grace that we’ve been given as children of God.
It takes my breath away in a God-fearing way every Easter, since it is a very intentional time to focus on this sacrifice. Easter calls us to remember that Jesus died so we could be free! May we live life daily with this truth on our hearts and in our minds, living freely and loving others like He loves us.
Time is a precious gift and Easter reminds us to make the most of the days He has given us out of his love and mercy. He died so we could live for Him (2 Corinthians 5;15), which is more than enough reason to wake up praising him and live to glory of God each and every day. Thank you, Jesus, for loving us sacrificially, unconditionally, and faithfully. We love you!