We’ll be taking a blogging break around these parts until the new year. May you be filled with courage, joy, and the deepest love as you celebrate the holiday.

Lia provides our Christmas message to you this year… (You’ll love how she couldn’t help but look at herself on the computer screen, but knew the camera was above her. So, lots of raised eyebrows and chins as she really tries to look into the camera instead of the computer. I love this girl.)

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I Was on ProBlogger!

I forgot to tell you that I wrote an article for ProBlogger the other day!

You can check it out by clicking here.

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“My Life For Yours”

“My life for yours.” That’s what the pastor said in the homily. My new brother, Alan, and my sister, Erin, stood up on a platform, hand-in-hand and the pastor charged them with John 15:13 passion. He said “This is the gospel. This is marriage.”

And now, a week later, I still can’t get it out of my head… it keeps swirling up there… “My life for yours.”

The wedding was an exquisite party: the romance, the colors, the smiles, the family, my all-time favorite rendition of “That’s Amore”, skanking down the aisle to Flatfoot 56 (oh yes, I did!), taking photos in the city’s street, the hula-hoops, glow-sticks, confetti, favors made by Erin and Alan’s dear youngsters in the city, wine, good bread, and gourmet coffee, and an exiting arch made out of sparklers… and yet, the sweetest, most profound thing keeps lingering in my heart, ringing in my ears, and practicing itself on my lips: my life for yours.

My life for yours.

This is the essence of love.

Here are a couple of photos from the gorgeous December day. But I hope your most lasting impression is the title of this post, the theme of our existence.

(My sister and my parents. So beautiful.)

(My only shot of the handsome groom. We’ll have to order photos from the photographer. Our arms were full. And, as I said, we were busy celebrating!)

My delights.

Flower girls in Philly.

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends…

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Remember The Chicken Principle? It’s based on the reality that a chicken’s whole life is wrapped up around laying eggs. Each of us is created with special work to do; we are happiest when we do it. Once I discovered that teaching is usually the thing for me, I was able to understand why I seem to be so different from other people. Chickens don’t just lay eggs – they eat, walk around, sleep, roost, socialize, explore, etc. It’s just that they do all of those things so that they can lay eggs. Could be us.

Really! We could discover the theme of our existence – the work God has given specifically to us – and realize that everything we do has the potential to strengthen that work. This means that we will participate in many of the same activities, but look very different from one another because we are doing them for different purposes. Do you see where I’m heading here?

Think about how different we all look online. We’re all blogging or facebooking or emailing, but we each operate so uniquely. It’s because we’re all here for different reasons. I’m here because I am bursting with lessons; blogging is a fantastic way for me to share those lessons. I’m also here because I’m a homeschooling mother; blogging is a way for me to be a part of a community of homeschoolers. I can’t compare myself with someone who is online because she’s an encourager. I can’t compare myself with the genius who programs. Or designs. Or crafts. Or cooks. Everyone is opperating within their Chicken Principle and we are simply using Social Media as a means to that activity. Of course, the ones who blow us all away here are the ones whose Chicken Principle is actually blogging or html or poetry. I’m happy for them (and so inspired), but I’m not them, so I’ve just got to realize that I’ll look different in this space.

Once you know your Chicken Principle, feel the freedom to craft the things in your life around that gift. What do you think?

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So, the other day, I was telling Ryan about The Chicken Principle and he added this brilliance:

When we are struggling with lust (for self-pity, food, s*x, attention, stuff, etc.), often our way out of the temptation is found in The Chicken Principle. It’s in making ourselves useful and producing something that we turn away from temptation. When we have time on our hands and we find ourselves thinking fondly of the very thing we don’t want to do, maybe we could instead embrace the work we were meant to do. There’s victory waiting for you in The Chicken Principle.

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

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As you know, we have 17 chickens. They lay eggs every day. Their entire lives revolve around laying those eggs: they eat, sleep, and socialize so that they can lay eggs.

For the most part, they lay eggs in nesting boxes. We never had to teach or train them to do this. They just knew: “There is a plastic bucket attached to the wall. I will lay an egg in it.” Brilliance. Every once in a while, we’ll find an egg in the middle of the stall or under the roost, as if they just couldn’t hold that egg in one moment longer. It’s as if they were just going about their day, when it plopped out – the wrong time, and the wrong place – but an egg, nonetheless. They were created to produce eggs, and they do it!

Anyway, this got me thinking about how each of us is made to produce something unique. (My deepest apologies that I can’t come up with something more elevated than egg-laying, but it’s what I’ve got. And you’ll get the point as long as you work with me here.) “The Chicken Principle” is the thing we do so naturally that we almost can’t help but do it. It’s the thing that just plops out when we’re going about our daily tasks. It might be design, counsel, music, dreams, organization, html, or any other thing.   For me, it’s teaching. It just runs in my blood. I teach here, I teach there, I teach everywhere. I eat, sleep, and socialize so that I can teach. That’s why I homeschool, write, lead Bible studies, and say “yes” to speaking opportunities… because I love to teach. Of course, like those eggs, there is a proper time and place to do the deed, but it’s so natural to my personality that if I talk to you for more than 10 minutes, chances are that I’m going to start teaching, even if I didn’t mean to. Of course, teaching is still hard work for me (just like laying an egg is for a chicken, I imagine), but it’s natural to me and it fills me with vim and vigor. I love it.

Lately, I’ve noticed that most people have shut down their Chicken Principle because they don’t realize how great it is. Whatever-it-is that you produce is there for a reason. Don’t deny its productivity just because it comes naturally. That’s the whole point! It comes naturally so that you will do it! And learn how to do it well, and often. 

What’s your Chicken Principle?

“Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!” Psalm 90:17

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Transfiguration

One of my favorite scenes in the entire Bible is the Mount of Transfiguration where Jesus reunites with His good friends, Moses and Elijah. I love imagining how wonderful it must have felt for Jesus to talk with them. He must have just loved that they got it because they finally had a heavenly vantage point.  How amazing it is to be Moses and Elijah, the two men Jesus chose to talk to… He must have missed them something awful. I love how Luke records that they were talking about Jesus’ departure. Moses and Elijah must have missed Him, for sure. I wonder whose prayers brought the reunion about… Jesus’ or Moses and Elijah’s. Could I just talk with my friends for a few moments, Father? Could we just visit with him for an hour, Abba? Judging from God’s response to the whole scene, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One, Listen to him!”, I’m guessing Jesus was the one who needed some fellowship with faith-full Saints. Maybe He was just a tad weary of the dozing disciples who didn’t get it quite yet. So God granted Him that “feels like home” moment, followed by a passionate encouragement to the men who would someday join the ranks of Moses and Elijah, as Jesus’ faith-filled Saints. My heart is stirred by Jesus’ love for His friends. His love for you and me. May we listen to him! Oh, Jesus. I love Him.

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Once we make a public statement about something, we’re much more likely to live it out. I remember the day I accidentally published a post about writing an eBook. Once it was out there, I felt compelled to make it happen. Two months later, I was the proud momma of Blogger Behave: Make your blog benefit your life so you can love both! It was great! Then, I really felt compelled to follow my own advice even though I just wanted to sit in front of the computer screen and sell books all day.  Speaking publicly gives us an unforgettable accountability and fuels our passion. Once we stand up on a soapbox, people quiet down to listen, and we have to deliver!

That’s why I’m going to share my Social Media Manifesto with you: so I live the thing out.

1. I believe that my presence online is a gift from God for myself and my readers. I will seek His direction for every move I make – from tweets to eBooks.

2. I will keep my Social Media expectations high and wholesome, demanding a good return on my investment.

3. I will tell my husband and children when, where, and how I want to participate in Social Media.

4. I will think twice before I subscribe, sign up, and create accounts. I will consider the cost of each new addition.

5. I will be content with who I am and what I have. The shiny new platforms and opportunities will have to answer to me so that I can decide if they will benefit my life.

 

To do: Write your manifesto. Publish it somewhere, somehow. Then, each day live it out.

Oh, you’ve got to let us know what your manifesto is. Please include it in the comments or send us directly to your awesome post!

Thank you for joining me this week. This was a blast! Thank you Sarah Mae, for giving us this space to play and talk things out.

You can learn a whole lot more by downloading my eBook Blogger Behave: Make your blog benefit your life so you can love both! You can also subscribe to my blogs: 10 Million Miles (click here to subscribe) and TheHomeschoolBaby.com (click here to subscribe). You can also subscribe to Like a Warm Cup of Coffee by clicking here (or email, here). Happy behaving!

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Once we make a public statement about something, we’re much more likely to live it out. I remember the day I accidentally published a post about writing an eBook. Once it was out there, I felt compelled to make it happen. Two months later, I was the proud momma of Blogger Behave: Make your blog benefit your life so you can love both! It was great! Then, I really felt compelled to follow my own advice even though I just wanted to sit in front of the computer screen and sell books all day.  Speaking publicly gives us an unforgettable accountability and fuels our passion. Once we stand up on a soapbox, people quiet down, and we have to deliver!

That’s why I’m going to share my Social Media Manifesto with you: so I live the thing out.

Read the rest at Like a Warm Cup of Coffee…

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It’s the same old scenario:

The teenager argues, “But everyone else is doing it!”

And the parents reply, “I don’t care. We are not everyone else.”

In the best situations, the parents don’t budge and the teenager is spared. In the worst cases, the parents cave and the teenager compromises one value at a time until there are none left.

When it comes to Social Media, we are the teenagers and the parents. I often find myself tempted to join the next big thing just because everyone else is doing it. I want to keep current, I want to be in with the girls, and I want to be successful. First it was email. Then blogging. Then YouTube. Then affiliates. Then twitter. Then facebook. And now it’s pinterest and Google+. Just you wait: tomorrow there will be more. Sometimes it feels like I don’t even have a choice: as everyone else embraces each networking tool, I feel like I have to join them in order to achieve my goals.  So I join them. And I become just one more person making you feel like you have to join… And we all feed the giant together and no one knows how to stop.

Read the rest at Like a Warm Cup of Coffee…

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