Friday, December 8, 2017

Dreaming with the Lord

Over the past few years I have adopted the tradition of asking the Lord for a word for my year. One year, my word was “quiet.” The Lord called me to greater stillness that year, to slowing down and spending more time in silence with Him. My word for 2017 has been “sing.” As a vocal artist, my first impressions of this word were many, but the Lord continues to reveal a depth of ways He calls me to song – in my vocations as wife, mother and artist, in my prayer life. He meant literally, too; my musical gifts were renewed and shared in a special way this year. His plans when He first spoke this word to me were many and good, and far beyond what I imagined when He placed it upon my heart.

God’s dreams for us are always better than our own, sisters.

You can read the rest of today's devotion I wrote for Blessed is She right here. Read it, and then come back, okay?

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Okay, are you back? :)

I wanted to emphasize one thing I wrote: God's dreams for you are personal. When we dream with the Lord – and we should always include Him! – we  need to keep our eyes on Him. Try not to allow the eyes of your heart to start looking around at other people and what they are doing. Our dreams are not meant to be compared to one another. When God looks at you, He does not compare you to your sister, your friend, your role model. He sees only you, and has dreams for your life that only you can live. What a beautiful gift.

Here's to dreaming dreams with our Father and waiting expectantly upon our Lord...






P.S. Are you here from instagram looking for the downloadable print I mentioned today? Click here.
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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Booklist // Christmas Books for Little Ones

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I don't know about you, but I love seeing what other people are reading. Booklists are not only fun, but they often inspire me to check out a book I may not have heard of or read otherwise. Today I want to share my favorite books for little ones that we love to read throughout the Advent and Christmas seasons.

Who is Coming to Our House? is a delightful tale of the many animals who prepare a place in their home for Mary and Joseph. The story, told in rhythmic verse, and the beautiful illustrations make it a delight for young readers.

Christmas in the Manger tells the story of the many characters present for the first Christmas. From the ox to the wise men, we hear the part each of them plays in welcoming Jesus. One of our very favorites!


The Very Hungry Caterpillar's Christmas 123 is a simple counting book for the littlest readers, starring children's most beloved caterpillar character. With Eric Carle's characteristic bright illustrations this book is sure to bring a smile!


Mortimer's Christmas Manger is the book Saint Nicholas brought to our son this year! Mortimer is an endearing little mouse who learns the importance of making room for Christ in our lives – a lesson for all ages to remember.

My First Christmas is a lovely book for the youngest readers in your house. With Tomie dePaola's classic illustrations, your little one learns the signs of the Christmas season.


Little Blue Truck's Christmas is a fun book to have in your collection for any of fans of the Little Blue Truck series. Readers help the Little Blue Truck count the Christmas trees and deliver them to his friends. The last page has twinkle lights, too, for added delight!


My First Prayers for Christmas is a beautiful book of prayers for children. We pray from this book nightly during the Christmas season. A great addition to your collection! (We love using this book throughout the rest of the year.)

Red & Lulu is a welcome addition to our library this year. Red and Lulu are two cardinals who live in the evergreen which soon becomes the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. With beautiful illustrations, this New York City Christmas story will be one we enjoy for many years to come.

The Legend of Saint Nicholas tells the story of this generous saint. This story is admittedly too lengthy and advanced for our toddler, but we look forward to reading this one as he gets a bit older. A wonderful picture book for our collection!

Joy to the World is a collection of some of Tomie dePaola's well-loved Christmas stories, including The Night of Las Posadas, The Story of the Three Wise Kings, and The Legend of the Poinsettia. This collection also includes the music for some well-loved Christmas carols. A gem!

Pete the Cat Saves Christmas is sure to be a favorite for any Pete the Cat fans (my son can't get enough of Pete!). With a focus on giving to others and doing your best, this cute tale should bring out the holiday spirit in your family.

Country Angel Christmas tells the story of three little angels who get an important job from St. Nicholas. I love that he lives in heaven with the angels in this story which ends with everyone reflecting at the manger scene, including St. Nicholas. So beautiful! While currently out-of-print, it is well-worth purchasing a used copy to add this Tomie dePaola book (can you tell we are fans of his work?) to your collection.

So, what am I missing? What are your favorite Christmas books? Please let me know in the comments! I would love to hear from you.

Wishing you cozy holiday reading snuggled up by the Christmas tree with hot cocoa...




Thursday, November 16, 2017

Seeking Stillness // Advent 2017

The bright autumn colors are fading. Colder winds are blowing these days; leaves fall softly to the ground. The earth seems to slow as winter nears. My soul feels it, too. I need to slow down.

This is the refrain I hear God speak to me: "Be still and know that I am God. . ." (Psalm 46:10). I need to seek quiet as the noise regarding all the things that have to be done to make the holidays a success crescendos. I need to step away from the harsh brightness of my iPhone screen and spend time with the One who is true Light. I need to breathe deeply of the Lord's presence and be filled by Him. 

The good news is: Advent is coming. This time in the Christian year when we are called to refocus our gaze, to prepare our hearts to celebrate the birth of Christ, is such a gift. And I really need it this year.

Have you thought about what you might do to celebrate this Advent season? Might I share my simple plans with you?

// FAMILY ADVENT WREATH //

Of course: the Advent wreath. Ours is somewhat non-traditional with white candles, and purple + pink ribbons. I usually end up making it with some branches trimmed from our Christmas tree, or from the tree stands around town. (Side note: One of my favorite things about city life are the pop-up Christmas tree stands on any given street corner at this time of year. Sometimes I go out of my way just to walk through one and take a deep inhale of that blessed pine smell.)

I am so looking forward to diving into God's Word with the Blessed is She community this Advent. My friend Laura Kelly Fanucci – one of my very favorite writers – wrote this year's Advent journal. I mean it very sincerely when I say her words never fail to touch my heart. The Advent journal is a way for me to keep myself centered and focused on what matters in the days leading up to Christmas. They are bound to get a little crazy, and I know this will help me stay close to the Lord. In the journal Laura writes,

"There is nothing to achieve this Advent. There is only ourselves to surrender."

That's exactly the kind of Advent I am hoping for this year. If you'd like to join me, you can purchase your copy here.

// A CHRISTMAS TREE //
This may seem like a given, but we actually have not had a Christmas tree in our apartment since 2014. Between having a baby crawling around, lack of space (hello, NYC living), and traveling for the holidays, we just haven't done it. This year, however, we have freed up a little room to have one. We can hardly wait for the joy we imagine it will bring our toddler. I mean, is there anything quite like twinkle lights on a fresh pine tree?

// NATIVITY SCENES // 
We have a couple nativity scenes that we will set up around our home, waiting to put the Christ child in the manger until Christmas morning. (The set pictured above belonged to my late grandmother, and we also have this beautiful one, which we received as a wedding gift.) My son also has the Fisher-Price Little People nativity set, which he adores.

And that's really it! Of course, there will be Christmas gift shopping to do (gift-giving is one of my love languages) and holiday baking (of course!), but overall we hope to keep it pretty simple and just seek the JOY!

While the world shouts that we need to do more this holiday season, the Lord says otherwise. May we spend this Advent season seeking His presence in the stillness, and may we quiet our hearts enough to hear His voice. For then we might hear Him whisper just how deeply we are loved.


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Monday, October 30, 2017

It's that time of year again...

Disclosure: This affiliate post contains affiliate links. In Endless Song is a participant in the Minted LLC Affiliate Marketing Program, an affiliate advertising and marketing program that pays advertising fees to sites that advertise and link to Minted.com


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We finally carved our Halloween jack-o-lantern yesterday. It's just over three weeks to Thanksgiving (a celebration not to be forgotten or rushed – giving thanks is so good for the soul!). But ready or not, before we know it, it's going to be Advent and time to prepare our hearts for Christmas.

One of my favorite holiday traditions is the sending and receiving of Christmas cards. In today's world, communication often consists of a quick text message or, at best, an email. A hand-delivered card in the mailbox? It's something special. I don't know about you, but when I get an envelope that is not a bill or junk mail, I am filled with joy!

Every year I look forward to receiving certain Christmas cards (The annual photo update from the family I used to babysit! A card from my beloved junior high choir director!). I know some families have a beautiful tradition of saving all the Christmas cards they receive beyond the holiday season. Then, throughout the year they pick one card each night at dinner, and they pray for the person or family that has sent that card. (I'm looking at you, Whitaker family!) Isn't that a great tradition? One of these years I hope to adopt it in our own family.

I look forward to sending Christmas cards, too. And my favorite place to shop for Christmas cards online is Minted. For our family, it is an investment to get our Christmas cards here, but to me it is an investment worth making. I love that there are some beautiful religious Christmas card options.
"all because of Him" card
I like the sentiment of this card – "counting our blessings." Yes! That's the true holiday spirit!
"grateful" card
We have no greater joy than Christ, our Lord, so I think this card is super sweet, too.
"greatest joy" card
I was also pleasantly surprised to see Minted offers a wonderful selection of non-photo holiday cards, in case adding a picture is not in the cards for you this year (pun intended!).
"nativity party" card
Well, I'm off to update my Christmas cards address list, and to try to pick my favorite Minted design for our own family's card! Which one would you pick?
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