her final choice

“Every step on your life-journey can be a step of faith. Baby steps of trust are simple for you; you can take them with almost unconscious ease. Giant steps are another matter altogether: leaping across chasms in semidarkeness, scaling cliffs of uncertainty, trudging through the the valley of the shadow of death.”

Sarah Young, Jesus Calling (September 25)

A little more than two weeks ago, I logged into Skype and set up a call with Sara. For about 30 seconds, it was just the two of us – she on her bed in Iowa and me on the coast of South Carolina. I carried my laptop up the stairs to the deck of the beach house, the ocean wide and sparkling behind me. It was a beautiful day.

“It’s so beautiful!” she said, “and so are you! Look at you there…” She paused between the words, needing a breath just to finish that short sentence. I had never spoken with her before that, and I knew my friends who were with me were waiting for me to come back down so they could see her, too. I had a fleeting urge to carry that laptop back to my room and sit with her alone, just to know her and to hear her speak. Joy poured out from the screen and I didn’t expect it. I don’t know why I was surprised by it.

Sara has been sick for a very long time. Due to her illness, she has been homebound for years – even the outside air harmful to her. So she couldn’t come with us on our retreat – one of thousands of places Sara hasn’t been able to go. If anyone had grounds to choose sorrow or bitterness or anger or fear, Sara did.

But Sara chose joy.

And I will never forget her for that. Saturday night, Sara breathed out one last breath of this toxic earth air and breathed in the first sweet, clean, fresh air of heaven. She is free and healed. And she will be missed. Many have written about Sara – many who knew her much better than I did. I’m adding my small voice to the chorus this morning, celebrating her life and her final freedom.

to feed your soul

I really love Lisa Leonard. She is genuine, talented, and beautiful. She and I sat on the edge of the world a few weeks ago. Surrounded by friends, we talked about life and family and risk. We sat there in the cool sand, the southern September breeze carrying sweet conversation and the occasional laugh and holler from the girls behind us. And as we sat, my soul breathed in deep and wide. I felt the necklace around my neck, the one that says feed your soul, and I realized this is what it meant.

Lisa gave each one of us one of her tiny works of art, and now she wants to give one to you. Enter to win a feed your soul necklace in the comments below by answering the question: What is it that feeds your soul? Comments are open until 11 pm EST Sunday September 25. Winner will be contacted by email on Monday.

Lisa and her husband have two boys and live in California. You can browse Lisa Leonard Designs on her website or visit her beautiful blog. You can also use the code chattingatthesky to receive %15 off your purchase.

the deeper story

Today I’m writing at A Deeper Story. When I was in high school, that kind of blog would have scared and intimidated me. Deeper Story? Your deeper stories might be scandalous, heartbreaking, dark and brooding. I couldn’t relate with them, didn’t understand them, and generally wanted to pretend they didn’t exist. Back then, your deeper stories highlighted the fact that I didn’t think I had one. Continue reading at A Deeper Story and enter to win a book on the last stop on the blog tour…

for 31 days

One of the best ways to become a better writer is to write. Last October I became a better writer during 31 Days of Grace. Writing everyday for a month will do that to you. But more than just the discipline of writing, 31 Days is an opportunity for each of us to discover those things that make us come alive. And then, to share those things with others.

Last year, eight of us teamed up to bring 31 days of change and inspiration. This year, we’re doing it again only this time, we want you to do it, too. I’ll be writing 31 Days to Change the World because I think it’s possible and I’m feeling just a tad bit rebellious towards people who want to tell me that it’s not. Here are the topics from the 8 of us:

Jen - 31 Days to Balancing Both Beauty and a Budget
Jessica – 31 Days of Memory Keeping
Melissa: – 31 Days: Inspired Holidays
Sandy – 31 Days of Warm Connections
Darcy: 31 Days of Photo Tips
Emily: 31 Days of the Little Things
Emily: 31 Days to Change the World
Nester – 31 Days of Charming Imperfection

What about you? On October 1st, we’ll host a linky for you to link up your own series. Will you be joining us this year? What’s your topic?