Short and Sweet

Talent doesn't mean a thing if you don't have humility, work ethic, and vision.
K.O. Olusola

a Fall Reading List: Warm Up from the Inside Out

William Nicholson wrote, "We read to know we're not alone."  Whether we're living the stories of imaginary character created in the mind of the author or whether we are sharing emotions and past experiences of the author's own life, the books we love the best are those whose words tear down the walls we put around our life and tie us to a time, a place, a thought, a dream.  These are the stories we come back to time and time again.  They bring comfort to the broken places in our lives.  They bring friendship to our loneliness.

Somehow, these words we use to make stories bring connectedness.  We finally realize we're not alone.  The grief we feel from loss is normal.  The loneliness we feel happens to other people.  The insecurities we live with remind us that we're all human.  The joy we feel is normal too.  The joy comes from the lessons we learned in the stories--ours and theirs.

Here's a look at what I'm reading this fall and where you can take them home with you.

What about you?  Do you have any must read books on your reading list?  Share with us.

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The Freedom to Abide

Last year my sister, Dalayna, asked me to join a team of her friends that were starting a unique work.  It's an online magazine called The Pearl Press.  This month is the one year anniversary of the launch that that endeavor.  I am so proud of this group of women who are seeking the face of God and have a desire to be molded into His image.

Last month, I shared this post on their magazine, but I thought I would share it with you today.  I hope it blesses your heart and compels you to abide in Christ and in all He created you to be.

One of the most difficult challenges we will ever be forced to face is a challenge we see everyday.  We stare into her eyes.  We hate many of the things she does.  As a matter of fact, we often tell her how much we hate her for the ignorant decisions she makes.  Does she listen?  Usually not.  Instead, we find her a week or two later right back in the same broken place.

We tried to tell her.  We tried to warn her.  We tried our best to get her to listen.  We flapped our arms and raised our voice.  We even slapped her around just a little bit--not much though--just enough to get her to stop.

She's always doing it:


Oh, but the list goes on.

She doesn't work out enough.
She's a procrastinator.
She talks too much.
She makes herself look like an idiot.
She doesn't spend enough time with her family.
She doesn't cook home meals.
She doesn't invite people over to her house.
She doesn't take vacations.
She doesn't keep her house spotless.

And to top it all off, she drives way too fast and passes over-sized loads on the shoulder.

The worst challenge, the most difficult person we will ever be forced to face, is That Woman we stare at everyday in the mirror.

She's a sly one, That Woman, and far too often we find ourselves in a love/hate relationship with the eyes staring back at us in the morning as we brush our teeth.

I'm not here today writing to compel you to accept That Woman and love her completely as she is.  I think we should all love ourselves.  We should all accept our personality.  We should all accept our flaws, but we also have to remember that we are all on a journey to become more like Christ--to become less like ourselves and more like Him. (click to tweet

Paul wrote in Romans 7:15, "I don't really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do what I hate."  Sometimes we do live out the actions we hate.  We're human.  We mess up and sometimes a lot.  But it's in this journey, this walk up a long hill, that I really want to write about today.

Last week, I found myself sitting at a table with a group of women at a retreat.  I love all of these women so much.  We have too much fun.  Literally, too much fun.  The retreat center was very large and there were multiple retreats happening at the same location.  We all had separate living quarters, but we shared the dining hall.  One of the other retreats that occurred on the same camp ground was a men's retreat.

We're sitting at this table and in walk the gentlemen.  I'm not the only single woman at the retreat, but the odds were definitely against me.  It's just kind of a joke that most "still single" woman (and especially in the church) have to face is the uh-which-one-do-you-like game.  For the most part, I'm fine with it.  It's just for fun.  Plus, I have my share of celebrity and not celebrity crushes too.  The rouse is usually the same.  I say in a hushed voice, "Maybe table 2, but let me show you a picture of who I'm really after."

It's always great fun.  Everybody always laughs.  By the end of the conversation it's usually very loud.

After the guffawing quieted down I sat back in my seat and look around the table I was sitting at.  It felt like every single eye was on me judging me.

Now, I know they weren't.  I know those woman love me.  I know they value me.  And I love and value them.  But there was something about the stillness of their eyes that made me feel about three inches tall.  And then I said, under my breath, "I just hate when I make myself feel like a fool."

And I do.  I hate that.  I do it a lot, but I hate it.  I hate that action about myself.  But, I'm working on it.  

On this life journey there has to be a level of grace that we extend to ourselves.  We have to give ourself grace grow.  We have to give ourself grace to take the journey.  We're not going to get everything right all the time.  In fact, we're going to get life and this journey wrong most of the time.  Still, we have to give ourself grace to develop into the women of God we are called to be.

We can only live in that grace when we start to accept who we are in Christ and to abide in That Truth.  We have to live in That Truth. (click to tweet)  

I love what Ann Voskamp wrote about the practicing of abiding in Christ.  She wrote:
Abide. Because it's never about your capabilities. When you're in covenant with Christ, it's His responsibility to cover your cracks, to be all your competency and completeness. Inabilities, in Christ, are made all-sufficient, just-right abilities. Abandon worry--and wholly abide.
Jesus said it Himself in John 15:17, "Abide in Me, and I will abide in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me. I am the vine and you are the branches. The one who abides in Me, and I in him, will bear much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing."

There's a freedom that comes from recognizing and accepting that without Christ I can do nothing.  There is equal freedom in recognizing and accepting that in Christ I can do all things.  In the journey, we all have roles to take.  We all have positions to play, but ours is never to judge ourselves or others.  Our role is never to lead.  It's always to rest.  It's always to follow.  It's always to abide.

When we give grace to ourselves and accept That Truth and learn to abide--to rest-- in Christ, it sure does make That Woman easier to live with on this journey of grace and abiding.


Short and Sweet

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. 
Annie Dillard

Every week, usually on Wednesdays, I post a picture or a quote that I found floating around the internet.  It's just something short & sweet.

Short and Sweet

"The more you are motivated by Love, the more Fearless & Free your action will become."
-Dalai Lama

Every week, usually on Wednesdays, I post an inspirational picture or quote that I found floating around the internet.  It's just something short & something sweet.

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Weekend Notes

The end of summer brings so many wonderful things. It's like we rush to complete those last few things on our summer bucket list.  I can always tell when summer is almost gone.  The nights get just a little bit longer.  The morning weather gets just a little bit cooler.  My shoes are always wet with dew after walking the dogs in the morning.

And it is wonderful. 

I love every second of fall.

Here's so links from around the internet that you might enjoy reading this weekend.

Have a wonderful weekend and we'll see you Monday for Monday Mocktail.


Short and Sweet


Home Tour: The Bedroom

My sister, Dalayna, and I recently moved into a new house.  We love it.  Admittedly, setting up house can be a little bit of a challenge.  There's always something that you need or forgot to register for. Slowly but surely the house is coming together.

Here's a first look at my bedroom and also a few resources for you to add key elements to your home.

By the way, Target has a promo code for home purchases.  Get 10% off select home items with promo code JUNEHOME.

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Short and Sweet


Short and Sweet

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Minted's Limited Edition Art Prints

What To Do When Your Dog Eats Your Charger + a Giveaway

The truth?  There's nothing you can do when your dog eats your charger except purchase a new one.

I know.  I know.  That's not the answer you wanted to read.  You wanted to read a way or ways that you could save yourself from a $75 electronics bill on your credit card, but the reality is that's just about the only thing you can do.  I mean, I suppose you could try to use electronic tape and try to secure the two pieces together, but let's be real.  Is that really a possibility?  Probably not.

But, even though it may seem like it at the time, that chewed up cord will only define your day if you let it.  It's an inconvenience to be sure.  It's a burden on the wallet.  (How is it possible that one small little cord can cost $75?)  But the end of the world?  Far from it.

The quickest way to turn your grey clouds blue is to start thinking of others and doing everything you can to encourage them.  It's funny how that small $75 cord matters less and less when you put others first.

You could...

1.  Send a card to a college friend. (Here's some beautiful cards from DaySpring.)
2.  Invite a friend over for tea or coffee.
3.  Send a text to a friend you know is down.
4.  Place a bright potted plant on your neighbors door step.
5.  Randomly surprise a friend at work with an afternoon pick me up.
6.  Pay for the person behind you in the drive thru.
7.  Mow the front of your neighbors yard.  (Make sure to follow their lines. :))
8.  Purchase a piece of jewelry for a friend.
9.  Print off a picture of a friend, frame it, and take it to them.
10.  Make dinner for a new mom.

These are just a few ideas for you.  I've joined up with DaySpring to do 21 Days of Encouragement.  So far it's going pretty good.  Several days I've found myself come to the end of the day and really not have done much.  I feel guilty and quickly do something to be an encouragement to someone.  The idea of this challenge is not to encourage guilt.  It's to help us think.  This challenge is encouraging me to think a little bit less about myself and a little bit more about someone else.

I have a friend, Alisha, who has been doing to challenge with me.  She's an Encourager Rock Star!  She sent me a text telling me she decided to write a note to her pediatrician who she was seeing that day.  I asked her after the appointment how it went.  Her doctor had tears in her eyes!  That's what it's all about!  Not the making someone else cry, but the making someone else see how important they are.

If you haven't already, join us on this challenge.  Let me know in the comments if you're going to be partnering up too.  Tag your social media posts with #liveyourfaith, #DaySpring, and #2Thes511. Find out more about 21 Days of Encouragement here.

Use your influence to brighten someone else's day.  You'll forget all about that charger.

Here's a chance for you to win $200 in store credit from DaySpring!

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the Blue House on the Corner of Washington and Division

Several months ago I spent a couple of days in my college town.  I drove around her streets.  I went to all my favorite places.  I saw a few friends.  I even stopped for a few minutes in front of my dream house.

I used to love that house.  It's the second house on the right of the corner of Washington and Division in Springfield, Missouri.  It still has it's huge, mature trees and the wrap around porch.  It's a two story house probably built around 1920.  It's beautiful.  Ten years has changed my house.  It's not quite the same.

I used to love the color of the house.  It was a periwinkle blue--really more blue than purple--with white trim.  The gutters and shutters were also white and each window had a white flower box bursting with yellows and blues and purples.  I had dreamed of sitting hours and hours on the oversize white chairs that lived on the porch.  I planned on adding some white hydrangea bushes to the front.  (That was before I knew of peonies.  If I had known of peonies, hydrangea's would have never been an option.)

In my mind, I saw my children growing up there, walking to school and riding their tricycles up the little paved side walk.  I saw this house in all the seasons...both of life and of nature and I wanted to be a part of it all.  Right there, just like that, with the house frozen in time and me growing old with my family living in the embrace of it's walls.

I dreamed of living in that beautiful blue house on the corner of Washington and Division in Springfield, Missouri.  Even now, sitting here writing, I feel it's pull.  Only problem is, the house isn't blue anymore.  It's green.

It's not kelly green or hunter green.  It's more like a sea foam green only darker.  The shutters are still white and so is the trim, but the chairs are gone from the places that used to hold them.  The flower boxes have been removed.  And it's just not the same.

In some ways, that makes me a little sad...that the house isn't the exact same.  It looks different and I'm sure there is a different family that lives there now, so of course it's different.

I don't have a right to, but in some ways I mourn for that blue house with the window boxes.  I mourn the lack of little children spending hours playing on that wrap around porch.  I mourn beautiful orange leaves of fall.  I mourn for the raised vegetable garden beds just around the back of the house.  (To be clear, I have no idea if there ever were raised vegetable garden beds.  I assume that there were or are because that's what I would do.)

Yes, my delusion was grand.  But it was

Intentional Encourager

Recently I got the opportunity to participate in a community theater project in Sand Springs, Oklahoma.  It was a lot of fun.  I made many good, good friends. (All that's another story for another time.)  But there is one new friend added to my circle that truly amazes me.  She is absolutely the most thoughtful, most gracious, most intentional person I have ever met.  

She brought gifts and cookies to celebrate each cast members birthday during the production.
She brought gifts for everyone opening night.
She invited us over to her house after one of the performances.
She took time out of her busy, successful professional life to create a game for the cast party unlike any other game.
She invited her entire acting class she teaches and purchased their tickets.
She is completely encouraging while being completely honest.
She perfected the character she portrayed to the highest standard.
Like, seriously, the list goes on and on and on...

I don't think I've ever met a person who lived out Paul's admonishment to the church at Philippi more completely.  "Don't be selfish; don't try to impress others.  Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves" (Philippians 2:3).

This lady, only a little younger than myself, puts me to shame.  Humble, thoughtful, detail oriented.  Everyone loves her because she makes everyone love themselves.

The way you make other people feel about themselves is the way they will feel about you.

Tweet: The way you make other people feel about themselves is the way they will feel about you.@danettedillon #liveyourfaith #dayspring

Sitting at my desk now, overwhelmed with emotion and conviction and a little bit of shame, I recognize that I want my life to be marked with intention.  And yet, I remember Paul's words to the church at Rome, "I don't really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don't do it.  Instead, I do what I hate" (Romans 7:15).  So many times I feel like Paul.

I want every single action to be executed with one purpose.  Not for selfish gain or ambition, I want to encourage people.  I want people to believe in themselves.  I want people to see that they have infinite potential.  I want to be able to encourage people to reach the greatness that is possible.

Investing in others takes time.  It takes thought.  It requires a sacrifice of yourself.  But investing in others is always worth the cost.

Tweet: Investing in others takes time, thought, & sacrifice. But investing in others is always worth the cost. @danettedillon #liveyourfaith #dayspring

I've decided to join with DaySpring for the 21 Days of Encouragement.  For the next 21 Days I'm going to intentionally do something to encourage someone else.  DaySpring has so many different resources to help me on my encouragement journey.  You can check them out here. 

I hope that you will join me on these 21 Days of Encouragement, but even if you don't remember that when you encourage others suddenly you find yourself resting in contentment and joy.

Tweet: When you encourage others suddenly you find yourself resting in contentment and joy. @danettedillon #liveyourfaith #dayspring

What are some ways you can encourage others?  I've been told it's all in the details.


Short & Sweet

Go on!  Live your adventure.


Spring Break Essentials

Spring break is quickly approaching.  Everyone needs a break--just a chance to get away.  Whether you have kids that will be out of school or whether you just need an escape, here are a few necessities that will guarantee your trip will be a success no matter the destination.

In Order from Left to Right and Top to Bottom
Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Camera | Merona Women's Scarf | Block Heel Sandals | Madewell "The Transport" Leather Tote | "Whatever Is Lovely" Inspirational Coloring Book

Capture all those memories the retro way with the Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Camera and send them immediately to print. Whether you choose to scrapbook those lovely memories are post them around the house they will take you back to all those relaxing, fun experiences.

Sometimes spring break weather can be a little more like winter break especially in the mornings or nights.  Layer up with this Merona Women's Scarf from Target.  I'm really love the bright colors.

With all the sight seeing to be done your feet can really take a beating, but no need to sacrifice style for comfort.  Block Heel Sandals are both comfortable and on trend.  Plus, these styles from Nordstrom provide an extra bang for your buck with free shipping and free returns everyday.

Visit little, old shops?  Pick up the Madewell "The Transport" Leather Tote to stow all those one of a kind finds.  Nothing scream minimalism more than Madewell.  Oh, and you can pick up this tote from Nordstrom.  Free shipping?  Anyone?

Rest and relaxation have a way of bringing creativity to life.  But let's face it.  Sometimes life doesn't offer us those little retreats.  That's fine too.  Foster your own creativity with the "Whatever Is Lovely" Inspirational Coloring Book from DaySpring

Wherever you find yourself this Spring Break I hope that is rest for your soul.  I'm planning on going to Dallas, Texas, for a few days with my sisters and cousin.  Personally, I can't wait.  What about you?  Headed anywhere special?

Short & Sweet

It's amazing the miracles that happen in the darkness.  It's just like little seeds that are planted in the black soil.  We can't see what is happening under the veil of the cold earth.  But in time those little green buds will burst through the blackness and soak up the beautiful rays of light.

Hang on.  There's a miracle in your darkness.

Self Talk: Three Steps to Change the Inner Dialogue and Over Come Internal Lies

Self talk can be one of our worst obstacles in life.  Self talk are those conversations that happen in our head and those voices that never seem to shut up.  Those voices just go on and on and on. Those voices scream the words of our past experiences and every fear we've ever had straight in our face. And we can't run from them either.  They're inside of us comparing who we actually are with what other people say or have said we are. They contradict what we know is true about ourselves by telling us lies. 

The really crazy part is we are the voice who's lying and comparing and contradicting reality!

Sometimes we just have to tell ourselves to shut up. Not literally, of course, but those inside voices--the negative self talk that runs around in our head.  Tell that voice to shut up. 

And then, after you've stopped listening to all those lies, replace those lies with truth. 

The truth is you're are going to make it. It doesn't matter how far you've fallen or messed up, you can get up and start again. The truth is you can do anything for at least a little while. And if you can do anything for a little while you can do it for as long as it takes. 

Have you seen that episode of the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt? You know, the one where she says, "I can do anything ten seconds....You can handle anything for ten seconds."

Obviously, that's a simplistic approach to reality,

Gone Too Long

Over the past year and a half I found myself staring at this blank white screen many times.  I've had an idea or a thought that I wanted to share.  I'd write a sentence or two.  I'd resource pictures.  I've even written entire posts, but I haven't published them.

Over the past months I've even made a blogging calendar.  But here I am again.  Typing and deleting and editing and cutting and pasting words.

Have you ever felt tongue tied?  Maybe that's how I feel.

I've got the words and the ideas and the images all floating around in my head, but it's this thing of sitting at the computer typing all of them out.  That's the problem.

I have this friend, Kathy Key.  She's a life coach.  (You can find out more about her life coaching here.)  Sometimes our schedules permit us to spend leisurely mornings at some breakfast nook.  A few months ago we happened to be sitting at just one of those booths when our conversation moved from professional discussion to personal goals.  

I was going on and on lamenting about how I felt stuck and tongue tied and purposeless when she stopped me.  Using her life coaching skills she asked me about my ultimate goals.  I listed many goals all of which seem so impossible even now.

At that breakfast table she began to speak life to those dreams again.  At that table, she saw the potential in my dreams.  But she didn't just see my abilities or talents that make those dreams possible.  She began to give me actions to see those dreams come to pass.

So here I am.  Taking a step.  It's a couple months late, but it's still a step.

I won't reach my dreams today and probably not tomorrow and maybe not even the day after that.  But as I read and reread and delete and edit and cut and paste I can clearly see one thing.  The blank white screen has a lot of black on it.

And maybe I'm not as tongue tied as I thought.
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