What a way to end my 2014 study in excess. A weekend with my daughter and 400 other women at one of my favorite spots, Windy Gap! Windy Gap is a Young Life camp in the mountains of North Carolina. It really is my place to rest and rejuvenate. And with Jen Hatmaker as our guest speaker? wow! Like I said, a perfect way to end my participation in her book '7'!

If you want to read the how and the why I read and carried out 7  an experimental mutiny against excess it begins here

stress - the last chapter

This was the hardest assignment actually! I was to take pause 7 times a day. Pray, read scripture, just BE with Jesus. SEVEN times a day people! Jen's suggestion was

midnight • morning • mid morning • lunch • mid afternoon • evening • bedtime

She had other words but that is my interpretation. If you know me at all, morning and mid morning can sort of blur together sometimes. I really am trying to change my staying up late habit, but it's a hard one to break. Many people I talked to about this said midnight was their tough one. I'd say I managed to get in many of the midnight pauses! In fact, sometimes when I took that midnight pause I realized it was also time for my physical body to pause and just go to bed.

I really faltered on this month more than any other month. It seems like it would be so easy and I looked forward to it. But, it wasn't easy at all. Think about it. To stop what you are doing and pray or open your bible and read scripture 7 times a day. We get busy, we get momentum. And I don't even work in an office. I'm not sure how office workers would sneak those daytime pauses in. Maybe they should. Maybe it truly would refresh and remove stress from their day. But, we tend to save those spiritual moments for early mornings or late evenings.

I had my most 'success' with compliance when my husband was out of town. Alone for 5 days made me want the structure. When he came home and we got busy coming and going again, I seemed to never get in all 7 pauses. I would get hung up on reading certain scripture. I was concentrating too hard on following Jen's guidelines. Then, it hit me.

Just pause. Pray.

Pray for that person you said you would pray for. It made me think about how often people say, "I'm praying for you". We do it at first and then we say we will pray for another person and people keep getting moved down the list. We are all pretty good at acting in urgency. But then our busy lives take over. I don't want to pray for someone just because I am reminded to through a Facebook post. So that is my biggest take away from my month of pausing. Simply pause and pray for someone. And give thanks too. We have a lot to be thankful for!

And our weekend at Windy Gap?      I N C R E D I B L E !     In fact I need to give thanks right here for the fact that I am even able to go spend time in such a beautiful place. It's so easy to forget what we have and what we are able to do and just dwell on what we don't have or what we wish we could do. I got to spend a weekend with my daughter just chillin' in the mountains and breathing in the fresh air. And to clarify, my daughter lives in another state. This time together was a precious gift to me.

We listened to truth and honesty from Jen Hatmaker.

I didn't really know about her until I started the book. Then suddenly she's on HGTV renovating a farm house with her husband! That makes her different than me. It raises her up a notch. Why is that? She's not different than me. She's a daughter, sister, wife, mother and friend. But she puts herself out there and that's OK. She's a doer. When I read that she had adopted 2 of her children from Ethiopia I thought, "no worries there, I'm not going to do that! I may do this crazy 7 book but I'm not adopting children from Africa!" In fact, I have questioned this adopting children from Africa thing in the past. Not that it's wrong but that sometimes it just looks like a cool Christian thing to do. I didn't really have answers, just questions. Well, I LOVED how Jen addressed this topic at our Women's Weekend. OF COURSE she loves her children, but she wept for what they will mourn in their lifetime. They will always have such deep love from their Hatmaker family. But, they will mourn their country, their African family, their culture. Jen reminded us that it doesn't matter what age you are scooped up and loved by your new family. You're going to need to deal with the grief at some point. She just made it real for me and I respected her all the more for it. She also told us about what can help. She told us about the organization Help One Now and how they are trying to prevent orphans. By sponsoring a child you actually sponsor a family so that they can stay together. So that they don't have to give their children up just to make sure that they are fed and survive.

That's my soapbox. That's one of the ways 7 has changed me and informed me. It's on the same list as going without an oven or stove for a month is no big deal to us now! So what that it took 2 weeks for a service person to come out and look at our range. So what that it will be another 2 weeks for the part to arrive. So what that it may not even be the correct fix. We've given up so many things this year for the sake of 7 that's it's really no big deal to use a grill and microwave to cook for a month.

I like the new us!

our moment with Jen

our moment with Jen

look at the fog over beautiful Windy Gap

look at the fog over beautiful Windy Gap

then look at this sweet girl I am blessed to call my daughter

then look at this sweet girl I am blessed to call my daughter



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