Sunday, January 29, 2017

Are You Craving Connection? (Plus Giveaway!)

Hey Friend,

Ever since I can remember, I've always belonged to groups.  Whether it was youth group growing up or joining a sorority in college, I liked "belonging". Perhaps that's why I joined Newcomers groups when I moved around, MOPS when I was a mother of preschoolers, Bible studies, church small groups....

There has always been something deep inside me that craves community.  I find this kind of ironic because I was an only child who learned, early on, to be comfortable in my own company.  In fact, I like being alone in the quiet and still of the early morning.  

I am now in a season of life where I am working from home.  I head up a non-profit ministry - Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc. that supports and fosters Christian education for the orphaned and destitute in one of the scariest places on earth - the Middle East.  How I got here is a story unto itself, but it all began through this blog. 

I'm up at 5 am. while it's still dark outside (revisit loving my alone time and quiet time with God).  I work pretty much non-stop all day, taking time out for lunch and perhaps a cup of coffee in the afternoon.  I'm pretty much alone all day (except for my beagle) until my husband gets home.  This is REALLY different for me.

I tried joining an evening Bible study, but since I'm up at 5 am. I find that my brain turns to mush and pretty much shuts down by 7:30 pm.  Not good for adding to, or deriving anything from Biblical discussions.  

I'm learning that at different stages of life, connection looks different.  

For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.  (Matthew 18:20)

I'm learning to maybe put extra hours in one day so that another day I can meet a friend for coffee.  To be able to look my friend in the eye and pray with and for her is just good for my soul.  

The way the enemy prowls about, I know this time is not a luxury...it's a necessity!

On a regular basis, my husband and I have one of my single friends over for dinner. After we eat, my sweet husband excuses himself for some hockey on the tube upstairs while my friend and I chat away.  I know we both need this community.  We are both dealing with some of the same trying issues with our adult children and it's good to know we are not alone.  

You know those ideas you get....gee, wouldn't it be great to invite a few of my neighbors over who I never get to spend time with?  One day I decided I'd share my coffee time with three neighborhood friends.  I kept it simple - just coffee and scones that I picked up at a cute little french boulangerie.  Can you say non - stop talking?  I admit my "coffee break" ran a little long - oh say 2-3 hours long. I politely had to show my friends the door as we could have easily sat and talked for a couple more hours.

And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him.  A cord of three strands is not easily broken.  (Ecclesiastes 4:12).

The next day I started my workday a little early and got caught up on the time I had set aside for community with friends. I needed that time with friends to hit the "refresh" button! 

I am learning that I NEED unity and connection with God, my friends, and my community.  

Community is not an option or a luxury...it's a life source.  Cut it off and we'll soon perish.

God created us to be in community with others.  So where do I start....


I'm excited to announce the release of a new book "Craving Connection" which is a collaboration by some of the best Christian writers I've read.  They talk about:

* EMBRACING the desire God has given each of us for connection
* INVESTING in meaningful relationships, right where God has you
* BECOMING the friend you wish you had

Each segment, written by a different writer, gives you things to consider.  She'll also give you a challenge and ultimately a way to engage with others.  

Not only do I love the different writing styles, but I love the different ideas that I wouldn't have thought of - like this one:

**Set your phone alarm to remind you to pray for friends and family on your prayer list throughout the day.  **

The best news is:  I'm giving away a free copy of "Craving Connection" !!

To enter the drawing you can get one entry for:
1.  Leaving a comment either here or on   Facebook
2.  Another entry for subscribing to my blog

Drawing will be held on Feb. 6th so be sure to get your entries in.

If you aren't fortunate enough to win, I highly recommend picking up a copy of this book online or at your favorite bookseller.  It's a must read!!

So, what's holding you back vs. what is there to be gained by making connections?  Who might God be putting on your heart to make a connection with?  How can you be an easier person to connect with?  

I also invite you to join our online connection group hosted by (in)courage.
www.incourage.me

We will be doing 5 sections of the book together starting on Tuesday the 7th.  For 5 consecutive weeks we'll read a section (about 8 pages) and then do the challenges together.  I think it will be great fun to learn new ways to connect.  I hope you'll join me!!

You'll be glad and blessed if you join us (yes, I'll be there)...



52 comments:

  1. Hi Bev. What a wonderful post for today! I always enjoy reading what God has placed on your heart. I,too,receive (in)courage every day and always love to see your comments each day. (I suppose you are usually the 1st comment because you are such an early riser!) Keep up the good work, knowing there are many of us out in cyberspace that appreciate you and your insight! Blessings to you on this beautiful Sunday! Melinda πŸ’•

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    1. Melinda,
      Thank you for your sweet comments. The (in)courage blog is one with which I start my day...good writers...good stuff! I also really appreciate the friends (like you) and the community found there. We all need encouragement in our day! Blessings to you as you begin your week :)
      Blessings,
      Bev xx

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  2. So true- connection is so important, and it is something we need to prioritise, otherwise it can be easy to let it slip. I've heard a bit about this book already and it sounds like one I'd like to read- it's good to get different people's ideas and perspectives. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Lesley,
      This book has some of the best writing by some of the best Christian writers and bloggers. You are so right that we need to prioritize connection or otherwise it easily slips away. Left alone, we are easy prey for the enemy. I always need fresh ideas and perspective and this book has that. Thanks for sharing!
      Blessings,
      Bev xx

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  3. Hi Bev. I am "all in" for connecting--- heart connection I call it. Yes, it does look and feel different at different points in our lives. Just being more present with someone is a gift with which the Holy Spirit empowers me. I pray I am never too busy or distracted to forgo the opportunity of sacred connection. Thank you for offering your continual words of encouragement. Bless you! πŸ˜ŠπŸ’“

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    1. Lisa,
      I'm so glad that we have connected...what a gift! Yes, "heart connection" - it takes being intentional and being present with another person. Great reminder that it is the Holy Spirit that empowers us. On our own fuel, we can't maintain it.
      Blessings sweet friend,
      Bev xx

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  4. In this season of my life, connection is something I crave deeply. I am currently looking for the right Bible study for both accountability and connection. Thanks for offering the giveaway. Would love to read!

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    1. Barbie,
      It is so easy to get so busy that we put connection on the back burner. I am right there with you in deeply craving it. Bible studies are great for accountability as well as connection - both of which we desperately need.
      Blessings,
      Bev xx

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  5. Oh yeah ... we're all yearning to connect. Sometimes we don't realize what that gnawing in our soul is.

    God's designed us that way ... first to be connected to Him and then with each other. All those 'one another' verses in the New Testament bear witness to this call.

    Thank you for going here today, Bev.

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    1. Linda,
      Great insights as always. It is a "gnawing" in our souls. So true that those "one another" verses are constantly directing us to connect first with God then with others. My posts usually "go" where I need to "go". Thanks for following along :)
      Blessings,
      Bev xx

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  6. This book sounds so encouraging! We've lived here for 6 yrs, and I'm yearning for community, and would love the accountability and challenge! Thank you for sharing, and I'm subscribing to your blog, too! :-)

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    1. E,
      Come join us at www.incourage.me starting on Feb. 7th. We're going to read segments of the book together (each one is about 8 pages) and do some challenges together. I know I need some help in this area, I hope you'll join me?? Ok...two entries for you girl :)
      Blessings,
      Bev xx

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  7. I struggle to find a real community to belong in outside of my church community somehow I connect with the everyday individuals I meet. I cannot wait to start reading this book.

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    1. Join us, won't you?? At www.incourage.me starting on Feb. 7th and we're going to read segments together and challenge each other to get outside our comfort zone. I know the effort is worth it...I just need to (as Nike says) "do it"!!
      Blessings,
      Bev xx

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  8. There is something about purposely taking time out to talk to others, isn't there. It does fill a niche in our soul that we maybe forget is there...especially if we are introverted and comfortable on our own. I love that you made coffee your connection, we could be friends just because of that! ( oh, and well... Jesus, too). :)

    I can't wait to read this book, it is on my list of books to acquire soon. Thanks for reminding us to make an effort to get it.
    Blessings,
    Dawn

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    1. Dawn,
      I'm pretty sure one of the first plants God created was the plant from which we get coffee beans lol. Yes, I'd love to share a cup with you and have some face to face conversation...that's what I'm lacking in my day!! Conversation has kind of become like a lost art. Maybe you'll win the book here, but do join us at www. incourage.me on Feb 7th and we'll challenge each other. Thanks for sharing here, Dawn.
      Blessings,
      Bev xx

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  9. I work from home as well. My days start at 5:40am,so I can relate to not having the mental strength left for bible study. Belonging is so important to our wellbeing. I'd love to read this book.

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    1. Linda,
      Don't you just crave some face to face time since you work from home? I know I do!! I was pitiful at the evening Bible study I tried. Whether you win the book or buy the book, join us on Feb. 7th at www.incourage.me and we'll connect together...I'll be there...I NEED this :)
      Blessings,
      Bev xx

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  10. I work from home as well. My days start at 5:40am,so I can relate to not having the mental strength left for bible study. Belonging is so important to our wellbeing. I'd love to read this book.

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  11. A sense of community eludes me in many ways. I struggle daily with making new connections and finding my purpose in college. I hope this book will help me to reconnect with the community that surrounds me.

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    1. Angel,
      Believe it or not, I can be an introvert, and connecting with others makes my anxiety rise. I found in college and when I moved around the country, I often had to make that hard first step. I did get some rejection, but then when I made a connection it was well worth it. You have a lot to give and share with others. Encouraging you to put that first foot forward. As I've mentioned to the others, join us at www.incourage.me on Feb. 7th and we can learn together :)
      Blessings,
      Bev xx

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  12. Visiting you from Testimony Tuesday. I, too am one who craves connection, deep connection. It truly does change through the years. Learning new ideas about how to live more connected through the words of other Christian writers is a great opportunity. Thank you for sharing your connection journey and for sharing this offer. May your soul be refreshed as you connect with Jesus and those He puts in your life.

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    1. Cheryl,
      What wonderful words of blessing! Thank you!! God has been so good to put people in my life through this blog...I'm sure you, as a writer, have found that as well. So glad you popped over from Holly's place...isn't she great! Welcome!
      Blessings,
      Bev xx

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  13. If you know me at all, you know that connection and conversation is one of my love languages. Oh and of course coffee!!! I love how you are intentional about seeking out time for this in your own life. Since I have been retired I have to be intentional in doing this too. It is not good for me to be a homebody for too long. Introspection can get me into trouble in my own mind. I appreciate these words because you described me! I already have the book but have not had a chance to dig into it yet.

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    1. Mary,
      I'm a lot like you...if you leave me alone with my thoughts for too long, I'll get into trouble. That's why I know I need to cultivate connection and community. I don't know if you've ever joined in over at (in)courage, but they are a great group. Would love to have you join us and join in the challenges. We can dig into the book together...
      Blessings,
      Bev xx

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  14. This book sounds so good... as an introvert I have such a hard time with connecting people - I get overwhelmed just thinking about it (I have no money and a very weird schedule so it's extra tough)! I'm hoping something like this could help!

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    1. Fayelle,
      I am an introvert to a degree...I do better with one on one connecting. When I walk into a room full of people I don't know, my anxiety level goes up. I get that it's tough. I'm hoping to find some creative ideas "outside the box" that might help me as well.
      Blessings,
      Bev xx

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  15. I loved this post because much like you, Bev, I too am alone a lot. There is much wisdom to be found in your words. We all need connection. It truly is a life source. This is a book on my "to read" list. Blessings today!

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    1. Joanne,
      This season in life is very different for me and I am finding I need new ways to connect. Yes, it is a life source and I am always aware that the enemy would like nothing more than to isolate us from others - just one of his many tactics. Let's not let him win.
      Blessings dear friend,
      Bev xx

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  16. Bev, such a great post! I love that you make your schedule work for getting that friend time. I agree, it's a necessity. My hubs and I figured out early in our marriage that I needed girlfriend time. He's been so great at supporting and encouraging me to meet that need. I am blessed to have a group of friends I call my "Go Through Life" friends. We get together to celebrate birthdays. We pray for each other. We help each other through the rough patches in life. And we laugh together. It's been such a filling thing for me to be a part of this group. I also cherish one-on-one time with friends. Those connections are vital for our spirits, aren't they?

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    1. Jeanne,
      I'm trying, though I admit I'm not very successful. I tend to like small, casual, spontaneous get togethers. If it involves too much planning i tend to get overwhelmed. I love your group of "Go Through Life" friends. How blessed you are to have such a group! Connection IS vital for our spirit. Thanks for sharing here.
      Blessings,
      Bev xx

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  17. Bev, my favorite thing about this post is that you don't just talk community -- you live it. Thanks for all the showing up you do in your ministry of encouraging others here in this blogging community!

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    1. Michele,
      I'm trying to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. I do wish I had more time to get around to all my good friends' blogs more often. I appreciate all of you who show up to encourage me!!
      Blessings,
      Bev xx

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  18. Such great suggestions for building and enjoying community. I appreciate the reminder that it doesn't have to be nearly as difficult as we make it in our minds! You have inspired me.

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    1. Kay,
      I know what you mean...sometimes I make it out to be such a daunting task. I think those we connect with appreciate keeping it simple too??! Maybe we'll get inspired together. Hope you'll join us at (in)courage on the 7th.
      Blessings,
      Bev xx

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  19. Next month I'll be participating on a motherhood panel for a women's conference being held at our church. It has been such a joy to become acquainted with some of the younger moms (I'm an empty nester). I was afraid my age (68!!) would be a barrier to that connection you've talked about here. Not so! God has blessed me by bringing these young women into my life and I look forward to enjoying community with them at Girls' Night Out (another function at our church) and perhaps in other ways, too. You are so right, Bev. I need to be investing in meaningful relationships, right where God has me--at this church of predominantly young people!

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    1. Nancy,
      I was asked to be a "Mentor Mom" for our church's chapter of MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers). I was honored that they thought I knew something in life that I could possibly share with younger moms. Like you, I LOVED the experience. I like being part of a church that is a mix in ages because I believe we need to connect across the generations - the youngsters learning from some of us more "mature" members lol. and for us to be caught up in their youth, zeal and enthusiasm. Girls' Night out sounds like a lot of fun...enjoy!! You have wonderful gifts and insights to share!
      Blessings,
      Bev xx

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  20. Beverly, I've been eyeing that book! I've found I have to be super intentional to keep up my real-life connections. Virtually connecting is so easy now, but sharing coffee or a walk with a heart friend is what really keeps me charged. Happy to be neighbors at #TellHisStory this week.

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    1. Lisa,
      Be sure to grab a copy and head over to (in)courage www.incourage.me in February and we'll be encouraging each other on to make connections in cyber space and face to face (yes, that keeps me charged too!).
      Blessings,
      Bev xx

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  21. Real life connections are treasures Bev. There's a whole lot we benefit and offer in our relationships. Thank you for the giveaway.
    Blessings to you

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    1. Ifeoma,
      So good to have you here - have missed you. Yes, indeed, real life connections ARE treasures - ones we need to not take for granted!
      Blessings,
      Bev xx

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  22. Bev - With all the extreme busy-ness in our lives, it's hard for women to allow themselves a few hours a week to connect with girlfriends for some soul care. Thanks for holding this up, using your own current season as an example. Beautiful. Visiting you from Susie Eller's link up. xo

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    1. Laura,
      So glad you popped over from Susie's link up! We look at allowing ourselves a few hours to connect as a luxury or something that's not productive, when in actuality it's a necessity - at least for me it is! We just need to (I just need to) keep adjusting with the different seasons in life.
      Blessings,
      Bev xx

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  23. Craving is a good word for that, isn't it? Connection is something we need--knowing we're not alone, having support and encouragement -- a value we can't put a price on. I've moved a lot too, and it sure takes longer to make connections as an adult. :) So glad God saw fit to put us in the same area, Bev. Has been great getting to know you, friend. :) Thanks for sharing with #ChasingCommunity! ((hug)) (p.s. -- Fun that we're both giving away this book today!)

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    1. Brenda,
      It's a lot harder to connect as adults. When you have children or dogs...they are ready made introductions. Having to connect with new people as an adult takes some guts. I am so glad God made our paths to cross!! You are truly a blessing and you have such a gentle spirit and kind heart!
      Blessings sweet friend,
      Bev xx

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  24. I am so excited to find out about the connection group over at inCourage! I’ll hop on over and see you over there! As a perfectionist (now in recovery mode, thankfully!) I craved connection, but I often would wait for everything to be perfect before pursuing a deeper connection with someone. Not good! Some good opportunities to share life with other women probably passed me by. But no more! I’m looking forward to reading this book and to the challenges as well! #ChasingCommunity

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    1. Leslie,
      Welcome...I am a recovering perfectionist who always thought she had to have it all together in order to put one foot forward in making new connections. If I waited until I had it all together, I'd be making my first friends in Heaven. I believe we are all flawed and if we allow ourselves to be real, to be vulnerable...then that invites the other person to be real and vulnerable too! Oh please DO join us at (in)courage starting on the 7th. I hope you win, but if not, grab a copy of the book and maybe we'll all learn something together.
      Blessings,
      Bev xx

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  25. I too have been craving connection lately. Even though my son turns one in just a few days, I still feel like I haven't been able to balance maintaining connection with those who are already in my circle of friends (most of whom don't have babies even on their radar) and building new connections with other mama's who a) are in a similar stage of life, and b) who have experience and can be somewhat of a mentor to me. It's left me feeling alone and frustrated, but I am thankful for Gods grace and His faithfulness.

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    1. Danielle,
      I don't know where you live or what church you attend, but look to see if there is a local chapter of MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group near you. You could check their website for local chapters. MOPS was a lifesaver for me when I moved to a new town, with a newborn, and knew no one, literally. Or if not MOPS, a mothers'morning out group or a playgroup...these would all be good options. It's great to learn from other moms and you could still maintain friendships with your single friends as well. There is room for both. But, do join us at www.incourage.me on the 7th.
      Blessings,
      Bev xx

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  26. Yes! We were created for relationship!

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  27. Bev - after a series of life changes, I've found myself longing for friends more than I ever have. Friendship is truly a precious gift. Thank you for the opportunity to enter your giveaway! Blessings to you!

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  28. I am so excited that you are giving this away. I would love to win a copy. I crave connections too, but I live in a small town where I did not grow up. Finding friends is difficult. Thanks for sharing.

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I would really LOVE to hear from you!! Your thoughts, opinions, suggestions and prayer requests mean a lot to me.