Thursday, May 23, 2013

Triple … Dog … Dare …

I’m working on my doctoral thesis: the premise is that we can induce pure joy into our lives, our community and our congregations by changing the way we think and live.

Here is a resource that I’m finding helpful!

Join in the Pure Joy Summer Series …

Yep, you heard me right. A Triple. Dog. DARE.

And in case you didn’t know, you can’t refuse a triple dog dare. Once someone has issued one of these babies, you MUST accept the challenge at hand and see it through. I’m totally serious! It’s like a rule or something. “Somewhere it is written…”!!!

So now you know! And so NOW…I TRIPLE DOG DARE YOU to join us in this spectacularly life changing, Pure Joy inducing, portion of our summer series: The Joy Dare!

THIS is the final letter of our short but sweet summer word: JOY. “Y”, where we hope you join us in celebrating the JOY You already have right in your very own life!

Everything good comes from God. Every perfect gift is from him! James 1:17a, ERV.

I LOVE sharin’ up some good scripture with you! And this one just about turns my heart into happy bursting mode! EVERY GOOD THING comes from God! You heard it here first (or maybe second or third!), ladies and gentlemen! What He gives is GOOD!!! And I think it’s high time we celebrate all that good stuff we got, don’t you?!

The Joy Dare comes to us directly from author, blogger, speaker, mother, wife, Jesus lover Ann Voskamp. Ann is the author of One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are! And in case you haven’t read it, or even heard about it, let me just take a sec to tell you that it is LIFE changing. The premise? Take time each day to find three things, three blessed little gifts in your life, for which to thank God. The book itself is on our Summer Reading List (you can access the entire list above under the Pure Joy Summer Series 2013 tab!). The Joy Dare comes directly from Ann’s awesome blog, A Holy Experience, which can be found at: I highly recommend it for some awesome daily reading!

The Joy Dare is a collection of fun little cards that Ann made that break it down to an easy, breezy way to keep track of your daily gratitude! Click this link to see what I’m talking about:

The Joy Dare: .

(This link will also always accessible under the Pure Joy Summer Series tab above!)

For each day of the year, Ann recommends three things to look for and to think on as blessings/gifts. For instance, yesterday (May 22nd), her Joy Dare was to find 3 gifts that made you laugh. If you know me at all, that wasn’t a challenge – almost everything makes me giggle, at least the good stuff! So here is what I found to list as my three Joy Dare Gifts for yesterday:

crazy boy ted

Smart Women

lemonade with straw

Oh my gosh – thank you GOD for ALL things that make me giggle!

Today’s Joy Dare is to find 3 gifts found in community. I think I’ll probably list something like children swinging at the park; neighbors laughing on my driveway; and the comfort of knowing Glen Ellyn is protected by our awesome fire department! Try it yourself and see what you can find today!

The whole point of the Joy Dare is that gratitude (the soul-feeling that comes from being thankful) is intrinsically tied to the experience of joy (come on now, you cannot possibly be grumpy or hopeless AND be grateful – truly grateful – for something at the same time!). She also reminds us that gratitude allows us to find miracles in life, especially in the mundane moments! AND, in her book, Ann wisely shows us that before every miracle Jesus ever performed, he gave THANKS TO GOD beforehand. We honestly cannot expect joy and miracles without gratitude, sweet friends!

So this is how we are going to work “Y”! Each time (hopefully every joyful summer day!) you take a look at the Joy Dare Collection gift list for the day, you will record it in some way: you can make a mental note of thanks; write them in a journal; take photos of them; draw them; put them to music…the list of expression ideas is endless! AND for every day of the Summer Series, my sweet daughter, Ella, (who, I gotta admit, is a little bit of a budding photographer) and I will be posting photos of OUR three things on my Twitter account (@WendieConnors) and on the Stringing Pearls with Wendie Facebook Page: (, AND my Pinterest page for Pure Joy ( . Anytime we post something – especially on Twitter – we’ll give it a hash tag that looks like this: #stringingpearlspurejoy. That way, we can all follow along if we search for that particular hash tag!

We are encouraging YOU to do the same! Share your thoughts, pictures, drawings, etc. on your own Facebook pages, our Facebook page, your Twitter, our Twitter, your Pinterest, and/or mine! Please access the technology section here on the blog for more information on how to do these things! Click on the Pure Joy Summer Series 2013 tab above (that’s a handy dandy tab up there, isn’t it?!). Ann even has a free app called 1000 Gifts for iPhone/iPad users available in the App Store that helps you take photos and keep track of them! It doesn’t follow the Joy Dare, so to speak, but if you like apps, check it out! It’s so fun!!

Whew! There we have it. Joy in Jesus, Joy in Others. Joy in Your Life. You can pick and choose how and what to do this summer – that’s the beauty of this series! No set rules, no homework, and just a smidgen of structure! As we like to say around here (thanks to Beth Moore), “Do What Blesses – Not What Burdens”! Summer is about hanging out, a looser routine, and experiencing a little bit of a slower pace of life – at least that’s what we are going for in the Connors household this summer!

Sweet friends, this summer, let’s build connections, and in doing so, we will build community. Let’s express gratitude, so we cannot help but experience miracles. Let’s fill our hearts with scripture and words of faith-filled wisdom, and in turn, fill our very souls with Jesus. Honestly, what could be more JOYful than all of THAT?!

Please join in the fun of Pure Joy, Stringing Pearls with Wendie Summer Series 2013 – it won’t be the same without you!!!! We’re kicking off this Monday (Memorial Day!), so -

On your mark, get set…

Up Monday: …GO!

Peace, love, and MUCH Joy!!!


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A note about the Oklahoma devastation

Insurance companies will be calling this tornado an "act of God."

I know what they mean. But whereas they are referring to the destruction wrought by the storm, I see this event as the loci of what we can call "acts of God." Plural. I expect to see God show up in many different ways. And we should not be surprised to hear again and again people witnessing to the presence of God in the hour of their despair.

I not only expect God to show up, I expect people to show up. That is, I expect to see the best in the human spirit rise and experience its finest hour. We will see neighbors assisting neighbors, strangers helping each other. We will see unsolicited donations pour in from all over the world. This tragedy, as with other tragedies, will act as a mirror in which we see humanity rising to express their "imago dei" human-ness. Humans as God intended us to be. That's always heart-warming to witness.

I expect to see communities show up and stand up on behalf of the victims of this storm.

I expect to see people's view of what's important in life to experience a seismic shift because of this quick macro-burst of energy that left scores dead.

I expect to see people in each other's arms crying together and holding each other up.

I expect many people will re-discover their faith and decide that they no longer can live a life without God. There may be some who will shake their fist in the face of God and walk away. Many more, in my view, will take a journey from fear to faith, and find a renewed strength to face the world.

These are just a few thoughts about what I expect to see emerging in the southern Midwest area of the U.S. and particularly Oklahoma and Oklahoma city. What about our local church? What do we expect to see this week? Do we expect to see God? And if so, how? Do we expect to see people rising to be the persons God created them to be? Will we see our community coming together to support the needy, or to uphold justice? Will we see friends weeping with friends, strangers helping each other? Perhaps.

An appropriate prayer for those affected by this Oklahoma disaster is Psalm 46. We close with these words.

Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength,

a very present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.

God bless you this Sunday as you proclaim the good news.

Timothy Merrill

Sunday, March 17, 2013

St. Patrick’s Lorica–Morning Prayere

St. Patrick's Lorica
(Morning Prayer of Saint Patrick)
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
... Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation.
I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth and His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion and His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection and His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.
I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In preachings of the apostles,
In faiths of confessors,
In innocence of virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.
I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.
I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me;
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's hosts to save me
From snares of the devil,
From temptations of vices,
From every one who desires me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a multitude.
I summon today all these powers between me and evil,
Against every cruel merciless power that opposes my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of women and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul.
Christ shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that reward may come to me in abundance.
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.
I arise today Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through a confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation
St. Patrick (ca. 377)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Ignatian Lenten Retreat Offered Online

Ignatian-Prayer-Adventure-475Lenten Devotions

Click the link for 8 weeks of material. Use as little or as much as you find helpful in your time of prayer and reflection.