Ink & Willow

New Ink & Willow Release: GET OUTSIDE

Get Outside is now available from Ink & Willow!

This awesome and fantastic release is extra special because @maxieisfamous is in it! A few of us wrote up the photography piece for the GET OUTSIDE Nature Journal and we even got to use some of our own photographs. This was one of the ONLY photos I could find. #totally

But seriously, GET OUTSIDE is the best nature journal out there and you should all get one. That is a complete unbiased opinion. Then get one for a friend. And if he must, Max will sign copies.

ABOUT THE BOOK: For nature lovers seeking a greater appreciation of God’s creation comes a guided journal featuring inspirational quotes, thoughtful journaling prompts, and valuable information to enhance every outdoor adventure.

Designed to be sturdy enough to be taken along on nature hikes or any outdoor excursions, this beautifully designed guided journal will help you become more attentive to the handiwork of God in the great outdoors and in your own heart.

An activity log provides space to record every outdoor adventure, while guides to cloud formations, flora and fauna, navigation by the stars, outdoor photography, and wilderness safety give you the confidence to wander off the beaten path. Additional features include the top ten outdoor survival myths, a state-by-state list of top outdoor destinations, dos and don’ts of day hiking, how U.S. mountains compare in elevation, and hidden or often overlooked locations throughout the country.

Whether you’re an expert adventurer or you simply enjoy a quiet walk in the nearest park, Get Outside will make your time in nature more memorable and spiritually fulfilling.

Where to Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books A Million | Bookshop.org

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Ink & Willow

New Ink & Willow Release: 40 DAYS OF INTENTIONAL LIVING!

As I’ve mentioned countless times, working on Ink & Willow products is absolutely a favorite part of my job. With a new year comes new releases! First up is a devotional journal that’s perfect for Lent and Easter (or any time of the year!). With so many voices featured (and even a handful by yours truly), my prayer is that this will draw you in deeper and closer to Jesus, no matter which 40 Day season you spend doing this.

ABOUT THE BOOK: Cultivate intentional faith practices with this 40-day guided journal that features thoughtful reflections from well-known Christian authors, inspirational quotes, and beautiful illustrations designed to set your mind and soul at rest.

The practice of developing intentional faith habits is not a natural tendency. It requires focus, discipline, prayer, and persistence to grow in our walk with God. We may have great intentions, but often the busyness and chaos of everyday life force our spiritual growth to take a back seat. Fortunately, 40 Days of Intentional Living offers both a practical guide and an inspiring resource to deepening your faith.

Divided into eight themes central to the Christian faith—such as hope, joy, surrender, and rest—these 40 devotions draw from the writings of a number of bestselling and beloved authors of faith, including C.S. Lewis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther King Jr., Louie Giglio, Jennie Allen, Mark Batterson, Brennan Manning, Randy Alcorn, and more. Partnered with daily Scripture reading, thought-provoking journal prompts, and practical action steps to encourage you toward a more intentional faith lifestyle, this 40-day resource is the ideal companion for walking through the seasons of Lent and Advent, as well as for use in personal or group study.

Where to Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books A Million | Bookshop.org | ChristianBook.com | Lifeway

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book club

Next Book Club Read: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Another Book Club discussion in the books! Really appreciate all who come, share their insights, what’s they’re learning from the books we read! I am looking forward to more book clubs!⁣

Next up: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass – An American Slave. It’s been a long while since I’ve read this and I thought it would also make a great read for Black History Month. Plus, with this being in public domain, there are plenty of places to snag a copy (whether free or very affordable physical copies). We’ll be meeting in March to discuss, so do consider joining us!

Join the Facebook Group here

Family Life

It’s Been 30 Years

I often wonder what the dreams of my Grandma were. When you’re young and lose someone close, understanding all that was lost comes later. Often years later. My Grandma died on December 31, 1990 when I was only 8 years old, so while I do have some concrete memories, most of my memories of her are hazy- almost dreamlike – of a quiet and sweet woman who loved all of her grandchildren.

That’s me in the top right.

I remember her smile, and the way she would often use my Grandpa’s nickname and say with a smile “Oh Red,” when my Grandpa was doing something only my Grandpa would do.

I may not have had the words in my young vocabulary when I running around causing chaos with my other young cousins, but with age comes wisdom and and looking back, I can see the ways sickness affected her body (she had open heart surgery before I was born and again when I was little), sickness that would eventually take her in the early hours of a cold California day, the last day of the year.

Did she see her dreams fulfilled? In those final months did she know her time was short and wonder what would become of her grandchildren? I have a feeling she did. I wonder too, if she knew that 8th grandchild and second granddaughter (myself) would be one of the feisty introverts and have much of the same passionate spirit as my Mama, my Grandma’s second born?

That’s my Mom my Grandma is holding in the left photo and others include my Grandpa, great Aunts and Uncles, and my Great-Grandma.

Did I get my love of Spanish music from her too? Was it both her and my Grandpa who left a legacy of music that included voices like Luis Miguel, Perry Como, Keely Smith, Eydie Gormé y Trio Los Panchos?

If she were around today, I’m sure we would chat often about these things, along with talking about our faith and how that has shaped our lives. I wonder, would we talk about favorite foods and if my albondigas tasted anything like hers? I know there would still be lots of hugs.

It’s amazing how love will always stick to a heart, to a soul, even if experienced for such a short time.

As I’ve been in California for awhile, I was hoping to explore some of her spots around L.A. with my Mom, but with all that’s going on, unfortunately I haven’t been able to. But even while the explorations are on hold, being home has included many chats, memories, and stories from both my Mom and Dad about all of my Grandparents. Many, I quickly learned, I didn’t know (or quite possibly I forgot). And even stories they heard from their parents about their Grandparents (many who sadly died young).

Seeing old photos of my Grandma with her sisters (my great Aunts), I again can’t help but wonder, what did they imagine for their future generations? Sisters doing life together, much like my sister and I.

Hortensia. That was her name, but many stories from my Mom over these past several weeks, tell me she never went by her full name. It was always Grandma from my cousins, siblings, and I, “Mimi” for others, and even other nicknames for her siblings and parents. My cousin who was born not too long after her passing is her namesake.

Even if I never called her that, I love her name. The history it encompasses, the stories it’s always ready to share.

I wish I remembered more and had more time with her, but I am thankful for the faded memories I do have and I see her legacy in my Mom, my Aunts and in my cousins. In the importance of family and the importance of love that comes with it.

I hope that if you are blessed to still have your Grandparents in your life, and, come to think of it, your parents, take time today to send them a hello and “I Love You.” The days are long, but the years are far too short.

Ink & Willow

To Read Or Not To Read: The Best Reading Journal In The World

Where to Buy: BAM | Amazon | BN.com | Christianbooks.com | Walmart
book club

Next Book Club Read: The Color of Compromise

The next read for Musings of Jamie Book Club will be Jemar Tisby’s THE COLOR OF COMPROMISE. This is such an important book and I hope you’ll join us! Since December naturally gets busy with holidays, we’ll be connecting mid-January for the discussion! Join the Facebook Group here.

ABOUT THE BOOK:
In The Color of Compromise, Jemar Tisby takes readers back to the roots of sustained racism and injustice in the American church. Filled with powerful stories and examples of American Christianity’s racial past, Tisby’s historical narrative highlights the obvious ways people of faith have actively worked against racial justice, as well as the complicit silence of racial moderates. Identifying the cultural and institutional tables that must be flipped to bring about progress, Tisby provides an in-depth diagnosis for a racially divided American church and suggests ways to foster a more equitable and inclusive environment among God’s people.

WHERE TO BUY: Amazon | BN.com | Christianbooks.com | Books A Million

Bookish Radness

It’s THE NIGHT CIRCUS Party 🖤

“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it…It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.”⁣

This past weekend, I decided to go all out for book club this month with The Night Circus. Mainly because I love this book 🖤. I first read it in 2013, but I had forgotten so much it was like reading it for the first time 😆. It’s just so magical! ⁣Anyway, thought I’d share some photos in case you’re looking for some book club party (or just book party!) inspiration!

Also, if you’re a fan of magic, fantasy, and love a love story, then be sure to check this one out.

Have you ever hosted a book theme party? What was the theme? I’d love to hear!

Bookish Radness

Why read? Here Are 7 Reasons

Let’s all pretend to be shocked that I would choose to write an article on reasons to read, but what can I say? I love to read and I love to talk about why I love to read and books, but I promise this article will be more than just an excuse for me to talk about why reading is the absolute best. So here we go! Seven reasons to keep on reading!

1. Your brain will love and appreciate you a lot more.
Not only does reading help with memory and critical thinking skills, according to Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, it can also slow the rate of decline and has been linked to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease. According to PBS’s Great American Read, those who read regularly are 2.5x less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

I love a good binge watch, but TV does not do this for your brain (also reading burns more calories than watching TV #extrabonus).

2. Knowledge is power.
This might be the most cliché reason to add to this list, but I wouldn’t have if it wasn’t true. As we read more, not only are we learning more on whatever the topic of the book is, we are improving things like our vocabulary and critical thinking skills.

3. Reading reduces stress.
Some might say stress is one of America’s favorite pastimes. Well, reading only a few minutes a day can reduce stress up to 68%. Reading angry Twitter rants does not count. I have no science *yet* to back that up, but pretty sure Twitter triples stress levels.

4. Empathy.
This is one thing the world needs so much more of. Whether it’s taking time to read about the experiences of immigrants are like or the memoirs of someone who has lived a completely different life from you, developing empathy makes us better humans. What so easily divides us is when we forget each other’s humanity.

5. Let us all escape for a quick minute.
Well, if 2020 didn’t prove that we need a place to escape for a few…

6. There is nothing quite like laughter.
A well written book that has humor throughout is always an absolute favorite. When I have to stop reading for a few minutes because I’m laughing so hard, I’m positive I just added a day to my life. (Some books that I have legit laughed out loud? Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, Melanie Shankle’s books, and Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren)

7. Book discussions are one of my favorite reasons.
I’m in three different book clubs and I love it. You need people in your life where you can text any of the following (with, of course, matching gifs) and there will be instant understanding:

  • I read the first chapter and I cannot go on.
  • I think I just fell in love with [Enter name of fictional character]
  • Why did my life have to include reading this TRASH?
  • I think I just cried my eyes out.

Another reason I love book discussions? When people have disagreed on a book, those turned into some of my favorite discussions.

What are some of your favorite reasons to read?

(Sources here and here)

Ink & Willow

I Helped Write a Book! MY PRAYER JOURNEY and Why You Need This

Love and Faith

Look What Was Hiding Out in Deuteronomy

After my Easter devotional readings this year, I started one of the many plans that get you through the Bible in a year. Through mid-August to mid-September, I made my way through Deuteronomy. Mixed throughout the plan were some Psalms, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who isn’t super thrilled about reading through this gem of a book (much like Leviticus and Numbers).

When I noticed that I only had two days left of reading in Deuteronomy I was excited and even prayed “Lord, just help me make it through these last few chapters without completely losing focus.”

Sure enough my reading turned out more than what I expected. As I read Deuteronomy 29:5-6 (which was Moses’ Third Address), Moses is calling the Israelites to commit to the Lord and shared with them these words of the Lord: “During the forty years that I led you through the desert, your clothes did not wear out, not did the sandals on your feet…I did this so that you might know that I am the Lord your God.”

I’ve been a Christian for over two decades and this is the first time I ever thought about their clothes as they wandered through the desert. Am I the only one? But what I love about this passage is that it shows something so profound:

The Lord took care of every single detail. They never had to worry about any of their needs.

What a reminder! God takes care of my daily needs. How prone am I to forget. How easily I don’t notice or take for granted the ways God takes care of my daily needs.

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6:26 (NIV)

I was also reminded that God’s Word is living. It’s true. It draws us closer to Him, whatever book of the Bible we are reading.

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)

Even though reading the Old Testament can be such a struggle in understanding, frustration, and wrestling (and honestly, not just completely skimming over some of the books), God can handle that. He will still always be there to help understand and bring peace.

And in that there’s hope.