Tuesday Victories | 12.5

Friends, it’s officially Christmastime! And a Tuesday, so it’s time for some victories that are bringing me joy and meaning and reminding me of Jesus during this season.

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1. Childhood ornaments- when I moved to Indy, my mom gave me a handful of ornaments from growing up. Some are the ones my Granny gave each of the grandchildren each year and some are my favorites from growing up, especially the Cinderella and Snoopy ones. Matt and I decorated our apartment a few weeks ago and it’s always so fun to sort through them each year and to see them illuminate from the lights every night.

2. Amazon- because 2 day shipping and Christmas shopping work really well together. And the reason we’re basically done with both of our lists. Thanks, Amazon.

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3. Advent studies- with Christmas comes Advent, the season of expectation and longing and celebration of a Savior who came to save. I’m going through the She Reads Truth advent study, which is the one I’ve done for the past few years, and Matt is doing the He Reads Truth one. We typically do Advent and Lent studies every year, and I love that She and He Reads Truth provides resources for both of us! It’s not too late to start! Ladies, check it out here. And guys can head here.

4. This shirt– oversized long-sleeve shirts have been a favorite of mine this fall, and this one is pretty, looks crazy comfortable, and says “Give me Jesus plus nothing” which is my favorite and also a great conversation starter. This one made my Christmas list this year!

5. Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Kettle Corn– discovered this seasonal treat at the grocery store this past weekend and it accompanied our movie night perfectly. I love all things chocolate-sea salt-y and Matt loves kettle corn, so it was the perfect match.

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6. The book of Hebrews– I recently read through Hebrews in my reading plan and shoot dang, I forgot how incredible it is. This book is set up to prove and discuss and celebrate how Jesus is better in every way and I loved it. Such a great way to lead up to Advent. In fact, I wrote a scripture study over Hebrews 9 and used it as a catalyst for a discussion about Christmas at the girls small group I lead at school on Fridays. You can find that resource here!

7. My husband’s Christmas message from last weekend- I love a good sermon. Love them. And one of my favorite voices that I get to learn from is my husband, which is just beautiful and exciting and fun. He taught at the youth ministry he oversees this past weekend and just killed it; I know I was not the only one with tears in my eyes by the end. He told me it will be online later this week, and once it’s posted, it deserves a listen (which you can do here). Crazy proud wife over here, friends.

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8. This bag– The Reformation nerd in me is obsessed with this tote bag and it’s also officially on my Christmas list. This bag is perfect for toting around a Bible and a journal! And also another great conversation starter. I have a weakness for tote bags and love Scripture, so this was a fun find for me. (picture credit)

9. Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life by Tish Harrison Warren– I’m still slowly working my way through this book, but it’s challenging me in ways that are all sorts of hard and good and beautiful. She discusses how ordinary moments are meaningful to our spiritual life (one of my favorite very favorite things) and challenges her reader to be more intentional. Warren is a minister in the Anglican tradition and brings in her knowledge of the church liturgy and applies it to our ordinary moments. I’m finding this aspect to be particularly fascinating and challenging, especially since I didn’t grow up in a liturgical church. This book is encouraging me to slow down and make intentional changes, like waking up early to journal with paper and pen instead of scroll on my phone first thing in the morning, and it’s been so, so good.

10. The Office season finale- Matt and I started watching The Office this past summer after we drove through Scranton, PA on the way back from Maine and he realized I never actually watched the entire series. It was a tough moment in our marriage. We finished watching it last night and people. What a solid finale. I was skeptical of whether I would continue to like the series after Michael left, but I did and the last episode was so. great. All the feelings. Definitely a worthwhile show to watch all the way through, which is what I’ve been told for years, but now I can whole-heartedly recommend it.

To quote Pam Beasely from the end of The Office, “There’s a lot of beauty in ordinary things. Isn’t that kind of the point?” In this season, I’m finding a lot of reminders to slow down and pay attention to the beauty in ordinary moments and I want to invite you to do the same. What are some victories or moments that are bringing you joy or pointing you to Jesus or challenging you today? Comment below or on social media (Instagram is my favorite) @kelseylietzen. I’d love to hear from you!

Tuesday Victories | 9.26

September has been quite the month! It’s been filled with games and traveling and conversations and needed moments of rest here and there. I’m so thankful for every moment, and here’s a collection of victories from the past several weeks for this Tuesday. 

donuts

1. Longs Donuts: Matt and I live five minutes from one of the best donut places. It’s a small, unassuming cash-only bakery with amazing pastries that are super cheap. We hadn’t been in awhile, and decided to a few weekends ago before a soccer game and it was so. good. Donuts? Fall? Done.

2. Free of Me by Sharon Hodde Miller– I’ve mentioned Sharon on here before because her writing has been such an encouragement and challenge to my faith, and her first book is releasing on October 3! I preordered it a few months ago and downloaded the pre-order gifts last week, which included the introduction and first chapter of the book. I read them yesterday on the bus to an away game and oh friends, it’s going to be a good one. Miller focuses on how everything in our lives is better when we stop constantly looking at ourselves and instead on Christ, the way we’re called to live in the first place. I cannot wait to read the rest of the book in just one week! If you want to preorder the book, go here and then receive your pre-order gifts here.

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3. Honey crisp apples- I love fall. Every stereotypical part of it. And I’ve had a honey crisp apple in my lunch every day for the past week and I look forward to it everyday. They were on sale at the grocery store, so Matt picked up a bunch and we’ve been savoring them!

4. This sermon– Steve DeWitt is the pastor of my home church in Crown Point and this sermon from this past weekend is fantastic. He talks about the history of the Reformation and why it’s so crazy dangerous to add anything to the Gospel. I’ve always been fascinated by the Reformation and this is a great overview of some important historical moments for the Protestant church.

5. The Lone Bellow- Matt and I went to Nashville over Labor Day weekend and stumbled upon a few free music festivals. The Lone Bellow was playing Saturday night at one of the festivals and it was the best. They put on such a great show! If you’re looking for some new music, check them out!

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6. White pumpkins- now that it’s officially fall, I’m loving all things festive and these white pumpkins are my current favorite. I found some mini ones at Trader Joe’s for 70 cents, which was a steal compared to Target or Hobby Lobby (granted– they are real and will only last for this season). My wallet and home are happy now.

7. This download from Christianity Today- this is a special edition collection of articles about women and discipleship and church and I devoured it this past weekend. Such wisdom from women who have been there, studied it, and can write well about their experiences and findings. I highly recommend it!

Tuesday Victories | 7.25

Tuesdays are hard. They’re the sophomores of the week- you’re fully invested but not close to the end yet. Instead of feeling drained and irritated (ask any of my students- Tuesdays are the worst for me..whoops!), here are a few small victories- words, things, and moments- getting me through the week:

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1. Eat with Joy: Redeeming God’s Gift of Food– my Whole30 journey started and then ended after four days. I didn’t quit because I necessarily wanted to give up, but rather because it wasn’t the healthiest decision for my body and mind. Because I’ve been thinking a lot about food lately, I’ve been reading about eating and I stumbled upon this book and downloaded it immediately. I’m about halfway through and it’s challenging me to think about the way and reasons why I eat, which is an incredibly challenging process. I’ll let ya know how it goes and what I’m learning in a blog post sometime.

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2. This sermon by Scott Sauls- Matt introduced me to Scott Sauls (not personally- just his writings/preachings) several months ago because Sauls is a preacher Matt greatly respects. I’ve been on a podcast kick this summer, mostly when I’m driving or working out, and downloaded this one yesterday from the Christ Presbyterian’s podcast channel. This sermon is such a treat. It is challenging and beautiful and packed with truth and Jesus and I didn’t want it to end. I’m excited to listen to it again and take notes!

3. Chat Pack– this is a product I got at a conference as a catalyst to start discussion among students, but Matt and I used it a bit when we first started dating. It’s just a box filled with cards that have interesting questions on them, but they’ve sparked so many great conversations for us! We hadn’t used them in the past year, but Matt found them last week and we went through a bunch and it was such a blast to learn things about each other or see how our answers have changed. And it’s always my favorite to connect over intentional conversation, so I’m thankful for that time with him!

4. This carnitas recipe– Although Whole30 turned into Whole4, we still had all Whole30 food in the fridge for the week. We made these last night and they. are. amazing. Easy to prep, pretty inexpensive (I used a pork shoulder rather than a tenderloin) and super healthy. Matt and I both agreed that this will be one of our go-to repeat recipes.

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5. This Philippians study– I mentioned Sharon Hodde Miller’s Twitter feed a few weeks ago and she just released this study on Philippians. We’re only two days in, but so far I’ve loved the what I’ve learned contextually about this church and this time period and where Paul was at while he was writing this letter. Philippians has always been my favorite book of the Bible and I’m so excited to dive deeper!

A shorter list for today because I’ve been running around getting ready for school to start next week. Ah! If you found some victories this week, and I certainly hope you did, let me know what they are in the comments!

Tuesday Victories | 6.13

Tuesdays are hard. They’re the sophomores of the week- you’re fully invested but not close to the end yet. Instead of feeling drained and irritated (ask any of my students- Tuesdays are the worst for me..whoops!), here are a few small victories- words, things, and moments- getting me through the week:

books

1. God Has a Name by John Mark Comer– THIS BOOK. Shoot. Comer combines theology and approachability to create a piece that takes his reader through an explanation of God’s actual name, Yahweh, by going in-depth into Exodus 34:4-7. I was challenged every time I picked up this book as Comer presented ideas and concepts and explanations that I had never considered before and he did it really well. Here’s to the many hours of processing and prayer to come.

2. Our Le Crueset Grill Pan– because summer means grilling out but apartment living says, “nope, can’t quite do that here!” so we compromise with a grill pan. Although it’s a pain to clean, Matt manages to magically get it spotless every time- whatta good man- so we use it all the time because it at least gives us the facade that we grilled out and that just makes us happy. And it cooks meat perfectly and deliciously, so that helps too. Go almost grilling.

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3. Google Maps– because we’re road tripping to Maine at the end of this week (SO. READY. FOR. LOBSTER. And family. Always family.) and Google Maps has been our constant companion while we’ve been searching places we could realistically and potentially stop at on the way there. Also, it will be accompanying us the entire way there and it reroutes automatically, so all the praises for that.

4. Sunscreen- because coaching soccer means summer conditioning started yesterday and it decided to be super hot this week and sunscreen makes my skin not completely hate me. Or look red, because that would be inevitable without sunscreen. Thanks western European heritage.

ice cream

5. Dairy Queen Oreo blizzards- because ice cream in the summer. Done.

6. Pictures of Bernedoodles– because I just discovered that this breed exists and I’m absolutely obsessed and looking at pictures of them makes me smile. Currently making oh-so-subtle hints to my husband for one. I’ll keep ya updated.

I hope you’re staying cool on this super humid Tuesday! What are some of the things making you smile this week?

Tuesday Victories | 6.6

Tuesdays are hard. They’re the sophomores of the week- you’re fully invested but not close to the end yet. Instead of feeling drained and irritated (ask any of my students- Tuesdays are the worst for me..whoops!), here are a few small victories– words, things, and moments– getting me through the week:

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1. The new She Reads Truth Romans study– I love everything She Reads Truth produces. Each plan is simply scripture with a short devotion and this summer we’re walking through Romans- one of my favorite books of the Bible, especially after having to do an intensive study over it for a Bible class in college. I’m so, so excited to be digging into this book once again! We just started yesterday, so it’s not too late to join! Check it out here

2. Fresh squeezed orange juice- we have a local market here in Indy that sells fresh squeezed orange juice (with just oranges! No sugar! Praises.) and it’s my current summer favorite. Yes please!

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3. This pun book– because it’s adorable and it’s sitting on my coffee table which is in front of the sofa I’m always sitting on now because summer as a teacher. Right on Thyme? Find Your Porpoise? Honey Bee Yourself? And those illustrations?! Goodness I love puns. The best. Thanks to my friend Katy for this gem!

4. Amazon family accounts- because this means I have access to my husband’s massive Kindle library and this was the best discovery. Nerdy kid in a candy store right here.

5. Struck by Russ Ramsey– A quick, but impactful read of a man’s reflections on life as he closely encountered death through a random virus in his heart. I sat at the pool late last week tearing up behind my sunglasses as I inhaled Ramsey’s words. Beautiful and brutally honest reflections about Jesus, marriage, relationships, and death. And as a newlywed, the tears kept coming until the last page with this one.

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6. These running shoes- I just started routinely running again because I realized I need the therapeutic qualities pounding my feet on pavement over and over quickly provides me. And without good shoes, this would be an even more painful endeavor than running (and working through all the things in my head) already is. And also, this is probably the fifth pair of these shoes that I’ve owned. They’ve been my loyal road companions for the last six years and it’s been nice to be reacquainted with them recently.

7. McAlisters– I meet with women from my church- women who have become some of my dearest friends in Indy- here every Tuesday to talk about Jesus and life and all the random things in-between. I order a grilled chicken salad and grilled chicken spud every time and now we get to sit outside because it’s warm and I just love it.

Happy Tuesday, friends! Enjoy the sunshine and the fact that it’s summer YAY!