Welcome friend! Grab a cup of coffee or sweet tea or even a green smoothie if that's your thing and let's get acquainted. I'm Teri Lynne — wife to Scott, mom to Casiday, and manager of Buddy the Basset. {Check out my Instagram feed to keep up with the crazy dog antics.}

Kick off your shoes and let's chat about faith, family, and figuring out how to live well in this chaotic 21st century. And if we can't solve any of the world's problems, at least we can listen and encourage one another. In the words of that old 80s song, "That's what friends are for ... "

xo, Teri Lynne

Quiet Times, West Wing, and Being Invaded

What if we focused less on having a perfect quiet time and more on connecting with the Perfect One?

Wow! Yesterday’s post spoke to several of you. Thanks for sharing on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I loved the comments on Instagram too … gotta love getting a “Boom!” about a post! {Thanks, Stef! And I loved this post she wrote about moms needing their own Bible time.}

I’ve often wondered why my most popular posts are about quiet times and Bible studies. I think is has to do with this one thing:

We desperately want someone to tell us we’re doing it right!

I am amazed at how many competent, intelligent, thoughtful women become insecure and uncertain when it comes to the Bible and having a quiet time. Girls, it’s this: spending time with the Lord.

What if we focused less on having a perfect quiet time and more on connecting with the Perfect One?

Let me give you an example:

I love West Wing. It is the best television show of all time. {Don’t argue with me … remember, I went to college on a debate scholarship.} My favorite character on the show is Donna Moss. She’s beautiful, bright, capable, and a bit of a dork. When I watch the show, it is often through Donna’s eyes. I see the other characters in terms of their relationships with her. Every time I watch an episode, I gain a deeper appreciation for her character and find another reason to love her.

Now, I’m never going to get to hang out with Donna Moss and ask her why in the world she yelled at the chickens during season six.  Obviously, she isn’t real. But God is very real. And when we read the Bible we slowly begin to understand His character. We understand how simple and yet complex His love for us is. We begin to see the world through His eyes and view our relationships with others in light of our relationship with Him. The more we read, the more we grasp His nature and love … and the more we learn to love and live for Him.

You see, having a quiet time is less about what you do and more about Who you meet.

And, the more time you spend with God, the deeper your awareness is of Him in every aspect of your life and in the world around us. It’s not about what devotional you use or what time you read or if you journal or light a candle … it’s about slowing your mind and heart to give space for God’s Presence to invade your space. In fact, that’s essentially what a quiet time is: God’s invasion into your space. When you open yourself up for Him to challenge and encourage you, to convict and teach you, you’ve invited Him to invade you.

Right now my quiet time is around 8 am. I sit in a comfy chair in my dining room where I can look out the window. I grab my ESV Study Bible, a journal, and Whispers of Hope or Jesus Calling or Streams in the Desert … and I ask for the invasion. Because I’m a Type A, list-making sort of girl, I typically write out all my “to dos” and worries and concerns first thing. I offer them to the Lord. Then I read a passage of Scripture … sometimes I read the chapter from which my devotion comes, sometimes I read from whatever book I’m teaching in my Bible study class, and sometimes I read a chapter of Proverbs. I journal what I’ve read, what questions the passage raises, my responses to what God has shown me through the verses. Some days I stop there. But other days I go ahead and open one of my devotionals. I read the devotion and journal any quotes or thoughts I have in response.

There’s nothing inherently awesome about what I do … and truth be told, if you ask me in a few months I’ll probably be doing something different. I try to use what I’ve learned to encourage others so I typically share a verse or quote I read on Instagram and Facebook along with some of my thoughts.

sharing portions of my quiet time on Instagram

I guess what I’m trying to say is this: don’t spend so much time trying to find the perfect system that you miss out on encountering the Perfect One. Nothing else in our lives is perfect, so why on earth do we expect our quiet times will be??

What if we made this decision, to let go of the quest for a perfect quiet time and choose to be invaded by God’s Presence instead? What would that look like for you?

xo,
Teri Lynne

What’s the Point of a Quiet Time?

what is the point of a quiet time?

Have You Missed the Point?

I feel the need to confess something … my mornings have been utter chaos this summer. Camps and vacation and the urgent need for catching up on laundry in between finds me struggling to get into a good routine. I have great intentions. But in the clash between reality and intentions, well, reality typically wins. This summer has been full of hit and miss morning quiet times.  More misses than hits, since I’m confessing. Maybe you deal with the same thing?

Perhaps you have a baby or toddler who is not an awesome sleeper? Or maybe your kids have been involved in several activities this summer all of which are in the mornings? Or could it be that you, like me, relish the slower pace of summer days at home and somehow find the days passed without a moment in the Word {but lots of time spent with your kids!}? But the question that keeps coming back to my mind is this: what is the point of a quiet time?

A couple of years ago I wrote a series, Starting Well in 2012, and the first area of focus was time in the Word. One of those posts, 10 Tips for a Great Quiet Time, is the most viewed post on my blog. In one of those posts I wrote this,

God is not interested in your quiet time or devotions or personal Bible study … His interest is YOU. 

I had to remind myself of that truth recently as the guilt weighed heavy on my heart. I am not saying it isn’t important to spend time in Scripture and prayer. It is. But I am convinced of this, God isn’t looking for a checked-off list.  He is looking for women who are passionate about knowing Him.

And sometimes knowing Him looks like snuggling with our babies and reminding them {and ourselves} how much God loves us. There are days when knowing Him is less about reading a chapter of Ezekiel and more about slowing down to listen to a friend.

I don’t know what today looks like for you. I barely know what today looks like for me. But I do know this, knowing God is about spending time with Him and living in response to what we know. If you read the Bible all the time and do every Bible study that comes across your Facebook or Twitter stream but you never actually live what you’ve learned, you’ve missed the point entirely.

James says,

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit the orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1:27

If you are not living what you’ve already learned, you’re missing the whole point of Bible study. My challenge to you is this — do what you know.

xo,

Teri Lynne

Summer Update

savoring the moments

I’m the worst blogger ever.

It’s true … I want to write.  I mean to write. But then somehow I end up watching a “Friends” marathon with my girl and I realize how very uninteresting a story that makes so I make a list of blog posts I could write.  You know, things like “101 books you should read this summer” or “Tips for Looking Busy” …

The thing is, well, there’s been a lot going on around here and I’m pretty much an epic failure at multitasking. {And perhaps I have a very low standard of how much needs to be done in order to call a day successful.} And I’m finding sometimes the moments are better savored in my memory than scratched out on the page.

So, I thought I’d give a little update … and share a few things I’ve been working on behind the scenes.

summer update

Post Heart Attack

I’m having a hard time adjusting to the medicines. I am hoping to get a second opinion from a different cardiologist in August. We have a lot of unanswered questions about what led to my heart attack and what I can do now to prevent another one. Your prayers as we seek answers are greatly appreciated.

Cheer Mom

Yowza, y’all! This is sort of a full time job!  But I have to admit … I LOVE IT!! I’ll have to do a whole post {eventually} about the cute gifts I did for the girls before camp. Seriously, I’m trying not to be like one of those women on “Dance Moms” … but I might have a little obsession with cheer bows.

She Speaks

I cannot believe I’ll be at She Speaks NEXT WEEK. Unbelievable! I’m working hard on my two sessions for the pre-conference and I’m excited to be co-leading a session during the main conference with Amy Carroll and doing another special session for the Advanced Speakers as well. This is really a dream come true for me and I’m so honored to have been asked.

Speaking Events

I just scheduled my first event for 2015. Wow! If your church is planning on a retreat or other event this fall or winter, I’d love to come share with your ladies. For more information about my speaking ministry check out my Speaking page.

Writing

I have a few projects in process … including a couple of Bible studies and a new book. This fall is going to be full of writing and releasing! If you are interested in helping me spread the word about these projects, please email me: teri {at} terilynneunderwood {dot} com.  I’d love to have a team of 8 to 12 — and I’m not looking specifically for bloggers so if you just love reading and using social media, please feel free to contact me!

Coaching

Coaching has really captured my heart right now. I love helping people sort out their goals and develop a plan for reaching them.  I’ve got some great clients. {More information on coaching here.}

So that’s the news around here … Scott and I celebrated our 18th anniversary in June. You can keep up with Buddy the Basset’s antics as well as all the random craziness of my life through my Instagram. And if you haven’t already, please like my Facebook page where we can chat about all sorts of randomness.

I promise, this fall I’ll be back on track … well, maybe promise is too strong a word.  I really hope!! :) Thank you for sticking with me … and for being such sweet encouragers in my life.

xo,
TL

What’s going on in your life this summer??

Hello!! It’s been awhile …

Hello! I'm so glad you're here ...

Hello! I'm so glad you're here ...

This summer has been crazy! Can anyone else relate? It seems the older my daughter gets, the busier our life gets. But if you follow me on Instagram, you know we’ve had a blast. I sure do wish you were here so we could sit down in chairs like those gorgeous blue ones above and chat about all the fun and adventures and stresses of these past few weeks. Wouldn’t that be awesome??

In the middle of all the chaos, I’ve been working on a big project — a new design! And guess what? I did it all myself! I’m still working on a few things so if all the corners aren’t swept, please just overlook the mess.  The truth is, if you came to my house you’d have to overlook the laundry on the couch or the dishes in the sink, so now my blog looks even more like my real life! :)

I hope you’ll peek around … there are lots of new photos and I’ve updated almost every page. I’m glad you’re here and I’ve missed you!

If you haven’t already subscribed to my newsletter, please do that … I’ve got a special gift for all my subscribers — 19 Ways to Invigorate Your Quiet Time.  {You can subscribe in the sidebar ~~>} {If you’re reading this in email, you can can subscribe by clicking here.}

My plan is to post on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday each week.  So be sure to come back Thursday when I’ll be sharing about another something new!

In the meantime, thanks again for being here!

xo,
Teri Lynne

image via canstockphoto.com

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