FreerangeFriday: Open the Gift!

by Lilly Lewin
gift yellow bow

By Lilly Lewin

As I said last week, Christine Sine and I share a birthday week! Both of us are January babies. As a kid, I didn’t like having a birthday in January because I usually had exams on my birthday and often my parents and others had given so much at Christmas that January was light on gifts.

This year I’ve had a lot of fun celebrating my birthday with last minute trip our to visit my sister in the Pacific Northwest. I greatly apologize to all of my friends who I didn’t get to see. I had planned to host a coffee with Seattle friends but due to the snow and ice in Nashville, I didn’t get to leave when I’d planned and almost didn’t make the trip at all! I actually ended up taking my suitcases down our hill on a sled to meet my Lyft driver. (that’s a great story for another post! ) It was a working trip so I didn’t have a lot of time to play. But it was a great GIFT to get to see the mountains and the snow up in Lynden where my sister lives. My work was helping her decorate after a long remodel project! Got to use my atmosphere architecture gift in a different way!

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Since I was blessed with birthday gifts this week, here are a few I want to give to myself and to you and our world this year!

The Gift of Beauty…taking time to notice and discover the beauty around us. Take time to notice the clouds, the colors, the smiles on people’s faces.

The Gift of Silence…taking time to listen …to God, and for God.  Turning off the noise of life and really being still.  Creating a space daily for silence and making a way for a longer retreat time of silence.

The Gift of Listening… to each other! Truly taking the time to notice and know the people in our world. AND taking time to  listen to ourselves. What are we needing? What is our heart longing for?

The Gift of CURIOSITY…learn something new every day! Be like Ted Lasso…Be curious and not judgmental. What do you want to learn more about? What is something you’ve dreamed of learning but haven’t gotten around to YET?

The Gift of OUTSIDE….taking time each day to get outside and breathe fresh air. When you are spinning inside or anxious, take a walk! Invite a friend to join you!

The Gift of ALL our SENSES…goes along with beauty and curiosity and getting outside! We have lost a lot of our senses due to staring at screens all day long! Touch taste smell hear, see! EXPERIENCE life! What is your favorite thing to smell? What are tastes that bring you joy? Notice textures and colors too! Color with crayons!

The Gift of PLAY…What brought you JOY as a kid? How can you do more of that? Sledding last week was so joy filled for me!

The Gift of FRIENDS and Community. We’ve all gotten out of the habit of being together. We all get really busy and don’t take time to call or plan a coffee date. Let’s change that this year and make some new friends too!

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The Gift of REST! You know that’s my favorite! Did you know there are seven kinds?

The GIFT OF KINDNESS to ourselves as well as to one another! What if we talked to ourselves in a kind and nurturing way each day rather than beating ourselves up when we lose our keys or forget an appointment or a birthday?  Notice what your self talk is like and give yourself the gift of kindness!


I feel like I am just getting started on this new year, even though it’s already the last week of January!

I seem to have lots more questions than I have answers and my calendar has a lot more empty space than it usually does. Some of that is good and some of that feels really scary. I need more paid work but what is mine to do this year?

If I’m being honest, the fact that it’s an election year here in America is very unnerving….and fills me with dread. And then there are all the wars and suffering….it’s A LOT!!! I feel we all NEED THE GIFT OF HOPE!

READ THE PSALM and let Jesus speak to you…

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.

2 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

3 How long will you assault me?
Would all of you throw me down— this leaning wall, this tottering fence?

4 Surely they intend to topple me from my lofty place;
they take delight in lies.

With their mouths they bless,
but in their hearts they curse.

5 Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.

6 Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

7 My salvation and my honor depend on God[c]; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.

8 Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.

9 Surely the lowborn are but a breath, the highborn are but a lie.

If weighed on a balance, they are nothing; together they are only a breath.

10 Do not trust in extortion
or put vain hope in stolen goods;

though your riches increase,
do not set your heart on them.

One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: “Power belongs to you, God and with you,

Lord, is unfailing love”; and, “You reward everyone according to what they have done.”


This Psalm gives me hope!

How are you doing as this year begins?  Are you feeling hopeful or anxious?

What gifts do you need to receive?

What GIFTS do you want to OPEN in this new year? Pick a couple to open this week!

As my friend Scott Erickson reminds me ….we don’t have to…WE GET TO! Life is a Gift we get to open each day!

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Thank you Jesus for the Gift of a new year! Thank you for birthdays and friendships and hot tea on a cold day! For snow fall and sledding and laughter, and tears too. You are in the celebrations with us and in the sadness. Help us all to remember that you hold us in the palm of your hand and love us more than we can understand or even imagine! Thank you that we GET TO open our hearts and our lives to you each day.

We love you Jesus! AMEN

©lillylewin and



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