On encouragement and heaven and hitting bestseller lists…

I slip into the kitchen and he’s already at the table–coffee in one hand and Wall Street Journal in the other. Beside him is the Bible he’s just finished reading. I take a seat and my Grandpa greets me with, “Good morning, H.E.!” That’s short for Holley Ellen–my first and middle name. I’m named after my Grandpa so it makes things simpler and it always makes him grin when he says it. 

Poppi & Holley copy

We talk about many things but it always seems to circle back to words. He owns a bookstore, after all. And most nights when I stay at his house I’m up way too late devouring as many books as I can before I head home again.

My Grandpa taught me words can touch hearts.

He showed me words can change the world.

He believed that one day I would add my own words to the shelves in his shop.

He finally retired at age 85 and so my books didn’t quite make it there in time but just knowing he thought they could pushed me forward. And his prayers–so many prayers for me through the years–did too.

Jesus opened the door to heaven for him a few months ago and he got to step through to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” 

And this week I opened an email that told me my book You’re Already Amazing stepped onto the Wall Street Journal bestseller list. The paper my Grandpa read every morning. And the first thing I thought of was him smiling.

WSJ Weekend Nov 15-2 copy 2

Hebrews says we’re surrounded by “a great cloud of witnesses” and I don’t understand all the mystery contained in that phrase. But I believe part of it means my Grandpa is still cheering me on and his prayers are still echoing through eternity and reaching God’s ears on my behalf. So are the people who loved you well and made it Home before you. 

I once wrote, “The light of a distant star continues to reach the earth long after the star itself is gone. In the same way, the light and love our loved ones gave continue to reach our hearts even when their lives on earth are done.” And it’s never felt more true.

Thanks, Poppi, for all that encouragement and all those prayers.

And thanks to all of you for the same. Without you, You’re Already Amazing would never be on that list.

You're Already Amazing by Holley Gerth

Life is all about love and any achievement is meaningless without all the hands and hearts who helped us get there.

We made the Wall Street Bestseller list this week–you, me, Poppi, Jesus!

Let’s celebrate.

XOXO

Holley Gerth

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What Introverts Can Give Our Wild World During the Holidays

The holidays are supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. But if you’re an introvert–especially one with a highly sensitive nervous system–then they can be the most overwhelming time of the year.

For years I felt guilty for not being as enthusiastic about the season as others around me seemed to be. Yes, I loved being grateful and celebrating the birth of Jesus. But the endless socializing, loud music and crowded shopping centers? Not so much.

I’m hoping I’m not the only one who has ever felt this way. If so, I’m going to feel like the biggest grinch ever. But I’ve got a hunch there are a lot of us out there who would prefer a silent night to decking the halls. And I’ve finally decided to stop fighting who I am and instead see it as a gift I can offer others.

If you’re a fellow introvert, I hope this list will encourage you. And if you’re an extrovert, I hope you’ll take full advantage of what the introverts in your world can add to your holiday season this year…

Holiday Introverts by Holley Gerth

{my graphics are freebies for you}

* Introverts connect us to the deeper meaning of what we’re celebrating. Introverts are contemplative by nature. They can lead us back to what really matters and readjust our perspective when it’s easy to be distracted. They may skip the small talk but they love to talk through questions like, “What are you most grateful for this year?” or “What are you dreaming about for the new year?”

* Introverts provide much-needed silent nights. The holidays can seem like a social marathon. Between parties, family visits and catching up with friends it can be exhausting even for the most extroverted among us. When I ask people how they are this time of year I often get one of two replies, “busy” or “tired.” Introverts can help you catch your breath. They can sit with you and watch the snow fall. They can curl up beside you on the couch with a good book. They can help you start the new year refreshed instead of exhausted.

* Introverts give us a buffer from too much materialism. Because of the way their brains are wired, introverts are less susceptible to external rewards–the latest and greatest gadget, the must-have sale item, the shiny temptations that are everywhere this time of year. Spending time with introverts can help keep you grounded, grateful and living simply.

* Introverts bring a peaceful presence into our homes. If you have family or friends visiting, it can feel like a lot of pressure to entertain, entertain, entertain. But introverts don’t need {or even want} that kind of hectic pace. Give them permission to read, nap, spend a cozy evening watching old movies or whatever low key activity appeals to them. And feel free to join in too.

* Introverts love on us in quiet ways we need more now than any other time of the year. Holidays can be a time of constant giving in every possible way. Introverts want to sit across the table from you and ask, “How are you, really?” They can be a safe place and sounding board when family drama happens. They can help you think back over the past year and do some dreaming for the new one. And you’ll both feel better when you’re done.

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If you’re an extrovert, you may relate to some of what I shared above too. That’s because none of us are 100% introvert or extrovert. We’re all a glorious mix of both. If you have things you want us to know about extroverts, I’d love to hear from you in the comments section! And if you’re an introvert, please feel free to add anything else you can think of too.

Let’s all do what we can to bring joy to the world…and especially to each other. 

XOXO

Holley Gerth

If you like this post, you’ll enjoy 7 Ways You Can Love an Introvert too. 

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Welcome to the Coffee for Your Heart weekly link-up! You’re an encourager so I’m asking you to pour out a little love with your words every Wednesday {link-up goes live at 5:30am CST}. Simply write an encouraging blog post and then share it here with us.

If you’d like a writing prompt to get you going, here’s a list I created just for you: 30 Writing Prompts.

Pretty please use this new button in your post so others can easily join in with us {html code in right sidebar}…

And when you link up your post, take a moment to leave an encouraging comment on the one that’s linked up just before yours. Thanks, friends!

I’m having Coffee For Your Heart with my friend Holley Gerth

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If you don’t have a blog, you can still come by holleygerth.com to read the posts and join in too.


Don’t Give Up Yet, Friend

Keep Knocking by HolleyGerth.com

We’ve all heard the saying, “If God closes a door, He always opens a window.” That implies that as soon as we see the door is closed, it’s time to move on.

But Jesus tells an interesting parable in Luke 18. He tells of a widow who goes and beats on the door of a wicked judge over and over until she gets justice. He then says if a wicked judge even answers the persistent, how much more so will God.

That made me wonder, “What if closed doors are just an invitation to keep knocking?” I know there are times when the door is not only closed but there is also a big “Keep Away” sign plastered on the front. I’m not talking about those times. I’m talking about the many grey closed doors that are not clearly a “no” from God but we take them that way.

Why would God want us to keep knocking on the door? I think it’s because He wants us to come to Him over and over. We serve an intensely personal God. He wants us to be part of the process.

Perhaps a closed door is really just an invitation to press in, knock harder, ask louder, and draw nearer to Him.

Perhaps He knows that we’re building spiritual muscles by banging on that door—muscles we will need when it finally swings open.

Perhaps He’s building perseverance and strength in us.

Perhaps He knows we will value what we receive on the other side of the open door more if we had to really seek after it rather than just having it given to us.

I don’t know what all of God’s purposes may be for closed doors, but I do know I just may start knocking longer and louder than I ever have before. You too? 

XOXO

Holley Gerth

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