Thursday, January 17, 2013

Rachel Olsen has moved

Hello. Please note that I have moved my blog from the Blogger platform to a self-hosted Wordpress site. I'd love for you to join me there. You can now find me at

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Christmas Devotionals

Welcome to Advent!

Advent starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, which is today, and continues through Christmas Eve.

“Advent” means "coming" or "arrival." The focus of the season is the celebration of the birth of Jesus in his First Advent, and the anticipation of his return in his Second Advent. Traditionally, Advent is marked by a spirit of anticipation, preparation and expectation.

Sounds like I’m describing the celebration of the holiday of Christmas, doesn’t it?

Anticipation. Preparation. Expectation. Sounds like we’re taking about shopping lists and wrapping, decorating and meal planning. And about wondering what might be under the tree.

But advent’s focus is different. It’s holy. It’s about celebrating the incarnation and presence of Christ. It includes an emphasis on His faithfulness to come and rescue us from sin, as well as His judgment of sin, and the hope He provides for eternal life through grace.

With a double focus on past and future, Advent also symbolizes the spiritual journey of each of us as we affirm that Christ has come, that He is present (if unseen) with us today, and that He will come again in power.

That truth should renew in us a motivation to live as grateful, responsible stewards of what God has entrusted to us in this time in between His Advents. It's meant to awaken in us a profound sense of thankfulness and charity.

One of the ways I try to remember advent is with Christmas-focused devotional readings. Here are some for you to check out – all are free.


Encouragement for Today – For women, by women. These devotions run year-round but focus on Christmas themes in the month of December.

Bible Gateway’s Christmas Devotionals – Choose from a focus on advent, joy, hymns, or the Christmas story. Or sign up for more than one. These devotions run through the Advent season only.

Christmas Devotionals from – Written by a variety of authors, pastors and leaders with a focus squarely on the Christmas season.

Billy Graham’s Advent Devotional – Download this free guide called “Arrival: Preparing to Celebrate Christ's Birth.”

Good Morning Girl’s Advent Devotional & Study - Download the free eBook which includes weekly devotions, scripture readings, suggested dally family activities, recipes and journal pages.

As the culture celebrates a year-end time of feasting and fun, the church celebrates God’s breaking into time, space and flesh. I’m aiming to celebrate both in the weeks to come.

Happy Advent!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Creative Spaces

My One Word this year is CREATE. It's November 16th so you are probably tired by now of hearing me open a post with that statement. But it's relevant ...

I came across a cool Pinterest board this week of women's creative spaces. Mostly home offices. They all look cool. Some look more"busy' that I would want in my writing space but would work for me in a crafting type space. Take a look and see what you think.

This is a pic I like from the board. I think it's the blanket that seals the deal for me. I have a thing for blankets that feel soft. For anything that feels soft - I'm very tactile. Rick calls me "Sensation Barbie" because anything I pass by that looks soft, I have to touch. In a store, or in a restaurant, wherever. I've been know to touch someone else' coat on the back of their chair as I walked by!

Check out the Pinterst board and see if gives you some ideas for your home office. It inspired me to tidy mine up!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

From Spent to Spurred On

Ever have one of those days when so much is on your plate you wake up wondering how you will get it all done? 

Yeah, I'm on my ninth day in a row like that. This is a particularly busy season for me. Everything that's on my plate is good stuff. It's all things I want on my plate. It's just that there is a lot of it all at once.

I can't see my plate for all the stuff on top- which reminds me of Thanksgiving. Which by the way, gets added to my plate next week.

I generally do OK with lots to do. But there is a point. A tipping point. I can reach critical mass, and once there, I just want to crawl in bed and sleep. For two days. And watch sappy movies on the Lifetime network.

I about hit that tipping point this morning. But I didn't have the time to go back to bed or to watch movies. So I did my best to plow ahead.  Only my best wasn't very good this morning. I couldn't muster up my usual spunk. And I had little margin for anything that presented additional problems or frustration.

My friend looked at me with concern this morning and said, "I've never seen you this way." All I could say in response was just, "I'm spent." They prayed for me.

Shorly after, I talked to another friend who prayed for me.

This afternoon I had a personal coaching call scheduled with one of my clients. What do you do when you are the coach and you feel spent? I did what I do every week before I get on that phone: I prayed and asked the Holy Spirit to do the coaching through me.

Turns out this was a breakthrough week for my client. An awesome turning point for both her and her family. I'm so proud of her! And when I hung up the phone I was nearly jumping up and down excited. Because empowering others and witnessing life change fuels me.

All my issues and to-dos paled in comparison. They'll all get done in due time.

I texted my friend and said I was feeling much better now, because I'd just gotten off a great call with one of my coaching clients. My friend texted back, "We help people. That's all it's really about."

I couldn't agree more.

Are you feeling stuck? Spent? Done?

Maybe try investing yourself in helping someone else. I'm so grateful for my opportunities to do so. 

Or try reaching out for prayer. I'm also grateful for my friends who prayed for me today. Is there something I can pray about today for you?