It’s easy to read a book like Enjoy and perhaps appreciate what is written, but then simply move on with our daily lives. And so, as I was thinking through writing the book, it was so clear to me that in order for me to rightly enjoy the Lord and his good gifts, I’d need to practically apply the concepts I was writing about. I wanted to put my faith into action. And I wanted the reader who struggles with rest, for example, not only to read a chapter on rest, but to actually experience the blessings of it. So, I created a special, practical feature in the book called, The Enjoy Project. The project, I believe, helps the reader take the material from concept to action. My hope and prayer is that this book and The Enjoy Project would be a source of joy, encouragement, and transformation.
As a way to celebrate the launch of the book, it only made sense that we would actually enjoy the different aspects of life found within its pages. I’d like to share how we did this, not only because I know my friends and readers would desire to celebrate with me and my family, but also because I’d like to inspire you to go out and create your own Enjoy Project experience.
Last Thursday night, friends, family, readers and more gathered with me to celebrate the release of Enjoy. The night was intentional in every way, featuring aspects of the book’s various chapters.
Here’s what we did and tips for how you can duplicate it:
From Chapter 2: The Gift of One Another
My friend, Susannah Parrish, designed beautiful postcards that were given away to attendees to encourage them to write notes to friends. Our society is quite digital these days, and although technology can be a gift, my hope was that people would take the old pen and paper way to encourage a friend.
What you can do today: Write a note to a friend to encourage their faith or simply to let them know you are thinking of them.
I have had the joy of serving on the HOPE International local board for the past few years. On Thursday, Isaac Ezell, Associate Director of Development for HOPE, his assistant Laura Cooper and volunteers set up a booth to sell Enjoy. All book proceeds from that evening went to benefit HOPE. Isaac also had a chance to speak with the attendees about the work of the organization. Through a unique device, HOPE allowed the guests the opportunity to take a virtual reality trip to Malawi to experience firsthand the clients of HOPE and their work.
What you can do today: This chapter is about much more than just giving, it’s also about enjoying our possessions and asking the Lord for contentment with what we already have. Nevertheless, if there’s been an organization that you’ve wanted to learn more about but have been putting off, or if there’s a neighbor in need, or if you can think of any way that your money might go to serve others, perhaps take the first steps towards giving.
I love to support small, local businesses and was excited to introduce many of the guests to Sweet Creations. We enjoyed the wonderful smells and flavors of Sweet Creations’ fudge and pecan pies. They are delightful.
What you can do today: Isn’t it astonishing to think that we will be feasting in heaven!? What a good God. The next time you eat, perhaps don’t rush through the meal, but think of all the work that went into getting that dish onto the table. From the farmers to the manufacturers, a lot of work went into it. And that carrot isn’t just a carrot, it’s a part of God’s design, his creation. Ask the Lord to give you a new thanksgiving as you eat.
Leading up to the event, my dear friend and colleague, Phillip Bethancourt, asked me, “Hey, so are we going to have raspberries at the party?” See, it takes a village! Thanks to his question, I bought a bunch of raspberries and, may I just say, they were a hit among the little people in attendance. The raspberries also reflected the beautifully designed cover for the book by Kristopher at Waterbrook Multnomah.
What you can do today: God’s beautiful creation is all around us, but often easy to miss in the busyness of life. If getting outside isn’t practical, take a moment to meditate on Psalm 8 and Psalm 19. Even those little raspberries speak of God’s awesomeness.
I love how the Lord gifts others. I am not artistic in any way, but I have many friends who are, including Taylor Wiedemann. Taylor created original artwork for the evening to capture a section of Enjoy where I write about Jesus feeding the multitudes. She also helped make the coffee house beautiful, something I would not have been able to do. What a gift!
We also had the joy of hearing from the husband and wife singing duo Jenny & Tyler. I was first introduced to them because they were touring with another favorite of mine, Andrew Peterson. They were so delightful. Their music tells stories; it’s art at its finest.
What you can do today: Art is often consumed, but not always delighted in. Most of us listen to music throughout the day or occasionally make time to watch a movie. Whatever you consider entertainment, perhaps pause and think about how God has uniquely designed that person to create. We reflect our Lord in that we, too, have the joy of creating. If you are an artist in any way, perhaps you’ve forgotten where this gift originates. Thank God and enjoy your art anew.
From Chapter 10: Delighting in the Giver
Our entire event was designed to delight in the One who has given us all things. I believe the Lord answered that prayer. At the end of the night, we all stood and, led by my friend Catherine Parks, sang “Holy, Holy, Holy” and the doxology. That was a perfect ending to a joy-filled, encouraging night.
What you can do today: So often we make God’s gifts about us and not about him. Focusing rightly on the gifts as they are—his gifts to us—helps take our focus off of what we have or don’t have and, instead, turns our eyes onto the One who has given us all we need. Find a moment to thank the Lord through worship. Praise his name, thank him for who he is and what he has done.
Special thanks: During this special night, I had the opportunity to honor my husband who has been, and continues to be, an amazing source of love, care, and support. I also read the book’s dedication to my children, as it is my hope for them and for all who read Enjoy. I love these people deeply. They are God’s amazing earthly gift to me.
Thank you to Catherine Parks, and Taylor Wiedemann for assisting me with the concept for the evening and to everyone who helped set up, volunteer, and tear down. Thank you to Michael Harrington who took most of the pictures you see in this post. Thank you Jenny & Tyler for taking time out while you were sick to share your music with us. And thank you Waterbrook and Multnomah for your partnership.
Thank you to the Well Coffeehouse for shutting down your facility to serve us! It was amazing and wouldn’t have been quite as lovely without your place. Thank you!
And finally a big thank you to all who attended and made that night so very special. I am grateful!
More Pics from the night!