Tuesday, October 17

It's Release Day!

Heart pounding, I checked my teeth and smiled nervously one more time in the hotel room mirror.

"Ready?" Kendra asked, her face appearing behind my reflection. Nodding, I grabbed the handles of the baby stroller that held my 6-month-old daughter and exited the hotel room. Walking into the glass elevator and zooming downstairs had never felt more like a plunge into the unknown.

Steadying my nerves, I dropped off Ashlyn with a friend and clutched the book proposal we'd spent hours perfecting as we walked into the Starbucks located on the second level of the hotel.

"Hi, I'm Kara," a woman said, standing up. Smiling, she shook our hands, then we sat down to talk about writing, kindness, and the possibility of reimagining our proposed book as a 365-day devotional.

Wednesday, October 4

The Significance of Small Acts

Yesterday morning, I had the privilege of sharing a few words of encouragement to a local moms group that I am a part of. I planned a little something over the weekend, but then I woke up Monday morning to the news of all that had happened the previous night in Las Vegas. Listening all day to updates, I felt a heaviness I just couldn't quite shake.

Thinking again about the morning's conversation with the women and what I would share, I realized that, to me, love and kindness and acts of kindness sometimes feel weak or insignificant in the face of such blatant violence and anger. And it makes me wonder, Does what I do really make a difference?

This past Sunday, our faith community was having a conversation about times in our lives where we had a moment with God that changed us. And as I sat and listened to others share around the circle, I found myself thinking, When has God shown up in my life? 

The memory that came to me actually happened several years ago at a time when we were challenged to start building relationships with people outside of our church walls by showing kindness and hospitality to neighbors, co-workers—anyone we came into contact with on a regular basis. 

My husband and I decided we were going to get to know our neighbors, which was slightly awkward since we'd lived in our home for many years with little more than a wave to those who lived closest to us. But we decided to walk across the street to talk with an elderly man who lived alone.

Wednesday, September 6

Coming Alongside: Blessed to be a Blessing {Guest Post and Giveaway!}

We've had the honor of knowing Sue Moore Donaldson for a few years now and love the simple way she offers encouragement and easy ways to show God's love through hospitality and mentoring! Her books make you feel like you're having a conversation with an old friend and leave you feeling inspired to share the love of God with those around you! Today we are thrilled to have her share a portion of her new book, Table Mentoring, and are giving away a FREE copy to one of our lucky readers! (See details at the end of this post!)

In my early 20’s I met Jeanne Garison. Jeanne was wise, gracious, funny, and for some reason, loved me. She showed it by pouring her wisdom into me, her time into my time, her life into my life. Living life with Jeanne alongside made all the difference.

I was a new college grad, starting my first whirl into the real work world—single and facing my first career, a new roommate, a new town and a new church family. Not floundering exactly, but needing emotional, practical and spiritual support.

I don’t remember how we first met one-on-one. I do remember sitting at Jeanne’s table, talking and talking, usually a cup of tea in one hand and a pen in the other. (It was good to have a pen when I spent time with Jeanne.) I also remember Jeanne’s response: spoken with a smile, a gentle word, often a chuckle of understanding--never a judgment:

“You know, Sue, this is how it was with my mother.”

“Sounds like you could use help in this area – let me get this organized for you.”

“The most important thing you can tell your students is that God is your most important thing.”

Tuesday, July 25

A Competition Worth Winning

Did you sign up to receive our Summer Bucket List of Kindness? Starting today, you can get our second list! (yay!) If you already signed up to receive our emails and got the first list, the second one will be sent to you automatically. If missed out on our first list; no worries, we'll include it along with this one. Simply click the prompt on the home page and you'll be able to sign up. Easy peasy. Also, today I'm talking about how summer kindness has been going in our home:
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. (Romans 12:10, ESV)

I was tired of the squabbling in our home. Normally, my girls get 20 minutes of “technology time” after they’ve cleaned their room and finished their other tasks for the day, but after a morning of incessant fighting I decided to switch it up on them.

“That’s it!” I said, trying to breathe deeply through my annoyance. “Today the amount of technology you get to do is based on how kind or unkind you are to your sister. I’ll add or subtract accordingly.”

Although both girls began the day with 20 minutes, as the afternoon wore on and the fights over Barbies, who threw water from the mini pool on whom, and which towel was the prettiest ensued, they were down to a lackluster 10 minutes each.

Pulling them aside, I let them know the current tally.

Tuesday, July 18

When You're Grasping for Control

I was wishing her ill-will. And I hated it. Someone had wronged us (at least that’s how I felt) and I wanted nothing more than to retaliate. I was frustrated and angry.

I knew it wasn’t right to have these thoughts—certainly wasn’t a common occurrence for me to feel this way— and yet I did. I couldn’t shake it. I walked around unable to think well of this person and their slight of us, coming up with all the things I’d like to say to her, ashamedly, all very unkind.

“I’m angry,” I whispered to my husband later that evening, “and I hate it. Hate what she’s done. Hate that I want to wish her ill-will. Hate that I have such awful thoughts about another human being. But I especially hate that I feel so helpless and out of control to do anything about the situation.”

And there was the heart of my anger, truly, I hate when things are beyond my ability to control and that, most often, expresses itself as anger.

It’s a familiar struggle in my life.

It rears it’s ugly head when my kids don’t obey me or my husband Kyle doesn’t take the advice I’ve offered.

Kyle, who is often much more even- keeled and level-headed than I, looked at me with love and sympathy in his eyes, “Honey,” he stated, “what good will it do to hold onto your anger? You can’t control it, you need to let it go.”

Monday, July 10

Doing Life Together

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers.... Hebrews 13:2

My son puts the early birds to shame. He awakens ultra early and - if I'm honest - slightly grumpy, a trait inherited from his momma. And on this brisk morning in a tiny cabin nestled at the foot of the Black Hills, it's all I can do to get him dressed and out the door for a donut run with my hubby before his loudly whispered conversation wakes our traveling companions.

We're on a road trip because our friends are returning home to China, because they've never seen Mount Rushmore, because we want to eek out just a little more time doing life with them before we're separated by an ocean, a language barrier, and time.

Doing life together: it is one of my favorite things. And taking others on vacation with us is quickly becoming a cherished pattern in our lives. There is nothing quite like road trips, small cabins, and kitschy tourist traps (thanks, Wall Drug!) to replace polite small talk with the stuff made of real life: discussing cultural differences within the safe context of friendship, laughing over our bad road trip karaoke, and building memories as our children turn somersaults in the warm sunshine and freshly mowed lawn of the small mom and pop campground.