I love my front window. It faces the afternoon sun. And although in the summer time it can be unbearably hot, requiring the blinds to be closed most afternoons, during the fall and winter it is a beautiful spot to soak up the sun. On a chilly fall day or blistering cold afternoon you can most often find me sprawled in front of that window. Soaking up the sun. Warming my bones. Stopping for just a few moments in a busy day to find some rest, take a break.

And as this past winter continued to lag on, I found I looked forward even more to the time each day when I could lay for a few moments in the sun, enjoying the feel of the warmth on my skin, aware of the renewal it offers my body and soul.

Yesterday I began to ponder how important it is to find these spots in the sun. These moments of rest and reflection. And I’ve started thinking about other things that renew me:

Image by Alex Wellerstein on Flickr
I have a secret that I'm going to share with you.

Are you ready?  

Okay, here goes:  I've had a "girl-crush" on two women Christian authors for years.  I know this is a silly and even a little strange for a confession, but hang with me for a minute -- I promise it's worth it to read a bit further. 

I'll be the first to admit I like tradition. I like etiquette and good behavior. I want my kids to respect their elders, be well mannered and understand societal norms. I tend to like the status quo; change is hard for me. My mother did a wonderful job of creating holiday traditions for my sisters and I
growing up, and I have sweet memories of those years.

Easter was one of my favorite traditions, mainly because I loved the pretty clothes my mother would buy us. Each year we'd get dressed up for church in our Sunday best and go to service. It was a wonderful day with close friends and family celebrating what Jesus had done for us. And this tradition continued into adulthood. Every year, I would get myself something new for Easter, and as I had children, I continued this tradition with them. New outfits, coloring eggs, Easter presents: as a mom, I loved to do it all. 

Hey, friends!

Courtesy of Target
We are ready for spring, so in honor of the seasonal change, we decided a giveaway was in order -- just because!

You may have noticed over the past month that you don't see our posts, quotes and pictures in your Facebook news feed as frequently as in the past.  Facebook has made some internal changes and our posts now get seen by less than 10% of our subscribers.

While we love interacting with all of you via Facebook, we want to make sure our readers know when we put up a new post.    
Over the past month, we have started using a new email subscription service. If you like reading our posts, please consider signing up for our emails -- the subscription box is on the right side column of our blog.  You can unsubscribe at any time, and we promise never to share your email with others or spam you. 

Just for fun, we're giving away a $25 gift card to Target along with one copy of our book, The Ruth Experience, to one lucky winner! All you have to do is subscribe to our email. Already a subscriber? No worries, just leave a comment on this post that you already subscribe and we'll enter your name in the drawing, as well.

Giveaway ends on Monday, April 28, and the winner will be announced that day. Subscribe today to receive our emails and be entered for a chance to win the Target gift card and book!

The Girls of TRE

PhotoSteve101 on Flickr
For our final week of Lent Remixed, we are focusing on the United States. 

Last year, we brought the issue of human trafficking to your attention. And although there are many organizations working to address this multi-faceted issue both here and around the globe, we feel just as much -- if not more -- urgency to educate and work to eradicate this heart-breaking, soul-stealing issue.

After all, human trafficking is defined as the trade of human beings, typically for the purpose of sexual slavery or forced labor.
Next week marks my ninth wedding anniversary. It got me thinking about all the ways I have appreciated my husband in the past decade, all the things I want my daughters to know about their dad when searching for their own spouse. And although I'm rarely sappy and my husband shies away from me bragging on him, I couldn't help but write a list. It's a list of some of the things I knew about my husband the day I married him, and even more importantly, what I have learned about him since.

Kyle and I nine years ago
I knew my husband loved me. What I did not know was the depth that love would entail. I could not have known that this man would stay by my side as we watched my sister draw her last breaths on this earth, then hold me as we wept together. I did not know he would give up everything -- home, job, plans -- so we could be close to my family. I did not know our lives would so intertwine that almost ten years later, I can’t always remember which ideas about how our life got to this place are his and which are mine.

I knew my husband was kind. What I did not know was that kindness would be shown by small actions: flowers after a hard day, leaving the house at 3 a.m. to get me 7up when I was sick, listening to me pour out my frustrations after a trying day. The way he cares about the seemingly insignificant.

For our sixth week of Lent, we are focusing on the issue of alcohol abuse. 

 A Central Minnesota judge once told me
Image via Edwin Land on Flickr
he believed that fully 80% of all the cases on his docket were related, in some way, to substance abuse -- meaning that if no one abused drugs and alcohol, our judges, lawyers and law enforcement agencies would have very little to do!  

Substance and alcohol abuse destroys the life of the person addicted and does immeasurable collateral damage to the lives around him or her.  

Image: Angelo DeSantis on Flickr
Maybe it’s my English editor geekiness, but I am just not good with acronyms. Between LOL, BRB, and YOLO, I’m constantly having to stop and remember the correct phrases. Rather than encouraging brevity, it's an exercise in painfully slow futility. Call me old -- I did hit the big 3-0 this year, which is ancient when it comes to modeling, gymnasts, and technology -- but it’s exhausting.
Here’s how my brain computes text and chat-speak: