About to drive to pick up my sister and head to the airport and our final destination, a beloved blogging and writing conference called Allume, I have everything planned.

Getting up early, I plan to sneak quietly out of my house, so as not to wake anyone else up. Putting my bathroom supplies in my suitcase and scanning my lists one more time, I feel comfortable that nothing has been missed.

I pull out on the open road, seeing very little traffic at 5 a.m., and tamp down my excitement for what the weekend may hold.

As I near my sister's house, located half an hour away from my own, I suddenly realize that I've forgotten something. Despite my lists, I've left behind my pants. All of them. I picture them in my mind, lying on the chair in my bedroom where I’d placed them the night before to finish drying. Still there.

Crap, I think.

A little more than a week ago, Kendra and I had the privilege of attending Allume, an amazing blogging/writing conference in Greenville, South Carolina. While there, we had a couple of meetings that were exciting to us, and so we posted this on our Facebook wall:
Today Kristin and I are at a blogger/writer’s conference called Allume and we are meeting with TWO publishers about a book idea that we have. Y'all, book deals are few and far between--kind of like hitting the lottery--but we decided we’re going to TRY anyway. And you know what? Tries are worth celebrating too. We don’t need to wait to be wildly successful before we let people in on what we’re doing. We don’t need to be afraid of failing and others knowing about it. What are you trying to do well today, friends? Parenting? Your job? A dream that you have? Can we just tell you, we are in the middle of the trying too, and we want to cheer you on! Our kids may see us fail a lot, but hopefully they’ll also see and remember moms who ALWAYS tried. Much love, friends. ‪#‎girlswhotry‬
Afterwards, we got such sweet encouragement from folks who read it and responded that we thought, You know what? We should celebrate more tries. Why aren't we doing that already?

Good morning, friends! Today we are so excited to have a guest post from Sue Moore Donaldson. The three of us love hospitality, and Sue's post is such a great reminder on how even something as simple as an invitation truly matters. We're also giving away a copy of Sue's book this week so DON'T MISS OUT! Find out how you can enter below. Here's more from Sue:

“Would you like to come for Thanksgiving?” I asked Amie, a regular customer at our store.

The question hung in silence a little too long for my comfort—2 seconds or so. I rushed on, “We’re kinda loud. We play games. We have lots of food. Really, a lot of food….”

She smiled. “I’m a good cook.  Just made caramel salted brownies. I could bring caramel salted brownies.”

Well, well. My kids don’t like pie. I’ve tried, really. But brownies? Caramel salted?

“You’re in, Amie—you don’t even have to come—just leave the brownies on the porch!”

We laughed and said goodbye.

I didn’t know Amie’s last name or phone number. She didn’t know where we lived. All I knew was that Amie, recently divorced, wasn’t going to have her two little girls on Thanksgiving for the first time ever. And I didn’t want her to be alone.

I sit alone in my room. Kids are tucked into bed. Husband is downstairs watching a football game.  

The soft glow of light shines from my bedside lamp. Snuggled against the pillows, this place is my safe haven. A place I find rest and peace from the busyness of each day.

I find a familiar episode of Gilmore Girls and settle in to watch, but more importantly, to remember. My sister Katrina loved this show. And it was one of the last things we did together. We’d sit on her bed, she too weak to get up, hunkered down with drinks or snacks or just each other to watch episodes together.

We’d laugh and cry, interspersing our own conversation against the replayed episodes we’d watched more than a few times.

“I wonder what your kids will be like?” she’d say. I’d smile and tell her my hopes for the future with my then-boyfriend-now-husband Kyle.

“I can’t wait for you to have babies,” she’d respond. “I can’t wait to watch our kids grow up together.”

Hello, friends! Today we are so excited to feature a guest post from Stephanie Bruce on how becoming a foster parent changed her life. As many of you know, Kendra was a foster parent for many years and adopted two of her children out of foster care, so it is something that is near and dear to our hearts. Here's more from Stephanie: 

On a Sunday in January 2013, our pastor interviewed a woman at our church who kept children in foster care. She spoke about our state’s broken foster care system, the many children in foster care, some of whom DCS had lost track of or had actually died while in custody. She told about the children that she had had in her home and I felt the Lord begin to nudge my heart. The final blow came when she said (and I will never forget this), “If the church had been doing what we were supposed to do, our system would not be in this mess.”

My husband and I both heard the Lord calling that day and we decided to bring foster children into our home. We finished classes and home-studies and were approved to be foster parents. During the mass of paperwork you do in training, you can decide what kind of children you are willing to foster. We were fairly open, our children were grown and out of the home, we had plenty of room and two friendly dogs to help ease the transition to a new home.

The one thing we specifically asked was that we not have teenage girls. My husband was a teacher at the time and he would be home alone with the foster child (or children) many days in the summer. I worked outside the home, and we had heard scary stories about accusations made against men, so thought for our safety that it was best to not have teenage girls. In March 2013, we got our first call…for a teenage girl! Did they not even READ these profiles??