25 Days of Kindness {Advent Acts}

November 24, 2017

It's our 6th year of Advent Acts of Kindness: Six years of doing one kind act each day from December 1-25. Six years of brainstorming ideas and asking others for theirs; six years of planning and plotting that culminates in December. Six years of feeling the joy of helping another; six years of failing miserably, too. Six years of trying to change our children's hearts from focusing on "me, me, me"--only to realize that we ourselves are just as much in need of a heart change. Six years of realizing our own weaknesses and vulnerabilities, the issues or people we might shy from; six years of finding the courage to overcome those challenges. Six years of praying for strangers and crying over random parking-lot encounters; six years of children tugging at our hands to ask questions about love and kindness that tug at our hearts and leave us forever changed.

Will You Leave a Legacy of Kindness?

October 25, 2017

Happy Wednesday, friends! Today we're over at The Arc: Stories to Inspire Faith-Filled Living, writing about our book on kindness and why it's become a big part of who we are as moms. Here's a brief preview of the post:
As mothers, the three of us are fully aware of our world’s need for kindness. We see the need in our communities, at our schools, echoing through the halls of power, and whispering in our churches. As parents, intentional kindness has become a concrete, tangible way for us to weave Micah 6:8 into the fabric of our families. In fact, this verse has become our heartbeat, the measuring stick against which we strive to align our lives: “What does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (ESV)

Kindness is a legacy rooted in the traditions of our own parents, who quietly and intentionally blessed those who crossed their paths. In doing this, they laid a foundation for us.

One of our favorite fall acts of kindness is a tradition begun by Julie’s mother-in-law. Every fall, she sends each of her grandchildren to school with an envelope addressed to their teacher. Inside the envelope is an encouraging handwritten note and a check to be used on whatever the teacher needs for his or her classroom. Two years ago, one kindergarten teacher used this money to buy a graduation cake, fully decorated with a graduation cap and school colors. Doting parents and grandparents joined the kindergartners in their happy celebration.

You can read the rest of the post here. Also, if you haven't entered Tyndale's amazing giveaway for an Uplift a Box, there's only two days left! Find the details on the easy-peasy entry here.


It's Release Day!

October 17, 2017

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.

The Significance of Small Acts

October 4, 2017

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.

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

September 6, 2017

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.”

A Competition Worth Winning

July 25, 2017

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.

When You're Grasping for Control

July 18, 2017

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.”

Doing Life Together

July 10, 2017


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.

When Life Gets Lean

July 3, 2017

My dad always owned his own business. When I was a child he was a farrier, traveling from farm to farm—putting in long days, especially in the summer, coming home smelling like animals and outside and barnyards. I loved it.

When I was in middle school we moved, horseshoeing had become just too physically taxing for my dad to continue doing and so he needed a change. We settled across our state in a small town where he began a financial services business. And although I could say many things about that time of my life, one thing I remember distinctly was how lean the next few years were financially. Not that my parents complained or worried to us kids, but we could sense that things we’d done before wouldn’t be happening those first couple of years, that we needed to cut back on spending. Still, we found we were okay.

And that is why this season, this year, has felt somewhat familiar to me. My husband owns his own business and it has afforded us many benefits for which I am so grateful these past seven years. But this year has been slightly different. Through no fault of his own, some client bases have changed, contacts moved to different companies—leaving us in a season of leanness, at least financially.

The Pull of Home

June 28, 2017

We moved to a new town the summer before I began fourth grade. A shy bookworm, I had stick-straight blonde hair down to my rear, 90s bangs, and an affinity for wearing a Mickey Mouse tunic and leggings. It was summer, so without school to help me meet other kids, I grabbed my trusty Huffy bike and took to the roads instead. Up and down the streets I rode, hair flying in the wind, as I learned my new home. One by one, I counted the blocks and memorized the streets. Sibley. Marshall. Holcombe. Each day, the map in my mind expanded.

It wasn't long before I was looking at Lisa's hamsters, or playing with Rachel from across the street, or buying slushies from Handi Stop and daring my friends and I to suck them down in Lauren's piping-hot attic until we could no longer stand the heat.

I didn't travel far, really, no more than a mile radius in all. But slowly as I learned the streets and the people who lived on them, and began to measure the distance to friends in city blocks, the town became home.

Later, when I moved from the south side of town to the north side, I fell into my old bike-riding routine. Sara was two blocks away, Shayna a short distance the other way, Kelsie up past the schools. Familiarity bred comfort, and that became home.

Breaking Rules

June 19, 2017





“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:36-39 (NLT)



Pulling my car onto the shoulder of the gently curving road encircling the soccer fields of our local park, my eyes scanned the fields containing of dozens of players, searching out my hubs. My children bounced gleefully in the back seat as I pointed him out on a far off field, warming up with some of the guys as they kicked a soccer ball back and forth. 

"Do you guys want to go say hi?" The words had barely left my mouth before the doors were thrown open and my kids sprinted around fields, always angling toward their dad. There is nothing quite as sweet as the bear hugs Aaron gives, and our kids know this. I smiled as they launched themselves at him into a fierce three-person hug from full sprint and lingered for a quick hello after a long day apart before turning around and beginning the sprint back. 

And while this might sound like the normal experience of any woman married to a man who is passionately passionate about the sport of soccer, the fact that every other player on the fields was Somali was a visible reminder that this is different. This is a quiet, new habit for my family in a community that has had its racial and religious tensions laid bare this past year in ways that are raw and incredibly hard. Our community's struggles with race, culture, and religious differences have left my husband and I pondering how to engage our Somali community through genuine friendship in ways that are quiet and authentic, with no political undercurrents or strings attached.   

Unified Not Uniform

June 13, 2017

This morning we had family devotions with our kids and talked about the day of Pentecost from Acts 2. Although many things were discussed, one main theme that we focused on was how when the Holy Spirit came, the believers who were there began to speak in all the different languages of people that could be found throughout the city.

How amazed the people were to hear about the hope of Christ in their native language. It showed God’s design that all men, of every background, would be drawn to him.

We then discussed our recent move to our new neighborhood, right in the heart of our city, and why we believe God asked us to move here. We shared with our kids that although our last neighborhood was amazing (we still love and miss our old neighbors immensely!), we felt God was asking us to go to a place where diversity amongst the people living there was paramount.

My husband finished our morning by reminding our kids, “as believers in Jesus we are unified in our faith, but we are not uniform. God is calling all men to himself regardless of age, race, social class, or language. That’s why we’re here, to share the love of God with others who don’t look or act or even think like us.”

What We Have in Common

June 8, 2017

Shrieking with delight, the teenage girls chased each other around the community splash pad. Drops of water glistened on their faces and soaked their clothing. As one girl passed me, we caught eyes and exchanged smiles, her face lit with joy. Bemused, I watched as they playfully jabbed at each other, words volleying back and forth in a dizzying mix of English and Somali.

Off to the side, I watched my own girls twirl around the splash pad, climbing the spiderwebbed playground toys and spinning round and round. In their faces, I saw the same joy reflected.
Later that day, as Elise and I were sitting together quietly, we had a moment to talk more about the morning. I asked her if she had enjoyed the splash pad, and she waxed eloquent about the other children she played with and how much fun she had.

“Those teenagers sure looked like they were having fun, didn’t they?” I asked. She nodded, then paused to ask what they were wearing on their heads. I matter-of-factly told her that sometimes, people with other religions or cultures have different traditions than we do, and that their head scarf is something that is a tradition for their religion. I asked her if anyone at her school wore a similar headcovering, and she told me that they didn’t but that some of the other moms did.

In her eyes, I saw nothing but acceptance. And it occurred to me, in the midst of our country’s highly-charged political and cultural issues, how much of what my daughter learns about the world is through me.

As a parent, I think it’s one my greatest challenges and privileges. Of all my children, my oldest has the unique ability to believe that everyone is exactly like her. For instance, there’s a little girl with special needs that is one of her favorite kids to play with at church. Unlike some of the other children, Elise doesn’t mind the frequent hugs and touches the little girl bestows; when you see the two of them together, they are usually laughing uproariously or racing around the gym. One day after church, one of the leaders approached me to tell me that Elise doesn’t always understand the idea of giving in when her friend wants the same coloring page she does. Although I promised the leader I would speak to Elise, I found myself struggling to communicate that idea to her after church.

“She doesn’t see any ‘difference,’” my husband whispered to me. And it’s true. Her best friend at school has an aide with her all day who helps her with tasks, and Elise has no idea why. Elise’s strength is the tenderness of her heart; she loves with abandon. She looks at others and sees commonalities, not differences. And I wonder: How, as a mom, am I encouraging that strength? How can I encourage her to engage the complexities of the world with compassion and sensitivity?

But what I've come to realize is this: My children don't need me to have all the answers. They need me to show them that the lens through which they view the world should be the same one Jesus had: Filled with mercy, compassion, and love for God's unique creation. Respect for others and for the world we live in. And, above all, grace that covers.

Because at the end of the day, I want to teach them about the world, yes. But I want them to love God so much more that that consideration outweighs all other considerations.







Got Grit?

May 30, 2017

The summit of Black Elk Peak
On our recent vacation, my husband wanted to hike to the tippy-top of Black Elk Peak to view the Black Hills of South Dakota from a magnificent fire tower made entirely of stone perched on a summit high above everything else for hundreds of miles. 

It sounded so innocuous, a quick jaunt consisting of breathtaking views and then we'd wrap the day with a soak in the hot springs. 

We weren't 30 minutes into the seven mile hike when I began to reevaluate my quick assent to his suggestion. While we had a clear trail upon which to trod, I'd underestimated the rigorous nature of the hike and began to wonder whether the kiddos (and I!) would have the stamina to reach the top. We climbed up and up along switchback trails, witnessing impressive vistas of far distant peaks before a winding descent into a wooded valley only to be confronted with climbing once again to our destination. As we traveled, we began to hear reports that the end of the trail was particularly steep but that the view was "worth it." 

I began employing various "mentally tough" tactics about midpoint on our way to the summit, promising our daughter, who was starting to wilt, a break upon reaching a fork in the trail that was surely just around the next bend. She and I plodded along slightly behind the rest of our group, looking for that fork around each curve, both looking forward to that promised break and a little snack I had tucked into our backpacks.  

As we reached the fork, I reached for my pack, grateful for the opportunity to rest before tackling the steepest part of our journey and arguably the hardest part of the hike. My daughter, upon reading the sign and realizing that the summit was only 1/4 mile away, turned to me and said: "We made it this far without stopping, let's keep going! I want to reach the top without resting!

Ummmm..., what? I watched as my intrepid daughter suddenly found her second wind and disappeared up the rocky, steep trail, followed quickly by my husband and son. 

The Messy Side of Friendship

May 22, 2017

As I was visiting with an acquaintance the other day, they made a comment about what great friends Kristin, Julie, and I seem to be and how they wished they had a good friend of their own, a “perfect” friendship.

And although I agreed that Kristin and Julie are wonderful friends—or framily, as we like to call each other—our friendship is far from perfection. In fact, often it is just the opposite. I cringed as the woman spoke, knowing that social media often only portrays the lovely side to many things in life, including our relationships. And although I have no plans to air our dirty laundry for others to observe, I do think it’s important to talk about the messy side of friendships, and how you can still have great friends.

So here are a few things I’ve learned about great friendships, and how we survive (and thrive!) through all the ups and downs of life.

What Does "Beautiful" Mean to You?

May 15, 2017

I love beautiful things. Quirky dishtowels from Anthropologie, weighty coffee mugs with printed monogrammed letters, bold art prints, cushy throw pillows in an explosion of colors. Handmade children’s clothes stitched to perfection, good-smelling bath salts that melt into hot water. Ella Fitzgerald songs. The freckles on my children’s noses, their chubby hands held in mine. I love beauty in all its forms.

I used to think that was shallow. I felt guilty for enjoying those small pleasures when there were so many deep and heavy issues in the world vying for my attention. But recently I realized that rather than being shallow, that love for beauty is God-ordained:

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 

Our love for beauty is a call to see the sheer possibility in the world, the loveliness of nature and relationships and creativity.

Taken another way: I read once that bravery and beauty, rather than separate concepts, should be considered synonymous. That it takes bravery to see beauty—in ourselves, our actions, the world around us—and that we miss out on our  chance to be brave when we fail to see the beauty in the world.

As I race toward my mid-thirties, I think about how true that is. How much more comfortable I am in my own skin, now, than I ever was in my twenties. I’m more aware and grateful for my body, the things it allows me to do, and how my good health isn’t something to be taken lightly or for granted.

But what does it mean to be brave? And what does it mean to be beautiful?

Don't Forget to Celebrate

May 11, 2017

It’s better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. And if one falls down, the other helps. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (MSG)


"Mom. Our neighbor was right, turning seven is THE BEST."

My son continued on excitedly, describing a school day consisting of cupcakes, classmates singing happy birthday on repeat, and of being celebrated everywhere he turned.

Celebrated. As we chatted, I tucked that stray thought away so I could pull it out and ponder it later.

My son and husband have birthdays only three days apart, and it was at the surprise party for my husband's milestone birthday that the theme surfaced again. My heart was filled to overflowing to see childhood friends and brand new friends and friends from every circle of our lives gathered around the table, laughing as they gently ribbed my husband about his new decade. Celebrated.

Broken-Tailed Blessings {Guest Post}

May 1, 2017

Good morning, friends! Today's post is from Jen Spiegel, our dear friend and collaborator on our new book Grace for the Misfits: 31 Days Pursuing the Unconventional Favor of God, arriving NEXT Monday. In the meantime, Jen's writing today about broken-tailed blessings, and her post is a little preview of what we've got in store for you in our Misfits book.

I was at a women's conference last fall when my husband did the unthinkable. I'd warned him against it many times, but in a sudden burst of courage and obstinacy (fueled by my absence, I'm sure), a few cute pictures on a website had him driving an hour from home to pick up something I'd said no to more times than I can count.

It was Saturday afternoon, and as the conference was winding down I received a text from my hubby. It read, "Have I told you lately how beautiful you are?" There was also a picture.

A picture of a dog.

A picture of a dog in my living room.

After spending a few minutes oscillating between shocked silence and disbelieving laughter, I pulled myself together enough to finish out the conference and then headed home, not quite sure what I'd do when I got there.

We'd been down the dog road before, and it wasn't a journey I was excited about taking again. Ever. I've always loved dogs—other people's dogs, not ones that want to sleep in my bed every night and steal my bagel every morning.

Y'all, it wasn't pretty when I got home.

When You Feel Homesick

April 24, 2017

The clock reads 12:15 a.m…then 1:15 a.m…now 2:30 a.m., and I lay here, still awake. Unable to sleep
since waking with one of the kids who needed to use the restroom. Unusual for me, as I am typically able to fall back to sleep quickly, but tonight my mind begins to race with all the changes coming to our lives.

I wonder about where we’re moving, if it’s right. As I toss and turn and fret, a familiar feeling begins to rise in my chest, a fear, yes, but more than that, an ache. A familiar homesickness that sends me back to moments and memories of childhood where I longed for nothing more than to hug my mother's neck, smell her familiar scent, and know at once that I was home.

Home. A place you feel loved and known and know well yourself. For me, home has always afforded me comfort and safety. And this unsettledness, this homesickness I feel—can’t be shaken anymore by the embrace of my mother. Now I am the mother, loving my children, calming their fears.

But homesickness rises in me just the same and, as silent tears slip down my cheeks, I find myself whispering to God, “I just want to feel like I am home again.”

When Parenting is Holy Work

April 17, 2017

God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. Matthew 5:3 (NLT)

“Mom, can you make a window for me?”

The little voice was calling me from across the living room. Sighing, I turned from my laptop in the kitchen and looked over at my 5-year-old, standing expectantly by a large cardboard box, a pair of scissors in hand and hope writ large across her upturned face.

“Just a minute, Noelle,” I sighed, trying not to let my irritation over the interruption show. Tim and I were about to leave town for several days, and my to-do list of loose strings felt more like a rat’s nest of tangled threads, weighing me down. Our trip was two short days away and I already felt panicked over not finishing everything in time.

I returned to my correspondence, until a small voice piped up again: “Can you do it now, Mom?”

Frustrated, I turned to admonish her for lacking patience but, at just that moment, felt a small whisper inside:

What if this is your most holy work today?

The question made me pause. My to-do list felt endless, my house needed cleaning, laundry and dishes needed washing. I had editing and writing to do, and the organizations I work with needed tasks finished before I left town. All of those things felt important, necessary. I have people counting on me, I warred inwardly, silently.

But the quiet voice urged again: What if this is your most holy work today?

I have to admit that I pray for wisdom often as a mother because I know that, in my own power, I’m not cut out for it. I can be selfish; I’m not always brave. Sometimes I feel inadequate and unskilled, my degrees and life experience rendered meaningless.

Friends, I’m not enough.

But I believe—in a way I never used to—that motherhood is a calling. And that maybe, when God talks about being poor in spirit, this feeling of vulnerability—that in my own power, I am unequal to the calling I have received—is what he means and is the catalyst required for me to see how much I need him. Often, the mark of a true calling is the recognition that, in our own power, we are unequal to the task and could never accomplish it on our own.

For a long time, I hesitated to say that motherhood is a calling. It wasn’t because I didn’t believe it was important but because I know many women who may not have children, either by choice or by circumstance, and so giving motherhood that kind of privileging felt unkind. But I have come to believe what Holley Gerth says, that all women are mothers because all women bring life to the world in some way. Motherhood looks different to different people. With that said, I recognize my other callings, too. I’m called to be a writer. I'm called to be sensitive to those around me, overly empathetic in a way that can be challenging. I’m called to live generously. I’m called to volunteer with organizations that help others. And, I’m called to be a mom.

Refocusing on my daughter, I cross over to her. We talk about optimum window placement for her toy dog's “house,” adding one on each side and removing the top flaps. And as I sit beside her on the carpet, I resolve: Yes, this is my most holy work today. And I'm going to approach it that way.

Ponder: List one or more of your callings. Do you feel like God has equipped you to fulfill those callings? In what ways do you need to lean on him in order to fulfill them?

Pray: Read 1 Samuel 3. Though God may not speak aloud to us, he does communicate to us through his Word. Today, pray for the wisdom and discernment to listen to God and the truths he is revealing to you.

Act: Consider the callings you have received. Are there areas in your life in which you need to reprioritize in order to fulfill them? Today, prayerfully consider if you need to reconfigure your schedule, finances, or priorities.






We are SO excited to announce that our new book Grace for the Misfits: 31 Days Pursuing the Unconventional Favor of God, is available now! This book will offer encouragement and hope for anyone who has ever felt like they didn’t quite fit in, walked through hard times, or wasn’t sure God could use them--all while discovering the upside-down ways of Jesus, his kingdom, and what (and who) he says matters. This book will make the perfect gift for yourself or someone you know (Mother’s Day is right around the corner!). Find out more information here.

No risk, no fun

April 10, 2017

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6


It was a warm, sunshine-y day in late January as we stood on a gently curving path leading us toward the Sedona Red Rocks. The sun's rays felt like molten gold on my pale skin, and I watched as my children skipped happily back and forth along the meandering trail - running ahead before circling back to the slowly ambling grownups.

As we approached the base of Bell Rock, a giant rock that vaguely resembles a bell but looks, to me, like a double scoop of reddish oozing ice cream plopped onto the hard earth, we couldn't help but notice the tiny, ant-sized people standing at the very tiptop of the rock.


Noticing those foolishly intrepid souls, my daughter turned to us and with excitement in her voice, asked if she couldn't pretty please climb to the top, too. Sharing a glance that must have communicated our reluctance, my husband and I started quietly discussing whether or not the climb was doable and, more importantly, safe.

Safety Nets

April 3, 2017

The other day, Kyle asked jokingly why my friend Julie and I argue—or what I like to simply call banter—so much.


“Because she is safe for me,” I responded without thinking. And it’s true. Together, through our mutual love and respect for one another, we are allowed to dream big and ponder ideas that sometimes feel too heavy to bear alone. We've logged years of vulnerable and trusted conversations, so much so, that bantering honestly feels safe with her like few other people I know.

She is a safety net for me.

This morning, I picked up my youngest child, only three, who stretched out her arms for comfort after a perceived slight. As I whispered tender words in her ear to soothe her wounded heart, I realized I am a safety net for her.

Later, as I was cleaning up dishes and cutting vegetables for supper, I wondered: Do I do this often enough? How can I be better at loving those around me, unconditionally?


The Dinner I Didn't Want to Host

March 14, 2017

I am thrilled to have been asked to join the Thrive Moms writing team this year! Thrive Moms is a site that offers support and encouragement to moms in the midst of everyday life through weekly posts, bible studies, online retreats and even local mom meet ups. I have found such encouragement from following them the past few years, I know you will too. Here's a post about a recent dinner I really didn't want to host...

My husband invited some friends for dinner and honestly, I was annoyed. I’d spent the week home with our kids and would have liked nothing better than a quiet night out with my husband. Ever the host, when an old friend called, my husband quickly invited him and his family over to our house that Saturday night.
I was a bit disgruntled as I helped my husband prepare food and our house for company. You can read the rest of my post here. 

It's Okay to Fail

January 23, 2017

Stubborn tears streaked down his 7-year-old cheeks. Determination to do as well as his brother at snowboarding had lead to frustration and anger coming out sideways through tears when he couldn’t quite measure up—at least not in his own eyes.

As I locked eyes with my younger son from across the room, I saw a familiar pain in his eyes—the struggle to want to succeed and do well no matter what.

He walks towards me, holding back more tears he hates to shed, especially in front of others. I pull him close, trying not to make him feel like a baby, as I whisper in his ear:

It’s your first time, bud. It’s okay to fall. Donnie’s a lot older than you. You’ll get it. It takes time. You’re doing really well.


He nods as his eyes fixate on the floor, listening to my words. He exhales as he looks into my eyes, finding the reassurance from a mother who understands what it is like to not want to ever fail.

But he’s just learning something it took me years to accept: It’s okay to fail.

Life Beyond Your To-Do List

January 9, 2017


This morning I forgot what day of the week it was. If it weren’t for school and the few activities my kids are in each week, I may never remember the dates as the year rolls on with no clear differentiation between one 24-hour period and the next. At times, life can seem rote and mundane.

My forgetfulness isn't because I don’t have things to do; in fact, if you haven’t heard we’re writing a book. WE’RE. WRITING. A. BOOK. And after having four deadlines this summer and, now, looming edits due to our editor (the second of which just passed, thank you, Jesus), I feel extra pressure to put my head down and whittle away at stories a little at a time. Sometimes I forget the joy, the magnitude of seeing a dream fulfilled with the pressure to actually do the work that it takes to finish the project. (Dreams have a way of being way more work than you ever imagined, who knew?)

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