More room for joy at Christmas

more-room-for-joy-this-christmas-2Joy. It’s a popular word this time of year.

It’s printed on pillows, formed into stocking hangers, and a common refrain in Christmas music.

We want joy. Yet many of us lament we don’t feel joyful during December.

I think the problem is we’re all a lot like the innkeeper in Luke 2, who had no room to offer Mary and Joseph. Thus, our savior was born in a stable and bedded down in a feeding trough.  Read more

7 Ways to Help Orphans without Adopting

7-ways-to-help-orphans“I think you might have helped me decide not to adopt.”

She was worried that I’d be dismayed at her words, thinking I wanted everyone to adopt. I had just delivered a fairly candid, vulnerable message to a group of women on the topic of adoption. In our conversation afterward, I reassured her of what I’ve long held to be true:

Not everyone is called to adopt. But every child deserves a family. 

Everyone can do something to help orphans. And I do wish everyone would. I base my opinion on God’s adoption of us into His family (Ephesians 1:5), and the exhortation in James 1:27 that we show pure and blameless religion by looking after orphans (and widows).

In honor of National Adoption Month here are seven ways to help orphans even if you don’t plan to adopt:  Read more

Wisdom Infusion

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 10.18.46 AMIt was like drinking from a firehose. (In the best way!)

Genny and I attended the Global Leadership Summit last week. I wish you could have been there with us—and maybe next year you will be (I hope!). We want everything we learned to be in your hands, as well, so take these bite-sized morsels of wisdom and do great things with them!!

  • Pastor Bill Hybels stressed the importance for leaders (that’s YOU, ladies!) to keep their “passion bucket” filled. What do you need to do to feel restored, replenished, and passionately engaged in your primary role?

Read more

The heat of summer — and the shade of friendship

dunes2Summer is hard for me.

Many mamas find summers difficult: keeping school-aged kids entertained while still juggling housework (and sometimes work) can be a daunting task. That’s certainly been the case for me, but what gets to me the most is the heat.

My readers from hotter and more humid parts of the county should feel free to laugh, but 90 and 100 degree temperatures truly put my mood in the tank. (Is there a sun/heat equivalent to SAD?) I’m sure it has something to do with the fact that my skin was made for gray, northern climatesRead more

Hello, again!

Lavender a-buzzI’ve missed you, friends!

I’ve written so many blog posts in the recent months… in my head. I really have been writing quite a bit, but the content has been specifically for Our Daily Bread Ministries so I haven’t had the ability to post more here. (If you’re not familiar with Our Daily Bread, please do check it out as an accessible yet thought-provoking daily devotional. Whether you prefer to receive them in print or through social media, they’ve got options! My devotionals will begin appearing in March of 2017.) I do hope you’re following me on Instagram and Facebook, too; when the radio is silent on the blog, you can usually count on something on those sites (but I still don’t seem to be able to Tweet).  Read more

The wonderful “after”

BalloonsThey say you can’t outgive God.

Last week’s LIFT event was the culmination of months of prayer, planning, and labor. Pam, Genny, and I have been collaborating since the spring of 2015 to help women address the tough issues of identity, purpose, and the challenges to living them fully. We have shared our thoughts and hopes for those who would attend over many hours and countless ounces of black coffee.

And then, last Thursday, it finally happened. The tickets were sold out. Chairs were packed tightly. Candles lit. Cupcakes baked. Flowers arranged. And our messages were shared.

It was surreal–after these many weeks of preparation–to have it done. And oh-so-sweet to see it come to fruition and to welcome all those women through the doors.  Read more

A Seat at the Table

I could barely read them, but at least the airport signs were written in English again.

After ten and a half hours on the plane from Frankfurt, Germany, preceded by a four-hour layover in the Frankfurt airport, and a three and a half hour flight from Moscow, Russia, I was exhausted. Our itinerary was made all the more challenging by the fact that my husband and I were in the company of two toddler boys who didn’t speak a word of English. We had been pronounced their legal parents just days earlier in a Siberian courtroom. After the boys bid an indifferent farewell to the cinderblock building that had been their home, we set out on our long journey to their new one.


I’m writing over at (in)courage today. Click here to read the rest of the post. If you’re not familiar with (in)courage, you’ll find a treasure-trove of encouraging writing. Here’s the link to subscribe to their daily emails. 


Authenticity: Rising tide lifts all boats

exhaustedI wasn’t sure I wanted to “share.”

I knew the tears would well up in my eyes. (Insert cursory feminine joke about mascara here.) And I haven’t known these women for very long, so tipping my emotional cards felt (extra) risky. We were discussing hypocrisy in the Christian life and how our social masks put an intimacy barrier between us and others. My story was relevant to the topic and even illustrated the point, all while pressing on tender parts of my heart.

I did open myself up and was met with compassionate responses. We talked more about how putting ourselves “out there” often invites community, builds friendship, Read more

The Words that Matter

GlassesIt reduced her to tears.

My daughter was pulled aside, her motives and commitment questioned. Her concern for others and willingness to respect authority were impugned. Because her heart and deference are authentic and pure, it absolutely blindsided her.

Later that same day, a package arrived for her. The inauspicious cardboard mailer contained a t-shirt from a race in Portland, a gift from friends she made over the summer at a running camp in Washington state. (And an autographed photo of Emily Infield. Woot!) But the most priceless gift inside was the card. The words inscribed affirmed my child for her  Read more

When 1000 words miss the point

They say a picture says 1000 words. But what if it doesn’t tell the true story?

The photo below was taken at my daughter’s last cross country meet. The girls’ varsity team huddled together in prayer. This is customary for their team and many teams. They often gather before the race to encourage each other and then to ask God’s help over the course of their race… for strength, safety, and perseverance. Things you’d expect, right?

But that’s not what was happening.

Read more