• inner world,  jesus,  spirituality,  Uncategorized

    Please. Christmas. Now.

    Joy feels urgent to me as we enter into this Christmas season. It’s the season of Advent which is all about waiting- finding hope in the midst of darkness that never seems to end. My friend Alex Kuykendall released a book recently, Loving My Actual Christmas and it was a hopeful reminder that we can choose to experience joy this season. I read it in September & it’s helped me to be mindful entering into the holidays with my time, budget and relationships. This year I saw people posting on Facebook that they put up their Christmas trees the day after Halloween. That they had started watching Hallmark Holiday movies before…

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    Are you a Facebook Fear Monger?

    Have you ever gotten on social media out of boredom and seen something that completely derailed you emotionally? I have a friend who always posts angry rants about people he thinks are stupid, another friend who posts articles about animal abuse, or how kids brains are rotting because of iPads and another friend who makes “vague book” posts- you know, things like “I just wish today would be over. I don’t think my life is ever going to get better.” Total click bait for some sympathy. Why do people post stuff like this? I think it’s because most of us are angry and afraid. Facebook has become a dumping ground…

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    Tell Fear to Skedaddle

    I’m not entirely sure skedaddle is a real word. But I know fear is real. I know it lurks in the places where we start to think about trying something new, especially when it comes to spirituality. You may be a Christian & feel afraid of taking a step of faith to follow him in an area he’s been challenging you about. You might not be a Christian and be scared of going to church, exploring Jesus or even opening up that can of worms. You mighty be struggling in your faith and fear that things will never change and doubt that God even cares for you. Fear is legit. But it doesn’t…

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    3 Steps to Fearlessly Crush your Goals

    I have a lot of friends who are in network marketing. For a hot minute I joined up with one of these companies to sell their product which I really liked and used personally.  Though I didn’t end up making a career out of selling nail wraps I was blown away by what I learned from the network marketing community.   1. Progress doesn’t happen without goals. The company that I was with encouraged all their consultants to write down and share specific goals with team mates each month. Everyone was clear on what they were trying to accomplish individually and as a team. 2. You need support to reach those…

  • friendship,  inner world,  jesus,  justice,  Uncategorized

    To become fearless you need friends

    I met Krista for the first time in person when I was bunking up at her expansive lake home in Northern Idaho. A group of writers had bonded together to support rather than compete with one another because we all realize that writing makes us crazy and jealous. Not a good combo when you’re trying to put good things out in the world.  Thus, The Open Door was created. Krista as our hostess made us immediately feel welcomed- even from our first phone call. Her life motto is “live rooted.” For a perpetual Peter Pan like myself I was drawn in by her rooted vibe and wanted to figure out how to…

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    13 women go to a cabin in Idaho to meet for the first time

    I’m not setting the scene for the latest horror movie or describing a really strange online meet-up site- I’m telling you what I’m going to be doing this weekend. Having just put out a book I feel the pressure to get my stuff out there. To speak. To tweet. To blog. The issue is that I just moved to Kansas City to take a new full-time job, have a husband who I like hanging out with and two really fun kids. Not so much a problem- but there are only so many hours in the day. And it can feel really difficult to be alone trying to get your stuff out…

  • books,  Uncategorized,  writing

    Why I’m Changing my Name

    In a little over a month my book, Beautiful Feet: Unleashing Women to Everyday Witness will be released with InterVarsity Press.  Though I’d like to be all like “aw, shucks, no big deal, it’s just something I did on the side,” I’m not really that kind of person.  I’m SUPER PSYCHED my book is about to drop! I’ve been dreaming about this my whole life! I’m even putting together some awesome giveaways to do next month around the time of book release for all ya’ll because of all the ways AMAZING you women and men have inspired me to share my faith. So, the name change thing. I found a…

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    Enough.

    I would love someday to wake up and see a Facebook feed where black lives aren’t devalued. Where black kids, teenagers and adults feel safe doing normal things like going to a pool party, walking home from the store or sitting and talking in a hotel lobby. I recently preached at a predominantly black church here in Cleveland- I was on a panel of people celebrating Youth Sunday.  It included me- a campus minister, a motivational speaker for teens, a police officer and a juvenile corrections facility manager. Though it was supposed to be a brief presentation and Q&A it wasn’t entirely clear how the morning was supposed to go.  There were very…

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    Small Talk: Learning From My Children About What Matters Most

    Reading Small Talk by Amy Julia Becker felt a little like watching someone pan for gold, getting wet and messy in a river, sifting through a lot of rocks, silt and dirt to find the nuggets of gold that can appear unexpectedly. It feels a lot like experiences in mothering- trying, failing, feeling desperate, feeling joyful, worrying whether it’s ok to do things differently than my mother or other mothers we see. She has a lot of questions- questions about herself, God, her children, her marriage, her ambitions….I could relate. And it’s in these questions she makes some amazing discoveries. Small Talk is a collection of stories in the mundane experiences of…

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    Take your own advice

    Have you ever listened to yourself give advice to a friend? Words of encouragement come so easily to us as we guide a friend through a tough situation, help them work through a problem or want to help them succeed in a new venture. You know what’s terrible? Not taking your own advice. It’s so much easier to listen to a friend tell you good, insightful things instead of really believing them.  For instance- the previous post I wrote on patience was pretty much written to myself. I knew other people would benefit from it but as there are a number of things I am waiting on (winter to be over,…

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    Patience is a virtue- and a virtue can’t hurt you

    Years ago I heard a preacher say these words: “Patience is a virtue, and a virtue can’t hurt you.” That little rhyming phrase has stuck with me for at least a decade, especially when I’m prone to be impatient about something. And there has been a lot to be impatient about in the last decade of my life: waiting to hear if an offer on a house went through, being pregnant and waiting for each of my two sons to arrive, waiting to hear if I got into graduate school, waiting for my husband, Dave, to fix the hole in the wall that he accidentally made while working on a house…

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    Overcoming January Defeat

    Many of you have probably made resolutions or goals to be more awesome this year. To lose weight and get to the rec center, to read more instead of watching Netflix, to quit smoking or stop biting your nails. It’s also likely that you’re already starting to hear the mean voice of January Defeat. January Defeat loves to whisper, “It’s January 13 . . . and you haven’t changed any of the things you said you would. You’re a loser and you’ll never change.” To keep reading this post, click on over to the rest of the blog I wrote at Intervarsity.org

  • books,  Uncategorized

    Getting “Beyond Awkward” + Giveaway!

    It can feel really awkward talking about Jesus. We don’t want to sound forced, come off as one of “those Christians” or break trust with people we care about. So how do we get beyond awkward and get to the point where sharing Jesus feels comfortable, even normal? My buddy Beau has a few ideas of how to do this. Beau and I both serve on staff with InterVarsity Christian fellowship and did an M.A. in Evangelism and Leadership a couple years ago at Wheaton College. Beau is one of those guys you love to hate- because he’s got so much going for him; he’s talented, self-assured (some might say…

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    Hold- five minute friday

    That moment in a workout where you’ve been doing squats or plank for what seems like forever and then the instructor tells you- “great! now hold it for a minute!” is excruciating. Waiting is difficult- no matter if you’re holding a squat and your quads are burning, your mind spins with worry waiting to hear back about a job, or your stomach knots up when you take a risk and send the text to the person you’re interested in. Being on hold is difficult because you have moved past the beginning but haven’t yet reached closure. There are a lot of things in my life that feel on hold right…

  • fashion,  femininity,  inner world,  jesus,  self-awareness,  Uncategorized

    Afraid of Pink

    For a long time I didn’t wear pink, red or any other color that seemed distinctly feminine. Pink seemed too girly. I didn’t want to be lumped in with Barbie or women that liked devotional books with flowers and hearts on them or sappy love songs that made women cry. Red seemed too tempting. What color is the devil always portrayed as? Red. What color do temptresses wear? According to Nathaniel Hawthorne in sophomore year english class, she wears a scarlet ‘A’. Red is supposed to signify desire, love, passion. If I wore red myself was I making a target out of my body which people already noticed? How was…

  • inner world,  kids,  mom blogs,  parenting,  Uncategorized

    Five Minute Friday: Whisper

    In a hushed voice he says “moooom, I got a secret to tell you!” With his little face pressed against my ear he whispers the piece of information that he wants to share with me- sometimes about marbles, his favorite toy, sometimes it’s a nonsensical knock-knock joke which has become increasingly a favorite in our house. Other times he forgets what he wants to tell me and says….”ummm, I forgot.” It doesn’t really matter what he has to tell me because I love hearing that raspy little whisper. The feel of Ozzy’s soft cheeks, the urgency of the thing he wants to share with me, just me, simply because I’m…

  • fashion,  inner world,  jesus,  simplicity,  spirituality,  thrift store shopping,  Uncategorized

    Thrifty Thursday: On the outside and the Inside

    Warning- this is about to get a little philosophical up in my wardrobe on this Thrifty Thursday. I was thinking recently about reasons why I love thrift store shopping which include: 1. saving money. 2. caring for the planet by reducing my demand for new items. 3. finding the needle in the haystack in the form of fabulous clothes. 4. The unexpected delight of finding something I’m looking for. 5. Enjoying the secret that most of my wardrobe comes from thrift or consignment stores yet I look fab-ooo! Though, I guess it’s not so secret since I’m blogging about it. But it also goes deeper than that- for me thrifting…

  • art,  books,  inner world,  Uncategorized,  writing

    I Hit Send

    Two years ago I sat on a grassy hill listening to the roar of jets above me.  Dave and I had taken our boys to the Cleveland air show and along with other frugal Clevelanders, we had parked ourselves on a grassy slope across from there all the other fools were paying admission to listen to the same jets. Oswald would cry when one would suddenly zoom overhead, the noise too much for my baby. Watching Reuben roll down the hill with other kids who were enjoying a day off from school on Labor day, I sat feeling anxious, pent up and like I needed to let go of whatever…

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    Thrifty Thursday: Revamp your sandals

    I have a love-hate relationship with Pinterest.  I get sucked into believing I will actually create those made-from plants dyes for Easter Eggs instead of watching Paas tablets dissolve in vinegar like I have my whole life.  Ain’t nobody got time for dat. When I do love Pinterest is when I want to look great on a budget but need some creative inspiration to figure out how to emulate the look I want. I’ve been searching for a pair of cute, everyday sandals online all spring. I wanted something different than Birkenstocks because I grew up in the 1990’s and I’ve been there and done that kids (though there are some…

  • fashion,  Uncategorized

    Thrifty Thursday: look for the labels

    We all have our favorite stores and brands- ones that we love the design, color and cut of items.  The awesome thing is that so do tons of other people. And when those people lose or gain weight and their clothes don’t fit them anymore or they decide the  color or cut of a shirt doesn’t flatter them guess where it ends up: that’s right friends- the thrift store. Think of how many times you’ve bought something that looks good on you in the dressing room only to get home and realize that it isn’t that great. You were in a rush or your friend convinced you that it really…

  • fashion,  inner world,  self-awareness,  sheer vanity,  Uncategorized,  women

    Thrifty Thursday: Determine your style icons

    Shopping can be overwhelming. Thrift store shopping even more so. You have to wade through a lot of junk. But if you have an idea of your own personal style it can make shopping at thrift stores or anywhere else a lot easier.  Below are three questions to help you figure out who your style icons are. An icon is a symbol or thing regarded as a representative of  something.  In the Christian faith people often have icons of certain saints to remind them of qualities they want to emulate. One of my friends has an icon of the Holy Trinity sitting at a table that reminds him that he is always invited…