10 Observations from Escape to the Lake 2016

A few weeks ago our family attended our third Escape to the Lake (ETTL). What is ETTL? We all laugh about that question because it’s actually kind of hard to describe. Is it a conference? Is it a camp? Is it a retreat? Is it for artists or fans? Kids, families, or singles? Is it for […]

A Theological Coming Out

A few weeks ago I co-taught the Bible lessons for a Vacation Bible School program at the Presbyterian church next door. I loved it. I really enjoyed making the stories come alive and thought nothing of the fact that the leaders shepherding the kids through our station were also listening. Along with my co-lead, I […]

For All the Suffering

I wonder if every generation thinks about the state of the world, “This is the worst it’s ever been.” Our generation’s current troubles—acts of terrorism, rampant abortion, random school shootings, clergy sex scandals, police brutality, racial divides, and human trafficking—are just a few potential sources of injustice and suffering that plague us. And that’s on […]

Reflections on the Festival of Faith and Writing

It’s been two weeks since the 2016 Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI—a gathering for Christian readers, writers, editors, and book pitchers. It took me that much time to process it, because like the pile of papers and books I brought home, there was a cluttered pile of mental sentiments […]

At Foundling House: The Beauty of Dependence

Hey friends, One of my favorite things to write about is how I grow from my experiences in nature. Today I’m at musician Adam Whipple’s literary site, Foundling House, sharing how nearly falling off a mountain brought clarity to my search for beauty. Enjoy some pics from our trip, then click on the title below to […]

That One Thing

I’ve been asking myself, “What’s my one thing?” What am I holding onto that comes between me and Christ? Is it pride? Is it vanity? Is it a desire for influence? Is it a love of money? In Mark 10, there was a rich, young ruler. Sounds like this guy was on top of the […]

Learning to Lament

In the midst of good in our lives, we fear—because we believe “all good things must come to an end.” Something bad is going to happen, we think—and inevitably, it does. Life isn’t perfect so we experience—at varying degrees of separation—disease, death, relationship heartache, financial trouble, school shootings, and terrorist attacks—just to name a few. […]

A House Concert and an Oasis

Tim and Charla performing at our first house concert ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ If you’ve never been to one, a house concert is just what is sounds like: a live musical performance in someone’s home. It differs from traditional concerts because the setting allows for interaction between the musicians and audience, bringing intimacy, a sense of community, and […]

Books on Tap

The end of February is analogous to reaching Mile 22 of a marathon. You’ve made it past The Wall, as runners call the point where you think you might die, but there’s still a ways to go and you’re doubting your abilities to get through this thing. Then your thinking shifts beyond the current pain […]

At (in)Courage: Weaving the Threads of Change

I have a piece at (in)Courage today! It’s a wonderful site that provides a home for the heart of women—I get their daily devotionals sent right to my inbox for some regular encouragement in the Lord. Here’s the beginning of the post, just click on the link below and it’ll take you to the rest.  […]