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 head over to Foundling House to read the story...and you're invited to leave a comment, it's always encouraging to read them! … Read More...

What Would Jojo Do?

I'm over at MKE Moms Blog today gushing on why I love Joanna Gaines... and it's more than about just her design prowess. An excerpt: You know those WWJD bracelets popular in youth groups in the 1990s? I totally had one. As cheesy as those were, they had a way of making a point. Before you do something, ask yourself how you’d emulate the actions of the main man in the acronym. Since that fad evaporated years ago along with Bryan Adams and Keds, I’m resurrecting a new trend with a … Read More...

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 world: he had money, he had youth, he had power. But he still knew something was missing—he fell at Jesus' feet and asked him, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus gently laid out the law: "You know the … Read More...

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. In the midst of evil in the world we fear—because, in the words of a friend, "It seems like the bad guys are winning." In the good and in … Read More...

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 a shared purpose. As musicians ourselves, my husband and I have … Read More...

Why We Got the Downton Abbey Ending We Wanted

Maybe like you, I congregated with a group of friends to watch the final episode of Downton Abbey (DA) this past weekend. Like all good DA parties there were inscribed napkins, tea, and scones. There was also a hesitant anticipation knowing we'd never get to join in the stories of these characters again, while at the same time wondering if we'd get the happy endings we craved for each of them. *SPOILER ALERT* Our smiles, cheers, and collective sighs of relief filled the room as we … Read More...

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 to the finish line. At the end of the race there'll be bananas, bagels, and probably chocolate milk. You get to eat whatever you want for dinner (Starbucks and Combos, anyone?) because, heck, you … Read More...

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.  ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ We had just finished remodeling our 1930s-era brick colonial home on a peaceful, tree-lined street … Read More...

A Thing of Beauty

In my pre-teen years, I was a motivated babysitter. I'd make up games, run around in the yard, and clean up the house—determined to earn every dollar. It was never much in the early 1990s, but still I was excited to get my little stash of folded bills when the parents came home. After one particularly long day of babysitting, the mom returned with excitement. "I got you something!" she sang. That was thoughtful of her. "Here it is. It can be your payment for babysitting today," she … Read More...

One Million Thumbprints

I cried myself to sleep last night; it's been a long time since I've done that. Embraced by the power of storytelling; these tears came after reading the reality of war related violence against an Iraqi woman named Amena, which I'll share below. When I hear about Middle-Eastern violence, or African wars, or sex slavery in general, I can too easily write these injustices off as an "over-there problem," but when a name is attached, it becomes very real. I cried out of shame. I cried because … Read More...