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 a macro level. If the camera panned in to our individual lives, the potential for encountering suffering and sadness is … Read More...

Zucchini Bread Recipe

I need a few recipes in my back pocket for when friends are coming over the next day or I need an edible teacher gift, etc. Here's one that has been a favorite of mine for years, ever since my mom made it for me as a little girl. The recipe that I had followed forever needed a little healthy tweaking, and though it's still not what you'd label "health food," it's a wonderful homemade treat. Having my favorite recipes on my blog makes me happy because it's way easier than digging out a recipe … Read More...

Motherhood Is…

Happy Mother's Day everyone! My seasons of infertility, pregnancy, and childbirth are over; and I am in awe that I'm in full-swing motherhood! I am so thankful for my four and wanted to reflect on how motherhood has changed my life, in the good ways and the hard ways. I spent some time this morning brainstorming 100 thoughts about what motherhood is... Something I really wanted. Crying at commercials. Never being off duty. Stepping on small objects. Wiping mysterious things off the … Read More...

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 to sort through. To sum it up, I felt both at home and like an imposter during the three day gathering Geographically, Grand Rapids and Calvin were familiar. I attended … Read More...

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...