How to Really Stop Rushing through Advent

three lit candles

It’s only December 4th and I’m already feeling guilty about the pace of my life and the state of my calendar. All around me, I keep seeing/reading/hearing all these messages – warnings even – about not losing sight of the reason for the season. Slow down. Sit still. Focus on God.  And I want to. I really do. But I’m not doing a very good job. I take that back. I’m doing a terrible job. We’re less than a week into Advent, and I’m already moving the opposite of slow. I just don’t know how to navigate this season any […]

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What to Do If You’re in Pain this Christmas

broken Christmas ornament

Sometimes the Christmas spirit just doesn’t show up. You can crank up the carols, light your fireplace, and deck the halls to the nines. You can burn Advent candles, read your Christmas devotional, and meticulously place your Nativity on the mantle. But it just doesn’t feel like Christmas. All that merry and bright, festive and fun, fa-la-la-la-la? It’s just not there. So you feel like a Scrooge because ’tis the season to be merry and you just can’t get your jingle on. Advent is a season of waiting, and for those walking through a literal season of waiting – one laced with uncertainty, anxiety, or grief – the […]

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Does Your Life Ache for Balance? Try this.

Rocks balancing on each other

After last week’s blog post, I’ve continued to make changes in the way I approach not just my screen-related habits but also my work in general. See, I’m one of those people who can’t do anything without becoming completely and utterly obsessed with it to a nearly pathological degree. For real. This is why I don’t read as much as I should for being a writer. Hand me a book, and I become all “Oh wait. I have children to feed?” When I do something, I am All. In. Which was a super helpful quality when I was in grad […]

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When You Feel Lost in a World of Outrage

woman facing a foggy path

So I pick up my phone one morning – like I often do right before I get to complaining about not having enough hours in the day – and I see an Instagram post from a fellow blogger about Starbucks cups and how we should all just leave it alone because the Christian world has bigger fish to fry. And I want to agree, but I can’t just yet because I have no idea what she’s talking about. Starbucks? What happened at Starbucks? So I Google it and I seriously can’t believe what I’m seeing. The design of a paper […]

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Three Words to Calm Financial Worries

one dollar bill

I used to cry every time I sat down to pay our bills. At the time, my husband was a teacher by day and a graduate student by night, and we were living in a tiny farmhouse that we rented from my in-laws (and by tiny, I mean Reese slept in a partitioned area of the living room). After Reese was born I quit my job, which provided exactly 50% of our income. Although I had always wanted to stay home and I knew it was the right choice for our family, I couldn’t help wondering if we made a mistake […]

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Why We Shouldn’t Listen to Jimmy Kimmel on November 1st

pile of candy corn

Four years ago, Jimmy Kimmel issued a post-Halloween challenge to parents across the country. He urged them to tell their children that they (mom and dad) ate all of their trick-or-treat candy. Parents were told to film their children’s reactions and then share the videos on line, which Kimmel’s staff reviewed and compiled for a segment on his show. And people actually did it. Lots of people. The prank was wildly popular. So popular, in fact, that The Jimmy Kimmel Show has created a new composite every year since; and the number of videos submitted for inclusion continues to climb. I’m confused […]

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One Thing to Remember When Discontentment Creeps In

red leaves on a tree

I do a lot of aimless driving in the early weeks of autumn. I just can’t get enough of these trees. This is our fourth autumn here, and I never get tired of driving through our subdivision with my camera. The red leaves are my favorite. I had never seen anything like them. They’re everywhere out here–trees covered with vines whose green leaves become a deep crimson in October. They’re beautiful. Gorgeous. And poisonous. That’s right. Those pretty red leaves are growing on vines of poison oak. Poison oak grows rampant around here. It snakes up the trunks of otherwise healthy trees and covers them […]

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The Profound Meaning of Quiet Love

I turned 33 on Saturday. The kids woke us up less than an hour before Matt had to leave for the farm. He filled the coffee pot and we sat down for a quick minute. It would be our only window of time together for the day. After helping his dad on the farm until dinnertime, he would head right over to the high school to supervise the Homecoming dance. I’ve always loved having a fall birthday, except that I’m married to a high school administrator [slash] farmer, and October 10th is right in the middle of his busiest time of the […]

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The Early Fruits of Emotionally Intelligent Parenting

We rolled ourselves out of bed just after 6:30 on Saturday morning. Matt went off to help his dad in the field and the girls asked me to make scrambled eggs. I situated Reese on the couch with her pillow, blanket, and juice (she had one of her fevers over the weekend. More about that next time). Allie followed me into the kitchen, spinning herself in circles and singing a made up song about “God’s yellow sun.” I cracked the eggs into a skillet, buttered three pieces of toast and washed some grapes. Then I pulled the skillet from the […]

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When Life Gives You Wings…

bird in flight

I met my brother’s future mother-in-law last weekend. Such a sweet lady! She traveled all the way from New Zealand, and she brought these gifts for us and our kids. Yes, that means my brother is marrying a girl from New Zealand. How did that happen, you ask? I’ll tell you the short version – it’s worth a brief digression. In November 2013 I drove up to Chicago to take my friend out for her birthday. When I got there she started telling me all about her new roommate who had recently been transferred to the US for work and found my […]

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