like a child

It was unbelievably early one autumn morning, still dark outside, but I was wide awake. I was eight months pregnant with our second child and at that “happy but uncomfortable” stage—probably not sleeping because of my squashed bladder or my aching back. I wasn’t the only one awake, though. Two little feet were padding down the stairs. Two dark-chocolate eyes were looking for me. Read More

garden thoughts

As a non-gardener, I’m easily impressed with those who have a knack for all things green and growing. I wrote about childhood memories of my dad’s garden earlier this year, and though Dad’s not raising a crop of squash and pumpkins at the moment, he does tame the woods with his chainsaw until it’s an oasis of gorgeous views and peaceful trails.

Recently, though, it was my father-in-law Gerald’s backyard garden that knocked my socks off. I’ve included a video “walk-through” below.

Gerald’s project is meaningful on many levels. It’s an example of re-purposing things that others might discard — the raised beds were constructed primarily from old shipping pallets.

It’s a leafy monument to perseverance through tough times. My father-in-law has battled a serious kidney disorder for almost two years but did not let illness keep him from creating beauty.

And it’s also purposeful and beneficial, providing vegetables that help rejuvenate the body and a joyful hobby that blesses the mind and spirit.

You all know I’m itching to talk about spiritual parallels right now, but I’m going to save them for a future post. For now, enjoy your tour of Gerald’s garden with these ideas in mind:

What’s old can be made new.

What’s hard can become good.

What’s grown can give new gifts.



finding small somethings: a few thoughts on the power of inertia

I just came from coffee with a friend where we talked about the concept of inertia. She lamented that she hasn’t fully come out of the post-Easter slump. I commiserated because we both found ourselves lacking discipline to do some of the things we know we need to do — things like being consistent with workouts and nutrition, getting a handle on the budget, being faithful in spiritual disciplines.

These are all areas we care about and have been working on all year, but once a trip or an unexpected setback interrupts a routine, once things slow down or stop in an area, we tend to remain in a state of inactivity. Indeed, “a tendency to do nothing or remain unchanged” is one of the definitions of inertia. Read More

a letter to my kids

This weekend I set out to revise an old article on how parents can teach their children about God, thinking I’d post some things that worked when my kids were younger and add some new ideas for older kids/teens. But it dawned on me in the process of looking through my material that I’m not exactly sure I have those new ideas.

Frankly, we’ve been in a bit of a parenting slump, and we know it’s time to revamp our playbook for family spiritual growth. These kids of ours are asking for so much more than neatly-packaged family devotions and attending church services together. But it has seemed daunting, and so we’ve continued to let things drift.

But no longer.

What I ended up writing, then, was a letter asking our kids for forgiveness for how we’ve let things get stale and asking them to join us in making some changes. They gave me their blessing to share that letter with you. Read More

hasta la vista, funeral suits

The last few weeks I’ve been talking to women who are serious about ditching their “funeral suits.”

Oh, they looked like they were just drinking coffee and catching up, and I’ve had a blast meeting with them at homes and cafes. But what they’ve really been doing is digging into what God has to say about becoming new women with new clothes. Through intentional Bible study using my book as a guide, they’ve been exchanging old habits and hang-ups (those “funeral suits” I mentioned) for life-giving ways of relating to God and other people. They’ve laughed over a few crazy metaphors I wrote, but they’ve also internalized the truth behind them. To you amazing people, I want to say this:

You’re the real deal. You aren’t just playing dress-up. You’re putting on love and stepping out with courage into messy situations and hard things, and I’m cheering for you because what you’re learning about God and His Word will help you change your world. Read More

hint: it’s not about the bread

Yesterday, there was a mad hunt for a phone we thought we’d left behind—turns out it was in an obscure side-pocket of a bag, put there to free up hands to juggle even more bags, but we were kind of scurrying around for a bit, looking high and low, trying not to overact. This morning, my daughter left her breakfast behind in my husband’s car at drop off, so right now I’m sitting here waiting to see if she got my message and can swing by the cafeteria for a biscuit before the school bell. Waiting…waiting…. Nope, that didn’t work. So I’ll be running something up there when her growling stomach reminds her what’s happened.

This seems to be our life right now, all this shuttling from place to place, trying to keep up with all our stuff and keep our sanity intact. My husband arrives from the airport and barely gets his suitcase emptied before it’s time to head out for another business trip. Meanwhile, I’m playing that ever-popular mom game called Who’s Got What Activity Where and with What Equipment. Kind of like Clue—you know, Colonel Mustard in the library with the monkey wrench (but thankfully, without the murder). Then, there’s everyone’s daily assembly of backpacks, instrument cases, gym bags, dance totes, and lunch boxes. We’ve been doing this all school year so it should be routine, but with so many parts and pieces, we get pretty weary sometimes and still forget to pack something important. Read More

i am pauline

Ever want to share an experience, but when you try, it’s like you’re back in grade-school writing a theme called something like “Why It’s Important to Help Others”?

For weeks, I’ve been trying to synthesize my thoughts following a three-day outreach project I did with Caroline, my daughter. It would have been simple to post a dozen pictures of the team sorting food and clothes, delivering meals, making crafts, praying with people. I could have come up with a few quick captions. But my fear is that sometimes pictures AREN’T worth a thousand words or at least not exactly the right words. Read More