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Encouragement

Recommended Reads: Be the Gift

There are only so many full orbits around the sun, and who makes time to lie in bed and listen to rain thrumming on roofs or to take someone for strawberry ice cream sundaes and linger down at the bridge, the river running underneath like the present running through your hands? And there are glads to be picked from the earth and there is time yet to live in the givenness of everything. Your time is limited— so don’t limit your life by wanting someone else’s. Sometimes I stand in the living room after they’re all in bed and listen to […]

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Why We’re Giving Thanks for Friendship All Over Again

This entire year on (in)courage, we’ve been focusing on the subject of friendship. You’ve shared your stories and we’ve shared ours. We’ve mostly laughed together but also shed a few tears. You’ve told us about your friendship successes and your friendship break-ups. Through blog posts, videos, books, Bible studies (both online and in-person) and (in)real life meetups, we’ve tackled this hard, messy, wonderful topic of friendship — through the lens of Jesus. It’s not the easiest topic, but what we learned is that friendship is a necessity. Not just to have good friends, but to be a good friend. To […]

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A 7-Day Challenge Guaranteed to Make You Smile

I could feel it coming on — an overwhelming sense of heart-pounding panic, difficulty breathing, dizziness. There wasn’t any one thing that set me off, just a long train of emotional rail-cars carrying the cargo of daily demands, losses, and this impending feeling of doom in our world. I could hear the newscasters on the television in the living room. The day’s stories sounded like yesterday’s stories — and none of it was good. Before the anxiety swept over me, I spoke the three words that have saved me again and again: “Thank you, Lord.” And then I kept saying those three words; it […]

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Recommended Reads: A “Come as You Are” Hospitality

My husband and I had been living in our new home in our new city for about two months, but we still had not met our next-door neighbors. A huge bush covered the side of their house, so we rarely ever saw them enter or leave their home. One evening Jeremy and I were sitting on our second-story patio eating our meal and we heard the neighbor’s door close. As they rounded the corner, I called out to them from above, “Excuse me! Hello, neighbors!” Nothing. Apparently, they did not hear me. So naturally, I called out again, a little louder. […]

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The Rhythm of Thanksgiving

Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 As my child was born I fought against nature and attempted to hold her in. This is not how the baby books tell you to approach labor. Quite the opposite, actually. I was supposed to work with the contraction, breathing out and letting it deliver my baby into the world. Instead I gripped bed rails and held every breath attempting to stop her from slipping away from me, in both body and spirit. They took her anyway, through an incision, […]

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Recommended Reads: The Only Way to Love Others

Watching her leap into her dad’s arms, it was clear how much three-year-old Rebecca loved her father. Smiling, her mom said, “Well, I guess we know who her heart belongs to, right?” We laughed about what it is to be second fiddle in the eyes of a true daddy’s girl. Over the past seventeen years, I’ve had a front row seat to the relationship shared between my own daughter and her father. As a daddy’s girl myself, I know how precious that bond is. But as thankful as I am for Casiday’s love for Scott, I pray her love for […]

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The Struggle Is Real

I’ve been feeling it again. That low-grade ache of discontentment. That inner restlessness, nagging, gnawing, something softly knocking. That unnamed longing for something more even on days I finally catch my breath, catch up on laundry, or make it to bedtime without being called a mean mean mommy. I don’t know why it takes me so long to recognize the source — God’s still small voice. Calling yet again to return to Him, spend time with Him. I’ve been choosing the trap of glowing screens and too many late-night scrolling minutes. (Whoa, where did the last hour go?) I like […]

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Considering It Joy

I am spectacularly clumsy. I have been known to fall over just standing because I am delicate and graceful like that, so while I was in Kenya, I had to pay close attention to my feet in relation to the world around me. I traveled from an insulated world where possible injury comes with prerequisite signage and safety rules. American to-go cups warn me the contents are hot and may burn me. The yellow sign warns me that the floor is wet and slippery. The guard rails keep me from tumbling down stairs, falling off things, or otherwise hurting myself. […]

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Recommended Reads: What Happens When Jesus Is Worth It

Girlfriend to girlfriend, I feel as though I should deliver this news with a bag of M&Ms. The dark chocolate ones are my favorite. I would even throw in a bowl of popcorn because the combination of sweet and salty is divine. Just imagine you and me sitting cross-legged from each other, diving into our individual bowls of goodness and me adding this word of warning. If you are finally at the point of saying, “I will walk forward in my faith and declare ‘Jesus is worth being first place in my life,’” your enemy will get busy, too. You […]

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You Belong at the Table

One of my favorite Thanksgiving dinners I’ve hosted in my home was for my sister and her fiancé. They were getting married the next day and the week had been crazy with preparations. Even though the day before the wedding was already pretty hectic, my husband and I wanted to find a way to officially welcome our new brother-in-law to our family. While the house was far from party-ready and wedding preparations had rightfully stolen time away from holiday planning, we invited the two of them over at the last minute for a spontaneous Thanksgiving dinner. We ran to the […]

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