Get a Free Download from My Book!

Get a Free Download from My Book!

So, I want to do us all a huge favor and take a break from talking about that one thing that happened this week. Instead, let’s talk about the second most taboo subject for anyone to mention pre-Thanksgiving. And that is: Christmas.

{Why yes, you are more than welcome to reach through your screen and backhand me with your pumpkin spiced latte if you so wish.} But I promise this post about Christmas comes with a Christmas gift as well – A FREE DOWNLOAD FROM MY BOOK!

The Political Gospel {and other things I won’t fall for this election season}

The Political Gospel {and other things I won’t fall for this election season}

1. I will never fall for the Political Gospel.

The Political Gospel is the idea that checking a box next to an imperfect person's name on a ballot will be their ticket to either Heaven or Hell. It's the statement that says, "You can't call yourself a Christian if you vote for that candidate." While our political views indeed stem from our faith, the only thing that can save us is to cast our vote with the one perfect Man who ever walked this earth. {John 3:16}

A Conversation About Race Over Chicken Tacos

A Conversation About Race Over Chicken Tacos

Our stories – mine and Candacee’s – are different too. She grieves her father. I grieve our baby girl. And as we sit next to each other, as we share about who we’ve lost, our two-hour conversation starts to make the slightest bit of sense.

Because, listening.

The best way to support those who grieve is to listen, to give them space to feel, to hurt, to bleed without rushing to find a bandage or insisting it’s already all better.

Maybe the brokenness of our city is meant to be grieved too. Maybe mourning with my African American brothers and sisters who mourn is at least turning my head in the right direction. Maybe when tragedy happens I need to push aside my assumptions, my comments and labels, and just dwell for a second: “That was somebody’s daddy. Somebody’s son.”

Because then the tears will surely come.

Life Would Be Easier if We Didn’t Have to Live It {And Other Lies Depression Tells}

Life Would Be Easier if We Didn’t Have to Live It {And Other Lies Depression Tells}

But mostly, I felt ashamed.

I was supposed to be happy.

I mean, I was happy sitting in the hospital room, holding our precious newborn baby boy. I hadn’t felt that happy in a really long time. But in the six weeks since he was born my hormones came crashing down, I had no motivation to do the things I usually liked doing, and there was a huge knot of anxiety on my chest when I faced packing up our apartment into boxes. All I could get myself to do was sit on the couch and stare at the empty boxes, frantically rocking our colicky baby and trying to handle a strong-willed toddler.

A rainbow baby was supposed to be the wonderful conclusion to a really tough couple of years. But now here I was, filling out a quiz that would tell me I don’t get to decide when the hard stuff in life is over.

Why We Gave Up Most of Our TV Time {and why it has been awesome}

Why We Gave Up Most of Our TV Time {and why it has been awesome}

Turning on the TV after our kids went to sleep became such a habit that I was starting to put pressure on myself to watch television for at least a half hour before bed every night. As in, "Well, I'm exhausted, and I really should go to bed, but of course I can't until I watch an old rerun of this TV show I have seen seventeen times."

What in the actual what?!

I don’t even know where this unnecessary pressure was coming from, but I don’t want to feel that way anymore. I don’t want something meant for entertainment to become a priority in my life, to take away time from things I enjoy working on and wish to accomplish. To take away from my actual priorities.

Here Goes Nothing {the new title, the gorgeous cover, and the opportunity to join my launch team!}

Here Goes Nothing {the new title, the gorgeous cover, and the opportunity to join my launch team!}

I lied to you. I told you my book was going to be called Gentle Whispers, but that is false, so I apologize.

When I first introduced the title eight months ago, I mentioned that the book is kind of like a Midwestern casserole: it covers a lot of different topics. For that reason, Thomas Nelson and I weren’t sure if the main ingredient of the book was potato or beef or vegetables.

You see, in the book I prayed each day for thirty days: 

God, help me to maintain the joy of being Wife and Mommy amid the daily grind. To see the world through Your eyes. To live intentionally. To build relationships and share Christ’s love with our neighbors. To learn what it really means to give. To collide motherhood with mission.

And when you pray prayers like that, you receive a casserole variety of answers.

Grace for Those a Step Ahead or a Step Behind

Grace for Those a Step Ahead or a Step Behind

The other day I had a great conversation with my sister-in-law, the moral of our discussion being this: People often have a hard time giving grace to the people one step behind them.

And I am so, so, so guilty of this too:

You think you’re “tired” because you had to wake up at 6 am this morning? Try having kids.

You think life is “hard” because you had to study for an exam? Try having kids.

You think you’re “busy” because you have basketball practice and homework tonight? Try having kids.

Small Surrenders {Guest Post}

Small Surrenders {Guest Post}

Wow. This is hard to write.

My sister sent me an email: “You know how we had that conversation about how it’s harder to surrender in the smaller things of life than in the bigger things? No pressure, but would you like to write a blog post about that?”

YES! I shrieked like a little girl in my heart, but then felt utter panic: What do I know about surrender in the little things? I fail at this every day. Every. Day.

10 Do’s and Don’ts for Toddlers {Surviving the Addition Of Your Second Child}

10 Do’s and Don’ts for Toddlers {Surviving the Addition Of Your Second Child}

What is it that makes the birth of that second cherub so fearful? How can we go from needing two arms to care for one child, to needing eight for two? That math just doesn’t add up! {Or maybe it does. Common Core parents? Discuss.}

At any rate, most of us don’t have two at-home parents, or a nanny, so how can we do this with grace and peace?

What Happens in Labor and Delivery, Stays There {My Doctor Promised}

What Happens in Labor and Delivery, Stays There {My Doctor Promised}

They call them rainbow babies, those gifts from God that come after the long, dark storm. I think the moment they lay Levi Daniel in my arms feels exactly like a rainbow: tears falling like rain, but the sun rays of happiness for this gift of a child shining brilliantly over the grief of our past.

I cry and cry and say over and over to Husband, “I feel so happy!”

And just like that, I can’t imagine our lives without him. All nine pounds, ten ounces, and three chins of him.

What I Needed to Hear {and Read} as a Young Girl

What I Needed to Hear {and Read} as a Young Girl

Girls still worry about stuff, some of the same stuff I did when I was younger. Girls still need to hear and read stuff, some of the same stuff I did when I was younger too.

I needed to hear that my purpose was not to try to become somebody else. I needed to be encouraged to think about who God made me to be as a unique person. I needed to be spurred on to think about what I like to do and how I could use that as an act of worship. I needed to be cheered on towards a personal relationship with God.

Mary Treasured Up All These Things and Posted Them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Mary Treasured Up All These Things and Posted Them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Can you even imagine: Mary, distracted from the angel’s message because her phone was “blowing up?” The Shepherds, posting photos of the Host of Angels all over Instagram? The Three Wise Men, using Google Maps to get to Bethlehem instead of a bright star?

It’s a ridiculous thought.