Hoping for Real: Songs Inspired by The Velveteen Rabbit

I love a good children’s book. I mean, I *love* a good children’s book. (We’re planning a post to share some of our favorites with you soon, so stay tuned for that.) Just as much as I love a good children’s book, I love good music made from a good children’s book. Let me introduce you to my new friend Hope Kemp.  Hope is a talented singer and songwriter who put her music career on the back burner as she stayed at home to raise and homeschool her kids. However, she never stopped working on her craft. Now that her kids are grown, she’s on the music scene again in a surprising and delightful new way. Hope’s daughter suggested she […]

The Advent of the Lamb of God

Thanks to a hack on our WordPress site, I have been unable to blog for the past couple weeks, which is sad because I have good things I want to share with you all! Forgive my back-to-back posts of favorite things, but I want you to hear about these before Christmas! First up is an advent resource I used last year to help prepare my heart for the Christmas season. With the hustle and stress of a busy month, I wanted to slow my heart down and engage with the story of Christmas in a meaningful way. I had heard good things about The Advent of the Lamb of God (published previously as Behold the Lamb of God), and I […]

Rhythms of Work and Rest

This summer was a busy one. We had a huge international trip to two different countries with four young kids in tow. (Yeah, I know. Don’t worry–we had help.) All this travel was exciting and fulfilling in ways we never expected as God allowed us to encourage and help a number of friends serving in hard places, as well as reconnect with friends in our old neighborhood. Upon our return home, all we wanted to do was crash, but we had given ourselves exactly three days to unpack, do laundry, and repack for the long drive to a conference near my hometown. Needless to say, by the time the conference was over and we made the drive back, I was never so happy […]

The Taste of Selfishness

We were poor newlywed college students looking for a way to pass the evening when we had the brilliant idea of popping over to the local mall for an ice cream cone from the fancy creamery. Since money was tight, we decided to get one double-scoop cone and share it, each of us picking a topping. It was going to be the best ice cream ever. We each selected the thing we were most craving and we peered through the glass as the attendant folded our independent choices into a single pile of ice cream on the cold marble slab: fresh cherries and Oreo cookies. It was indeed one epic ice cream cone. Hands down the worst we’ve ever had. It was so bad, in […]

The King’s Messenger

This week’s #favoritething is a delightful story written by someone who has since become a dear friend. The King’s Messenger, by Carolyn Clare Givens is a middle-grade chapter book that reads as a kind of parable. This medieval tale will captivate children and parents alike. (You know it’s a good book when a 10-year-old boy devours it in one sitting–as does his momma.) Smuggins waits daily in the presence of his beloved King. As a messenger, he stands at the ready, observing everything the King does, awaiting his turn to be called to serve. Years of waiting and watching shape him, preparing him for the day rumors of unrest reach the throne room and he is finally called upon for an important and dangerous mission. Is […]

Death by Socks

“You don’t make sacrifices.” I hear his belligerent ten-year-old voice in my head as I pick up another sheet and fold it. “I die daily,” I argue back as I dump the basket of towels and pick up the one on top. The laundry today feels like a slow death. Death by socks. I daydream a little as I fold and stack, fold and stack. How much easier it would be to leave this house every day and move among a world of rational adults who appreciate the contributions I make! How much easier to ship my kids off somewhere so I could pursue lofty goals and dreams instead of keeping house and tending to needs day in and day out! […]

Not Yet, Spring

As I was out with my children yesterday, I noticed the trees in bud along the road beginning to blossom. Half-open pinks and whites heralded the awakening of spring and new life. Joy and beauty bloomed before my eyes. But my heart wasn’t ready to see it. With a pang I thought, “No! Not yet! It’s not time!” The reaction startled me. Every winter I long for spring and I rejoice with the green and gold and dappled things. But it’s mid-February—these things are out of season. And my heart is grieving. Singing cheerful songs to a person with a heavy heart is like taking someone’s coat in cold weather or pouring vinegar in a wound. Proverbs 25:20, NLT The […]

Harsh Light

I normally love the bright glow of the late afternoon sun as it falls pleasantly over the countryside and streams through my windows, but today I noticed a harsh reality: the same golden light that brightens the goodness outside also highlights how dirty my kitchen is. I was shocked and appalled to see smudges, smears, and streaks covering the front of my oven, refrigerator, and two cabinets. So appalled, in fact, that I dropped what I was doing and immediately set to work washing off the grime. I knew if I let the moment pass, the light would fade and I’d grow complacent again with the dirt I would no longer see. I wanted to make use of that moment […]

The Kingdom Work of Restoration

I remember the first time I walked into our latest real estate project. My buddy Scott found a good deal and wanted me to see it. The enormous dead tree lying in the front yard was just a prelude to what we’d find inside.   Standing in the kitchen, we felt squeezed by the dark, dirty, depressing space. Most people would have taken one look and passed on this old house, despite the great location in a quiet neighborhood. No appeal was visible to the naked eye. Scott and I, however, saw potential. Yes, potential for profits, but also potential to use our God-given abilities to take something damaged and make it beautiful again. Scott imagined stripping the kitchen, knocking down […]

Mom Guilt

Mom guilt. I can’t shake it. It’s there every time I turn around. What my kids eat. What I eat. What we should be eating that we don’t. Organic? GMOs? Antibiotics and growth hormones? Stress. Some days I just want Oreos. Milestones and growth charts. Do we vaccinate or not? Babywearing. Sleep habits. Breastfeeding. Bottle feeding. Stress. I should be savoring these moments, right? Some days I just want to sleep. Looks from other moms at the playground. Judgment from older folks at a restaurant. Advice from a lady with three dogs and no kids. Stress. Some days I just want to hide at home. (But then I feel lonely.) Laundry piles. I’m so behind. To-do lists and should-do lists. […]