Category Archives: gratitude

Ten Reasons I’ve Been MIA

It’s been awhile since I’ve gone ten days without a blog post! For you hangers-on, here are ten reasons for my absence: 1. We went to Florida for Spring Break, and in some comically-timed [or divinely ordained] sequence of events, … Continue reading

Posted in Art/Beautiful Things, Family, Family Activities, Food, God, gratitude, Kids, Marriage, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Nature/Outdoors, Play, Vacation | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Michigan Maple Syrup!

The dormant, hibernating teacher in me is creeping to the surface once again. I may not be clawing to get back into the classroom, but I do love to turn our living room, kitchen, and the nearby woods into places where … Continue reading

Posted in Discoveries, Education, Family, Family Activities, God, gratitude, Kids, Kids in School, Living Green, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Nature/Outdoors, Random Fun, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Counting the Cost at Lent

My school year has been transformative for several reasons, but the most notable has been joining BSF, Bible Study Fellowship. This international Bible study brings over 200,000 students together over 38 countries each week; it’s truly mind-boggling to think that … Continue reading

Posted in Compassion, Discipline Issues, Faith, Family, Following Jesus, God, gratitude, Growing Pains, Heartbreak, Home, Matters of the Heart, Prayer, Seasons of Life | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Hearing Isaiah in a Painted Sky

“Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales … Continue reading

Posted in Art/Beautiful Things, Faith, God, gratitude, Home, Matters of the Heart, Nature/Outdoors, Prayer, Seasons of Life, Things I Love! | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Valentine’s Day Part 1: Spread Some Love

Don’t we all wish there was a fool-proof recipe or some sort of silicon mold that promised to shape our children into the caring, generous, love-filled humans we want them to be? Or perhaps some magic powder we could sprinkle … Continue reading

Posted in Compassion, CRAZY kids, Decor/Organizing, Discipline Issues, Education, Faith, Family, Following Jesus, Food, God, gratitude, Holidays, Home, Kids, Kitchen/Culinary Woes, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Neighbors, Play, Random Fun, Recipe/Kitchen Success!, Seasons of Life, Things I Love! | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Family Friday: Compassion Project

I don’t know about where you live, but the past few weeks have blasted West Michigan with painfully icy wind and record-breaking snowfall. I wish I could say that I’m loving it, but in truth, I’m counting the days until … Continue reading

Posted in Compassion, CRAZY kids, Education, Faith, Family, Family Friday, Following Jesus, Gifts, gratitude, Home, Kids, Marriage, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Neighbors, Random Fun, Seasons of Life, Social Justice, Things I Love! | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Take Care of Your ‘Neighbs With Some Simple Compassion

Today, one of our local news reporters delivered his thoughts on this record-breaking weather while stationed up to his thighs in snow on a fake deck. Nice touch, I thought. One leg was in a “normal” section of the snow … Continue reading

Posted in Art/Beautiful Things, Book Review, Compassion, Contest, Faith, Family, Following Jesus, FREE BOOK, Friends, Gifts, Giveaway!, God, gratitude, Home, Kids, Literature/Books, Matters of the Heart, Prayer, Seasons of Life, Things I Love!, writing/work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

What a Great Idea!

I love to share great ideas. If it’s something that can encourage or edify–I’m your blogger. [keep that in mind and send my your besties!] Recently my dear friend Lyndsey sent me a link to her friend’s design blog–you know–the … Continue reading

Posted in Art/Beautiful Things, crafts, Faith, Family, Following Jesus, God, gratitude, Growing Pains, Home, Kids, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Prayer, Random Fun, Things I Love! | 2 Comments

Family Friday: Spiritual Formation

I’ve been thinking about posting this for awhile now, and thanks to the encouragement of a friend am finally getting around to it. This Friday I thought I’d share an idea I had for bringing Scripture into the kitchen–which we … Continue reading

Posted in Art/Beautiful Things, crafts, CRAZY kids, Decor/Organizing, Discoveries, Faith, Family, Family Friday, Following Jesus, God, gratitude, Growing Pains, Home, Kids, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Prayer, Recipe/Kitchen Success!, Seasons of Life, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What Women Tell Me: Finding Freedom From The Secrets We Keep, by Anita Lustrea

“As a girl and young woman, I memorized hundreds of Scripture verses in vacation Bible school and in Sunday school.  I grew up memorizing the hymn book. I didn’t, however, grow up understanding much about God’s grace and freedom.” [pg. … Continue reading

Posted in Chores/Duties/Jobs, Discipline Issues, Discoveries, Faith, Family, Following Jesus, Food, Friends, God, gratitude, Growing Pains, Heartbreak, Holidays, Home, Kids, Kitchen/Culinary Woes, Literature/Books, Marriage, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Music, Nature/Outdoors, Neighbors, Play, Prayer, Seasons of Life, Social Justice, Summer, Travel, Uncategorized, writing/work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Family Friday: Engaging in the News

Stop rolling your eyes. If you’re honest, I’ll bet at least a handful of you are contemplating a click of the mouse right now, mumbling something like, “There’s nothing good in the news–I can’t even stand to turn on the … Continue reading

Posted in Faith, Family, Following Jesus, God, gratitude, Home, Kids, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Prayer | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

New Year’s Eve Traditions

Contrary to the throngs of Time-Square-pounding, diamond-clad, smoky-eyed, horn-blowing ladies waving their champagne flutes to the thumping beat of the Black Eyed Peas, I was at home this New Year’s Eve wearing hoops and yoga pants, sporting mascara-free lashes and … Continue reading

Posted in Faith, Family, Food, Friends, Gifts, gratitude, Holidays, Home, Kitchen/Culinary Woes, Marriage, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Neighbors, Recipe/Kitchen Success!, Seasons of Life, Thngs I Love!, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Bittersweet, by Shauna Niequist

What a delight to have been offered the opportunity to review Shauna Niequist’s latest book, Bittersweet, released last month by Zondervan.  Stitched together with threads of the poetic and honest writing we devoured in Cold Tangerines, Shauna’s voice again rings … Continue reading

Posted in Contest, Faith, Family, Following Jesus, FREE BOOK, Friends, Gifts, God, gratitude, Heartbreak, Home, Kids, Literature/Books, Marriage, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Nature/Outdoors, Play, Seasons of Life, Things I Love! | 7 Comments

The Lure of Summer

My blogging aspirations for the summer have, quite obviously, fallen flat, dying the pathetic death that comes with goals left unattended.  The weight of summer presses in on my heart and I am drawn, again and again, away from this … Continue reading

Posted in Discoveries, Family, Food, Friends, God, gratitude, Home, Marriage, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Nature/Outdoors, Neighbors, Play, Random Fun, Silly Lists, Summer | 1 Comment

Birds in Cleveland

Sitting alone in the terminal, windows revealed thin, glinting silver tubes slicing through July’s muggy atmosphere. I hovered over carry-on bags while the revolt in my stomach was slowly being quelled by the lunch spread across paper on my lap.  … Continue reading

Posted in Family, God, gratitude, Literature/Books, Seasons of Life, Travel, writing/work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Gift of Sand and Water

Anyone who knows me well can attest to the hold that the beach seems to have on me.  The sound of pounding water, birds overhead, toes in sand, sun on shoulders, salty air — it’s almost too much.   Living … Continue reading

Posted in Discoveries, Education, Gifts, gratitude, Kids, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Nature/Outdoors, Play, Things I Love!, Vacation | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

A Lovely and Thankful Wreck

I’ve been a wreck lately. My emotions on have been arching between profound gratitude to God and utter disbelief and, on the far spectrum, sadness that our kids are growing up so fast.  It seems I’ve been waiting for years … Continue reading

Posted in Decor/Organizing, Faith, Gifts, God, gratitude, Growing Pains, Home, Kids, Literature/Books, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Seasons of Life | Tagged , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Be Still My Soul

One thing that has always amazed me is how poets and hymn writers of the past so eloquently captured the message of God’s compassion, His immeasurable grace, and the comfort found in the Gospel.  We sang this song in church … Continue reading

Posted in Faith, Following Jesus, God, gratitude, Matters of the Heart, Music, Things I Love! | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Practicing Silence

“Sometimes we need silence.  Not always, but definitely sometimes.  If we will comply, if we will receive the moments of quiet contemplation and rest, we might be surprised by what emerges.  As much as I didn’t want to engage in … Continue reading

Posted in Chores/Duties/Jobs, CRAZY kids, Discipline Issues, Faith, Following Jesus, Gifts, God, gratitude, Growing Pains, Literature/Books, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Nature/Outdoors, Seasons of Life | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Keeping Christmas Alive

In truth, I can’t completely remember if I read about this craft or adapted it from several other ideas, but this year we actually got out the scissors and did it. We purposely saved our Christmas photo cards so that … Continue reading

Posted in crafts, Faith, Family, Following Jesus, God, gratitude, Holidays, Home, Kids, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Random Fun, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Remembering My Own Thin Place

When I survey the landscape of my life, it’s shocking that fingernails still cling to these hands at all for all the scraping and clawing college required. It wasn’t the academics that pulled me apart; books and essays and ink … Continue reading

Posted in Contest, Faith, Finances, Following Jesus, Giveaway!, God, gratitude, Literature/Books, Matters of the Heart, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Thin Places: a memoir, by Mary DeMuth

“The Celts define a thin place as a place where heaven and the physical world collide, one of those serendipitous territories where eternity and the mundane meet.  Thin describes the membrane between the two worlds, like a piece of vellum, … Continue reading

Posted in Discoveries, Faith, Family, Following Jesus, God, gratitude, Growing Pains, Heartbreak, Home, Kids, Literature/Books, Marriage, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Play, Seasons of Life | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Update your iPod

Sometimes I find myself dreamily swaying back and forth, occupying a snatch of time that feels special, different.  I look to my right and see smiles, to my left, hear laughter, and know that God has given this moment for … Continue reading

Posted in Discoveries, God, gratitude, Music, Nature/Outdoors, Random Fun, Summer | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

WIN THIS BOOK!

Zondervan was gracious enough to provide me with a second copy of this book to pass along to my masses of spellbound and excited readers [cough]; to that end I am happy to launch a spiderweb contest to determine the … Continue reading

Posted in Contest, Discoveries, Faith, Family, Following Jesus, Food, Gifts, Giveaway!, God, gratitude, Home, Literature/Books, Matters of the Heart, Random Fun | Tagged , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Pure Pleasure, by Gary Thomas

Check back tomorrow to see how you can win a copy of this book, courtesy of Zondervan Publishers! Little did I know when I tore into the envelope that I was the lucky recipient of something I never knew I … Continue reading

Posted in Discipline Issues, Discoveries, Faith, Fitness, Following Jesus, Friends, Gifts, God, gratitude, Growing Pains, Home, Kids, Literature/Books, Marriage, Matters of the Heart, Thngs I Love!, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

All Hail Hallmark!

When the “rewards” coupon comes in the mail, I’m the sucker who can’t wait to race out the door to Betty’s–Hallmark, that is.  I love walking into the dreamy ambiance full of pretty bags and holiday decorations, and hearing the … Continue reading

Posted in Discoveries, Family, Finances, Friends, Gifts, gratitude, Home, Kids, Matters of the Heart, Random Fun, Thngs I Love!, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

An Apple At Dawn

It is before 5 am as I sit here with my apple. People who know me will realize that something is strangely amiss that I would be pulled from the warmth of the bed I love to descend to a … Continue reading

Posted in Discipline Issues, Faith, Fitness, Following Jesus, Food, Gifts, God, gratitude, Home, Kitchen/Culinary Woes, Literature/Books, Matters of the Heart, Seasons of Life, Social Justice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

BNE: Best Neighbors Ever

I first crossed over the asphalt divide six years ago with a plate of monster cookies and a welcome note, hoping that the new people across the street would be, at the very least, pleasant.  What I never even considered … Continue reading

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Quote, Unquote

Tonight I walked my oldest son to his room to spend a little time with him before bed.  He treasures these moments–almost longs for them in the way that I long for chocolate desserts and the pleasure of new slippers.  … Continue reading

Posted in Family, Gifts, gratitude, Home, Kids, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

From “Pure Pleasure”

This coming February I will be taking part in a blog tour for Gary Thomas’ latest book, the phenomenal Pure Pleasure.  When I was invited to do the review, the title intrigued me [subtitled: Why  Do Christians Feel So Bad About … Continue reading

Posted in Discoveries, Faith, Family, Finances, Fitness, Following Jesus, Food, Friends, Gifts, God, gratitude, Home, Literature/Books, Marriage, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Music, Nature/Outdoors, Neighbors, Play, Seasons of Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Struggle Bus

One of the many lovely things about Christmas and the New Year is the way families and friends come together around the table for a meal.  The dimly lit dining room aglow with reflections of the Christmas tree and Percy … Continue reading

Posted in Discoveries, Faith, Following Jesus, Friends, God, gratitude, Growing Pains, Heartbreak, Holidays, Home, Illness, Kids, Matters of the Heart, Seasons of Life, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Christmas Meditation

One of my husband’s favorite Christmas songs was written a few decades ago by singer-songwriters Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene.  Mary, Did You Know? is a thought-provoking song that wonders aloud whether Mary fully knew the entirety of who her … Continue reading

Posted in Discoveries, Faith, Family, Following Jesus, Gifts, God, gratitude, Holidays, Kids, Literature/Books, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

After-Hours Shopping = JOY

Friends, I have to say:  If you’ve never ventured to the mall during the week of Christmas to enjoy Macy’s “open ’till 10” schedule, or Kohl’s “open ’till midnight” promise, take advantage of it! Sunday night I managed to peel … Continue reading

Posted in Chores/Duties/Jobs, Discoveries, Food, Friends, Gifts, gratitude, Holidays, Home, Kids, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Music, Random Fun | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

[We Are] Overlooked: final thoughts

Matthew 25:37-40 (The Message) “When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?? Then the King will say, … Continue reading

Posted in Discoveries, Faith, Family, Finances, Following Jesus, Friends, Gifts, God, gratitude, Growing Pains, Heartbreak, Holidays, Home, Illness, Kids, Literature/Books, Matters of the Heart, Social Justice, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[We Are] Overlooked

I happened upon a wonderful organization the other day that captured by imagination and my heart.  It’s called Overlooked, and it’s all about delivering justice to those in this world who are overlooked everyday by their governments, neighbors, politicians, and … Continue reading

Posted in Discoveries, Faith, Family, Finances, Following Jesus, God, gratitude, Heartbreak, Holidays, Matters of the Heart, Social Justice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Move Over Nate Berkus!!

DRUM ROLL, PLEASE!! I am proud to applaud the work of my husband and the strides we made on our poor, pathetic, ghetto bedroom of yore. Tonight I feel like I will be going to bed at some 4-star hotel!  … Continue reading

Posted in Chores/Duties/Jobs, Decor/Organizing, Family, gratitude, Home, Marriage | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

The Biography Channel

Last night while Norm Peterson my husband was upstairs working on our bedroom renovation/redecoration, I got sucked into several hours of the Biography Channel.  I’m pretty confident that I can now tell you just about anything you need to know … Continue reading

Posted in Discoveries, Faith, God, gratitude, Matters of the Heart, Music, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

It Must Be Raindrops…

I grew up listening to Oldies, and to this day I still enjoy a sugary doo-wop song or something that emerged from Motown at the height of its glory.   I love The Platters, The Fleetwoods, Martha & the Vandellas…pretty much … Continue reading

Posted in Faith, Family, Following Jesus, Food, Gifts, God, gratitude, Growing Pains, Heartbreak, Holidays, Home, Kids, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Seasons of Life, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Small Moments

My oldest often comes home from school with catch phrases that describe what he’s learning.  Last year his teacher helped him work on “grabber-hooks and gotcha’s” to make the beginning and end of a story more interesting.  They illustrate, edit, … Continue reading

Posted in Family, Gifts, God, gratitude, Home, Kids, Motherhood/Mommy Duties | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sick House

Our two boys came home with some kind of bug this week, leading to a couple days home from school and confined to our sick house.   A visit to the doctor yielded a “deep chest cold” diagnosis, for which … Continue reading

Posted in Family, Food, Gifts, God, gratitude, Heartbreak, Home, Illness, Kids, Marriage, Social Justice | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Last Thoughts: The Year of Living Like Jesus

Tonight, over sour cream-laden chimichangas and icy Cokes, my husband and I had our annual gift-giving budget conversation.  At our house, November and December are packed with several family birthdays and, of course, the simultaneously beloved and commercially vexing: Christmas. … Continue reading

Posted in Faith, Following Jesus, God, gratitude, Holidays, Literature/Books, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

More Thoughts From “The Year of Living Like Jesus”

Top Chef is one of my favorite TV shows.  On it, a group of amazing chefs compete in ridiculously hard challenges under pressures of time and budget, all to win the title of “Top Chef.”  One thing that these cooks … Continue reading

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Two Joys

1.  I found these adorable earrings right after I wrote “Little Sparrows” and fell in love with them immediately.  Being a girl with short hair, earrings are an essential to getting dressed.  Without them, I feel totally boyish and naked.  … Continue reading

Posted in Chores/Duties/Jobs, Discipline Issues, Family, Food, Gifts, gratitude, Home, Kids, Kitchen/Culinary Woes, Motherhood/Mommy Duties | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Little Sparrows

“God sees the little sparrow fall, It meets His tender view. If God so loves this little bird, I know He loves me, too.” When I was little my mom used to sing this song to me.  Now I sing … Continue reading

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Four More Days

One of the great joys, and simultaneous “pinch-me’s” of my days, is a more fervent awareness of the slipping away.  Time slipping away.  Childhood…slipping.  Days, seasons…slipping. It sounds depressing, I know, but actually I feel joyful that God has given … Continue reading

Posted in Family, gratitude, Growing Pains, Heartbreak, Home, Kids, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Play, Seasons of Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Lessons from the Orchard, Part 1

Sometimes I feel like I’m overly emotional.  I mean, yes, I am a woman enduring cyclical hormones, but still, I don’t know how many people tear up at the sight of a lovely old tree or because painfully beautiful harmonies … Continue reading

Posted in Faith, Family, Food, gratitude, Kids, Nature/Outdoors, Random Fun, Seasons of Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments