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Soul Care for the Family

When Gil and I moved to Connecticut to pioneer Chi Alpha at UConn, we quickly realized the stark change in culture. We were no longer one Christian family among many. Instantly, we became the odd bird out- a ministry family, driving a minivan, looking for new friends and unfamiliar with the area. Even the church we attended did not have many families with young kids at the time. We felt drier and lonelier as the months passed. 
Without communicating it to one another, Gil and I naturally began self-pastoring our family. And, as with most in ministry, everyone we met, seemed to need encouragment, discipleship, and soul-care. We emptied ourselves while itinerating, while meeting with new students on campus, while attempting to launch our Chi Alpha group, while helping our local church in new and stretching ways, and while being at home with our own kids. 
About 18 months into this stretch of dryness, an email came from national office with an attachment that would change our family. The a…
Recent posts

When God Made Light- a fantastic addition to your Easter baskets

If you are looking for a sweet book to include in your upcoming Easter Baskets, check out When God Made Light by Matthew Turner, the same author of When God Made You. Turner uses the story of God creating the light as the basis of his poetry and speaks about all the things that shine light- the sun, moon, fireflies, campfires, flashlights- and teaches about how the darkness has to leave when light is shined. My favorite part of his poem is near the end when he says, 
“cause you’re just like the sun and the moon in the sky, as lustrous as twinkles that dazzle the eye, You’re as splendid as lightning when it flashes so bright,  ‘cause on the day you were born, God said, “let there be light!”
So beam like the sun; glimmer like a star. And wherever you go, dark will stop being dark. Shimmer and shine, be a beacon so bright, ‘cause when God made you, child, God made light.”

Gosh, I love that. Imagine if we all truly believed that we were made to be so shiny and bright to reflect God’s love to the worl…

Becoming Preppers

I heard a nugget of truth at a regional Chi Alpha staff conference that has stuck with me. It has nothing to do with Chi Alpha at all. It was an answer to a question given during a Q & A session and I can’t seem to shake it. The speaker said, “plan for the life stage five years from now.”
His point was to begin planning for where your family will be in five years, so that the next stage of life will not surprise any member of your family. What seems like a “duh” point of advice, really will be life changing if it is implemented. Most of us have seen the three or five year plan for Chi Alpha and goals in ministry, but we often do not look at family life with the same lens.
Personally, my kids are currently 11, 9 and 4. I homeschool them while doing Chi Alpha with my husband. If I am thinking through the roles that I play in my family- wife and mom- it will all look different with kids ages 16, 14, and 8. I need to begin prepping for parenting a potentially driving teen, what school o…

Standing

I’ve been reading Strong and Weak by Andy Crouch with my Facebook reading group over the last few weeks. He defines “flourishing” differently that I would have initially, but after his explanation, I agree with him. My paraphrase of his definition is doing the thing that requires risk and all of you- and doing it with abandon. It doesn’t really matter if you succeed from the perspective of the onlookers, it doesn’t matter if you’re the best at it, it doesn’t matter if you entirely fulfill your goal. It’s the heart behind what you do, it’s the motivator for why you do what you do. 
I kept comparing his definition of flourishing to parenting initially, as did some of my friends who are also reading the book. Parenting is tough. It is a daily sacrifice and servanthood to little people who may or may not ever know. It’s a stretching past limits I previously thought I couldn’t reach. It’s relying on Jesus in a way I never knew...because I simply want to do it better than I’ve seen it done b…

A little story about a little book for little ladies

I’m always on the lookout for books for my girls with good storylines. Things that spur them on to be better kids and to see that there are other kids in the world like them. When I find something good, I like to share it with others...and I’ve found the best way to share it is to get the local library to purchase their own copy! So, when Natalie Grant published two books, I asked our public library to order them and they did. Sweet! Now any kid can find these while they browse the juvenile fiction section of our library. The story gets sweeter when I saw Grant had written a third volume, so I downloaded a copy onto my phone.
Miracle in Music City is about a set of sisters and their mom in Nashville and the funny things they find themselves doing. They love solving mysteries, just as any girl does! This is a fun read, a good one to add to your vacation reading list for your kids. 
As far as e-books, I come back AGAIN to the point that my kids and I do not enjoy them. We had to keep re…

Book Review: Hidden In My Heart Scripture Memory Bible

I am always on the lookout for a cool Bible to give to my kids or to our college students. The classic, straight forward, nothing-but-the-Bible is a must, but sometimes it is fun and motivating to have additional studies, information or lists throughout the Bible. Tyndale Publishing House recently released a Bible called the Hidden In My Heart Scripture Memory Bible, in the New Living Translation. 
The Hidden in My Heart Bible comes with a download code for 100 free scripture memory songs, because we all know that singing something helps most of us remember it easier, after all. I was a little hesitant about the quality of the songs, but I figured I would give it a try anyway. 
As far as the Bible goes, it is a nice size and weight and I think the scripture memory helps throughout are nice. Tyndale included a list of the first 100 verses to memorize, which go along with the songs included, and a challenge list to memorize after you’ve done the first 100. Additionally, the Core 100 ver…

Book Review: Home Sewn

Home Sewn is a B-E-A-utiful book about sewing things for your home- everything from tea towels, to lamp shades, to large floor cushions.... And these are items that are made with high quality materials which makes for a high-end style final product. This isn't your "I know how to sew, so I am going to download some instructions online and use my stash of scraps" type of book. This book is for the artist who finds interest in the detail of textures, fabrics, and simple homemade goods. The author, Cassandra Ellis, gives plenty of detailed instructions, but she does seem to assume the reader already has a decent knowledge of sewing.

While reading this book, I learned that linen has some amazing super powers. Did you know that it can absorb more water than cotton, has antibacterial properties, nonallergenic and is stronger wet than dry? Also, whereas cotton comes from the cotton plant, linen comes from the flax plant.

The only downside I found with this book is that the reco…