The waitress probably thought we were fighting; based simply on the intensity of our words, her assumption was valid. Our date night date night was evolving into a peel-back-the-layers-and-look-deeper discussion. The topic? Our kitchen renovation. This renovation has been five years in the making. My husband began updating his newly purchased home before we were even engaged, poured sweat equity into the bachelor pad to create a home for his ... Read More about Renovating My Marriage
I had the pleasure to be with grandma through five of her last days. My arrival from the opposite side of the country was unplanned, but a welcome season of togetherness. She didn't really know I was there -- most of the time, anyway -- and when she did acknowledge my presence, it was only as a familiar dream, not as a family member. She went to Jesus ten days after I said goodbye and flew back to my home in Canadaland. My neighbor, my ... Read More about a life well lived
We are four ladies, tea cups in hand, walking life and Colossians side-by-side around that cozy dining room table. Three Mennonites and one Baptist. One approaching thirty, one approaching ninety. Three Grandmothers and me. When I moved to Canadaland as the new girl, my first goal of survival was to find a ladies Bible study to join. Community on the shared foundation of Christ in a new country was a noble goal, but not easily ... Read More about benefits of cross-generational Bible study
Dear Daughter, If you're reading this letter, it means that you've filled my heart and soul with joy; it means that you exist. If you're reading this letter, it means that God has blessed me with the privileged responsibility of raising you, cherishing you, training you, preparing you. If you're reading this letter, it means that you're facing your first relationship, it probably means that you're tearfully facing your first conflict in that ... Read More about Is he worth marrying?
“The more you know about the past, the better you are prepared for the future.” (The Internet says that Theodore Roosevelt said this, but Abraham Lincoln and Napoleon Bonaparte also have been cited with similar sentiments.) The point is simple: if we’re going to learn from the past to prepare for the future, not only do we need to look back, but we need to plan forward. How many times have you been asked the question? You know the one: ... Read More about Looking Back, Planning Forward
When all strength drained from my limbs and I crumbled into a heap on my kitchen floor, a puddle of tears cowering against the cabinets and hunkered down on the cool tile faced with the most painful betrayal I could imagine, I wasn't feeling very victorious. When I pulled out of my parents' driveway for the last time, beginning my move across the continent, I waved goodbye through the tears and didn't feel very victorious. When I sobbed in a ... Read More about Finding Victory in Defeat
As one of the last to get married among my groups of friends, I had been to my share of weddings. I had been in my share of weddings. I had spent my share of Ben & Jerry's nights convinced my own wedding would never happen. So when it came time to have a wedding, I knew I needed it to be me and I knew that might mean it would be different. And different, it was. My husband and I met in Uganda, a North Carolinian and a Canadian on the ... Read More about 4 Lessons in Wedding Planning
I eat food. I make food. I obsess over food. I workout so I can have more food. I eat food so I can live. I live so I can eat food. Food is divisive (carbs or low-carb? fats or fat-free? organic or not? gluten or none?). Food is unifying (have you ever attended a foodless party?). Food is as emotional as me at my ficklest female moment. Have you ever stopped to consider what your worldview is, as relates to food? Whether in binging on ... Read More about What’s your foodview?
Reading had become a chore. As odd as it sounds, that's what happened. I had spent the majority of my childhood identifying "reading" as my foremost hobby, I had voraciously devoured multiple books a week, and had routinely won the local library's summer reading program. Somewhere along the way, my default leisure activity switched to movies and TV shows; instead of picking up a book when I had downtime, I started doing anything except read. In ... Read More about Reading for Fun: It’s OK
Lately, the mean voices are particularly loud. On repeat, the angry mantras march through my thoughts, echoing their erroneous chorus and stifling the realities I know to be true. When I hear it enough, I start to believe it. "You are ugly." "You are fat." "You are a failure." "You're dumb." "You're not [good/smart/fast/strong/beautiful] enough. " Objectively, I know these things aren't true. I know the false words are self-fulfilling and are ... Read More about True or False? Fighting the Lies
I'm a girl. I have grumpy, self-centered days. The end. (Or not.) On yet another dreadfully difficult, supercharged emotional day, I wasn't exactly living like Pollyanna. My heart heavy, my mind foggy, my words muddled. Seeing people and smiling at them was the LAST thing I wanted to do, but I had to make it through one more phone call, another couple emails, and a (hopefully brief) meeting. Sitting at my laptop, the emails had piled up. ... Read More about Spreading Smiles
The spotlight. She was standing in the spotlight. A crowded room of young adults turned immediately claustrophobic as the shaft of light illuminated only her wide-eyed panic. Twenty-five pairs of eyes reflected outside that ring of light, and there wasn’t so much as a twinkling kindness among them. Everyone stared in contempt at her makeup...or her shoe choice...or maybe her stray hair...or maybe, well, just her. At least, that’s how it felt. ... Read More about 3 Tips: When You’re the New Girl