loving to read

It’s not only that I think reading is a good idea, though the practice can get sorta messed up, but it’s that I love reading. I do love a new book, with fresh pages just begging for me to underline or circle, to write comments in the margin and doggy-ear its pages, but it’s not a new books that gets me reading.

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>> Pinterest <<

I love the conversation with the author; the ideas presented and the stories shared. I love to compare my ideas and life with theirs and see the intersections and see where I can go with the author.

I try to choose books that will point me to the Gospel – I need the Gospel everywhere  I can get it, so oftentimes my book pile reflects that.

For February, I want to ENGAGE LOVE and I can’t think of a better way to help me along than through a good pile of books.

This is my pile :

Love Does by Bob Goff 

Love Lives Here by Maria Goff

The Four Loves by C. S. Lewis 

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…. and carrying over from my January list…

the Bible, with a read through the bible in a year plan – I feel like I have never read the bible ever before. (and I have!) I am seeing so much and I am learning so much about the Lord and it’s flooring and it’s exhilarating and it’s totally worth doing it. I mean girlfriend! How do you eat an elephant? ONE bite at a time. Get after it with me, and read the Word!

The Peacemaker by Kevin Sande, which I plan to finish this month, and so far, has been a lot more straightforward than I expected, which makes it easier to read than I assumed it would be. At the same time, the book is deep and rich and a really good read. It’s helpful that the wording and ideas are presented clearly because the application might end up being really hard and even complicated. It takes a real-life wisdom to write a book on conflict resolution in such a clear thinking way.

Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson – my sisters and I are reading through this and discussing it as we go along, and they voted to read through it slowly. This could be in the pile for the whole year

I have started into two of the three books in my February list. I love Maria’s book; she comes across as a really kind momma who loves everyone she meets, who mothers anyone who will let her, in the best of ways. I am so glad she gently shares her stories with the godly insights the Lord has shared with her. Reading her not only is a sweet conversation for me, but it also helps me consider the the way I write.

I am borrowing the book Love Does, which I think is only appropriate. The act of borrowing seems to put into practice the idea presented in Bob’s book.

Four Loves – and C. S. Lewis. Oh my. It may take you a minute, it may take a minute for your eyes to adjust and your head to comprehend his words, but it’s worth it. I read this book in college and vowed to read it again one day to my children. For now, I am reading it to myself and I plan to read a bunch of it to Tyler. (I’m looking at you, long car ride trips!) I am MOST excited to go to heaven to be with Jesus and to see our children and to BE THERE …. and I am very excited too to meet good ole Clives Staples Lewis. I think I will be standing in a long line, but that’s ok. Hopefully in heaven I will be patient 😉 I’m not far enough in to share with you my “favorite” part yet, but suffice it to say, it will probably be the entire thing. Get it girlfriend, and read it!

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** check out my Pinterest board Read Worthy for more books, fantastic articles, and a few pretty pictures, too



turning to the new year + turning to new life

So we have made it through 2017 into the new year – Hi 2018! And for that alone we can give praise to the Lord! We made it – we are alive! We are here!

To celebrate, I wrote a blog post about how the FIRST thing we need to do with our lives, in the new year, is repent from our sin.

Whenever I read or write the word repent one particular bible verse comes to mind. It’s one I memorized as a little school girl and it’s one I memorialized in my mind as a grown college girl, driving to school each morning. John, in all of the love of Christ that has overcome his own heart, writes

If we confess our sins He is faithful and Just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us of all unrighteousness.*

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photo : the gospel coalition

John writes that if we confess our sins (You have sinned girlfriend. Remember, we all have sinned and fall short of Glory….*) – that HE IS faithful and Just and HE DOES forgive and cleanse,… of all! We are not only alive today and not only have we made it through the new year, but we are ALIVE in Him!, and He is re-making us New in His mercies that are new every morning, every minute, in every minutia of our new lives.*

So, repent. Righteousness is promised. That is a BIG promise.

What is righteousness?

Well, ultimately, Christ is Righteousness. When we turn from our sin, God gives us Christ, who is the believer’s very Life. So, this is good news. And this is just the sort of new that we need this year, today, this very moment.

Righteousness in and through Christ means turning to Him. His righteousness rights us. Righteousness is the reality that because of Christ, you and me are free from the penalty and guilt of sin. You are free! As if that wasn’t enough, righteousness means you are in a position of being morally right and justified before God. You are justified!*

This is radical renewal all done for you.

This is the kind of NEW you were made for, saved for, and still alive for.

This is the sort of salvation you so desire but cannot write a list long enough or good enough or pretty enough to accomplish.

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photo : amazon

This year, today, Jesus invites you to let the reality of that you are justified by faith* refresh your soul. He calls you to rest into His righteousness. He gifts you with grace and space to relax in His renewal. SO, let’s accept the invitation. Turn away from your sin, come on into Christ, and live new this new year.

*1 John 1:9 / Romans 3:23 / Lamentations 3:23 / Colossians 3:3 / Romans 8:1 / Romans 5:1

End of the year and End of your life

Before Christmas even arrives, planners fill the shelves at Target. How do I know? Because I bought one! Before my birthday, which is November 6th, and excitedly showed Tyler the gift I bought myself.

If you’d like to know what planner I purchased, this is the one most similar = May Designs 2018 Planner

So many people buy planners and so many other people tell you how to plan your life, all before Christmas even comes.

And once you actually reach the day after Christmas, all you – all I! – can think about it filling in my *new* planner!

I do love the blank fresh pages. I do love all the hope a new year holds.

But before we rush – maybe you’re already there! – or maybe you’re hiding from all of the crazies who are planning their next quarter of a year,…- before we rush into the next year, I want to share with you a place to pause.

This article by John Piper comes to mind at the end of every year since I read it. The blog post was published in 2012, and I think I read it that year. Y’all – here’s the link and I cannot recommend it enough.

Article = Death Rehearsal

Rehearsing our own death is a task we need to do and a reality we must face before we rush into the new year. Life IS fleeting and the Lord is the final say. So let’s rehearse our deaths in order that we might LIVE.

I had already been thinking about finding this article and reading it again today or tomorrow as I finished Chip Gaines’ book, Capital Gaines. I borrowed it from the library thinking it would be a quick read, and I do really like his older-brother, funny+wise way about him, but truth be told, the book was so much better that I expected, and all I just-so-hoped it would be! I want to buy it 💙

Link to buy the book = Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stufft the end of his book he writes out two different obituaries, one of them ends in tragedy; the other in faithful success. (Surely he read this desiring God article.) And surely he shows his reader, me included, will gain 😉 wisdom in doing this exercise.

So first thing – I’m writing this little post for you, and then next thing, I’m writing out my own obituary. I want the reality that life is fleeting to sink into my feet and weight me to run this race of life with perseverance, to run all the way to the Finish, to the Finisher of our Faith.

Let me know what you think of the article,.. or if you’ve read his book. And even more importantly let me know how your death rehearsal goes 💙 I pray thinking through death will motivate you to LIVE through life. 💥

Ten Questions for 2017

Tyler and I have a tradition that has become one of my very favorites — a Christmastime we go on a special date + share through our year. We talk about what the Lord has done, all that has happened, where we’ve been. We consider our sufferings and hardships; the aspects of life that we struggled and stumbled through. We praise the Lord who gives grace upon grace.

This year, to prepare for our evening, I wrote a list of questions to frame our discussion. Then, I recorded our answers in my journal. I am excited to read through our conversation next year and see how the Lord has moved through our lives, making His glory known and our paths straight.

We reflect over our year with the intent of praising the Lord and realizing that it is ONLY HE who has done all of these great things in our lives, that ONLY HE upholds us with His righteous right hand, and that it is ONLY HE is worth this whole thing – all of the messy and mundane and really hard is worth it because ONLY HE is worthy.

So as you go into the new year, I invite you to reflect with us through the questions we considered. And I pray in the end you SEE and SAVOR Him.

Questions to ask about 2017

What did you learn about yourself?

What did you learn about the Lord?

In which relationship did you well invest?

Which book that you read this year was the most impactful?

– What song

– What sermon

– What event

What scripture did the Lord continually bring back to your memory throughout the year?

What is a real regret do you hold? (Release it the Lord – 1 John 1:8-9)

Who is it that you need to ask to forgive you?

What are

– three reasons

– three people

– three things

that you can celebrate?

Whatever word the Lord gave you at the beginning of the year – reflect on that. Is it accurate? How?

What other questions, reflections, considerations do you want to record about this year?

This is the only photo we have of us after our great night out at Humble Pie and Hayes Barton Pharmacy ❤️🎄

what we do with santa

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I sincerely love Coca Cola’s Norman Rockwell-ian illustrations of Santa 

The other evening with good friends we were sharing all this Christmas related, and the topic of Santa came up. Some of the girls have children grown, and they shared what they did. Some of the girls – like myself – have little ones, and we are still creating our own family culture, deciding what our family’s traditions will be. It was intriguing to engage this discussion of what to do with Santa.

(Now if you didn’t realize this was a discussion, or anything to think through, that’s ok! – but here’s the list : As Christian parents, how should Santa be introduced, acknowledged, and affirmed, or apart of, our Christmas celebration, which, for Christians, is primarily the celebration of Jesus’ birthday.)

I thought it might be helpful, and at least interesting, to share with you how we approach Santa 🙂 and to do that, I am going to share an article with you, because it is this article that cemented our thoughts and directed how we celebrate Christmas, and what we do with Santa.

—> Should You Tell Your Kids The Truth About Santa 


So let me know what you think about this article. How do you as a Christian parent engage Santa and the Christmas holiday?


PS : Did you watch the entire video in the link I shared above!? Did you know the original Saint Nicholas fought against female sex trafficking!? 




life-giving home . december . christmas + the year’s end

‘Why do we celebrate? … Because we need to remember the eternal. Some realities – like Christmas – demand a response of heart, of soul, and even appearance. We need to celebrate Christmas so that we feel – in heart, in touch, and in memory – the full weight of   the reality.’ – Sarah Clarkson, Life Giving Home, December

When we celebrate, we engage heaven. we engage the eternal. We enter into the the reality that this is God’s world, not our own, that He is the One who saves us from ourselves and our sin and the awful domain of Satan, that He is the One who loves us and preserves us and makes and re-makes us, not we ourselves, not some other magic potion or perfect formula.

Jesus down to every little jot and tittle is THE reason for the season. for the celebration.

So when you breathe in the scent of warm apple pie mixed with sizzling bacon and delicious hot cocoa, when you walk through the biting cold and brisk winter wind, when you watch a love open in delight their gift, stick your face close to Jesus’ and breathe Him in, feel Him all around you, see Him in every shadow and sunlight and surprise. Stick your face to His and see Him. Savor Him. Share Him. and Celebrate Jesus Christ, the newborn King.

As I conclude this time in Sally Clarkson’s The Life Giving Home book, I pray that I live by all the Word exhorts my home to be… that my home could be, would be, a little window into heaven, a little taste of glory divine… even in the piles of laundry (I’ve begun to see piles of gold…), even in the dirty dishes (I’ve begun to notice full bellies and happy hearts), through the handprinted windows and walls (decorations I could never afford, priceless to me…), grace upon grace upon piling grace… I pray,… piling all the way to heaven, all the way to Home.

Home, this morning . 9:53A Friday, Dec 15th . 2017 / the boys are playing outside / the baby is sleeping / tyler is hard at work / here i am…



Haddon’s 1st Birthday . the story of his psalm


This photograph in the hospital on the way home is proof that we were absolutely elated to have and to hold you, darling Haddon. Welcome to the world! 


Before he was even born, I sifted through the pages of the psalms, searching for a psalm for Joseph Haddon. I offered my list to Tyler. And as he read through the different scriptures, he said – I think this one. Me, too. Me too.


oh Jesus thank you for Haddon

A year ago today he entered our world, our family, our hearts and we are forever transformed, from glory to glory, into your image, into the likeness of your Son, by this little life, this little gift, this little baby You gifted us.

Through this new life You have re-shaped and continued to make new each one of our hearts.

We have learned how to love in new ways; how to protect and care in new ways; how to prefer one another in new ways… how to love new, little, fragile, growing life. What gift to learn together!

I remember when the ultrasound-lady told us you were a boy. I was floored with excitement.  I was floored with His purposeful ways, leading us through deep waters and dry deserts.

As I flipped through photographs to include in this post, I saw a photo of a phone conversation with Tyler – I whispered to him through text…

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick. And my heart is sad and sick and waiting is wearing on me.”


Here we all find ourselves – Lord, let us find ourselves here! – waiting and sick and heartbroken. We pray we find ourselves here because it is in these fragile moments that You come. Grace comes and heals and saves and binds up and Glory shines through us, and Glory becomes us. And Glory is all around us.

If we never find ourselves wanting and waiting and without, sick and sad and sore from sin and hopes deferred, then we will never find ourselves in Christ.

God takes what was meant for evil and transforms it into Good.

This reality – this is your reality and my reality! – hush ups my heart and floors me with humility. Hush up and Worship and Hushes me into Rest and Ushers me into Glory.

How can this be? Mary asked…. How can this be, Lord, I asked….

And then one day, suddenly and silently and almost without warning, baby. 20 weeks later, another boy. His name – Joseph Haddon. And four days past his due date, after two days of giving thanks with both sides of the family – there he was! in all of his screaming beauty and hungry holiness. Thank you, Lord.

We chose Psalm 146 for Haddon because it begins similarly to both Leland and Grafton’s psalms. We loved that when we chose Grafton’s psalm, it was almost an exposition, or a commentary on, or a more full description of, the blessed man in Leland’s psalm one.

Psalm 146 begins “Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! … and in verse five, it reads, “Blessed is he…” so this Psalm is about praising the Lord and the blessed man who praises the Lord, who lives his life in fear of the Lord.

We desire this – we pray this into – Haddon’s life – that he will be a man who praises the Lord, who is blessed because his help is the God of Jacob, because his hope is in the Lord his God.


Psalm 146 Put Not Your Trust in Princes

1 Praise the LORD!

Praise the LORD, O my soul!

I will praise the LORD as long as I live;

I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

Put not your trust in princes,

in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.

When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;

on that very day his plans perish.

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,

whose hope is in the LORD his God,

who made heaven and earth,

the sea, and all that is in them,

who keeps faith forever;

who executes justice for the oppressed,

who gives food to the hungry.

The LORD sets the prisoners free;

the LORD opens the eyes of the blind.

The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down;

the LORD loves the righteous.

The LORD watches over the sojourners;

he upholds the widow and the fatherless,

but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

10  The LORD will reign forever,

your God, O Zion, to all generations.

Praise the LORD!


Reading through this psalm, you might have noticed how many of the verses hearken God’s work in Israel’s history, and while I don’t think this psalm specifically mentions Joseph from the book of Genesis, the Lord “executes justice,” “gives food to the hungry.” The Lord “sets the prisoner free” – who is it but the Lord who set Joseph free from the prison!? The Lord opened the eyes of the blind and Joseph was elevated to a position of power, not according to his plan, but as he feared the Lord. “The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down” – this description of the Lord was so evident in Joseph’s life. The Lord fed the Egyptians, the Israelites, and even his own brothers who disowned him years before through Joseph’s wise, proactive, God-given plan.  And we pray the Lord’s character will be so clear to our Joseph Haddon. “The Lord loves the righteous” “The Lord watches over the sojourner” – Joseph was loved by the Lord; the Lord watched over him even as he traveled far from his own country. Joseph didn’t have his father with him for a long time, and in the end, those who had risen up against the Lord, and against Joseph, were brought to an end. Joseph lived a life that trusted not in princes, but feared and trusted in the Lord, and his legacy declares “The Lord reigns forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord!”

This scripture also could describe Joseph, adoptive father of Jesus, and that too is precious to me.

And this psalm, along with both of these Joseph’s godly models, undergirded by the character of the Lord, gives us such a holy desire to pray His Word into our Haddon’s life.

We pray that through whatever sort of life God gifts our son with, his life will praise the Lord; that he will be a blessed man who fears the Lord, and that his legacy will praise the Lord throughout all of the generations.

Each night before I lay our growing son down in his crib, I whisper in his ear…

“Praise the Lord.”