Monthly Archives: September 2017

Five Minute Friday: Depend

It’s Friday.  Another week when I’ve been tempted to focus on what’s going wrong and overlook a lot of what’s going right.  I choose to be grateful for blessings.  There are many.

Linking up again with Kate Motaung and the FMF Friday gang.

Five minutes of free write on the prompt: depend


When Pete’s teaching about faith, he often likes to use the illustration of the chair.

Do you have faith that this chair will hold you?

How do you demonstrate that faith?

By sitting in it.

It really doesn’t matter how much faith you have. What matters is what you’re placing your faith in.

Is the object of your faith up to the task?

Too many times we depend on chairs that fail us, that crack under our weight.

We depend on a bank account, a relationship, a position or a reputation, without realizing that those things can’t hold the weight of our expectations. They will fail.

The object of our faith needs to be infallible. Rock solid. Able to handle the job.

It’s critical not to choose inferior chairs.


Please follow and like us:

When you’re feeling a little wobbly. Tribe Conference 2017

You’re about to walk into a room of 270 where you don’t know a single human.

You’re feeling a little wobbly.

Nervous and excited and hopeful.

Hopeful that the people in this room are YOUR tribe.

You feel a connection with some of them because they have shared their stories online.

They were vulnerable and generous.  They showed you a piece of their heart.  You got a good look at their values.

And you wanted what they have.

A chance to share your words with a wider world.

A chance to impact at the deepest level.

A chance to make a living by sharing.

Because these people and their words have already marked you indelibly.

Take Jeff Goins’ 500 words a day challenge, for example.


I’d been blogging about a year when I took the challenge.  I was having problems posting consistently and I thought 500 words a day would help.
So, I started and found 500 words a day was pretty easy to hit.  Sometimes I could do it in 20 minutes.
The first result I noticed was I started posting on my blog LESS often– once month down from once or twice a week.
The second result was a marked improvement in my emotional health.
In order to get 500 words a day in quickly, I was brain dumping– stream of consciousness writing.  Scattered thoughts, random rabbit trails, whatever was on my mind.  Not focused, one topic writing good for blog posts.
But I was less angry, less depressed, more grateful.
After four months, I started to wonder if I just needed to journal and not be posting to the world.
Then I started mining the ramblings to develop into blog posts.
I started using part of the 500 words directed to specific posts and the remainder to whatever was on my mind.
I started spending fifteen minutes a day on editing, picking photos and all the non-writing tasks needed for my blog.
I still have lots of tweaks to make to the creative process, but I don’t ever want to go back to a life when I’m not writing at least 500 words a day.
500 words a day changed my life.
It hit number one on my list of  What’s Saving My Life Right Now.
And that’s just one example.


So, you step into the room.  And you fasten your badge onto your lanyard. And you ask if this seat is taken.

And it all begins.

And it’s just as exhilarating as you’d hoped.

And you knew it was okay to be where you are in the journey– stumbling, stalled, hopeful.

They had been there too.


Interested in finding out more about Tribe Conference?  Check it out.



Please follow and like us:

Five Minute Friday: Accept

It’s Friday!  What a week.  Still processing what I learned at Tribe Conference in Tennessee last weekend.  SO glad I went.

Linking up with Kate Motaung and the FMF gang.


We have a deep need to be accepted. To feel accepted.

To have a community that knows us and loves us anyway.

To go through life feeling unaccepted tears at the soul, takes away our hope, blows out the candle of warmth in our heart.

We crave it like a hibernating animal looks for food in the Spring.

We wander, restless, until we find it.

And once we’re there, we flop down and rest, weary from the struggle of looking for home.



Please follow and like us:

Five Minute Friday: Support

How can it be Friday already?

Headed out this morning to Tribe Conference in Tennessee.  Yep. Nervous. Yep. Excited.

Linking up with Kate Motaung and the FMF gang.


When Moses was too tired to lift his hands, he needed the support of his friends, Aaron and Hur.
It was critical to the mission that Moses had his hands lifted during the battle, because the troops would win as long as his hands were lifted.

But the reality remains:

He couldn’t do it alone.

We can’t do it alone.

Sometimes we’re the ones on the roof, ripping apart roof tiles, lowering our friend down into the room to have access to Jesus.

Sometimes we’re the ones on the cot being lowered down.

It’s easier on our pride to be the ones helping, to be in partnership with the Savior.

It’s hard to be the needy one. Devoid of strength, lacking even the resources to help ourselves.

We want to be the Good Samaritan, even if it means helping the unlovely.

What we don’t want to be is the one on the side of the road, beaten past the point of helping ourselves.

God help us to help others


give us the humility to receive help when we’re helpless.



Please follow and like us:

What I’m Reading, September 2017

September means soccer around here.

I’m feeling a little nostalgic because it’s our last season as soccer parents.  Our baby is a senior in high school, so an era is ending.

The weather’s been great for watching soccer games–not too hot, cold, rainy or windy.  You never know in Indiana.

Linking up with Modern Mrs Darcy’s Quick Lit for September reads.

 Buy now from Amazon

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Before You Were Ours is a tragic tale with a hopeful ending.

This is not a feel good book, but it is well-written.

It touches on the trauma that children go through when their nuclear family is destroyed.

It traces the children of a riverboat family who were abducted and institutionalized in the South in the early 20th century.

Interspersed with that story is the story of a modern day teen in foster care who makes friends with a elderly widow, never dreaming that their childhoods carried similar threads.

This is the first Lisa Wingate novel that I’ve read, but I will be looking for more of her books.

It reminded me a little of Orphan Train.

 Buy now from Amazon

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

What if you lived in a small kingdom where the prince chose his bride from the graduates of the Princess Academy?

What if you had the chance for an education that would never be possible otherwise?

I loved this middle grade novel for telling a tale of what could be, the power of knowledge, friendships and courage.

One of my favorite parts of Princess Academy was how they snuck in principles of Commerce and Negotiation. It was fun how that played out.

There were a few weird and whimsical twists, but every fairy tale needs a little magic.

 Buy now from Amazon

Unselfie by Michele Borba

Michele Borba was in town last week to speak to the teachers in our district.  She’s gaining a following in our area.

I liked the stories of all the schools that developed programs or implemented teaching that turned the school community around or changed a classroom.

It gives you hope for the kids of this generation. It certainly is a fight, though, with the phones and digital devices.

I liked the support she gave for developing empathy by reading, especially fiction.

Lots of good tips on practical ways to teach kids empathy.

Lots of stories and good examples of kids at school and home demonstrating empathy.

It gives a good breakdown of the elements of empathy and the why it is such a critical trait for our kids.

 Buy now from Amazon

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Heads up for language and thematic elements.

The first half of the book was slow moving and a little confusing.

The second half was riveting.

A journalist is on assignment on a small luxury cruiser.  She notices some strange things happening, but when she looks into it, her story is called into question.

Good suspense.  Good resolution.




Please follow and like us:

Five Minute Friday: Work

It’s Friday!  Time to link up with Kate Motaung and the FMF crew.

It’s been another busy week, after a busy holiday weekend, but it is nice to get past the stress of the August rush at work.

Speaking of work, this week’s Five Minute Friday prompt is (you guessed it):  work.


One of our greatest needs as humans is the need for meaningful work.
We need to do work that matters, that makes a difference.

Deprived of that, we become hamsters on a wheel: working to eat and eating to work.

Whether or not it’s paid work, we have to do something that fulfills our need to contribute and leaves the world better than when we found it.

If we get paid to do meaningful work, all the better.

But, without that touch, without that feeling of accomplishment, we despair.

We can’t live without the hope that our work matters.

Aside from relationship, it’s our most critical need.


Please follow and like us:

6 True Adventure Stories that are Page Turners

What is it about adventure stories that draws you in?

It’s facing and overcoming adversity. The choices made. The sacrifices made. What the human body can endure. Giving up versus pressing on.

The thing about true stories is you know, generally, how they’re going to turn out. But, the draw is finding out how they got there.

True adventure stories are inspiring.

Reading or hearing someone’s story creates hope within us that we can also survive, endure and triumph.

(Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post. If you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no additional cost to you.)

  Buy now from Amazon

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

The pathos of the story draws you in.  Joe Rantz is an almost Dickensonian hero.

Tracing the background of some others on the champion rowing team puts you in the boat with the rowers and has you cheering with the crowds on the shore.

I love the real life lessons of leadership and teamwork, and wonder how to transfer these lessons to other teams.

The up close and behind the scenes glimpses of history are instructive and sobering.  So much to glean from this book.

  Buy now from Amazon

Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing

It’s little hard to put my finger on what I like about the book so much.

It’s a good study in leadership and teamwork. It’s an amazing triumph over the elements, even though the primary mission wasn’t accomplished. The feat was bringing back everyone home alive.

The decisions that had to be made; the feats of survival; the human interaction; the challenges that they faced. These are the elements of the story that draw you in and keep you turning pages.

 Buy now from Amazon

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

Unbroken tells the story of Louis Zamperini, Olympic runner World War II soldier.

Zamperini faces so many incredible circumstances in his life before he turns 30.  The perseverance and resilience he displayed in the face the multiple titanic challenges is an inspiration.

Knowing his background and family intensifies the story.

The final resolution is satisfying and heart warming.

Aside from the story, the writing is a work of art.

  Buy now from Amazon

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

In 1996, eight mountain climbers lost their lives while attempting to summit Everest.  Jon Krakauer is a journalist and climber who survived and wrote about it.

To me, one of the most interesting dynamics is the role of leadership and teamwork in summiting as well as personal, individual responsibility.

One of the critical factors in the deaths of those on the mountain in 1996 was the enforcement of the turn around time.

Hall, the team leader, had been so strict about that for other teams, but with this one, he wasn’t.  He didn’t communicate clearly whether the turn around time was one o clock or  two clock.  On the actual summit day, people were summiting at 4 and 5 o clock.

No one seemed to know that there was a storm blowing in.

There’s a lot of competing forces at play:  people who spent a lot of money to summit, the commercialization of summiting, magazines that would pay a lot for the story, advertisers looking for heroes.

There’s also different teams that were summiting and the different philosophies of the team leaders.

Should a leader be making decisions that are unquestioned?  Does that actually put his team at greater risk because they don’t follow their own wisdom?  Actually, the genius of Hall’s leadership was to make the decisions ahead of time, not in the heat of the moment.  And the actual breakdown came in not following through with those wise decisions.

The safety net wasn’t there when it needed to be.

The bottom line is, it impossible to erase all the risk.  That’s one factor that makes the challenge so attractive:  there is an element of risk involved.  Defying death is part of the victory.

“The true story of one man’s miraculous survival after a mountaineering mishap high in the Andes of South America.”

 Buy now from Amazon

Touching the Void by Joe Simpson

I’ve been on the prowl for another great family read aloud, along the lines of Endurance and Unbroken.  Even though Touching the Void and Into Thin Air are incredible true life accounts, I didn’t think the writing was of the same caliber as those two.

There’s a lot of climbing terms and concepts that I didn’t understand and it took a while before the story became compelling.  If I hadn’t known what was coming, I’m not sure I would have stuck with it.  The account is a testimony to the human will to survive.  Although it was only given a passing reference, it’s also a testimony to the prayers of Joe’s mother.

It’s fascinating to me to analyze the decisions you make in the face of death.  What motivates you to keep going when it’s hopeless and what motivates you to give up?

 Buy now from Amazon

The Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston

It took 100 pages for this story to really get good. But, when it did, I was hooked.

Who can resist the search for a lost city? There’s quite an appeal to explore virgin territory, untouched by human hands for centuries, but yet once a thriving civilization.

The book took a left turn for the last fourth and covered tropical diseases, almost leaving archeology in the dust. I found the information interesting, but it certainly wasn’t where I was expecting the book to go.


Please follow and like us:

3 Things I Learned, Summer 2017

Linking up with Emily P. Freeman to share what we’ve learned this summer.

In August we celebrated thirty years of marriage with a week at the lake with the kids.

Thirty years is a long time.

That’s a lot of days.  It’s a lot of hours.

I’ll be the first person to admit that clocking 30 years doesn’t necessarily make you an expert. Scads of people who’ve been around the block didn’t learn anything on the trip.

For what it’s worth, here’s what I learned for making it to 30:

Keep re-negotiating your marriage and extend grace.

Having lived the past 30 years with a lot of upheaval and transitions on top of the normal phases of life, I’m more sensitive to the need for constant re-negotiation.

Getting on the same page can be difficult. Melding two personalities to head the same direction takes a lot of negotiation. We’ve made some big changes geographically and culturally in our marriage. With each change, we have to re-negotiate our marriage. It’s not easy.

Also, I don’t think you can make it to 30 years without heaping helpings of grace and forgiveness. There will be hurts and offenses. There has to be grace in equal measure. It might take an act of God.

“I just want my kids to be happy” is not a helpful parenting philosophy

It’s amazingly pervasive, though.

Sometimes what the kids need most will not make them happy.  Take immunizations, for example.  Or eating vegetables.  Or going to bed.

In order to be happy, your kids might just want pizza and french fries. But you know that’s not what’s best for them. What’s best for them is eating vegetables. And they might not like it at first, but they will develop a taste for it.

The same is true for many things, including doing dishes and doing laundry.

Our kids are independent, responsible young adults. And they’ve adopted the values that matter most to us. Our friendships with them bring us joy.

Tweaking my morning routines has made a huge difference for me.

Keeping up with paper clutter is one of the huge struggles of my life and just dealing with the mail at home every day was overwhelming. The bottom line is that it’s not that hard to handle.

But, the critical element for me was realizing that I couldn’t handle it in the evening. I was processing the mail in 3 minutes every morning while my eggs were cooking. That went well except for the mornings when my husband made breakfast or I didn’t eat eggs. A few slips and I fell off the bandwagon.

I was able to re-start with two minor tweaks. I process the mail for 2 minutes every morning while I heat my water for a hot drink (lemon, hot water and stevia to help deal with Hashimoto’s).

This is working.

There’s something about micro-habits that makes them easier. Knowing that it’s only two minutes helps. In the morning, I haven’t succombed to decision fatigue and the process is possible (even easy) instead of overwhelming.

It’s amazing to me that such little changes can make such a huge difference. It’s fun to figure out what works.



Please follow and like us:

Five Minute Friday: Neighbor

It’s Friday!  Where did the week go?

Linking up with Kate Motaung and the Five Minute Friday community.

This week’s prompt is : neighbor


Who is my neighbor?

Jesus was asked the question.

Maybe the need of humanity was just too overwhelming.

Maybe it paralyzes us to see the enormity of human need and realize we’re not up to the task.

So, instead of doing the little we can, we do nothing.

Maybe what Jesus was teaching in the story of the Good Samaritan is that your neighbor is the one in your path that is desperate for help.

You don’t have to worry about everyone. Of course you can’t meet the needs of everyone.

Just one.

Just the one in your path. With the resources that you have.

Just today.

Just one.


Please follow and like us: