I am always looking for new ways to pack lighter and more efficiently.
I shared in a guest post last year on how I started that process by packing in a color palette of only a few colors. Doing this maximizes my options once I arrive at my destination, especially if I have the opportunity to do laundry.
I hosted my first outdoor movie and ice cream party the summer I lived in a tiny city apartment. Since indoor space was limited, I had to get creative with accommodating large parties, and happily put my large backyard to use. Since then, I have moved, but the movie/ice cream party has become an annual tradition, and this summer I hosted my third. Around 35 friends showed up, and we spent the evening sipping iced coffee, licking drippy ice cream cones and playing lawn games. There was also a twilight balloon launch – all the children had filled out cards with a little message and their return address, and attached them to helium balloons which we sent off in one big, colorful bunch. The final event of the evening was a family-friendly movie, enjoyed from lawn chairs and blankets scattered across the lawn.
I have class every day at the University that I attend. Unfortunately, the parking lot my brother and I park at feels like it’s about eight miles away from everything else. I clocked it once and it’s a little over half a mile from the nearest point of interest, and that point is still quite a ways from where my classes are located.
Walking half a mile is easy if you know how to handle boredom, but that was not the problem.
The problem was the 20lb backpack I carried every day.
I have a passion for food. More specifically, I have a passion for food that is prepared and consumed the way our ancestors prepared & consumed it. Don't get me wrong, I love a good all-American meal of burgers & fries, but there's something that gets my blood pumping when I read about and taste food that my ancestors may have prepared and eaten, whether that be sauerkraut, kombucha, cheese, raw milk or butter, carefully prepared (or not!) meats, or soaked grains.
There’s an Irish folk song which portrays marriage as a voyage. The author depicts himself as a sailor and his lady, the first mate. They signed on together – coupling their fate on the ocean of life. Most of us unmarried girls long for that day when everything is settled, when we sign on with a Sailor and do life with him.
But reality has us all still on the water front. As we reach adulthood we are thrown into a somewhat chaotic scene of young sailors choosing first mates.
Gretta Coates spent five months in the Moria Refugee Camp in Lesvos, Greece, serving refugees through i58, a ministry bringing relief to thousands of displaced people there. These stories from Gretta's time in Greece are eye-opening and moving; a personal glimpse into the tragedy, laced with hope, that she encountered there.
There is very little that is glamorous about any type of home renovation that you are living in the middle of. Except for the picture, the vision that you have in your head of the end result. But the process of getting there is pretty messy and very unsophisticated. Re-doing a kitchen involves things like washing your dishes in a cruddy utility sink in your equally cruddy basement and thawing chicken for the next day in your bathroom sink. (Don't worry, the chicken was contained in a freezer bag and it seemed like a better alternative to thawing the chicken outside overnight and risking some wild animal carting off our supper.)
We’ve all been there. You know what I’m talking about. You’re standing with a group of friends talking about life and one friend shares a cross that she is currently bearing. You nod sympathetically and murmur, “You have so much strength. I don’t know how you do it. I could never handle something like that.”
It seems as though machines and marriages have some things in common. They both take some maintenance to keep them running smoothly. There’s the oil – your engine will lock up in a hurry if you neglect this important detail. Relationships can get rather tight if you forget the oil of courtesy- please and thank you and little smiles are good lubricants. They do much to help overcome friction as the gears of daily home life go round and round.
In today’s culture, women are lifted up as a group of people to be honored and respected. And well we should be. But not for the reasons the world offers. The world seeks to validate women by making us the victims. It is a self-seeking validation. One that says, “I have risen above. I have fought my battles. I deserve my rights, my success. I have done this for myself and it is myself that I will glorify.”
Probably one of the biggest problems we face as Christians today has to do with the debatable word, “offense.” What makes this issue so tricky is that it has two opposite components. On one side, we hear terms like “Be yourself,” “Ignore the haters,” and “Do what it takes to reach the top.” Over the past forty to sixty years, our culture has become more and more self-focused and independent of each other and stopped singing together as a choir in pursuit of grabbing the best solos. We have now reached the point where we are only accountable to ourselves, and if someone has problems with us, it's their own fault. In other words, we do not care whom we may offend in the process of reaching for the stars.
Walk through the produce or meat sections of the grocery store, and you'll notice the dizzying array of labels and food packaging. It's enough to frazzle anyone.
"ORGANIC. ALL-NATURAL. NON-GMO. GRASS FED. CAGE FREE. HORMONE FREE."
These and other labels are everywhere.
If they confuse you, you're not alone. Many of these phrases can be tricky to understand. Some don't mean what you might think. There is a chance you are paying more for a product with buzzwords that have a loose meaning, or a label that is not even defined or regulated. Some key words are misleading and some are actually what they say they are, and it can be hard to tell the difference.
Have you ever watched a potter form a lump of clay into a useful vessel? It is fascinating to see this process as the potter’s wheel spins around. A master potter makes it seem effortless as he shapes this lump of clay and it responds to his hands, moving just as he would have it move while the wheel spins around. But if you have the opportunity to try making something on a potter’s wheel from a lump of clay, you will find that it is not as effortless as it appears. A master potter has had hours and days and years of practice in forming and shaping the clay, thus making it look effortless to the onlooker. I heard an astonished onlooker say to the potter, “You did that in five minutes!” The potter replied, “Yes, thirty years and five minutes!”
Before I had my oldest son, I often heard people make statements about motherhood and about life after bringing a little human into the world. Many times these things that people said came across in a rather negative way and sometimes they made it sound like life after pregnancy is pretty much a lonely, dismal one. I remember asking my mom if it’s really that bad, is that really all there is to motherhood. I don’t remember her response, but I’m here to tell you-- -it’s not that bad. It’s not all there is to motherhood. So here are a few things that people commonly say about/during motherhood and what I have found to be true in my motherhood journey.
Hungry soul, I have just a few words to say to your desperate heart. You long for something deeper. You know there must be more to life than what you are living. I know that feeling. It’s the kind of desperate longing that makes you scared to be alone.
This message is for you. Father, do the work you said you would do and make truth come alive by the convincing power of your Spirit.
I believe that God – as the Master Designer - created each of us in His image with an inner artist, and that comes out in so different ways for each person! For some people that comes out in the way they serve their family with food, arranging and preparing the meals with great love and care. For others, it could be the way they can set work aside and play with their kids, investing their time and energy into creating fun things together. Another woman may love to see what she can design and fashion for her kids to wear, enjoying the process of styling and putting outfits together. Someone else may be an incredible artist with words, writing beautiful things that are rich or lighthearted, and that bring life to the people around them. There are endless ways, really, and the various ways artistry is shown is so beautiful and fascinating!
God is love. God is good.
I’ve heard it since childhood. I never questioned the truth of these statements. Not really. But lately I’ve been wondering whether I’ve moved these basic truths from my head to my heart.
My sister-in-law alerted me to the crook in my thinking this week and I trust her judgment. Lavina was my co-teacher for four years before my brother drastically altered her life. Now I live with them thousands of miles from home in the lovely land of Paraguay. I am teaching my second term here and just agreed to another term.
I was reading through a new favorite blog when my eyes came across something that caused the all-too-familiar feelings of inadequacy to well up inside of me. I think you know the feeling I’m talking about. It’s been labeled the “Comparison Syndrome” and for good reason. We have the ability to peek into so many different people’s lives through blogs and social media and those little squares can sure be intimidating. This time though, I began to understand something that has changed my perspective on my position in life as well as other people’s position.
Life is hard. Ever since Eve took that first bite mankind has been struggling to find his way. We sweat and toil physically and emotionally we are screaming for deliverance. Our feet have become mired in the mud of circumstance. Do you feel like you are straining for that outstretched hand, desperately wanting to be saved before the mire sucks you under?
My husband and I have lived in D.C. for almost 5 years now. I remember feeling so lost when it came to city traffic, parking garages and metro stops. Now I can hail a cab with the best of them!
Here are a few helpful tips and hidden gems of the city.