My Summer Stack

My husband is training for a half-marathon. This means he runs several times per week. (I do not run. Not even if I’m being chased by a T-Rex. I am laying down and letting that sucker have me for lunch.) It’s the middle of summer in Iowa which means it’s hot and humid. Any running has to be done early in the morning before he leaves for work or there will be no running, just dying. This means I get sent to bed at 9:30pm even though it’s not a school night and it’s summer break and I am a grown up. Because running is his drug.

In order to cope with my early bedtime and not become overly bitter, I have been reading more than usual. Books are my drug. Some teach, some inspire. A few challenge. Others draw me into a story and allow me to escape my own for a few minutes. It feels indulgent, but I am a grown-up and therefore allowed to do grown-up things. Especially during summer break. When it’s not even a school night.

Allow me to introduce you to some friends I made this summer.








I enjoyed each and every one of these. In fact, I’m planning to jump into the Fast Metabolism Diet next week even though I read it a few weeks ago. It requires a serious commitment that I knew I couldn’t make until after getting through some important social events. Bridal showers and weddings are not conducive to healthy food choices. Unless you consider cake a healthy food choice. If you do, we’re probably good friends.

Sparkly Green Earrings was read AFTER I read Nobody’s Cuter Than You (Not pictured because it was a gift for a friend and I had to read it before I could give it to her. That’s the kind of friend I am.). Melanie Shankle is adorable. So many laugh out loud moments. My husband was super annoyed by my laughing during his House bingeing which made it even sweeter. I’m ordering The Antelope in the Living Room as soon as my husband gets paid because his race isn’t until September. Hold me.

Heart Made Whole was basically a crash cart for my heart. (House has made me a medical wizard. I’m available for 2nd opinions.) I filled many journal pages while reading this one. Kleenex is not optional. BUY THIS BOOK.

A Million Little Ways. Oh man. I adore Emily Freeman. This one is especially good for creative/artist types struggling to find their worth and all the messy struggle that comes with being made in the image of the One who knows us best. I passed it on to another creative/artist and am having a BLAST watching her create again.

What Alice Forgot was a HUGE risk for me because I had never read anything by this author. PLUS I sort of only read books by authors I’ve read before which makes it really hard to find new books to read. I know, I know. I am loyal to the core. I have trouble making new friends because I feel like my other friends are going to feel bad. But sometimes a girl has to branch out! I stood in the book aisle at Target and whispered, “Lord, help thisĀ  be a decent book…” Alice did not disappoint. I MADE A NEW FRIEND! It is important to celebrate the small things around here.

Moving Mountains. I love John Eldredge. I want him to be my pastor even though he’s not a pastor. This one is about prayer. It’s challenging me in a way that I’m not quite ready to write about yet. The last couple of years have been brutal and Jesus still loves me. That is all.

See Me. Oh Nick Sparks, please never ever stop writing. If you like him, you like him. If you don’t, you don’t. This one has a happy ending. Sometimes you need to know that with Nick. Or maybe that’s just my mom.

What have you been reading this summer? I’m ready for a new book and 9:30pm comes way too early when it’s not even a school night during summer break.

Thanks for stopping by.

P.S. I’ve missed you.




Rescue Mission Accomplished

She overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb and the word of her testimony…(Revelation 12:11 NIV, emphasis mine)

This past year hasn’t been easy. Honestly, I’m not sure I know anyone who’s had it easy. I’ve been dealing with chronic pain and fatigue. Throw in some chronic disappointment and you have the recipe for chronic discouragement and depression. Yuck. You see, I really believed that all this junk would have cleared up by now…that God would have answered my prayers and taken it all away. Although I know He has heard me, He has not removed these uncomfortable circumstances from me.

This is my first post in three months. Not because I didn’t have anything to say, but because I stopped trusting that I had anything worthwhile to say. I like to offer encouraging, hopeful, hang in there, don’t give up words. Those words are hard to offer when doubt, shame, anger, resentment, self-pity, and disgust are the words most readily available.

Last weekend I got to spend some time at a Captivating Advanced retreat in the beautiful Rocky Mountains in Colorado with John and Stasi Eldredge along with several members of the Ransomed Heart team. It wasn’t just a retreat, it was a rescue. If you have never been to one of their events, I strongly encourage you to do whatever it takes to get to one. I’m telling you, GO!!!


So much healing took place in those mountains, but before sending us on our merry little way John Eldredge spent some time teaching about the reality of pain and suffering this side of heaven. He challenged us to let suffering expose and access our deepest wounds because they expose where our hopes are primarily set. Ouch. Personally, I’m not a big fan of being exposed in any way, but God would not send me home without giving me a chance to allow Him to deal with this area in my life. Too much is at stake.

For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 2 Corinthians 1:5 NIV

John warned us…”Don’t reject the comfort because you’re mad that it’s not the answer you want.”


Near the end of the session I spent some time quietly reflecting with a pen in one hand and Kleenex in the other…

I heard Jesus asking me:

“What if the current physical affliction you’ve been experiencing doesn’t go away? What will you do? How does that affect how you feel about Me?

You must choose.

Choose the idea of a pain free life without Me and the lie that you can make it happen. Or you can choose to trust Me and let Me love you and comfort you as much as you need. Your need is great.

You’ve been believing a lie that you can’t be effective in your calling while you’re suffering. It’s a lie. It’s not true. It’s not even biblical.

You have to choose.

Fight through the pain and follow Me on this path that I have chosen for you right now. You won’t always have this pain or be tired. No. One day we will be face to face and it will all melt away. I’ll wipe away every single tear and you will be free.

You have to let go of trying to understand why and just trust that My love is enough. My grace is enough to carry you. I’ll give you what you need to flourish and produce rich fruit to be refreshing to many thirsty souls. There’s a world that needs you. Don’t sit out any longer. They’re playing your favorite song and I’m asking you to dance with Me. Let Me guide you and lead you. Let Me hold you. Let Me teach you new steps. Let go of the way you thought the plan should work out. Let it go. Release your fear, doubt, and pain to Me. Open your hands and your heart to Me. Let Me fill you. This is where your healing begins.”

And so today I choose to re-engage here in this space. Too much is at stake.

Thanks for stopping by.

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