Archives for June 2013

Because He Loves Us









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We drove through gorgeous countryside today. Looming mountains painted against vibrant blue sky, palm trees swaying in the breeze as rows and rows of banana trees buzzed by our windows. The landscape was marred only by the absolute poverty that dotted each hillside.

Tin houses stand testament to the fact that Dominican Republic, though beautiful, is very much in need.

We did what little we could today to help meet the most basic of needs. We fed children a hot meal. We sang songs and played games and taught them the very basic importance of taking care of their teeth. We showed them how to brush and floss and through an interpreter explained the reasons why we need to take care of our teeth.

Then the dentist in our midst calmly looked in each child’s mouth and, with the permission of their parents, pulled teeth that were so rotten they caused intense pain.

There is nothing magical about what we’re doing, nor is it really all that inspirational. We’re just meeting a need – an easy need. Food, hygiene, love, laughter and at the end we told them why.

We love them only because Jesus first loved us and He loves them because He’s God.

If you know of anyone who needs to see love today, don’t hesitate to act. Don’t wait or think about it or even “pray” about it. Just do it. Look for the needs, the ones near and the ones far, and do something. I’m saying this to you, but I’m also saying it to myself.

And when you do it, take your kids. They’ll surprise the heck out of you.


To read more about the people at Servant’s Heart Ministry who are leading this trip, and who are meeting the basic needs of hundreds of children in Dominican Republic, click here.

We made it!

imageWe made it to San Juan de la Maguana last night around 10:00. It was quite the adventure. The Internet is spotty and I’m only able to get online on my phone so updates may be tough.

This is a beautiful country. We’re excited to be here and serve. Here we go!




Dominican Republic with Servant’s Heart

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Tomorrow morning we will board a plane with our children and hop over the blue waters to the Dominican Republic. It’s not a vacation, though Lee and I have vacationed there in the past. It almost makes my stomach churn to think of the exorbitant amounts of food we ate in one short week when just outside the walls of our resort children were starving.

We are heading to Dominican with Servant’s Heart Ministry purely out of obedience. I told you earlier that I initially didn’t want to go on this trip. It’s not that I didn’t want to serve, but I felt an enormous amount of anxiety at the thought of spending the money to go to Dominican when my heart still longs and hopes to adopt.

But this trip is about obedience. It’s about realizing that while the door to adoption is temporarily closed, there are needs to be met and we have the ability and resources to meet them. This trip isn’t about me and what I want – it’s about following through with an opportunity that was placed before us.

It’s about saying “Yes,” and in my yes, God has been good to ignite and excitement for the trip. I am really excited to leave tomorrow.

Servant’s Heart Ministry began in 2008 when a group of men in Nashville joined with a passion to change as many lives as possible through Jesus. Their mission statement reads:

To impact and change the lives of children around the world through missions for Christ by providing life sustaining necessities, sending, supporting and maintaining mission teams, construction and the sponsoring of children in order to lead them to Christ and break the cycle of poverty.


This week we are headed south to serve the least of these. It’s a chance for our children to see that life is very different outside of their own little sphere. This will be a stretch for them – it will be a stretch for all of us.

caliThis will be a different sort of family trip. Judging from the amount of complaining that’s gone on the last twenty-four hours (I’m tired of walking! My legs hurt! I don’t wanna eat this food! It’s hot out here! Me! Mine! Now!) I think there will be plenty of opportunity for life lessons. It won’t make them perfect children.

It won’t make Lee a perfect dad.

It won’t make me a perfect mom. (I mean, I’m practically perfect already, you know? How do you improve on that?)

(I am kidding!)

(Seriously…that’s a joke. Don’t send me nasty emails.)

What this week will do is offer vivid pictures to be committed to memory, a moving reel that can be tapped into when the monotony of life just seems to be so much. And maybe this will be the week that the Lord speaks to Lee and I as we continue to seek Him for what the next step should be.

I will be blogging this week during the trip. I want you to see what is coming of this vision cast several years ago by men who also wanted to obey – men that chose to say “Yes.” What an impact we can have in this world when we choose to step into the things that make us uncomfortable and we say “Yes” to serving others.

If you’re interested in learning more about Servant’s Heart Ministry and the work that they are doing in the Dominican, visit their website and stop on by this week! I’m excited about the opportunity to keep you all posted (Haha! Get it? Posted? Hehehe…Aaaahhhh, blogging humor. It is the best.)

Have a blessed week, everyone! 


Disclaimer: Lee and I chose to take this trip with our kids. I am blogging about it because I want to, not because I’ve been asked to. I will post my opinions based upon what I see and learn. 


Leggings Are Not Pants


Friends, we need to have a serious heart to heart.

If you were sitting in front of me, I’d hand you a steaming cup of chai, the cinnamon and spice wafting through the room as gentle, peaceful music played softly in the corner. We’d sit down, you and I, and we’d smile peacefully at one another. Then I’d tell you I have something to say, and the atmosphere would be so serene that you would hear my encouragement without any need to put up defenses. You’d see that I am genuinely concerned for your well-being, and that I am only looking out for what’s best for you.

So imagine that scene. I’ll give you a minute to pull the image together in your mind.

Ready? Okay, here it is.


It’s time we all acknowledged that leggings as pants are a bad idea.


I spent most of my day yesterday hopping from one plane to another, and I sat for some time in the Atlanta airport, one of the busiest airports in the world, and friends I was flabbergasted. I’ve watched as this “leggings as pants” style has slowly infiltrated our culture and I’ve been bemused. Most of the time I witnessed said fashion horror on twiggy teens who technically could pull it off. I’ve smiled because I know that someday their future children will pull out photo albums and see pictures of their “Emo” parents all decked out in leggings, a t-shirt and converse, and they will roll laughing. (They just might LOL...)

But what I saw in the airport took this fashion oddity to a whole new level. Women, all ages and sizes, strolled through the airport with nothing but black cotton leggings painted on their legs. Some wore longer t-shirts over the leggings, but most did not. It was like they started getting dressed and half way through the process they just…gave up.

Ladies, leggings are super cute. I have a couple pairs of them. They are darling…underneath a kicky skirt or a sassy little dress. They are an accessory – they are not the main item of clothing. They’re an undergarment. Honestly, I saw only one person yesterday who really, truly rocked the leggings. She was 2. That is the only time in life that leggings as pants are acceptable (and really encouraged because diaper bottom through leggings? Adorable.)

Every era has a style they regret. You know it’s true. The ’80’s have an entire closet full of unfortunate fashions. I’m simply here to be a voice of reason for us all. I’m trying to spare you the unfortunate embarrassment of pictures that forever plague you. Pictures of you in leggings…worn as pants. You may disagree, but if you take my advice, even reluctantly, you will someday thank me….as will everyone else in the world.

Let’s unite together as one and fight this unfortunate trend. We will raise our fists together, a sign of solidarity, as we boldly proclaim LEGGINGS ARE NOT PANTS!

Who’s with me? Let’s spread the word – #LeggingsAreNotPants

For more on unfortunate airport wear, and for advice on how to avoid poor clothing choices, visit my friend Nicole’s recent post. I let out a hearty “Amen” or four when I read it.




I am continuing to revel in inspiration this week, as well as being blessed by friends who love me so much, they even work hard behind the scenes to surprise me. Jenni came to town for our trip – my dear friend who I’ve missed so much sacrificed time with her family, rented a car and drove here to meet us and did it as a surprise.

I am more than inspired – I am honored.




This quiche from the quaint little downtown area was lick the plate good.



Me. Honored and inspired and wearing my sassy hat.



It’s a horse with a fascinator!


Four women teeming with creativity, bravery and wicked humor.



Hope brimming



A Most Inspiring Theme

It turns out “Inspire” has become the theme of our annual Writer’s Retreat. 

 How could I be uninspired in a beautiful place like this?





One can be inspired to create and one can be inspired to eat. In one day's time I have been inspired to do both.

One can be inspired to create and one can be inspired to eat. In one day’s time I have been inspired to do both.


Thelma and Louise



Sweet Land of Liberty









Can I be so bold as to encourage you to find what inspires you and dive in?

Whether it be artistic or concrete, public or private, simple or complex – each of us was created with inspiration, a need to turn around and create something.

And when we give in to inspiration and creation in any form, we live life fully, impacting the world around us.

So go ye therefore and be inspired and I will do the same!

Over and out.

Leaving…on a jet plane


I’m off to California today for a week of writing and editing, creating and imagining, laughing and crying, eating and more eating.

It’s time for our annual Creative Weekend in the hills of Northern California, but this year the adventure grows as I’m flying into San Diego to meet my dear friend Wendy (remember how I told you everyone should have a Wendy? Everyone especially needs a Wendy in California – they are the best Wendy’s.) She and I will then travel up through the state of California to the lake house that has formed the backdrop for some of my greatest creating the last few years.

It’s totally Thelma and Louise, but hopefully without the cops, dramatic angst and the driving off a cliff business.

Although if Brad Pitt wants to drop in on the trip I will not complain. No I will not.

So that’s where I’m headed today. I’ll be writing from the lake and I look forward to the quiet, uninterrupted time to simply think and process.

Compassion Bloggers Nicaragua Trip 2013

You know who else is blogging from the field today? A new team of Compassion Bloggers. They leave for Nicaragua today and they will be writing their stories all week. Please jump on over to the Compassion Bloggers site and support those writers. It’s an emotionally draining process to take one of those trips and I can tell you that comments and prayer support and encouraging words are enormously sustaining so please consider backing them up as they craft word pictures of the beauty that Compassion creates from ashes.

Have a great week, everyone!

From diapers to orthodontia to college

IMGP3957Yesterday I sat in a cheery room looking up at the long watercolor of a beach hanging on the wall. Elevator music played gently from the overhead speakers as I waited rather nervously for the orthodontist to walk in and tell me just how much it was going to cost to iron out the mouths of my babes – the children who, sadly, inherited their mom’s regular (slightly larger than normal?) teeth and their father’s much smaller than normal mouth.

It dawned on me as he explained what we were looking at (thankfully a little further down the road…like starting next year and beyond until forever) for their teeth that I have one more coming up behind them who’s going to need as much, if not more, orthodontia than they do.

I tried to calculate the cost in my mind, allowing for the overlap in treatments from one child to the next, and then smoke came out my ears and instead of finishing my sums, I envisioned swimming in a pool of Nutella because the math was too much and Nutella is my happy place.

Once I settled down a bit, I had a second revelation – I am going to go straight from pull ups to orthodontia without so much as a week off and I suddenly wondered why on Earth we didn’t space these kids out more so we could have a little breathing room?!

Then I remembered that we intended to space them out more, but God has a sense of humor and was all Oh you want to wait awhile? Here, have a third before the second can walk a straight line.

IMGP3955Then I thought about the day I found out I was pregnant with Landon and I thought for sure I’d forever ruined Sloan and Tia’s lives by forcing them to accept a new baby when neither could really speak in complete sentences. This, of course, led me to remember Lee’s reaction to finding out we were pregnant a third time. Shock, a small measure of horror and an accusatory stare that somehow placed all the blame on me for apparently thinking a child into my womb.

There followed a rather significant amount of time when I had one child in pull ups and two in diapers. We finally, mercifully, got it down to one in pull ups and one in diapers and then two in pull ups and we’ve finally chipped and whittled away to where we are only buying pull ups for one child.

IMGP3958Nighttime potty training is my nemesis.


My oldest will be 10 next month, which means I have been investing in Huggies and Pampers products for a decade and when I finally surrender the last pull up to the landfills (you’re welcome environment), I will walk straight to the orthodontist’s office and give him my right arm for straight teeth and with three so close together, treatments will overlap, I’ll have to surrender the other arm and six-seven years later we will pay off the orthodontia just in time to start paying for college.

I’m starting to wonder if there is some validity to choosing your favorite child and investing in only that kid for the duration of eighteen years.

All the books on raising children lead me to believe that would be a poor course of action to take in child rearing, but really how much can those crazy child psychologists know anyway, right?


I know, of course, that having children close together is, in the long run, really the way to go. They will be the best of friends (We hope. Judging by how many arguments I’ve broken up since school let out I’m not sure when exactly that friendship thing will kick in, but I have high hopes. High, high hopes. Hiiiiiiiigh hopes), they will experience much of life together and in relatively similar circles. They will be able to create so many memories together, which will hopefully make converstaions around the Thanksgiving table in twenty years a lot more fun and they will have the benefit of knowing that there’s always someone nearby who has your back.

Those are the pros and I’d say, for the most part, the pros outweigh the cons. 

And there’s always the hope that the final child will graduate pull ups at least a week before the expanders/braces begin. Seven whole days.

A girl can dream.


The Rhythm of Celestial Experience


“Music. A meaningless acceleration in the rhythm of celestial experience.”

C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters


As a music lover, a singer and a worshiper in the church, I find myself more and more learning and understanding the art of worship, because it really is an art. Worship cannot be approached devoid of passion and yet, so often, that’s exactly what happens. I watch as worshipers, both on stage and in the congregation, stand unmoved, unimpressed, sometimes even annoyed, throughout the entire worship portion of a church service and I want to grab them by the hand and squeeze tight while whispering in their ears, “This is the God of the Universe to whom we sing. Rejoice and be glad!”

I don’t do that, of course, because that would be weird and slightly intrusive…

There are some obvious reasons to me why this happens to worshipers and they are reasons that I understand. Some of them are valid and some just need to be worked through a bit. (And to make things perfectly clear, the specific worship I am discussing here today is the actual worship portion of a church service. Not the every day worship of living out faith.)

The first reason why I think many struggle to worship passionately is a perceived lack of talent. I see it in their eyes, sometimes even in the ones standing in front of the microphone. There is a fleeting (or not so fleeting) look of fear, of doubt, maybe even embarrassment as they begin to sing. I can almost see the thought bubble float above their heads.

I’m not good enough.


photo copy 3There is some truth to the idea that a person leading worship should, indeed, be able to carry a tune and carry it well. Beautiful harmonies accelerate the rhythm of celestial experience and there’s no way to get around that. But most churches have some process of vetting singers, so if you’ve been placed before a microphone by the person in charge, chances are you have been given that responsibility with some measure of confidence so my advice to you is this: embrace it.

If you are actual leader of worship, lead boldly and passionately. Don’t look out at the congregation with wide, scared eyes like your grandma shoved you on stage and ordered you to sing. Sing because you can and smile because you enjoy it.


Read the rest at

The Land After God’s Own Heart

The things I see…






Lizard Catchin’…


Got him! (And later released him. Dear PETA…please don’t come after me.)


I think Jesus loves palm trees more than all the other trees.

I don’t know if that’s theologically accurate but I feel like it might be based in some pretty solid Truth.

(And it’s probably best if you don’t mention this to the other trees. I don’t want to offend…)

We’re at the beach for the next couple of days basking in the glow of God’s beloved land.

White sands and rippling waves beckon as summer settles down and who are we not to answer her blessed call? 

If you need me, I’ll have my toes buried in the sand and my nose buried in a book. Something about the beach seems to unbraid the knots in my neck and the pangs in my shoulders.

God speaks to me here. 

Probably because He loves the beach. It’s a land after His own heart.

Again, feel free to question my theology.

(But before you do, think about how often Jesus seemed to be walking along the shores. A LOT. Jesus loves sand between His toes, I’m certain of it.)

(Just kidding Kansas and Nebraska. Jesus loves you, too. *wink, wink*)

Summer Rules. Amen?

And we all said amen…