I usually inhale books. The pages dance beneath my fingertips, blurring and whirling as I hungrily suck in words. But every once in a while, a gem is uncovered. A book so meticulously crafted, I can’t help but savor it, letting it steep and soak into the recesses of my imagination. It’s a pleasant surprise to unfurl the first chapter and immediately know, this one’s a keeper.

Set the Stars Alight was that book.

Read more

Summer Book Giveaway!

I don’t know about you, but summer is one of my favourite seasons for reading. Lounging in the sun by the lake, a cool drink in one hand and a book in the other — does it get any better? That’s why I am super excited to share with you this AMAZING summer giveaway! Sponsored by Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, one of my Canadian readers is going to win a box of eight, beautiful books — perfect for any end-of-summer getaways!

Rules:
  • Enter at the bottom of this page.
  • Contest is ONLY open to those with a Canadian mailing address
  • ONE winner will be drawn on Friday, August 14, 2020.

Ready? Here’s what you could find in your summer reading pile: Read more

Hello readers!

Guess who has some exciting news?

As many of you know, I host an annual reading challenge. This challenge, 52 Books in 52 Weeks, is a yearly list compiled of (you guessed it) fifty-two unique prompts. Find a book that matches each prompt, read it, and check it off the list. The result is a fun way to mix up your reading, all the while trying new authors and genres.

I created this challenge back in 2018 and invited all of you to join along. This year was now my third year creating and running the challenge — and I’ve been blown away by the response. Each year, our little group of participants has grown and grown. This year, we have over 13,000 challenge members on our Facebook group. It’s an active and incredible community of readers. Not only is it a place to find new reads, it’s also a great way to connect with fellow bookworms.

Because of all this amazing growth, I am excited to announce that the challenge is now getting its own space!

Welcome to The 52 Book Club! (www.the52book.club)

Moving forward, all future challenges will be released and found via our new website, The 52 Book Club. This new branding will hopefully make it easier for future participants to find, as well as help clarify what we’re all about. (You can head over there now to see a full list of past and current challenges, as well as a collection of frequently asked questions and “how to’s.”)

This rebrand has also given us a bit of opportunity to expand. You can now find and join in with the challenge on Instagram! (www.instagram.com/the52bookclub)

We are so excited for this new “chapter” and invite you all to join in!

Happy reading!

– Liz

When I was three months old, the Christmas tree fell on me.

I was lying on a blanket underneath the fir, apparently fascinated by the twinkling lights and sparkling ornaments. My mother only left the room for a moment. And it was then, for whatever reason, the tree toppled. With me underneath.

As my mom rushed back into the room, she saw the fallen tree, couldn’t hear me making any noise and immediately assumed the worst.

Fortunately, I was fine. Not a scratch, not a bruise. The branches of the tree had landed perfectly on either side of me. I was just chilling amidst the boughs, unaware of what had happened. My mom always credited an angel for that one. Read more

The grave was impossibly small: a flattened bit of earth and grass that covered the infant-sized casket beneath. I was twenty-two years old and burying my baby. There was no preparation for something like this — no guideline for how grief should look and feel. I felt alone and overwhelmed by the intensity of my grief: What was normal? What was okay? What did the Bible say about loss?

I needed to feel the weight of shared pain and knowledge, a sacred story of motherhood that had been held by more than just me.

I needed to know that this grief was more than just pain, it was love.

I needed to find the voices of those who had walked this road before me: to weep and remember within a community.

These are some of the books I found throughout my grief journey. They’ve encouraged and challenged me, reminded me to keep my eyes fixed on Christ, and allowed me to see the beauty within every story. I hope they will do the same for you. Read more

When it comes to the church, we all have stories. Some stories are of ones where we feel welcomed and included, comfortable and free to worship; while others are stories of pain and confusion, uncertainty or discomfort.

I remember my first few months away at college, hopping from church to church in a small prairie town, trying to find the one that felt most like home. One Sunday evening, while out for a walk with a friend, we encountered two elderly ladies on their way to an evening service in the school gym. I’ll never forget how excited they were when we agreed to join them, how overjoyed they were to show us off to the other attendees during after-gathering cookies and coffee. The love of Christ radiated off our new, white-haired friends. That church wasn’t the one for me, but I’ll never forget that feeling of being welcomed so warmly. That was what I was looking for in a church family: community, a warm and open invitation, and most of all, Jesus.

In Traci Rhoades new book, “Not All Who Wander (Spiritually) Are Lost,” readers are invited to look past the denominational differences that separate us and instead find Jesus amidst the differing worship styles. As she says, “We don’t all practice our faith the exact same way, but our God is big enough to embrace all the ways we encounter Jesus. And Jesus sits at the head of the table. Always.”

Read more

It doesn’t matter who they are. As soon as she sees them walking towards her, the little hand pops up over the edge of the stroller, waving hello.

She sees them.

The neighbours. The dog walkers. The ones busily shouting into their phones. The ones walking alone. Old. Young. The ones I’d chose to avoid eye-contact with.

She sees all of them.

And I can’t help but wonder what life would be like if I stopped to truly see them too.

Read more

A year ago today, we said good-bye.

In an ugly hospital room, surrounded by friends and family, my mom gave up her failing, earthly body for the arms of Jesus. And if I’m honest, it felt too soon. This wasn’t the script I’d written. There were more grandbabies for her to hold. More laughter and smiles for her to wrap us in. More life.

It seems fitting that this one year anniversary falls on Good Friday: a day marked by death and sorrow. A day for tears and mourning. A day when the clothes are black, the mood somber. But what man meant for evil, God meant for Good — even death upon a cross.

Because Good Friday holds such GOOD news.  Read more

If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that we’ve spent the past two weeks working our way through the Fruit of the Spirit! Originally, I’d planned for more low-key lessons but, with a global pandemic and who-knows-how-many-weeks of self-isolation, we had to ramp things up for the sake of staying busy. (And let’s just say that these lessons are even more pertinent when you’re crammed together in close quarters for so long!)

Overall, these activities and discussions have been “fruitful” reminders for the whole family. It’s been a joy to watch our children grow in their understanding of scripture and what it means to follow God!

Galatians 5:22-23: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

(For those who are just joining in, be sure to check out Week One!)

Read more

We had big plans for this spring break but alas, with travel and playgroups, pools and playgrounds, libraries and kids play areas all closed for a global pandemic, plans changed — causing my son to declare this “the worst spring break ever.” (A sentiment which honestly, just made me giggle a little since he’s in kindergarten… This is your only spring break experience, kid!)

Nonetheless,  I did want him to be able to look back on a fun (albeit low-key), first spring break. I also needed projects to keep him from getting bored while we’re stuck social-distancing at home. Learning about the Fruit of the Spirit is a great way to integrate numerous Biblical lessons throughout the day, all the while having fun with crafts and activities.

Each day includes a verse, an activity, Bible reading, and a few other suggestions for how to tackle each “fruit.” I may not be a “homeschool” mom but we’re trying our best to keep learning and have fun doing so!
Read more

“God is calling His warrior women to invest their lives in something that is bigger than themselves: the kingdom of God. These kinds of women give their lives to relentless prayer.”
– Sheila Walsh, “Praying Women”

If we’re honest, we’ve all had times in our lives where prayer has been a struggle. We may find ourselves in seemingly impossible situations, wondering if God actually hears us. Can He truly fix this? Why hasn’t He answered? Or perhaps, we enter into prayer time with the best intentions but immediately find ourselves daydreaming or drifting off to sleep. We equate prayer time with a chore, a box to check.

When it comes to prayer, we all come to the table with baggage and history. With wounds and scars. Thankfully, prayer isn’t about perfect people. It’s not about knowing the right words or being doubt-free.

It’s about our hearts. It’s about step-by-step transformation. It’s about trust, even in the silence. It’s about coming and laying it all before Him. 

Read more

Remnants of breakfast muffins sprinkle the floor. Toys dance across kitchen counters as I appease hungry babes with slices of vegetables and bits of bread. I search for the holiness permeating the mundane. The transfer from ordinary into missional.

It’s here. The call to more.

Not to do more but to be more. To look closer. To scrape off my blinders and truly see.

A call to holiness.

A holy call.

The dishes and the diapers. Toilets in need of scrubbing and laundry still to be hung. Downy hair softly caressed as sobs make way to comforted sniffles. Sibling arguments broken up and consequences meted. Snacks diced into perfectly-sized bites. Midnight prayers offered as patience wanes and exhaustion sinks deep and grace abounds. Everyday moments with Kingdom potential.

Look up, sweet child, fix your eyes on Him and see all that which He is calling you to.

A call to more. A call to holiness.

A call to intentional living in the ordinary. Missional motherhood. A holy calling. A call to follow and serve and love. To see HIM in each of these otherwise unremarkable seeming snapshots of life.

A call that transforms the everyday into eternal promise. Never by our works but His. This redeeming, life-altering act of grace that touches everything.

Read more