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

This is the face of someone who was riding the rollercoaster of “pregnancy after loss” emotions: excited and anxious, nervous and confused, joy-filled and overwhelmed.

The day I found out about this baby, I was at the hospital. It was nothing scary, just my GP being cautious and a fun, human puzzle for the doctors to unravel.

But as I waited on bloodwork and tests, the nurse gave me a little, “Congratulations.” Because those very faint positive pregnancy hormones showed up in my bloodstream and it was official. We were expecting again.

For someone who’s lost five babies, this wasn’t the way to start a calm pregnancy.

Read more

I’m always skeptical of women who say their pregnancy “just flew by.

For me, each trimester is a slow plod forward. The passage of time stutters and hesitates, marked by weekly checks to see “what size of vegetable the baby is today.” I wait for the bump to grow noticeable, for the flutters to erupt into kicks. I fight down the fears: the wait for the bleeding to begin, the wait for the instant everything goes wrong. I mark the milestones as impatience abounds. 

I remind myself to soak in the slow. Waiting is a gift too.

But this time around, things have been different. Life is busy. The days pass in a blur of school drop-offs and lunches made, of nap times and groceries, of walks to the library and full schedules. With two other little ones to keep up with, pregnancy happens quick.

And so, I’m almost startled to find myself past the halfway point.

Now, I have to actively remind myself to search for the slow.  To pause. Stop and cherish. Because now, I am the mother who says it’s “flying by.”

At the ultrasound appointment, a few weeks back, the technician looked over and asked if we’d like to know the baby’s gender. For us, this is an extra gift to bond. A chance to call our child by name. To love them, no matter what, as they are — an incredible gift. Placing my hands on a rounding belly, I thank God for life.

Another miracle.

A story that feels a little more complete.

And so, it is with great delight, that we announce… Read more

We made it!

52 books in 52 weeks and our annual challenge is once again drawing to a close. This year was a fun one with categories like, “an ugly cover,” “a book about time travel,” and, “a beach read.”

In just a few days, we will launch the 2020 Challenge! This challenge will look the same as the previous two years: 52 different categories to check off and read throughout 2020. With brand new categories and a thriving Facebook group for ideas, suggestions, and accountability — this is the book challenge to participate in this year!

And in case you’re still not convinced, here are a few more reasons why YOU should join next year’s challenge:

  1. It’ll help you read MORE! I recently posted an article on 12 Ways to Read More — one of which is “reading challenges.” If you’re looking for motivation, tracking your reads and setting an attainable goal is always a good first step.
  2. It might be time to mix up your reading. Let’s be honest, we all fall into reading ruts from time to time. We all get comfortable with our favourite authors and genres. But maybe this year, it’s time to try something new. With 52 different categories, this challenge invites participants to expand their regular reading and pick up books they might not otherwise read. Who knows, you might just find a new favourite or two?
  3. It’s a TON of fun! One of my favourite parts of this challenge is lining up which books fit which categories. I love researching books and looking beyond my usual line up. I also love the community of readers who participate in this challenge every year — with bookworms from around the globe, your “to be read” pile will only grow!

So, what do you think? You in?

While I let you decide, here’s a look at my final reads for 2019:

Read more

We’re running late with the video this year, and you may have thought this moment wasn’t coming, but I’m excited to finally reveal our 2019 family video! And trust me, you want to watch this one. It’s CUUUUUUTE. (And that’s not even me being biased! I mean, I am, but still….)

This year was a big one for our family in many ways. New job, a published book, an amazing new literary agent, a kindergartener, a one-year-old who’s walking… There’s been a lot of incredible moments and glorious high-points for this year. But there’s also been months of grief as we said good-bye to my mom and learned what life looks like without her here.

These are the things we weigh and balance as reflect upon 2019.

There’s an extra empty chair around the dining room table this Christmas and that’s never an easy thing to face. But the table is also covered in love and surrounded by family and laughter — and those are the things we cherish most this holiday season.

And the year’s not quite over yet.

Through it all, God has been so faithful. And may have one more surprise in stock for you all… But to find out? Well, you’ll just have to watch the video. 😉

Read more