Category: Resources (page 1 of 10)

Soul Food Funny, Yummy, and Engaging

It’s Soul Food Friday! Congratulations! You’re dancing across the finish line into the weekend! Here are a few of the things from my week that I think you might like…

Daughter Katy shared this Buzzfeed article with us it and it has brought so much joy into my Twitter feed! Check out some of the posts from Exploding Unicorn.

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And my new happy Instagram feed – Scary Mommy

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And…Who doesn’t love Fixer Upper and want to be best friends with Chip and Joanna?? This week Joanna posted a recipe for a lemon pie and I just happened to have (most of) the ingredients so I made it for my small group dinner.

Yum! It was definitely a keeper, and since I only had one can of sweetened condensed milk instead of the THREE in the recipe, I could call it a Lo Cal version. So Score! It just made a thinner layer of filling.

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Lastly, I’ve read two fascinating books this week. 

I got the precious gift of having lunch with my friend Sharol while we were in D.C. She lost her husband to cancer just 4 months before we lost my brother David and is such a wise and godly friend. She also is doing her D.Min focused on how the church can help people die better. She suggested the book When Breath Becomes Air which John and I immediately got on our Kindle.

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It’s a memoir written by a neurosurgeon who chronicles his journey with cancer, mortality, and quality of life. It may not be for everyone, but I found it engrossing, perhaps because it paralleled much of our experience with my brother David.

IMG_4331The other book is also a memoir by a woman who has struggle with deep depression – Still Life.

About now you may be thinking, “Boy Debbie Downer, do YOU know how to choose books!” But, I found this book also super engaging and helpful to me as someone trying to understand what others may be going through. I definitely recommend it.

That’s it for me! Have a joy-filled weekend, and let me know what’s making your heart sing!

Family Soul Food (a few things to think about if you have littles)

This weekend our whole family (minus favorite son-in-law) is in Washington D.C. for the International Justice Mission‘s Global Prayer Gathering. I love our little family soooo much, but (clearly) we’re far from perfect. There are so many families I admire and so many do-overs I wish I had from when our kids were growing up. But being together has made me gratefully reflect on some of the ways we fed our kids’ souls that have paid off. I thought I’d share a few today.

  1. Communicate. Be available 24/7 for the fun stuff and the 911’s. I’ve written before about how this is a high value for our family. I’m guessing girls are better at this than boys but I don’t know. This was a recent text exchange.

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Yes, my kids are so self-aware :)

In addition to texts and sharing Instagram pictures we think the others would like, and the girls and I getting fashion advice from dressing rooms, Maggie started a deal a couple years ago when we ended up spread across the world.  We call it “the view from here”. Someone starts it and texts a picture of where they are and what they are doing in the moment and then the others stop and do the same. It’s a way, while we are miles apart, to step into each other’s daily lives.

2. Do, and talk about meaningful stuff together. One of the best decisions we made (and one with the most far-reaching effects) was to take each of our kids on a trip to a developing world country when they turned 10 years old. We wanted them to see kids that God loves and wants us to help around the world.

Next was building houses together in Mexico alongside the families who would own them. Hosting heroes like John Perkins in our home and serving alongside folks in our city all helped our kids to have the perspective of kingdom Christians, aware of the world outside their own.

Maggie ended up interning for IJM, and is now on their alumni board. Katy is the liaison between USAID (the international humanitarian aid part of the government) to Capitol Hill (Translation: her job is to get Congress to care about poor people around the world).

This does NOT mean that this should be the trajectory for everyone, but there are lots of ways to foster kingdom awareness. Sponsor kids from World Vision and write them notes together. Get involved in other organizations as a family. Pray together. I said we’re at the IJM Global Prayer Gathering which I highly recommend (for adults). I started coming because my friend Bethany made me by paying my registration a few years ago, and now I wouldn’t miss it!

3. Tell family God-stories. We always want to be sure He is honored as the hero. Honestly, this takes intentionality and can feel awkward at times, but it’s really important. God tells us throughout scripture to remember His faithfulness. In several places He has the Israelites make visual reminders, like in Joshua where He has them pile 12 stones.

“In the days to come, when your children ask their fathers, ‘What are these stones doing here?’ tell your children this: ‘Israel crossed over this Jordan on dry ground.’

 “Yes, God, your God, dried up the Jordan’s waters for you until you had crossed, just as God, your God, did at the Red Sea, which had dried up before us until we had crossed. This was so that everybody on earth would recognize how strong God’s rescuing hand is and so that you would hold God in solemn reverence always.” Joshua 4:22-24 MSG

We have a “12 stones” book where we record instances of God’s faithfulness in our family, but I also want to model this authentically in my speech in everyday ways.

4. Celebrate each other.

The day we arrived here, a food aid bill that Katy had been working on got passed through the Senate. This was a big deal and we were excited to celebrate with her. Maggie likes to call it “The Katy Bill”.

When we had lunch together I asked each person to share what they were proudest of in the past few months since we had been together last. Each person shared an area of personal growth and we were able to affirm the progress we’re seeing.

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“Everyone has inside himself…what shall I call it? A piece of good news! Everyone is…a very great, very important character.” Ugo Betti

So that’s a little bit of our family soul food. What would you add?

A Little Bit of Soul Food from the Beach

Fridays are for sharing soul food – little bits and pieces that have encouraged or inspired me during the week…

So we’re on vacation in Florida as I write this and there is just so much goodness to soak up that I don’t even mind it that Minneapolis is breaking records this week for unprecedented warmth. There is gobs of loveliness to go around.

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This first story…oh my gosh oh my gosh! Love

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Soul Food for April Showers and Baby Showers

It’s Friday! Hope you guys have a lovely, refreshing weekend and that April showers don’t keep you from a long bike ride or run or walk. Hope you enjoy some of these morsels that have delighted me this week too!

Last weekend John and I had the privilege of preaching together on relationships and baggage. (What could be more fun than unpacking your dirty clothes in front of a couple thousand people, right?)*

Anyway, afterwards we were touched by how many people bravely shared their baggage with us. And a friend sent this song by Francesca Batistelli called If We’re Honest, saying she thought it went perfectly with the message. I love it and I hope you will too. Continue reading

Soul Food for the Week After Easter

On Fridays I try to post just a few of the things that have delighted or inspired me, and resources you might like – the “soul food” from my week.

I would love to hear about your “soul food” in the comments too! Just remember, if you’re posting for the first or second time it won’t appear immediately, but it WILL show up eventually :)

Monday I wrote a hard post that many of you resonated with. On Tuesday, Ruth Haley Barton posted an eReflection from her excellent book, Life Together in Christ. that is a great follow-up to my post. You can read her thoughts here: Continue reading

Soul Food For Easter and Broken Hallelujahs

A couple of weeks ago this book showed up in my mail.

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I flipped through it, but didn’t read closely til a few days later when I was looking out at the bare space and pile of stump chips where our beautiful maple tree used to be, reflecting on the losses in my life this past year. (and yes, that is snow coming down in the picture, making this all the more depressing!)

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I picked up Broken Hallelujahs again, and found such relevance, especially for this Holy Week. Continue reading

Soul Food When You’re Depressed With Politics (or life in general)

Hey friends, I don’t know about you, but around here it’s been quite a downer of a week. It just seems that all the news from both friends and the world at large, is H.E.A.V.Y.

Sure, sometimes the appropriate response is a sarcastic “Your problems are soooo real!”

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We need safe places to be real about our mess, but we also need to balance our pain with the discipline of genuine gratitude.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thes. 5:18

So, after a week of ugly politics, continued war, hard diagnoses, hurting marriages, and loss on many fronts, here’s some stuff I’m thankful for. Continue reading

Soul Food for Vacation Time

It’s March, and you all deserve a vacation! At least you do if you live in my part of the country where the winters seem like an interminable movie in gray and white. It’s like God turns off the color, scent, and sound of life for 6 months.

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But we’re a hardy people and we will persevere to Spring which arrives at the end of May and lasts 2 days.

Meanwhile, maybe you’re planning a little escape to tide you over.

If you live by a school calendar you may be preparing for Spring Break.

If you don’t, you still may be planning a warm getaway.

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So this post is about resources for vacation (or even “staycation”) refreshment. Continue reading

Soul Food Brimming with Blessing

Every Friday I try to post some of the things that have delighted or inspired me – the “soul food” from my week.

The Message translation from Psalm 23 says, “My cup brims with blessing”. That’s the way I feel! So much goodness to share today – enjoy!

If this doesn’t warm your heart nothing will…

I know this is old, but I just saw it for the first time this week and thought it was absolutely hysterical!  This is particularly for my friends in Texas!

Favorite Instagram post this week! 

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The Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Calhoun has been a favorite of mine since it was published in 2009. Recently she came out with a new edition which I am savoring! Although many might view this as a resource book, I see it as much more.

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Adele has catalogued a list of 75 different spiritual practices (13 new ones in this expanded edition) under 7 different headings. For each discipline there are reflection questions and spiritual exercises, so this would be a great book to use as a devotional, or with a small group.

Some of the new practices Adele has added include Unplugging, Visio Divina, Solidarity in Jesus’ sufferings, Waiting, and my favorite – Mindfulness/Attentiveness. I highly recommend this book!

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An inspiring video. Take a minute to watch this with awe at God’s creativity and power. 

A delightful book I read this week:  A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman I hope this book is made into a movie. I almost put it down because the main character is so unlikeable for the first third, but gradually we learn more of his story in flashbacks and his community doesn’t give up on him. It is an amazing story of grace and understanding, and the ending? Oh, just wait for it!

One reviewer wrote, “If there was an award for ‘Most Charming Book of the Year,’ this first novel by a Swedish blogger-turned-overnight-sensation would win hands down”.

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What has delighted or inspired YOU this week?

Soul Food Small Bites

Happy Friday friends! Just a few morsels today that I hope will encourage or bring a smile. May your weekend be filled with joy and refreshment!

First, an interview with Lauren Chandler that I thought was really valuable on how God wrings out praise from tough times.

“Worship is saying, ‘You are God. I’m not….'” Lauren Chandler

A dear friend of mine in New Zealand has been sending me posts like the one below, leading up to an event they are hosting called “Reboot, Refresh, Revitalize”. What a great way to start each day – with Scripture and a question to ponder!

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And if you need another reminder of the power and majesty of God this weekend...

 Clouds belched buckets of rain, Sky exploded with thunder, your arrows flashing this way and that. From Whirlwind came your thundering voice, Lightning exposed the world, Earth reeled and rocked… Psalm 77:16-19

And lastly, my favorite Instagram this week…Sometimes you just need a cute puppy pic.

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That’s it for me! What’s brought you joy or encouragement this week?

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