posted in: Books | 0

The kids wake you up all hours of the night.  Whether its night terrors, wet beds, loss of their stuffed animal, or maybe still night feedings.

You have an argument with your husband early in the morning that sets the tone for the rest of the day.

Your jeans don’t fit the way you want them to.

The car won’t start.

You burn the cookies.

You don’t love well.

You are anxious about meetings coming up in the coming day.

Whatever hits your world today, the Word of God is your hope.  Christ is your hope.

That’s why I think Gracelaced is a helpful book, no matter the season you are in.

If you are female – this book will meet you were you are.

Ruth is a watercolor and lettering artist, mom of lots of boys, wife, writer, believer.  I had the opportunity to meet her at the last TGCW conference.  Engaging in every way, in person and on the page.

She writes a devotional book for women that is full of truth – just overflowing with it. I know many women who don’t think they can understand deep theology.  Theology is just what you believe about God – the study of God.  And this book will help you grip tighter to your solid beliefs about God.

This book will help you rehearse the truth of the Word that your soul, your heart, and your mind, so desperately need!

And its pretty!

Other Gospel-rehearsing books for anyone to read:

The Gospel Primer

Cross-Centered Life

Fitting in or Belonging (Included in Christ review)

posted in: Bible, Books | 1

There are some themes that take over the Christian conversation world from time to time.  And by that I mean so many of the books being published are about the same topic, or podcasts are interviewing people speaking on the same topic.

Right now is seems to be about friendships, belonging, community, etc.  And one of the questions or tips with figuring our my enneagram number has something to do with this.  One of the reasons I chose my enneagram number is because I have the ability to fit in anywhere, but I don’t always feel like I belong.

Belonging is a deep sense of “I’m loved no matter what” and “these people get me” verses just being able to get along, hang out, or blend in.  As someone who has been in ministry leadership for 20 years and moved around for 17 years, I’ve been rather good at that.

But fitting in is not belonging.  Belonging is sitting down and having your soul poured into for hours on end, and you don’t even have your flip flops on.

Belonging is sharing whatever is on your heart without a lull in the conversation because you don’t have to worry about what to say.  You won’t be condemned because you aren’t perfect or don’t fit the mold.  I’ve lived in areas where I’ve not fit the mold and so I’ve neither fit in or belonged – and that is so lonely.

I was listening to a podcast just yesterday and they were talking about Sabbath, resting, and loneliness.  And usually, I have found if I am lonely, it is not primarily because I am not around friends.  It is because I’ve been absent from the Word in an intimate way, slow to pray, and seeking all of my fulfillment from those who can’t fill it.

Heather Holleman writes a Bible study called Included in Christ – a study on the book of Ephesians.  She does a really good job at helping us know where we are in Christ – rooted in Him – and known by Him – and tells us that we can belong.  She helps you see your part of the story in this wonderful book of the Bible.

Some folks are very detailed and organized in their Bible study.  I’m not.  I kinda pick a book then study it in different ways: a Bible study, sermons, books, lettering, drawing, writing it out, etc.  So, this is a good one to help me along my journey in Ephesians.

If you would like to win a copy of it, just leave me a comment about anything and I’ll pick a winner soon!

Thanks to Sidedoor Communications and Moody Publishers for my copy. All thoughts are my own.

A book for every woman

posted in: Books, life together, Women | 0

Women’s ministries come and women’s ministries go.  I mean churches always minister to women, some way, good or bad.  But through the years we have seen many fads come and go out of the church.

But, if there is any book, that can be used by all women, young or old, to learn how God wants her to live in relationship with other women in and outside of the church, it is Adorned.

First, its a beautiful book.  And its thick – there are 350 pages.  And even though its long, all of it is so good.  I’ve underlined so much

Second, its written by Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth.  She has spent most of her life in ministry with women as a single.  Now, she is still ministering to women as a married woman, who also ministers to her husband.  She is a wealth of knowledge and wisdom.

She gears her book to women, young and old.  Each chapter can be read through eyes of faith, trying to live to spur each other on, to love and good deeds.

So, if you are in women’s ministry, or leading a women’s ministry at your church, I would get this book and devour it, answering the questions, going through it with your ministry team, encourage your pastor to read it for him to get an idea of what women’s ministry should look like.

This doesn’t tell you exactly how you should plan every event or what events you should have, but it gives you biblical guidelines about the personality or reason behind your women’s ministry.

Every women’s ministry should include: Teaching the word in a way that will grip the lives of your women. Time to build meaningful authentic relationships (not all teaching, but good relationship building time too).  Multi-generational.  And, as a side note to me: some celebrative worship and childcare!  But, it is all about living out the Bible in authentic ways to other women, celebrating the Gospel!

Thanks Moody for this wonderful book.  All opinions are my own.

Still Waiting (a review)

posted in: Books | 0

Do you often feel like your whole life is one entire lesson in patience?

You wait in your mommy’s belly to be born.

You wait to take your first steps, to go potty all by yourself, to have your first day of school, to ride your bike without training wheels.

My big can’t wait to turn 5 because he wants to chew gum.

You wait for the day you get your driver’s license.  Till you graduate.  Till you turn 21.  Until you get married.  Until you have kids.  Until you buy a house.  Until you are an empty-nester.

My life has definitely been a long waiting period.  Let’s just speed things up till my 30s.  I had gotten my dream admin job.  Then I got my dream writing/creative job.  Then, shortly into my dream job, I met my husband.  I was 34.  Most of my friends were married.  I still wasn’t.  And I’d quit praying those prayers about finding my spouse.  I was enjoying being single.

Thankfully, we didn’t need to wait long to get married or to have kids.  But, already, I want them to be older so we can travel more, to be potty trained, or to be in school – without losing the swing time at the local park.

We are also in a time of waiting for restoration and news on a job.  I’ve learned a lot in waiting.  I can’t speed it up.  I can’t do anything by worrying about it.  Some would say I’ve gotten cynical and jaded, and may be I’ve in some ways about some things.  But, I also know that life is out of my hands, and God has bigger, perfect hands.

Ann Swindell, in her book Still Waiting, does a masterful job of sharing with us not only her journey in waiting for healing, but also uses her sanctified imagination to bring the story of the bleeding woman (in the gospels) to life.  I will never read that short narrative about her the same again.

When I was telling my husband about her book I was crying by the time I finished telling him of all the inner turmoil that the woman must have known.  How her life was eaten up with shame and loneliness.

So, let me encourage you, no matter what stage of waiting you are in, you can learn truths about others and the gospel and yourself in this book.  Ann is a skilled writer and storyteller and is authentic and real about boasting in the Gospel.

Thanks Tyndale for the book.  All opinions are my own.

Is the Bible Good for Women (a review)

posted in: Books | 0

People who name the titles of books need to have a marketing degree.  There would be several ways you could market this book by Wendy Alsup, but I don’t think any would be as catchy without being condescending as this one.

Is the Bible Good for Women?  Well, we would say of course it is.  The author uses her upbringing and her theological worldview to answer so many questions that women especially have about the Bible.  She wants to help her readers develop a Jesus (gospel) view of Scripture.

In her book she covers everything from Creation, submission, the Fall, how Jesus models “women’s issues” and how Paul advised the new church to work in regards to women, and everything in between.  She engages hew audience, which could both be women who grew up in the church and are solid conservative women, or these women who are reading her book could be feminist believers (or unbelievers).

She overs her topics well, and always points to Jesus.  So, whether you agree with her completely or not, it is up to you.  But, I do think this book would be a good start in the topic of women and the church.

Thanks to Blogging for Books for the book.  All opinions are my own.  amazon

Unsinkable Faith (a review)

posted in: Books | 0

One of the best things we can teach our children is to be children of faith.  That may seem like a strange thing to say, because faith is a gift, but we can train them in that way.

Faith, saving faith, is indeed a gift from God.  But, throughout Scripture we are encouraged to be faith-filled, faithful, and men and women of faith.

In her book, Unsinkable Faith, Tracie Miles encourages us as women to develop a game plan to be women of faith.  For me, most of it has to do with a combination of mind and heart – especially when things aren’t going exactly the way that I would like.  When we combine how we feel and how we think – it will change the way we live.

Romans 12:1-2 is a popular verse to use about how we live our lives for God.  And not for this world.  And really it starts with two things: worshiping God (knowing that we aren’t everything in this life) and training our minds by reading the Word of God.

Belief is an active process.  We need to read what the Bible says about us, God himself, and the world around us. Actively believe it – repeating it to ourselves, memorizing it, embarking on a journey to apply it, and then acting upon it.

When this world doesn’t go exactly like we want it to, when our instagram pages don’t look as perfect as others, then we tend to start going down in our belief of the Word.  Did God really say something and is that really true?

This book is a good read to encourage you to build your faith on something solid – the only unchanging thing in this world – God.

Coffee With: The 213 Shop

posted in: Coffee with..., creatives | 8

There is so much wrong with this world, that when you come along something that makes things right, offers hope, and changes the way things are – you want to share them with everyone you know!

I’ve never been to Nepal, and probably never will be, but I know people who have loved that country.  And one way a friend of mine has loved that country is by The 213 Shop. Listen to their story, visit their site, support them by buying beautiful jewelry (I wear my bracelet every day), and read to the end for a special giveaway!

Can you tell us about 213 and what’s its mission is?

The Two Thirteen Shop: Her Skillful Work – Your Purposeful Purchase – Their Impacted Lives 

The Two Thirteen Shop was established in 2016. After spending 10 years overseas and seeing firsthand the talent and creativity of so many women, even in the remotest parts of the world, and the benefits of women being given good, wholesome, creative work and skills development opportunities, it is my desire to do all I can to help them get their beautiful products into the hands of people around the world.

The Two Thirteen Shop seeks to provide people in the US with a place to purchase beautiful, handmade, above trade products made by hard working, talented women around the world. Purchases help sustain jobs for women artisans in developing countries. The more we sell, the more jobs are created and the more lives are positively impacted with love, hope and truth. When we impact the lives of women we impact their family and the community they are a part of and when that happens there is no limit to all of the great things that can be done.

How did 213 get started, where is it now, and where is it going?
About 4 years ago, while I was living in Nepal, I had the privilege of helping 3 of my closest friends, all women from Himalayan mountain villages, start Blessed Hope (the business that makes the jewelry that we sell at The Two Thirteen Shop). It started out as an idea and has since grown into a full business completely owned by local women (it is the first business owned by women among their people group). Last year our family returned to America for my husband to finish his PhD studies and I wanted a way to sell and promote Blessed Hope jewelry and products made by other women’s organizations around the world so I started The Two Thirteen Shop in June of 2016. I wanted to stay connected to the women and continue to do all I could to promote their beautiful creations, highlight their story, help create more jobs for and enriching opportunities for women. I am not 100% sure where The Two Thirteen Shop will go. I have big dreams and visions for it but I am taking it slowly, pursuing opportunities as they come and trusting God to lead the business to the places He desires it to go.
What is your favorite piece of jewelry and why?
I love our Pangden Bracelet because it was designed after the colorful, handwoven apron (Pangden) that Himalayan women wear. Wearing the bracelet is a way to appreciate the beauty of the Himalayan culture and I love the way it mixes Western and Himalayan fashion. Each of these bracelets that are sold include a card telling the history behind the Pangden and a picture of one of the Blessed Hope Nepal ladies wearing the Pangden that the bracelet was designed after.
Can you share a personal story of one of the ladies who works with 213?
Sangjung Bhote is one of the original ladies from when we first started Blessed Hope (BH). Before working at BH and making the crocheting the beautiful jewelry we sell at The Two Thirteen Shop she worked on a pig farm and made rice liquor to help make ends meet. Her husband works overseas and she has one son. After the devastating April 2015 7.8 earthquake in Nepal, her BH income helped pay for her son’s school fees, food, cooking gas and other household needs when her husband was unable to send money home. Her job at BH continues to be a reliable form of work and income in an unpredictable country with very few opportunities for women.
When people buy 213 jewelry, how does it impact the lives of the women involved?
Most of the women who make the jewelry that we sell are uneducated. There are very few good, wholesome opportunities for women in Nepal and especially for those that are uneducated. Although many of the women are uneducated in the traditional sense, they are some of the smartest women I know. They are very good with their hands, very creative and extremely hardworking. Working at BH gives them an opportunity to be creative and use their talents to produce something beautiful while also helping to provide for their family. Every item purchased at The Two Thirteen Shop helps continue to provide more and more work to the women. The women are paid per piece that they make so the more pieces equal more work and more work equals a better, more stable livelihood for these women and their families. Through the money these women make they are providing the basic necessities for their family like flour, vegetables, meat and oil, paying school fees, buying clothing for their children and paying for transportation to get around town.
Can you talk about justice ministry and what it looks like in your world?
As a Christian, I know that God values each and every life and it is a privilege to invest myself in work that strives to help women see their value and worth to God and give them opportunities to grow and thrive in the place that they are in. I love watching lives transformed. It is awesome to watch as one women’s life is transformed how it spreads and impacts so many others.
 If we were sitting down for coffee, what would you be having and what would we be talking about?
What I’d be drinking… depends on if I am choosing the healthy option or not….my favorite healthier option at coffee shops is an almond milk latte without sugar. I LOVE the nutty flavor and I can always use all of the caffeine I can get (and it’s low in calories!). If I am splurging I would choose a mocha (without whip cream) because I love the foam on top and I LOVE LOVE LOVE chocolate.
What we’d be talking about….probably about all of the things God is teaching us and having us walk through. As a verbal processor I love to talk through the things God is teaching me and showing me with friends. It’s a great way for me to process it and I love hearing from my friends how God is at work in their lives. I am sure our conversation would also include some discussions about parenting and how being a wife, mom and woman in ministry is often a lot to balance but is also such a privilege. And I’m sure I’d talk about Nepal. God has engraved that place and those people on my heart forever. It would be hard to have a conversation without talking about it.
Ok – here is your chance!  To enter to win: go over to the shop and tell me what is one thing (or 4) that you would buy!  I’ll choose a winner later this week – and so thankful for the 213 Shop for hosting this giveaway!  (And the set of bracelets above is what you will receive!)

Finding Balance

posted in: Books | 0

I have learned one thing in the last few years: there is no such thing as balance in life.  If you are doing one thing – then you aren’t doing another thing.  And so many of us women try to spin about 1000 plates.

Whether we are mommying and working, or mommying many, or doing a ministry at our church or teaching bible studies in our home, or being involved in creative communities, balance is hard to get right.

When I was younger I wasn’t very good at the balance beam in elementary school PE, but now that I’m older I have gotten better at the tree pose in my yoga practice.

Lisa Pennington gets the life of balance.  In her book, Tightropes and Teeter-totters, she doesn’t appear to have it altogether, but instead, through humor and great tips, she helps us all maybe not fall completely off.

She hits on marriage, parenting, having a peaceful and clean home, all done with humor, personal illustrations, and biblical truth.  Its a quick read and one you can for sure pull some tips from.

Thanks to Litfuse for this book.  All opinions are my own.


the psalms and our emotions

posted in: Bible, Books, illustrated faith | 0

The psalms and our emotions

As a wife and a mom (and basically as a human being), I experience many different emotions every single day.









Things are out of control.


And the list could go on, but you get the picture.

God created us as whole beings, therefore emotions themselves aren’t evil.  But, they have been affected by the fall – when sin entered the picture long ago we have a different bent on emotions.  But, the good news is we have been given something to help with our emotions.

Psalter by Crossway

We have been given the Bible, especially the book of Psalms.  The Psalms to me is probably the most helpful book in the entire world when knowing how to deal with my emotions.  One of my friends told me early this year that one of the best disciplines I could would be to journal through the psalms, praying through them, crying out to God using his very word to direct my thoughts.  This practice has been so helpful in turning my thoughts and emotions back to God. This practice doesn’t necessarily have to go with hard times when our hearts are torn.  But, it can help us specifically praise the One who deserves all the credit when things are going well in our lives.

Crossway recently came out with a Psalter that is amazing.  My sweet husband just gifted it to me.  He placed an order with random other household goods from amazon that he knew I would open.  I found the psalter.  I called him hoping I hadn’t ruined a surprise – he said no, just thought it would be a happy.  It so was!  I’d been wanting it forever!  It is the perfect compact size to carry with me everywhere.  It has thick pages perfect for people like me who like to write in their Bibles.  And it is only the Psalms – which is perfect for reading and re-reading.

Another book has recently come out that has been helpful as I’ve started reading it.  And this post has also been encouraging.  IF you want a prayer journal that a wife can pray for her husband through certain books of the Bible, you can find one here on the blog for free that I wrote for the book of Nehemiah or the one I wrote for Ephesians.

One of the best parts about the psalms and the most instructive is how the writers deal with their emotions.  They aren’t afraid to tell us what they are really feeling: doubt, fear, worry, anxiety, questioning, joy, praise, adoration, etc.  But, even when they are struggling in their faith – they always come back to the understanding that God is in control.  He is most glorious.  He is in charge of all things.  And that is why they praise.  They know that every situation will be handled by the Great BIG GOD who is gently leading and guiding them through all things.

I never want to shy away from my emotions.  I do want to run to my God who knows me and knows how all of it is going to turn out.  And you don’t have to not share your emotions with others.  Christians should not be a stoic people.  (I mean, clearly, the Psalms is anything but stoic.)  But, with our sharing, let us always return to the hope of Christ. May we always take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

God’s Design for Beauty out of Brokenness

posted in: Books | 0

Beauty out of Brokenness

Do you realize that we are ALL broken people?  This isn’t a blog post just for the people who have major problems in life and their lives are falling apart.  This post is for every single person in the world.

And do you know that we serve an amazingly beautiful Creator who takes everything that is broken and turns it into a beautiful thing for his glory?  That is one of the aspects of God that I love the most.  That He takes the broken and makes beautiful wholeness out of it.

We see the God of beauty shining through all of Scripture.  Just a few:

1.  Nehemiah and his getting the wall rebuilt.  Nehemiah knew of the broken down wall in Jerusalem and he wasn’t even there.  So he went and saw the rubble.  And he prayed.  And he got normal every day joe people to work on the wall.  And you know what – God restored that wall.  He showed that His beauty could shine again around the walls of the city for His own people.

2.  King David.  A lot of people mentioned that he was a man after God’s own heart.  Which he was.  But he was also a murderer and an unfaithful husband.  But God used him to write amazing worship songs and lead God’s people – and he is an integral part in the history of redemption.

3.  The Apostle Paul who wrote a good portion of the New Testament and his letters are still an encouragement to us today.  He was in charge of the people who stoned one of the early deacons of the local church – and hated Christians – even though he knew the law of God and was really smart.

4.  And the most broken story of all.  The perfect Jesus being broken on a cross to pay for the sins of those who believed.  God chose Him to bear our burden.  To pay for our sins.


1.  I’ve seen women who have longed for babies have their arms full of precious ones even when doctors said it was impossible.

2.  I’ve seen marriages restored when unfaithfulness has been relationship-dominating.

3.  I’ve seen teenagers come to know Christ and then go on the mission field and lead churches for the glory of God.

4.  I’ve seen the bonds of addiction broken because of the glory of the gospel.

5.  I’ve seen orphans taken into families and loved on because of the gospel.

In Cynthia Ruchti’s new book, Tattered and Mended, she brings so many Scriptural highlights and life-giving words to help bring life to brokenness.  I really love her thematic way she set up her chapters in different forms of art and restoration.  Such a good thing for a creative to do.  I love her use of Scripture.  And that she brings out a very personal side of God – His healing power!

If you are in a season of brokenness – don’t despair (think of your favorite Anne of Green Gables quote).  Believe in him.  Wait on him.  You will see beauty because God is faithful and never changes.

This post is sponsored by Litfuse who sent me Ruchti’s book to review.  All opinions are my own.