9 Inspiring Books to Read this Year

I recently did something crazy. Last time this happened, I was a teenager.

I asked for books for Christmas.

LOTS of books.

I literally came away from Christmas morning grinning like a nerd, stacks of reading material in hand.

Or maybe that’s normal for you. But I haven’t asked or received a book as a gift in over a decade. And that’s because I’ve been a TV-aholic for the last number of years (Downton Abbey? Anyone?). Continue reading

5 ways to keep God first this year

5 ways to keep God firstLooking for one way to dramatically impact your year? Keeping God first will radically change your life. You’ll experience more joy, peace, vision, and fulfillment by the end of the year and see God move in ways you never thought possible.

But for that to happen, a little reflection is needed. Our tendency is to drift away from God instead of toward Him. If you keep God first in these 5 areas of your life, it will result in tremendous personal growth and change over this next year. Continue reading

The 1 Thing Your To-Do List Won’t Accomplish

what your to do list won't accomplishWhen you retreat to a quiet place, it’s amazing how loud everything becomes upon re-entry.

We spent last week in the mountains, nestled in a cabin just above the treetops. Every morning the sun would peek through the blinds, gently nudging me awake. With a cup of coffee in hand, I would snuggle myself into a sweatshirt and pull up a chair to the edge of the pine deck. The sun would rise over smokey ridges and rows of mountain peaks as I stared out into a silent world. The chirping of crickets and rustling of bears in the woods were the only sounds vying for my attention. Crisp, cool air filled my lungs with every breath.

Peace and quiet. Solitude at its finest. Continue reading

2 Ways to Overcome Your Fear This Week

2 ways to overcome your fear this weekDon’t worry. Easier said than done.

Especially for me. I come from a long generational line of worriers. Anxiety and fear have been constant companions for most of my life. Fretting has become a common pastime around here.

How about you this week?

Because every time I turn on the news fear is being magnified. We fear terror. We fear race. We fear other religions. We fear diseases (Zika? Anyone?). We even fear the upcoming election.

I even find myself worrying ABOUT WORRYING.

Seriously? Continue reading

3 Critical Reminders About Pain & Suffering

3 critical reminders about pain and sufferingAt some point in our lives we will all experience a tragedy, a physical illness, the death of a loved one or the loss of a dream.

In these moments, doubts and questions will arise. How could this happen? Why me? What did I do to deserve this? How am I ever going to survive this? Where is God in all of this?

I have been there. Three times, in fact. Continue reading

3 Cures for the Blogging Blues (and comparison)

3 cures for the blogging and comparison bluesYesterday was a down in the dumps kind of day.

I was tired. We returned earlier in the week from our travels and hit the ground running.

I felt overwhelmed. My last few days have been engulfed by piles of laundry, chores, work, errands, packing lunches, and scraping together dinners.

I also personally committed to myself (and you) that I would post at least once a week on this blog. But a crazy road trip + daily responsibilities left me with a bad case of writer’s block. I stared at a blank screen more times this week than I want to admit.

So naturally, I did what any tired and overwhelmed writer would do. Continue reading

Don’t Let Technology Disconnect You: 5 ways to engage in relationships

5 ways to engage in relationshipsThanks to technology and social media, we are now more connected than ever before.

Yet we are more isolated and alone than ever before.

Today, the average person has 300+ facebook “friends” yet the average American reports having only 2 close friends. 25% of Americans report having no close friends (Dave Sumrall, The Struggle is Real: Relationships).

Social media has made it easy for us to feel connected to others without actually requiring us to be in relationship. Continue reading

4 Ways to Hijack Your Stress Response

4 ways to hijack your stress responseOur current season of life can be summed up in one word. Stressful. We barely meet ourselves coming and going. Come to think of it, this season has been on repeat a lot lately. As in the past four years.

When words like “exhaustion” and “burnout” become part of your normal vocabulary, there’s a problem. “When we are overwhelmed with excessive stress, our life becomes a series of short-term emergencies.” We live from one crisis to the next. We lose our ability to be present and enjoy the moment. Go at full speed for too long and the crazy train is sure to derail.

The good news? You don’t have to live this way.

Stress is a choice. It’s optional.

Sound crazy? I thought so too. Until I did a little research and was shocked by what I discovered. Continue reading