Blessings this Week: 05.29.2015

I blinked, and it's Friday. It's been that sort of week- so busy and so much fun that it's just flown by. 

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The Extraordinary in the Ordinary

See this guy?

(Yes, I included this picture in last week's blessings. Forgive me for re-using a picture!)

He's working on impressing his lady friend with his big feathers. 

Turkeys in the front yard? It's not an uncommon sight around here. 

In fact, most of the time, I don't really take the time to pay much attention to things like this fella with his tail all puffed out. The things that once made this place so special... sacred, even, become ordinary and mundane because, well, because I'm human. 

The novelty wears off. We humans like newer, and bigger, and better, and shinier.


How I Do 'Poo. (Shampoo, That Is.)

Full Disclosure: This post is a product review.**
I have a confession to make.

I don't wash my hair all that often.

No, really. I don't.


Blessings this Week: 05.22.2015

This lovely lady who came to visit (yes, that is my front yard.)

and her gentleman caller, who looked just like a poster turkey for Thanksgiving

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The Greater Miracle

The Greater Miracle- Maybe planting a seed is the greater miracle. | http://bit.ly/1BjGFNU
"Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father." - John 14:12

Spring in rural Iowa is something to see.

All winter long, fields have sat bare, with scraggly bits of cornstalk poking out through the snow.

And then slowly, spring comes. Tractors take to the fields, and in no time, seeds are planted deep under that beautiful black soil in neat rows.

Then we wait.

The waiting time isn't very glamorous. There isn't much that the farmer can do, really, to get those seeds to pop up and show their green little heads. They wait for the miracle that only sun and water and time can bring about.


Worth It.

It looks as though marriage is under attack.

As a culture, we're getting quickie divorces, adultery is rampant, pornography is considered routine... it's just a mess.

But honestly?

Yes, those things are harmful to a healthy marriage and to marriage as a whole.

But the true enemy of marriage?



I'm writing all about it today over at Becoming a Gilbert.


Blessings this Week: 05.15.2015

Important conversations with Uncle Trevor- and being part of the lives of our wonderful nieces and nephews

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Visiting some goats (and his "farmer hat")


The Tension of Christianity

Sometimes Christian living feels a lot like stretching.

Like that sort of painful and also kind of pleasant, deep hamstring, touch-your-toes-and-count-to-15 kind of gym class stretch. That yearning, almost-snapping-rubber-band feeling. The tension.

Life for us following the cross is full of that tension.

We live in a broken, fallen, hurting world. Yet in the midst of the destruction we wrought upon ourselves, Jesus points us back to the way it was supposed to be- to Creation, to perfection, to before we said no.


Ask a Pastor: Baptism and the Evangelical Free Church

We often believe that our particular way of “doing” the whole Christianity thing is the only right way of doing things. It’s been a topic of contention among the body of Christ for centuries.

Rachel Held Evans recently wrote, “Our differences matter. We argue with one another because our beliefs and actions are important and we are all invested in representing Christ to the world with integrity, consistency and love. A faith that spans more than 2,000 years and has reached every continent on the globe can't expect homogeneity, nor should we desire it.”

We’re not the same. I’m not sure that God intended us to be the same. After all, Christ’s ragtag band of closest followers included fisherman and tax collectors, older men and younger men, Jewish nationalists and men working for the Roman government.They had vastly different personalities- from ambitious to violent to content with living in the background. They were quite a diverse group.

See, the thing is, we’re all one body. As followers of Christ, we do things differently- we understand the Bible differently, emphasize different celebrations and traditions, worship in different ways- but if we’ve been saved by faith in Christ, we’re united as one. We’re all the body of Christ, and I think that we can all learn things from different Christian traditions.

And I’m curious about those different traditions.

(Small tangent. I believe that one issue in the Christian body today is that we are quick to condemn different denominations without asking questions. Instead of seeking to understand, we seek to find where other people are “wrong.” Let’s not do that, huh? Let’s start to ask questions.)

Today, I’m asking questions of the pastor of an Evangelical Free Church. Pastor Kurt Trucksess is one of the pastors of CrossWinds Church, a ministry in northwest Iowa. He also writes about faith and being a light to the world at Christ 2R Culture.


Blessings this Week: 05.08.2015

We had an absolutely gorgeous weekend- sunshine, warm weather, and 60 kids shrieking. Could you ask for anything more? 

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If you follow my Facebook page, you probably saw a preview of this... but my darling husband and a super volunteer braved the cold water to get docks put in this weekend. 

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Happy Mother's Day! (and why you don't need to feel sorry for me)

There's been a bit of talk around the interwebs about Mother's Day coming up this weekend. About how it's important to be sensitive to those who have empty wombs, to those who have lost children, to those who are struggling with infertility, like me. About how pastors need to recognize us as well.

Most of the time, yes. I'd agree. Sensitivity and awareness are important.

But when it comes to Mother's Day, no one needs to take my feelings into account. You don't need to feel sorry for me on Mother's Day.

Mother's Day is not a day when I feel sad. 

See, I have my mother. Not only that, but I also have my grandmothers, and an awesome mother-in-law. They're all still on this side of heaven.

I'm one of the blessed ones on Mother's Day.

See, Mother's Day isn't about me.

It's not about you, either.


Why Camp?

Ah, summertime. Relaxation, sitting in the sunshine, a cold glass of iced tea...

... and 128 middle school kids shrieking past, being chased by a youth-pastor-type college student wielding a sock filled with flour.

Living and working at a Bible Camp has been one of the best experiences of my life. Challenging, exhausting, stressful... and absolutely wonderful.

Because I see kids changed. And I get to be a small part of that.

I think your kid should go to camp.

And I'm writing all about it over at Creative K Kids today!


Blessings this Week: 05.01.2015

Happy May! Spring has definitely sprung here in Iowa- just look at those flowers! 

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Beautiful weather for bike rides