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Simple and Free Advent Activities for Busy Moms

Your day is already full just caring for your child(ren), so we're bypassing the "why you should advent" and going straight for the practical. This is a list of ideas and resources for you as you desire to focus on Christ during the Christmas Season. You will see that these are free and simple, but you can amp them up according to your capacity and personality. The best activities are not the ones loved just by the children, but the ones loved by both children and parents. Your enthusiasm and follow-through matter! What everyone else is doing on Pinterest doesn't matter!  It's not too late to incorporate something into your Christmas season. (Be sure to scroll to the bottom if even these simple ideas seem overwhelming).

For tots (1-3):
When the kids were tiny, I kept it short and simple. I read one verse about Christ's love each day. I did not have 24 different scriptures, instead I rotated 3 verses. Repetition at tot age is beneficial and fruitful. I print…
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Where Are You, God?

Many times I will hear people express their desire to see God reveal Himself in ways similar to how He did in the Old Testament stories.

"If God is real, why don't we see the miracles?"

Like the water standing up in the Jordan river, bread falling from the sky in His provision, parting of the Red Sea to escape from our enemies.

In Joshua 3:7, the Lord gives us a glimpse into His motives,
"The Lord spoke to Joshua: 'Today I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, so they will know that I will be with you just as I was with Moses.'" {emphasis mine}

God gave some signs and wonders so that people would recognize His presence among His people. After Jesus' death on the cross and resurrection (the most marvelous sign and wonder!), God says that ALL who believe will receive His presence (Ephesians 1:13-14), and that people will recognize God's presence in His children by the love they show (John 13:35).

God is unchanging; His purpose is the …

Free Lock Screens to Renew Your Mind and Purpose

5 years ago I created the acronym WHY as a way of pausing before using my smartphone. I've shared with audiences both live and digital how important it is to be intentional with technology.

Here are 5 free lock screens from my most recent student conference--Big Break.

You can read more perspective on this topic in an article I wrote for Cru Winter Conference.

How to Stay Friends on Facebook (even in the midst of controversy)

                  Yes, this is a Facebook specific post because each online platform has its own distinct culture, and my experiences on Facebook are unique compared with other forums. 
Want to stay connected and share moments with friends but not get overwhelmed when controversy shows up? 
Facebook is the space where our connections are based on friendships, whereas other platforms can be more relationally removed and driven by subject—you follow accounts that feature your interests or inspirations, whether food, travel, world issues, self-improvement, etc. The average person on facebook (the exceptions being celebrities and business owners) interacts with a wide variety of people with whom they've spent time—former classmates, extended family, co-workers, people in your community, people from your former community. These dynamics create a unique online experience, which is what keeps people coming back for more, but also what can turn people off in an instance.
Some things to kee…

God Invites Us!

I'm reading through the history of the judges of Israel, and God's invitation to people is so evident. Again and again the people forsake God, but any time they have a change of heart, He welcomes them back. 
"But the Israelites said to the Lord, 'We have sinned. Do with us whatever you think best, but please rescue us now.' Then they got rid of foreign gods among them and served the Lord."
The spiritual life isn't a formula, but we can glean some simple concrete steps:  Admit your faults. Admit your faults.Admit to God that He IS God. Ask Him to show you the best way. Turn your back on living life apart from Him and from elevating other things in your life above Him.Follow Him and follow through with what's right.
Based on God's character throughout history and based on His words, it's never too late to step into this process no matter if it's our first time or our 1000th time. Based on human history, it is 100% IMPOSSIBLE for people to ente…

Talk About Pop Music--Singing Through the Static

Where we live there are a lot of winding country roads which effect our ability to receive a consistent radio signal. (Who listens to radio anymore? Spotify, XM, playlists from my phone...yeah, yeah, I'm aware of these things, but I still love the spontaneity and variety of good old fashioned FM radio--and so much so that I'm not even deterred by a poor signal). It's commonplace for my kids and I to be singing along to a song only to be interrupted by static or worse, a competing radio signal which gives us the pleasure of two songs at once.

Yesterday my girls and I were enjoying a particular favorite song when another signal encroached. We kept singing along to our tune as it remained the dominant. It started to fade, and only a word or two emerged amidst the chit-chat of the other station. My youngest daughter stopped singing to ask, "Can you just turn it off?" I said, "Sure, but y'all keep on singing." So they did.

We finished our song in acappel…

Finding God's Greatness in the Mundane

I'm rereading my way through 2 Kings, and this verse stood out to me in a new way today, 

"If the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, 'Wash and be cleansed'!" 

And I thought: I am so like Namaan--I jump to do great things, but will frequently dismiss the small acts of obedience as less than great. 

If God has placed it before me to do, isn't it just as great?! 
And sometimes that actually does involve washing and cleansing--not leprous skin, but my house and my kids. When I do that joyfully for the Lord, then those things ARE GREAT things! 

And sometimes when "all I can do is pray" = also great! God is good to put great things before us!

Our long, learn-as-we've-gone health journey

3 things you must know about me before reading:

1. I'm writing this because the topics of health, wellness, food allergies, and the like come up frequently in personal conversations (because it's been a constant aspect/struggle/learning process of our lives the last 10 years), and I've been wanting to get that info in one place so I can refer friends back to it. This is an effort to both share what we've learned as well as an aid to me in regards of spending less time online during the course of a normal week.

2. My degree is in English, with graduate studies in scripture, so I have no documented credentials for what I'm about to share other than our own personal experiences. However, when you combine exploration, experiments, personal drive to solve problems, intelligence (gifted to us all by our Creator) and wisdom (provided by the Holy Spirit), one can learn anything well and extensively. That's in fact how the first experts were made.

3. Don't label me …