Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our home to yours!

Dear Family and Friends, It’s hard to sum up a year on just one piece of paper. But there are some of you with whom we only get a chance to chat once a year via this letter. So despite the fact that we check in with many of you on social media, we cling to these traditions, too. Ruth Ann turned seven in November. Her favorite activity is drawing: she’d rather be at her drawing table, pen or pencil in hand, than doing anything else—even reading. The highlight of her year was spending three weeks this summer with Grandpa and Grandma. Aunt Jessica used that time to give her some … [Read more...]

#ReformingSocialMedia: a review of the book by Mandy J. Hoffman

#ReformingSocialMedia the must-read book for every Christian who uses social media

When my oldest daughter lost her two front teeth, I immediately snapped pictures. And my first instinct was to post them to Facebook and email them to the great grandparents. But then I remembered a story Mandy J. Hoffman told in her book #ReformingSocialMedia. When her daughter got her ears pierced, Mandy refrained from immediately posting the pictures to social media, and instead let her daughter get the joy of showing her grandparents her earrings in person. I adopted the same approach and got to watch the exclamations of surprise when my parents encountered my daughter's toothless grin a … [Read more...]

WordSnacks: a review of the new devotional by Natasha Metzler

WordSnacks a review of the new devotionalbook by @NatashaMetzler

Natasha Metzler's new book WordSnacks is filled with devotionals that are quick and easy to read, and like a good snack, are chock full of good protein, essential vitamins and minerals for the soul. In WordSnacks, Natasha brings biblical truths to life. She distills difficult Old Testament passages into words that are as simple as they are encouraging. She applies familiar verses to fearful situations, "rightly dividing the Word of truth." She's not afraid to talk about sin and pain, but she's quick to point out that:  The Lord takes bitterness and makes it sweet. I had the privilege … [Read more...]

The Best Books I Read This Year

Looking for some new titles or old classics to add to your reading list? Here are the best books I read this year. #Twitterature

A glance through my Goodreads profile reminds me of the sheer volume of written words I've consumed this year. Fiction, non-fiction, paperback, hardback, ebooks, Kindle, and audiobooks--oh the many formats in which we can read stories and truths in this day and age! But not every book is one that stays on my shelf. Some I forget as quickly as I read, others I almost wish I could. Yet when I look back on the year, a few titles stand out. The best of the best, that I loan out and give as gifts. The favorites, that come up again and again in dinner conversations with friends. So here, in … [Read more...]

Lizzy & Jane: a review

A review of Katherine Reay's new novel #LizzyAndJane

Some books make you want to start reading them all over again the moment you're finished. Like the perfect dinner, you still want another serving to enjoy the flavors and textures one more time--even when you're completely full and satisfied. Lizzy & Jane is just such a book. Katherine Reay brings a delightful new flavor to the menu of modern fiction. She artfully mixes tales of deep sadness with love and joy, seasoning them with just the right amount of references to classic literature like Austen's Pride and Prejudice. While Katherine's first novel, Dear Mr. Knightley, gave a … [Read more...]

a tribute to my grandpa

with my grandparents during my last visit with Grandpa, in March

My grandpa went home to be with Jesus on September 11. I shared the following tribute at his memorial service on September 21. There are two smells that I will always associate with my grandpa: fiberglass and butterscotch. Grandma and I never could understand why he didn't like chocolate, but I loved making him butterscotch chip cookies. He always had butterscotch and caramel candies on hand, and if he wasn't eating butterscotch ice cream, his ice cream usually had butterscotch syrup on top. But I like to think my grandpa's sweet tooth was symbolic of his kind heart and his love for … [Read more...]

Your Real Food Journey (a new book from Trina Holden)

Your Real Food Journey: a review of Trina Holden's new book #myrealfoodjourney #yourrealfoodjourneybook

I'm an all or nothing kind of girl. When I clean the closet, I have to do it all in one day. If I'm going to organize my office, I need time to do it all at once. And if I'm going to make changes to our family's diet, I want everyone to be on board so we can change everything at once. Consequently, it's all too overwhelming and I never even get started. But Trina Holden wrote Your Real Food Journey for people like me. She sits right down next to us (ignoring the caffeinated drink and sugar-laced snack we're enjoying) and gently explains how impossibly overwhelming that all or nothing … [Read more...]

The 5 Minute Guide to Kefir Soda

The 5 Minute Guide to Kefir Soda

Kefir soda is a probiotic beverage filled with all sorts of good bacteria. It's like getting all the benefits of eating healthy yogurt while drinking something as flavorful as your favorite carbonated drink. It's a great replacement for a soda pop addiction, and a healthy alternative to sugary fruit juice. Kefir soda is made by culturing kefir grains in sugar water (the grains feed on the sugar, resulting a low-glycemic drink). After the first culture, the grains are removed, and fruit is added for flavoring. The second culture adds a delightful carbonation (and just a tiny bit of alcohol). … [Read more...]

stories that point to Christ

a review of the Well Spring Trilogy

Too often I make the mistake of avoiding books just because I don't usually read that genre. I knew James Rubart was a good storyteller. I'd been captivated listening to him describe his writing process two years in a row at the Inland Northwest Christian Writers Conference. It was fascinating to hear how he would take a "what if...?" question and write a book as if that "what if" were true. But Christian suspense novels aren't usually my type. Especially when they deal with alternate realities and spiritual dimensions. So I waited two years to discover the depth of James Rubart's … [Read more...]

well-behaved children and God’s grace

Well-Behaved Children & God's Grace

They called me over in the hotel breakfast room.  "Excuse me, how old are your children?" she asked. "Five, three and a half, and almost two."  Even my reply sounded tired as I stopped to calculate. "We've been watching them and trying to guess," they explained.  "They are so well-behaved!" I didn't know whether to laugh or shake my head, so I did both.  We were two weeks into our vacation last spring and I'd spent more time than not shushing noises in hotel rooms and holding screaming babes in national parks. That couple from the breakfast room was obviously not the same as … [Read more...]