August 26, 2016

Practicing Habits of Grace

Start talking about spiritual disciplines -- habits like reading God's Word, praying regularly, attending church, evangelizing the lost -- and I guarantee someone will roll their eyes and respond that the word discipline is just too legalistic, not grace-oriented enough or allowing for Christian liberty. Others will sigh at the amount of effort required to maintain those disciplines. I think some people don't really understand the point of spiritual disciplines. It's not just a list of things we HAVE to do, in order to be considered spiritual. It's not what defines a good Christian. Spiritual disciplines have a higher purpose than simply acting as a spiritual to-do list. tweet [...Read More]


Introducing Erin Salazar, Author of ‘Pix Goes to London’

I'm excited to introduce a real-life friend of mine today! Erin Salazar and I met at college and stayed in touch through social media ever since (fun fact: she was also our wedding photographer!). She's a wife, mother, teacher, artist, and writer who loves to travel, and has a passion for opening children's eyes to the joys of reading and the thrill of discovering the world -- whether it be their back yard or a far-away land across the ocean. Through her books, Erin hopes to help children develop a love of learning and cultivate their innate curiosity about the world around them, so that one day they can make a difference for good. Erin's newest book, Pix Goes to London (note: affiliate [...Read More]


Literary Adventures in March/April – #Read2016

I know, I know. It's almost August, and I'm just now posting about March's literary explorations... But better late than never, right? :) Spring was incredibly busy -- between multiple rounds of company, medications that interfered with my sleep, rapidly changing plans for our future, and an eager new interest in drawing -- everything conspired to make me feel (gasp) ambivalent towards books for a while. Consequently I only completed seven books in March and April, which is probably a record low for me. Four of them were for this year's literary challenge (#Read2016), one was just because I wanted to cross it off my to-read list, and two were "comfort reads" during the busyness of [...Read More]


Snapshots from Our Adventures in Wyoming

If one picture is truly worth a thousand words, then twenty-two pictures ought to be worth a lot more that that... right? But since everybody likes photos, and it's a lot easier to show you the area than to explain it in words, here's a 2200-word glimpse (in photos) of what I've been up to since arriving in Wyoming. It's hard to believe we've already been here for two months... One of the biggest answers to prayer has been finding a comfortable (and affordable!) place to live. We actually stayed in a local motel for over 3 weeks while we searched for something, and God provided a place that fit the exact specifics we'd been praying for: something with enough insulation to be warm in [...Read More]


We’re Going On A (Western) Adventure!

Remember when I shared a personal appeal to pray for missionaries? And then I wrote about the events from my high school and college years that led up to the beginning of our missionary journey? Well it's finally officially happening! To paraphrase a famous hobbit: "We're going on an adventure!" Ours just happens to head west to the Rocky Mountains, instead of east to the Lonely Mountain. At the end of this month, we're headed to Wyoming!  Not that I'm excited or anything... :) Over the past two months, things have been happening fast and furiously. My husband had been looking for a work-from-home job that would allow flexibility with traveling, relocating, and the [...Read More]


The Great Exchange: From Death to Life

In and of ourselves, we are nothing. In fact, we are worse than nothing... we are like dirty pigs wallowing in our own filth, thinking we're the richest most enviable creatures on earth. But as any one who's seen at a pigsty can tell you, pigs are clearly neither rich nor enviable. We're not much better. We are like dumb animals, too enamored with our best efforts to notice how poor we really are. In fact, Isaiah says all our best works are no better than filthy rags -- like the kind you would use to wipe up pig slop. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh… Humans are selfish, depraved creatures full of death and sin. We have no hope for redemption in and [...Read More]


How to Study the Bible with Both Mind and Heart

Up until a few years ago, I wasn't very adept at studying the Bible on my own. I knew some basic principles, like reading the introductory material and checking the overall structure of the book before diving in. But I thrived on commentaries and concordances and notes from sound theologians, rather than understanding God's Word for myself first, then exploring what others had said about it. It's embarrassing to admit. After all, I was raised in a Christian home, attended Christian school for over twenty years, and sat under sound biblical preaching in my local church. I knew what the "right answers" sounded like and could usually tell when something was off, yet I couldn't always [...Read More]


Literary Adventures in February – #Read2016

This year's literary challenge (#Read2016) is perhaps the best thing I could have chosen to expand my literary awareness. Diving into unfamiliar genres, exploring unusual topics, and discovering new-to-me authors has already been an adventure. (Read January's update to see what I've enjoyed so far.) Even the "hunt" for titles shows me new things about my literary tastes, whether my dislike of traditional classic novels or my love of the old poetic masters. I was happy to discover some great literary gems in February -- and some short ones too. Despite it being a short month, I finished quite a few books -- however half of them were fiction, and only three were over 150 [...Read More]


Literary Adventures in January – #Read2016

I'm thoroughly enjoying the chance to explore different genres and meet new authors as I attempt to broaden my literary horizons in 2016! (Read more about it here.) I thought it might be difficult to get through some of the titles, especially some of the older works -- but other than a few dry sections here and there, the titles have held my attention surprisingly well. And I've been reminded how much I enjoy reading things other than my usual go-to titles and authors. For instance, searching for poetry books has reawakened an old love of the poetic masters (Tennyson, Blake, Frost, Donne). Perusing books published 100 years ago has led me to discover P.G. Wodehouse and G.K. [...Read More]


Beginning My Missionary Journey: the College Years

In my last post, I began sharing the story of how God called me to home missions. I went off to college with a burden on my heart for spiritually oppressed people and a specific call to prepare for full-time Christian service as a pastor's wife. I wasn't sure how all the pieces fit together, but God was still writing the story... The final two things God used to direct my missionary journey were faithful involvement in ministry and a short-term missions trip. During my first semester in college, I got involved in an regular outreach ministry on the weekends. We would travel to nearby nursing homes, women and children's shelters, and local churches to minister through puppet shows, [...Read More]