The Carol of Traveling Sounds

“At Christmas, all roads lead home.” ~Marjorie Holmes The sound of travel thrills me. My earliest memory of this auditory obsession dates back to the early 80’s. I remember walking up and down the dirt drive in front of my grandparents’ old chicken house just to hear the gravel crunch beneath my Jordache sneakers. Besides listening to my grandmother read, it was my favorite thing to do at [Read more...]

When Christmas Isn’t the Way You Want It

The concept of “leave and cleave” sounds lovely when you stand at the altar with your husband-to-be beside you. But when it comes to the holidays, it isn’t so lovely. The question of where and how to spend Christmas can cause discord in the most harmonious of marriages. My first Christmas as a Smith was dramatic. My husband’s job was as new as our marriage. He had to work on Christmas [Read more...]

Gifts to Encourage Spiritual Growth in Your Tween Girl

This time of year, kids can’t get through a conversation with an adult without being asked the million dollar question: “What do you want for Christmas?” Around October, I start jotting down ideas for my own kids. We keep it simple with three gifts per child, so I only need a few ideas to get me started. This year, my tweenager surprised me by asking for a new Bible. The [Read more...]

The Light of the World Brings Hope at Christmas

Don’t you just love this time of year? As soon as the turkey is cold, many people rush to the attic for the red and green boxes full of Christmas decorations. They tack lights to the eaves of their house and hang treasured ornaments on the branches of pine-scented trees. The smell of cinnamon and sugar plums rise from strategically placed candles. Ceramic Baby Jesus rests safely in an [Read more...]

Celebrating National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month. While I am not an adoptive parent, I wholeheartedly support the cause. I want to take some time to honor adoptive parents, shed some light on the adoption process, and share ways you can help. I called on some of my dear friends to help.   How Adoption Destroyed My Life Maybe ruination is where we are supposed to live. Maybe this adoption thing is hard [Read more...]

How to Get Rid of Glass Half Empty Gratitude

I have an almost-teenager at my house which means sour attitudes float around here like pickles in a jar. My middle schooler is generally an optimist, but this stage of emotional development sometimes sabotages her sunny disposition. Phrases like “I will never…” and “it’s always…” transform temporary hardships into eternal absolutes. Hope flutters away as [Read more...]

Dear Daughter: Perfection Isn’t the Goal

Today, I share a daughter letter in Lauren Flake’s “Dear Daughter ” Letter series. Dear Daughter, You are a good child. Your heart wants to do the right thing simply because it is the right thing. When presented with two choices, you often think about the rules and the consequences and choose accordingly. You take pride in the straight line you walk, and I do, too. Mamas need a [Read more...]

Scatter Kindness with the #5dollardash

Have you seen the latest challenge working its way around Facebook? In the spirit of The Ice Bucket Challenge, the #5dollardash arrived on World Kindness Day (November 13). I took the challenge and went live on Facebook to share. It was so exciting to be a part of a coordinated kindness attack! Karen Ehman’s newest book, Listen, Love, Repeat: Others-Centered Living in a Self-Centered [Read more...]

How to Overcome Temptation

The attack came out of the blue. I sat in my office, minding my own business. In walked Temptation. She toyed with my mind like a cat tangled in a ball of yarn. She plowed the ground of my dry heart, trying to expose seeds of truth to the harsh heat of her lies. I fought back the thoughts as best I could with arrows of truth from God’s Word. Before long, I was weary and losing ground. After [Read more...]

How Can We Develop a Thankful Heart?

My daughter sat on the floor with her dresser drawers open, surrounded by fabric casualties. She repeated the phrase that so many of us utter in the early morning hours–“I don’t have anything to wear!” Ankle deep in clothing she picked out at the store, she couldn’t find anything suitable to wear. I scolded her with a less than patient tone. I pointed to three [Read more...]