• First Things First

    As a young teenager, I made a rather extensive list of all the qualities I was looking for in a husband. I combined traits from many of the men I respected—plus a few extras—just to be sure I found the man who would fulfill all my hopes and dreams. When I graduated from college without a ring on my finger, I started to carefully examine my curated list. Were my standards too high? What could I eliminate? I began to whittle away, scribbling out traits I knew weren’t necessary, maybe even ridiculous.  By the time I met my husband, the list was shorter than the one I wrote in the…

  • Quote It

    My husband brought several pieces of furniture into our marriage: six woven dining chairs, two barstools, and a wooden bookshelf. Although several chairs are now wobbly from fifteen years of use, we cannot bring ourselves to part with them. I’m okay with this because they’re functional, and new dining room chairs are expensive. However, the bookshelf is another story. I do not like it, and I have never liked it. The wood stain is too red, it’s not large enough to fit all of our books, and its irregular size limits its placement in any apartment or home we’ve lived in. But my husband doesn’t want to part with it.…

  • Embrace Diligence

    A few months ago, I took the plunge and subscribed to a monthly box of new clothes. You may have heard of Stitch Fix. Well, it’s both wonderful to have clothes delivered to my door, but it’s also a bit more expensive than my typical wardrobe purchases. But I figured if I’m about to turn 40, I should invest in my clothes and find items I both like and will last. I don’t keep everything they send me, but the items I do keep, well, I’m diligently tending to them. When I threw a load of laundry in the other day, I carefully read the tag on my new pair…

  • A Diligent Wife // New 31 Days Series

    I was listening to an interview recently with TV and film producer, J.J. Abrams, in which he was telling the story of how his career started. He floundered in the beginning, unsure which direction to go, or what content to create. His wife offered him some solid advice: Write about what you love. Write what you care about. So, he did. And he went on to produce some of the most loved films and TV series of our time. Well, this is me, writing about something important to me, and for which I care deeply about: marriage. And more specifically, being a wife. I’ve been a wife for the past…

  • When God Gives Apples

    In the corner of the yard, beside the white picket fence, and about fifteen feet from where the street sweeper comes once a month to clean out the debris on the edge of the road, we planted an apple tree. She’s a beauty, quietly blessing us with sweet flowers in spring, spreading a blanket of shade over the lacecap hydrangea who sits at her feet, and giving us glimpses of hope in a harvest as summer reaches its peak. We’ve tried to shoo away the bugs who nibble on her fruit, and we sometimes stare at her spotted leaves wondering what disease might be coursing through her system. Last year…

  • What We Celebrate on World Down Syndrome Day

    Down syndrome impacts me everyday. It affects my decisions, my chores, my schedule, even my life insurance policy—you should see the bill that just arrived. But our son’s disability has become such a normal part of life that I don’t think about it everyday. He’s just my son, a delightful addition to our family, and one of the greatest kids around. In the early days of his diagnosis, I thought about the impacts of Down syndrome constantly. We had questions and no answers, fears and no certain outcomes. I would hold my baby boy, trace the lines on his chubby hands, and pray. For his growth and development. For protection…

  • looking at the expanse

    This Is How He Carries You

    It’s too much, Lord. I can’t count the number of times I’ve uttered some form of these words. Sometimes I whisper through my tears and other times I scribble furiously onto the pages of my journal—early morning thoughts after news of another hardship. Another friend’s suffering. My own difficult circumstances. A world in physical, emotional, and spiritual upheaval. I imagine you can relate. The weight feels unbearable. You try to muster up strength, but you can’t. Weak and weary, you wonder if you’ll have what it takes to survive what’s in front of you. We fear we’ll be consumed by our grief. We can’t see how there could possibly be…

  • There Are Indeed Good Things

    I am not what you would call a person who lives in a perpetual state of optimism. I am in fact a realist. Not a downer, for those of you optimists who don’t know the difference. I’ve experienced enough life to know that life isn’t necessarily smooth and easy. Quite the opposite, actually. Jesus confirmed this one, so you can take his word for it (John 16:33). So, I have to be honest with you. I’ve seen a lot of people sharing posts on social media about all the good things this year, how there’s so much to be grateful for, and come on guys, be thankful! And you know…

  • Will We Die to Our Rights?

    There was only one place in town to buy pork, and I was hungry for bacon. So I snuck into the little shop, paid the shop owner for the largest slab I could find, and then tucked it deep within my purse. As I made my way down the street, I kept glancing behind me. Did anyone notice where I had just shopped? Would a taxi driver even let me into his car if he knew what I had under my arm? I was living in a predominately Muslim country. Pork is forbidden and many Muslims refuse to eat from pork-tainted dishes. Most of my colleagues never purchased, prepared, or…

  • He Prunes Us Because He Loves Us

    When the summer heat peaked, my hydrangea bushes started to bloom again. I couldn’t believe their ability to keep going when it felt unbearable to be outside and you could hear the grass crunch under your feet. What was happening? We trimmed the new blooms, gathered them in a vase, and enjoyed the unexpected beauty.  I’ve joked before that my desire to purchase our quirky 1940’s home was largely based upon the two hydrangea bushes flanking the side of our porch. Everyone who stops by comments on their beauty. In fact, the first summer we lived here, there was a knock on the door early one Sunday morning. An older…