Dying on the Inside

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This is a reprint of a story I shared in Love Rules. It's about how God loves us and redeems the most dead parts of us. Ultimately, this is a story about Good Friday.   No one is ever really ready for a dog. You think you are, but you can’t imagine the bolt-upright-in-bed terror you’ll feel when your new puppy enthusiastically guards against the evil snow at three in the morning. You … [Read more...]

What We Are NOT Doing This Summer

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Several years ago, I visited my friend Jen at the start of the summer. Like me, she was a mom to lots of little kids, and the summer meant the fun and daunting promise of lots of free time. Like me, Jen hoped to use some of that time to organize her house. She had posted sticky notes to remind herself to tackle the house projects. If I remember correctly, they went something like this: on the … [Read more...]

50 Reasons You Should Work at Camp This Summer

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Summers at camp are unlike anything else. If you don't have plans for this summer, try it. Apply with the nearest camp....or look for one across the country. I'm reposting this in honor of Last Summer at Eden's Birthday. Here's the book trailer, which talks about a few of these. Enjoy! You should work at camp this summer because.... 1. So many hours of sunshine! 2. If you live, work, and … [Read more...]

Spring Break: Screen Break

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My dreams for Spring Break are simple: sunshine, finally kicking the flu that's haunted our house, and finding a screen time balance during all these days off. The problem is that my kids have different views on nine days off. They're planning for this to be Screen Break--a break with all the BrawlStars, Clash Royale, binging on bad Netflix shows, and endless YouTube hack videos. And I get … [Read more...]

Galveston Oak Trees (& Olive Branches)

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If you're on the island for Spring Break or to visit the beach this summer, check out the Hurricane Ike Tree Tour. Our family loves driving (or, in nice weather, walking) around and spotting the beautiful creations these artists have made from dead oak trees. I write about this tour in my book, Family Trees & Olive Branches... From the book-- "THE OAK TREES OF GALVESTON AND HURRICANE … [Read more...]

Christmas with Older Kids is Different

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As the kids went back to school today, and our lives returned to normal, I kept thinking about the whirlwind that was December. Our kids are older now and the holiday magic changes as they grow up. I'm discovering that I enjoy Christmas with older kids more. It's sweeter in ways I didn't expect. Here are the lessons and rules about celebrating Christmas with the older kids in your life. 1. … [Read more...]

Last Summer at Eden for #NLSW

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Let's celebrate National Lutheran Schools Week with some Last Summer at Eden love. My Young Adult novel tells the story of Poppi, who wants to save Camp Eden, a beautiful place with a mysterious problem that might close it down. Check out what people are saying about Last Summer at Eden here. Or watch the (30-second) book video below. You'll love it. Here are three ways I can connect with … [Read more...]

Mom & Dad Christmas Gift Guide

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    I've got your Christmas gift ideas for moms and dads right here. What do you need--gifts under $10 from the kids? Got it. Something that will make mom swoon? Right here! Practical gifts as smart as your baby daddy? Keep reading... First, for the moms (or wives) on your list. Please try your best this year, dads & husbands & kids. Because I just talked to my … [Read more...]

Christmas Gift Guide #2 (What to Buy the Boys)

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  It's cold outside and if you live in Houston it's crazy wet too. No problem. This weekend is the perfect time to knock out the hardest kids on your Christmas list. In our family, that's the boys. We have a little (8 years old) and a tween (11) and I've searched for gifts that will keep them off electronics (the battle raging in our house all the time). Here are my best ideas for the … [Read more...]

Christmas Gift Guide #1 (For Teen Girls)

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I know, I know. You have so many people to buy gifts for, so many websites offering to SHIP THIS TO YOUR DOOR RIGHT NOW, so little time to actually figure out gifts that will inspire, entertain, and delight your family. Here are gifts that middle school and high school girls will love.... (Come back tomorrow for the Teen Boy list.)   Scruchis Put on your favorite Depeche … [Read more...]