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...]

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...]

Dear Catie (on your first day of High School)

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Oh, my sweet Catie. Today feels the most significant of all your first days of school. All those other first days—in Pre-K, and elementary, and middle school—seem like they were all leading up to today. The first day of high school feels like the first day of the rest of your life. Grades “count” now. The new friends you make this week will see you through some thrilling adventures and … [Read more...]

When God Does That One Thing…

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"For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,  that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the … [Read more...]

The Book That Almost Wasn’t….

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This week our family went to dinner to celebrate my new book, Family Trees and Olive Branches. Holding this book—one that had been such a struggle to write—felt like an actual miracle. The idea for Family Trees & Olive Branches came from hearing about so many painful family stories: parents who are heartbroken because of terrible fights with their kids, siblings who had completely lost … [Read more...]

Family Project: Upcycle Old Jars

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Over the past year, our family has collected two years of empty jars in our pantry. Blame it on our love of salsa, peanut butter, spaghetti sauce, and pickles. Blame it on our German heritage and absolute inability to throw away something we could use again. Blame it on the kids' new understanding of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. This is the same reason I have over 200 toilet paper cores in our attic. … [Read more...]

Fourth Love Rules Giveaway

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Did you hear that? It's the Advent starting gun fired this morning. One month until Christmas! And, oh my, we all have such long lists of shopping and baking and elfing. The next month will be exciting and overwhelming. And, yet, we know the truth about what's really important during this season. We now our most important task is to show the world who needs to know how much God loves each and … [Read more...]

Second Fall Friday Giveaway!

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Wow. What a week. Are you feeling a little bruised, a little strung-out from social media? Here's the best news in the world...God loves you more than you can imagine. You already have everything you need: your identity, your hope, your true security, and real peace. God's love is the message of Love Rules, and it's the message I want to share through this week’s giveaway. I would love to … [Read more...]

Dear Elisabeth (on your first day of third grade)

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Dear Elisabeth….. Welcome to Third Grade, sweetheart. Lately, you seem more like 39 than 9. Every morning, when you walk down the stairs (with your hair combed, your shoes tied, and your game face on), it’s like you’re a middle-aged woman off to her demanding job. But then …you tell me about your dreams (or nightmares) from the night before, and you seem like another self, your toddler … [Read more...]