How To Really Laugh

[Note: We are learning how to really live together. This isn’t an instruction guide. The posts in this series are my open journal. Please include your thoughts in the comments. Let’s find out together how to really live!]

So. The other night one of my kids referred to The Passing of Gas. Only they didn’t quite say it like that. I was offended by the slang word they used and tried to think of a more appropriate word.

Because, y’all, it happens.

But we can still refer to it with class, ya know? Stick with me, there’s a point.

I was at a loss for just the right word and so I asked my hunk-o-man what his family said when such an occurrence happened.

And he looked a bit sheepish, running his thick hand thru his hair.
(He’s a stud, did I mention that?)

“We grew up saying “I let a windy.”

Yes, you read that right,


Alone, those four simple words aren’t funny, but formed together and so unexpected, well, I ROLLED ON THE FLOOR.


We laughed and laughed and hiccuped from all the laughing. It was so inappropriate –this appropriate wording– coming from my handsome MAN. Oh and also, the conversation had to be CHANGEd. Because kids like to talk about this sort of thing.

But that’s how I want to really laugh.

Except in church. Because that is bad, y’all. [sidenote: why do I usually feel this kind of laughter bubbling up IN CHURCH?]

I’m pretty sure I added a year to my life that night because I felt younger and vibrant and happy from all that laughing.

Did you know that there are 42 verses on laughter in the Bible?

Plus, it’s proven to make your health better.

And, let’s be honest, it’s better than the alternative: crying, controlling, complaining…

So, how do we really laugh-not the mechanics of physical laughter, but the letting go:

Live in the Moment

Lighten Up

Let Yourself Have Fun

Live-we only have today-this moment. We spend so much our present worrying about the past or planning for the future that often forget to just stop and live. Today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present.

Lighten Up-If you like to control things (like me) then it’s time to lighten up. I have missed so many opportunities to laugh because I was sticking to the rules or propriety. I’m learning that letting go of control is about being more carefree.

Let– yourself have fun! If you ask my kids to define their parenting roles, they would say their dad is the fun parent. Mom takes care of everything. I want to change this. I want to give myself permission to leave it all-right there on the table or stuffed under their beds.

How do you (get to the place where you can) really laugh let a windy?

See? That’s funny. You should laugh.

WFMW: My Encouragement Bowl

I have a pretty bowl sitting on my desk.

It’s full of love.

It’s my encouragement bowl.

For the last 3 years, I’ve tucked little notes of encouragement, thank you’s and what-not notes, into it’s porcelain hands.

When I’m feeling discouraged or overwhelmed or under-appreciated, I go to the bowl for encouragement.  Sometimes I just look up from my laptop and labor and let the written words remind me that I’m not alone.

My tip: get a bowl and fill it with encouragement.

p.s. got my cute bowl from Dayspring

Unshaken {Review & Giveaway}

*Updated with Winners* Congratulations to random winners: Creative2xMom and reader (no blog) Sarah Parker!

I remember exactly where I was when the Haiti earthquake hit.

It was terrible to watch it unfold on TV.

But it became more personal when I learned that two Compassion International staff members were buried in the rubble.

I was in the middle of getting shots and a passport to travel with Compassion to Africa.

I’m not going to lie: I thought of myself and my own impending trip. I doubted.

But I also prayed. I shared the news with my family. And we prayed together. My son was so moved-he asked me constantly about the Compassion employees, Dan and David.

We asked God for a miracle.

And when news didn’t come and hours turned to days, we waited and we prayed.

I cried when I heard Dan Woolley had been rescued. I cried when I heard David hadn’t.

I will never forget sharing the news with my kids. My son said it first, “Mom, THIS IS A MIRACLE.”

He was absolutely right. It was a miracle we got to witness with our own eyes. It was also a tragedy for so many and we processed this with the rest of the world.

When I traveled to Birmingham in December for the Compassion Blogger Reunion, I was excited to meet and visit with everyone. But it was a deeply moving moment for me to sit across from Dan Woolley at dinner and hear his story.


Dan has written a heartbreaking and beautiful book about his time trapped underground called Unshaken: Rising from the Ruins of Haiti’s Hotel Montana.

I read it in three days. I couldn’t put it down.

I cannot recommend this book more. It stirred my heart in so many ways, as Dan shares deeply personal details of his marriage and faith. It made me question my own life-what would I do in the situation? Where does my trust lie?

This excerpt from the book was so moving:

“And so, finally, I did. I trusted God with my crisis. I trusted him with my death. I trusted him with my family after I died — with Christy, with Josh, and with Nathan. My questions were resolved. My fears were gone. It’s not that I understood how God would make something good from my death, but I knew that, because of his power and love, he would. The majesty and awesome beauty that I had just witnessed and the love and grace that he had poured on me in such a personal way were evidence enough. My Father would make this situation work out for the good. Guaranteed.

He would be a father to Josh and Nathan and a husband to Christy. He would make my life and my death matter in their lives, and his good purposes would be fulfilled. Somehow there would be good through David’s death as well, and God would care for his family in special ways. Even for the people of Haiti, who had to be suffering so much, God would bring good through the tragedy of this earthquake.

Thank you, Father, for showing me you can be trusted completely! I trust you. Let your will be done in this situation — whatever that may be.

My thoughts were interrupted by a voice from above. “Hello. Is anybody there?”

My son is 8 and he’s an avid reader. He asked me twenty times if he could read Dan’s story. I kept saying no because it’s not written for kids.

He pressed in, “Mom, I want to read about the miracle. I want to know.”

I am reading it with him (passing over the chapters pertaining to Dan’s marriage). How can I not? My little boy needs heros.

He’s found one that is


Today, I’m giving away TWO autographed copies of Unshaken.

Leave a comment to be entered.

This giveaway ends on Thursday.

Don’t Make Me Come Up There!

[Promo Video: Sneak Peek, special thanks to We are THAT family Facebook friends for submitting pictures!]

Don’t Make Me Come Up There! in bookstores three weeks from today!

Next week, I’ll share a glimpse inside the book with a special (free) gift for each of you.

And in two weeks, on February 21, I’ll be having a little contest:

Get your best “Don’t make me come up there!” picture of yourself ready! Link up a photo of your best Mom look- you know the one you give your kids or a reenactment of my book cover (like above) to help me celebrate the release of my first book!

And there’s a prize!

Pre-order the book today at a special price of only $7.56!

Orphan Care Isn’t Sexy

We live in a high gloss world.

We want beauty. We crave attractive things.

We have cute handbags, pretty paper, and desire gorgeous houses. Our society is consumed with superficial loveliness.

Sex appeal is a hot commodity.

The ugly truth in our pretty world:  *attractive people earn more
money and are generally viewed as more successful.

And while God created true beauty, it isn’t found in home decor or luxury cars. It’s not really about perfect figures or chiseled

True beauty is found in the least of these.


But orphan care doesn’t sell. It’s not attractive or appealing.

There’s nothing desirous about poverty so devastating it chokes the very breath out of you. The stench of living without simple resources
makes you want to run. I’ve touched the heads of sick children, living in the streets of Africa’s slum. I shuddered as death rattled with every breath. I only offered them silent tears that fell to the rot beneath my feet.

Poverty isn’t pretty.

It’s forgotten in our world. We pretend there aren’t thousands and thousands and thousands of children dying everyday,
while we shop for an upgraded life. We ignore the forgotten because it makes us uncomfortable.

We forget the orphan because they make us feel ugly.

Not our carefully manicured facade, but the inner self that is deteriorating with selfishness and apathy.

I met orphans- Susan and Vincent and a host of others in the poorest part of the world. I have touched the faces of orphans in our foster care system. Their beauty shined a light on my ugliness. I will
never be the same. Jesus used their plight to change me.

It’s still difficult to stare down the enormous beast of poverty. I question if we can really make a difference, really change the world? But how can we not at least try?

We are excited to join the voices and wrestle out these challenging questions at The Idea Camp focusing on the global orphan crisis
and the church.

Orphan care (foster care, adoption) aren’t sexy, but they are beautiful.


The Internet Makes the World a Smaller Place

There’s someone I’d like you to meet.

I first met the Huffman’s online. {I’ll let the shock where off}.

Kimberly left a comment on one of my posts about the Mercy House. I clicked right over. Her blog is called: The Huffman Family  in Kenya and it’s about her family’s journey founding and running Mattaw Children’s Village.

I have read and read and read. Learning so much more about the culture I love. The Huffman’s have been an integral part of helping us behind-the-scenes in starting Mercy House. They have met with Maureen (and fallen in love with her! Who doesn’t?), answered a ton of questions, shared their travel contacts and so much more.

This beautiful young couple with two sweet babies met in Africa. They were both serving the poor. They knew they wanted to spend their lives there and after they married, they opened Mattaw. I have been so impressed with their work and the amount they have accomplished in just four short years.

Mercy House and Mattaw are dreaming of working together to rescue some of Africa’s forgotten.

The Huffman’s returned to America for a short time to do some necessary work stateside. When I discovered they would be in Texas, I knew we had to connect in person.

On our way to meet them at Chick Fil A the other night, my daughter, “So are we meeting someone you met on the Internet?” And no one in the car thought the question was weird.

It felt like meeting family. Africa bringing us together over sweet tea! We shared stories and encouraged one other. They are missionaries, doing hard work for Jesus. I’d love for you to pray for them and even consider financial support.

[It may seem weird that I’m asking you to support them considering I’m working to raise money for Mercy House. But money isn’t an issue with God. He has plenty. If He burdens your heart for this family like He has ours, GO WITH IT!]

We are so thankful that God allowed our paths to cross and we are very excited about what the future holds.

I love that the Internet makes the world a smaller place!