I Like You

My in-laws celebrate 50 years of marriage next week. We are throwing a big party in small-town Oklahoma with BBQ and gold latex balloons.

We are all about The Fancy.

I’m in charge of the table centerpieces and a few other things. I’m going with mason jar decor since my in-laws are farmers and they make their own food, seed to table.

[black pictures of them dating and their wedding party 50 years ago, tucked into mason jars, with a little gold bow and cupcake picks I got off Etsy]

My parents just hit their 46th year.

I believe we have what you call A LEGACY on our hands. It’s a heavy mantle.

This December we will celebrate 18 years of marriage. I love that guy. I share my life with him. We are in this thing for the long haul. We’ve been to hell and back and we are committed for life.

But do you know how I think you get to 50 years?

You’ve got to do more than love your spouse, you’ve got to like them too (at least most days). Let’s be honest, that line between crazy passion and white fury can be fine. One of the things I love most about my in-laws and my parents is they generally like each other. They enjoy eating together, talking and just being together.

I know it may sound simple-minded, but I know a lot of couples who airquote love each other, but treat one another pretty badly. It’s sort of like the way people feel about extended family sometimes– you probably wouldn’t have chosen them, but here they are.

But we did choose are spouses and that choice is for the good, bad and ugly times. Making a conscious choice to hush when we really want to say something negative or thank them when it cost us something or putting our plans and dreams aside temporarily to make theirs come true–that’s what makes this whole thing work.

I texted my husband this picture while he was sitting in a two day meeting on the other side of town last week.

I love him.

Even more, I like him.

And most of all, I choose to do both even when I don’t feel like it.

Get the Shirt. Tell the world you like them.

Funny side note: I wore this shirt to the airport the other day. I got flagged for a security check because the guard wanted to get the website. Plus, I kept getting “thumbs up” from random men. At first, I was confused (thinking I must look really good) and then I remembered the t-shirt :)

Disclaimer: My friends over at Union28 sent me this shirt and this post is part of a joint initiative we have to make our marriages rock!

Into the Light {Giveaway}

UPDATE: The winners of this giveaway are Michelle, Daina, Jennifer H., Sarah and Tonya. And the grand prize package goes to Sha’rrell. Check your email – if you are a winner a note has been sent your way. 

I love a good story.

I mean, love.

I think and learn and work through stories. And when we let God become the author of our lives, he rewrites us and turns the hard parts into unexpected beauty. And that always ends up being the best part of the story.

Matthew West’s new album, Into the Light is filled with God-stories. Watch and Listen.

Today, I’m excited to giveaway some music! Life-changing, God-inspired, music to inspire and encourage those hard roads you might be traveling…

Today, 5 winners will receive a copy of Into the Light and a cool journal and One grand prize winner will receive ALL SIX of Matthew’s albums and a journal.

Leave a comment as your entry. This giveaway ends on Tuesday.

Happy weekend, y’all!

Cultivating Gratitude {Family Resource}

It’s the one thing I long for my family to learn, live:


It’s the one thing I teach by example (or lack of), a heart full of thanksgiving, overflowing on my husband, surrounding my children. They are watching, waiting. Not just for the outward, polite, mandatory “thank you.” But the grateful heart that spills out and is contagious.

Gratitude is the one thing that gets me through a hard day.

It’s about choosing to be grateful, when I want to complain, opting for thanksgiving when I long to whine, it’s looking for the good when it all feels bad. The best kind of gratitude is when I don’t feel it at all.

It’s not just the gratefulness for new things, a comforter on sale for my daughter’s bed brings praise, “thank you, Mom!” It’s thankfulness in the trials, the hard times, the difficult spots we find ourselves. These are the moments that define us: digging deep when gratitude isn’t easy.

Thankfulness isn’t inherited. It often doesn’t come easy. It needs to be practiced, made a priority.

Gratitude is what will change our home.

How to Stir Up Thanksgiving in Your Family:

  • Record your gratitude-write it down!
  • Read past entries aloud
  • Reflect on the day, the good and bad. We “play” highs and lows. What is your high for the day. How can we encourage each other in the lows.
  • Reinforce-no gratitude is too small.
  • Resolve to give thanks, in all things

As we head into fall, I’m excited about this new family resource to help cultivate gratitude as we move towards the Thanksgiving season. It’s called the  12 Day Holiday Countdown by Dayspring.

I believe it has the potential to be a very meaningful family tradition. I love it because it’s perfect for the entire family, from the smallest to the oldest. It’s multi-functional and it’s designed to be used at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter with corresponding story blocks and scripture!

Each small box holds a card for the day and corresponds with the included guidebook. You can add a slip of paper or small treat to the box as you countdown to Thanksgiving (Christmas and Easter).

Sample Text from guidebook:
We’re thankful for friends.I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his
master’s business.  Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I
learned from My Father I have made known to you.  John 15:15 NIVGod is a friend to us.What does it mean to be God’s friend?

And get this, for the next 4 days, the Holiday Countdown is on sale for ONLY $10! Reg. $24.

Dayspring sent me one to try with my kiddos. It came yesterday and before I could hide it, they saw it and are begging to celebrate something. I just know your kids will love this intentional time together too.

Get one today at a great price!

*I’m a Dayspring affiliate and the links in this post are affiliate links.

WFMW: Top 10 Favorite Chalkboard Projects

I love chalkboard paint. I still have 3/4 of a can and I have been itching to pop it open and apply. I’m thinking kitchen island or piano. How cool would that be?

Here are my 10 all-time favorite creative chalkboard projects I’ve seen or done (so far):



1. My Kitchen Table

2. Photo Prop

3. Practical Workspace

4. An Entire Wall

5. Inside door

6. Framed Sign

7. Headboard

8. Labeled Jars

9. Piano!

10. Kitchen Island

What’s your favorite chalkboard project?

Don’t Be Afraid of the Light

When I was a teenager, my parents took a stained glass class. It was random and sort of embarrassing as a kid, but they became experts on fitting broken pieces together to create a new beautiful picture. Then it was cool.

They would come home from their time together with bandaids on their fingers and art in their heart. One-by-once pieces of their work begin to show up in our house. A stained glass rose hung in the kitchen window, glistening glass angels on the Christmas tree.

All these years later, I love seeing these pieces of art still hanging in my parents home. I didn’t know then I would see myself in the broken pieces, I didn’t know God would use the shattered remnants of my life to create a brand new picture. I didn’t know he would use my brokenness to let his light shine thru and reflect Him.

I think that might be one reason I love Matthew West’s new album so much. God used the broken stories of people to change Matthew’s life and his music reflects this so well.

The story behind my favorite song on his new album Into the Light is “Forgiveness.” Get ready, it will move you. I promise.

Did you cry?? Please tell me I’m not alone.

Matthew West’s new album Into the Light. Available today.

What story is God writing with the broken pieces of your life?

EMI Music sponsored this post. But the love of music is all my own.

It All Starts With One Small Yes [Introducing::Pure Charity]

I used to think changing the world was done by world changers:  People with power, money and influence.

A superhero cape didn’t hurt either.

But more than ever, I’m convinced world change happens in the quiet yes’ of ordinary days, by inadequate people who simply love God and others.

Which sort of gets us all in the game.

You don’t know my heroes, they can’t fill a stadium or sell a truckload of books. They work in obscurity and are unknown. They simply live to make His glory known.

And while there is no formula for world change, I believe it all comes down to this: it all starts with one small yes.

We like to categorize people. This guy does big stuff. That gal is special, look what she can create. But there is one category every God-lover fits into: you were created to do something for Him. You may still be looking for your One thing, but I believe there are a few choices we can all make.

You might be staring down a dozen questions today or perhaps you’re waiting for someone to ask.  I know what the answer is.

I’m excited and honored to be a part of a brilliant new movement called Pure Charity. This non-profit takes ordinary people like us who buy from powerful companies in corporate America and it turns our every day purchases into something good, benefitting amazing non-profit projects to help people in need.

Pure Charity doesn’t encourage you to spend more money, rather it harnesses what you’re already spending and puts it to good work. If you buy diapers online, purchase plane tickets, need a new printer, pride yourself as an Amazon Prime member, your clicks count.


In 3 easy steps, you can make a difference. Here’s how it works:

  1. Sign up at Pure Charity.
  2. Download the webapp bar. This little app in the corner of your screen will make it easy for you to know if one of the 800 retailers is a Pure Charity partner. You can just go about your online business and when you shop, click the webapp to make sure you get giving credit for your purchases.
  3. Fund a project. Here’s where it gets fun! You can add a debit/credit card to your account and put money into a project OR as you shop, your giving fund will accumulate and you can choose projects to give it to.

——–>Amazing truth: With just a simple yes (click), you can help fund projects like this one at our very own Mercy House!  It’s free, it’s intentional, it’s a small way to make a big difference!

I believe in Pure Charity. I believe in you. I believe that together our yes counts. Will you please take 5 minutes and join me today? 


Want to know more? Check out these links: Pure Charity FAQ, Info about  the WebApp,

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Pure Charity and did not receive any compensation for this post.

How to Heal Community Wounds

I said it out loud.

“I can’t believe no one called, no one asked, no one offered to help,” I complained to my husband.

My old community wounds surface at the first hint of disappointment and surprise me with their intensity. My words sound bitter and I struggle to sort it all out.

Why is it that pain from past relationships cast a shadow over present ones? Why is it easier to remember the negative than pursue the positive? 

[click over to (in)courage to continue reading how I navigate this rocky road…]

The Perfect Fall Treat

This is my kind of baking:

Buy three ingredients, use the microwave instead of the oven and assemble.

It’s so easy, a child could make these (and my daughters pretty much did).

Take half the bag of mini chocolate chips and melt them (10 seconds at time, stirring). Chocolate glue is the best!

Apply a bit of chocolate glue to the bottom of the Hershey’s kiss and attach it to the Nutterbutter. After it dries, attach the acorn top (mini choco chip).

Share with friends!

We were going to take some to other people, but we ate them all. Turns out we aren’t that nice.

Edited repost from archives

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