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  If you've been around here a while, you know I love to read. Seriously. So far in 2017, I've read 17 books, and I wanted to share the best of those with you in case you need some recommendations. Here are the nine I think are worth your money! When Crickets Cry by Charles Martin. (Y'all, if you've never read anything by this man, start now. Love his writing!) Essentialism by Greg McKeown. (If you are a person who feels overwhelmed with all you have going on in life, this book will remind you of the need to simplify, and it will help you with practical steps to do so.) The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi. (Really interesting story about 2 generations of females in Afghanistan who have to disguise themselves as males.) Irena's Children by Tiler J. Mazzeo. (This is the true story of a woman who is best compared to a female Schindler. She saved 2500 Jewish children in Warsaw during WWII.) Water From My Heart by Charles Martin. (I loved this one because it's set in Nicaragua, where I've been twice. Beautiful redemption story.) No More Faking Fine by Esther Fleece. (LOVED this one -...


  Dear Divorced Mom, It sucks, doesn't it? This whole being divorced thing. Whether you wanted to be or not, here you are. A mom who used to be married to her kids' dad and now isn't. The divorce changed everything, didn't it? Your life as you used to know it is gone, and whether that's a good or bad thing, nothing is the same. Holidays are different. Schedules are different. Family dynamics are different. You feel like a failure, sometimes, don't you? You feel like less of a mom because your kids aren't always with you. Secretly, you feel like a fraud and a part-time parent. You think about the time you miss with your kids and are insanely jealous of people who don't have to spend weekends without their babies. You hate using a calendar to keep track of the days they're gone and the vacations they're taking without you. You cringe and feel embarrassed whenever someone asks, "Do you have the kids this weekend?" You know it's not natural. You know they should be under your roof. You walk into their empty rooms and feel an aching sadness that doesn't end until they walk back through your door. You feel sometimes that "divorced" defines who you are. It...


  The song lyrics rang through my earbuds as I ran, repeating the Scriptures that I'm fearfully and wonderfully made. I nearly threw the earbuds across the sidewalk. I felt anything but wonderfully made. I felt like a mess, and I felt like crying. That morning as I dressed for my run, I saw stretch marks across my hips. Wrinkles around my eyes. Gray hair littering the brown. The mirror showed me the reality of my body, and the reality was hard to take. I saw a mother past her physical prime, one who keeps drifting steadily away from what the world says is beautiful. As the song played in my ears, I felt the elastic of my shorts cutting into my thickened waist, and I felt my body protesting the workout I was determined to master. The words I heard didn't match the emotions I felt, and I scoffed at what the Scriptures said was true. Nothing about me was wonderful, and everything about me was fading. I huffed around the track, trying to improve the physical me, and I struggled greatly to believe that even as I am, I am loved. The Creator of all I see formed me in the womb. He saw me in the hidden place. My...


  It's time we stop lying to God, and it's time we quit withholding the truth of how we're doing from the One who already knows. We've learned to keep our real emotions stuffed inside, haven't we? When people ask how we are, we've learned they don't really want to know. They want us to answer with the socially acceptable "Fine," and we know if we dared to unload what's really on our hearts, they'd run in terror and never ask us again. You know what my "fine" was hiding this week? I feel like there's an anvil on my shoulders pushing me into the dirt. I can't shake the feeling that every decision I make as a mother is ruining my children. This nearly 37 year old body has seen its better days, and I need to just get rid of every mirror in my house. It's hard to believe God could ever look at me and see anything worth loving when others who were supposed to love me forever didn't.   And that's just the tip of the iceberg. I'm keeping back the really good ones. No, we don't need to unload our deepest struggles on unsuspecting acquaintances, but we do need to take them somewhere...