My Second Day of Not Blogging in 8 Years

Well, there was that one day in Kansas that I couldn’t blog. And now yesterday. It was a day of grading and running around campus, and I forgot. 

For the first time in 8 years, since March 2010, I forgot.

I did have a small, shining moment in the morning when I thought, “This is it! This is the flair moment.” It was when I read in Psalm 20 about the Lord sending help from His sanctuary when you are in distress (Psalm 20:2). I wondered about all the forms of help the Lord sends. Angels? Ideas? People? Peace? Hope? Objects of comfort? Animals? What does the help of the Lord look like? 

It was just a moment—-a question about recognizing the help of the Lord—but then I lost it. I went on into the day, hurried and frazzled. I went on into the day, overwhelmed and tired.

But every lost thing can be found in the Lord. So today, I find the flair moment again, a day late.

Now, when I say that I’ve blogged every day for 8 years straight, I will say, “Except that one day in Kansas and that other day when I forgot to write down my thoughts on help.”

Maybe the help I needed was to forget, to free up some time in a packed day. And maybe the help I needed was to forget so that I’d now always remember the help of the Lord in every form.


All the Butternut Squash

With two butternut squash on my kitchen counter, I search the internet for main dish ideas.

First, I’ve learned the easiest way ever to peel and chop butternut squash. Enjoy this easy microwave trick. 

Then, I find this gem of a recipe and immediately gather my goat cheese and walnuts. I just know my family will love this Butternut Squash Penne Pasta.

Enjoy the autumn season, and all the glorious squash!




Keeping Yourself in a Bit of Struggle

Last night, my daughter talked to us about a test in which she received a lower grade than she expected. Instead of worrying about this, she announced that she’d rather struggle in a class that’s a little too hard for her than take an easier class with easy A’s.

If it’s always 100%, with no struggle, then perhaps the course isn’t hard enough.

I think about this concept, and I remember that I only grow when the Lord puts me in situations that require a little more than I have to give. Like my daughter’s course that’s a bit over her head, God puts me where I’m in over my head all the time.

I grow in struggle. I grow when it’s a little too hard for me here.

I think about the overwhelming task of writing books (it’s book release day!!) and the traveling to speak in recent years. Sometimes, I board airplanes to strange cities, and I think, “I cannot do this! This is a little too hard for me, Lord!”

Exactly! He can do it through me, and I will grow. My faith will expand and my peace will reach far.

So with a day looming ahead filled with just a little too much grading of papers, preparing of lessons, driving of children, compiling my answers to upcoming radio and podcast interviews, managing of relationships, and balancing housework and cooking and all the things—-I think again that it’s a struggle. And that’s good and right. Praise God for struggle that requires dependence on Him.

When we’re tempted to shrink back from an opportunity that seems too hard, we press on in dependence on God. When we’re tempted to sulk in overwhelmed feelings, we press on. God brought us here to grow.



Open and Begin

Sometimes, we just need to open a new document and begin. We’ve delayed long enough; it’s time.

Open the fresh white page!

You don’t have to have everything organized and clear. Begin, and see what comes out from the tips of your fingers on the keyboard or from your pen on the page.

You don’t need permission. You don’t have to wait till you feel smart enough or better somehow. Begin today, and see what happens.

A writer knows how to open the new document and begin. Every morning, open and begin.


On Our Behalf

I read these words by Hannah Whitall Smith in my devotional time this morning:

“Because [God] is thus with us, we may be also sure that all His wisdom and power are at our disposal and engaged on our behalf.”

For whatever situation we face, we have Jesus’ wisdom and power available to us.


New Formation

I watch a flock of geese fly over the Pennsylvania countryside. Rather than the tight and orderly formation I normally observe, I instead see a wobbly, tumbling assortment of birds.

It takes a long time till they eventually form that V-shape and fly efficiently into the distance.

I remember that for every thing I’m trying to organize— or any dream I wish takes flight—there’s that wobbling moment that looks like everything’s about to fall out of the sky.

But eventually, things fall into place.


Watch, Listen, Pray

As I watch the news, and I listen carefully, I realize that some days we might set apart to watch, listen, and pray.

I spend too much time talking and theorizing when I might watch, listen, and pray.


You Missed Everything Again

My friend reminds me of something I posted four years ago this very week. It’s my response to the most dreaded question students ask on email. I thought I’d repost it for you today. It’s originally called, “You Missed Everything.”

My least favorite emails from students include these kinds of sentences: “I wasn’t in class this morning. Let me know if I missed anything important.” Or this: “I’m going to miss class Monday. Will I miss anything important?”

Yes. Yes, you will miss everything important. What will you miss?  I’m so glad you asked.

You will miss that moment that will never come again, with people who will never gather in this same configuration again, with words spoken by us all that won’t leave our lips again in that same way.

You will miss a comment by a student that could have changed your mind; you will miss talking to the one girl about something that might just make her your new best friend; you will miss a lesson on writing that might have inspired a novel or memoir that the world needs. You will miss writing something in your notebook that you’ll keep for forty more years and read again when your own daughters take a writing class.

You will miss this.

And we will miss this.

We will miss your voice answering a question that unlocks something for someone else. We will miss the tilt of your head as you think about something and the way you tap your pencil like that. We will miss your insight. When you miss class, you miss you being you at that moment, in that place where verbs and semicolons dance in some spiritual place where students gather with coffee cups and bagels and notebooks and pens with a teacher whose entire life culminates in this moment when she holds the chalk and begins.

So yes, you missed something.

You missed everything.