Christmas 2021

Pictures didn’t do our little tree justice this year with its white lights, wooden ornaments, homemade orange slices, cranberries, and popcorn strung. I love ALL the colors of Christmas, but there’s been something centering about our simple little tree.

Simplicity makes space for gratitude.

With each year, I become more and more (and more!) grateful for living rooms overflowing with loved ones and the messy kitchens and tired bodies that come with all of the festivities.

Each breath, every moment together, is an actual gift.

Important Matters

Not long ago I scribbled down a few thoughts about having unexpectedly landing in a long season of rest. Yet, here I am again longing for slow following a long season of busy. Life is like that with its ebb and flow.

Looking back always slows me down long enough to see what I might have missed along the way. And looking back brings clarity on what I want up ahead. Often caught up in the toiling and strifes of life — it sure is easy to miss the important things.

The recent Thanksgiving season beckoned us to pause and ponder what really matters, and the upcoming Christmas season beckons us to do the same. As we come to the close of yet another year, it’s a good time to reflect.

What really matters?

I am incredibly grateful for the gift of life, for health, and living close to our families again. I am thankful for our little church and this little corner of Plano, Kentucky that we occupy. I am thankful for filled-up living rooms and filled-up hearts after gatherings with my girlfriends. I am thankful for daily walks with my dog, movie dates with my hubby, buttered popcorn, the dearest of friends near and far, and for the paths we find ourselves on that sure seem higher than our own.

Merry Christmas, my friends! May you hold close the things that really matter this season.

Marriage & Mondays

Marriage is filled with a lot of Mondays. There are plenty of beautiful days, some gosh awful ones, but mostly less-than-momentous moments.

Last week we tucked away to the middle of nowhere Tennessee, to celebrate twenty-six years of Mondays! We get away as often as we can (but not nearly enough!) to remember who we were before. Before the grocery lists, family calendars, and endless chores — before the others and the extras. Time away always grounds, refreshes, and revives us.

The celebratory days may always be our favorite days, but it’s really the quiet day-to-day, the passing conversations, and the intimate moments that make up most of our lives and the whole of our marriages. It’s the mundane Mondays that set the tone for our days and our relationships.

I am profoundly grateful for time away with the hubby last week. But this week finds me thankful for the every day and finding joy in the small and simple rhythms that carry us from Monday to Monday.

Happy Monday, Friends! Now, it’s time to go pencil in our next getaway.

Motherhood & Saint Mary

“...and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed.” Luke 1: 47-48

Parenting isn’t for the faint of heart. I look back with great fondness on the years when my children were young. We homeschooled, memorized Scripture, read, spanked, visited the library weekly, and were at church every time the doors were open.

I had read all the parenting books I could get my hands on, so we could employ the latest greatest methods. I breastfed, sleep-trained, and thought I had the corner market on mothering. But life, and our own flaws, have a way of catching up to us, don’t they?

And our kids grow up to have hearts and minds of their very own. Who knew? Our children eventually get to choose how they interact with the world, with others, and with God too. Scripture sometimes gets tossed out in favor of worldly wisdom, and it is here in this very space that mamas cry all the tears over failed formulas and if-onlys. Children no longer within our control lead us to our knees, begging for salvation and the saving and the salvaging of what’s left of this damaged miry clay.

As we near Mother’s Day, I can’t help but think of Saint Mary. The most holy and blessed mother of all, I wonder if she was ever plagued with self-doubt over decisions, or fraught with worry for her son’s future. Did she hang out with disappointment or ruminate when situations went awry? She was human after all. Did she falter in faith when Jesus chose the hardest, darkest path, and was she broken and poured out as Jesus was broken and poured out? Mary’s highest hopes were left longing, perhaps burdened with a weight of her own flaws too.

We only see in part, but one day we will see clearly. 1 Corinthians 3:12

Yet, Mary looked up in what was surely her greatest moment of brokenness and beheld the cross. The saving amazing grace of the cross. The best formula of all had not required Mary’s forethought, approval, or input at all. When despair sets in, we can turn upward as Mary did. We only see in part, but one day we will see clearly.

Mamas, let us look up together to behold the ne who holds our children in His ever-loving, ever-purposeful hands. He holds us mamas too!

A Year of Intentional Imperfection

My hubby laughed when I told him I’d been tweaking this piece on perfectionism since January 9. Oh, the irony.

I committed myself to a full year of intentional imperfection at the beginning of the year amidst No Resolutions 2021. A paradox coming from a perfectionist pastor’s wife — but, that’s the point. 

Idealism, OCD brain, and maybe even faulty theology (eek!) convinced me there’s one right, good, true, perfect path to take at all times. Of a need to line up all areas of my life “just so.” Self, marriage, kids, home, church, faith…check, check! A perfect life equals a happy life, right?

Yet, perfection is out of reach for all of us aside from the lone righteousness of Christ. Perfectionism leads to disappointment and lands in failure. Besides, it’s all of us flawed, quirky people, with lives filled with human error and hardship, that make the world go round.

God makes use of it all. Of us all.

This year I intend to contend with my hyper-focus on having things just so, by having them “un-so.” I’m aiming for out-of-the box, stretch myself kinds of choices this year. Nothing too crazy, but blue fingernails, here I come!

This year seems as good a time as any to shine however imperfectly. I hope to re-wire some brain synapses in the process — blue fingernails and all.

“Perfectly Imperfect” by Carly Carey


Together is a beautiful place to be. Relationships are complicated — difficult though.

We tuck away, isolate, insulate, easily offend, and get easily offended. Blame gets strewn, and the benefit of the doubt is not often offered. We forget the good amidst the bad, against the mad.

When will we learn that we’re all merely man, doing our best to communicate how we can? The perfect words are not always known, nor when to rescue, stand down, or how to never misstep. Don’t people know that we don’t always know?

The pressure to perform, to please, is all-encompassing. It smothers and drowns, ruins days, wreaks havoc, kills relationships and souls too. The aim then is letting go of letting down. Accepting disappointment and disappointing. Embracing grace instead, room to grow is the goal.

Flawed like all and short on coming through, we fail, and can’t control a response of love or a lack thereof. Let us shake off the constant need to please, this paramount pressure threatening to impede. May we seek encouragement, nourishment, offering no offense in return.

Extending forgiveness, understanding, and love to ourselves and to others is the only way, because together is a beautiful place to be.

Your One Hurting Heart

What do you do with your one hurting heart? 

When you slip, falter or fail, or when someone breaks you in two. When hearts haven’t grown fonder but are stunted instead by the sadness and the shame of it all.

Abundant apologies, longing for peace and a hope of renewal. Solace sought, yet sorrow stays and regret remains, reminding us of earlier, less troubled days. Reminding us of our brokenness too.

Flawed flesh and bone, knee-deep, and in need.

When awash in the ache, and drowning in pain, may we take comfort in One always near, and never far. Storing our tears, as the old story goes, to restore our one hurting heart.

Shadowed by Grace

Grace has shadowed the whole of my life. 

Grace sheltered me in my early years and chased me into the latter. Grace has been my most constant companion, a dearest friend. In times of failure, Grace held my hand, and in times of goodness, Grace stood near. Grace has been a garland on my head, a covering for my brokenness.

And it is in this Grace I carry on.

Freely given, but difficult to give, and too easy to withhold. Anger comes more easily, perpetuating cycles of offense and shame. Grace is life-giving though, a sacrificial offering, a garland for someone’s head — a covering for their brokenness.

May we freely accept and fiercely bestow this cherished gift of Grace.

#grace / #shadowsofgrace / #garlandsofgrace 


I’ve been striving since circa 1991. That’s the best guess I have as to when I first realized I wasn’t enough. If you’re ever in doubt, go to middle or high school. Ever since those turbulent years, I have found myself rigorously trying to outrun ME. Who I am, where I came from, my family, background, personality, and even my accent.

At times, I have excelled.

Striving landed me far from home – out there – proving my worth to the world, but mostly to myself. It’s the age-old story of escaping that one-horse town only to discover that home is where you actually want to be, where you belong.

And after all my years of striving to become more, I am finally learning that who I am is enough.

#noresolutions2021 / #hopewriting / #truthtelling / #vulnerability


Days look different these days. Business clothes have been replaced by lounge wear with long mornings, lingering thoughts…so much change in a year’s time. Daily rhythms have been swapped with wonderings of what’s to come.

What do we do when we don’t know what to do?

The world takes on new beauty when it stops spinning. Moments to breathe and time to be. Yet, the unknowing can undo us. We’re quick to fill the space with anything we can make sense of and even what we can’t.

Change challenges us and sitting with it shapes us. Pausing shifts sights, bestows new energy, and resets our rhythms – never easy, but always necessary. Beauty blossoms in the stand-still. 

#hopewriter / #hopewriterslife / #rhythm / #beautyinthestandstill